I know, I know it’s not a weekly round up if you don’t do it every week. But do you really care? Are you that ana…

Sorry I have had a long morning! It’s snowing like crazy in NYC today, I got stuck on the B train for an hour and the best of the best… My climate control system in my server room went kablooooie and I didn’t get a phone call that the temperature in the room was 89 degrees.

We lost one server to the conditions… Poor Homer the file server. You will be missed. No late night phone call from Adp no portable ac kicked on. And no explanation yet. Waiting on the postmortem as I restore these files!

On a happier note our main PR guy from Dell is now with HP and we just got our HP Compaq 2710p tablet. (Stay tuned for the review!) Thanks Marco!

I am very excited and now with out further bitching and moaning here are some of our favorite stories that you might have missed.

Don’t worry we changed the titles below to confuse the hell out of you. Isn’t that nice of us? Enjoy.

_TheTiredAndWetAdmiN_

Sometimes the quickest way to undo a modification or update is through System Restore. Then there are the times you can’t get to the Windows interface to run it. What do you do then?

If you can get to the command prompt you can run system restore with the following commands like seen in the image below:

  • Drop to a command prompt by doing a run (Windows Key – R)
  • Type CMD to get your command prompt.
  • Get to c:\windows\system32\restore anyway you like
  • and finally launch RSTRUI.exe and you should get the System Restore Wizard.

Boo-Yah!

_TheRestorinAdmiN_

We have been using the infamous MSCONFIG.exe for years now (closer to a century) and have tested several applications that improve upon it. But thanks to MyMyTech.com we found a new favorite!

(Maybe not! Have you guys seen AutoRuns from Microsoft?Thanks Igor!)

This program is appropriately named StartUpList and it does what it says and more! This little baby has so much information that I feel like a chump for using MSCONFIG for so long!

Here is the download link from BleepingComputer.

After browsing through my start up items – I was shocked at what it found and got rid of a bunch of crap real quick like.

Do you use startup editors or applications? Let us know in the comments!

Authors Description of StartupList: A simple tool that lists all and every auto starting program on your system. You might be surprised what it finds, this is way better than Msconfig. Commonly used to troubleshoot malfunctioning systems, trojan/viral infections, new spyware/malware breed and the likes. Compatible with: All Windows versions. Version: 2.02

_TheDontStartWithMeAdmiN_


If you have been trying to sign up for our daily email updates in the last little while you might have seen something that looks like this:


The script error has been fixed and once again you can sign up for our email blasts. We apologize for any inconvenience and realize we have left our new readers hanging – and we don’t know for how long! We hate to say it (to anyone) But we are sorry… (There we said it – happy??)

Thanks go to our buddy Igor in Calli for pointing this out to us.

So what are you waiting for??? We said its fixed… Sign up by putting your email address in the box on the right (hint it’s the one that says “Stay ahead of the game with daily email updates…”

Every time someone signs up this little number goes up…


_TheMyBadAdmiN_

As we all know, blogger can’t do everything that WordPress can do BUT, there are workarounds and hacks galore that can help you do what you want.

The one thing I could not find a decent work around for was auto publishing articles based on time and date. This is not a revolutionary thing – but it would make my life SO MUCH EASIER!

The Google is adding new features to blogger on the regular. And now here comes the ability to publish a post in a future date, is now added in the draft page of blogger… This means it will be available SOON as a real deal feature on your blog.


If you want to get your future blogging on as of now, this new feature can only be used if you log-in to the draft page of blogger.

Huh? What’s that?

Good question…

Blogger has a sort of beta page for their main page also known as Draft.Blogger.com. So to experience the scheduling goodness and some other soon to be announced features you will need to log-in to http://draft.blogger.com instead of http://www.blogger.com.

The ability to publish a post in a future date can be used if you want to write a post now but want to publish it in a future date. This is a HUGE thing for the Admin. I have been chained to my desk for 6 months now bringing you daily updates… Now I can go away (fat chance) and have the blog on auto-pilot, so to speak.


Get ready for more geeky goodies on their way blogging buddies! [BloggerInDraft]


_TheDraftAdmiN_

Hey there drunkey… The long weekend has come and gone? So has your deadline but not your hang over?

Don’t worry AtA to the rescue…

Well Kinda.

Everyone remembers the old my dog ate my homework excuse. Doesn’t it work so much better when it is accompanied by a shredded bitten up report?

Well now instead use this century’s version of the dog excuse… The “my computer crapped out excuse” So I couldn’t finish my power point presentation. And here is a nifty little web based application to give you a flucked up file to go with your excuse. File Destructor will give you an un-openable file of whatever size you want to give the illusion of work gone ka-bloooie (Technical Term).


We were going to use the site’s description but Download Squad came up with a much funnier one:

Look, we know you meant to paper that report last night. Sure, your final grade depends on it. But you know, the call of World of Warcraft was just too great. So what are you going to do? You could bust your butt to finish your paper today and still hand it in late. Or you could send your teacher a “corrupted” file called “term paper.doc” and hope that by the time she figures out what you’ve done, you can finish your assignment and send it in with a note saying “sorry, I think there was a problem with my computer.”

File Destructor is a web tool that lets you create junk files look like real files, except they don’t do anything. Need a 312MB MPG file or a 12KB Word document? File Destructor can help. Or rather, it can’t, but it can make it look like you’ve got such a file. A word of caution though: While you can create and download a phony Word or text document in no time flat, it takes a while to download large files from File Destructor. So we wouldn’t recommend faking your film class’s final video project.

It probably goes without saying, but Download Squad assumes absolutely no responsibility if you should be dumb enough to actually try anything we recommended in the previous two paragraphs. [Via DownloadSquad]

Pretty neat huh? AskTheAdmin.com doesn’t warn you not to use this… We encourage our readers to try and get over! ( Unless we are liable for that! Then let’s just keep this between you me and the rest of the readers :)! )

_TheSchemeingAdmiN_

After hearing so many horror stories like this one - we can NOT endorse MediaMax and give them a BIG FUCK YOU! Thanks anyway guys better luck next time. In the mean time check out Adrive.

Unless you are new around here you know how much AtA LOVES free stuff. Especially free stuff we can use in our day to day activities.

Media Max was called Streamload back in the day. It was just quick simple web-based application that allowed you to upload 25 GB of media to their servers.

It looks like Streamload has done the name change thing and is now known as MediaMax.

That’s right I didn’t stutter boys and girls -

T W E N T Y

F I V E

G B ‘ S !!

Most online hosting companies are offering a lot less space for free – Most weigh in – in the neighborhood of 2 gigz but MediaMax is offering a staggering 25 GB!

They also have a beta application to streamline and make uploading/downloading faster but it seemed to bog down my machine when I was doing some uploading. But hey for free I can’t argue! I will be keeping a VERY close eye on newly named Media Max! If you need some online storage space for free check them out… (Check out their beta tool here)

This is what you get for free (They also have plansfrom $5-$30/month):

  • 25 GB of secure online storage
  • Download or share 1GB/month
  • Send files up to 10 MB in size

From their website:

MediaMax, powered by Streamload, gives you a private and secure place to upload, store, access, and share your personal videos, photos, movies, music, and files.

  • Store files securely on the web. Get 25 GBs of FREE online storage.
  • Access your files from any web browser.
  • Share all your files quickly and easily, without file size restrictions.
  • Host videos, audio, images and more on the web.
  • Backup your files and data safely and reliably.

_The25GigAdmiN_


I would like to monitor event logs on multiple windows machines – maybe ping them every so often?

I used to use something called Emon but it seems pretty outdated. I looked at bigBrother but it seems too expensive.

Do you have a solution?

Have you heard of VMWare??

If you are game then keep on reading… It used to be restricted to linux boxes but now you can get your Virtualization on – Windows style as well.

I have played with a few of these in the past, but if you’re managing a decent sized infrastructure you might want to try them. These are VMWare virtual appliances, I will write something on them at a later date, but basically they work with VMWare’s free software(they have a player and a server product, both free).

You download these packaged virtual appliances, boot them up and they just go! Of course you want to follow the directions provided…

But lets be honest most IT people are guys, and what self respecting guy really reads directions anyway?!?

Here are a couple of the network monitoring appliances that I have tried at some point. They all have their strong points and weak points. They all take some time and effort to get your network configured in it. But the rewards are pretty nice!

Without further ado, here are some linky links:

Feel free to dig into these. Download them and the VMWare player and give them a go. Don’t be shy…one of the glorious things about the VMWare appliances is that you cannot mess up your PC/Laptop by using them as it is segregated from the OS and the hardware, but again…more on that at a later date.

Do you use VMWare? Or how about Microsoft’s Virtual PC 2007? Let’s here it in the comments guys! Sound off.

There are two things we hate over @ AtA : Registering for a website JUST to SEE content.That is just evil - sure you get your membership numbers up but…

We HATE you. We hate you we hate you we hate you. Did I say we hate you?

Most of you have heard of the website http://www.BugMeNot.com that provides free community user names and passwords for sites. This made life moderately easier but I still had to go to their website and look up the security information.

That is where this Firefox extension comes into play… if there is a user name and password for the site you are on and you right click on the text fields – BugMeNot the FireFox plug in offers instant gratification…

That sounds perverted huh?

Um how about Instant Population of the fields.

But wait, you say that’s just one thing Admin!

Oh yeah the other thing we hate (actually there are quite a few other things we hate, come to think of it) is looking for coupon codes before checking out @ any online store. So the same author Eric from http://roachfiend.com/ came up with the FireFox plug in called RetailMeNot

Yup you guessed it. This one will pop up a box ONLY if it finds a deal/coupon code for the specific page you are on! Thanks Eric and Thanks John for sending this one in. Remember send your tips and tricks to tips@askTheAdmin.com.

Here are the sites descriptions:

BugMeNot: Bypass compulsory web registration via FireFox’s right-click context menu. Compatible with Mozilla and current Firefox releases. Visit bugmenot.com for full details of their service. Features: multiple login attempts, failure reporting, and auto-submit. BugMeNot is finally compatible with bugmenot.com. You can all thank Dmytri Kleiner for its success. He is an extremely talented coding guru who whipped this thing back into shape.You can change various settings in the extensions’ options menu if you use Firefox. Mozilla and Netscape’s auto-fill and auto-submit are on by default.

RetailMeNot: I’m a poet and I kind of know it. RetailMeNot, brought to you by the perspicacious minds of BugMeNot, is both a service and a Firefox extension. The extension is new and will be the main focus of this mini-review. It sits invisibly behind Firefox’s exterior, waiting to pounce on any web site that will try and make a buck off of you. As soon as it detects a web site that has possible coupon codes, it lets you know.

You might have seen it before on someone else’s laptop, and wondered how you can get down with the hibernation game. Why doesn’t it show up by default on your shutdown screen?? Don’t have hibernation envy!

I’m referring to seeing 4 options to choose from on your Shut Down menu of Windows XP. After this hack the Hibernate option will stay there without the need to press the Shift key any more.

Well- let’s get to it:

The first thing to do is get a hold of Microsoft’s hotfix KB893056. MS wants you to call its customer support to get it, but instead- you can use this web-form to request it immediately.

After we installed the hotfix, we need to make some small registry changes. Get it here

For those of you working in a Workgroup environment and using the friendly “Welcome Screen” you need to run the Reg-file called: “1 AddToShutdown”. If you use the classic logon screen you can also run the 2nd Reg-file to set Hibernate as the default action in the menu.

When you’re finished just restart the machine and check it out!

Needless to says that you must have the Hibernate feature on in your Control Panel’s Power Options. or else nothing would appear obviously.

Enjoy :-)

YaronM
Guest Blogger

Well I am so glad you asked! We just found ourselves head over heels on valentines day and the object of our affection is Digsby. No Digsby is not some strange foreign chick.

Digsby is a multi-client instant messenger. It can do Gtalk, AIM, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, Jabber. This is what we have been looking for! I hate having to open separate clients to chat with friends. Finally one client to rule them all – I hope it stays free!!!

On top of all that it has a widget for your website to allow users to interact with you like Plugoo. Check it out on the side bar right now…

As a client it has slick pop-ups and looks great!

It can check your email for you and lets you customize your client to suit your needs. Digsby is in Beta right now and is available only via a “Beta Invite Code” But we found one that seems to work every time!Digsby gave us 1000 invites so share them with your friends!

Download the Digsby beta from here. Use beta code AskTheAdmin for downloading Digsby. Set up a username and password, add your accounts and you will chatting with the best of them in no time!

Check out this information from their website.

