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About

I am The Cyberwolfe and these are my ramblings. All original content is protected under a Creative Commons license - always ask first.
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Random Thought: Verily I say unto you, doowah diddy, diddy dum diddy doo!

Program crashes with “Can’t get local AppData folder”

Posted in Geekery on September 26th, 2012

Another quick notes post.

If you have a prgram fail to run with this error, it’s probably a bad entry in the registry. Good news is, it’s easy to find and fix.

STANDARD WARNING: Editing the registry can blow things up permanently if you don’t know what you’re doing. Make backups first, then backup your backups. Redundancy is good.

Open Regedit and search ‘Computer’ for “user Shell Folders” or just go here:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

And also “shell folders” here (which is just a few entries North…):

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders

Search through all the values. If you find one that shouldn’t exist (like say, it points to a drive letter you don’t use) correct the value in both locations and try the program again.

I’ve run into this problem before and had it change back on me, so keep these instructions handy.

Outlook’s Message Recall feature is useless

Posted in Geekery on August 30th, 2012

Really, reeeaaally useless.

So, you’ve screwed the pooch and accidentally sent that email “Reply to ALL” instead of just your one chum, and your snarkiness is going to get you canned. “Wait!” you exclaim, “I’ll use Message Recall!!” You clickety-clickey over to Sent Items, locate the offending career-ender, right-click and choose “Recall message”. Nothing to it, Bob’s yer uncle, day saved, wot?

Not so much.

You see, the stars, moons and planets have to be just exactly aligned for this to work. If the end user is fast on the draw and reads it before you recall, it won’t work. (Duh, the damage is done at that point anyway.) If they have a rule that automatically moves your emails out of the inbox, it fails. If they check their email through OWA, it fails. If they get it on their mobile phone/tablet/whatever, you’re probably toast. (The butter’s on the counter over there, would you mind?)

Even if it actually does manage to work, do you know what it really does? It deletes the email.

“Sweet!!” you say, “That’s just what I wanted!”

Except, of course, that deleted emails go to the Deleted items folder. Unread. Subject line in bold, just waiting for the CEO to glance over and see that “Deleted Items (1)” on the left and think “Hmm, what’s this then?”

Yep. That’s him, yelling your name down the hallway right now. Might as well start packing your desk.

Can I have your stapler?

Business tip: don’t let the CFO be the IT contact

Posted in Geekery on April 25th, 2012

Working as an outsourced IT guy, I’ve seen many different approaches to the idea of the ‘IT Liaison’ position – that poor sap who gets tasked with keeping track of all the little things that are wrong with the computers and coordinating with the IT guy(s). Here are some tips for choosing the right Liaison:

  • Whoever you pick should have at least a vague idea of the terminology used. If they think “turning on the computer” involves the button on the monitor alone, they are not qualified. They should also not be afraid to learn something new.
  • Don’t let the beancounters do it. Especially the CFO. Beancounters are concerned only with the bottom line, and for the most part they don’t comprehend that what they consider “getting the most for their dollar” equates to pissing us right the hell off.

    Look, I know you don’t want to pay too much for parts and such, but if I give you a quote, the price on it will probably include a little something to cover the time and expense of researching the product and actually writing up the quote in a presentable format. DO NOT expect me to match the lowest price you can find on the Internet, because that price is based on them selling 1000 units a day. We sell 1 unit a day at best, so I’m not going to give you crate-based pricing. If you refuse to pay more than the lowest Internet price for anything, I will let you do your own damn research in the future and you can buy it yourself. Let me know when it gets there.

  • The Liaison should not be obsessive-compulsive. If you hound us and peer over our shoulders, it takes us longer to get anything done. If you continually pester us with emails regarding a particular subject, we will start adding the time we spend dealing with your emails into our fees. The idea of human multi-tasking is actually bogus: humans can only truly focus on one thing; doing more than one thing means we have to split that focus, and pay less attention to each of those things. So, if you’re distracting me from my work, you won’t like the results. Do not demand updates while the job is in process, wait until we have a minutes to breathe and we’ll tell you what we’re doing.
  • Make it someone who has some influence, or make someone with influence speak with us on a regular basis. Me telling the receptionist that you need new servers doesn’t do any good if nobody listens to her, and me saying you’ve needed new servers for months when the shit hits the fan just sounds like an excuse.

Two Quickies

Posted in Life on February 27th, 2012

Repair install of Server 2008

Remember the ‘repair install’ option from Server 2003? Well, they renamed it (along with everything else) in Server 2008. Here’s the new method:

Boot from OS install disk

Select next after making sure the language options are correct.
Select Repair option
Select CMD
CD into recovery
Type Dir
Run the StartRep.exe command in the list.

That should do a basic repair to the OS. It will search out, discover and repair many things – like a corrupted/missing partition table. You may need to run it twice. Not sure why, but it took two tries to fix my corrupted partition table.

Moving your UPS WorldShip database

It used to be moving this around required a whole bunch of mayhem. Now, just move/copy/whatever, then go to the workstation(s) and click Start-Run wstdupswship.ini and edit the path to the new location. Viola.

HP ML350/370 G6 Expansion Drive Cage Installation problem

Posted in Geekery, Work on November 5th, 2011

So, you’ve just bought the expansion drive cage (8 more SFF drives! W00t!) and you’ve got the SAS RAID controller Expansion Card as well. Great! Only one problem – HP forgot to include a crucial bit of information regarding how you wire the damn thing in.

Step 1: remove the existing SAS cables from the existing drive cage and motherboard. Discard these short cables.

Step 2: Take the shorter pair of cables from the expansion card kit, and route them from the SAS ports on the motherboard to ports 8 and 9 on the card. Then proceed with running the remaining cables from the two drive cages to ports 2-5 of the card.

