Apr 3 2011

Tiny Planet Photomerge



Feb 23 2011

Solid-State Hard from USB Flash Drive

The hard-drive controller on the motherboard for this laptop went bad.  Instead of throwing it away, I decided to turn it into a Solid-State enabled laptop, for less.  My intention was to make a picture frame out of it.  I gave up on the picture frame once I got the OS and everything working.  I didn’t have the miter saw to make the frame at the time.  But here are some pics of the USB Cruzer as the boot up drive. Enjoy!

Feb 23 2011

Aquaponics in the Yard – Week 3

This week I put in four more feeders into the tank, but only 2 survived, I;m guessing they were just sick.  All water readings are stable, and the 7 live fish, are swimming and eating without any problems.  To make room for some peppers on top, I moved one lettuce and the bushy Mint tree to the bottom (over the reservoir).  They both went limp as you can see.  The water it not reaching the bottom of the new pots, so they are suffering.  I do see some root growth on the lettuce so I have high hopes for it.  On another note, the strawberries are doing great.  Looking forward to see the next batch.

Feb 2 2011

Installing Ofuz on shared hosting such as 1and1.com

After spending hours looking at different CRM’s and ERP’s trying to find the best one suited for my small IT shop, I found Ofuz.  They do not advertise themselves as a CRM, but have some of the important qualities.  Good integration with Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.  And for those that want to host it on you own server, to make the data your own, I’ve provided the steps to do so.  Beware, that any poblems you have will not be fully supported as Ofuz would rather you keep it with them in the cloud.  It’s probably better that way.  But for those of us who are selfish with our data, and are willing to spend the time troubleshooting yourself, here  it is.

1) Download the latest version from Ofuz.com here: http://www.ofuz.com/releases/ofuz-bundle-0.6.2.tar.gz
Their documentation for server installs can be found here: http://www.ofuz.com/opensource/wiki/install

2) Upload the extracted folder (via ftp) to your domain.  My preferred ftp client is FileZilla

3) Create a MYSQL database from the MySQL administration section in the 1and1 control panel.

4) Change the permissions for the following files to read /write by all.  In FileZilla, you can right-click the directory in question, select ‘File Attributes’ , enter 777 for numeric value, and click OK.
invoice_pdf, contact_vcf, files, dbimage

5) From th 1and1 database information, enter the following into the config.php.sample…edited from Ofuz.com documentation:
Setup the database information in config.php.sample at the bottom of the file:
$conx = new sqlConnect(“database_user”, “database_password”) ;
$conx->setHostname(“database hostname”) ;
$conx->setDatabase(“database name”) ;

6) Rename config.php.sample to config.php

7) Add the following line to the top of htaccess.sample:
*AddType x-mapp-php5 .php”

8) Rename htaccess.sample to .htaccess

9) Add your database username to the following file:

on the following line:
function sqlConnect ($login=”database username”, $password=”database password”) 

It’s a good idea to modify the permissions for this file or password protect the root directory to keep hackers away from your database password. 

10) For the final step, you must populate the tables in the database yourself.  The easiest way to do this, without SQL commands is to use phpmyadmin. From the 1and1 control panel, go to MySQL Administration, and select phpmyadmin for the database used for OFuz. On the top-left, seleft the SQL icon for the ‘query window’. Then select Import Data, and browse for the following file, located in the extracted folder for Ofuz:


Click OK.

That’s it. Don’t forget to create a subdomain for ofuz. (ofuz.yourdomain.com). Otherwise, it won’t work.

“Open Source is free if your time is worth nothing” ; ) I kid, I kid!  Time spent finding a solution is worth the reward.

By the way, I didn’t catch-on until watching the video twice, it’s no Oh! fuz!,  It’s pronounced Awfuce.  Like “Office” with an English accent.

Jan 26 2011

Bi-folding metal gates design and build

As most projects and experiments do, this one began with a problem. I was determined to have to driveways in front of my house, but didn’t have the room for the gates.

Installing swinging gates was not an option. Swinging gates would require the vehicles to park far in enough so that they would have to clear the vehicle for then to close.

I got a few estimates and ot suggestions from fence contractors and they settled on what they knew best, rolling gates. Unfortunately, it looked great on paper, but when I actually measured it out, the criss-crossing gates were not going to look good with the cement columns.  One of the gates would have been about 3 ft from the sidewark.

So I figured, “OK, I’ll have to design them myself”.  And, inspired by the wooden closed bi-fold design, the mission began.  I originally had no intention to design them on the computer.  Once I realized that the wheel was not going to be mounted at the tip of the gate, and I had to make each half of the bifold a different size, I decided to draw it.  It’s easier to deal with mistakes on CAD than after welding, so I put some WD-40 on my Into to Solidworks skills, and went at it.  Once I started, I was hooked.  And this was the final product.

