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

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Custom Search vs ABC’s The Bachelor

20 February, 2012 (20:09) | Mindless Blather, prediction | No comments

God I hate this show. Only in the US can you have the polygamist player asshole show garnering an #1 ratings spot while real news (and G4tv’s Morgan Web) is falling off the radar.

Nevertheless, due to my female counterpart’s enticement programme, I end up noticing most of each episode while playing Star Wars – The Old Republic. While I feel it is more important to level my Empire bounty hunter’s black market skills, she thinks we should consume this tripe while holding hands. Which has a negative effect on my 1337 combat tactics and mouse hand

Apparently her twittering SMS messaging obsessive friends agree that she needs to see the show. The pace of twits tweeting and iPhones beeping increases at a rate close to a powertech bounty hunter’s superheated gas dps curve. By the end of the night its ready to explode. Our nerd/male slut watching compromise involves a massive leather Scandanavian Designs couch, giant 120HZ 3dTV, Dell Precision M6500 with dual SSDs, Intel quad core extreme edition, 16GB of ram, beer and a slice of triple chocolate cake from Hacienda Colorado.  That nerds, is what compromise is. My massive cranium unfortunately has extra cycles to burn on the Bachelor noise resulting in a mild bit of analysis. I have two theories for my prediction on the bachelor season 500,321.888:

1. If the show is somewhat real and they have a genuine interest in making profit from a happy couple, Ben will keep the hot horse riding chick. The parents are a good fit, it just works. Baton twirling band girl doesn’t have a chance because her dad is a tool. Which is sad, she is probably at about the nerd level I am so I feel bad for her dabbling in the deep pool when she should be in the plastic pool with me.  Former married girl doesn’t have a shot. Although her dad is cool because he rocks a pen in the pocket sans pocket protector. That means he is rich because he has so many shirts that he does not need to protect his pockets. I suspect he is intelligent enough to know his daughter is a skank. I hope I never have a skanky bachelor daughter.

2. Model “evil” girl will win if the show is completely based on corporate interest, sponsorship, drama, well just money. I feel bad for Ben if he is somehow stuck in this position, well maybe. It could be that Ben is legally blind and the blurry images presented through his distended corneas make  Courtney look somewhat attractive. Hell, maybe he just likes her hair color or the smell of burning silicone and taste of stale botulism on her upturned distorted lip. The girl looks like a confused or poisoned fish and has some obvious daddy issues. If I had to be around her psychotic plastic lip and or personality, I think I would be  as awkward as Mike Myers next to the mole. Fi fi fi fi fiFIIIIISHHH!

Overall I think he is going for the model. The bachelor results in disasters created by the typical beauty pageant operation. 25 girls enter, 24 lose, 1 loses spectacularly a little later. Usually aided by a cocktail of cocaine, liposuction, purse sized dog and a relationship gone bad. The judge at these events gets a smile on his face for a while, until he ends up with a few prescription creams to apply to his junk. I’m glad I’m a socially inept nerd with a penchant for star wars.

error: module dahdi is in use by dahdi_voicebus

20 February, 2012 (09:11) | complaining, Hardware Info | No comments

Our brand new out of the box Digium Switchvox 355 hangs on boot: error: module dahdi is in use by dahdi_voicebus. So within 10 minutes of owning the silly thing I got to call support. Luckily we have plantinum support so it should all be free, easy and fixed in 24 hours right?


The phone call to resolve this issue took a hair under 29 minutes which I found to be acceptable. The rep was thorough and confident in her solution.  I had to unseat my pri card and fax card, unplug the daughtercard from the PRI card. Put the daughtercard back on. Then reseat again with a few reboots during the process. The support person told me the echo cancellation module is bad. Fair enough, but man that isn’t a part a normal person should be messing with.

I have to pay to ship it back, then they send a replacement or I could leave a credit card number and pay to return the broken component using the box I get the new one in. How ghetto is leaving a credit card number for a cheap part replacement on a $16k product? I should tell Amex to block all purchases from this company just to show that having a credit card on file is worthless to them but a substantial risk to my company. The support call ended by leaving me with a bunch of paperwork to do. Some platinum support. After my support call Friday, my company dealt with a DB server all weekend so I didn’t have time to RMA the part.

Today unraveled all the process of a new digium account. username vs email address, password resets etc, set up my account and got started. I RMA’d the part using their strange form. Digium states that they will overnight parts in all the sales materials contract. The sales people conveniently leave out the one day processing time documented on the RMA page.

I have to pay for whatever shipping option I choose outside of UPS ground. Digium’s support page states that they will ship in a business day, not today. Then you wait the additional shipping time you choose (overnight, 2day, 3day, ground, etc.) I am guessing about the best you can do is 2 days, and the worst case is going to be about a week.

In our case, we report the problem on Friday, their ridiculous setup requires more than a 30 minute phone call to arrange the replacement. We got the Digium account information all set up on the web page, do the RMA form, deal with their strange layouts Monday. It should ship Monday or Tuesday, and with UPS ground I should have my part by what Thursday or Friday? From reading the helpful mouse overs on the support page, I’m not even sure if this part will ship before they get the broken one. So I had the front desk lady ship our broken card right away. Platinum support my ass.

