Things I hate (2)

I got it to work.

The /disasterrecovery-Option for the Setup.exe of the exchange-server was not enough. Searching more in google finally brought the solution: Q267573.

I’ve created a .reg-File so you don’t have to make 5000 clicks when in the same situation:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftRpcClientProtocols]
"ncacg_ip_udp"="rpcrt4.dll"
"ncacn_http"="rpcrt4.dll"
"ncacn_nb_tcp"="rpcrt4.dll"
"ncacn_ip_tcp"="rpcrt4.dll"
"ncacn_np"="rpcrt4.dll"

If somebody can tell me why the dedicated disaster-recovery-option of the setup program does not create those entries, please tell me here and now!

I will now make some tests with an Outlook-Client and then finally go home (it’s 1:30am localtime)

Things I hate (3)

Jepp. The test was successful. The installation is up and running again.

After many hours of stupid system administration work, I am thinking about what I have had to do if Linux would have been running on said server.

First of all, it would be highly unlikely that something like this i-will-not-boot-anymore would happen on a Linux-Server. the architecture is more straight-forward there and it cannot happen that the system destablizes itself without external intervention. But let’s say, it happened anyway (stupid administrator or even a hardware defect (like defect ram causing currupted data to be written to the harddrive at an incorrect location).

If I cannot boot Linux (or whatever other UNIX-flavor you like), I just take a rescue disk and boot from it. Unlike the disk provided by Microsoft, I would get a full-fledged console allowing me to do everything I could do on the defective installation. The Windows disk provides me with a recovery console which does not allow much more than writing a new boot-record to the harddrive and an automated recovery procedure (actually two – one works better, the other worse. As usual, the better one is hidden (behind the “new installation” step)) which will do something intransparently which is supposed to fix your installation. And: I had to work with a german Windows installation disk and the translation is really bad. I would have preferred the english version, but the administrator does not have the choice there.

As always: Intransparence is bad. Where the boot-process of every Linux-Distribution is well-documented and very transparent and thus can be modified, debugged or even stripped down to the bare minimum (init=/bin/sh), the process in windows is very complex and cannot be altered at all. This forces the user to do unneccesary time-taking reinstallations as the software is not smart enough to fix the problem and the administration is not allowed to.

Debugging the problem: In UNIX/Linux I get most of the time a nice and understanable error-message. If I can’t understand it, I can enter it to google and usually get answers. If not, I can even grep through the sourcecode and thus make me an image what it means.

Under Windows – at least some parts of the Windows-Servers, getting a really useful error-message is difficult: The Event-Viewer uses the same Error-Codes for completly different things and the same things may have the same error-message which renders google quite useless (and don’t even try to understand those messages – they are not helpful at all). Greping through the sourcecode is no alternative at all.

So after all I think my odyssey with this crashed server would have taken much less time and work if the server would have been running Linux or a different flavor of UNIX. Too bad it isn’t .

Now I am really going home

Things I hate

Long time, no post. Sorry for that, but I was quite busy.

Today, I was invited to a nice pre-christmas dinner by the mother of my girlfriend. I really looked forward to the event and I deceided to just come to the office for some hours and then to go and take the train to Erlenbach where my girlfriend lives.

As soon as I was in the office, someone came to me and told me that a Win2k-Server just went down. I did what I always do in such cases: Go and reboot the thing.

But this time, it did not help.

So I went to get a TFT-Display and a keyboard to see what’s wrong. And I was not pleased: Bluescreen at startup.

None of the debugging-tools provided by Microsoft was of any help, so I took the server at my place and inserted the original installation disk.

As I suspected, the repairing-tool launched by pressing “R” in the Setup-Screen did not help. The real good system repair tool can be gotten when chosing to “I”nstall a new Installation and then chosing “R” when the old installation has been found.

I was pleased to see that the server booted again, when the installation was complete. All the settings and the whole configuration was still there yess!

But two things were wrong:

  • The WINS-Service could not be started. The error in the error-log was “File not found”. An indication *what* file was missing was not given.
  • The Exchange-Server used by our renter was down and could not be started. The error in the log is german and I will not even try to translate it for you as it is meaningless anyway.

    In short: I could not fix the problem before I went to Erlenbach, so I had to return to the office instead of going back home after the (excellent) dinner because I am away around christmas.

    My solutions for the problems:

    • The WINS-Server could be reaniomated by un-installing and re-installing it.
    • With the Exchange-Server I am still trying, but I think, Q257415 and Q296790 may be of help (Note: Google Groups is really great if you don’t know any solutions any more.

      I’ll keep you updated on my progress here.

ScummVM 0.3

ScummVM 0.3.0b has been released a couple of days ago even without the agreement between the project group and LucasArts. ScummVM is a free (as in speech) engine capable of running most of the old Lucas Arts Adventures everyone likes so much.

Why is this important? All the older games (read: all the good ones) came out when computers where powered by DOS (mostly MS-DOS) and had an original Soundbalster ISA Card (or something compatible to it). Even with tricks it’s impossible to get those old games to run with sound on most of the modern systems.

And this is where ScummVM kicks in: The program runs on many modern OSes and understands the format the old games where written in (the actual executable was also just an interpreter back then) and thus allows to play the original games in the new environement. Of course you still need the original game, but who doesn’t?

