Rants, Recipes and Ramblings

Just Rants

Recovering from the XP Recovery infection

This infection has been everywhere recently.

After getting the system cleaned and unhiding your Desktop, My Documents and Favorites you may still be missing most of your start menu shortcuts… They can be found in a folder named smtmp inside:

(XP)- C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Temp
(W7)- C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Temp

You might see a few numbered folders inside smtmp. One is for the items in All Users\Start Menu folder, one is quick launch items and one is the desktop item

You should see shortcut icons inside them. You should see a long list of folders in one of the three numbered folders. This would be your start menu. Just copy and paste that long list of folders to the right location

I have had this problem In my case there were three numbered folders inside C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Temp\smtmp folder. The folders were numbered 1, 2 and 4.

Inside the 1 folder was a folder named “Programs.” This folder should be copied / pasted to (using XP) to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu, which will already have a folder named Programs but it is safe to overwrite it since Windows will replace the subfolders without creating duplicates.

Inside the 2 folder (for me) were the quick launch items specific for the user. Select ALL of these shortcuts and copy / paste to (using XP) C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch.

Inside the 4 folder were the desktop items that should be copied to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Desktop.

Health video idea

Submitted this idea to the guy behind the great videos at Political Math

1. Total US Population
2. Number of the “uninsured”
3. Subtract out those that don’t want to buy insurance (have the money but don’t want to buy it, young and invincible, etc…)
4. Subtract out the “undocumented”

This leaves the actual number that the charity of a government/public benefit might be applicable too.

5. Subtract out the number that are already eligible for public health care but have not signed up for whatever reason

Now we have a number that we can deal with.

What is the esitmated number of individuals and families in that group?

What would the cost be to purchase a typical individual or family HMO type health policy for that number?  Compare that pile of pennies to how big the pile of pennies that Obama, Pelosi, etc.. are trying to push.

The mouths of Babes

Decades ago (the mid 70’s) my Mother sent a “Humor in Uniform” letter to Readers Digest (we don’t believe they ever published it) relating an incident that involved me.

The year would probably have been 1967 as Dad was in Vietnam for his first of two tours of duty over there.  Mom and I were standing in line at the PX at Fort Huachuca and there was a tall black Sergeant in line in front of us.  I would have been 4 years old at the time (Mom would have been 23).  Of course given the tenor of the times and the fact that Dad was in Vietnam Mom had the evening news on every night so you can imagine what she thought was going to come out of the mouth of her babe when I looked up at that Sergeant and said “I know what you are”.  He looked at her and then down at me and asked “Yeah, what am I”.  My sweet little voice responded “A Soldier”.

The week from HELL

First up…

I normally get up about 7-7:30am.  On Tuesday I woke up at 4am and could not get back to sleep.  Got up and planned my day, read on-line news sites, etc…  At 7:15am my phone rings.  It’s an employee at my largest client calling.  They can’t login to the server.  I tried to remote in.  Couldn’t.  Walked her through checking the server.  Appeared to be down – black screen w/ blinking cursor.  Had her reboot it. Same thing.

Got down there about 8am Tuesday morning.  The RAID had crashed (RAID 10 with Drives 0 and 1 reported missing and Drives 2 and 3 still being members of the now failed RAID!  Discussed options and plan of a attack.

Left the site to get new drives for the RAID and to bring a shop system in to assist with data recovery.

The server had crashed either before or after the planned nightly tape backup.

The disk image backup (to enable a bare metal recovery) that runs on Sunday had failed too (maybe because there was something pending bad with the RAID).  Last good backup was Friday nights tape.

Pulled the RAID drives and replaced.  Used some RAID Reconstruction software to try and recovery the data from two of the RAID drives.  Imaging one of the RAID drives (4 hr process), Then mounting via the software that image and one of the other RAID drives to analyze for data (another 4 hr process) then pulling the discovered data (2.5 hr process).

Most of that data was damaged

During this time loaded the Server OS and apps (Backup Software to recover Friday’s tape, antivirus, etc…)

Restored Friday’s data backup tape (86GB) to an alternate location on the server.  Used the backup software to recover the Exchange message store (73GB).

Had to rejoin the +30 client workstations to the domain, shares and printers.

Left the site at 6pm on Wednesday evening. 34 Hours on site

Then while still dealing with residual issues (Outlook Address book replication, slow printers, etc…) this hit our Hosting server on Friday

 We experienced a profound system failure this morning.

At around 1am on the 13th we installed some pending Windows updates to the server and abound restarting it to activate the updates the operating system of the server failed.

After spending considerable time trying to resurrect the OS and bring the server back on line we were forced to replace the drive to save the data that was on the drive in the event that a system restore from backup proved ineffective.

