Peer1 Hosting – UK’s greenest data centre – Videos

5 new videos about Peer1 Hosting’s new data centre near Portsmouth, interesting if you want to take a look where your servers are hosted and the extremes we take to make sure they stay online & safe:

Form Meets Function – take a look around:

Failsafe Power - 78.1 litre V16 engines!:

Revolutionary Cooling – super efficient, take a look:

FailSafe Security – don’t get stuck in the ‘man trap’!:

Hosting Utopia – a game on the customer Xbox anyone?:

Jason Vigus

Mac OSX Tips: launch VNC from terminal

OSX has a VNC tool built in called Screen Sharing, this lets you access other machines running a VNC server.

You can use the GUI but I’ve found the best way to is simply to launch it via terminal (while connecting to a VNC server), here are some examples:

open vnc://www.myserver.com
open vnc://192.168.111.145
open vnc://mylocalserver.com

Safari supports these urls as bookmarks for easy VNC url management or you can use something like quicksilver for quick key stroke launching of VNC sessions.

Jason Vigus

Basic Foundry ServerIron Load Balancer Commands

All of these commands are show commands, I use them regularly on Foundry ServerIron XL & 4G models. It is worth noting the commands that utilise | inc will not work on the ServerIron XL model.

Display running config:
show run

Display all bound VIPs on the Load Balancer:
show server bind

Search and display VIP information:
show server bind | inc <searchstring>
You will want to replace the <searchstring> with any information that you have that will help you find the VIP. Such as VIP IP, VIP name, real IP, etc.

Provides the full VIP configuration. (you will also be able to check here if reals are failing):
show server bind vip.name

Http information for the real. (you will be able to see here if the load balancer is able to hit the health check on the server, too see if something is failing) :
show server real http real.name

Check VIP Configuration:
show run virtual vip.name.com

Check real’s configuration:
show run real real.name.com

Show all real sessions on the load balancer:
show server sessions

Searches for session information:
show server sessions | inc <searchstring>

Display the total and concurrent connections for a specific VIP:
show server virtual vip.name.com

Jason Vigus

Casio Exilim EX-S770 charging problem (& 9v battery fix)

After 6 months without use (or charging), unsurprisingly our Casio EX-S770 digital camera had a completely flat battery & wouldn’t power on, what I didn’t expect (but probably should have thought about) was for it to refuse to charge because it was so discharged – the dock’s red charging light would simply “blink” at me when the camera was docked.

Turns out there is a fairly simple work around to this, you just need to get a tiny bit of power into the battery to kick-start the charge, to do this I simply grabbed a 9v (square) battery, connected the camera’s positive terminal with the positive on the 9v, the negative to the negative, let it transfer power for about 45 seconds & when the camera was docked again the solid red charging light returned, a few hours later the camera was fully charged and working as if nothing had ever happened.

I thought I’d share this here just incase anyone else has the same issue and wants to give this a go before shelling out for a brand new battery, good luck!

Jason Vigus

Iomega Storecentre IX2-200 – enable SSH access (how to guide)

If you were wondering how to enable SSH access on your shinny new Iomega Storecentre IX2-200, despite the limited amount of information available online explaining how to do this (& a few misleading websites that go through an unnecessary process of removing the drive & attaching it to a computer to edit the files to gain SSH access) it’s actually quiet easy by following these simple steps:

1. First login to the IX2-200 via the normal admin page.
2. Next browse to https://The_NAS_IP/support.html
3. Click “Support Access”
4. Check the box next to “Allow remote access for support (SSH and SFTP)”

IX2-200 Enable SSH

IX2-200 Enable SSH

Now you have enabled SSH you can connect via SSH. You’ll need to use user “root”, if you use Linux already you’ll be thinking 😉

The password for “root” is soho and your normal admin user password for the web interface. So for example if your password is “Vigus1” then the root password will be “sohoVigus1”

Now remember while your enjoying your SSH access, support mode is still enabled. To continue enjoying SSH access with support mode switched off you will need to make a few more changes:

1. SSH to your IX2-200 and type the following to change the write permissions on the file sshd (start script for the ssh daemon):
cd /etc/init.d/
chmod u+w sshd
pico sshd

2. Next we need to make some changes to the sshd file:
vi sshd

3. Remove the four # (comments) from the following lines:
Note: If this is the first time you’ve used vi before just be careful (cheat sheet here), use the arrow keys to scroll around, use x to delete the character to the right of the curser & this sequence to exit saving changes:

escape
😡
return key 

before:

start() {
        echo -n "Starting sshd: "
        # /usr/sbin/sshd
        # touch /var/lock/sshd
        echo "OK"
}
stop() {
        echo -n "Stopping sshd: "
        # killall       sshd
        # rm -f /var/lock/sshd
        echo "OK"

after:

start() {
        echo -n "Starting sshd: "
         /usr/sbin/sshd
         touch /var/lock/sshd
        echo "OK"
}
stop() {
        echo -n "Stopping sshd: "
         killall       sshd
         rm -f /var/lock/sshd
        echo "OK"

Now go back into the web interface and disable the support mode. SSH should start automatically each time the NAS starts up. To test reboot your NAS via the power button or if you still have SSH open use the Debian (yes Debian, thats what it runs!) reboot command:

shutdown -r now

Now crack open a can of Stongbow as its your Bowtime! 🙂

Get yours on Amazon here:

Jason Vigus

Onkyo TX-NR509 – mini review

I’ve had the Onkyo TX-NR509 AV receiver for a few weeks now, at first I was running it with a pair of old Technics hi-fi speakers and it sounded good, then after some “auditioning” I narrowed down my speaker hunt to the Keff IQ70’s which I have to say are an excellent pair of speakers – I’ll post a mini review of those another time.

