Let it snow

That time of year again, nearly anyway. My car was properly frosted today, first time for many months. So the cold weather is truly on its way in, can we expect snow early 2011 like we’ve had in previous years? I think we will.

I live on a non-gritted road, kind of like a cul-de-sac area, so moving from my drive to the nearest gritted road is a nightmare. BUT worse is getting my car back home, to and then onto my drive. Kind of mission impossible if the snow is bad or it has snowed while I have been away, my drive is on a gentle slope and my cars always struggle to get up. Last few years I’ve been struggling along with a regular garden spade, big socks, walking boots and the local councils grit.

This time round, I’m buying a snow spade/shovel – whatever you want to call it. Much like a regular shovel, but a wider/flatters base with a long handle which makes it easiers picking up that darn snow. Only around £15, but well worth the money! My boots are perfect, non-slip even on the worst of ice in the UK, the socks do a good job. This time around I’ve got some grit already stored, but i’ll collect some more before the snow actually hits.

a bright red snow shovel
bring it on!

Now as for the cars, are winter tyres really a valid option? Maybe, if I could be bothered to store 4 sets of tyres+rims year round and change them a couple of time per year. Worth doing if the snow starts to get worse over the next few years! I had this discussion with some friends last week, the consensus was that although highly useful in poor conditions it’s not worth the added expense right about now! Let it snow!

Windows Server 2008 training (free)

Yup, i’ve restarted in Server 2008 flavour similar courses to those I delivered in the year 2007 (at that time it was on Windows Server 2003!).

Again it is completely FREE, this time around I have 9 keen students 2 of whom are completely new to Windows Server of any flavour. Previously I delivered a classroom based course with 4 students, using the geneorsity of office space in the studios of www.unityfm.net, however this time around I’m using a combination of 2 completely free technologies to deliver these online and with minimal (well almost 0) cost, they are:

Skype – for audio confering for up to 20 people, Free, and the quality is amazing

DimDimwww.dimdim.com – the alternative to WebEx (or even the awful Live Meeting), again free, works brilliantly in sharing apps, whiteboards or my desktop. The guys can easily follow my actions in my VMs as I demonstrate!). Max 20 paticipants for the free version.

I started the once per week sessions 4 weeks ago, 12 sessions in total which should give each student enough knowledge to approach the MCP Exam 70-640 with confidence! I wish them luck!

Vauxhall Z22YH Engines

Having been the proud owner of a 2.2 Direct auto since Oct 2007 about 2 months ago it decided to die a death. At first it was annoying, but it soon became an opportunity to learn exactly what is under that bonnet. To start I got an £25 adapter of flea-bay to read the ECU code, once I had some inkling of the problem it was time to resolve it.

Firsly the local D(st)ealers price for repair was a whopping £871+VAT, ridiculous. Then when I tried to source the faulty part (fuel pump) myself I soon realised they were both rare and damn expensive. In the end I forked out just over £300 for one, again of flea-bay but the key thing is to make sure you buy a Continental pump NOT the Siemens branded one.



Secondly you need to change it, now this is something that initially filled me with a little fear. In fact the job was easy, the only difficult bit being the darn retaining clips (TIP: another pair of hands and 2 smallish flat head screw drivers does the trick!!!). Take out the Siemens one…





Once you get the old one out then replace it with the Continental model, and away you go! Not quite, it takes a while before the engine pressure gets back to normal, don’t drive it straightaway – let it idle until the dashboard warning light goes off (picture of car with a spanner). Then leave it running for a while to ensure no cut-outs into limp or dead mode.




My Vectra C is zooming again, oh and don’t forgot the silent (shhhhhh!), yes blinkin SILENT RECALL for all Z22YH engines for a new FUEL PRESSURE REGULATOR. This will be done by your local stealers for free, I suggest you ring in advance to ensure your engine type is covered by the recall.

Next, it’s the Throttle body and then the Mass Air Filter to sort out…perhaps a engine flush too. Need it running as sweetly as possible!

London Town

London is a crazy place, but i’ve found CISI and now can pursue a formal route to that independance that everyone seeks. Technology wise my SharePoint skills are far far better than they were even 6 months ago and the C# is going very well, swimmingly in fact.

I’ve decided to write up my learning method for C# on the front end website, will be usefull to those who like have always been afraid of coding! Trust me, the investment is worth it – it has made my PowerShell a lot lot better!