Instant Messaging
  • One combined buddy list for all your AIM, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, Google Talk, and Jabber Accounts.
  • Manage multiple conversations with tabbed conversation windows. You can drag + drop tabs out into their own windows for important conversations.
  • Rename contacts with an alias so you don’t have to remember buddy names like “giantsfan123″.
  • If one of your friends has more than one IM account you can combine them into a single merged contact to eliminate duplicate buddies.
  • Send your friends SMS messages right from the IM window.
  • The InfoBox lets you check everyone’s status message and profile just by moving your mouse down the list.
  • Changing your status has never been easier – just one click right on the buddy list!
  • Multitask while you chat. Minimize the IM window and you see popups of new IM’s. Best of all, you can reply right from the popup and get back to what you were doing.
  • Log conversation history and find the information you need in our search enabled log viewer.
  • And so much more.
Email
  • Manage your Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL/AIM Mail, IMAP, and POP accounts right from digsby.
  • Get popup notifications when new email arrives. Clicking a popup takes you right to the message with auto-login into webmail accounts.
  • The email InfoBox gives you a snapshot of your unread messages with just one click.
  • Perform actions such as “Mark as Read” or “Report Spam” right from the email InfoBox.
  • Send emails to your friends right from the IM window. The email is sent directly from any account digsby is tracking for you.
Social Networking
  • Stay up to date with everything happening on your Facebook or MySpace account (other network support coming soon).
  • Receive alerts of events such as new friend requests, messages, group invites, etc.
  • The social network InfoBox gives you a real time NewsFeed of what your friends are up to. Everything from new photos, to status updates, to upcoming birthdays is just a click away.
Personalize
  • Customize digsby with application skins to give it a personal look and feel.
  • Change the way your conversations look with themes – everything from simple AIM style windows to 3D conversation bubbles.
  • Complete control over the layout of buddies on the buddy list. Change everything from buddy icon size and position to whether or not to show a snippet of a buddy’s away message.
  • Sort your buddy list how ever you want! You can organize buddies manually, by status, by service, by name or by log size to place those you communicate with most at the top. You can even choose a secondary sorting method.
  • Customizable notification system lets you choose what events you want to be alerted about and how.
Other
  • Digsby offers complete synchronization between computers and installations. Everything from the skin you choose to your pre-defined status messages follows you from place to place.
  • You can place a widget on your blog, website, or social network profile and chat with visitors right from digsby.
  • Manage multiple simultaneous file transfers from one simple transfer manager.

[Via TechZilo]

_TheMultiPlatformingAdmiN_

Jodi writes in:

I wasn’t sure who I should contact about this, so i am sending this to you. As of late, word attachments coming from my friend on a Windows XP Machine appear as “winmail.dat” files.

When I try to open these, the text runs about 150pp long, (it’s a 4page doc) and the text looks like this:

<‡META †[1]0 Xt="‡$.

It shows garbage like that over and over again. Admin Can you help me open them? If I forward the message on to a windows user it is fine! What gives?

Jodi have been dealing with this one for a while and there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to when they appear and when they don’t appear. We investigated the possibility of drag and drop causing it – but that wasn’t it consistently. But we found a utility called TNEF’s Enough for our Mac friends here:

You can simply drag winmail.dat into this application and BAM! There is your data ma’am, can we do anything else for you today?

From TNEF’s website:


TNEF’s Enough allows Macs to read and extract files from Microsoft TNEF stream files. The files are usually received by SMTP based e-mail programs from Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Outlook users. The SMTP based e-mail program will usually receive either a MIME attachment named “winmail.dat” or a MIME attachment with the type “application/ms-tnef.”

The file is a rich text (or MAPI) message that is sent from Outlook to Exchange. When Exchange sends the message to an outside server it writes the MAPI message as a MIME attachment. The unfortunate side effect of this plan is if the Outlook user has someone in their address book as a person who can receive “Rich Text” then the user will receive the TNEF file whether the user uses Outlook or not.

TNEF’s Enough is a freeware application

For those of you out there still living in the dark ages, and still using Telnet on Windows because you haven’t found a more viable alternative (You know who you are) We have some good news for you!

Maybe you haven’t decided to switch to a more secure solution because you use Windows Servers and Windows hasn’t adopted using SSH.

Maybe you think SSH is only for Unix/Linux.

Well, your excuses are no longer good here sonny boy. If you haven’t heard there is an OpenSSH port for Windows. Now you can still use the terminal remote access method, but you won’t be sending your login credentials and important information across the wire in plain text.

OpenSSH provides full support for SSH/SCP/SFTP. So what are you waiting for? Download OpenSSH and secure your servers.

As we always say at Asktheadmin.com The Safer the better! If we don’t have to send our credentials as plain text, we are all for it. After all we do know how to use a SNIFFER!

From Their Website:

OpenSSH for Windows

OpenSSH for Windows is a free package that installs a minimal OpenSSH server and client utilities in the Cygwin package without needing the full Cygwin installation. This is similar to the package formerly available from NetworkSimplicity.

The OpenSSH for Windows package provides full SSH/SCP/SFTP support. SSH terminal support provides a familiar Windows Command prompt, while retaining Unix/Cygwin-style paths for SCP and SFTP.

Catch the download page here. [Via SourceForge]

_TheSecureAdmiN_

Following in the footsteps of the Annoy-O-Tron we wrote about a little whiles back, we have another gadget that can make a grown man cry! Some of you guys wrote in $10 was too rich for your blood. We heard you loud and clear and this one is only $8.95

This tiny little remote is ready for secret missions. Secret missions to annoy the shit out of unsuspecting people, that is! Another great find from ThinkGeek.

  • Are you a little brother who is sick of watching American Idol or similarly stupid shows?
  • Bored out of your mind in a waiting room?
  • Or maybe you are just an Asshole?

Well than this tool of annoyance is for you!

This little universal remote is the newest (secret shhh) weapon in the Ninja’s arsenal and we assure you in the right hands it can be used to quickly assassinate dangerously annoying TV shows or turn on equally annoying TV shows to over come your victims. Simply point the Ninja Remote at the intended target (a television set) and press the mute button for a few seconds – once the TV mutes the remote is now ready to assume full control of its victim.

Innocent bystanders will be frozen with fear (or very animated with anger) as the volume and channel change magically in front of their eyes, seemingly controlled by some mysterious force.

Your Ninja Skills can only be outwitted by another Ninja Remote, the actual real remote or Someone bigger than you that WILL proceed to kick your ass… Oh wait your a Ninja right? We take no responsibility for getting you beat up – use caution. (Don’t pick on people bigger than you )

The Ninja Remote’s powers will work on a wide variety of televisions (Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, Toshiba, Sanyo, Aiwa, Mitsubishi, Philips, JVC, Sharp, etc) and its small size will safeguard you against discovery.

  • Tiny universal remote, easy to operate
  • Control volume, channel, mute, off/on
  • Takes one CR2032 battery (included)
  • Will work on most European TVs
  • Keychain attachment
  • Dimensions: 2.3″ x 1.4″ x .25″ (5.8 x 3.6 x .6 cm)

_TheReturnOfTheMuhahahaAdmiN_

Hey Kiddies,

It’s time for some more time-saving, hassle killing, good, clean, free, fun. I work in a corporate environment, and lots of times, there are people who suffer from serious RTFM errors. Those people are prime candidates for the “Spell it out for me” award. This nifty little proggy, called MWSnap (named after it’s creator Mirek Wojtowicz) is a super time-saver at work. Not just for the RTFM sufferers, but also for quick presentations, emails, graphic design, and general all purpose visual explanations of every kind. MWsnap stays permanently affixed to my start menu, and hotkeyed to my keyboard, which is actually one of the many features of MWsnap. I’ll list the features below, but I want to add that I’ve tried a lot of snapper progs, this one is by far the most feature rich, easy to dive into, and lightweight of them all, and of course, as we all love it here on AskTheAdmin – it’s completely and totally free. Our hats off to Mirek Wojtowicz for building a really great app which im very thankful for. Though money is tight, and Mirek does accept donations via Paypal, I figured I would go 1 BETTER and actually give him props, and a permanent place in the aTa archives as deserved. We love freeware, espescially when it’s really, truly, should-cost-something useful.

From Mirek’s Website, the features at-a-glance:

  • “5 snapping modes
  • Support for BMP, JPG, TIFF, PNG and GIF formats, with selected color depth
    and quality settings
  • System-wide hotkeys
  • Clipboard copy/paste
  • Printing
  • Auto-saving, auto-printing
  • Auto-start with Windows
  • Minimizing to system tray
  • An auto-extending list of fixed sizes, perfect for snapping images for icons
    and glyphs
  • A zoom tool for magnifying selected parts of the screen
  • A ruler tool for measuring screen objects lengths
  • A color picker showing screen colors with separated RGB parts
  • Fast picture viewer
  • Adding frames and mouse pointer images
  • Multilevel configurable undo and redo
  • Multilingual versions
  • Configurable user interface
  • And more…

So that basically sums it up…All in all this little app makes short work of tedious stuff, and actually lets you continue to think in pictures, rather than thinking about Photoshop’s start-up time. :) No offense to Photoshop, I continue to use it constantly, but definitely lots of overhead.

Peace
Commodore64 (the one you used to play Bruce Lee on)

Excuse me while I vent a little. I hate it when I come into the office with a nice hot cup of $6.00 coffee and someone manages to drag me over to their cube or office to “Show Me Something” instead of just explaining it. We do speak the same language and all – I think so at least.

Well this little do-hickey I just ordered from ThinkGeek should put an end to my ice cold hot coffee and my luke warm iced cold drink. It is a simple little USB Warmer/Cooler that will keep whatever is placed on it …

Are you paying attention?

Yes?

Warm or Cold?

I am glad you are still with us.

It’s perfect and it’s simple – a hotplate powered by USB keeps your coffee warm. But if Alton Brown has taught us anything is that we hate a single-use tool. That, and, sometimes we like our caffeine served cold. No problem, ’cause we’ve got you covered!

Just flip a switch, and the hot-plate turns into a peltier device, quickly cooling to 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celcius). Sweet! By maintaining optimum temperatures for your caffeine delivery system, you can enjoy increased work productivity and nice twitchy gaming reflexes.

Just know that it’s not powerful enough to chill a room temperature drink, or warming cold coffee – that kind of ability is sneaking dangerously close to x-factor mutant ability! It will, however, delay the inevitable march towards room temperature.

Shiny and jet-black, so it also looks wicked-cool on your desktop.

Features

  • Connection via USB
  • Coldplate chills to 45˚F
  • Hotplate warms to 120˚F
  • Helps keeps your beverage at optimum temperature
  • USB cable length: 2 feet
  • Power consumption: 5.75W
  • Dimensions: 5.25″ x 3.25″ x 1.4″
  • Bawls and Coffee not included

[Product Page from ThinkGeek]

_TheLovinHotCoffeeAdmiN_

At first I thought this was a joke. You know dude please show me how to be l33t. But then after a little bit of clarification our junior admin Adam in PA is troubleshooting a connectivity issue across his VPN to a single server and intermittently the network. Adam wants to do so from the command line.

Now doesn’t that sound better already?

So we jump on a windows machine and hit the command prompt. Start – Run – ‘CMD’

Ping, Tracert, and Netstat are three commands I use on a daily basis. They help me pinpoint problems. When these tools are coupled with a sniffer log file or some sort of jump off point for your issue and a little old fashioned network admin know how.

In other words find the IP Address of the effected equipment. In this case Adam couldn’t get to a remote server over your VPN. He needs to find out the IP of the server, the VPN router and the default gateway on the other side. You know everything in between the equipment and the equipment itself. You should keep these addresses readily available in a excel or text file for easy referencing.

Now lets use ping to hit the server, or try to at least. From the command prompt we type:

‘ping servername’

We Get Back:
Ping request could not find host hostname. Please check the name and try again.

‘ping ip’

We Get Back:
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.

Ping statistics for (ip):
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 0, Lost = 4 (100% loss)

tracert server name

We get back:
Tracing route to google.com [64.233.187.99]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

Hmmm its resolving the name to an address thats a good start. So we know DNS is still up.
Now we can see it is failing after the packets get into the remote network. Hmmm. Now we need to see if we can connect to a machine on that side of the VPN. I have a windows 2003 box there so I hit up

MSTC.exe to see if I can open a remote desktop to the machine.

Then boom I’m in. A little lag.

A lot of lag…Slow screen drawing and my processes are at 90%. This is very abnormal I usually let my machines idle around 5% and during heavy crunch time they are no higher than 69%. when they hit 70% its time to upgrade.

Next I was off to the command prompt on that server and Netstat -a and see hundreds of connections pending disconnecting. I terminate a few process running high with the TaskKill command and then use this technique to search the PC for all modified files in the last 48 hours.

What are these small text files? Scripts and folder upon folder in my ftp directories??!?

Shit we have been compromised.

I hit my McAfee EPO server and lock everything down on that side of the VPN. As a final precautionary measure I disable the NIC on the effected machine after dialing in through the modem and RAS.

Once I’m in I try to delete the directories and porn torrents in French.

Damn I hate the French!It feels like we are war. This is the second time in 4 years!

Some of the directories were fucked with and I could not delete the files normally using del.

Directories telling me that they are not empty files that show up – don’t exist???

Time to hit up RD /s or in a more extreme situation DELTREE.

I stop the Utorrent service using Net Stop and delete the application. I then find the executables downloaded on the machine to do their installs. This was in a folder called AMERICAN_SUCKS – very subtle eh?