Onkyo TX-NR509

Onkyo TX-NR509

I use the TX-NR509 primarily for films & TV, listening to music & playing the odd Playstation game, the receiver makes this easy to connect them all up as it has 4x HDMI input ports & 1x HDMI output, when the receiver is switched on the sound is superb as its played through the IQ70’s, when its turned off the sound is passed through the HDMI and played via the TV’s built in speakers, so its very easy to use. Watch out though, this receiver does not upscale standard definition sources to HDMI, you’ll be wanting the TX-NR609 or higher models if you need that feature.

Setup is straight forward as the TX-NR509 features Audyssey 2EQ® which uses a supplied microphone, plays some strange sounds through each speaker individually, takes measurements & sets up the sound stage to the unique dimensions of your room to make everything sound great.

Today the TX-NR509 really came into its own when I connected it to my home network….

-Internet radio
This was really easy to get working, the receiver has a very large selection of online radio stations (including almost all national & local UK FM stations I could think of), its also very easy to add these to you “favorites” rather than needing to drill down through the many well organised categories. Quality was good for most stations, they seem to vary depending on the bit-rate the station is being broadcast (streamed) at. The TX-NR509 was also very happy to take my last.fm username/password off me & provided access to all the wonderful features last.fm has to offer!

-DLNA network streaming
The TX-NR509 immediately picked up the various DLNA servers on my network, this included my laptop & the Windows Media Center PC upstairs, I was also very happy to see it pickup the music collection on my Iomega Storcenter ix2-200 NAS device as this meant I didn’t need to leave one of the PC’s on just to serve the music from. Having seen how well this work I’m sure we will be loading the NAS up further additional music to choose from. You tend to find the menu structure on a DLNA server can make or break it, fortunately the Iomega did very well on this front and allowed me to choose (via the TX-NR509) music by artist, album, title, genre or playlist.

I liked how all of the “Net” features were available and perfectly usable via the LCD screen alone. Alternatively if you prefer, the attached TV screen can also be used when switched on, the main drawback I have found with doing this is the TX-NR509 does not show a “screensaver” so potentially could cause screen burn on some TV’s such as plasma.

I’ve not tested the receiver with an iPod yet but the manual suggests it can fully control & charge the iPod. There is an iphone & android application available too that lets you control all the main features of the receiver, unfortunately I wasn’t able to get the device to show up on my Android version of the app, I’ll have to spend some more time on that later.

You can connect the TX-NR509 to a wireless dongle if you dont have an ethernet connection handy, I hooked it up via cable as the router wasn’t far away. If you are looking to purchase this device as your first network ready 5.1 receiver, its a great purchase which I very much recommend & will allow you to upgrade your speakers over time.

Jason Vigus

Use the SHADOW command to monitor another terminal services user session

This is a simple but useful command to allow you to shadow another terminal services user when working in a remote desktop environment, this often works when the “remote control” option in Task Manager or Terminal Services Manager fails to connect to the session.

To determine the session ID of the user you wish to shadow you can either check using the task manager “users” tab (see below), paying attention to the “Session” column value:

Shadow Command - Check Users with Task Manager

Shadow Command - Check Users with Task Manager

Alternatively use the query user command at the command prompt to output the session list:

USERNAME              SESSIONNAME        ID  STATE   IDLE TIME  LOGON TIME
>Jason                rdp-tcp#0           2  Active          .  9/11/2011 11:17 AM
 Bob                  rdp-tcp#4           1  Active          .  9/11/2011 4:03 PM
 John                 rdp-tcp#6           3  Active         11  9/11/2011 8:44 AM

Once you are armed with the “session” name/ID you can connect to the user using the Shadow command:
For example to connect to the top session above I would use “shadow rdp-tcp#0” in the command line.

When finished Press CTRL+* to end the remotely controlled session (use the asterisk [*] from the numeric keypad only).

Jason Vigus

Determine Sharepoint version using SQL query on the Sharepoint config database

We recently had a client who lost their Sharepoint application (web front-end) server, fortunately their Sharepoint databases were located on a different SQL server (which was being backed up). So we started to rebuild the Sharepoint application server & proceeded to restore the content (websites).

When we ran through the Sharepoint configuration wizard which connects the application server to the Sharepoint config database it failed at step 2 with the following error:
“failed to connect to the configuration database an exception of type system.security.securityexception was thrown.
Additional exception information: access denied”

This seemed strange since we were definitely using the correct Sharepoint database user, to be sure we verified the permissions were correct in SQL. It turned out the problem is caused by the Sharepoint config database version running a slightly different version to the application server (they need to be exactly the same).

How did we determine the Sharepoint version of the configuation database then?

Simple…..

The first way is to open a web browser and got to the site settings page (Site Actions > Site Settings > Modify All Settings).

The second method is to run a query against the databases.  Open SQL Server Management Studio, Connect to the server, new query, run the following:

SELECT [VersionId]
      ,[Version]
      ,[Id]
      ,[UserName]
      ,[TimeStamp]
      ,[FinalizeTimeStamp]
      ,[Mode]
      ,[ModeStack]
      ,[Updates]
      ,[Notes]
  FROM [SharePoint_Config].[dbo].[Versions] 
  WHERE VersionId = ‘00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000’ 
  ORDER BY Id DESC

 This returns:

VersionId Version Id UserName Updates
00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000 12.0.0.6219 4 MOSS\user 3
00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000 12.0.0.4518 1 MOSS\user 2

The top row is the latest version, if you have changed the database name from “SharePoint_Config” be sure to update the query to reflect the correct name. Check out this site to see what version you are running.

Once we determined the correct version we created the slipstreamed Sharepoint installation required, re-ran setup and bang everything worked correctly!

Jason Vigus