Archive for July, 2007

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Linux Newbie – Just installed Ubuntu 7.04

July 29, 2007

All I can say is wow, that was a breeze.

I’ve been having troubles with my XP system lately, it just freezes up whenever it feels like it. It’s had it’s time, and a new machine is on the way. But I had a bright idea (haha) the other day. I have a zillion SATA drives laying around, why not install Ubuntu? So I did.

It was a breeze. I didn’t need to follow any tutorials. It was all common sense.

So right now, I’m posting this in Ubuntu. I’m definitely a newbie in Linux, so I’m learning everything from scratch pretty much. I did install a Fedora Core 5 server last year and installed Apache from scratch to host websites in my old companies colo last year, so that’s the last time I touched Linux. So far I’ve learned some commands, played around with the xorg.conf file (more on that in a sec) and installed some Linux apps.

But my biggest pain right now is getting my dual 17″ LCD’s to work on this system. I have a nVidia 5700 LE video card. Sure, one of them works (my DVI connection) but my VGA connection does not. My DVI connection is a ViewSonic VG710b, and my VGA connection is a Vison (I’m not sure of the model, it’s a cheapy).

I cannot for the life of me get the dual monitors to work. I’ve tried the latest nVidia drivers, tried to install TwinView, etc etc etc. I cannot get them to work. After changing a few things, I usually break my X and need to recover my xorg.conf file.

For any of you Linux guys out there… this is my xorg.conf file… I’m positive it’s not set up right… but if any of you can lend a hand… that’d be great. I’d love to get my dual monitors working so I can replace this XP system quickly!


# /etc/X11/xorg.conf (xorg X Window System server configuration file)
#
# This file was generated by dexconf, the Debian X Configuration tool, using
# values from the debconf database.
#
# Edit this file with caution, and see the xorg.conf(5) manual page.
# (Type “man xorg.conf” at the shell prompt.)
#
# This file is automatically updated on xserver-xorg package upgrades *only*
# if it has not been modified since the last upgrade of the xserver-xorg
# package.
#
# If you have edited this file but would like it to be automatically updated
# again, run the following command:
# sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg

Section “Files”
FontPath “/usr/share/fonts/X11/misc”
FontPath “/usr/share/fonts/X11/cyrillic”
FontPath “/usr/share/fonts/X11/100dpi/:unscaled”
FontPath “/usr/share/fonts/X11/75dpi/:unscaled”
FontPath “/usr/share/fonts/X11/Type1”
FontPath “/usr/share/fonts/X11/100dpi”
FontPath “/usr/share/fonts/X11/75dpi”
# path to defoma fonts
FontPath “/var/lib/defoma/x-ttcidfont-conf.d/dirs/TrueType”
EndSection

Section “Module”
Load “i2c”
Load “bitmap”
Load “ddc”
Load “dri”
Load “extmod”
Load “freetype”
Load “glx”
Load “int10”
Load “vbe”
EndSection

Section “InputDevice”
Identifier “Generic Keyboard”
Driver “kbd”
Option “CoreKeyboard”
Option “XkbRules” “xorg”
Option “XkbModel” “pc105”
Option “XkbLayout” “us”
EndSection

Section “InputDevice”
Identifier “Configured Mouse”
Driver “mouse”
Option “CorePointer”
Option “Device” “/dev/input/mice”
Option “Protocol” “ImPS/2”
Option “ZAxisMapping” “4 5”
Option “Emulate3Buttons” “true”
EndSection

Section “InputDevice”
Driver “wacom”
Identifier “stylus”
Option “Device” “/dev/input/wacom”
Option “Type” “stylus”
Option “ForceDevice” “ISDV4” # Tablet PC ONLY
EndSection

Section “InputDevice”
Driver “wacom”
Identifier “eraser”
Option “Device” “/dev/input/wacom”
Option “Type” “eraser”
Option “ForceDevice” “ISDV4” # Tablet PC ONLY
EndSection

Section “InputDevice”
Driver “wacom”
Identifier “cursor”
Option “Device” “/dev/input/wacom”
Option “Type” “cursor”
Option “ForceDevice” “ISDV4” # Tablet PC ONLY
EndSection

Section “Device”
Identifier “nVidia Corporation NV36 [GeForce FX 5700LE]”
Driver “nv”
BusID “PCI:1:0:0”
EndSection