When I started to weld, I realized that I didn’t have a flat surface to weld on, and could make a perfect cube structure this way, so I designed a jig…

I poured and installed the tracks first, and built the gate to the tracks.  It took a lot of tweaking, but in the end they look great. 

…and after the driveways.

Once I can afford 4 swing motors (or until another ENG course teaches me how to make them), I’ll complete the set up.

Oct 19 2010

How to Export iTunes From a Mac to a PC | eHow.com

How to Export iTunes From a Mac to a PC | eHow.com.

Oct 12 2010

Exchange 2003 Recovering one mailbox from server backup

These are the steps involved in recovering a mailbox from Microsoft Exchange server 2003 from a mailbox store folder or .edb  database file.  In the case that inspired this post, Entourage deleted about 90% of the user’s data including Calendar, Emails, Contacts, etc.  All I had to work with server side, was the backup of the entire exchange server, from the day before, which contained a non-consistent .edb.  The microsoft documentation pretty much explains the process but they are not clear on how to actually mount the backup .edb.  This is a modified version of the Microsoft Documentation, where I have added where I think it lacks clarity.

First you need to create (but not mount) the Recovery Group.  This is assuming that you already have the server up with an active Mailbox store so that your user(s) can continue receiving emails and working while you recover their old emails.

Create a Recovery Storage Group

To create a Recovery Storage Group:

  1. Start Exchange System Manager.
  2. Expand Administrative Groups (if appropriate), expand AdministrativeGroupName(if appropriate), and then expand Servers.
  3. Right-click ServerName, point to New, and then click Recovery Storage Group.
  4. In the Name box, type a name for the Recovery Storage Group (You can call it “Recovery Storage Group”).
  5. In the Transaction log location and in the System path location boxes, specify a location for the transaction log files and for the system path. Make sure that the location that you specify for the transaction log files for the Recovery Storage Group is different from the location that is specified for the transaction log for the original storage group.  From now on, we’ll refer to this location as the “recovery folder”.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Right-click the Recovery Storage Group that you created, and then click Add Database to Server
  8. In the Select database to recover dialog box, click the mailbox store that you want to add to the Recovery Storage Group, and then click OK.
  9. In the Mailbox Store Properties dialog box, review the properties of the mailbox store, and then click OK.

OK at this point you have already created your Recovery Storage Group, and you the new database file should also be created.  If you browse the folder where you specified earlier (the “recovery folder”), you will find a new .edb was created.  In the exchange manager, you may notice the arrow pointing down, specifying that the database has not been mounted yet.

Next, you will have to extract the .edb, and all related transaction log files (it’s usually safest to copy the entire mailbox store directory) from your backup into a temporary folder, this could be the root, the desktop etc.  Once there, let’s run some commands against it to make sure it’s safe to work with.

Manually Copy Database Files to a Recovery Storage Group

  1. Verify that the database that you want to restore is consistent and that it is in a “clean shutdown” state. To do so, open a command prompt, switch to the ExchSrvr\Bin folder, type the following line, and then press ENTER:
    Eseutil /mh YourDatabaseName.edb  (replace YourDatabaseName with the full path of your .edb that was recovered from backup)
    In the output that appears in the Command Prompt window, note whether the State line shows as State: Clean Shutdown or State: Dirty Shutdown.
  2. Do one of the following, as appropriate to your situation:
    If the database is consistent (if it says Clean Shutdown), go to step 3.
    If the database is not consistent (Dirty Shutdown) and if the database log files exist, use the Eseutil.exe tool to perform a soft recovery on the database. When you perform a soft recovery, uncommitted logs are committed to the database. To perform a soft recovery, switch to the ExchSrvr\Bin folder at a command prompt, type the following line, where rnn is the log file prefix and database_folder_path is the name of the folder where the database file is located, and then press ENTER:

    Eseutil /r rnn /i /ddatabase_folder_path

    For example, you might type the following:
    eseutil /r r00 /i /d”c:\Bakcup\Echsrvr\Storage Group”

    Note There is no space after the /d switch.

    If the database is not consistent and if the database log files do not exist, use the Eseutil.exe tool to perform a hard repair on the database.

    When you use the following command, Exchange Server data loss occurs. Data loss can be significant; however, in most situations the data loss is minimal. The following command is a hard or forcible state recovery command. Use it only if the database still does not return to a consistent state after you run the Eseutil /mh YourDatabaseName.edb command.

    To perform a hard repair, open a command prompt, switch to the ExchSrvr\Bin folder, type the following line, and then press ENTER:

    eseutil /p
    YourDatabaseName.edb Be patient, this could take a long time depending on the size of the .edb.

  3. Immediately after the successful completion of the hard repair, perform an offline defragmentation of the repaired database. To perform an offline defragmentation, open a command prompt, switch to the ExchSrvr\Bin folder, type the following line, and then press ENTER:eseutil /d YourDatabaseName.edb This usually takes hours. If you have constraint, it’s not recommended by Microsoft, but you can technically cancel it and continue.

