Forgetting what you know

by Terry 10/10/2008 10:53:00 AM

Yesterday I was working on a support issue at work. I was trying to debug some of the server management tools developed by my project team. Our tools, for a variety of reasons, are designed to work when logged on to the console session on a Window 2003 or Windows 2008 server. Naturally, I was rather frustrated when I used Windows’ Remote Desktops client to connect to the console of the server in question, but failed to actually gain a true console session. The console option was being ignored.

After a bit of running around, and with a little assistance from my teammates, the problem server was fixed and I could start investigating why Remote Desktop failed or disabled the console connection when I explicitly specified it. My co-worker, Keith, reminded me that Terminal Services options changed with Windows Server 2008 (and maybe Vista, but I work mostly with Server Operating Systems these days), and that Remote Desktop client support changed to match. I had known this. I needed to know this while updating my tools to work with Window Serer 2008. I had forgotten what I knew and missed the connection. After a bit of research I found this article on MSDN, which is helpful to solve the issue: Changes to remote administration in Windows Server 2008, (KB947723).

Honestly, it does a poor job of explaining why the changes is made, but at least it gives you a workaround – use the /admin switch instead of the /console switch.

I installed Windows Server Service Pack 2 Administrative Tools, as I had the Server Pack 1 version installed. Unfortunately, this does not help. Maybe there is a version that supports the actual options needed. I don’t have the time to look for it at the moment.

In the meantime, my solution is a little less glamorous. I have a custom toolbar on my Start Menu with a folder of links to most of the servers I connect to on any given day. Each shortcut uses a command line like the following example.

%windir%\system32\MSTSC.exe /V:MY-SERVER-01 /admin

Where MY-SERVER-01 is name of the server I want to connect to.

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The market sees new lows

by Terry 10/9/2008 4:54:00 PM

The market sees new lows. While I have opinions on what should be done and why we are in this mess, I can add little to the discussion. Jerry Pournelle retains his remarkable capacity to distill the issues into meaningful commentary and context. But, like many people, deciding what to do is difficult and may be the bigger issue at this point, or will soon be with the passage of time.

Karen and I have been saving away for Kaitlin’s college and future needs. We have been doing this since we knew we were going to be parents. Our investments for Kaitlin have held remarkably well and will likely recover sooner than later. We have cash funds that we had been building and were considering diversifying. It looks like, for Kaitlin at any rate, we will be able to make some strategic investments for her which will serve her well in ten or more years. Kaitlin is young enough that whatever happens she will survive with a chance for a good start as an adult. She will be old enough to remember, I hope, the lessons this periods will teach the next generation.

For Karen and me, we have two or three decades before we consider retirement. Provided our retirement investments we have do not vanish altogether in the next year or two, we will weather well enough. Being a single income family, our biggest risk is losing my job. Unless I am completely out of touch with my employer, I should have ample warning of any layoff. In the meantime, I can only prepare for the worst. We will try to increase savings even more, cut unneeded expenses and so on. I will plan for the worst and hope for the best. There are many forms of insurance one can have in hard times.

It may not appear so at first, but my garage chemistry lab is a kind of insurance. More than just having the tools and materials to make useful mixtures, it is a tiny bastion of knowledge to share with others, like my daughter or kids I recruit into a science club.

When I was about 12 years old I read Lucifer's Hammer. Among the many things that stuck with me after reading the book were references on harvesting insulin from sheep. Ever since, I have collected books on the history and science of these and other cures critical to modern survival and success. It is unlikely I will ever need them, but I will have them. If you can survive Lucifer’s Hammer, you can likely do well in any situation. In the very least it has given me an interesting library. There are many forms of insurance indeed.

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chemistry | Opinion | Personal

Satire is Best when it Shadows Truth

by Terry 10/7/2008 2:22:00 PM

If you are interested in a better understanding on the reasons for the Mortgage Bailout see the following.
http://msunderestimated.com/SNLBailoutSkit.wmv

The Saturday Night Live Bailout Skit is, sadly, spot on.

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Coming back to life

by Terry 10/6/2008 3:33:00 PM

I have come back from the dead, or so it feels. I still have congestion in my lungs, which makes Tae Kwon Do more difficult. It seems like the fad this week is sparring. I am not stellar at sparring to begin with, and at the moment I breath like a honking goose and I am winded after the first kick.

I expect it will be another week or so before I can breathe normally again. That will be a relief. The coughing is not so bad now, so it is only a matter of time.

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Frustration with RoboCopy

by Terry 10/6/2008 3:08:00 PM

At work I have several tasks which replicate about 50Gb of data across the corporate network. Why is not so important. The requirements of every destination for the replication are unique. Last week I built a new replication to publish data to a UXFS file system destination. My source is a Windows NTFS file share. I use a scripted RoboCopy task to regularly replicate the data.

When I built this new mirrored replication task on Friday I expected the weekend tasks to simply do incremental updates of the destination. I was surprised that every replication was a full file copy. This was unusual, and generally bad.

My RoboCopy commands looked something like this: RoboCopy \\Source\Share \\Destination\Share /MIR /Z /FFT /COPY:DT /NP /NDL

This has basically worked without issue for ages in a dozen different usages. Oddly the /MIR argument was not working as expected and a full file copy was done on every execution; the Source files always showing as Newer.

The short story is, after some lucky Google searches, I turned up this link.
http://forums.buffalotech.com/buffalo/board/message?board.id=0101&message.id=48

Mr. Taylor explains that the file time resolution is different, more precise, in XFS than in NTFS. This makes sense. My destination is UXFS, a derivative of UFS, or so I am told. Nonetheless, the argument was sound so I tried it. Lo, and behold, I have success. My new command line looks like the following: RoboCopy \\Source\Share \\Destination\Share /MIR /Z /FFT /COPY:DT /NP /NDL

I used the /COPY:DT argument for performance reasons. The destination inherits security settings from the share, so removing the check speeds performance; one less check on each file.

This chewed up most of my day trying to figure out the cause and resolution. At least I have a resolution. I just wish it left me time for software development, which is what I actually do for a living. Sometimes.

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About Terry Losansky

Terry Dee Losansky

I am a software architect, actively practice and teach martial arts and live in Snoqualmie, Washington. I have an amazing daughter who is the jewel of my life.

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