Section “Monitor”
Identifier “LCD-MONITOR”
Option “DPMS”
EndSection

Section “Screen”
Identifier “Default Screen”
Device “nVidia Corporation NV36 [GeForce FX 5700LE]”
Monitor “LCD-MONITOR”
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection “Display”
Depth 1
Modes “1280×1024” “1024×768” “832×624” “800×600” “720×400” “640×480”
EndSubSection
SubSection “Display”
Depth 4
Modes “1280×1024” “1024×768” “832×624” “800×600” “720×400” “640×480”
EndSubSection
SubSection “Display”
Depth 8
Modes “1280×1024” “1024×768” “832×624” “800×600” “720×400” “640×480”
EndSubSection
SubSection “Display”
Depth 15
Modes “1280×1024” “1024×768” “832×624” “800×600” “720×400” “640×480”
EndSubSection
SubSection “Display”
Depth 16
Modes “1280×1024” “1024×768” “832×624” “800×600” “720×400” “640×480”
EndSubSection
SubSection “Display”
Depth 24
Modes “1280×1024” “1024×768” “832×624” “800×600” “720×400” “640×480”
EndSubSection
EndSection

Section “ServerLayout”
Identifier “Default Layout”
Screen “Default Screen”
InputDevice “Generic Keyboard”
InputDevice “Configured Mouse”
InputDevice “stylus” “SendCoreEvents”
InputDevice “cursor” “SendCoreEvents”
InputDevice “eraser” “SendCoreEvents”
EndSection

Section “DRI”
Mode 0666
EndSection

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How to create a self install of the Cisco VPN Client

July 25, 2007

Thought I’d share this with everyone. Keep in mind this is using the OLD version of the Winzip Self Extractor utility… but it still applies.

This is a way to configure a self-installing Cisco VPN client for your end users. It’s very easy to do and very helpful. The normal install of a Cisco VPN client is quite tedious for some end-users to endure. This process makes a single .exe file and allows you to customize install messages, etc.

Use WinZip Self-Extractor tool

Choose Software Installation Option

Provide ZIP file of VPN Client (Run Winzip ahead to create single archive)

Provide user information (That is only what user will see)

Provide silent install keys.

Provide support information

(I’m not including this image because it contained some work-related info and I didn’t feel like editing it). This is self explanatory.

Be sure to check Unzip automatically

Review final information and accept it.

Final install was created, test it now or skip to the end.

That was easy, wasn’t it?

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A real nifty little tool that is a must-have

July 21, 2007

Today I was service manager at my job for a few hours. That includes overseeing the entire help desk, helping technicians with issues, escalating tickets, board monitoring, etc etc etc.

I stumbled across a technician that was working on a Cisco VPN issue for a remote user, who was at his home. He could not connect to the VPN concentrator at his office. It was working, and all of the sudden this morning, it stopped working.

My fellow technician took it into his own hands to try to update to the latest Cisco VPN Client (ver. 4.6), since the user was still using client ver. 3.6.3, after an hour or so of troubleshooting.

He ran into a huge snag though, it seemed as if the old client really never uninstalled itself after he ran the uninstaller. When he tried to run the 4.6 installer, it said that an older client existed, was recently removed, and the machine needed a reboot. He rebooted the machine and reconnected up to the computer remotely only to find the issue still was there.

After another hour and a half or so of him trying to delete files and whatnot, the issue was still there. The ticket should have been escalated to Tier II after 2 hours of work (this ticket was at the Tier 1 level for almost 4 hours!!!). I escalated to the Tier II level and I had one of my Tier II colleagues grab this ticket, telling him that I wanted this resolved ASAP and letting him know I would personally help him get this working.

So when my colleague stepped out for a smoke break, I sat down at his workstation and started looking at this piece of crap computer remotely. First thing I did was clear out every registry key and value that had anything Cisco related. After 5 minutes of Delete-Enter-F3, I went to try to install the newest client again. IT STILL DIDN’T WORK!

Then it hit me. I thought of a utility I had used several months ago on my home machine that removed some items from my Add/Remove programs list that wouldn’t go away even after an uninstall. And that utility was the Windows Installer Cleanup Utility.