I connect the machine back to the network watching the processes through task manager.

Mother flucker…. Another process pops up and spawns two more. TaskKill it – delete the files. Hit my user manager with AddUsers.exe to get a list… I can’t believe it they were able to add a local administrator! But after disabling him also from addusers I noticed that they couldn’t touch the domain.

I give thanks for the small things. I then deleted the user, emptied the recycle bin and killed the restore files.

I removed the “Locked Down” Status from my EPO and scanned the whole network.

Clean as a whistle. And now you have some new commands to play with. PING, TRACERT, NETSTAT, TSKill, AddUsers.exe, RD and DelTree.

In case you didn’t understand what they did in the above examples… Here it goes real simple like:

Ping (Hostname or IP Address) – hits the specified computers nic 5 times and returns the results. Use -t for continual pinging. Ping 192.168.1.1 -t

Test a network connection – if successful, ping returns the ip address.

Syntax
PING [options] destination_host

Options
-w timeout Timeout in milliseconds to wait for each reply.
-i TTL Time To Live.
-v TOS Type Of Service.
-a Resolve addresses to hostnames.
-n count Number of echo requests to send.
-t Ping the destination host until interrupted.
-l size Send buffer size.
-f Set Don't Fragment flag in packet.
-r count Record route for count hops.
-s count Timestamp for count hops.
-j host_list Loose source route along host_list.
-k host_list Strict source route along host_list.
destination_host The name of the remote host

Tracert (hostname or IP address) – shows you the path from a to b and the ping statistics along the way.

Syntax

      TRACERT [options] target_name

Key
target_name The HTTP or UNC name of the host

Options:
-d Do not resolve addresses to hostnames.
(avoids performing a DNS lookup)

-h max_hops Maximum number of hops to search for target.(default=30)

-j host-list Trace route along given host-list.
up to 9 hosts in dotted decimal notation, separated by spaces.

-w timeout Wait timeout milliseconds for each reply.

Netstat When used with -a Shows what connections are opened, pending open or closing on your machine. Displays remote ip and local ip and status.

Display current TCP/IP network connections and protocol statistics.

Syntax
NETSTAT [options] [-p protocol] [interval]

Key
-a Display All connections and listening ports.
-e Display Ethernet statistics. (may be combined with -s)
-n Display addresses and port numbers in Numerical form.
-r Display the Routing table.
-o Display the Owning process ID associated with each connection.

-b Display the exe involved in creating each connection or listening port.*
-v Verbose - use in conjunction with -b, to display the sequence of
components involved for all executables.

-p protocol
Show only connections for the protocol specified;
may be any of: TCP, UDP, TCPv6 or UDPv6.
If used with the -s option then the following protocols
may also be specified: IP, IPv6, ICMP,or ICMPv6.

-s Display per-protocol statistics. By default, statistics are
shown for IP, IPv6, ICMP, ICMPv6, TCP, TCPv6, UDP, and UDPv6;
(The v6 protocols are not available under 2k and NT4)
The -p option may be used to display just a subset of these.

interval Redisplay statistics, pausing interval seconds between
each display. (default=once only) Press CTRL+C to stop.

TaskKill – Kills a running task.

The syntax for the command is TSKILL processid | processname [/SERVER:servername] [/ID:sessionid | /A] [/V]

RD – Remove Directory

Delete folder(s)

Syntax
RD pathname
RD /S pathname
RD /S /Q pathname

Key
/S : Delete all files and subfolders
in addition to the folder itself.
Use this to remove an entire folder tree.

/Q : Quiet - do not display YN confirmation

Place any long pathnames in double quotes.

RD does not support wildcards but you can remove several folders in one command by listing the pathname to each.

Deltree – Deletes a directory and all the files and subdirectories that are in it.

Syntax

DELTREE [/Y] [drive:]path [[drive:]path[...]]

Parameter

drive:path
Specifies the name of the directory you want to delete. The DELTREE
command will delete all the files contained in the directory you
specify, as well as all subdirectories and files in the subdirectories
subordinate to this directory. You can specify more than one directory.

Switch

/Y
Carries out the DELTREE command without first prompting you to confirm
the deletion.

AddUsers.exe – Add or remove workgroup or domain users.

DDUSERS – Automate the creation of a large number of users

Syntax

Create Users:
AddUsers /c filename [/s:x] [/?] Domain Password_options
Dump to file:
AddUsers /d{:u} filename [/s:x] [/?] Domain Password_options
Erase Users:
AddUsers /e filename [/s:x] [/?] Domain Password_options
key

I hope that helps and I didn’t overload you! Let me know what you do via
the command line!

_TheCommandLineAdmiN_

I am tired of people asking me how to do mundane tasks in office 2007 because they don’t understand the new UI.

If you are here to figure out how to use the new file types in older versions going back to 97, keep reading and hit the link below.

I guess Microsoft is tired of answering questions on their hot lines as well because they put out these tutorials on the new-ish office suite.

I want to say RTFM but that’s just not politically correct. You can’t say that to the executives that have to have the newest software even if it will cripple them while they learn it. Microsoft alleges that this new “Ribbon” interface is the wave of the future… It looks more like the wave of Apple.

For shame…For Shame! But get to learning…

Here is the patch to allow older versions of office to open the fancy smancy docx xlsx and any of the new other odd balls… Hit this link here.


Edit: Here is some more relevant information for your reading pleasure:


You sure can! If you find yourself mouse-less You can pull up the task manager in any Windows version 2000 or better with…

Control-Shift-Escape

I remember back to when Windows 98 machines were getting pwned left and right to the mighty Back Orifice. That was a great play on the old Microsoft Back Office Suite – get it??

For those of you who were 1337 back then you knew port 31337 was used to remotely control your machine with this app. It had some legitimate uses but it flooded out onto the hacker scene and became synonymous with a Trojan horse.

I was reminiscing and surfing the web and I came upon a picture from a chat log showing someone getting pwned and BAD! I chuckled and was about to move on when I saw a younger version of one of my fraternity brothers!

Holy fucking shit this was the funniest thing I ever saw.

I called him up and said:

…name with held due to begging… did you ever get hit by a hacker who posted pictures of you? He laughed it off. He kept laughing until he got my email with these two pictures.

They say a picture is worth a thousands words but these two are worth a million laughs… Have a glimpse to back when being 1337 really meant being 1337!

Owned1

That text box says: Hi, I know we haven’t talked before. This is your computer. Since I see everything in your room, I thought I’d throw you a few pointers. First, put on a shirt. PLEASE. Second, you got a nice girl lying there on your bed and you’re sitting there looking like a goon on the computer. Come on.

Don’t be gay.

Owned2

The best part about this is he tried to pull the I was a hacker when I was younger card! I love the Internet. More importantly I love watching people get pwned – consider this a permanent record of your getting pwned for the world to see.

The app is still available here and here is an updated version of BackOrrice 2k for XP I have not tried yet (so downloaders beware).

_TheStillLaughingAdmiN_

Hey, Hey, Hey AtA I loves me some giveaways!

Happy Friday boys and girls. Let me start by saying thank you for the overwhelming response we got to this contest – even if the lot of you can’t follow the rules. Who needs stinking directions, right?

Elite

Wrong! We got more email entries than comments and sadly we said we were only accepting comments. I did email each of you informing you of this but most did not listen or respond. We have to be fair to those that played by the rules. So that being said out of the 46 valid entries our randomizer robots choose NinjaAdmin.

A big AtA congratulations goes out to long time reader NinjaAdmin. He is the winner of our Wicked Lasers Elite Laser Contest.

We will be sending NinjaAdmin an Elite Series 150+ laser, a set of optics and goggles. In honor of us breaking 800 subscribers, this week, I decided to personally sweeten the pot with a AnnoyAtron and Magic Stick from ThinkGeek. Dude I have sent you an email requesting your snail mail address you have 72 hours to comply or we shall move on…

wicked_optics_set green_laser_shades





Let me just say this laser is insanely fun. Have a good time with it out there and be responsible – unlike some other people. Read about my run in with the cops here:

Freaking people out on the ground from a 4th floor window seemed like a good idea at the time. Then the police showed up. Long story short…

They were not friendly at first as they pushed their way in. They grabbed the laser and asked if I had any weapons in the home. PoPo (5-0, The Coppers, The Fuzz etc..) gave my laser back told me to be careful and left.

Apparently in this day and age of terror and the patriot act a high powered laser could be a terrorists weapon of choice. Probably attached to something a little more powerful than my hand (insert snide remark here).

Enjoy your new laser and AtA swag man! I hope you send us some shots of you putting it to good use. We should also add that ATA takes no responsibility for any evil wrath, maniacal plan or world domination you partake in. Holler

If you want your own WickedLaser check them out via this link for them to throw some bread our way. Use coupon code asktheadmin for 10% off!

You can also get your own Annoy-O-Tron or Magic Stick from these links with the same deal. A small percentage will go back to helping AtA bring you more of the geeky love you have come to enjoy.

What do you want to see us giveaway?

A big Thanks goes out to WickedLasers for hooking up our readers. Did you hear they released the most powerful flashlight in the world? No seriously its a contender right now for the Guinness Book of World Records. This is the type of flashlight that can burn a hole through paper so don’t go pointing this at your collection of civil war documents. Check it out hereAnd for 10% off – click here and use coupon code asktheadmin.

_TheTakeThatAdmiN_

SmashTheComputer I gave my office desktop a new lease on life today with a badly needed re-formatting instead of beating it with a bat.

Formatting is always a good thing (provided you have a reliable backup) and this time it caused me to have a revelation.

Don’t worry kids, The Admin isn’t going to get all religious on you.

Relax. Deep breathe. Are we ready to continue?

When my clean install of Windows XP SP2, booted up all brand spanking new, off of my ghost image – it was so…

I wanted to say empty or naked but the word clean kept coming to mind.

I am a technological pack rat.

There I said it – I keep everything. Lets just say my 300GB drive wasn’t cutting it in the end.

There was so much crap on my machine installed, not installed, Zipped, RARed, TARed and in file formats you have never seen…

Even with my machines specs all maxed out she still felt sluggish.

This time around I decided to install just the basics like office 2003, and Mcafee. Anything else I can run in a virtual machine. And let’s be realistic almost everything has a web interface nowadays.

Ding.

desktop_clean

So why don’t I have a RIS server, a monitored install OU with script happy GPO’s that do…

Well they should do everything?

Why do I have to physically install an image, then configure a machine before I deploy it?

I must have been a chump that’s why! Couldn’t have the Admin being a chump now could we? Isn’t that what Active Directory is for?

And there’s your revelation.

I got a little caffeine in me and started writing batch files. Time to de-chumpify. Batch files that can automate network setups (don’t tell the junior admins they might be out of a job!) I configured RIS on my 2003 server and got into it.

Scripts to copy my host file, scripts to kick off the Mcafee install, scripts to move its OU and record information about the machine. Group policy handles the Office apps and system configurations depending on what test OU it came from.

It was whiteboarding in my head already and I started coding. Testing. Coding. Rebooting. Testing cursing testing asking for help and then getting it going.

Applying

I am not a programmer in any sense of the word – I can script and pseudo code but my only problem was I didn’t declare my fucking variables. My DB Admin saw the problem right away and added on a few finishing touches of his own.

Local administrator accounts on our domain machines have a way of not being what they are supposed to be so that got scripted. Shortcuts, favorites and a few customizations.

We now have a RIS server, images, a NewComputer OU. A script that joins the new machine to the domain, reboots it moves it’s OU. Installs office, Mcafee and forces Windows to update. Adds my local administrator accounts, disables the guest account.

ris

All in a days work.

This may not seem like a lot of work that justifies scripting. But think about it in blocks of 100 between myself and two other IT guys…

Not as pretty eh?! I should have thought of this sooner!

A Rube Goldberg machine of sorts each piece knocking over the next setting something in motion to hit a final goal.

What do you guys do to make your life easier?

_theAutomatedAdmin_

How Do you blog?

Do you enjoy writing in your on-line editing platform? It doesn’t matter which one you use – Blogger, WordPress or something else they all suck big donkey balls.

And now get this one – Microsoft of all companies has put out a FREE tool to aid you in your quest for world domination creating the perfect posts. Go figure.

LiveAtA

Well it is what I am typing this article on right now and so far I am loving it. I don’t think going back to blogger’s text box is going to be an option. It has the look and feel of word with all of your tools in convenient locations. Full on spell checking that takes grammar into context when checking your words.

Tables, maps, images, hyperlinks and video… Wait there’s more – Add a Plug-In??

I’m in love.

Not like ridiculously hot woman love but like Fire Fox love. The same way you can completely customize the shit out of your browser you can customize your Live Writer. Add an extension like this one:

SnagIt Screen Capture Plugin:

Provides sophisticated screen captures directly into Live Writer. Utility allows for many of SnagIt’s capture options, use of the preview image editor, and directly embeds images into the current post.

Now that’s a Plug-in I can use for sure! And how about this one?

