Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lotus Notes 8 - UI never loads shows

We found that if you have Hp Quick Test and Lotus Notes 8 installed on the same system Lotus Notes will never finish loading (you may see a password prompt). Notes basic works but not the full client.

Un-installing HP Quick Test fixes the issue.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

3G Data slow on Vodafone on the Galaxy S2

I found my internet/3G was pitifully slow with Vodafone..

I turned on CHAP authentication and this seemed to speed things up a little bit for me. I tested this on second Galaxy S2 and was not able to reproduce the same speed improvement.

For those who would like to try the setting
Settings > Wireless and Networks > Mobile Networks > Access Point Names > Vodafone ### >
Set the "Authentication Type" from "NONE" to "CHAP".

My facebook and banking seemed to speed up a little bit (not a huge amount but seemed like less waiting time)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lotus Notes 8.X (8.5.2) Must run as admin on first launch

For some reason I am seeing that if you install Lotus Notes 8.5.2  via SCCM while a standard user is logged on when they first run the new version of Notes the ecllipse section never successfully finishes installing and the user is left with an endless notes loading screen.

Willing to bet though, this is a permissions issues as any user that is a local admin doesn't have this problem. 

I'm hoping someone at IBM might see this and comment. 

Yep, I was right... give 'user' or 'Authenticated user' 'Modify' rights to the c:\notes\framework folder and files (and sub folders) this will fix your issue.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Barnes & Noble fires back at Microsoft, calls for investigation

Wow. Microsoft is really going after anyone who uses Android..

Barnes & Noble fires back at Microsoft, calls for investigation:

At least one manufacturer isn’t kowtowing to Microsoft’s Android licensing push: Barnes & Noble is actively fighting Microsoft’s patent litigation in court. As an added bonus, the bookseller has urged US regulators to investigate Microsoft’s patents and the claims therein. B&N asserts that Microsoft is trying to drive up the price of the Android devices it competes with, thereby making its own Windows Phone 7 more attractive to manufacturers and consumers.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Vodafone browser cache and slow 3g

How to clear your browser cache on your smartphone

Actually better reason your internet is slow on the Vodafone network isn't the browser cache. the problem is the actual Vodafone network can't handle its current load. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

How to enable Skype video on the Samsung Galaxy S2 for Vodafone

Download and install Skype on your Galaxy S2.
- Start Skype, wait until the main screen of Skype opens.
- click on your option button, goto to Settings.
- Scroll down to Enable video calling and choose to enable it.
- When Skype prompts you to say "Enable video calling" click Continue.

Skype will restart and you should now have Skype Video calling on the Galaxy S2

Sunday, September 18, 2011

How to build a cheap photography backdrop for a studio

I decided to build my own photography backdrop that could be used in a variety of places (well, as long as you have a ceiling)

What you'll need:

  • 3 x Strong painters poles
  • 2 x Toilet plungers (un-used please)
  • 2 x  5-10cm Bolts 
  • 2 x Nuts to match the bolts
  • 4 x Washers
  • 2 x Face Washers (White)

  1. Start by taking a trip to Bunnings to grab the items you need (should be about 100$ depending on the price of the painters poles) 

  2.  Next grab 2 of the Painters poles and measure and drill holes in the part of the poles that extends from the tube. Make sure your holes are equal on each pole. You can see below I've put 2 holes in each pole. This is so I can have a backdrop that goes from the ceiling if needed or just halfway. 

  3. Now grab your plungers and attach them to the ends of the 2 painters poles (almost done)

  4. Now find a suitable place too construct your backdrop. extend 2 of the painters poles to the ceiling of the room. this is where you'll want to use the face washers to prevent any dirts marks from the plunger getting on the ceiling

  5. Put your bolts through the holes in each of the poles and place the last painters pole across the 2 vertical poles. 

  6. If' you have done everything right you should end up with something that resembles this.

Lay it all out. 
Drill holes in the pole

Drill holes in the pole (Closer Look)
Get the plunger head ready
Attach plunger head to pole.