Pakistan Floods – the harp plays

Devastation, misery, chaos, destruction…death. People are dying in Pakistan, dying. Young children, babies, adults and the elderly – everyone. Yet the world looks on, or in some cases looks away brushing the scale of the disaster under the carpet…why? because it is Pakistan that’s why.

Amazingly while this is happening, drone attacks continue to kill people in Pakistan frankly I don’t care what the US classify them as (militants/taliban) but the facts are that many innocents get killed and injured too.

All one needs to do is understand the prevailing mindset within the western paradigm of what Pakistan is, it is seen as a country of backward, illiterate, handout ready, oppressive, terrorising, mullah-mad people and above all (god forbid) they are muslims (well, the majority). That’s why we have a lacklustre response, at least Nick Clegg had the chumpah to say that the international response was ‘pitiful’ and frankly pathetic. Because it is.

This image has ben created on many levels and by many organisations and certainly Pakistanis themselves, whether their corrupt leaders or the inidividuals who voted the in power (on the odd occasion when they do have elections!).

It says a lot about a country when the best functioning part is in fact the Defence Forces, and it is they who are the only ones capable of responding to this crisis yet even they are overwhelmed. I have great respect for the Pakistani Military, but cannot help but feel that over the years money that should have gone to local goverment, to civilian infrastucture, to housing and bridge building standards has been wasted.

20 million are currently affected, more to come. Many of them have no easy access to food, clean water and shelter. Many have nothing at all and if they survive will have nothing to survive with once the aid evaporates.

It is a tragedy, please give to http://www.dec.org.uk while the campaign is ongoing. Post the campaign please give to Islamic Relief (www.islamic-relief.org.uk) who wil probably be there well after the DEC appeal ends. Thanks to those who donated.

May God give the victims strength in body and mind, may He alleviate their suffering and have mercy upon them in this life and the next. Ameen

Avensis CDX

I just got a 12 (yes 12!) yr old avensis cdx, fantastic car for the tiny amount cost. Fully electric, + sunroof, air-con, Leather, cd/md/tape deck,  front fogs – and everything actually works! Spent £60 on new mats, cleaning and oil+brake fluid change.

Goes like the wind – lol! Maybe i’ll buy another so if you’re selling let me know!

64 bit or not…

A lot of ppeople have been asking m about 64 bit recently. Most are confused by it. Just wanted to point you to a cool tool called securable.exe, download it from http://www.grc.com/securable.htm and use it. It tells you exactly ONE thing, whether your system is 64bit or NOT. If it IS 64 bit than you can run the 64bit versions of Windows 7 (Vista if you are mad) and even Windows XP. Theother  benefit is you can also use more than 4GB of RAM.

However if it says 32bit, then I am afraid you are stuck. So either stick to 32bit Windows (whether XP, Vista or 7) and therefore not be able to use more than 4GB RAM, or your other option is to ‘out with the old, in with the new’. Get a new PC and make sure it is 64 bit!

Good luck!

Ghana’s anguish, FIFA joke

Well, what can I say? For some the Uruguay-Ghana quarter final on Friday was entertaining stuff. It sure was, especially the serious Ghanain pressure in the last few minutes of extra time. But then calamity, Suarez of Uruguay does his best impression of a goalkeeper (maybe he’s had enough of strike?!) and stops a CERTAIN goal with his hands.

OK, he gets red carded and sent off. So what. He cheated, clearly and blatantly he cheated. Took one for the team. Gyan missed the subsequent penalty which would have resulted in a a Ghanain win and progress to the Semi-final, a first for any African nation and quite an achievement for that to be during the first world cup held in the Africa continent. The subsequent penalties were won by the South Americans. Misery for Ghana. Misery for Africa.

This handball makes a complete and utter mockery of FIFA fair play, read this > ‘positive benefits of playing by the rules’. Suarez clearly blocked a certain goal and prevented a guarenteed place in the semi’s for Ghana. Uruguay are through, so this means in football CHEATERS PROSPER. It has happened before (France v. RoI – Henry’s hand-goal) and happens again.

The next generation of footballers are learning that cheating matters. Put club and country before honesty and that is what is important. Heck this is probably what ambitious fathers of youngters with potential will do, ‘Cheat if you can get away with it’. Suarez is now a hero amongst his team peers and media, he’s a hero in Uruguay but a villian in Africa.

How can that be? How can Uruguay be in the semi-final.

