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notes from an admin for himself. you can read it if you want.

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gate.com vps servers pros and cons 1

7 March, 2008 (04:37) | Mindless Blather, software | No comments

Yesterday we hooked up 2 vps’s with gate.com. In some ways it sucks, you have to install everything manually. For a lot of people I’m sure that is fine. TONS of people can’t get past this and quit. Most of the negative reviews of http://www.gate.com had this condition.

 I was entertained while going through hoops to put on emacs. I know you VI people would scoff but go to hell. You probably have a config file you load or some favorite tools yourself. I’ll tell you to go old school and do without your own favs as well. Being a windows dork, I’m not the best at linux but I try. So we put on glibc-headers, dglibc-devel, kernel-headers, python, blah blah bunch of stuff. After a few hours I fired up emacs and edited my little file. Fun eh? you just have to watch for dependencies, wget them and keep on marching.

Just for reference, you can install your own apache, rails, lighttpd, haproxy etc on a fedora core 4 vps on gate.com. There are a lot of complaints against the company out there which I have proved wrong.  Just keep checking dependencies, set up yum and you are golden. Several blogs say it is the worst investment ever. I think it was pretty cheap and works ok. I just need a test box so for the price of $20 something/mo, I think it is fine. I welcome suggestions for a better provider. For now I give them the thumbs up.

How to install log me in Free edition on somebody elses computer

7 March, 2008 (04:35) | How to, software | 1 comment

This is mostly a reminder note for me. Log me in free is an awesome free tool to remote control some-one’s machine so you can help them on their computer. It is like VNC on crack.

To install log me in free edition (written using IE7 and vista) installation of the log me in free client:http://www.logmein.comlook for log me in free

fill in the information (use your own email address if helping someone else because you will have to check your mail and confirm the account) and write down the password you choose

allow the java control that pops up

allow the windows explorer warning if one comes up

if it takes a long time, look for a logmein program flashing in the windows taskbar.

agree to the terms

choose typical

enter a description of the computer so you can remember it like BillyBobs computer or at work probably just machine name as that won’t change but user on it might.

next (and continue if you are using vista)

(it should be installing and have a progress bar. Takes a little while)

click finish

the web page now takes you to your logmein console.

If you just talked someone through installation have them close this window.

Controlling the machine:Check your email for the email from log me in. mine went to junk mail in hotmail.Click the link in the email. It will launch the logmein site.

click the button to save account settings.

At the top right, enter your email address and password

click ok or confirm if you need to

now the console comes up.

click on the name of the machine to begin the control process

install the activex control

put in the windows username and password.

If they don’t want to give it to you, you may have to create one.

If they don’t have a password try a username and their password

to look up their username start a command prompt> start>run> type cmd.exe and hit enter. (vista hit start and in the window on the bottom left type cmd.exe and enter

type whoami and hit enter. it will tell you the machinename\username

Now your remote control session should start.

Stupid windows trick #2

5 March, 2008 (20:28) | Stupid windows tricks | No comments

WINDOWS button +TAB – tap that and do what vista’s gui is famous for. This is the cool kid version of alt-tab. The other sweet way to use this is WINDOWSbutton +scrollwheel. Old people think this one is  just awesome. If you want to look like a sweet nerd to someone clueless- 1. have an oversize case. A 5 foot tall computer must be the sweetest computer ever. #2, do things like scrollwheel+windows on a regular basis. It looks bitchin.

Stupid Windows trick #1

1 March, 2008 (22:29) | Stupid windows tricks | No comments

Every few weeks I come across something mind bogglingly simple to make Windows magic happen. I’ll start listing every mundane one. Hopefully you know them all. I don’t and never will. If anything this is a list for myself to google up my favorite forgotten commands.

F1 – you know you are lazy. hit f1 for help lazy!! type in the question you have and see if windows can give you help. In Vista especially it is very very good.

Hamachi – start with task scheduler easy quick version

27 February, 2008 (01:42) | How to, software | No comments

In vista you can get hamachi to start up on boot real easy this way-

  1. start> type task in the search window and it should autocomplete. hit enter
  2. Create basic task
  3. Name- hamachi start, leave description blank and hit enter
  4. triggger- when the computer starts (next)
  5. start a program (next)
  6. browse to hamachi.exe (next)
  7. hit finish

Test by rebooting and watch your hamachi network. It will join any network you already set up. If you need to add a network, end the hamachi.exe process with task manager, launch it manually and add. If it doesn’t start at boot try adding a minute delay.