Paste From Console

Paste text copied from console. This will paste with a fixed width console font, optionally compensate for console line wrapping, and optionally format the console prompt and input separate from the console output

So here I am coming on the point of my article writing where I like to preview and edit my text before adding pictures. Windows Live Writer grabs your template so it can format the new post and show you a preview of it on YOUR site. How dope is that? Maybe you are curious to a word count? That is a plug in as well. I am going to be using it for a little bit and check it out. Questions or Comments? Love it or hate it?

Hit us up in the comments! Oh and here is the link to Windows Live Writer home page and a direct link to the download. You know how we do :)

_TheLiveAdmiN_

The title of this question here is a little misleading because you can use this little web app to serve lots of stuff besides quotes like random ads or words of wisdom.

Get your geek on and swap out scripts and images galore!

Originally we used the free RandomQuote ASP generator to feed our geeky quotes in our sub header above. Have you seen it before?

Pretty cool stuff huh? Now what if I told you the Wicked Tee Shirt Ad’s on the right bar were also served up by this generator?

Result: Different ad and quote ,out of our database, on every refresh!


After tweaking, pushing, prodding (our coder not the program) this proved to work very well and we have been very happy with the results. But after a while we realized that this handy little random generator, complete with a very aesthetically pleasing backend editing system, (pictured to the top,left) would be perfect to randomly feed out anything our geeky little hearts desired.

You’ll see a different quote, different ad on every page load, and all the same geeky love in front and behind it. You’ll need an .ASP compatible web hosting plan at the very least to get started – don’t get scared all this means is that you need a web hosting plan on the side it doesn’t have to point to your site. Just a server that supports ASP. This is because the files need to live somewhere on a server with Microsoft extensions. It also needs to give you a few MySQL to make this easier but you can pull it off with a connection to an access database, and you can probably modify it to work with an excel file as a data source as well.



The first thing you need to do is go to here and snatch this free package called RandomQ from Expirion.Net:

The directions are fairly simple. Heres the skinny:

  • First copy the files/folders to your (ASP Compatable) web server.
  • Then modify the config.asp file to point to your database and give it the correct credentials to do so. Refer to your web hosting control panel to see various details about your DB – you’ll need that info to put into the config.asp file.
  • The package comes with a convenient little script that creates all the necessary tables/columns when run against your database. Your DB will need this structure to properly communicate with the application.
  • Now open the index.asp file in the /admin folder in your RandomQ directory to see if any errors arise. If they do arise, the problem is most likely with your config.asp file. Be sure it points to the correct place and that the credentials are correct. Next be sure the tables were created properly by browsing thru the database using the web interface usually provided by your web hosting service. If it’s not provided you’ll need to get into some of the graphical database management proggies provided at MySQL.com to connect to and be able to view your DB data.
  • Once you get the inc_random.asp file to display properly and you can login successfully to the /admin/index.asp file your in business. All in all, barring any technical issues, this whole process should take no more than 10 minutes.
  • Now you have to get the inc_random.asp file to display on your blog, so the only way to accomplish getting information to be displayed cross-domain is with the use of an html iframe as follows:

iframe src=”http://www.YOURWEBHOST.com/RandomQ/inc_random.asp&#8221; vspace=”0″ marginheight=”0″ marginwidth=”0″ hspace=”0″ frameborder=”0″ height=”40″scrolling=”no” width=”100%”.

Make sure you close your open Iframe tag with a /iframe

Now the fun part – put in your data by logging into the RandomQ admin console and get to steppin!

Which of our quotes do you like the best? Got any ideas?

Damn son!! Let us know in the comments! Why are you all quiet and shit?

Oh and thanks to Mike aka Commodore 64 for his assistance on this article and an great find on the application.

_TheOn2HoursSleepAdmiN_

You need to show your buddy exactly how you do your funky effects in Photoshop? Want to record a quick tutorial on how to open ports or some other question you get hit with on the daily?

Well then check out this FREE application that TechFires tossed out at us a little whiles back. It fits perfectly with our question today! I gave it a quick whirl and besides its being as easy as shit to use it is chock full of features.

Check out this information from their homepage:

CamStudio is able to record all screen and audio activity on your computer and create industry-standard AVI video files and using its built-in SWF Producer can turn those AVIs into lean, mean, bandwidth-friendly Streaming Flash videos (SWFs)




Here are just a few ways you can use this software:

  • You can use it to create demonstration videos for any software program
  • Or how about creating a set of videos answering your most frequently asked questions?
  • You can create video tutorials for school or college class
  • You can use it to record a recurring problem with your computer so you can show technical Support people.
  • You can use it to create video-based information products you can sell.
  • You can even use it to record new tricks and techniques you discover on your favourite software program, before you forget them.

Don’t like the sound of your voice? No problem.

CamStudio can also add high-quality, anti-aliased (no jagged edges) screen captions to your recordings in seconds and with the unique Video Annotation feature you can even personalise your videos by including a webcam movie of yourself “picture-in-picture” over your desktop.
And if all that wasn’t enough, CamStudio also comes with its own Lossless Codec that produces crystal clear results with a much smaller filesize compared with other more popular codecs, like Microsoft Video 1.

You have total control over the output of your video: you can choose to use custom cursors, to record the whole screen or just a section of it and can reduce or increase the quality of the recording depending on if you want smaller videos (for emailing to people, for instance) or you can have “best quality” ones for burning onto CD/DVD.

But all of these features would be worthless if CamStudio wasn’t easy to use … fortunately that’s not the case. CamStudio can be learned in a matter of minutes and comes with a comprehensive built-in helpfile, so if you do manage to get stuck, you can simply hit “Help” and get the answers you need.

So where can I get it and how much does it cost?

You can download and use it completely free – yep – completely 100% free for your personal and commercial projects as CamStudio and the Codec are released under the GPL (for more details on this license, click here.)

There are no royalties or any monies to pay – although if you do use it for a commercial product, I wouldn’t say no to a copy of whatever you produce!

Useful Links:
CamStudio:
http://www.camstudio.org/CamStudio20.exe
Lossless Codec:
http://www.camstudio.org/CamStudioCodec10.zip

Thanks RenderSoftware for an awesome app!! [Via TechFires]

_TheFreeLovingAdmiN_

A lot of users don’t use MSN Messenger but it comes pre-installed and runs all on its on. It can annoy the hell out of people who want control over their machine. GO figure you own the machine, the software and everything else but M$ dictates how everything is supposed to work!

Here is a quick way to get MSN Messenger to show up in Add/Remove programs. But note before you do this – if you use Outlook or Outlook Express it will slow down their load times as they try to start up MSN Messenger.

  • Locate SYSOC.INF in the \Windows\INF folder (hidden file and folder)
  • Open it in Notepad
  • Locate the line: msmsgs=msgrocm.dll,OcEntry,msmsgs.inf,hide,7
  • Remove the word “hide” from the line and save the file.

Now if you check your Add/Remove programs in your control panel MSN Messenger will now appear and allow you to remove it! As always editing your registry can do permanent harm to your machine. Back up before doing anything and Don’t make other changes just to make changes :)

_TheHatesMsnAdmiN_

Have you entered our “It’s A Fricking Laser Giveaway” Yet?

I get asked this one A LOT – it’s right up there with “Where is my right mouse button?” and “Where’s the start Menu?” We enjoyed this response and thought it would be nice to share it.

After using a mac for coming up on 3 years, not one single time has the operating system crashed, frozen, or had any other type of hang ups.

However, sometimes applications will freeze up and you get the spinning ball that just wont go away. You can either sit there and wait for it to time out and eventually close, or you can do a Force Quit on the application causing problems.

The Force Quit is not a Jedi mind trick even though it slightly sounds like it could be. The Force Quit is a lot like the ever familiar control alt delete on a PC. To initiate a force quit just hit the option+apple+escape key command and a window with all of your currently running applications will pop up. If an application is not responding, then it will show up in red and have a “not responding” message next to it. Just highlight it in the list and press Force Quit. The application will instantly close and you can go about your business. [Mac Utopia]

Makes you want to get you key combo on eh?

_TheWindowsOnTheBrainAdmiN_

Okay, I have been politely asked by Karl to bring a little bit of Mac/Apple love to this blog. While I think this may just be part of his devious plot to get a Apple Air for review, I have agreed to oblige. So here it is my first Ask the Admin’s Mac Tip.

All of the tips I will offer up are going to be answers to questions I have either had myself or that I have identified as widespread issues. My first tip is a simple one, but also a necessary one.

The Question: What the hell happened to all the space on my hard drive.

While searching for an answer to this question I found a number of methods ranging from manually cataloging the contents of all my folders (who is really that anal retentive?) to terminal queries (who really uses the terminal?). Anyway my search for the best tool led me to Disk Inventory X (external link to product download site). This program is an excellent way to concisely see what exactly is on your disks. The program has been around for a bit, and it gaining a good bit of notoriety, partially because its so pretty, but also because it is damn useful.

Did I mention it’s totally free?


Disk Inventory X is an easy to use visualization tool that combs your hard disk identifying, grouping, and color coding each file. What you get is a full color representation, using treemaps, of your drive which allows you to see what files and file types are eating up your disk space. In my case, I identified 25 gigs (thats not a typo) of Samurai Jack cartoons that had been bit-torrented 2 years ago, and were sitting in a third level sub-folder where they had never been opened.

Disk Inventory X is a simple download, and once unpacked it only takes a few minutes to categorize your disk. After that, use the results to identify, delete, or relocate the file types that are eating up your space. Unfortunately Disk Inventory X cannot make the tough decisions for you, and cannot categorize files by taste, so it is up to you to delete all those N’Sync and Kenny G tracks you grabbed for that girl you were dating in 1995.

Check the program out, you won’t be disappointed.

Questions or comments on this tip? Post them in the comments section. What do you guys want to see more of?

Have you entered our “It’s A Fricking Laser Giveaway” Yet? What are you waiting for? This is as close to a real light sabre as you are going to get!

Are you excited?

Lasers are right up there with jetpacks in my book and they are a lot cheaper!

Don’t get me wrong they are still expensive but it is now definitely in any mad scientist’s budget. Let’s watch guest blogger David reap the benefits of being affiliated with AtA as he plays with his very own laser.

(I keep doing those doctor evil air quotes every time I say laser – in case you were interested!)

I mean c’mon its a fricking laser guys! Read through the article for your chance to win one for yourself! There is also a 10% off source code just for AtA readers – “asktheadmin”.


Wicked Lasers will be sponsoring One Elite 150+ laser, One pair of laser safety goggles, and a set of optics for this contest. The contest will run for two weeks starting….NOW!

Entering is easy all you need to do is leave a comment on this post stating what kind of evil shinanigans Fun ways you plan on using your new laser for. Be creative, be funny – stand out for our robot overlords who will be picking the winner at random. And without further blabing here is David’s review <...TheAdmiN...>:

The aptly named Elite Series, comes from a company possessing Bostonian verbiage to its fullest ala Wicked Lasers. Let me start off by saying the Elite laser, their High power laser pointer, is absolutely amazing to the fullest extent of the word. Thanks guys for sending this out to me and letting me review it for AskTheAdmin.com.
It can be summed up with two words uncommonly associated with lasers, bright and chick-magnet. Well, I guess only one of those is uncommon and the latter is more of a phrase.


Anyhow, several nights ago, I tested the beams full power by aiming it at some nearby clouds. It turns out that everyone within a mile radius was able to see the beam piercing the night sky (I am aware of this as people came out in droves to see what was causing this dazzling light display, including females, and now the chick-magnet reference makes sense). It was as though I was harnessing the power of the God’s and beaming a glittering green spectacle of light into the heavens.

Thats right it is a GREEN laser pointer. Not only is the laser ultra bright, but the truly unbelievable thing is the fact that the beam can be seen not only during the night, but is visible in the day as well, although to a much lesser extent. The Wicked laser sites description of the laser includes “lighting matches, burning and melting with lasers has never been so simple” and that statement is about as true as saying Honest Abe was the 16th President.

The laser puts on a stunning display with its ability to ignite matches in a couple of seconds. Additionally, the laser is able to burn wood, slice through trash bags, and even pop balloons, however I have yet to test the lasers full capabilities.

The laser feels just right in ones hand, not too heavy, not too light, but just right (kind of like that one story with the bears and a girl named Goldilocks). It is well constructed, sturdy and has a beautiful metallic finish. The Elite uses two AAA batteries and is at maximum brightness for the first ten minutes of the batteries life, and batteries last for about 90 minutes in this behemoth. Operation is simple, as it literally at the push of a button, one that sits flush with the lasers cylindrical case.

The model I played with called The Elite is a green laser operating at the 532 nm wavelength and is about the same size as your average pen laser, but a lot more powerful. The laser has a variety of uses, well other than amazing friends, such as stargazing since the green beam is easy to follow even in light conditions.

The Elite Series is quite the piece of gadgetry and is sure to amaze your friends and anyone else who catches a glimpse of the remarkable beam, will soon want to be your friend too (Edit Great for lonely dorks and mad scientists!). The device comes in three variations, increasing in price and power, from $499-$699 available at the Wicked Lasers site. The company also sells red, blue, in addition to the green lasers like the Elite Series. Dont forget the checkout source code of asktheadmin to take 10% off your laser purchase.