I was under the impression that you are mostly paying for support when you buy an appliance. So far the support from Digium sucks donkeys. When the support sucks, you want root. We have no root access to fix things ourselves. The hardware is cheap. I really wonder if we would be better off running asterisk on a poweredge instead of an old supermicro board in a poorly built server.

We had already planned on buying a second set of hardware to keep on the shelf. I think this is absolutely necessary if you are going to run a digium phone system. It is still cheaper than buying a shortel/avaya/cisco solution but you get what you pay for.

I took pictures of all the innards etc. I’ll get to work on a review once I have some experience. Who knows, maybe the functionality will live up to expectations. So far support falls way short. The hardware might end up ok but it isn’t off to a great start. Overall I’m trying to remain optimistic. If we can make it work, it will save our company tens of thousands.  Of which I will see 0 which makes me wonder, why do a struggle with open source/cheap solutions like this? It is completed on my personal time, not the company time. Maybe it is time to start buying solutions like Cisco/Avaya.


Change remote desktop port for Windows 2008r2 and below

7 February, 2012 (16:51) | How to, security | No comments


modify the value, switch to decimal unless you want to be fancy and figure it out in hex.

restart the computer or if you are lazy like me, restart the remote desktop service then reconnnect.

Salesforce login problems under Internet Explorer (firefox works)

30 January, 2012 (08:28) | How to, software | No comments

Salesforce keeps popping up an error on login with the correct password:

You have attempted to access a page that requires a login. If you are already a user of the system, please login below.

Internet Explorer 9 won’t let a user get in but firefox and chrome will. This is a problem because saleforce plugins like MS office integration only work in Internet Explorer.

We think this works, I’ll check back in a week:

Hit the IE gear at the top right and select “Internet Options”

In the window that pops up, click the security tab at the top left

There is a checkbox toward the bottom left. “Enable Protected Mode”

Check the box. If it works please post a comment below. If it doesn’t work, please post a comment below.

We have been through many calls with Salesforce customer support who have proven to be pretty useless. My desktop support has tried to figure this out and my users have called Salesforce directly many times. This morning I found this fix in about 3 minutes after starting in on the problem. So I doubt it is the solution.




Mac virus vs trojan argument is like kleenex vs tissue

25 January, 2012 (19:40) | Mindless Blather | No comments

People have been calling a threat to a computer a virus for decades. I don’t think it is going to go away because some fanboys get angry at the proper definition. Most windows machines, macs and droids end up with trojans not viruses. Viruses don’t make sense anymore. Sad to see the journalist in this story get it wrong, but we can get used to it.

Surprise, HR Block Free tax prep is not free.

24 January, 2012 (06:08) | How to | No comments

I just read a few complaints on a consumer watchdog website about H&R Block. Grow up people! If you are old enough to file taxes you should have some basic consumer skills on your own by now. They seem to believe putting a * next to a word and making you read the fine print should be illegal.

The result: HR Block At Home Free* is free

*State filing not included

** State filing costs $27.95 (you can see this by clicking on the main page about 3 inches below the price. It is a link below the words “1 federal e-file included” which says “State additional fee.” If you click that link it tells you. Magic.

There are some options. You can download the forms from the IRS. You can get them at a library. You can call a friend who is smarter than you.

Many people don’t seem to understand which version to buy. I’ll give you a hint:

  1. Write down the little letters on the top of your tax forms. W2, 1099 etc.
  2. Go to the HRblock page. Click “learn more” under basic. Scroll down and find Supports most tax forms and click View list. You should be able to do just about anything with this list:

Common IRS forms and schedules:
Form 1040 Individual Income Tax Return
Form 1040A Individual Income Tax Return
Form 1040EZ Income Tax Return for Single and Joint Filers
Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement
Form 1098 Mortgage Interest Statement
Form 1098-E Student Loan Interest
Form 1098-T Tuition Payment
Form 1099-DIV Dividends and Distributions Income
Form 1099-G Certain Government Payments Form 1099-INT Interest Income
Form 1099-MISC Miscellaneous Income
Form 1099-R Distributions from Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit Sharing
Form 2441 Child and Dependent Care Credit
Form 8863 Education Credits
Form 8917 Tuition and Fees Deduction
Schedule A Itemized Deductions
Schedule B Interest and Dividends
Schedule C Profit or Loss from Business
Schedule C-EZ Net Profit from Business
Schedule D Capital Gains and Losses
Schedule EIC Earned Income Credit
Schedule SE Self-Employment Tax