I raise my glass to Van Persie, Sneijder and Robben. Unleash fury on the Uruguayans and dump them from this World Cup in suitable fashion. The French got their just desserts and so will the U’s. I applaud FIFA’s ridiculous approach to football where divers, fakers and the best actors in a team win. Many players in South Africa deserve a BAFTA if not an Oscar for on-field performances. Clap clap FIFA, you need to take a look at your rule book again and STOP the cheats.

Hup Hollan Hup!

2008 R2 and existing 2003 R2 Domain

Been trying to add a 2008R2 server to a 2003R2 SP2 Domain, it works OK. Will be putting Exchange 2010 on it and adding it to a customers production environment, will update with all my tips, tricks and learnings here in the not too distant future 🙂

However adding a 2008R2 DC is another bag full of kippers, follow this in principle http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc733027(WS.10).aspx and you should be OK! Just gotta do the usual domain/forest prep so the 2003 Domain can get along nicely with your shiny new 2008R2 box.

Upgrading to InTrust 10.2

If upgrading to InTrust 10.2 from any version prior to 10.0 (e.g. from 9.6) then you have to ensure an interim step of upgrading to 10.0 or 10.1 FIRST before upgrading to 10.2! Annoying yes, but impossible otherwise. Oh and it normally takes a day to update just a handful of servers.

InTrust is a hetrogenous auditing, monitoring and compliance tool from Quest Software.

Upgrading to Windows Server 2008 R2

Just to cover quickly the upgrade of Windows 2008 Server SP2 to the R2 version in 13 steps.

REMEMBER > Plan > Prepare > Update,

This is a GUIDE only and not a recommendation of how you should upgrade so test it first and don’t blame me if it goes horrible, blame the gerbil – if in doubt consult an expert (i.e. not me!)

Using an account that has EA, DA and SA membership (talk about overkill eh…but trust me it wasn’t working without them), you need to run the adprep tools first, ensure the DC you run it on has the Schema Master FSMO role. Follow these steps:

1. Copy the ADPREP folder from W2K8 R2 DVDSupportAdprep to a local volume e.g. E:adprep.


Usual gotcha – make sure you run this from an elevated CMD prompt. Otherwise you get an error about how it cannot check your Group Membership

3. Change directory to where you copied adprep and type in adprep /forestprep


4. Press C and then hit ENTER if you are happy to proceed then it does stuff like below


And more stuff


And some more before it is finished.


5. Excellent, now run the following command

adprep /domainprep /gpprep


Et voila, all preparation tasks finished and you’re ready to roll with the update to R2

6. In the Windows Explorer GUI browse to your WK8 R2 DVD and run setup


7. Click on the annoying UAC prompt to confirm so you can continue then click Install Now, setup starts


Still starts up


8. Click on Do not get the latest updates


Searches for something


9. Seems to have found whatever it was looking for, select Windows Server Standard 2008 R2 Standard (Full Installation) (or whatever is relevant for your upgrade), yeah I know it says Full but worry not it will be doing an Upgrade! Click Next


10. Sign your life away, Click Next


11. See, promised you as much. Click UPGRADE!


12. You’ll get the following compatibility warning…


13. Resolve any issues and then crack on. Otherwise setup will cancel the upgrade for you if any errors are unresolved. Warnings are acceptable!


Then it does stuff, randomly, and also randomly reboots about 3 times!


Oh look, registry still exists…


Is this the final step…


Nope, fooled you, anyone who knows WHY it is copying so many files (nearly a quarter of a million) please email me!


And then it REBOOTS again, third time and counting…

…then like something from a Star Wars movie comes the following

First time use? Eh, i’ve been using this server for nearly a year how can this be the first time!!! Anyway it glows randomly for a little while as it ‘prepares’ for battle. Bit like a ceylon, sorta


There you go, all that effort for that red R2 at the bottom(!)


Anyway, the update is worth it. The interface is now pretty as a picture!

BUT, my RDP would no longer work. Neither would pinging it by IP Address? Has the Firewall for the Domain Profile come back on? NO!

So what happened? Well upon further investigation it seems it lost all the static IP information that had been entered into this DC. WHAT? Why would it do that dear old Microsoft? Renter the STATIC IP info to get the Server back in shape….oh dear(!) hope it doesn’t happen to you!

Technically it IS fiction!!!

Hello and welcome to my blog on all things techical, and ermmm fictional too! It’s 2010, the environment is in crisis, the world in turmoil with water and energy and war responsible for all kinds of upheaval. I had the chance to start a blog ages ago, but decided to take my time. Look out for some cool stuff to come as I share my opinions.

a technically fictional blog

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