The laser is truly a must see, the amount of real uses may be limited, but entertainment value is limitless. And if you need any ideas of what to do with your new high quality laser, a wealth of knowledge is available at their laser pointer forum.

David Fried

You read that right homeboy.

Now that I have jumped deep into the pool that is Apple I have discovered some tricks that those fan boys don’t want you to know.

I am going to combine two of them into one tip for you out there in AtA land.

They are reading ANY MAC disk on your PC or from within BootCamp. And the other is to use Mac’s fancy smancy ultra insecure target disk mode to turn a MAC of your choosing into nothing more than a glorified firewire drive sans security!

NO SECURITY! What was Jobsy thinking?

You may or may not know that while booting up your Mac OS X machine if you hold down the T key as in ‘Target Disk Mode’ you will boot up to a large firewire logo. You are now in target disk mode. This is made so you can connect another MAC and seemlessly transfer gobs of information from the two of them.
The MAC that is in target disk mode shows up as a volume on your mac. Now if you have a firewire port and a buddy’s your womans and your own Mac Book you can try this at home. We know you are dying to see if you can access its files after you throw it into target disk mode, plug her into your PC and keep on rolling.
I’ll wait go try it out!
Normally it would not because the HFS disk is not readable by a PC… Sorry for being a spoil sport but who told you to stop reading :)

At least it does not see it by default.

Going way back there is MacDrive . It lets you view MAC volumes on your PC and this works great with target disk mode and a PC but it costs about $40 and that just sucks! But after doing my due dilligence I found HFSX Viewer which lets you do the same thing (kinda) currently it only allows to read and copy and not modify but hey if you are going into steal data snoop around recover files than your all good. And it is FREE!
Don’t worry we won’t tell… Unless they bribe us that is!

Oh and I have one more use for this HFSXplorer - use it on a PC to view/copy files from you iPod! Now if it could only write… Hmm Maybe MacDisk is an alternative after all!
(Must… Kick… BitTorrent… addiction!!)

This morning we had a request for adding a “High Priority Folder”.

This would be a top level folder that shows up on your Windows desktop and in My Computer. Didn’t think you could do that? Well read on…

The folder we will be creating can not be removed – just like My Computer or My Documents. Easy accessibility for your most used folder.

You can assign the folder to be anywhere you have access to and use your own icon file for it. It will be the first view you see in any Open File box.

We found the step by step from PcTools talking about windows 2000. With a few slight mods we got it working on XP and it should work on Vista as well.

Now you can create your own custom system folder, like “My Documents”, that can not be deleted or renamed and place it on the desktop and My Computer. All you need to do is add a handful of registry entries. The last two steps add the shortcut to My Computer and The Desktop. You can do one or the other.

Editing the registry can be dangerous so be careful and make a backup before you begin!

  1. Create the following series of keys and values in the registry at [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID] or [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID]. The GUID, globally unique identifier, can be a random number, in this example “FD4DF9E0-E3DE-11CE-BFCF-ABCD1DE12345″ is used. See this article for more GUID examples.
  2. Create a new key called [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{FD4DF9E0-E3DE-11CE-BFCF-ABCD1DE12345}] and set (Default) to equal the name of the folder e.g. “My Folder”.
  3. Create a new sub-key under the main key called “DefaultIcon” (i.e. [HKEY_CLASSES...ABCD1DE12345}\DefaultIcon]) and set (Default) to equal the filename for the icon you want to display e.g. “c:\windows\myicon.ico”.
  4. Create a new sub-key under the main key called “InProcServer32″ (i.e. [HKEY_CLASSES...ABCD1DE12345}\InProcServer32]) and set (Default) to equal “shell32.dll”, also create a new String value called “ThreadingModel” and set it to “Apartment”.
  5. Create a set of sub-keys starting at the main key “Shell\Open My Menu\Command” (i.e. [HKEY_CLASSES...ABCD1DE12345}\Shell\Open My Folder\Command]) and set (Default) to equal the command to execute when clicked, in this case explorer, e.g. “explorer /root,c:\MyFolder”.
  6. Create a set of sub-keys starting at the main key “ShellEx\PropertySheetHandlers\{FD4DF9E0-E3DE-11CE-BFCF-ABCD1DE12345}”
    (i.e. [HKEY_CLASSES...ABCD1DE12345}\ShellEx\PropertySheetHandlers
    \{FD4DF9E0-E3DE-11CE-BFCF-ABCD1DE12345}])
  7. Create a new sub-key under the main key called “ShellFolder” (i.e. [HKEY_CLASSES...ABCD1DE12345}\ShellFolder]) and create a new Binary value called “Attributes” and set it to “00 00 00 00″.
  8. (Optional) To place the folder on the desktop add the following key:
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\
    Explorer\Desktop\NameSpace\{FD4DF9E0-E3DE-11CE-BFCF-ABCD1DE12345}]
  9. (Optional) To place the folder in My Computer add the following key:
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\
    Explorer\MyComputer\NameSpace\{FD4DF9E0-E3DE-11CE-BFCF-ABCD1DE12345}]

Now the folder cannot be deleted from the desktop or My Computer, nor can it be renamed other than removing the CLSID and the entries under NAME SPACE.

If you flucked shit up Are Banging your head against you desk messed up on any typing a blank icon will appear on your desktop or in My Computer – go back and check for any erroneous characters!

_TheMyShortcutsBetterThanYoursAdmiN_

We covered what services can be disabled or stopped for Windows XP here and now here is your quick guide to speeding up your Vista machine the same way.

Don’t expect to have Vista flying on the same Pentium III machine – there are still system requirements. BUT these steps can significantly speed up your existing install.

First disable Aero as it is a huge memory hog. Then move on to the services below.

This article assumes that you do know how to start/stop/disable services on your machine. (If you don’t just shout at me in the comments or via email)

How to disable a service in Vista:

  • Click on the Start Orb
  • Type services.msc in the search box
  • You might be prompted by a UAC box.
  • Click continue, or learn how to disable UAC here.
  • Right click a service, and choose Stop to stop it immediately
  • For services you are unable to stop it until after reboot. Right click and choose properties. Then select disable from the drop-down menu.

The services printed in black can safely be disabled.
The ones in red are only to be disabled if you are in a single client environment – not sharing files.
The ones in blue are conditional – meaning read the statement and make sure you don’t use it!

Remember to disable the service if you do not want it to ever run again. You can also stop a service and set it to manual so if another service needs it – it can run it.

  • Cryptographic Services – Vista’s built in service for checking that a driver is signed.
  • Diagnostic Policy Service – Watches Windows system files and try to reload them on any error. I get a lot of false positives so I disabled this.
  • Distributed Link Tracking Client – Allows for accessing Network Files. Don’t share files? Don’t need it!
  • IKE and AuthIP IPsec Keying Modules – Security protocols for file sharing/remote log on. Again if your are not using them disable it.
  • IP Helper – Support for IPv6 (No one uses this pseudo standard yet!)
  • IPsec Policy Agent – Required for some ISP’s and VPN’s
  • Messenger Sharing Folders USN Journal – Required by V8 or earlier of MSN for file xfers.
  • Network List Service – Keeps a list of networks you are connected to and watches your Internet connection.
  • Network Location Awareness – Shares network information with your system. Disabling kills printer and file sharing.
  • Offline Files – Breaks Offline files. Big boost if you don’t use them.
  • Print Spooler – Only Disable if you don’t print to a printer. This will slow down printing!
  • Program Compatibility Assistant – Kills the Previous OS Compatibility. You can still run older programs but the compatibility tab in the shortcut properties will not work.
  • Readyboost – If you are not using a ReadyBoost Drive Kill it!
  • Server – Allows you to share files and printers through your LAN. Not sharing? Kill it!
  • Shell Hardware Detection – Kills the auto play features for CDs, DVDs and USB drives.
  • Tablet PC Input Service – Are you using a tablet? This one is a no-brainer!
  • Windows Error Reporting Service – Does what it says no more windows error reports…
  • Windows Image Acquisition (WIA) – Allows for pictures to be grabbed from a scanner or camera that does not install its own browser. Disable this if you don’t use a camera/scanner or use proprietary software to download your pics.
  • Windows Time – Syncs up your windows time to a time server on the web. Do you need it in a home environment? Probably not! But on a network it should be running.
  • Do you have more ways to speed up Vista? Put us on in the comments!

    _TheHaveToRunVistaAdmiN_

    So a fellow writer on MakeUseOf – Tina put me to this quick Windows tip that I surprisingly never heard of before. I love things that cut out needing third party tools!


    To rename a bunch of files with the same name and consecutively number them follow these steps:

    1. Open a folder with files you wish to rename.
    2. Select all the files you wish to rename.
    3. Right-click on the first file in the list and select “Rename” from the menu.
    4. Now enter the name you wish to give all of the files. Make sure you don’t remove the .filetype if it is shown. Enter a (1) (preceded by a space) as the final part of the name so that all files are numbered consecutively.

    So if you started with a bunch of files called DCIM1234.JPG through DCIM1599.JPG you can quickly convert them to AskTheAdminPics(1).jpg through AskTheAdminPics(365).

    Good Tip! Thanks Tina.

    _TheRenamingAdmiN_

    We did this piece on Mosio a while back and since then they have grown and we have grown to love them. Did we mention that all of the AtA guys are addicted to the Mosio? Read through our humorous rants and then check out a quick interview with Mosio creator Jay Sachdev. He tells us about whats new and how Mosio’s back end works…

    Flashback October 2007…

    I came across Mosio during my normal 6 hours-a-day surfing the web. I signed up for the service a few months ago and I don’t think I really grasped how cool Mosio was until I was at the bar.


    A couple of my fraternity brothers were having a heated debate over the (ever so) political topic of whose breasts are bigger Pamela Anderson or Elvira. A light bulb flashed over my head and I said text that question to ask@mosio.com… No wait do it from my phone.

    We did it while I was explaining that this site has a service where real live people can answer your questions via text message, and usually pretty quickly – did I mention it was Free? Yeah you knew that was coming right?!?

    AskTheAdmin has covered Wikipedia’s sms app and a few others. None of them gives you that extra zing of being answered by a real live person and not a machine. The first time i hit it up I asked it if it could find a review of AskTheAdmin.com. Two people found me a review I had never seen before , and summarized it. I got back a text message that said AskTheAdmin.com is a great website there is a review about them on TechWag.com. 5 seconds later I got another one saying AtA is all over StumbleUpon. Almost makes me feel famous :) but back to my original question – the boobs…

    We were drunk. So while I was explaining Mosio they had already forgotten about the boobs and were intent on asking Mosio all sorts of stupid questions! Then a text popped up on my phone…

    Pamela of course have you seen her in a bathing suit?

    BAM! As usual I was right but, this time the fight ended so much easier… And a lot more peaceful! Now you can’t put a price on that! Obviously you can use this for other things as well.

    How about directions, movie listings, froogle prices anything you could have looked up in front of a computer – now someone else can look it up and text you! Sweet!

    They also have a bunch of mobile apps here. As you can imagine the Chuck Noris Quote Generator was right up our alley but we pointed and stared at the Text reminders – another handy tool! Wow these mosio guys thought of everything!

    Check it out, sign up, add them as a contact on your phone right next to goog411 and wikipedia. Hey they are free why not make use of them.

    _TheDrunkAdmiN_


    AskTheAdmin meets Mosio’s own Jay Sachdev:

    AtA: Hey Jay it has been a while since AtA reviewed Mosio, what is new and exciting in question and answer land?

    Mosio: We’re working on inventing a new punctuation mark that means “yes,that was sarcasm”, as we’re finding it doesn’t translate too well into text. : )

    AtA: How many subscribers do you have now? How rapidly are you growing.

    Mosio: While we’ve decided not to release stats like the amount of users wehave, I can say that we’re growing steadily and we’re happy with ourgrowth. We are doing what we can to increase growth, too.

    We just launched Twitter Answers (mosio.com/twitter), and that enables people tolink their Mosio and Twitter accounts, so you can now ask questions anyway that you can send a direct message to twitter, includinginternational SMS, instant message, even through Twitter’s API.
    Asking questions online may seem to defeat the purpose of Mosio, whichthus far has served as remote hands for cell phone users, giving themaccess to the web, but pushing the bounds of Mosio is something we’reinterested in watching.

    Check out these questions:

    AtA: How did you come up with the idea for Mosio?

    Mosio: Well before the day of the iPhone, when even Treos & Blackberrysweren’t very common, we talked a lot about how to make our phones moreuseful. It really hit home one day when I was out and about, and neededa friend’s phone number – a number I knew was on her website. I calledeveryone I knew, but nobody was at a computer, so I couldn’t get hernumber. My thought was to write a script to parse phone numbers out ofweb pages and SMS them back to you. Noel started thinking about someother useful tools, and eventually we hit on the idea of posting thequestion to a site where a community of ppl know to answer it.