The instructions that came with my kit left these two steps out, and I wasted about an hour trying to figure out what I did wrong (Whaddya mean there’s no new drives in the ACU?). Finally found an article with pictures in the HP site, but they could have saved me the trouble by just printing the above two lines in the kit.

How’d the rest of it go? Rather smashing, actually. That server now has 60GB (!!) of RAM and another 900GB of RAID5 storage.

How to remove the “Internal Web Site” link from the user’s desktops in SBS 2011

Posted in Life on October 27th, 2011

If you’re not using the SharePoint site in your SBS network, there’s no need to clutter up the desktop with links to the Internal site. Here’s how you can remove this little annoyance:

  1. Open the Group Policy Management console and navigate to Group Policy Objects – Windows SBS User Policy. Go to the Details tab and make note of the Unique ID. (Should look like {767E4A4B-9CA6-40A2-BE97-2E52F0B7FDD9} )
  2. Open Explorer and navigate to %windir%\sysvol\sysvol\%userdnsdomain%\Policies and from there into the folder corresponding to the ID you found previously.

  3. In that folder, navigate on to User\SBS\ and then open GP.xml in your favorite editor (as Administrator, of course.)

  4. Comment out both lines that start with “<ShortCutLink” by surrounding them
    with “<!--“ and  “–>” , then save the file. This stops the GPO from reproducing the shortcuts on the desktop and adding them to favorites.

  5. Add the following line to your login script:
    DEL “%USERPROFILE%\Desktop\Internal Web site.lnk”
    This deletes it from the desktop at login.

Thank you, Microsoft, for making something that should be very easy annoyingly difficult.

Your test failed the test

Posted in Work on September 27th, 2011

So one of our  Partner suppliers requires that a certain number of our staffers be certified in their product line. It’s been a couple years since the last time we took the test, so our certs have expired and we need to re-certify our people. No problem, right? I mean, we all passed the test last time we took it…

Well, the test is technical in nature, and the guys who work with us understand that the certification itself is kind of a silly marketing/buzzword thing, so they made it possible to take the test directly from their website without a proctor. Us being the devious techies we are, we cheated outrageously – three of us got together in the conference room, threw the test up on the projector, grabbed our copy of the study materials and brought up a Google search window. Then we got serious about cheating and recorded the entire session for reference.

We got through the first taking of the test pretty well – 82%, where 80% is required to pass. Not bad – especially considering there are only 62 questions. (That’s right, 62. No idea why that many.)

Since each time the test is brought up it grabs a different collection of questions from the pool of all possible questions, the second taking was of course different. Sometimes we got the same question with re-arranged answers, sometimes the answers were completely reworded. And sometimes, the questions were pulled from deep in the bottom of the WTF? bucket.

Now here we have three previously-certified techs, taking a test that has not changed in two years, with a full copy of all the study materials, and this thing brought up several different questions that we had never seen anywhere. One even went so far as to use terminology we’d never heard EVER and had to look up in Wikipedia before we had a clue what the question is about.

We failed the test: 79%.

Now, it seems to me that if three previously-certified techs cheating for all they’re worth can still manage to fail your test after already passing it an hour before, then something is wrong with your test.

TWA: Two-Wheeled Assholes

Posted in Life, Politics on April 28th, 2011

It’s been a while – time for a little rant.

Portland is known far and wide across the land for their progressive take on public and alternative transportation. Those of you that live or visit here know that the city is quite proud of it’s Pro-Bicycle stance and the things they have done to make things easier for bicyclists.

What they have not done, however, is sat all the damn bikers down and explained to them the laws actually governing their use on public roadways. This has gotten to the point that your average bicyclist thinks that none of the regular traffic laws apply to them. You want to know what the absolute rarest sight in Portland is? A cyclist stopping at a stop sign.

So, without further ado, this page lists all of the ordinances that exist in regards to riding a bicycle on public streets and sidewalks. I’ll be going through the most important ones to explain and amplify.

Keep Reading >

Da Wolfe’s Urban Dictionary

Posted in Life on April 15th, 2011

“Deja-Bu” – that feeling you get when you pass someone driving a Subaru identical to the one you are driving yourself.

Internet Explorer 9 – Microsoft STILL doesn’t get it.

Posted in Geekery on March 14th, 2011

Here is a phone pic of my computer 3 minutes into the process of installing Internet Explorer 9:

Why a phone pic? Because it had to completely shut down everything else, including:

  • Antivirus
  • Firefox
  • Media Monkey
  • All the widgets
  • Logitech software
  • and Windows Explorer.

So why it took 6 whole minutes when it wasn’t fighting anything else for my processors or 6GB of RAM, I have no effing idea…

So no, it didn’t actually require a reboot, but it did completely take over my computer for 6 solid minutes while it downloaded and installed the new package. So yay, no reboot, but WTF?!? Why are you STILL making the browser such an integral part of the operating system?

Chrome, Firefox and Opera all run quite happily without being so integrated. What the hell do you do that needs to be so wrapped up in the whole system other than allow a canny hacker access to core OS functionality through one of the inevitable security holes you provide with each release? Hmm?

Okay, enough of that, time to run it through some tests. So, load up my main work website, go to the toughest and slowest page it has and… huh. Right. IE9! Does so much more!! Look at all the pretty HTML5 it can do!!!

But apparently it doesn’t do Ajax, which means we can’t use it at work, which means it is utterly useless. Go Team Go.

So, right here is where I plug ChromePlus, a mashup that comes pre-loaded with IE-Tab right in the download. All the speed and security of Chrome AND the ability to run IE-required pages.

In conclusion, IE9 looks to be just what I expected it to be: several good ideas completely screwed by a company that refuses to pull it’s head out of it’s ass.