Symantec Ghost serial number

23 February, 2008 (07:37) | software | No comments

Here is something really stoopid: registering your Symantec business solution suite:

  1. Email comes with a registration code pdf. download the pdf
  2. go to their dum website and try to create an account
  3. they already built an account for me
  4. I dont know the password, so i email it to me using a magic wizard. WC967251mR DUH!!! thats the password they gave me.
  5. log in to the site, fill out a bunch of form crap
  6. now you can’t copy and paste the serial from step1 -pdf. its protected. gotta type it. how tech.
  7. now they email you ANOTHER file. This one is your license key. It is zipped cause i need to save that like 40 bits they saved using compression.

You suck symantec. It’s a lot easier to download a crack for your software than it is to register it legit. Reminds me of the hoops to get Autodesk software to work. The crack took a second, instead I got paid for 2 weeks to troubleshoot licensing.

Symantec ghost trial only images up not down

20 February, 2008 (19:14) | software | No comments

I’m working on some fun Symantec Ghost stuff. One thing I learned- if you get symantec ghost solution 2.0 or whatever as the trial copy you CAN’T image down. Only up. How stupid is that to test the process? You can only do 10 machines, the images don’t work with another license. They have it under control. Let us test with a ghost up and down. So I have to rush to get licenses from CDW. I hope they email my code back quick or I’m sunk before the weekend.

Windows xp,vista, 2003, 2003r2 and quad core chip support

8 February, 2008 (22:16) | Hardware Info | No comments

Yes, you can run a dual quad core processor system with XP, Vista, 2003, and 2003r2. (excluding home editions.) Microsoft defines a processor as a single unit despite the number of cores within the CPU package. So go forth and buy your giant dual quad core machine. Just remember you need to run a 64bit OS to address a lot of RAM. and 4GB ain’t gonna cut it for 8 processors.


Bullocks on Prosper!!!

8 February, 2008 (21:07) | Easy Money Making | No comments

Check out this loan calculator- it doesn’t care what you credit rating is. It isn’t really helpful at all for helping you guess what kind of loan you could get. go put in an interest rate and try it out.

prosper bogus calc

I do love prosper. Just not that tool. After a whopping 60 days my loans are averaging 20.44%. I’m just hoping to average 15% after someone defaults. If you sign up, use my link and we both get $25. You can lend people cash and earn incredible interest rates. Of course there is a little risk if they default but the default rates are really low. Spread your money across a bunch of loans and you will still make a killing even with a few failed loans.

Business & Personal Loans. Great Rates. Prosper.

Why I gave up on Spiceworks

7 February, 2008 (03:26) | Monitoring | 37 comments

Feb 7 2008:

Spiceworks has a few superduper flaws that I am not willing to spend (more) time resolving. I got to the point where I have a powershell script of an insane size to prepare a computer to actually be seen by spiceworks. I would be nice and post that info in their forums but they have wasted too much of my time to warrant my contribution. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I will not use it until they wake up and realize they need a client application. Here is my list of reasons Spiceworks sucks.

spiceworks sucks

1. No client means you there isn’t a program to initiate contact with the server and send data or allow easy firewall control (click here to see all the people using group policy to DISABLE their firewall to fix problems. )

2. Too many remote services must be made available that shouldn’t ever need to be on. I want to close doors not open them.

3. Firewall rules require ports and pings shared with other windows services. A client would allow a custom port that does not need these ports open. I see this as a big security risk. Never open windows rpc ports without specific rules in place.
4. The server freaks out on its own too much. This screenshot above shows an example of it’s status this minute.

5. Even with my solid list of preparation steps, of 3 brand new out of the box Dell Vostros, 2 were seen by the server, 1 was not. Same process, step by step on each machine. Several double checks and a little packet sniffer work. I’m clueless. Shouldn’t be this hard.

6. Documentation for client preparation in the forums is pathetic. The target audience is small shops who aren’t going to have the experience or knowledge to do their nebulous WMI troubleshooting. Here are some pissed off users.

7. The server interface is SLOW and very bulky. For 39 devices my spiceworks processes are using 268MB.

8. Currently to monitor Vista machines you have to disable UAC!!! If you don’t have a problem with it, your users will freak every time they see windows warning them in the security center that it is turned off. This damages the credibility of an IT guy trying to maintain some sort of security in their shop. What? The company front door is unlocked? Who cares! Lets open them all!
9. As you can see, I have 6 workstations, 1 server and 26 unknowns. I could spend weeks getting the other devices working. (to be fair I could make 5 more macs show up but I already decided to drop it)

10. It will only work on one subnet! Hello spiceworks, build a client so I don’t build my own pseudoclient or tunnel on a vpn to make it work. I realize this is a shortcoming of windows and dcom etc. SO DONT USE IT!!! Use a tool that works. Spiceworks seems to be stuck on using a hammer to get the screw to go in just cause Microsoft or their CEO says so.

