Blog Archives

My favorite registry hack

Do you know how annoying it is to try to quickly open a file in Windows that should be all text and naturally you want to open it with a text editor right?  Instead of being an easy process sometimes you have to go through a few steps to pick the program you want to open the file in.  Well here is a quick registry hack that will let you import all the settings necessary to add a context menu (right click menu) item called “open with notepad” when you right click on a file.  I personally like notepad better than wordpad (out of the build-in options in Windows), however, you could substitute your own text editor of choice here and save yourself a lot of trouble.  Just copy the code below into a new notepad document and save the file (to your desktop for example) with a .reg extension.  Then double-click on the resulting .reg file and click “ok” to add the registry information to your computer (NOTE: this only works on Windows operating systems). 

Now when you right click on a file, notice you have a new option in the context menu to open with notepad.  You can customize this as I mentioned to use your own text editor, just replace the name of the menu item and the executable name of your text editor in the code below.  Naturally you need to make sure the .exe is in a set user path so Windows knows where to get it. 

———————— (Copy below this line)————————————

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT*shellOpen with Notepad]
@=""

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT*shellOpen with Notepadcommand]
@="notepad.exe %1"

————————-(copy above this line)—————————-——-

Enjoy!

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Ran into issue with LCS 2005 and OCS 2007

LCS 2005 (Enterprise Edition) is installed on a single server with SQL 2005 server for the backend database. ?There is no warning or indication that this would cause any problem and up until now it?hasn’t.? The software does allow for this type of deployment and works fine in this configuration.? OCS 2007 server was recently installed and configured.? During initial testing it was observed that users on the 2005 LCS server could not see presence data and communicate with users on the OCS 2007 server (and vice-versa).??After searching online for solutions it was found that there are two critical hotfixes for LCS 2005 that were said to correct this issue.?

Installing the hotfixes:
Following the instructions on the first hotfix documentation, I installed hotfix 911996.? The installer completed successfully and there was no indication of a problem.? Next I installed the second hotfix 921543, again the installer ran successfully and there was no indication of a problem.? I then checked the services for LCS and found that the LCS Server services would start, but then stop on its own with an error:

Event ID: 12299
Source: Live Communications Server
Details: The service is shutting down due to an internal error.
Error Code: 0xC3EE78F8.

The hotfix documentation mentioned this error as a possibility if you install the patch on the front-end server before the backend patch is installed.? However, since this was a single server deployment with both the back-end database and front-end server components on the same physical server, the hotfix only installed the update for the front-end components.? Again, there is no documentation saying this is not a supported configuration and the installer will gladly allow you do install both components together without a problem in the LCS 2005 setup.? (NOTE: OCS 2007 server prevents this configuration in the installer and will not install both components on the same box when using Enterprise Edition).? There is also no warning in the hotfix documentation not to install the update if you have both components on the same physical box.?

For a resolution, I called Microsoft support services ticket number SRX080212602272 and spoke to an afterhours support specialist.? After some initial troubleshooting and research the technician was able to review a similar case they had a few months ago.? He attempted the resolution listed in their issue history which did ultimately fix the issue.? To resolve, a string value must be deleted from the LCS 2005 registry branch (HKLMSoftwareMicrosoftReal-Time Communications{Your GUID}.? This key “role=EE” ?had to be deleted from the registry in order for the hotfix to install on the back-end database.? Once this was done, the LCS 2005 server service started successfully and we tested connectivity with a test account to verify that the server was working normally.? Basically this tricks the installer into thinking that the server is the backend database only, and it will allow the hotfix to install the back-end components.?

This issue could have been avoided completely if Microsoft had updated their documentation for the hotfix, especially since they had issues with this months ago and should have updated the documentation.? I am recommending to the technical support manager that the documentation be updated since this is a known issue and others have experienced the same problem.? Hopefully this will get done and prevent others from having the same issue.?

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Open Source Anti-Spam for Exchange

I have been a long time user of GFI software, relevant to this post is their Mail Essentials for Exchange package.  I find it to be a very powerful and easily setup anti-spam system for Exchange.  I have had very little trouble with it, and it is packed with useful features.  However, recently I had some configuration issues with my spam setup, with rollernet really, not even an issue with Mail Essentials, but it got me thinking about my spam filtration system. 

