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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: It's time for you to go to clue.com and download a beta...

I apparently need to be spending more time in the shop

Posted in Life on August 2nd, 2013

So the Wife hands me a magazine this evening with a full-page picture spread of the “Best Camping Gear”, and I’m flipping through the list and trying not to hit the floor with my jaw. (There’s cat hair down there, tastes awful.)

Item the First: a “Restored” hatchet. Some yokel was digging out his barn apparently and found a hatchet head, so he wanders over to the bench grinder, cleans it up and shoves a new handle into it. “Not bad,” he says to hisself, “I should sell this. Mebbe even put up a page on them thar In-tar-webs…”

The website, I must admit, is a Hipster trap par excellance. It’s barely there – just a picture of one of their ‘restored’ (read: rusted to shit and re-ground then polished with WD-40) axes stuck in a stump with a “coming Soon” legend in the corner. So, what do they want for the hatchet? $165. ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-FIVE FUCKING DOLLARS. A buddy of mine has one looks just like it, he got it for $10 at Freddy’s, works like a charm. The things I could get for $165… like:

Item the Second: a three-legged folding stool with a leather seat. No design on the leather, just dyed a pleasant tan with three chunks of broomstick and a carrying strap. Guess how much. Yep – another $165. I thought it was ludicrous, because I’ve seen kits to make the same idea for less than $30, so I went looking for one. Didn’t find a kit, but I did find another stool for sale – only this time, they REALLY loved it, because they want TWO HUNDRED SEVENTY-FIVE FUCKING DOLLARS. $2!7!5!

If I could make and sell 5 of those a week I’d be set. Hell, I could sell the cheaper one 7 times a week and do just fine indeed.

If you need me, I’ll be in the garage.

In Memoriam

Posted in Proof! on July 21st, 2013

Back in the early 90’s when I lived in ‘Vegas, a few of us were hanging out in Cafe Copioh drinking coffee and playing cards when we met a girl.

She was a bit shy, but had been watching us play cards for a bout 20 minutes when we dealt her in. Due to her long and tightly-curled Henna-tinted hair, she eventually picked up the name Fraggle, (referenced as lady D in this postwhich fit her very well once we got her laughing. Once we got her laughing, the shyness went away and we had a good deal of fun. Everyone did, really – you could hear her laughing from down the block :)

Over the next year, she became a regular at our table and our various apartment gatherings, and she eventually hooked up with the Barbarian and we all moved into The Townhouse. She was a perfect example of why race-car drivers shouldn’t teach normal people how to drive. She had the skills to drive at speed – on a track. On the street, she was terrifying to behold. Just ask anyone on the sidewalk in her vicinity.

Life moved along. The EMC and I got hitched, and not long after The Fraggle married the Barbarian, bought a house, had kids. later she divorced the Barbarian because he developed a severe case of idiocy. A few years later she got together with and married one of our other crew members from the Cafe days. That guy turned out to be another sufferer of the idiocy gene, and was she arranging to divorce him. That was last month.

Unfortunately, the Universe had other plans for her. The Fraggle had a rather screwed-up metabolism that brought her no end of grief through the years, and earlier this week she succumbed to a heart attack.

The world will never again hear her flip her head open and laugh so loud the folks next door wonder what the hell was so damn funny.

A return to old things

Posted in Life on June 30th, 2013

When I was a child, somewhere around 3rd grade, my avid-outdoors-man stepfather managed to get something right and brought me home a child’s archery set – a lightweight fiberglass bow, a handful of arrows and a hay bale. I got pretty good at it, but it was yet another hobby that I fell out of practice in and it went by the wayside.

Some time ago, the leader of our SCA household expressed a desire for the whole household to get more involved in the SCA events that we went to, and archery was brought up as something several of us could pick up. When my daughter mentioned that she would like to do an archery camp of some sort this summer break, it seemed like a perfect opportunity for me to get back into that game as well.

After several trips to various on-line and physical archery shops, we’ve acquired the requisite gear. For my daughter, I went with a modern take-down wood recurve bow. The junior leagues aren’t that picky about what they shoot (so long as it isn’t a compound bow), so I figured it might be better for her to get a solid start with semi-modern gear and then move into the period stuff. We shot several before she decided upon a draw weight that felt right to her, and then she topped it off with a dozen purple-fletched arrows.

For myself, I found a good deal on woodbows.com and got myself a nice linen-backed Red Oak longbow, and spent a couple hours putting together the shooting kit I need. Longbows shoot off the knuckle, so I need protection for the left hand and the right fingers, plus an arm guard. The quiver will come later.

