Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DIY Christmas Tree Watering System

My family loves having a live Christmas Tree every year.  What does a live tree need to stay alive?  Water!

The Base I have for the Christmas Tree has a pretty good well in it, but with a live tree, it needs to be filled at least twice a day, and four or five times a day the first few days.

For years, I've been using a dipstick / funnel combo to check the water level, and refill it without having to bend over and crawl under the tree. It works really well, especially when I've got presents under the tree.

I've always wanted to purchase one of the external reservoirs, but I've never seen one that I've liked.
This year we're leaving for the weekend a few weeks before Christmas, so I needed one to try to keep the tree alive.

Read on to see how I made one.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I spent a while looking how to configure an HP to interoperate with a Cisco switch using VRRP.

While doing this, I found that HP likes to use the physical address of the Primary router as the virtual IP address.   This wasn't something I was entirely comfortable with, so I wanted to find how to NOT do that.

I found this guy's webpage

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Using Netsh to export and import DHCP reservations

Recently I had to move 80 or so virtual servers from one subnet to another.  The server's all have their IP's assigned via DHCP, and they keep them via DHCP reservations.  I also need to make the IP's reserved in the new scope.

This should be easy peasey.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Theoretical Speed vs Practical Throughput

A long time ago, I found this article, which had a great graph with the speeds depicted on it.

I lost the graph in an office move, and took a long time to re-find it.

Here is the graph I was looking for:

Monday, April 8, 2013

Dilbert on Firewalls

On of the tasks I routinely do at work involves firewalls.  Create configurations for them, Administer them, design deployment strategies for them.

Scott Adams posted this, this week.

It neatly summarizes the sentiment the guy deploying the firewall has.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Creating a Self Signed Certificate for NPS for testing

Recently I had need to create a test RADIUS server, using NPS (Network Policy Server).  In order to create PEAP policies, you need a certificate issued to the NPS server.

The correct way to put a certificate on the server is to Issue a real certificate to the NPS server from a real register such as Verisign, or Entrust.

You can also issue a certificate from your own CA authority.

Neither of these options are quick or easy.

What if you just need a certificate to see if something works.

Here's how to do that.

First download from Microsoft the IIS 6.0 Resource kit tools. Included in this tool kit is SelfSSL.  A tool created by Microsoft to issue and install a self-signed SSL certificate.

Launch SelfSSL from Start >Programs > IIS Resources > SelfSSL > SelfSSL (Note: You must run SelfSSL elevated as an Administrator)

Type in the following command to generate a new certificate of key length 1024 with a validity period of 10 years (3652 days):
selfssl.exe /N:CN=fqdn.of.radius.server /K:1024 /V:3652

You'll be prompted to overwrite the settings for site 1, answer with yes.   The certificate will now be in the local computer certificate store.

That's it.  It's installed in the right place, and it's enabled.

Of course, your end devices will not trust the certificate, so you will need to export the certificate, and load it onto devices as a trusted CA.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Embed a Slideshow from Picasa Web / Google Plus

One of the great features of Picasa Web was that you could embed a Flash slideshow of your albums. Google would even give you the code to do it.  There was a button that said Embed and it would give you the code. Just cut and paste and you were done.

With the migration to Google Plus Photos, this disappeared.

Here's a work around.

Use the following link to get back to the original PicasaWeb site.

Hopefully the embed button makes a re-appearance, or Google leaves the old page up forever.

One of the commenters below posted this website.

It seems to work pretty good!


So I switched blog engines, and I never bothered transferring a bunch of posts that were outdated, or were just links to my Picasa photo site.  Which is just Google Plus now.

I always show people my dog (A beautiful Newfoundland named Bailey) so I figured I would experiment with the new blog.

Revisiting Multi User Picasa on a single computer

Awhile ago, I wrote an article about having multiple users on a single computer using Picasa. I wrote it in 2008, after I had setup a new computer at my house. In all it worked fairly well, we never had any issues with it.