10.5 Spiceworks doesn’t support home clients. Which shouldn’t exist in a business but I’ve chatted with a bunch of people who have it anyways. Small shops don’t have money and sometimes do things wrong. I have to say that this helped me upgrade a few machines but it didn’t help monitor peoples computers on my network who brought machines from home.

I think if I was to continue I’d tunnel all the traffic through hamachi and maybe tool around with ipsec to get it all on a different port than windows file sharing ports. For now my solution is to use Hyperic. It is a great open source monitoring solution. I’ll post more as I get it running. I also still love Nagios even if it is a pain in the butt to configure. There are awesome virtual machines prebuilt for vmware that you can test out. Please use my google search bar above to search for them.

Mom says to speak of good things after bashing something. Spiceworks does a killer job on the helpdesk app, the inventory stuff is cool, the graphing is awesome manager bait. I could really use the application inventory but ONLY if it worked on all my machines. The reporting is pretty good and I really like the product review abilities in it. I see the ads as a good way to fund product development and don’t mind seeing items that are directly related to my field. Their support people are very nice. Oh and they have a lot of good educational documents you might want to check out even if you don’t end up using it.

EDIT 12-3-08 – I’m building an update to this. I went to Spiceworld 2008 and hammered out a few details as well as an agreement to test some new fun with the Spiceworks staff. I stand by my remarks from Febtober. Spiceworks as of then did not accomplish many things, they were humble and hopeful about addressing issues. Now after Spiceworld I am happy to see they are taking all of this criticism and building a sweet new product. If you drink the Koolaid and say Spiceworks is great, you aren’t helping them hone their skills.  After 3.5 and a few other long off tweaks I think this Spiceworks will rock. BTW, why all the comments all the sudden? Did i get linked to on the forums at spiceworks?

2011-October – This post is super old but still has high page views. Our latest update for our INC500 company- we graduated from spiceworks to a more comprehensive solution – Dell Kbox. Sure it costs $3k a year, but saves us many FTE’s in salary. Spiceworks costs a lot in time. It also saves you a lot of time once you figure out the strengths. I would highly recommend using Spiceworks as a startup company but moving to Kbox or a similar product once profitable. . Maybe I’ll add to this more later. The Forum guys from Spiceworks will still find this and be offended, please just realize, Spiceworks helped us for a long time. I promoted it in my area and will continue to do so when appropriate. And if you are reading this post, well it is 2011 now. The post is more than 3 years old. Spiceworks has come a long long way in that time. Many gripes we had have been fixed. They are a really fun company full of great talented people.

2012-June – Spiceworks finally released a client. It isn’t secure but it is a step in the right direction for the company. I still can’t understand how many people made excuses for them all this time instead of asking for change. I do wish them the best as I like the people, but I can’t help feel bad for them because more expensive tools are so much better and make up for themselves in salary at your business. For a small business I’ll still say you can’t beat Spiceworks. They have probably the best support community on the internet and fill their niche well. At 47 employees in my company it is just a cute toy for amateurs who need help fast.

2013- Halloween – Spiceworld just finished up, cool news out of Austin. MDM support, hopefully better than the Dell K3000. Here in my world we are now a 3 time INC5000 company and using a mix of Dell K1000, K2000 and Microsoft System Center 2012 R2. I wouldn’t think about touching Spiceworks now even though we still only have 45 peeps. If these tools were military it would go something like this – Spiceworks=Iraqi military, still pals, get the job done better than you would think. Dell-underfunded 1st Marines. MS -101st Air Assault+a seal team when you need it. I think it all comes down to budget and training, if you can afford nothing, use Spiceworks and engage in the community every day. The spiceworks community is great if you are just getting started or your line of work just isn’t the type to grow revenue. If you have some money and you are a Dell/Mac shop, use a K1000, later get a K2000, don’t bother with MDM. Use the IT ninja community, they are great even for packaging and distribution on other platforms. And when you get to real revenue do it all in System Center. Buy premium support cases when you get in a bind.

One other beef I still have with Spiceworks – 4 million users?

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