  4. Copy the .edb and the .stm database files that you have been working on (the ones in that temporary folder) to the the appropriate folders that you specified earlier when you created the Recovery Storage Group (remember the “recovery folder”).
  5. Take note of the name of the .edb and ,stm files (created earlier in the first section).  Delete the .edb and .stm files that you created, and rename the ones that were brought from backup to have the same exact name.  This way, when exchange tries to mount the recovery store, it will mount the database brought back from backup.
  6. Go into the System Manager, right click the database in the recovery storage group, and click Mount.
  7. After a progress indicator, it should have successfully mounted the mailbox store.
  8. To recover the single mailbox, find it in Mailboxes (still under the Recovery Store), Right-click, and select Recover Mailbox.  Make sure you specify merge in the wizard, this will leave all new emails intact and merge the old ones with the new.

If this helps 1 person out there it was worth it.  Feel free to contact me with any suggestions, errors, etc.

Resource: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/824126/

May 19 2010

Remembering the good ol’ days…

Reminiscing old times

May 17 2010

Red Dead Redeption Pre-release Review


Comes out tomorrow!

May 5 2010

T-Mobile G1 Forgot Pattern Locked Out how to Buffer Overflow

The problem (…The Solution below…):

Yesterday I was playing with my wife’s G-Mobile phone.  She has the good old G1.  Being the curious person that I am, I decided to see what happens when you press “Forgot security Pattern”.  What a freaking mistake!!!  Even though I knew what her security pattern was, it was out of pure curiosity.  I found a lot of people were having this problem and needed a clear solution as I almost lost hope.  So here it is, I hope you find it.  If your child, friend, or locked yourself out of you Android G1, here’s a how to guide to get you passed it.

So when you do that the phone goes into locked state asking for your G-mail username and password.  Well, guess what? She didn’t know or remember what she used as she only did that to setup her phone when she got it.  Now backup email accounts, not security questions, no username.  Take a trip down Google support leads nowhere in figuring out the username since she never setup any backup emails.

Do not RESET you phone. This is NOT the only option.

Most of the solutions online were to reset the phone to factory settings.  This does work, however you lose your data and if you can’t find your Gmail acccount then you also lost all of your contacts, calendar, etc.

Here are the steps  to reset the phone and WIPE ALL OF YOUR DATA.  Calling T-mobile leads to the same solution:

But wait, there’s hope.  You have to be diligent, but there is definitely hope.  Thank god Google for overflows.

The Solution:

After doing some research online, this is what worked for me:

1) Reboot the phone – Even though you are locked out you can perform basic function like turn the phone on/off and accept incoming calls, we’ll take advantage of this.  Go ahead and hold the Power Button and proceed t turn the phone off.  Then Turn it back on.  You should be welcomed by that little gmail logon screen again.

2) From another phone, call the locked Android phone and answer the call.

3) While in the incoming call, flip the screen open and closed as fast as you can, while pressing the home key.  A good rate to do this is about 2 cycles per second on the flip, and 4 button presses per second.  I placed the phone on my lap, and held the base with my thumb and middle finger.  Then, with my left hand I did the flipping, and with my right index finger I tapped the Home key.  The home key is the one with the picture of the house.

4) You won’t get this on the first try.  You might get some errors on the screen, ignore them and keep going.  If the screen goes black, this is a good sign.  After about 3 minutes of this crap, stop the flipping but keep tapping the HOME screen until you see the background.

5) Once you get to your background, it’s time to work fast and disable the lock screen:

From the manual:
  1. HOME, then press MENU and select Settings.
  2. Select Security & location , then scroll down to the Screen unlock pattern section.
  3. Unselect the Require pattern check box.

6) Now turn off sleep:

  1. Press HOME, then press MENU and select Settings.
  2. Select Sound & display.
  3. Scroll down to the Display settings section and select Screen timeout. Select a time or “never timeout” from the menu.

OK, at this point you have access to your phone again.  If the Gmail Screen comes back, opening the phone will get rid of it.  I messed up here and deleted the email data and created a new account.  The problem here is all of the contacts, calendar, email, etc are tied to he old Gmail account.  The good news is now you can go into your Gmail application settings and grab the username.  Now you can work with Gmail Support to retrieve your account here:

GMAIL password recovery page.

If it tells you to keep your account idle inactive for 24hrs, do it.  Bite the bullet, be glad you can get into your phone.  Once you reset your Gmail password online, you can then delete the Gmail data on the phone and re-add the existing account using the wizard.

To clear out the Gmail data go into:

Settings->Applications->Manage Applications
Gmail->Clear Data
Gmail Storage->Clear Data
Google Apps->Clear Data

After this is done, enter you username and new password at the lock screen and goodbye lock screen.  Enjoy.  I was thinking of uploading a video, so let me know if it will help anyone.