Setup vertical poles, put bolt through previously drilled holes and setup crossbeam

I secured the cross pole with cabled ties

All done.

View of how it attaches to a roof (and also a Ben10)

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Samsung Galaxy S2 - Music / Audio / Doggcatcher randomly stops playing

Music or audio (including Doggcatcher) on my Samsung Galaxy S2 (Android) will play for a number of minutes and then randomly stop.

I have not be able to figure out the problem as yet. 

Possible fixes: 
Currently Testing - Soto Settings > Motion > Double Tap = Disable.
Results = This did not fix the issue. Music and podcasts still randomly stopped when playing.

Updated to new firmware.. Will be testing this over the next few days (Gingerbread.xxKH1)

I'll update this post again when I've finished testing over the next 48 hours. 

Update: It seems that the latest firmware may have fixed this as I have not had any music stop since updating.

Allow the user to postpone installation in SCCM - CCMEXEC.COM – System Center blog

A fellow SCCM guru "J├Ârgen Nilsson" posted as method that allows your users to postpone application deployments allowing your users to choose a better time to install software.

Allow the user to postpone installation in SCCM - CCMEXEC.COM – System Center blog:

I can see how this script is intended to work and i believe would work fairly well (haven't had a chance to test it).

The only issue I see is that when a user postpones the installation it will continue to run the postpone script in the background which is being run from a SCCM package. While the script is running in the background it will hold up some other SCCM Packages until the user accepts and finish's the current deployment packages. This is be design in SCCM so you don't end up trying to run two installations at once.

I'm all for giving users a better way to manage how they want to use workstations.

One thing to remember however long you set the script to postpone for you must also allow in the SCCM > Program settings more time for the program to run. otherwise your program will exit before the script had finished running.

I see the above issue as a very minor issue as the benefits of the script far out way the negatives impacts, so good work Jorgen. Keep it up.

Monday, August 29, 2011

How to avoid a Cityrail fine if you've forgotten to buy a ticket before boarding.

So most of us who catch the train have forgotten to buy a ticket before getting on once or twice. Personally I think I'm now up to about 8-10 trips where I've forgotten to buy a ticket.

The first time I forgot to buy a ticket I panicked. I reached Town Hall station where I departed the train. I was seriously shitting myself. I thought the best thing to do would be to simply explain myself to a Transit Officer. This turned out to be a mistake he told me that I now need to give him my full name and address and "You may receive a ticket in the mail". Lucky for me in this situation I never did receive that ticket in the mail. Phew.

I thought to myself lesson learned. Never forget to buy a ticket, Yeah right. As above I've forgotten to buy a  ticket about 8-10 times now. So i've learned a thing or two about what to do to make sure you don't get a fine for getting a ticket.

1. Don't Panic. You are human like the rest of us. If there are no Transit Officers on the train you're still going to be OK. Keep Calm, let's do a little social engineering to get out.

2. Don't get off the train at any of the main CBD stations (Town Hall, Central, Wynyard or Martin Place). the reason for this is Transit Officers frequently target these stations and will be on the look out to check your ticket. Aim to get off at a station that are frequently unattended or manned with skeleton staff (Museum or St James). Personally I would aim to get off at Museum as it has 2 exits and often the exit that heads towards the city doesn't have anyone manning the gates.

3. Target Cityrail Staff not Transit officers to plead your case. Transit Officers do have unofficial quota's to meet and they will most often or not send you a fine in the mail for "travelling without possession of a valid ticket". Cityrail Staff  have no power to fine anyone, often they just want your problem out of their face.

4. Be direct and explain yourself like so "I'm sorry, I forgot to buy my ticket before getting on my train this morning. Can you please let me through so I can go and buy a ticket now?" Avoid  explaining your life story and wasting Citryrail Staff's time the goal is  for you to be through that gate a quick as possible. 

5. Catch a train to a less busy station. If you see Transit officers manning the exit gates move to go back down to the platform and catch the next train to the next station and try again. Beware though if you quickly turn around and go back  you may attract the attention of the Transit Officers (hopefully they will be to busy checking tickets to notice you).