Whatever was causing the issue (corruption or a compromise) was included in the backup because bringing the system on line after the restore we saw the same problem.

We ended up having to rebuild the server from scratch and then copying the data from the saved original drive and modifying the configuration of the software to access the saved data.

The server started accepting mail again around 7pm.  The web server was brought back on line around 8pm and with most of the additional services back to function around 9pm.

Within about 45 minutes of the mail server coming on line we could see that there were almost 800 inbound emails sitting in the queue waiting to be processed.

Save your money and your time

Lori and I got called at the last minute to go out to dinner and a movie with some friends.  The movie “The Echelon Conspiracy”.

Should have known better when I found out that Martin Sheen was in it.

Here is the plot.

A Computer Programmer gets a Cel phone delivered to him

The cel phone delivers him Text messages that “appear” to forecast the future

Guy makes money with it betting in the casino

Some FBI Agents (running around the world) are working with a big wig at the NSA (Martin Sheen) are trying to find the phone and discover who is sending the messages.

Martin Sheen (real life liberal Democrat, but playing a rogue Fascist “Republican” in the movie – with a big smiling picture of Bush in his office) is not happy that Congress voted down an upgrade to Echelon (a real life program put in place by Bill Clinton).

When the NSA appears to be tracing the origination of the TXT back to themselves Martin Sheen realizes what’s going on and aborts the trace.

A cabbie in Prague (but who lives in Moscow) moonlights selling cel phone accessories takes the SIM card from the Computer programmer and the FBI Agents to see if he can find the origin of the TXT.  It’s coming from Echelon he tells them!

Echelon has taken on a life of it’s own and is working to move itself to an unused Data Center in Nebraska.

While the Computer Programmer (now working with the FBI Agents to stop Echelon and Martin Sheen) is trying to abort the upgrade of the Echelon software at the new location the story becomes a rip off of the old movie “War Games”.  This time instead of the computer playing multiple scenarios of the US and USSR launching nuke attacks at each other and deciding that it would be best to play  Tic-tac-toe or Chess the computer is instructed to research itself.  With time running out the Computer Programmer is yelling at Echelon to “Learn”.  In the end Echelon decides that it is a threat to America and shuts itself down.

Guy Get’s Girl.

We find out that the Cabbie is really a Captain in the Russian Army and the Russians have been working to stop Echelon and they are happy that they were able to show the Americans the error of their ways.  But that they will still have to be on the look out for this occurring again.

Who knew!  The Russians are the good guys!

Cleaning up Disney crap?

Wonder if Disney sees the irony in their press release?

WALL-E is the story of the last little robot on Earth. He is a robot and his programming was to help clean up. You see, it’s set way in the future. Through consumerism, rampant, unchecked consumerism, the Earth was covered with trash. And to clean up, everyone had to leave Earth and set in place millions of these little robots that went around to clean up the trash and make Earth habitable again.

Think maybe some of that rampant and unchecked consumerism will be seen in tons of Wall-E toys and other crap in Kid’s meals at the local fast food chain?

Well Duh…

Word of the Day – Fractal Wrongness

Fractal Wrongness

The state of being wrong at every conceivable scale of resolution. That is, from a distance, a fractally wrong person’s worldview is incorrect; and furthermore, if you zoom in on any small part of that person’s worldview, that part is just as wrong as the whole worldview.
Debating with a person who is fractally wrong leads to infinite regress, as every refutation you make of that person’s opinions will lead to a rejoinder, full of half-truths, leaps of logic, and outright lies, that requires just as much refutation to debunk as the first one. It is as impossible to convince a fractally wrong person of anything as it is to walk around the edge of the Mandelbrot set in finite time.
If you ever get embroiled in a discussion with a fractally wrong person on the Internet–in mailing lists, newsgroups, or website forums–your best bet is to say your piece once and ignore any replies, thus saving yourself time.

Anti-Mormon drivel

It amazes me the time, energy and effort that the the hate-fill Anti-Mormon’s put into trying to tear down my Religion.

In the wake of Romney’s “Religion in America” speech the looney’s have really come out in force.  Reading the postings and especially the comments on Townhall.com one would think it was not a site for politics but a site to discuss Religion.

This morning Kevin McCullough posted an Anti-mormon “Hit Cartoon” from Youtube on his site and said…

“This clip explaining the origins of humanity from the Mormon perspective is over 626,000 views already on YouTube alone. AlterNet (a religious site) and HotAir (a news/pop culture/politics site) are presently linking to it.”

As if somehow saying that this guy over here is saying something so it must be true or that since six hundred thousand people have looked at it must be true.

I posted a comment that reads…

This video is 100% anti-Mormon.

Back in 1980 when we were living in Savannah (I was in HS and Dad was stationed at Hunter Army Air Field) my Mom brought home an Anti-Mormon book that a “concerned” friend at work had given her. She and I had a fun an enlightening evening going through it laughing out loud at how disenginious this hate-filled diatribe was.