The sad thing: LucasArts did not seem to understand what the project is acutally doing and tried to shut it down using the dammed DMCA. Forunately the voices of many fans stopped LucasArts from proceeding and they began negotiating an agreement with the ScummVM Group. But just read here (last paragraph of the announcement).

Anyway: I did not have the time to test the new version, but the Release Notes look promising.

Another day full of “fun” with hard- and software

I was very happy this morning when I’ve seen that my Bluetooth-USB-Adaptor (link points to a german page, but I could not find the product on the english pages) finally arrived. It took me about 3 months to actually get one.

I ordered the part to backup and synchronize my Nokia 7650 with my Desktop PC as I’ve not seen a way to get the data from my Notebook (where I can use Infrared for synchronmisation) to my Desktop in a simple, automated way, not involving writing a program for myself. And the additional benefit was that BT is a lot faster than the old IR-Connection.

I began installing the adaptor at the same time as Richard did. The difference: He had an Ericsson T68i and – that’s my point – a PowerMac with OS 10.2.

The sad stroy: Getting the Nokia PC Suite to work involved hacking the 3Com driver to get it to install with my Acer BT-Card, rebooting about 500 times. And – after many hours of trail and error – the results were not satisfying at all: I can synchronize with my Outlook (the good thing), but I cannot do anyting else, Richard can with his mac (where the installation took about 2 minutes): Sending and receiving SMS, making calls, receiving calls,…

I really am thinking about byuing myself a Mac…

Syncing, Syncing and Syncing….

OK…. the odyssey goes on: When I posted the last entry here, I just had synced my Nokia 7650 (links in previous entry) over bluetooth with my outlook and besides my dissappointment about not being able to send SMS to richard and call him from within Outlook (what is perfectly possible from Mac’s Addressbook-Application) I was happy to finally have Bluetooth working with my cellphone.

Then some time later when Richard left the office, I deceided to try out my phone with his Mac (I have my own account there). First thing I noted: BT-Pairings are per computer and not per user on the Macs which is not really what I would have exspected as it can lead to problems.

Anyway: I was quite pleased to see that Ricahrd’s Mac does not recognize my Nokia Phone and thus does not offer any of those cool options, making my Windows-BT-Configuration actually superior to the one that is possible with the Mac. At least with my phone :-) [not that I’m really happy about this – it’s just better than before, but not good at all. As a PDA, the 7650 rocks. As a phone too. But not as a companion for other devices. And the PC-Suite provided with the phone is quite crappy too, besides its capability to sync with outlook]

I don’t really use outlook for anything but as a common denominator between all my PIM-devices and applications as every one of them can synchronize with outlook: My Zaurus, my IPAQ which the company provided me to write applications for it and finally, Mozilla for sending Email.

Anyway: After the sychronisation of Outlook with the Nokia, the outlook-addressbook was cluttered with two empty contacts and many of the imported ones had fields just containing a single space. You can call me a perfectionist, but I did not want them in my other devices/applications. So I’ve removed them.

Then I synced again. Effect: Contacts where doubled on my cellphone and in outlook. The corrupt ones where back.

I removed all the contacts from the Nokia adressbook (over the Phone itself. The PC-Suite does not provide a GUI to access the contacts directly. It was a lengthy procedure) and I synced again with the effect, that the contact database of Outlook was now complete empty. I’ve had somewhat forseen this and thus made a backup before the synchronisation which I reimported into Outlook.

Again: Synchronisation.

This time it seemd to work. But my own contact entry was again doubled. Once the correct entry and once with spaces in the secondary email-adress.

I removed the wrong entry and synced again. -> Yippie! It worked.

Then I made the next mistake.

I syncronized the IPAQ (which does not work over bluetooth regardles of the software telling me the opposite).

Effect: double contacts in Outlook again. I’ve no idea why because all the entries on the IPAQ had a much older modification date.

Again: Removed the old contacts and synchronized again. IPAQ and Outlook were in sync.

Then: Sync with the Nokia.

Double contacts again….

I hope, you are getting the point. It’s strictly impossible for me to have a single working contact-database on all the devices. I don’t know where the error slips into (but I tend to blame Nokia for it) and I certainly don’t know how to fix it. It’s just terribly annoying. And as the Nokia way of synchronizing is completly proprietary, there is no way to replace the faulty part.

I’m just beginning to regret having bought the Nokia 7650 and given my old T68i to my girlfriend. But then again: I really like the user interface, the speed, the stability [I’m trying not to remeber the having-to-reflash-the-software-incident last week] and the featureset of the 7650. After all, I must conclude that the perfect solution for a techie like me does not exist yet. Hopefully it will sometime.

Underground History

There are not many things I like more than the athmosphere of a dark, dusty place some meters underground. When I was a child, we used to play in a small cavern below the house where my paretns had their flat (the whole story ended with us nearly being arrested by the criminal police of Zollikon which suspeced us to be trespassing drug-addicts – but this is another story which I will tell you perhaps another time).

Anyway: On Slashdot, I just saw an article about abandoned subway stations in London and I had to visit the site to learn everything of another place with this great athmosphere. To be honest: Just while writing this, I deceided that I will have to go to those subway stations sometime to make my own photographs – to breathe the dusty air for myself and to tell you, fellow reader, about it.

Until then: Have fun with Underground History