    AtA: Can you tell our reader about your backend system? What makes the Mosio gears spin? Be as technical as you can we are all geeks here!

    Mosio: We actually just moved servers the other day, so I’vere-familiarized myself with the bowels of our technology. It works howyou’d imagine it to work: sms’s, emails, http posts all get parsed forinput, evaluated for privileges, and then entered into the database.Once in the database (MySql 5.0), the processing script (PHP 5) parsesthe new entries and figures out what to do with them. In the case of anew question, it gets added to the web page, then notifications are sentout: instant messages, emails, and sms’s go out to anyone who’s signedup for them, so people can answer the questions.

    Our new machine is a Dual-Core AMD Opteron with 4 gigs of ram and drivesarranged in Raid 1. We noticed a huge speed improvement indatabase-intensive page loads (mostly on the administrative side) whenwe switched from our old machine, which was an Intel P4 2.0GHz with only 1 GB of ram.

    The changeover to the new server was, well, fun. I didn’t want anydowntime, so I put up a test version of Mosio on the new server under adifferent subdomain. We were upgrading from PHP 4 to 5, and from MySql 4to 5, so I wanted to be sure we weren’t using any obsoleted functions.We also changed our smtp server from Postfix to Qmail, and I needed tomake sure mail was properly delivering to the processing scripts.

    Anyway, boring details aside, to get no downtime while swapping the DNSand without confusing users with weird subdomains, I configured bothmachines to use the MySql DB on the old machine, setup slave replicationto the DB on the new machine to keep the two in sync, and setup the oldmachine to relay mail to the new machine. This did its job, but wasslower than I’d hoped it would be. I only did it this way because Iwanted to be able to pull back to the old machine in case the new onewas misconfigured. Once it had been thoroughly tested in the liveenvironment and dns had propagated, the old machine was pulled out ofthe loop altogether, and you’ve got what you see today.

    AtA: What was your favorite submitted question of all time?

    Mosio: The ones about ask the admin, of course : )

    AtA: We heard rumors of an AtA/Mosio application… Any truth to that?

    Mosio: We’re super excited about this one, building as quickly as we canand will let you know when it’s ready

    Thanks to Jay, Noel and the rest of the Mosio gang!

    Are you excited?

    Lasers are right up there with jetpacks in my book and they are a lot cheaper!

    Don’t get me wrong they are still expensive but it is now definitely in any mad scientist’s budget. Let’s watch guest blogger David reap the benefits of being affiliated with AtA as he plays with his very own laser.

    (I keep doing those doctor evil air quotes every time I say laser – in case you were interested!)

    I mean c’mon its a fricking laser guys! Read through the article for your chance to win one for yourself! There is also a 10% off source code just for AtA readers – “asktheadmin”.


    Wicked Lasers will be sponsoring One Elite 150+ laser, One pair of laser safety goggles, and a set of optics for this contest. The contest will run for two weeks starting….NOW!

    Entering is easy all you need to do is leave a comment on this post stating what kind of evil shinanigans Fun ways you plan on using your new laser for. Be creative, be funny – stand out for our robot overlords who will be picking the winner at random. And without further blabing here is David’s review :

    The aptly named Elite Series, comes from a company possessing Bostonian verbiage to its fullest ala Wicked Lasers. Let me start off by saying the Elite laser, their High power laser pointer, is absolutely amazing to the fullest extent of the word. Thanks guys for sending this out to me and letting me review it for AskTheAdmin.com.
    It can be summed up with two words uncommonly associated with lasers, bright and chick-magnet. Well, I guess only one of those is uncommon and the latter is more of a phrase.


    Anyhow, several nights ago, I tested the beams full power by aiming it at some nearby clouds. It turns out that everyone within a mile radius was able to see the beam piercing the night sky (I am aware of this as people came out in droves to see what was causing this dazzling light display, including females, and now the chick-magnet reference makes sense). It was as though I was harnessing the power of the God’s and beaming a glittering green spectacle of light into the heavens.

    Thats right it is a GREEN laser pointer. Not only is the laser ultra bright, but the truly unbelievable thing is the fact that the beam can be seen not only during the night, but is visible in the day as well, although to a much lesser extent. The Wicked laser sites description of the laser includes “lighting matches, burning and melting with lasers has never been so simple” and that statement is about as true as saying Honest Abe was the 16th President.

    The laser puts on a stunning display with its ability to ignite matches in a couple of seconds. Additionally, the laser is able to burn wood, slice through trash bags, and even pop balloons, however I have yet to test the lasers full capabilities.

    The laser feels just right in ones hand, not too heavy, not too light, but just right (kind of like that one story with the bears and a girl named Goldilocks). It is well constructed, sturdy and has a beautiful metallic finish. The Elite uses two AAA batteries and is at maximum brightness for the first ten minutes of the batteries life, and batteries last for about 90 minutes in this behemoth. Operation is simple, as it literally at the push of a button, one that sits flush with the lasers cylindrical case.

    The model I played with called The Elite is a green laser operating at the 532 nm wavelength and is about the same size as your average pen laser, but a lot more powerful. The laser has a variety of uses, well other than amazing friends, such as stargazing since the green beam is easy to follow even in light conditions.

    The Elite Series is quite the piece of gadgetry and is sure to amaze your friends and anyone else who catches a glimpse of the remarkable beam, will soon want to be your friend too (Edit Great for lonely dorks and mad scientists!). The device comes in three variations, increasing in price and power, from $499-$699 available at the Wicked Lasers site. The company also sells red, blue, in addition to the green lasers like the Elite Series. Dont forget the checkout source code of asktheadmin to take 10% off your laser purchase.

    The laser is truly a must see, the amount of real uses may be limited, but entertainment value is limitless. And if you need any ideas of what to do with your new high quality laser, a wealth of knowledge is available at their laser pointer forum.

    David Fried

    So we heard about one way to get a slow computer up and running but it involved making the jump to Linux. Now lets say for arguments sake you can’t go the way of el di pablo and Push Ubuntu on your Woman?

    We couldn’t get her to use that Pentium 3 with XP because it runs like a snail. And of course she wont run 2000 because “that’s an outdated operating system” (this she knows! lol)!

    It turns out we can stop a bunch of services and make some mods to get down to running a minimalistic version of Windows XP (pro or home). These instructions are for a machine that will not be on a domain! Will not use internet connection sharing, Will not use the windows firewall.Windows update will not work until you turn back on two services. Instructions below.


    This will create a decent machine for you or your significant other to browse the web and work on office documents. Who would have thought Windows XP was so bloated!

    Step One Install Windows Xp on your machine as a CLEAN install. Don’t install OFFICE!

    Step two Goto my computer properties, Advanced >>> Performance >>> Visual effects and turn off effects

    Step Three Open up services and run through them disabling the ones on the following list

    • Alerter
    • Application Layer Gateway Service
      (Internet Connection Sharing and the Internet Connection Firewall)
    • Automatic Updates
    • Background Intelligent Transfer Service
      Uses idle network bandwidth to transfer data. (For windows updates)
    • ClipBook
    • Computer Browser If you are on a network with other computers, and need to see them, this may be a useful tool. Otherwise, disable it.
    • Cryptographic Services
    • Distributed Transaction Coordinator
    • Error Reporting Service
    • Help and Support
    • Human Interface Device Access
    • Indexing Service
    • Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) / Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)
      Provides network address translation, addressing, name resolution and/or intrusion prevention services for a home or small office network. We do all of this via our router.
    • Messenger
    • Net Logon (only used in a domain)
    • NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing
    • Remote Desktop Help Session Manager
    • Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Locator
    • Remote Registry
    • System Restore Service (This one i will leave up to you)
    • TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper
    • Telephony (If you use a modem to connect to the internet, leave it enabled.)
    • Telnet
    • Terminal Services (unless you will need to remotely connect to this machine – doubtful)
    • Themes
    • Uninterruptible Power Supply
    • Upload Manager
    • Windows Time
    • Workstation

    Download OpenOffice or any other variation just because MS Office is a memory hog! Use FoxIt instead of Adobe PDF reader… Thats it you should have a tight little system now. If you can bump the memory up – Do it! Old memory is cheap on eBay or you might be able to find it on Crucial.com!

    After turning off the suggested services you will not be able to use Windows Updates unless you turn back on on:

    1. Automatic Updates
    2. Background Intelligent Transfer Service

    Have You Entered Our “Its A Friggin’ Laser” Contest Yet?

    _TheUnBloatedAdmiN_

    This was brought back from the AtA archives for you Jill! We normally stick to our computers and such but REVENGE is always a good topic! Lets put our love of gadgets to good use…

    But First have you entered our Win A Frickin’ Laser Contest?!?!

    “Alright let me start out by saying there is this woman who works in my office, who is SUPER annoying. She annoys everyone around her. She has her own office but comes over to “Visit” with everyone spreading the urgency to kill her. Now I don’t want to resort to violence is there a Techie way I can annoy her?”

    We have something that sounds like it might be what you need. For $10 this will be hours and hours of fun loving entertainment / revenge We found this over @ thinkGeek:

    The ThinkGeek Annoy-a-tron would be useless against an army of Snowbots, but it’s very effective at disturbing that guy in the sales department or your “friend” down the hall. With its thin design and embedded magnet for easy hiding, the Annoy-a-tron can be placed in a variety of locations. Select one of the three sound choices (2 kHz, 12 kHz, or alternating) and push the switch to the on position. Place it in a proper hiding spot and let the “fun” begin.

    The Annoy-a-tron generates a short (but very annoying, hence the name) beep every few minutes. Your unsuspecting target will have a hard time ‘timing’ the location of the sound because the beeps will vary in intervals ranging from 2 to 8 minutes. The 2kHz sound is generically annoying enough, but if you really really want to aggravate somebody, select the 12 kHz sound. Trust us. The higher frequency and slight ‘electronic noise’ built into that soundbyte will make a full-grown Admin wonder where his packets are.

      3 simple steps.
    • Turn on.*
    • Hide it.
    • Muahahaha…

    Assuming you have done your part in selecting a suitable hiding location for the Annoy-a-tron, it will do its part to drive your co-workers slowly mad with its short and seemingly random beeps. And when someone does locate the Annoy-a-tron, they’re really not going to know what it is – which is almost as much fun as watching them search for it. Muahaha.

    The Annoy-a-tron takes one CR2032 battery (included) and measures approximately: 2.5″ x 1.25″ x .3″. It will run for 3 to 4 weeks on a single battery.

    Some Recommendations:

    • Don’t hide it inside of food (the chemicals in a burrito are known to be quite destructive to electrical components)
    • You should probably avoid the area near your local BOFH (we understand that most likely you are the local BOFH, but still please take note)
    • Yes, we realize you could buy a dozen and hide them all inside someone’s office (oh, did we say that out loud?)
    • Please reserve the use of the Annoy-a-tron for deserving subjects only (we’ll leave it up to you to determine who qualifies)
    • * Note: Please remember to remove the small plastic tab underneath battery.

    Not convinced of the Annoy-a-tron’s evil powers?

    Read this letter we received from a satisfied customer and be enlightened:

    Dear friends at thinkgeek.com,

    I recently acquired the “Annoy-A-Tron” from your web site. Actually, I acquired two, thinking that perhaps two devices might be necessary to truly splinter the minds of my friends and co-workers. How woefully did I underestimate this powerful tool.

    I have watched this simple device transform an (until-now) mild-mannered colleague into a spitting, cussing, paranoid lunatic.

    He has ordered all of the staff he supervises (not a small number) to locate the source of the dread beeping before doing anything else (but since they are in on the prank, they haven’t been much help). So he waits, white-knuckles gripping the edge of his desk, anticipating the next beep.

    He has set a timer on his computer to track the duration between beeps. It hasn’t been much help.

    My favorite quote so far, nearly bursting that vein on his temple as he shouted it: “That beep has been F***ING with me for HOURS now.”

    He has called the facilities department to schedule a maintenance worker to investigate.

    He speculates that “they” might be doing air-quality testing in the building. This beep must be some device in the ducts detecting dangerous levels of asbestos in the air. Or worse. Radon? Aerosolized mercury? Legionella spores?

    The beep means something. What does the beep mean? Is it a warning? It sounds urgent, doesn’t it? It’s telling us to do something. But what? Replace a battery? Call the authorities? Evacuate the premises? Scrub ourselves with disinfectant and put on haz-mat suits and call our families to give them our tearful goodbyes?

    I imagine that soon he will begin to take things apart. He will methodically dismantle all of the electrical devices in his office, creating an unusually precise metaphor for what is happening in his psyche.

    I am reminded what a thin and fragile thread keeps us attached to sanity. Today, this tiny little device helped me break a co-worker’s mind, and I thank you for the sinfully pleasurable schadenfreude.

    My best to you,
    John
    Seattle, WA

    And for another way to Annoy the hell out of some one legally check this out…

    _TheMuhahahahaAdmiN_

    AtA covered Simulscribe’s Voicemail Transcription Service here. Commodore found it to be a great productivity tool. But after chatting with David Gerzof, their Chief Marketing Officer I found out there is another great component to their service.