It's been 5 years, and we've bought a new computer again.  I figured, it's been five years, Picasa MUST have some native functionality for this now?

Nope. Nada. Zilch.

I could do the same symlink thing, but while searching Google's forums for Picasa trying to see if they've added native support, I found a guy that had wrote a nice utility that does the symlinks.

First, a little background on why I would want to do this.

My wife and I both have our own accounts on the computer.  We like it because we can personalize the computer however we want, and not bother the other.

Except this sucks when you have iTunes and Picasa, and you want to share them.  For iTunes, if you want to automatically have songs the other users downloads added to your library, you have to create a bunch of symlinks, and share a database.  Not the best solution. (My playlists kept overwriting her's till we figured it out and named them different).

Picasa had the same issue.  I take the pictures, and download them to the Public folders.  My wife will then open picasa (which will automatically find them) and edit them.  But I wouldn't see the edits, unless she saved the image (But I think I got two images in mine when it discovered them the original and the edited because the database didn't know about the edit).  Anyways, it was a mess.

So back to the program. It doesn't do symlinks anymore, it's a little more advanced that that.

It's called PicasaStarter. It's pretty neat. It has the following features:

  • Create any number of Picasa databases
  • Databases can be created in any location, including network drives, and can be shared by multiple computers and users.
  • Warns if the Database is already in use, preventing Database errors.
I've been using it for a few years now, and I've had no issues.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

First Post!

In August 1999, I bought my own domain name,  This domain name. Over the years I've used a variety of blogging software.

Initially I did all the website design myself, hand crafting the HTML myself. I even had one of those *Designed by Notepad* buttons.
I still have one of the custom drop cap letters I made.
Yea, it's really hard to see, because it's White text.  My first website, like most all bad websites of the early 2000, was black theme.  I ran the website off my computer in my room.

I quickly tired of this, and moved onto a Blog software platform.  You used an actual program program, (I don't remember it's name) and you would type up your entry, then upload it to the website.  That tired quickly, as the software was at home, and most entries, then as now, revolved around work.

Then I discovered FreeGuppy.  It was online CMS platform, and it was nearly perfect, for almost five years.I even developed some plugin's for the product. At some point  I moved to's webhosting. Then on October 11. 2007,  my site had a massive SQL injection attack. Adding to that, the software was developed in French and translated to English, and in frustration, I dumped FreeGuppy, and moved onto Serendipity.

Serendipity was great. It was all the things that FreeGuppy wasn't.  Developed in English.
That leads me to today.  I got an email from Go-Daddy saying they're prices are going up.  That's all well and good, but they're prices weren't that great to start with.  I've only really stayed with them out of inertia. They're were cheaper hosting companies out there, but I never had an motivation to look for them. Having Go-Daddy raise it's prices provided that motivation.

But where to go?  I asked around, lot's of my friends use, and it looks pretty good. But honestly, all I have is a blog that gets updated once or twice a year.That and forward all the email to my Gmail account.  That's it.  Do I need a full webhosting account with SQL support?

We're going to find out.

This time around, I'm moving everything to, and praying this just works. The plan is:

  1. Setup a Blogger Blog. (I think that's a Check)
  2. Put some content on it (Which means move all the old entries to Blogger)
  3. Transfer my domain name (or maybe all names) to  They have email forwarding as part of the domain registration
  4. Pray it all works.
The downside of this, I'm not sure if I can pre-date my entries to make them show up before this entry.

Update 3/22/2013
Yes, Using "Custom Redirects feature in Settings - "Search preferences"" I can issue 301 MOVE redirects.  Essentially I won't lose any content, page rankings, or links.

Update 6/11/2013
I never ended up transferring my domain name to GoDaddy has free email forwarding as part of the domain registration as well.  As you will notice, I also was able to pre-date my previous entries.
In all, I'm happy with how things worked out, and now I'm not spending $60 a year on hosting I didn't really need.