Blog Posts

RIP Yoda

Sadly, after having Yoda for just over 20 years, he was put to sleep on 01/05/2017.

He lost a lot of weight and muscle over a few weeks and on returning home we found him on the bottom of his viv not being able to walk on his left leg.

While at the vets we found a golf ball size tumor in his lower abdomen.

I hope Yoda enjoyed his life with us as much as we enjoyed him being in ours.

He has been through and seen a lot with us – numerous other pets – cats, dogs, salamanders, rabbits, guinee pigs, snake, giant millipedes and fish.
Yoda has also seen us get married, move house and have 2 children, not to mention moving house 3 times himself.

His website, YodaCam, had over 350,000 camera views and was online for over 13 years.

I am so gutted to have lost a family member, nothing will be able to replace him. It will not be the same not seeing him looking at me as I walk down the stairs every morning, seeing him asleep on his shelf when I go to bed or having him look at me as I bring him his bowl of veg.

Rest in peace big lad, you will be missed.

 

Me and Yoda together for the last time
Me and Yoda together for the last time

RTFM!

Today I had the simplest of tasks to do. Make some software available for some users.
I always test out the software first to see if there are any issues etc.
I was given a CD with a piece of software on it, a single exe with a Username and Password to run it.
That didn’t work? After several attempts, I paid a bit more attention and realised that the Username and Password details were printed in reverse. I skim read the CD and see that it said Username and Password but didn’t notice they were the wrong way around!
So I swapped the Username and Password around and tried it again. Still no joy!

I left it for a bit as I had other stuff do and came back to it just before lunch.
I had a quick read of the manual and that told me a Username and Password combination the same as what was on the CD but the other way around! However, I had already tried it both ways!

I copied the exe onto my desktop and popped the CD out of the drive and run the program again making sure that I had typed the password in correctly. This time it worked? WTAF?
I then put the CD back in and tried it again only to get the same error as before?
I then loaded up the manual to have another read only to find a sentence saying that you have to copy the exe onto your computer for it to work? Err I guess I must have missed that bit. Ooopps!

Being an IT Pro! I never read the manual 😉 maybe I should try that from now on!

How do I create a blank Excel spreadsheet?

So today I got the first support call from the Silver Fox for this year, and boy what a corker!

Apparently, he had been trying to create a blank Excel Spreadsheet for the past 2 days and had resorted on opening an old one, deleting all the sheets and then saving it as a blank!

I asked him why he hadn’t called me after 30 seconds of not doing it? He said it was late and didn’t want to call. Fine, I said, but you could of emailed so I picked it up in the morning.
Anyway, I remoted on and set about showing him how to create a blank Excel Spreadsheet.

First and easiest way, Click Start > Microsoft Excel 2010 and errrr there we go!
Or right click in a folder and select New > Microsoft Excel Worksheet and there you have a blank sheet.
However, when I clicked Start > Microsoft Excel 2010 he said to me
“Wo Hold on there a second, where did that Microsoft Excel 2010 shortcut come from? It wasn’t there 2 days ago”

After explaining that he is the only one using his computer, either it was there and he didn’t see it or he put it there without remembering, I was extremely rude and hung up on the old duffer 😀

Unable to join the domain?

Today I set about installing a new server to replace an old one. This was going to be a Virtual Server on our Hyper-V cluster.

I have built enough servers of varying OS versions on Hyper-V enough times to not even think about what I am doing so was a tad surprised when it failed to join the domain.
A quick check of everything showed nothing obvious, as sometime I do make the odd stupid mistake!
The server had a DHCP IP address, I could ping IPs on the network, I was able to download files from the internet – which were about all I normally do before joining a new server onto the domain.
I let the server update itself with the latest OS updates and reboot, but that made no difference.
I then set about checking out the NetSetup.log and work through any issues in there.
After checking that and getting nowhere and starting to lose interest I decided to move the VM to a different node and try and add it to the domain again. This time it worked!

I really have no idea what that is as I have not had that issue before and have joined servers on to the domain with not issues plenty of times.
Maybe if I have a lull in work I will revisit, but as I have looooaads to do I don’t think that will happen anytime soon.

Copper Sulphate Crystal

Today I have decided to end my crystal growing project with H and Tbone.

I had ordered 5KG of Copper Sulphate some 7 or so years ago and never got round to growing anything more than a very small seed crystal, mainly because the boys lost interest very quickly!!

But over the summer holiday i decided to give it another try. This time i spent just over 2 weeks on it, ending up with me using all 10kg of copper sulphate and running out of containers big enough to put it in.

I don’t have a laboratory in my house and it gets to a point where heating up 10 plus litres of copper sulphate solution takes far too long and becomes very complicated.

So 10KG / £60 of copper sulphate later, we have ourselves a 4KG crystal to show off – as you can see below.

H and the crystal
H and the crystal

 

Time for something new

Its been a while since i have added any new posts to my site. Having no time and my admin interface not being 100% complete and up to date means its a massive pain in the arse to do stuff!

I’ve decided to move everything over to WordPress to make life easier. I have to keep up with changes to all kinds of web stuff and i just don’t have the time to do it any more. As much as i love doing a bit of php coding, its just too much of a time consuming job.