    Can anyone say Visual Voicemail?


    This was the feature that had people going ga-ga over the iPhone. You remember that thing, don’t you? Well, this small light weight application gets downloaded directly to your device from Mobile.simulsays.com. It is a small client that sort of resembles an email application. And that is actually very close to how it works as well. It works with Windows Mobile and Blackberry devices.


    Simulsays will go out and check your voicemail box for new messages. It will display when and who a message was from and you can read a transcript! The transcription isn’t working for you? Is it your wife calling to yell at you? Then just click the message and listen to an audio clip. The audio clips are so super small – its baffling!

    Stuck in a meeting and its not polite to check your voicemail – but somehow it is OK to check your email. Now your voicemail is sitting there giving you all the cold hard details – in writing.


    But wait there is more… How about clicking on who called and being able to return the message? Clicking “Send SMS to Caller” will open a text message to them with the to field pre-populated. Or you can forward along the transcription via email.



    All this and no more calling into voicemail? How will I ever cope?

    Oh wait I hate voicemail and now I am hooked on Simulscribe!


    Thanks guys for putting me on. Visual Voicemail (aka SimulSays) is a free add on to any of their Simulscribe plans. And you can test it out for free. Just sign up with this link and Simulscribe will give you 30 days to get hooked instead of the normal 7. Don’t say we never hook you up!

    _TheServicePushingAdmiN_


    We have all seen it before – You delete a file from a mapped or shared drive and it does not go to your recycle bin.

    This has just been the way it is for a while now on Windows based operating systems. But Vista has now built in a little more support to help you with your accidental deletions on your network.

    Now if you are like me this is no big deal to you as you always have backups and why would you delete something that you need… Right? Yeah but if you are like me and support a gagillion end users who call 9 times a day with that….


    Ummm yeah I seem to be missing my file from my home directory. It was there before but now its not.

    What happened to it?

    I deleted it. Can you recover it for me?

    9 times out of 10 this is not a big deal and i use shadow copy to restore them. But when I have to go to my LTO2 Tapes it can be time consuming. If you are using Vista on the desktop you can now enable your users recycle bin to also catch deleted files or folders from specified network directories. Why isn’t this on for all your shares by default? Beats the hell out of me.

    But to enable it this is where you need to right click on your recycle bin, choose properties, then choose the network tab and add the shares you want security from.

    Does anyone out there know how to do this via Group Policy?

    _TheRecycledAdmiN_

    Did you know that you can add or change the search engine that sits in your upper right corner of your fox browser?

    One of our readers, Alex wanted to replace his default live search with ask or Google. What you have by default depends on where you downloaded your installer from.

    There is a pull down next to the search box that you can pick a different engine! Sweet.



    Some of the pre-configured options are:

    A9
    Amazon’s A9 search engine
    Ask.com
    Better tools get you better results.
    BBC News
    Search for the latest news from the BBC.
    Business.com
    Find information to help manage and grow your business.
    del.icio.us
    Search through most bookmarked sites.
    ESPN
    Get the latest sports news, scores, and highlights.
    Expedia
    Search for hotels by destination with Expedia’s Best Price Guarantee.
    Flickr
    Search for photos on Flickr.
    Hollywood
    Search for movies and movie listings
    IMDB
    The Internet Movie Database.
    LinkedIn
    Search your LinkedIn network for the people you need when you are on any Web site.
    Live.com
    Live.com search engine.
    Lonely Planet
    Search through Lonely Planet’s travel guides.
    MarketWatch
    Stock quote look-up and financial information.
    Merriam-Webster
    English dictionary search.
    Technorati
    A real-time search engine that keeps track of what is going on in the blogosphere
    USA Today
    Find the latest news from across the USA and around the world.
    Weather Channel
    Enter city, state or zip code to find your weather information.
    Wikipedia
    The incredible free encyclopedia.
    Yahoo! Answers
    Search real answers to real questions from real people.
    Yahooligans
    Search engine for kids and teens.


    And you can also add one thats not on the list by following these directions. But it takes some geeky knowledge to get to tweakin’. You can’t mess anything up but frustration can seriously make you pull your hair out of your head.

    What do you use in your search bar? Got any other firefox hacks? Hit us up in the comments – put us on!

    _TheCrazyLikeAFoxAdmiN_

    We get a lot of requests for deciphering Windows error messages.

    Today we will show you how I find out what an error means that I have not seen before.

    Yes that is correct I do not know EVERY single error code and source by heart.

    I am so sorry if I let you down… It’s just the way it is.

    Lets say you had some sort of problem, like the error on your left pops up on your screen. Like a good Admin you wind up in your Event Viewer (Right click my computer – Manage and then Event Viewer).

    You see some red X’s that denote an Error. You decide to see what’s up with your Service Control Manager error – Event ID 7023. A lot of our readers know this is a normal error (normal error?? Only in Windows!) created by disabling the Windows Firewall and can be ignored. But if you didn’t you can click the hyperlink to see more (minimal) information about your issue.

    Microsoft tells us:

    Explanation:
    The specified service stopped unexpectedly with the error
    indicated in the message. The service closed safely.

    User Action:
    To troubleshoot the error:
    Review the error information displayed in the message.

    To display the WIN32_EXIT_CODE error that SCM encountered, at the command prompt, typesc query service nameThe information displayed can help you troubleshoot possible causes for the error.

    This is all that Microsoft cares to share with you. Even though we sent your complete error message to them it only gives this generic response.

    Hmm that link tells us nothing! Thanks a lot Microsoft! So now you roll up your sleeve and go to hit up Google.

    But Wait!

    I can save you a step. Check out http://eventid.net/ It is not free but can be used as a free tool. They want a few dollars from you a month for all of their Event ID goodness but AtA has been using this site before they charged for it and we will continue using it until they lock it down without a credit card.

    (Edit: If it is worth the few buckeroos to you by all mean support them!)

    Go to their site and enter your Event ID and Source. The real deal answer at the top and solution will be unavailable to you without subscription BUT you can search that page for comments and we see some one posted:


    Service: Computer Browser – In a Windows XP SP2 environment, if you have disabled Windows Firewall/ICS service trough services manager this behavior is normal. Just enable this service and turn the firewall off from Control Panel -> Windows Firewall.

    That is if you need the Computer Browser service at all.


    Awesome there is the problem and solution! Right to the point! Why wouldn’t Billy Gates have added this to MS’s website? Now you know how to be self sufficent in your quest for answers to the cryptic error messages…. Anyone out there paying for this?

    They are also a great free resource for finding out what a service or port is here.

    Does anyone have a better, quicker or easier solution?

    _TheFreeLoadinAdmiN_

    One of my pet peeves is people with an antivirus that is not up to date. Seriously now, why even have antivirus if you are not keeping it up to date?

    For those of you out there that don’t have your antivirus up to date because you are too cheap to renew your license, don’t fret! You are in good hands. I am a cheap skate as well.

    Comodo is offering some fabulous FREE security software. Two of them I personally recommend, Comodo Antivirus and Comodo Firewall! Both of them come with a free lifetime license, which means no renewal fees ever! This also means, you can stay secure and still be a cheap skate!

    “Who is Comodo?” you ask?

    To quote their website, “Comodo is the 2nd largest Certification Authority for ensuring Identity Trust & Assurance on the web.” Basically, they are one of the many company’s out their that secure websites for banks and other businesses that do online transactions. (Kind of like Verisign). They offer the free software to get their names out there, a sort of free branding advertising if you will. Don’t worry though, this software isn’t ad-ware, and you won’t be getting annoying “Buy me!’ advertisements.

    I am currently using Comodo’s freeware on all of my computers at home, and they are working great! Uninstall your old, non-updated Antivirus now, and get Comodo in there right away! Don’t leave yourself open to an attack.

    Posted By El Di Pablo, A Guest Writer For AskTheAdmin.com. Keep up with his high tech antics on his blog at Bauer-Power.net.

    simulscribe review asktheadmin voicemailHello Boys and Girls,

    Can you imagine a world where your voicemails are automagically transcribed by a robot and sent to your email inbox?

    How would you like being able to read your voicemails instead of calling in for them?

    Commodore 64 back again after a short hiatus for the holidays and a whole lot of winter fun in the snow. I’ve also spent the last month or so trying this new service called Simulscribe. If you look closely at some Yellow Cabs in Manhattan, you’ll notice some of the cabs say Simulscribe on top. They are one and the same as the company which streamlined my voicemails for the past month.

    Simulscribe, from my experiences, is an awesome service for a guy like me.

    I, like many other schmos, am hopelessly stuck to my PDA. I’ve been stuck to my PDA ever since it was just a PDA. I remember being so happy when I got my first used Palm Vx in the mail, and oh how I giggled like school child the first time I beamed something thru an infra-red port. Now the PDA in many cases is a mobile office, with Wi-fi, Bluetooth 2.0, Edge and G3 with simultaneous phone calls, E-mail, SMS, MMS, Spreadsheet, Word Processor, Slide Viewer and unfortunately Voicemail.

    See the irony here kids? Voicemail is the dinosaur of communications. It is by far the slowest way I know to absorb information. And on top of that, it’s just one more thing you have to “check” 5 times a day, and twice a day on weekends. And who can forget the sloooooow menu systems for checking and deleting. It seems the natural order of things that a convergence is needed. In the true spirit of useful capitalism, Simulscribe came along and saved us some aggravation.

    The service works like this:

    You go through a one-time setup which essentially switches your phone account from using your current voicemail system, to Simulscribe’s voicemail systems. Except that Simulscribe’s voicemail systems are so much better. You basically have to enter a code in the phone that you are provided when you sign-up and Simulscribe begins to intercept any of your phone calls which would normally go to voicemail. At that point their system goes to work trying to transcribe as much of the message as it can, replacing whatever it can’t with question marks. It sends you this in a text message with the relevant caller-id included. It then sends an email to the account(s) of your choosing with the message as an ultra-small audio attachment.

    The end result is that you never have unread voicemails hanging around your phone like before, which was an annoyance in and of itself. Another interesting observation I’ve made is that the Simulscribe transcription system isn’t perfect – and rightfully so. With so many possible variances in voices, background noise, heavy ethnic accents it’s no wonder the system often times sends it’s share of question marks my way, but interestingly enough, it’s good enough. The fact of the matter is, most of the time I get 2 types of phone calls: the random “hey, how’s your mum call” which usually transcribes near if not perfect, and the “context call” where, even if the system doesn’t transcribe certain more complex words, you can usually, purely from context, understand the gist of the call from the words the system was able to transcribe. In the end the point gets across, which was the main need I had. The annoying touch-tone voicemail system was eliminated, and was now replaced with a text message that is 90% or better more often than not. If that doesn’t get the point across there’s an email right behind it with the message as an ultra-compressed audio attachment. Still, no annoying touch-tone voicemail system you have to go through. Now it plays in Windows Media Player Mobile on my terms when I feel like listening, if it’s even necessary in the less than 10% of cases where transcription was less than successful.

    In Simulscribe’s defense, most of the unsuccessful ones were from my father, whose heavy European accent would fool even a military grade transcription system. There is also a nifty online interface for managing your service options, as well as your transcribed messages. And if you are caught in an area where your PDA just isn’t swingin any net, their dial-in system works from any grimy payphone you can get your hands on.

    Who knows? You might actually come to miss interacting with an automated system and want to call in from time to time. Simulscribe has accomodated that as well.

    All in all the service is great. I’ve enjoyed using it and will definitely be subscribing. The best part is that the good peeps at Simulscribe were nice enough to extend an

    Normally you get a week to try the service, but if you use any of our links to sign up today – YOU GET TO TRY THE SERVICE FOR A WHOLE MONTH TOTALLY FREE!

    Free is the place for me, and aTa is the place for all kinds of cool, new free stuff.
    Stay tuned kiddies, C64 is making a comeback!

    So you have a function coming up in the next say… 10 minutes and you want nice name tags but you don’t have the time. Your Secretary is no where to be found?

    Want an easy solution?

    We have a free (minus the printing supplies) solution for you! Big.first.name is a site that will let you set up name tags – just as the name denotes. You get a Big first name followed by the full name and some other information. It is as easy as 1 2 3 to get these going and they let you import from yahoo.com event lists.

    Big.first.name/nametags – free online software for printing “Big first name” nametags.
    Sign up for a free account and start printing big name tags and badges with your own printer.

    Take a look at some example nametags made using big.first.name.

    The only downside is that it adds their company name to the bottom of your tags. We found this from our buddy Aibek over at makeuseof. For more ways to put your old printer to work check out this link here.


    _TheMeetingTimeAdmiN_

    A lot of people over look the the power of the context menu (Or right click for you laymen).

    More importantly the send to command off the right click menu.

    You right click and what do you see? You see a context menu… Choose send to and you see a bunch of useful places.

    Now I bet you are wondering how you can customize it to your liking. Add your own favorite locations like USB drives or network locations ( and with this app even the run to window or command line). That way you can be a little more productive.

    Less clicks = More productive!

