Various cool software and more

If you ever worked with any kind of support you are likely to know the sittuation, a user has a problem – you implement a fix, ask the user to get back to you if it worked or not…  Well he/she NEVER does get back to you, instead you have a case hanging open for weeks till you contact the user for a reply or maybe the user call and complain a week later and ask why you did not do anything!?

Fustrating right!?

Well here’s a neat little trick I picked up for those of you that use Outlook/Exchange in your orginazation..

You can actually add a reminder for your email!?  Yes, I know you may say, but did you know that you can add the reminder not only for yourself, but ALSO for the RECIPIENT!?

Neat right, but how does it work you say!?

  • Well firstly – you just write your email as usual.
  • annoy1  Second – you move to “Follow Up” and select “Custom”

annoy2

  •   Finally – you add the reminder and the caption for the recipient

annoy3

On the given date and time the user will get a reminder on your email (via his/her own calender) and thus be more enclined to reply to you..

Now is that not neat or what!?

 

 

OfficialAchievementCertificateA friend of mine just joined an online Android course at the University of Meryland, from what he tell me it is actually really good.  So I did some peeking and ended up finding a source of online courses;

Among the courses I managed to find one of personal interest, it’s in Crypto – sadly it had already finished, but that turned out to be a Blessing in disguise as this let to a preview of the course videos;
https://class.coursera.org/crypto-preview/lecture

Other courses can be found here;
https://www.coursera.org/courses?orderby=upcoming&stats=upcoming&lngs=en

Below is another source (more just free videos and thus maybe not the same leauge, but still).

http://thenewboston.org/tutorials.php

 

 

Need some inspiration on your Disaster plan at work?

Well Dilbert surely has one for you 😉

intel-nucSo I was reading about the Intel NUC which is a mini pc that will fit in your palm, I heard it was just released in an i5 version (previously i3) so it is a fairly crafty machine that will easily run Windows and even throw in a virtual machine or two.  One drawback though is the price, with a full fledged Intel cpu the price shoots up :-/ not unreasonable but enough that it’s not for me.

Anyway, a comment in a review led me to this link;

http://www.minix.com.hk/Products/MINIX-NEOX7.html

so at 1/3 the price (more or less) you get a cool gadget, that although it will not run Windows will run Android and although not being super fast and powerful as the i5 processor it is fast enough for realtime HD video, netflix and the lot..

41EizlnFUqL__SX385_

Bottom line, if you are looking for an extention to your big screen tv, to play a bit of netflix, surf and other stuff this Minix Neox7 looks real cute and fair priced.

http://youtu.be/cBR3ZrurMKI

You might be one of those people that have occasionally been using Photoshop, PaintShop Pro, Gimp or some other graphics editor to clean up a picture every now and then – but to be honest how often do you need software like that?  Only rarely right, well – I just stumbled across a great online resource for this, it’s a free service that lets you edit a picture/photo or may just pimp it up with some effects..

Basically there are three editors available, one classic editor (like Photoshop, PaintShop Pro etc.), one to create cool collages and finally one to add effects (like make a photo look old, modify the colors etc.).

If you ever used any of the above mentioned programs this site will be a breeze, if not then the two last tools will still be piece of cake to use.

 

Below a few examples.

collage1 2013-11-20_13h52_33

Remember it’s free, fun and easy..

The default site is;
http://pixlr.com/

The advanced editor directly is;
http://pixlr.com/editor/

With Windows XP/2003 and earlier you could often just look in C:\windows for installed patches there would be a KBxxxxxxx folder, however life moved on..

Today I had the need to see if a patch was installed and I found this quite useful;
http://serverfault.com/questions/263847/how-can-i-query-my-system-via-command-line-to-see-if-a-kb-patch-is-installed

I ended up using the command;

wmic qfe | find "KB2744129"

You ofcause exchange the KB number with the one you are looking for..

This worked like a charm for me 🙂  tnx Jscott.

