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Archive for March, 2008


Apple’s Safari Push Backlash

Windows users who installed and use iTunes are familiar with the Apple Software Update. This is a great utility to ensure everyone stays up to date with the latest bug fixes and security updates.

apple-update This week Apple has decided this would be a great way to push down their web browser to Windows users, regardless if you’ve installed previous versions. Most folks will just click next and let it do its magic.

I disagree with this method of marketing. A software update utility is for (you guessed it) updating software.  If they wanted to use this installer for pushing down new software – they should have called it something else.

This is a questionable tactic to trick me into installing something I don’t want. Why, Apple, would you risk negating the trust you’ve earned with Windows users just to get your browser on their desktops?

Regardless of how I feel about Safari as a browser, this makes me worried about what else is Apple going to push on me? Due to the fact that I’m unable to remove Safari from the list of download "updates", I plan on blocking the update app at the firewall.

Many people say that Microsoft already does this – look at IE7 and Silverlight getting pushed out through the update service.


Vista Service Pack 1 Released (again)

Vista SP1 was released this morning, but didn’t show up anywhere except on the tech news channels. A visit to Microsoft’s site had nar a mention of it anywhere – not even their Vista area. After some digging, I finally found it.


Choose the x86 version or the 64-bit version depending on your version of Vista.

The x86 version weighs in at 485MB and is the stand alone installer. I ran Windows Update twice and was told no updates were available.

I’ll post a follow up when I’m back online, let’s hope they fixed the reboot loop.


Update completed with only one reboot, and I’m back in business. So far, no complications.



After a few days of running Vista Ultimate with SP1, I’ve found some driver compatibility issues creep up. The OS stalls on Shutting Down… occasionally. Some applications will hang and can’t be killed – even using task manager or killtask /f. And booting up seems to take a while longer.


Okay, enough. I’ve got work to do and SP1 is actually costing me money. Thankfully uninstallation of SP1 was much quicker than the install. Took me around 15 minutes and I’m back up and running. I found Windows Update disabled, which I thought was rather odd.


Happy Π Day

Yes, folks, it’s Pi day today. 3.14 people… enjoy the Math geekery today.

P.S. (notice the post time for this… 🙂 )


Domain Management in Vista

I’ve been running into a few problems with Vista and management pack from Microsoft. I use my workstation to manage different domains for clients, so I’m neither a member of the domain nor windowskey am I looking to join any of them.


The first problem was after I installed the Windows 2003 Management tools was that I couldn’t even launch the mmc’s. I continued to get these errors: "mmc could not create the snap-in"


I was able to find an easy fix from Microsoft’s KBase, article 930056. Essentially they give you a batch file to run that registers the DLLs with the OS. Another security "feature". Microsoft claims  that I didn’t have administrative rights or ran the installer as an admin when I installed the AdminPak. Kudos for that.


The second problem was a little trickier. I wanted to manage a domain that my workstation wasn’t a member of. I’ve done this in the past with XP, using runas.exe, but Vista’s file paths were messing me up.


For this problem, there are a few hoops to jump through.

Click Startthe Start button, click All Programs, click Accessories, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.

Then run this command. Obviously replace domain and userid with your information.

runas.exe /netonly /user:"domain\userid" "mmc C:\Windows\System32\admgmt.msc"

Once you run this command, you’ll be prompted for your password on that domain (if you have network connectivity to it, that is. You do need to be on the network for this to work.. vpn works too).

The MMC will generate a warning:

Naming information cannot be located because:

The specified domain either does not exist or could not be contacted.

Contact your system administrator to verify that your domain is properly configured and is currently online.

Click OK, as its the only option.

Finally, right click on the Active Directory Users and Computers and choose Connect to Domain. Enter in your entire domain name and mash the OK button. With any luck, you should be able to admin the domain now.


emblem-favorite Bonus: Check out this article on how to setup a contextual menu for an Administrative Command Prompt.


Digital Cuba

Circumventing government censorship is nothing new to people in Cuba.  The New York visit-cuba-print-c100197302Times posted a story today about how students in Cuba are challenging the status quo.  It’s interesting to see how people get around the limitations other people put on them.  For example Havana currently has only one Internet cafe, it’s owned by the government, it costs five U.S. dollars of use. This may not seem like a lot of money but according to the New York Times that’s about 1/3 the average Cuban monthly salary.

People in Cuba have gone to great lengths to get the basic Internet access that we take for granted.  The the most popular way to get Internet content is through the use of memory sticks.  A lot of different software has been developed over the last few years that allows for offline browsing.  The software allows one user to select content and have a download from the Internet and stored on the thumb drive for later viewing.  When you think about it anything with a memory stick could actually be a mule for Internet Data.  Digital cameras, iPods, watches, in just about anything else with writable memory.

The story also mentions that some industrious people have smuggled in satellite dishes to use live satellite based Internet connections.  Most if not all of these connections would be paid for by family members living in the United States earning a much higher wage.

Hotels that cater to tourists are expected to provide free wireless access to their guests.  I don’t think I’ve stayed in the hotel and the last five years that hasn’t had this feature.  Anyone with a laptop and a wireless card would be able to use this including the local residents.  And it appears the locals don’t Cuba_2778keep the Internet connection for themselves, they tend to download everything they can and share it with others who don’t have access.

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