    You could always go the old school method below but here is a handy free application called Send To Toys that looks to make your life a little easier. It will create the shortcuts for you! It also offers some functionalities that you won’t be able to do without the help of this handy little program:

    • Send To Toys Control Panel Applet allows you to manage the Send To system menu content, and configure the various Send To Toys settings:
    • “Add to Send To menu” and “Remove from Send To menu” allows you to personalize the Send To system menu for drives, folders, and programs.
    • Send To “Clipboard (as name)” copies the name of the file or files to the clipboard. Hold down the CTRL key to change the settings for this extension.
    • Send To “Clipboard” command line utility copies the output of a command to the clipboard.
    • Send To “Command Prompt” opens a DOS console window, setting the current directory to the selected file/folder.
    • Send To “Default Mail Recipient” creates a new e-mail with attachments and predefined defaults for the recipients, subject, and message.
    • Send To “Favorites” adds a shortcut to your Favorites list.
    • Send To “Folder…” sends a file or files to another folder, you will be shown a dialog box that lets you choose where the files should be copied, moved, or have a shortcut created.
    • Send To “Quick Launch” adds a shortcut to the Quick Launch toolbar.
    • Send To “Recycle Bin” sends a file or files to the Recycle Bin. Hold down the CTRL key to perform a file shredding.
    • Send To “Run…” sends a file or files to the Run command dialog.

    I am constantly moving files here and there and all around my network – nonstop. With this little app I can easily copy or move files from one location to another with a minimal amount of clickty-clicking.

    Since the desktop is where I move most files to that became my default location, which means I can just select the Folder option from the Send To menu and press enter to move a file or folder there ( My desktop/default location).

    As usual Send To Toys is Free – just like AtA likes it! After you get it installed there will be a shortcut in your Start Menu as well as in the Control Panel. It is compatible with Windows 2000, 2003, XP, and Vista so go get your Send To on player!

    And as promised the manual method for editing your send-to menu:

    You can create a new shortcut on the Send To menu, for example, one that goes to a frequently-used folder.

    • Open My Computer, and double-click the drive where Windows is installed, which is usually drive C.
    • Double-click the Documents and Settings folder, and then double-click the folder for the particular user.
    • Double-click the Send To folder.
    • The Send To folder is hidden by default. To see the Send To folder, click Tools, click Folder Options, and then click Show hidden files and folders.
    • On the File menu, point to New, and then click Shortcut.

    Follow these instructions to create a shortcut.

    Now, when you right-click a file, and click Send To, the shortcut to the item you selected will be an option. You can create shortcuts to local or network programs, files, folders, computers, or Internet addresses.

    _TheShortcutAdmiN_

    James from Virginia wanted to know if it was safe to delete these Thumbs.db and .DS_Store files from his network. Check out our answer and step by step removal tips.

    Running in a mixed Windows/Mac environment I find it annoying to deal with all the little artifacts the great OS’s leave behind. All of our mixed shares and network drives are full of these frickin ‘Thumbs.db and .DS_Store files.

    I hate them so much.

    Each folder with initiated thumbnail views (that is where they have displayed a Thumbnails or Filmstrip view in Windows Explorer) will have a Thumbs.db file.

    They do nothing for me. I look at them like litter on the ground. I looked up what they do and started deleting them. But they came back…

    Some times I get caught up in doing something after in enrages me enough. So I was now determined to get rid of these files from my shares here on out. I did some research on how to get rid of them permanently and how to prevent them from coming back!

    Here is how you prevent Windows and OS X from creating these annoying files.

    Prevent the creation of Thumbs.db in Windows:

    From “My Computer” click on the “Tools” menu item

  • Click on “Folder Options”, and the folder options dialog will appear
  • Click on the “View” tab
  • Check the “Do not cache thumbnails” option
  • Prevent the creation of .DS_Store files on Network volumes in MacOS:

    • Open the Terminal application from the Utilities folder which is nested in the Applications folder
    • In the newly opened terminal type (all on one line) defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteNetworkStores true
    • Restart the computer for the change to take effect
    • Now this doesn’t help you deleting the files that already may exist.

      To accomplish that you may be interested in BlueHarvest to scrub your network of .DS_Store files and you can do a simple find and replace on Windows.

      Find and Replace:

      To delete all the existing Thumbs.db files on your computer you just:

      • Begin by first clicking on the Start Button
      • Then click on Search and then Click on the All files and folders option
      • In the All or part of the file name: box type in Thumbs.db
      • Quickly ensure that the Look in: pull-down menu is set to whatever network drives you want to scrub
      • Now Click on the Search button to search for all Thumbs.db files on your system
      • In the All or part of the file name box type in Thumbs.db
      • After the Search completes, click on the word Edit contained in your top tool bar area
        This will pull down a menu for you to now click on Select All
      • Now Press the Delete key on your keyboard to delete all the Thumbs.db files on your system
      • Then Close the Search Results window to return back to your Windows session

      For those of you who are scared to delete system files, the Thumbs.db and .DS_Store files are strictly cosmetic on network volumes and will have almost no impact on pretty much anything! Do you use them for something? Let us know in the comments.

    _TheOCAdmiN_

    Dilbert Disaster Recovery PlanHello AtA! You read that title correctly, paper can be used as a form of backup media. I am not talking about printing out your documents and filing them away in some nondescript binder to gather dust, no this one is a little more complicated than that.

    I first want to point out that I would probably never use this as I don’t really think that paper makes for a reliable backup media. The main reason for writing about it is that the particular program I am about to talk about is simply fascinating as hell.

    Without further ado, on today’s what the fluck o’meter, I present PaperBack. Like it says above, this program lets you backup all your files to…PAPER. Very weird. To say the least!

    What it does is it converts the binary data of your files and converts them to over sized bitmaps that you print out. To restore it all you need is a local scanner. If you want to try it out, I created a paper backup of a cool new FREE anti virus software I am testing out called PC Tools Antivirus. You can download the file in PDF format, print it out and try to restore it using PaperBack to try it out. Careful though, it is 88 pages. Here is the file if you are brave enough: (Free Antivirus In PDF Form).

    Another cool thing about this weird little program is it doesn’t require any installation. It is a self running executable so you can run it from your USB thumb drive if you want.

    So you are probably saying to yourself, “Why the hell would I want this utility El Di Pablo?” and to be honest, I asked myself the same question. Here is the answer the creators give on their website:

    You may ask – why? Why, for heaven’s sake, do I need to make paper backups, if there are so many alternative possibilities like CD-R’s, DVD±R’s, memory sticks, flash cards, hard disks, streamer tapes, ZIP drives, network storages, magnetooptical cartridges, and even 8-inch double-sided floppy disks formatted for DEC PDP-11? (I still have some). The answer is simple: you don’t. However, by looking on CD or magnetic tape, you are not able to tell whether your data is readable or not. You must insert your medium into the drive (if you have one!) and try to read it.

    Paper is different. Do you remember the punched cards? EBCDIC and all this stuff. For years, cards were the main storage medium for the source code. I agree that 100K+ programs were… unhandly, but hey, only real programmers dared to write applications of this size. And used cards were good as notepads, too. Punched tapes were also common. And even the most weird codings, like CDC or EBCDIC, were readable by humans (I mean, by real programmers).

    Do I expect you to run out and start using this program as your primary means of data backup? Hell no! Do I want you to check it out because of its unusual nature? Hell yes! Give it a try, tell your friends about it. If it is good for anything, it is certainly good for a laugh.

    This article was written by El Di Pablo a guest contributor on AskTheAdmin.com. You can keep up with his high tech antics at his blog http://www.Bauer-Power.net!

    So this nifty obscure use of Google really helps us out on the go. We fire up our mobile browser (whose home page is Google) and type in our Airline and flight number like so:


    And Google does the hard work and gives you what you need to see! This will work from any Internet terminal and not just your mobile. For more obscure uses of Google like currency and metrics conversion check out this LifeHacker post. Do you have any other Google tricks or hacks? Put us on! Let us know in the comments!

    _TheGooglinAdmiN_

    Don’t have a fancy smancy web enabled blackberry or uber cool iphone and you want to find the closest pizza place?
    Feeling left out from being able to get in on our Wikipedia SMS Action ? Then this is for you – our less technologically advanced readers…

    Yahoo’s SMS One Search will be your life saver when you are leading the blind – (more likely the drunk and blitzed).
    Now you can find the local bar or movie theater even if youare too enibriated to speak to the 411 lady! This Yahoo! SMS Feature just like the Wikipedia SMS search are some of the webs best kept secrets.

    Give it a shot – its better then 411 right? Well if your an AtA reader you know all about Goog411 right (thats googles free 800 number for free 411 info)? When you need some quick knowledge – all you need is a cell phone, which can send and receive text messages (All of em right??). Type in your search query and send it to

    92466

    That spells YAHOO on your keypad in case you were wondering… Here are some sample queries. They should be self explanatory.

    I Am Legend 11235

    tmobile 10005
    weather 11235

    Right now you can search for any local information by sending a query with your location or zip code like: “pizza 94025″, you can get a stock quote with: “s yhoo”, weather information: “w 94025″, dictionary definitions: “d garrulous”, horoscopes: “h aquarius”, WiFi hotspots: “wifi 94123″, and more are coming.

    Though it may seem like a step backwards from the rich mobile-web based search that Yahoo! Mobile already has, it’s actually just another � and one could argue faster – way to access the same data. What we’ve done is provide a number of search shortcuts that you can send to 92466 (YAHOO) to receive back a set of SMS Text responses to your query. This is actually very useful just by itself, and pretty much like most SMS search services out there. But we’ve gone one better by providing URL links in each text message which brings you back to Yahoo Mobile’s richer WAP based web pages, with more details than can fit in a text message, links and maps. It does depend on the phone as to how easy this URL is accessed � on newer phones it may be underlined like in any web page, or for Motorola Phones for example, there is a “Go To” option which will find the URL in the message and use it automagically. But the option is there, and it makes SMS Text queries quite useful for the most basic and advanced users alike.

    If you think about an SMS message form, it’s very similar to a search box found already on Yahoo! Search. You fill out one field with your query, press a button and great results come back. Now you don’t have to fumble with bookmarks or wait for the initial Yahoo! Mobile Search form to load, you can send off your search as fast as you can send a friend a quick text message. What’s more, is that we’ve also included functionality to do the same search just by replying to an original response � say if you’ve done a stock quote search for YHOO earlier in the day, instead of having to retype the query again, just send a blank reply to one of the earlier quotes and Yahoo! will send you an update automatically. [YsearchBlog]

    _TheYahooooooAdmiN_

    I know the feeling of your secure network being compromised by an end user… Passwords do fall into the wrong hands and then what do you do? Scenarios start running through my head and I make a mental list of all the passwords and system configs that need to be changed. These aren’t fun times in Admin land but they usually breed scripts and easier ways to do the necessary!

    El Di Pablo tell us of his experiences… And is culminated by using a Great tool that AtA LOVES! Check it out…

    I had a bit of a scare the other day. I get a call from a user in the field. She is traveling with her laptop and she was calling from her hotel. she was complaining that she couldn’t log into her laptop using her normal login credentials, and that the only way she could login was using the local administrators account.

    “Local Admin what?!?!” I exclaimed then started hyperventilating. I asked her how she came across the local administrator password, and she told me that one of the techs at the company that is no longer with us gave it to her a long time ago. I asked her to spell out the password for me, and low and behold it was the corporate standard.

    I ran to my bosses office and reported the compromise, and recommended changing the local passwords. He agreed and called a meeting with me, our head desktop technician and one of the senior systems administrators to come up with a plan of attack. I told them that I can easily change these passwords using a script and pspasswd.exe that comes with Sysinternals PSTools. I told them that I can export a list of all of the workstations on the network from Active directory, and put them in a text file. pspasswd will read directly from the list in the text file and change the password of the specified account on each computer in the list. I showed each of the guys in the meeting how it works, and they agreed that my script would be the best way to go with this.

    Here is an example of the syntax used in my script. Keep in mind that this script must be ran from within the directory containing the pspasswd.exe program or else you have to modify the script to change into it’s directory. Of course, if you know batch scripting well, you can add all sorts of stuff to the script, but the basic run command looks like this:

    >set /p filename=”Please enter name of computer list (ie: computers): “
    >pspasswd @%filename%.txt -u administrator@domain.com -p password
    administrator newpassword >> %
    filename%-results.txt

    You’ll notice that I added an output to a text file so I could create a log of which workstations the password was changed on, and which ones it wasn’t. That is a good idea so you can keep whittling away at it until the change has been completed on all workstations. Also, you’ll notice that I added the -u and -p switches. You don’t need that if you are already running the script from an account that has permissions to change local passwords. There are many other little changes you can do as well. I used the set command because I had different lists for different offices. You could just put the computer names in one list and not use the set command.

    Let me know if you have used this or a similar product, and perhaps some other scripting ideas for this.

    This is one of those articles where you HAVE to read the comments. You guys have some great insights and ideas! Keep on Commenting, that is what makes this site great. Go ahead pat your self on the back!

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