I googled this and found it here. After downloading and running this tool, my colleague was able to install the 4.6 client, reboot, re-add the .pcf policy file for the VPN and BAM, the user was connected. Good thing, I had found out he had to leave for China tomorrow morning and absolutely needed to have remote access! WHEW!

But now after all that reading, I’m finally getting to the point of the post! Just what does the Windows Installer Cleanup Utility do? Simple:

With the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility, you can remove a program’s Windows Installer configuration information. You may want to remove the Windows Installer configuration information for your program if you experience installation (Setup) problems. For example, you may have to remove a program’s Windows Installer configuration information if you have installation problems when you try to add (or remove) a component of your program that was not included when you first installed your program. You can find out more by visiting that above link.

This program (along with cleaning out registry) saved our ass, and saved a call to Cisco, and enabled the user to connect to the VPN before his trip for China tomorrow morning. It’s one of those tools that is a must-have for your tool-set; especially if you’re a system admin or a help-desk guy. It can save hours of frustration.

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GET. MIRO. NOW.

July 18, 2007

Do you download torrents? Do you play countless amounts of videos? Do you love FREE internet TV? Do you wish you could download YouTube videos?

I have nothing else to say but this. GET MIRO NOW.

Link.

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Another cool free phone call thingy

July 15, 2007

Hey, it’s Sunday, I didn’t feel like thinking of a better title.

I came across this website from another blog, again, I don’t remember, it might have been Lifehacker or Digg.

There is no sign-up required, users simply go to www.viatalkfree.com and enter their phone number, then the phone number they wish to call. Once they have done that, they wait just a few seconds for a call to their phone line. As they answer that call, the service then dials the number they are trying to reach. Since the call is through ViaTalk Free Connect, no charges apply to the user’s phone line.

Users are encouraged to leave feedback or suggestions once they’ve utilized the ViaTalk Free Connect.

How about that?

Now go call your Grandma.

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5 Simple Ways To Store Your Files Online

July 14, 2007

When it comes to online backup of your data, there’s probably more options than in any other web 2.0 space. However, recently I’ve tried some of these services out and found out that many have become unnecessarily complex, some are ad hells, and some don’t work at all. I’ve gone through this mess and chosen 5 simple online backup services that just work.

DropBoks

DropBoks

DropBoks is the king of simplicity. Open the page and you’ll immediately know what to do, as the whole service consists of an upload form and a file listing. Your account has 1 GB of storage space, and individual files can be max. 50 MB in size. Another nice thing about DropBoks is that it’s not only free, it also has no ads whatsoever – it’s fully donation-supported.

Ewedrive

Ewedrive

I’ve always liked it when a service gives me a subdomain to use: it’s somehow easier to remember. Ewedrive gives you just that, and doesn’t create a lot of fuss about the service. After registering, you’re allocated 1 GB of free space which you can use as you please – publicly or privately, the choice is yours. Among other features, Ewedrive supports encryption, it has no file size limits, and doesn’t restrict upload/download in any way. Ewedrive also has an interesting way of increasing capacity: if you need more space, you can buy credits, which you exchange for more space at a rate of 5 pennies (UK currency) per gigabyte.

OneDump

OneDump

Need to dump a file online quickly? No worries: open OneDump and you’ll immediately be greeted with an upload form. You can register for an account, but it’s not necessary; simply upload your stuff and you’ll get a link from which you can retrieve it later. There are no space restrictions, but you can only upload 10 files at once and each file must not exceed 5 MB.

DropSend

DropSend

DropSend is primarily a service for sending big files to people, but you can also use it to store your data online. The basic plan is free, and it includes 250 MB of storage; by cashing out $99 for the best plan you can go up to 250 GB and some enterprise-style features, for example 100 users and the ability to brand and customize the visual identity of the service to your liking.

JustUpIt

JustUpIt

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New Google Map Features Worth Mentioning

July 14, 2007

I’m sure most of you know this by now (I don’t claim to be on top of NEW news…, but anyway). There are some new Google Maps features that I just found out about tonight when my wife asked me directions to look up.

First off, you can tell Google Maps what alternate routes to take by dragging the blue line on the map to different roads. It’s pretty sweet.

Also, you can now avoid highways on directions. This may have been around for awhile, but I’m not sure. So all you people who are scared to drive on highways (ahem, my wife) now have directions that avoid them.

Pretty cool!