6. Have some evidence that you a regular train commuter. IE  a few old train tickets may help you prove your case (It won't get you off that fine though if your pleading your case to a Transit Officer).

7. Be well dressed. Transit Officers are looking for that easy ticket. So if you're wearing a suit you may be better off. You'll look more like a typical city commuter if your are well dressed as compared to if you were wearing your tracky-dacks.

8. Take a look around, sometimes people drop valid tickets on the station floor. You might get lucky. I use to place my valid tickets in the crevice of  windows so  that anyone else could use them after i'd finished with them. 

9. Don't Panic.. I know I've already mentioned this but it's important.. keep calm. You are after all only human. If you do get a fine don't bitch about it, pay it, accept you a human, move on. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Killnotes.exe doesn't support silent commands. How to kill notes silently.

If you've bee around Lotus Notes as long as I have you learn to hate the fact that when notes crashes you usually have to reboot to clear out all the stuck notes related files. That was until someone at IBM crafted up Killnotes.exe which looks for any notes processes and threads still in use then will kill them off.  This is great for the occasion when you Lotus Notes crashes and you want to reopen without rebooting..

The problem is if we want to upgrade/deploy Lotus Notes and use Killnotes.exe to terminate Lotus Notes before upgrading. We can't do this out without having some user interaction. A better solution instead is to use the inbuilt NSD.exe of notes to shutdown lotus notes.

If you want to script it here it is;

set WshShell = CreateObject("Wscript.Shell")
TerminateNotes = WshShell.Run ("c:\notes\nsd.exe -kill -nolog -ini c:\notes\notes.ini",1,True)

If you are running this through a deployment system you will find you need to include the -nolog and -ini options or the script will error trying to locate the notes.ini because its running under  the system account and not the local user.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Vodafone - Mis-information at every turn.

Thank you Vodafone for wasting my time. It's good to know that Vodafone are NOT willing to remain competitive to even try and keep your existing customers. 

The link i'm referring to at the start on the conversation is 

Both plans have a minimum cost of $1296  except that virgin give you 3 moths access free during the plan saving you 147$ off that total bill. 

Update: I called Vodafone on the weekend and was told that because I am an existing customer I do not qualify for the those Voadafone plans advertised on the Vodafone website. What a ripoff. Nice way to try and rip off your existing customer base Vodafone. 

I was even asked why do I want to drop down plans when the plan I'm on "represents great value" uhh.. no it doesn't compared to others in the market. I recall Vodafone years ago pledging to always to tell their customers that they would tell us when we could save money. No not these days. 

My last several encounters with Vodafone have been met with Mis-information, no callbacks as advised, different information every time and generally not a very good understanding of there own products. 

How to prestage Windows 7 Thin PC in SCCM R3

Chaohao Xu over on Technet has posted a quick article on how to create pre-staged media for windows 7.1  using SCCM 2007 R3. The post is more of a here's a quick how to. I'm sure there are better more in depth articles to be found elsewhere. 

Check the link for the article

How to create Prestaged Media for WES 7.1, PosReady7 and ThinPC in ConfigMgr 2007 R3

Friday, July 29, 2011

InstallSheild Error -3 - Missing Setup.iss

I've seen this a few times when you try and run a Setup.exe in silent mode and all  you get is error -3 at  the end of it.

What install shield is errors on -3 it's trying to tell you it doesn't know how to install silently because it doesn't have the instructions to do so.

You will need to do 2 pieces of work to resolve this.

First - Record a new setup.iss file:
We will need to record a new setup.iss file in order to be able to tell the installer what the silent install instructions are.