2013-06-28_14h08_52I just updated our “Microsoft Forefront Endpoint Protection” client software, this in turn caused several of my scripts to stop working 🙁

Digging led to the discovery that the PATH has changed :-/ omg why change that…

Namely I ran two commands weekly on all our servers;

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Security Client\Antimalware\MpCmdRun.exe" -SignatureUpdate -MMPC"
"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Security Client\Antimalware\MpCmdRun.exe" -scan -scantype 2"

The first foreces Forefront to update it’s definitions straight from the Internet repository, and the second forces a full scan.

but the “Antimalware” part of Forefront (or at least MpCmdRun.exe) seem to have moved from;

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Security Client\Antimalware” to “”C:\Program Files\Microsoft Security Client

But why 🙁  – anyhow, if you update your Forefront Endpoint Protection be sure to check any manual scripts you have running.

 

Downloading the updates manually;

You can still download the update file manually (80mb aprox), it’s the same file as for Endpoint Protection –  get them here;
http://www.microsoft.com/security/portal/definitions/howtomse.aspx
or try this undocumented one (direct download link); http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=121721

 

 

If you use Microsoft SCOM for system management in your company then this is worth a look, Live maps from SAVision – it’s cool yet slightly expensive..

What it will can do is to allow you to create simple visual representations (Dashboards) of your system, you can even “publish” these dashboards as webpages and “drill-down” into these.

Not only does it allow to represent servers, routers and other equipment but it allow you to group different servers, services, equipment etc. into one (Dynamic objects) – eg. your CRM system may rely on some SQL databases and perhaps an active internet connection – in one icon you can represent the status of your CRM based upon internet being available, SQL running, Server Running etc. etc. Clever…

http://www.savision.com/products/live-maps-system-center

But as I mentioned it’s not the cheapest solution 🙁  a starter package with 25 dashboards/views should set you back $7000 I have heard – I also heard that a demo version with 5 views should be available upon request – but this is all hearsay so do check yourself.

WordFence

You are likely familiar with WordPress, if not well – interesting 😉  anyhow, you may also have heard about the recent attacks on wordpress blogs by a worm like virus/malware?  Attacks on WordPress installations is not something new, it has always been there as it’s such a popular platform however time has revealed some not so smart features with wordpress security, one thing is that you can try to log in as many times as you like without any action being taken – hence there is nothing to stop a brute force attack on your wordpress installation’s login!?

Well Wordfence to the rescue, a simple plugin you install on your wordpress installation that all of a sudden offers you a ton of cool security features, I will just mention a few here – for the complete listing visit their website..

Features;

  • Login limiter – limit how many incorrect passwords/usernames are accepted
  • Site and theme scanner – scan your wordpress blog for changes
  • Block unwanted IP’s from accessing your site
  • Manage crawlers (search engine index bots)
  • and many many many more cool features

You can define what the reaction to different attacks, eg. block IP/Lock account for xx min/throttle traffic.

Wordfence1

Now a thing like that must cost a fortune you say!?  well no, there is a TOTALLY FREE version with basic functionality (enough for most I would say) and the deluxe version which cost a bit.

Now after adding this you should also add Two Factor Authentication, eg using “WordPress Google Authenticator Plugin” – http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-authenticator/screenshots/ Or one of the other TwoFactor authentication solutions out there.

So, what are you waiting for 🙂 protect your WordPress blog now 🙂

In the good old days you could install SUS on your “home” server and have your own Windows update repository, however after WSUS version “whatnot” the requirements for WSUS has by far outgrown what I wish to allocate on my home/test rig..  Hell I only have 3 machines and a few servers anyhow….

Never the less, when installing new test VM’s etc it would be nice to avoid all the patching since SP1 :-/ well, now you can 🙂

 

Martin over at Ghacks.net has reviewed an excellent utility that will do JUST that 🙂

http://www.ghacks.net/2013/01/03/windows-offline-update-8-0-released/

http://www.ghacks.net/2011/02/25/wsus-windows-offline-update-updated/

 

Further uses is as he describe that you can download all patches for an OS (pt. Win 7 = 1.8GB since SP1) and put it on a stick so you can patch your friends and family’s machines with minimal Internet impact.

For now I have installed the thing and tried downloading patches for Windows 7, it seemed to work flawlessly – but I will try to do some install testing and see how this works out.  Looks solid enough though.

Project web site;

http://www.wsusoffline.net/