I am now on a quest to find an open source anti-spam solution for Exchange.  I’m open to Linux based solutions as a gateway of sorts, but would prefer something that resides on the Exchange server running under Windows.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a great respect for SpamAssassin and other gateway type spam fitlers, but it gives the end user a much better experience if the anti-spam software can interact with the user, especially if it integrates with Outlook. 

Surely there must be some kind of solution out there I could try.  At the very least I might install a few different packages under Linux and route incoming mail through them, and from there go to Exchange for evaluation.  I can use server virtualization to allow for an easy evaluation of various types of configurations.  ASSP I hear is very good and there was one other package that I found last night that sounds promising.  I think it could be beneficial to have an additional layer of spam protection at the gateway level before GFI gets the messages and does its thing.  My only concern is false positives.  Lots of services and companies on the internet today do NOT have the proper DNS/MX confiugration and even at a more basic level don’t have their network setup right.  All these network issues can have a major impact on e-mail deliverability.  Its always a risk then when dealing with spam filters that you may block legitimate messages.  I am always watching spam logs to ensure that I keep an eye on how the system is doing.  If web services and companies would do a little work to get their sytems in compliance with RFS’s for SMTP and DNS, and setup the proper network configuration and mail server options, it would be a much better world for mail delivery without false positives. 

Windows Vista

I am now also evaluating Windows Vista on my multimedia computer.  I performed the ugprade yesterday and it actually worked unlike my first upgrade attempt a few weeks earlier on a different home PC.  So far its not bad, but I think I need to reload a fresh install, as some weird issues are happening, such as the games not loading when you open the shortcuts for them.  One weird thing too is that hibernate works on my multimedia PC, but not on the home PC.  I guess there is some kind of hardware difference, perhaps something on the other motherboard that prevents hibernate from working.  So far I like having Vista, it runs ok on my hardware and I haven’t had any incompatibility issues.  It does take a little getting used to and most people don’t like change, but I don’t have much trouble picking up changes in software. 

Radiator install complete

On the way home Friday evening, I stopped by the local Advance Auto store and picked up some anti-freeze fluid for my new radiator.  I was also going to get new radiator hoses, but they don’t carry the hoses I would need for my Miata.  So I just got some shop towels and the anti-freeze.  Then I ran to sweetbay and picked up some distilled water to mix with the anti-freeze. 

When I got home, I got started right away on my task of replacing my radiator.  It took me a while to get started, as I was trying to figure out how to get access to everything I needed to get to.  At one point I thought I’d have to take off the cover under the engine compartment to get to the bottom of the radiator, but fortunatly I managed to give up on that and was able to do my job without having to remove the cover.  Getting the old radiator out took me the longest time, as I had some trouble with the lower hose which seemed stuck.  I finally got all the hoses and bolts and connections off the old radiator and pulled it out.  I installed the fans on the new radiator and then dropped it in fairly easily.  Then re-connecting a few hoses and wires and I was off and running.  I ended up doing a 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water, but only by accident.  I read online that the miata radiator takes 6.7L of liquid, so I got three gallons of distilled water and a single gallon of anti-freeze.  I got way too much fluid and ended up not even using a whole gallon of each type of liquid. 

I took the car out for a spin and made sure there were no flow problems or overheating issues.  Everything works great and it was a much easier job than I thought it would be. 

Hard drive faulure … fake out!

Yesterday, Liz tells me that she can’t get into our external hard drive to get to our picture library. This kinda freaks me out since we have nearly 500GB of data on this drive. So I try a few quick things to see if I can get her access to the drive, I see some warnings in the event log about the disk and some transaction log error. I assume the drive is dead or perhaps I unseated some cables when I put in the new processor the other day. So when I got home from work I checked it out, plugged everything in and it came right up the first time, no problems. I’m not sure what happened, but I didn’t have any trouble with the drive, and Liz said she tried the same thing, so I don’t know what happened. Its working ok and our data is safe….for now.

Perspective

I was reading earlier about police chases and came across several stories in the St. Petersburg times about how each time there is a crash fatality that was the result of a police chase, the police chase policies are criticized. What I find most amazing is the varying perspectives based on who you ask about these policies.

To the police, a law has probably been broken, they persue and attempt to apprehend the person involved. The criminal then has two options, stop and be captured, or flee and risk death or worse, hurt others on their attempt to get out of trouble.