  1. Create a shortcut to the setup.exe 
  2. Modify the  properties of the shortcut 
  3. Append to the end of the target line  i.e setup.exe /r /f2"c:\setup.iss"
  4. Then install the software by launching the shortcut this will create the setup.iss file in c:\windows (if you leave off  the /f2 option the setup.iss file will be created in c:\windows\temp\setup.iss
  5. Copy the setup.iss file to the same directory as the setup.exe

Now we need to tell setup.exe to install silently and also tell it to use the newly created setup.iss file
  1. Create a new shortcut to the setup.exe (rename it to Install_silent or something)
  2. Modify the  properties of the shortcut
  3. Append to the end of the target line  i.e setup.exe /S /f1"setup.iss"
  4. Execute the installer and this should work fine.
Installsheild doco indicates that you can just place the setup.iss in the same directory as the setup.exe and then when you launch the setup.exe it will just find the setup.iss if it exists. I've found this to be true for some packages and not true for other so naming the setup.iss directly seems to work for me most times. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Internode realeases National Broadband Network plans

Internode seems to be the first out of the gate with Australia's National Broadband plans. Exetel quickly hit back with much better plans.

Check the links for the plans.
Internode Plans
Exetel NBN Plans

Exetel best value plan looks to be
79$ for 100mbit DL / 40Mbit UP this gives you 100GB of downloads.
Then if you compare this to my current Naked ADSL2+ is currently 59$ for 120GB.

The question for most people will be "Does the speed increase beat the extra cost?"

More Comments:

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

File System Redirection - How to target the real system32 directory

"32-bit applications can access the native system directory by substituting %windir%\Sysnative for %windir%\System32. WOW64 recognizes Sysnative as a special alias used to indicate that the file system should not redirect the access. This mechanism is flexible and easy to use, therefore, it is the recommended mechanism to bypass file system redirection. Note that 64-bit applications cannot use the Sysnative alias as it is a virtual directory not a real one."

The above is correct.. in your scripts just make sure your target "%windir%\Sysnative" and your file will go where you intended it to go. 

File System Redirection - How to target the real system32 directory

"32-bit applications can access the native system directory by substituting %windir%\Sysnative for %windir%\System32. WOW64 recognizes Sysnative as a special alias used to indicate that the file system should not redirect the access. This mechanism is flexible and easy to use, therefore, it is the recommended mechanism to bypass file system redirection. Note that 64-bit applications cannot use the Sysnative alias as it is a virtual directory not a real one."

The above is correct.. in your scripts just make sure your target "%windir%\Sysnative" and your file will go where you intended it to go. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Unable to remotely manage Hyper-v from Windows 7 RPC - rpc server unavailable unable to establish communication between and

If you get this error when connecting to Hyper-V from a Windows 7 OS
RPC - rpc server unavailable unable to establish communication between Client and server
 Then you should follow these instructions.

First up, check you can start your firewall. If it's stopped and you get error 5 when starting it. Take a look at the below KB from Microsoft.

If fixed the issue for me and also resolved my Hyper-V issue.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Citrix EndPoint Query Writing. Values with spaces

I found the documentation for query writing for Citrix endpoint is actually quite confusing.

For example:
CLIENT.REG('HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE_64\\\\SOFTWARE\\\\Microsoft\\\\Windows\\ NT\\\\Example').VALUE == 'Joejoeinc at home'

Would produce fail as there are spaces in the value

To write this query properly we actually need to tell the query window that we want to have spaces in the value. You would write the Reg query as so.

CLIENT.REG('HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE_64\\\\SOFTWARE\\\\Microsoft\\\\Windows\\ NT\\\\Example').VALUE == 'Joejoeinc\\ at\\ home'

That's  "\\SPACE" between each word.

That to query a reg key that has a space in it like 'Windows NT' you need to write it like 'Windows\\ NT'

Thursday, June 09, 2011

VBScript Convert Date to String(text) / rename folder to foldername+Date

Dim MyDate
MyDate = Replace(Date, "/", "")

On error resume next
Set objFSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
objFSO.MoveFolder "C:\test" , "C:\test" & Mydate

Friday, June 03, 2011

Configmgr/SCCM, Abort PXE issue when attempting rebuilding a PC (re-run a TaskSequence)

Sometimes when attempting to re-image a system you can sometimes be greeted with an abortPXE error. This can even happen after you delete the record from SCCM. What's happening is the WDS/PXE service can be holding onto the record until the cache expires... this cache can sometimes take a long time to expire.

lucky for us since SCCM 2007 SP/2 We've been able to set the cache expiry from the registry.