Other IRS forms and schedules:
Schedule E Rents, Royalties, Partnerships, Etc.
Schedule F Profit or Loss from Farming
Schedule H Household Employment Taxes
Schedule K-1 Estate and Trust Income
Schedule K-1 Partnership and S Corporation Income
Schedule R Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled
Section 179 Worksheet
Taxable Recovery Worksheet
Form W-2G Gambling Winnings
Form 982 Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness
Form 1040-ES Estimated Tax
Form 1040-V Payment Voucher
Form 1040-X Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (For current year returns)
Form 1098-C Vehicle Donation
Form 1099-OID Original Issue Discount
Form 1099-Q Payments from Qualified Education Programs
Form 1099-RRB Railroad Retirement
Form 1099-S Proceeds from Real Estate Transactions
Form 1099-SA Distributions from HSA, Archer MSA, or Medicare Advantage MSA
Form 1099-SSA Social Security Distributions
Form 1116 Foreign Tax Credit
Form 1310 Refund Due a Deceased Taypayer
Form 2106 Employee Business Expenses
Form 2106-EZ Unreimbursed Employee Business Expenses
Form 2210 Underpayment Penalty
Form 2210-F Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Farmers and Fisherman
Form 2439 Undistributed Long-Term Capital Gains
Form 2555 Foreign Earned Income
Form 2555-EZ Foreign Earned Income Exclusion
Form 3903 Moving Expenses
Form 4137 Social Security Tax on Unreported Tips
Form 4562 Depreciation and Amortization
Form 4684 Casualties and Thefts
Form 4797 Sales of Business Property
Form 4835 Farm Rental Income and Expenses
Form 4868 Automatic Extension of Time to File
Form 4952 Investment Interest Expense
Form 4972 Tax on Lump-Sum Distributions
Form 5329 Return for IRA and Retirement Plan Tax
Form 5405 First-Time Homebuyer Credit
Form 5695 Residential Energy Credits
Form 6251 Alternative Minimum Tax
Form 8283 Noncash Charitable Contributions
Form 8332 Release of Claim to Exemption
Form 8396 Mortgage Interest Credit
Form 8453 Electronic Filing
Form 8582 Passive Activity Loss Limitations
Form 8606 Nondeductible IRAs
Form 8615 Tax for Children Who Have Investment Income of More Than $1,900
Form 8801 Credit for Prior Year Minimum Tax-Individuals, Estates, and Trusts
Form 8812 Additional Child Tax Credit
Form 8814 Election for Child’s Income
Form 8815 Exclusion of Interest from Series EE Bonds
Form 8822 Change of Address
Form 8822-B Change of Address – Business
Form 8829 Expenses for Business Use of Your Home
Form 8839 Qualified Adoption Expenses
Form 8862 Information to Claim Earned Income Credit after Disallowance
Form 8880 Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions
Form 8885 Health Insurance Credit for Eligible Recipients
Form 8888 Direct Deposit to More than One Account
Form 8889 Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
Form 8910 Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit
Form 8948 Sales and Other Dispositions of Capital Assets
Form 9465 Installment Agreement Request

Writing and testing software costs a lot of money. It isn’t just copying a few forms from the government. If it was, you would have 50 million tax prep websites out there. If you want to file online from home you need to cough up a little bit of cash and pay the guys who wrote the software. Otherwise go write your own if it is so easy.

Automatically patch your mom’s computer with Secunia PSI

20 January, 2012 (18:16) | security, Stupid windows tricks | No comments

I use Dell Kbox for patch management, which I can’t afford for home at ~$3k a year. For home Secunia PSI is great. It scans the machine once a week and installs all the patches it can. Adobe products, java, 7zip etc seem to work really well.

When you first install it there will be programs like adobe air that don’t seem to be able to update. Follow the links in secunia and it will run you through the latest versions again. I’ve been using it on all the family machines for a long time now and rarely have an issue to fix manually. I highly recommend it.

Anyone know of a better free tool? Leave a comment!

New computer checklist updated for the holidays

1 January, 2012 (06:07) | Mindless Blather | No comments

Remove spiceworks ads

18 November, 2011 (19:22) | antivirus/spyware, How to, security | No comments

A few people over the last few years have asked me why spiceworks doesnt show ads when I show them my interface. The hosts file from will block spiceworks ads.

I don’t recommend doing this in order to block their ads. It is how they make money to build the product. If you use it for work, this is like cutting off your toe so you don’t have to look at it.

I would recommend putting the hosts file from on every machine in your organization for a jillion security reasons. You need to dog food it and run it on your computer. Just sayin, a side effect is that Spiceworks ads will be blocked if you keep it updated.

If you use Spiceworks for your business and choose not to pay the ads, think about it for a minute. I pay between $3-4k per year on a Dell kbox I used to replace Spiceworks. Are you going to pay the same when you bankrupt their model? Maybe just send them a check for saving you some time. I’m telling you the people there are really cool. Helping Austin stay weird. I might have disagreements with how they run their software, which is fine and why I moved on to a different product. But I think the nerd world needs the Spiceworks staff and community more than they realize.

Spiceworld 2011 streaming live today

20 October, 2011 (07:01) | Monitoring, Remote Management, security, software | 1 comment

check it out, they have a lot of great stuff added.

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