We took that Anti-Mormon book and all the Source material it referenced and compared them. Were the words of the Anti-Mormon book to be found in the Source material? Sure. However, the context they were trying to force the words into was nowhere to be found. Sometimes it would be a sentence followed by an ellipses then another sentence. Problem was those ellipses represented compete sentences and/or words that conveyed real meaning

If I did the same thing with my words in the first paragraph above I could get them to say:

“Mom brought home an Anti-Mormon book that a “concerned” friend had given her. She and I had… an enlightening evening going through it…”

The “words” are indeed what I wrote but the meaning is entirely changed.

Same with this “video”.

Kevin, I am dissapointed in you. Shouldn’t you have made even the pretence of checking on the athentiticy of it before posting it on your site? What’s differenent about the way you presented this then what the “Left” did in saying Rush called any soldier that disagreed with him a “Phony Soldier”. A thimble of truth can be poured into a 50 gallon drum, but it does not mean that the 50 gallon drum is filled.

The amount of hate and dissinformation is truely stark.

Why you say NO to “special” lug nuts

This evening an electrician took my (unattended) Server center down.  So I rush over to bring the servers back on line.

I pull in the parking lot and there is a guy sitting in his car on his cel. Trunk open and battery cables lying on the ground.

I ask, “Need a jump?”  Nope he has a flat tire and can I help him.

I then noticed that he has a crippled left arm so of course I jump in to get the tire changed for him.

Hmmm…. Who put this monster wooden box which huge ass speakers in your truck that has to be removed to get to the stupid ass don-nut spare and jack out of your car I wonder to myself as I remove said box.

Get jack under car and get it partially lifted.  Remove cover on the wheels to get to the lug nuts.

Lug wrench is way to BIG for the lug nuts.  I reached in to feel the lug nuts (I forgot to mention he parked in just about the darkest part of the parking lot) and they felt “weird”.  They are “kinda” rounded with slots running down the length.  The guy remembers that he has a special tool for the lug nuts and gets it’s out of the glove box along with a barely useable flash light

You have about 3/4″ of an inch access to the lug nuts.  The special tool is about 3″ long and the standard lung wrench fits onto it (although pretty sloppy fit).  That means that the leverage force you are applying to this 3/4″ lug nut is about 5″ out in space.

Managed to massage four of the lug nuts loose.  The fifth however… Someone had been a little eager with their impact wrench.

Downstairs from the server room is a full service sign shop that a friend of mine owns.  I have the keys to the building so I’ll grab some tools.  I take one of the lug nuts with me and discover that this a 16mm socket is just a hair to small and a 17mm socket is just as much too big.  Same with trying standard sockets.  Can’t get enough purchase or angle to try and use a crescent wrench.

Ended up putting his stuff back in the trunk and helping him call a tow truck to take the car and drop it off at a tire store.

Moral of the story.  Special lug nuts are not worth it.  I would rather have some steal my wheels then to have my “anti-theft” solution leave me stranded on the side of the road and unable to replace a flat tire.

Wonder where they learn it?

This evening Lori and I had to run over to Walmart to get some poster board for a school project my oldest daughter is working on.  While Lori was getting the poster board and some school paper I was flipping through the posters at the end of the isle.  I came across one of a guitar and some classic guitar chords and was using one finger to “mark my place” while I flipped through the rest of the posters because I wanted to show it to Lori as a possible stocking stuffer for our son for Christmas.
A lady in her mid-thirties with her male “spawn” in tow barged up from the other side of the poster display and shoved them closed on me (my finger was still marking my place).  She then proceeded to ignore me (I had not taken my finger out of marking my place), as I stood there dumbfounded, and flipped through the display herself!  Stopping to “ooh” and “ahh” with her brat at the cartoon posters for Dora, Cinderella and other assorted Disney orphans (ever notice that ALL Disney main characters are either orphans or don’t have a mother – Bambi, Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Little Mermaid, Nemo, etc…) for a poster her female “spawn” might like in her room.
When she finally got to where I had my finger still marking my place and she continued flipping through the display at which point I had to remove my finger if I wanted to keep it attached to my hand.  When she got done browsing the posters she stepped to the side of the display to look at a sheet of smaller versions of these same posters.  I then started to pick up where I had been forced to stop.  But noooooo….  Her demon male “spawn” charged back around to point out one of the posters.  In doing so he stepped on my foot with his sneakers (I was wearing flip-flops) and slammed the posters shut where I was looking at them to find the one he wanted to show his “mother”.
She then proceeded to tell her demon spawn that he “shouldn’t be rude” and “should wait his turn”.  Wonder why I didn’t think to tell her the same thing.