On a x86 machine
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\SMS\PXEOn a x64 machine the registry key is under WOW6432NodeHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\SMS\PXECreate a new DWORD value CacheExpire, and set the desired value in seconds. For example, if you prefer the cache expired in 2 minutes, set the value to 120. If the value is set to 0, then the default 60 minutes value is used.
Note: Setting the value in CacheExpire is only supported in ConfigMgr 2007 SP2.

for more information see


I found this can also happen if you delete the record from the system and the target computer is still on and operating before you shut it down. the client sends an update to SCCM before you shut it down.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What's wrong with installing an MSI and a PATCH at the same time?

A few fellow SCCM Engineers have come across this issue. You're trying to install an MSI based application and apply a PATCH.msp at the same time. With SCCM this usually is met with error 1635 unable to locate the patch file. This happens because when you specify the patch the MSI installer doesn't know where the relative location of the patch file is (probably something  that M$ has to fix up at some point).

To get around this problem there are 3 general solutions..

1. Separate the install and patch process (i.e handle them in separate steps)
2. Specify the absolute path the to MSP (which can be difficult if you have multiple installer locations)
3. Create and admin point from the original software and then patch the admin point with the patch.msp. This way you don't have to patch anything when you install as the admin point has the updated files already.

Personally option 1 or 2 are the easiest for me.

More information is available on MSDN: [also you can see in the example they put the entire path.]

Thursday, March 31, 2011

VBscript - How to obtain the local SCCM Proxy Point from WMI

Say you have an application you need to run from a share on local SCCM site server, not from a specific DP.

In this case it can be really easy to determine what your local site server is by querying local WMI for the MPProxy Point.

strComputer = "."
Set objWMIService = GetObject("winmgmts:\\" & strComputer & "\root\ccm")
Set colItems = objWMIService.ExecQuery( _
"SELECT * FROM SMS_MPProxyInformation",,48)
For Each objItem in colItems
Wscript.Echo "sitename: " & objItem.name

Thursday, March 24, 2011

SCCM - MSI Error 1603 error when deploying an application to a standard user.

I recently came across and issue whereby I created a deployable package and it worked fine under admin but kept failing on a users machine.

In the MSI log it would error out with

ISMsiServerStartup Failure, Failed to Initialize script support, Error = 0x80070006
Exit code 1603

The application was deployed using and MSI and it was trying to start up the installscript engine but failed. It seems this application was meant to use a setup.exe to invoke the MSI.

the root cause of this turns out to be the InstallScript DCOM Permissions for any version of IISscript installed. We need to change the Installsheild permissions from executing as the 'interactive user' to executing as the 'Launching User'. this way when he MSI executes and calls the installscript service to start it will start up as the user who kicked off the installer, not as the logged on user (standard user) who doesn't have rights to install software.

AppDeploy have a good write up on this issue.

More info here:
Appdeploy forum
A good video here
Appdeploy Video - Dealing with InstallScript

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

SCCM collection Software not installed. Two methods same outcome.

I needed to quickly create a collection based on AppX not installed on workstations.

There are 2 ways achieve this;

1. Create a collection of PC's that have AppX installed then create a second collection excluding the installed.


2. Do all the above in a single collection.

Both are acceptable answers and will lead you to same outcome. Step 1 will allow you to quickly report how many of 'AppX' is installed which might be handy to some.

I'll show you how to do both methods.

Method 1: Create 2 collections.