Bracer_Tab_Glove

Having put all that together, I took it out today and spent a couple hours flinging arrows theoretically at a target; reality was more of “shoot at the wall and try hopelessly to hit the target”. English longbows, it seems take quite a lot of tuning in and getting used to. The string, for instance, will stretch a lot – I had to twist it up shorter twice during the session, and that has probably got the knock point a bit off by this point. Which doesn’t matter quite so much, because I’ll be pulling that off to “serve” the string. (“Serving” is the process of wrapping the bowstring in a different type of string at the point where you pull it.)

Still, I think I did make some progress today – or at least, I really hope I did, considering the chunk of skin I scraped off my finger and the three arrows that broke in the process. (The tips decided to stay in the target when the shafts came free.)

Stay tuned for further developments.

Cataract and Back

Posted in Life on May 2nd, 2013

Those of you that know me may remember that I had a nasty eye infection a couple years ago that left me wearing an eye patch for weeks because my right eye was so sensitive to everything. The side-effects of that infection were the iris actually sticking to the lens (which meant it didn’t dilate correctly) and the creation of a cataract.

Many months later after I had grown used to but still annoyed with the situation, my eye doctor mentioned that someday I should get the cataract removed. I asked her when “someday” was, and she blinked for a sec and said “well, I don’t suppose there’s any reason to wait.”

I asked her who she would trust her eyes to, and she immediately handed me a card for Dr. James Wentzien, whom she described as “a rock-star ophthalmologist” and we set up the usual series of consults and preps.

Fast-forward to this morning, when the wife and I went in for the actual surgery appointment. We arrived what we thought would be way early, but they pulled us in within just a few minutes and started hooking me up to carious wires, pumps, monitors and whatnot.

As a warning to everyone else, don’t have any OJ before you go in. It is not on the list of allowed fluids before a surgery, and the nurses will give you endless crap about it without ever telling you why it’s such a big deal.

More bad news: an I.V. was installed. The good news: I.V.s are no longer actual needles requiring the nurse to strap a board to your arm with miles of tape, but rather a catheter-like flexible tube that lets you move around. Much more comfortable.

About 20 minutes of poking, prodding and OJ-related (but good-natured) harassment was followed by about 15 minutes of careful breathing as I tried to remain calm enough to not need any Quaaludes to keep my blood pressure down, and then a second set of nurses arrived to disconnect all the wires and wheel me back into the OR.

It’s funny, but every single person you talk to before going in for an eye surgery will ask you your name, birthdate and which eye they will be working on. Some people find that annoying; I for one am quite cool with making damn sure you get something like this right. Same thing in the OR – the doc called out the plan and parts required, the nurses repeated it all back as they pulled from stock. Very reassuring to a details guy.

As for the procedure itself, it’s kinda freaky, but thankfully over pretty quickly. Mine took a little longer than standard due to having to cut the iris away from the old lens, but it still only took about 15 minutes total – which was about three minutes short of how long I could go without screaming because someone was fucking with my eye. Which was very good, because I really didn’t want to scream at the guy who had itty-bitty tools stuck in my eye.

Priorities, man. Priorities.

In the process of the lens removal, I was treated to some very pretty blue lens flares, followed by a soothing yellow tint-and-flare as the new lens was installed. Once it flattened out, the blue was back in the form of an ‘X’, like two Hollywood-style searchlights crossing the beams with a blue filter on the light. The ‘X’ criss-crossed itself and then disappeared as Dr. W. aligned the lens correct to vertical. A few more adjustments and a wash, and I was out in post-op getting instructions on after-care. (And drinking more OJ – heh).

From this point, the plan is a couple of post-op appointments over the next couple weeks as my eye settles down, and then new glasses toward the end of the month. Currently, my vision is improved in that the fog is gone and I’ve got a round pupil again, but I’m still coming back from the numbing drops so I can’t focus much in the right eye. Still a solid improvement over before.

The best part, of course, is the Roy Orbison impression I do with the huge sunglasses they gave me.

Roy_Shades

Office 2010 activation error: 0x8007000D

Posted in Life on October 3rd, 2012

You’ve installed Office 2010, but when you try and activate it you get an error “Please try again later (0x8007000D)”

Click on Start, then right-click on Computer and choose Properties. In the next window, click on Device Manager. If this opens an empty window, follow this procedure:

  1. Log on to the machine as a local machine admin (<computername>\administrator)
  2. Run Regedit as Administrator
  3. Expand HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Enum
  4. Right-click on Root and choose Permissions
  5. Click Advanced, then Ownership tab, and take ownership as your current user name. “OK” out of property windows.
  6. Go back into Permissions and on the rights tab grant Full to Everyone, click OK
  7. Follow the instructions here: http://www.fixkb.com/2012/03/error-0x8007000d-when-activating-office-2010.html

With any luck, Office will now activate.

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.