Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

Making Hamachi2 a trusted network on Windows 7

September 23rd, 2009 Comments off

I’ve been using Hamachi (personal VPN) between my computers and servers for some time to make it easier to access my machines from any network.  I recently upgraded to Windows 7 and then upgraded to the new version of Hamachi called Hamachi2.  Unfortunately Windows 7 recognized Hamachi2 as an untrusted network and disabled any external access to the Hamachi network adapter from outside of the machine.  This obviously defeats the entire purpose of using Hamachi.  I read around on the internet and finally saw something that said that because the new Hamachi2 doesn’t configure a Default Gateway in the network adapter, Windows 7 treats it as untrusted.

Turns out this is easy to fix.  Go to “Network Connections” in your Control Panel.  Right click on the Hamachi Network Interface and choose Properties.  Click on “Internet Protocol Version 4” and select Properties.  On the General tab, click on Advanced.  On the IP Settings tab, click Add under Default Gateway and add in  Voila!  Windows 7 will now recognize the network as trusted and all external access works flawlessly.

hamachi windows 7

Categories: PC, Software, Technology, Windows 7 Tags:

Does Virtualization give Microsoft a chance to start over with “Windows 8”?

August 29th, 2009 Comments off

My recent experience upgrading to Snow Leopard on my Macbook vs. upgrading to Windows 7 on my desktop made me think about the future of Microsoft’s operating system.  Apple has taken a couple steps in the recent past with clean breaks from previous architectures: both the PowerPC to Intel transition and now the 32-bit to 64-bit transition.  The latter is not as clear cut as the former, but nonetheless Apple doesn’t seem to keep backward compatibility in mind as much as Microsoft.  With Microsoft, backward compatibility is both a useful feature and a bane on their developers because of driver and other issues.

I believe that Microsoft might be able to recreate their entire kernel (get rid of the Registry!) for Windows 8 (or whatever it’s called) and still maintain backward compatibility.  With the current (and I’m assuming all future) generations of Intel CPUs, Virtualization is supported out of the box.  I’m speaking of desktop CPUs not as sure about the Mobile versions.  For instance, my three year old Core 2 Duo E6700 supports the Virtualization extensions with no trouble.  What this does is let me use XP Mode in Windows 7 like I used to use Virtual PC.  However, Microsoft has mimic’d the Unity mode concept from VMWare Fusion to allow you to run applications in XP mode but hide the virtual OS running in the background.  This allows the end user to use legacy applications fairly flawlessly without having to know that they are using an age old operating system.

So project out 3 years into the future:  processors get more capable (I hesitate to say “faster”, but lets assume more cores, etc.), RAM sizes on desktops go up (8 GB is rapidly become cheap enough for new PCs) and Developers get more and more experience with multi-threaded and multi-core software development.

If this is the case, then Microsoft has a chance here to completely re-architect Windows 8 from the ground up (shades of Longhorn).  They can get rid of all the legacy vestiges that cause issues and offer compatibility for legacy applications thru an XP Mode (though it will be Win7 Mode) like capability.  This would let users runs all old apps in a virtualized environment, taking advantage of the increases in RAM and CPU, while also creating a brand new OS.  I think device drivers will still be an issue, but Microsoft would be justified in breaking from the past in the interest of future efficiency.  I’m going thru this with Windows 7 and 64-bit drivers vs. 32-bit drivers (and it’s been relatively painless so far).

It will be interesting to see what they choose to do, but the competition created by Apple can only be a good thing!

Categories: PC, Software, Technology Tags:

Read It Later and Xmarks Firefox extensions plus RIL iPhone App

June 8th, 2009 2 comments

One of my friends introduced me to the Read It Later firefox extension and iPhone application.  I really love the concept but had some trouble getting it going while also using the Xmarks bookmarks synchronization tool on Firefox. I’ve got multiple Firefox browsers running on different PCs that are all in sync via Xmarks.

Here’s what I ultimately did and I think it’s all working now.

Starting on my desktop, I did the following:

1) Turned off syncing on Read It Later entirely (just to be safe)

2) Force synced Xmarks

3) Went to and deleted all Read It Later folders, just to be sure

4) In Firefox bookmarks organizer, created my own folder called Read It Later – Computer Name (in my case, Dash)

5) Force synced Xmarks

6) Went into Read It Later, on the General tab, picked  the Read It Later folder as “Read It Later – Dash”

7) Enabled Syncing on the RSS / syncing tab.

8) Force synced Read It Later

9) Force synced Xmarks

10) Logged into and even though I picked “Read It Later – Dash”, RIL had still created a separate RIL folder.

11) Deleted the RIL folder in FIREFOX bookmarks manager.

12) Double checked settings on Read It Later, to make sure “Read It Later – Dash” was selected.

13) Force synced Xmarks, since now the second RIL folder is deleted.

14) Now everything was working fine on a single desktop and iPhone, I could add or subtract Items and no trouble at all.  No more duplicate folders and such.