--Collection 1 determine the workstations that have APPX installed.

from SMS_R_System
where SMS_R_System.ResourceId
(select SMS_R_System.ResourceID
from SMS_R_System
on SMS_G_System_ADD_REMOVE_PROGRAMS.ResourceId = SMS_R_System.ResourceId
where SMS_G_System_ADD_REMOVE_PROGRAMS.DisplayName

--Collection 2 shows clients not in first collection.
-- Also client must = 1
from SMS_R_System
where SMS_R_System.ResourceId not in
(select ResourceId from SMS_CM_RES_COLL_SSDXXXXX)
and SMS_R_System.Client = 1

Method 2: Create a single collection based query.

from SMS_R_System
inner join SMS_G_System_COMPUTER_SYSTEM on SMS_G_System_COMPUTER_SYSTEM.ResourceID = SMS_R_System.ResourceId
where SMS_G_System_COMPUTER_SYSTEM.Name not in
(select distinct SMS_G_System_COMPUTER_SYSTEM.Name
from SMS_R_System
inner join SMS_G_System_COMPUTER_SYSTEM on SMS_G_System_COMPUTER_SYSTEM.ResourceID = SMS_R_System.ResourceId
inner join SMS_G_System_ADD_REMOVE_PROGRAMS on SMS_G_System_ADD_REMOVE_PROGRAMS.ResourceID = SMS_R_System.ResourceId
where SMS_G_System_ADD_REMOVE_PROGRAMS.DisplayName like "%AppX%")

Friday, January 28, 2011

PXE Error after booting - The certificate associated with this media has expired

Error: the certificate associated with this media has expired. New
Media with a valid certificate will need to be created.

If your boot media cert's have not expired then this is easy to fix as it will just be the PXE point that has expired.

1. Go to Site Database --> Site Management --> --> Site Settings --> Site Systems and choose the server where the PXE Service Point is located.

2.In the right pane, right click on the ConfigMgr PXE service point and choose Properties.

3. Click on the Database tab and locate the Create self-signed PXE certificate option.

4. Under Create self-signed PXE certificate, set the Set expiration date option to some time in the future.
5. Click OK.
6. Go to Site Database --> Site Management --> --> Site Settings --> Certificates --> PXE and verify that there is now a valid non-expired non-blocked Certificate.

This should fix up your issue.. However if your boot media Cert's have expired then you need to rebuild your boot images with new Cert's

Monday, January 24, 2011

How to disable the Open file Security warning

I come across this error fairly regularly when coding for SCCM.. and mostly when using VBscript.

I found this KB is the best solution without having to disable it entirely.


Power Management in SCCM R3

Microsoft Systems Center guest blog:



Joining two or more collections into a new collection

Use the below code to create a new SCCM 'Collection' using the members of other one or more other collections.

- Create new collection
- Use a 'Query' to define the Membership Rules
- Use system resources
- Use the below SQL code to define the members.

Change the XXXXXXX to the Collection ID you want.

select SMS_R_SYSTEM.ResourceID,SMS_R_SYSTEM.ResourceType,SMS_R_SYSTEM.Name,SMS_R_SYSTEM.SMSUniqueIdentifier,SMS_R_SYSTEM.ResourceDomainORWorkgroup,SMS_R_SYSTEM.Client from SMS_R_System where SMS_R_System.ResourceId in (select ResourceId from SMS_CM_RES_COLL_XXXXXXX) or SMS_R_System.ResourceId in (select ResourceId from SMS_CM_RES_COLL_XXXXXXX)

Boom! your new collection is now populated with the members of other collections.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

SCCM Collection based on 'File' and version less than "X"

The below System query shows "X.exe" file with anything less than version "X.x.x.x.". Very useful for discovering out of date files and creating and advertisement to install the correct version

Make sure you have your file inventory configured correctly.

SELECT        VRS.ResourceID, VRS.ResourceType, VRS.Name0

FROM            dbo.v_R_System AS VRS INNER JOIN
                         dbo.v_GS_SoftwareFile AS SF ON VRS.ResourceID = SF.ResourceID

 WHERE        SF.FileName = 'X.exe' AND SF.FileVersion <= 'x.x.x.x'
Please note i've used 'less than or equal to' in the above query if you want just less than remove the '='

Also a different way to do the same. Create 2 queries