When people are in a panic situation, logic and rational thought often go out the window. But it is indeed a selfish choice to attempt to outrun the police and risk others lives just in a pointless attempt to outrun the police.

I read a response from the family of a criminal who was killed by running through a dead end road and crashing into a large pile of sand. The family member said: “It would have never happened this way if they had not chased him, somebody should lose their job for that”.

Its funny how tainted a person’s perspective can be based on the circumstances. To the family member, they blame the police for chasing a criminal. Its NOT the faulf of the police that this person decided to run and rish other people’s lives. In the end it was his life that was lost, and others were injured.

Now maybe this is my hero complex talking, but to me its so simple, break a rule, face a consequence. People break the rules all the time, when something illegal is done its the job of the police to apprehend the person responsible and apply a consequence. As citizens under the protection of the police, it is our responsibility to cease and desist when persued by the police. Everyone knows how this works, and I’m sure they knew the risks when the broke the law. Without policies allowing police to persue criminals, (who often times have faster cars than police, or vehicles that can handle offroad terrain better than a police cruiser) crime would be a much larger problem. People would think that they could do anything and just run to get away with it.

Good people put their lives on the line all the time to enforce the law, protect the public, and give chase to criminals who would otherwise get away with their crime if no chase was given. If a person knows the law, breaks it anyway, and dies as a result of fleeing a police chase, in my opinion, the person fleeing has sealed his/her fate. They will either be apprehended anyway and face worse charges, or they will hurt other people and possibly lose their own life. Its just not worth it!

Home improvement stores

I don’t know what it is about Lowes or the Home Depot, but I could get in real trouble at these stores. I went to Lowes on Saturday morning to get a ladder and some little things for the house. I walked around that store for almost 2 hours and was admittedly doing a good amount of window shopping. I came out with my ladder which I needed to fix our playroom roof, and some little odds and ends, but it took great restraint not to go crazy. I wish I could win a shopping spree to a Lowes or Home Depot. Where we are from in the MD/DE area, Home Depot is the best IMHO and Lowes stinks. However in Tampa, Lowes seems to have nicer stores and better selection. There is a really nice Home Depot in New Tampa, but most of them around here are kind of run down. There is a really nice Lowes in New Tampa as well, so we have plenty of choice for our home improvement needs.

Ceiling Fan light malfunction – or so I thought

Ok, this is kind of embarrasing, but here we go. On Friday or so Liz and I noticed that the light on our ceiling fan in the living room was really dim. It was not normally this dim and nothing we tried seemed to help. I swapped light bulbs and took the cover off trying to find out why it was so dim. I finally resorted to the hunter website to try to track down the problem. I could not find my model on their site at first, so I submitted a support request via e-mail. Later I finally found our model on their website and was able to download the user guide. I read through it and found that the fan has a dimmer switch built into the remote. You have to press and hold the light power button and keep the buttom depressed, when you do this the light will cycle through its various brightness levels. What must have happened is the buttom got pressed long enough to dim the light while the remote was in a pocket or got sat on. So we thought something was wrong, but nothing was actually wrong, we were just ignorant of the features of the remote. Fortunately my support request to Hunter never went far enough for someone to actually tell me how stupid I was. I’m also glad I didn’t decice to take the fan apart or bring it down off the ceiling trying to do my own troubleshooting!

Nice weekend – played with a wii again and had company

This past weekend was really nice. On Friday night, we had a friend over who’s family was out of town. We had a nice dinner and conversation followed by some time trying to figure out what the name of the winner of the TV Show “Who wants to be a superhero” was last season. I finally found the answer online and got in trouble because Liz was trying to remember and wanted to figure it out on her own… 🙂

Then we hooked up the wii and got to play for a good while. I think we started with Bowling and I cleaned up against both opponents ha ha. Then we played tennis and I think Mike cleaned us both up on that one, he is good at the tennis. We finished off with Boxing and I did not have the energy left for that, so Liz got up there and boxed and was beating the tar out of every character they put on for her to fight. She was really going at it and dancing around and having a great time. It was very entertaining to watch her play! Now if only we could get a wii!

We stayed up until about 2am Saturday morning watching clips from HD movies. We had a great time and it was nice to have company and do something out of the ordinary.