On my laptop:

1) BTW, left out that I had disabled RIL on the laptop before I started on my desktop!

2) Force synced Xmarks

3) Now I had an RIL-Dash folder on the laptop

4) Followed the directions above, basically went into RIL settings, picked the RIL-Dash folder, enabled syncing

5) Force synced RIL on the laptop

6) Force synced Xmarks

7) Again there was an extra RIL folder that RIL on my laptop created even though I picked RIL-Dash

8) Double checked settings in RIL

9) Deleted the extra RIL folder in Firefox / Organize Bookmarks

10) Force synced Xmarks

Categories: iPhone, PC, Software, Technology Tags:

eSATA Dual Enclosure for Windows Home Server

January 4th, 2009 Comments off

180px-ESATA_Logo I am filling up the 2 GB of space that I have on my custom WHS box.  Digital media is piling up fast especially the HD video from our Flip MiniHD.

My Windows Home Server box has two internal SATA drive slots which are both filled (1TB Greenpower drives) so I’m looking into external storage at this point.  I’ve got a bewildering amount of options and am trying to future proof as much as I can.  There are two main options that I can pursue to increase storage on the WHS box:  USB 2.0 or eSATA.  The main benefit of eSATA would be increased throughput for disk read/writes vs. the inherent line speed of USB 2.0.

ugt-st300-02 Unfortunately my WHS box (a Shuttle K45) doesn’t have an eSATA port built-in (doh! should’ve planned ahead).  I bought a PCI card that provides an external eSATA port and one internal SATA port (not useable in my chassis though) from Fry’s and installed it with no issue into my box.  I bought the Vantec UGT-ST300 (Vantec SATA/eSATA PCI Host Card) since my box supports PCI not PCI-E (again the latter would’ve been preferred.)

Then I set about to find a good external enclosure that I could populate with drives, or find an all-in-one unit that comes with drives.  I have too many choices to go with and still haven’t figured out the right answer.  One issue is that WHS has its own disk duplication methodology separate from straight RAID and I want to continue to stick with that to not introduce in any other issues.  However, since I’m limited to the single external eSATA port I think I need to support something called Port Multiplication but it’s unclear to me if my PCI eSATA card supports port multipliers or not.  On top of that I do have a bit of concern on both visual aesthetics 🙂 and more importantly on sound volume from cooling in the external enclosure.

Here is the list of options I’m currently considering:

SAT3520U2ER.small StarTech 3.5in Silver eSATA USB Dual SATA External Hard Drive Enclosure w/ RAID (purchase drives separately)


B_03_angleview_450.gif Thermaltake Muse R-Duo RAID N0006USU (purchase drives separately)



g4cemd_med Fantom G-Force MegaDisk eSATA / USB 2 (in 2TB capacity, drives included)



astb_webAddonics Black Storage Tower with 1 5×1 Hardware Port Multiplier installed ST5HPMES-B (purchase drives separately)


I’m leaning towards trying the Fantom drive first (cost is favorable since it includes drives), though the Addonics Storage Tower should provide the most forward options.  I am waiting to see if WHS comes out with a v2 and am guessing that it would make me buy entirely new hardware so am a little cautious about the drive investment.

If anyone else in the Windows Home Server world has made a decision like this I’d welcome the input on what worked for you!

Categories: PC, Software, Technology, Windows Home Server Tags:

BunsenTech Dynolicious for iPhone – TechnoRide

July 29th, 2008 Comments off

dyno I read about this one-step-better-than-a-butt-dyno application available for the iPhone.  Definitely interesting, I’m going to buy it and will post a review later.  I was thinking about getting one of those G-Tech’s at one point but decided against because I read a few people that had trouble with the same car that I have.

Link: BunsenTech Dynolicious for iPhone – TechnoRide

Categories: Automobiles, Link, Software Tags:

The ills of too many different authors

June 7th, 2008 1 comment

I read an article by Saul Hansell in the NYT Technology section today.  Hansell talks a bit about Google’s new Gmail Labs aka a random place for engineers to test out new futures.  In principle, I love the idea of engineers getting direct access to customers.  Google has been great about putting beta (well really alpha) products out on the Net for their customers to use right away.  But I was struck by a comment that Hansell made in his post:

And I think that Google’s ever-expanding array of services already suffers from the ills of too many different authors. While most of its products have relatively spare interfaces, the products differ as to how they work and, taken together, are harder to use than they should be.

I think Hansell’s observation is spot on.  Google’s offerings are beginning to take on a look that each has been thrown together by a different team.  Contrast that with Apple’s strong hand in creating very similar user interfaces between all of their products, their OS and to some degree their ISVs.  I still use Vista, but can appreciate that each program I use has a different UI.  Heck Outlook 2007 doesn’t look like the rest of the Office suite with the tool banner.