So I’m saying goodbye to a couple of features that i cannot currently port across – Quote of the day (QOTD) and reverse all visible text on a specific set of dates.
I might be able to add the QOTD back at some point, i might even try and write an add on widget thingy whatssit for it. The reverse all visible text however is probably not going to be possible. It took me ages to write that function for my old website and make sure that it all worked ok.

Anyway, WordPress it is from now on.

Dodgy Recruitment – Update

Today i received a message on my website, interestingly from someone kind of detailed in one of my blog posts.

The blog post was Dodgy Recruitment which detailed my issues trying to get my details removed from a recruitment company that i never signed up with or wanted any information from.

It was a ridiculous trail of just how stupid things can get and just how much some of these people do not care about peoples personal data.

The message i received was polite and asked me if i could remove my blog post, as it have been over 2 years since it happened and that working practices had changed to put a stop to the issues i had experienced. Apparently my post was finding its way to the top of a search engine – number 2 on Google by the looks of it. While it was good to hear there had been changes, i want the original post to serve as a warning, after all once my email address get used and abused i stand no chance in getting it removed.

OICE_15 Folders

After being plagued with hundreds of OICE_15_XXXXXXX folders and the pain in the arse to get rid of them I have decided to make my life a tad easier today.

I have seen these folders being created under AppData in the roaming profiles of users, they get copied up and down as the user logs on and off and ultimately end up causing the roaming profiles not to sync as they are over quota.

I can’t add them to folder exclusions as they are all different and I can’t find a way to move them or stop them being created. We have to delete them as and when we come across them and they are not always easy to delete as some of the file are dot files and windows says it’s not there when you try and delete it! WTF FFS

I normally browse to the folder, shift right click and select `Open Command windows here‘, go into each folder and delete the dot files, then delete the folders. But it takes for bloody ever as I have to do that on the computers and on the server where the OICE_15 folders are.

To make life easier I have added an extra context menu to the right click menu for folders called `KillDOTFiles`

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTFoldershellkilldotfile]
@="KillDOTFile"
"Icon"=""
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTFoldershellkilldotfilecommand]
@=""C:\Windowskilldotfile.bat" %1"

Created a batch file that had the following contents

for %%a in (%1) do set temp=%%~nxa
set OICEDir=%temp:~0,4%
if /I NOT %OICEDir% == OICE (
rem echo No
) ELSE (
rem echo Yes
del %1*.* /q /f
rd %1 /s /q
)

Now all I need to do is highlight the folders, right click and they get deleted.

Ive added a bit of checking to the batch file, as if I give the file to anyone else i do not want to be held liable if they delete the wrong directory! It will happen!!

Why did I not think of doing this before?

QuickTime Issues – Poxy Apple Software

What a waste of 3 days this has been!

A problem was reported to me – someone couldn’t view a webpage with a QuickTime move in it.
Given that QuickTime was in need of an update as it was well out of date, I decided to update it first.

I am really not sure what the hell was going on, but it was plagued with errors. The main one being when I created the deployment package in SCCM it deployed the Apple Application Support MSI but then failed deploying the QuickTime MSI. The Apple Application Support MSI was a dependency of the QuickTime MSI. That worked fine but the QuickTime MSI failed saying that a version of QuickTime was already installed.
So I deployed a clean image to my test machine that included QuickTime and set about deploying the new version of QuickTime. Same error again – a version of QuickTime was detected again. Ok so much for upgrade! So I removed all Apple components and deployed QuickTime again. The same error.
I double checked and went through the registry and removed every Apple reference, went through ProgramData and removed everything Apple and in Program Files and Common Files etc. With everything gone I deployed it again. The same error?!?!

I then decided to run the MSI files manually. The Apple Application Support installed fine, but the QuickTime failed again with the same error.
This time I ran SysInternals Process Monitor to capture everything so I could see what was going on.

Several hours later I came across a registry entry that looked like it was causing the error. I deleted it and run the QuickTime MSI again only to find the registry key was back and so was the error. Now that made no bloody sense at all?
Thankfully I had a weekend to forget about that crap and start a fresh on Monday, which seemed to work as I redone the 2 deployments in SCCM and it then installed Apple Application Support and QuickTime with no issues. I really do not know what happened there, as nothing was different.

So, back to the original reason for doing this, I checked the online video and it still didn’t play.
So after all that faffing I was no further forward!
I then renamed my roaming profile and logged in and tried it again. This time it worked!
I looked through the roaming profiles folder to see what Apple stuff I could find, but as I severely limit what is allowed to roam there was no Apple files / folders there.
I then coped the old registry file over and logged on again – movie didn’t play again.

So the issue was with the registry.
I loaded up regedit and went through all the references to Apple or Quicktime that I could find, deleting all then one at a time then trying the online video again.
I finally came across a key called

HKCU/Software/Microsoft/Internet Explorer/Internet/Registry/REGISTRY/USER
[SID]/SOFTWARE/Apple Computer, Inc./QuickTime/LocalUserPreferences

With a setting called FolderPath that was set to an invalid location.
I changed the location to a valid one and hey presto it worked! FFS

It’s so nice to see Apple software that is enterprise friendly!