Ars Technica has a long (very long) article about how one of their authors moved from Windows to Mac OS X.  One of the authors complaints was around this same issue.

Links:  New York Times – The Hidden Danger of Gmail Labs, Ars Technica – a Windows user’s converstion to Mac OS X

Categories: Link, Software, Technology, Web Tags:

OpenDNS and Windows Home Server

March 31st, 2008 Comments off

opendns typo correct I had to use the Restore feature on Windows Home Server a few months ago and had issues connecting the restore PC to the Home Server.  My resolution at the time was to unplug my Wireless Router from the WAN side.  I’ve actually figured out what the problem was awhile ago but never blogged about the resolution.

I use OpenDNS for name resolution at home (great service, I recommend it highly) for faster DNS resolution when using the internet.  However, OpenDNS has a feature called Typo Correction that tries to reconcile URLs or DNS names that don’t resolve immediately.  Because of Windows Home Server’s reliance on NetBIOS to find machines inside your network, it uses not fully qualified names (so ServerName, instead of inside your LAN to find machines.  OpenDNS’s typo correction feature ends up intercepting these requests (during DNS resolution) and it “breaks” the way Home Server works inside your LAN.

Simple resolution:  disable the Typo Correction feature of OpenDNS (click on the picture above).  You have to have an OpenDNS account setup (free) and also identify yourself to your home IP (mine changes as Comcast doesn’t give me a static IP).  I use DirectUpdate to update OpenDNS on my current home IP address to ensure continuity.

In any case, I’m back to using OpenDNS and not having issues accessing my Home Server directly on my LAN.

Links:  OpenDNS, DirectUpdate

Categories: Link, PC, Software, Technology Tags:

Backing up to the cloud – experience with Amazon’s S3

March 19th, 2008 Comments off

I’m a newfound massive fan of Windows Home Server.  It’s made my backup life much easier across multiple PCs (work and home).  There is a user community developing plugins for WHS and one that I’ve been trying out recently is called Jungledisk.  It lets me choose to backup some of my files from the Windows Home Server machine (for instance, my pictures) to Amazon’s S3 storage service.  The plugin is seamless, you install it and plugin in your Amazon login info for S3 (public and private key’s) and then specify what you want to backup to the cloud.

I’ve been backing up my Pictures for several days now 🙂 and have another day and half to go, but like the fact that all of our photos will be backed up on Amazon’s servers, hopefully across multiple data centers on their side.

The best part?  After days and days of uploading (I’m sure Comcast thinks I’m a bittorrent movie sharer now), my Amazon bill is three dollars.  I love it 🙂



Categories: PC, Review, Software, Technology Tags:

Move and Expunge IMAP by Henry Weismann

January 21st, 2008 Comments off

Comments are not obvious in this Hemingway template that I’m using so I thought I draw your attention to Henry’s comment to my previous posting.  He has some code to handle my IMAP need.  I am going to try it out tonight but thought I would share the link more explicitly.

Thanks Henry!

Link:  Move and Expunge IMAP code

Categories: Link, Software Tags:

Outlook Macro to move email to Deleted Items folder

January 16th, 2008 3 comments

Updated:  Well this didn’t work out as expected (or at all half the time).  I’ll take another crack at the code when I have some time over the weekend.

I’ve been trying to use IMAP on Outlook 2007 for some time now and have been a little frustrated with the whole “purge” routine with IMAP in deleting folders.

This evening I wrote a little macro (well, cobbled together some code from around the internet) that lets me create a toolbar button that moves e-mail to the Deleted Items folder in its entirety instead of “marking it for deletion”

This lets me treat deleted items like normal Trash even in my IMAP account.

If this makes no sense to you, you’re probably not having the same issue as me and couldn’t care less 🙂

Here’s the code:

Sub MoveSelectedMessagesToDeletedItemsFolder()

On Error Resume Next
Dim objFolder As Outlook.MAPIFolder, objInbox As Outlook.MAPIFolder
Dim objNS As Outlook.NameSpace, objItem As Outlook.MailItem

Set objNS = Application.GetNamespace(“MAPI”)
Set objInbox = objNS.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderInbox)
‘Set objFolder = objInbox.Folders(“Trash”)
Set objFolder = objNS.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderDeletedItems)
‘Assume this is a mail folder
If objFolder Is Nothing Then
MsgBox “This folder doesn’t exist!”, vbOKOnly + vbExclamation, “INVALID FOLDER”
End If

If Application.ActiveExplorer.Selection.Count = 0 Then
‘Require that this procedure be called only when a message is selected
Exit Sub
End If

For Each objItem In Application.ActiveExplorer.Selection
If objFolder.DefaultItemType = olMailItem Then
If objItem.Class = olMail Then
objItem.Move objFolder
End If
End If

Set objItem = Nothing
Set objFolder = Nothing
Set objInbox = Nothing
Set objNS = Nothing

End Sub

Categories: PC, Software Tags: