Blog of an Open Mind

Open Minded Thinking from the Open Minded Solutions team…

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Multiple VPN connections and Windows Server 2003

May 11th, 2009 · 2 Comments

This one had me totally stumped for a couple of hours…

OK I’d setup a VPN server on Windows Server 2003 Web Edition which is something I’ve done before a number of times using RRAS (Remote Routing and Access Services), set my VPN user up and allowed them access to the server…

Went to the client computer, set the VPN connection up and tested. Bingo, connects straight away, I could map the drives etc all without a problem…

Now I then setup a second user on the VPN server for access and setup a separate computer to connect to it.

Erm… No dice. I kept getting a vague 651 or 800 error message being sent back which indicated that I couldn’t connect to the server.

I found then that if I disconnected the first client and tried connecting with the second client all was hunky dory so it was only allowing one connection at a time. After several hours googling and a chat with the data centre we established something that I (nor they) had come across before in that Windows Server 2003 web edition only allows one incoming VPN connection! The solution is to upgrade to Standard edition when the limit is raised to 1,000….

This little nugget of info is buried deep amongst the tech notes and is not really the first place you would check.

Now had I got an error along the lines of “Error code: xxx. You can only have one VPN connection to Windows Server 2003 Web Edition (you dumbass)” that would have been more helpful! Ok lose the dumbass bit but at least it would have been entertaining…

Vague error messages and response codes seem to be the hallmark of Microsoft at times so hopefully this post will help someone else out.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Rants · Tinterweb stuff

The future according to Microsoft?

May 1st, 2009 · No Comments

Came across this on another blog and I have to say that the future according to Microsoft looks superb…

→ No CommentsTags: Tinterweb stuff

ColdFusion and IsapiRewrite Gubbins…

April 14th, 2009 · No Comments

Had a minor issue today from a client using Open Mind Commerce that took a bit of time to track down and solve but the solution was quite simple so I thought I would share…

Open Mind Commerce uses ISAPI Rewrite to produce search engine sexy (I don’t like the word safe) URLs so www.domain.com/store/d1-my-department/ is rewritten server side so the template actually executes www.domain.com/store.cfm?deptid=1

Now this works great until the client changes the URL structure in their settings which although a great feature for setting the actual URL can lead to duplicate content in the SEs.

I had to find a way to look at the URL before it was rewritten, compare this to the real URL in the database and then redirect if it was different.

Enter CGI.HTTP_X_REWRITE_URL

This variable supplies you with the raw URL before it is rewritten server side, bonza! So pseudo code time…

<cfif cgi.HTTP_X_REWRITE_URL NEQ "my stored URL">
<cfheader statuscode="301" statustext="Moved permanently">
</cfheader>
<cfheader name="Location" value="http://www.new-url-indatabase.com">
</cfheader>
</cfif>

All we are doing here is comparing the incoming rewritten url with the one that should be in use (from our database) and then using the cfheader command to do a 301 redirect. The result? No more dupes…

→ No CommentsTags: Tinterweb stuff

Why Men are happy…

March 11th, 2009 · No Comments

  1. Your last name stays put.
  2. The garage is all yours.
  3. You can never be pregnant.
  4. You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.
  5. You can wear NO shirt to a water park..
  6. Car mechanics tell you the truth.
  7. The world is your urinal.
  8. You don’t have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.
  9. Same work, more pay.
  10. Wrinkles add character.
  11. Wedding dress £2000. Morning-suit rental-£100..
  12. People never stare at your chest when you’re talking to them.
  13. The occasional well-rendered belch is practically expected.
  14. New shoes don’t cut, blister, or mangle your feet.
  15. One mood all the time..
  16. Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
  17. A five-day holiday requires only one suitcase.
  18. You can open all your own jars.
  19. You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.
  20. If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.
  21. Your underwear is £4.95 for a three-pack.
  22. Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.
  23. You almost never have strap problems in public.
  24. You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.
  25. Everything on your face stays its original colour.
  26. The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.
  27. You only have to shave your face and neck.
  28. One wallet and one pair of shoes one colour for all seasons.
  29. You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.
  30. You have freedom of choice concerning growing a moustache..
  31. No wonder men are happier.

→ No CommentsTags: General

You shouldn’t laugh but you will…

March 10th, 2009 · No Comments

The amazing sleep walking dog 😉

→ No CommentsTags: Tinterweb stuff

Vertical Scollbar Jumping

February 25th, 2009 · No Comments

Ever noticed how in some sites when a non-full width design is used, the design jumps slightly when the page is shorter than the full screen? This is because in Firefox, the vertical scrollbar tucks itself away when it is not needed i.e. the page is shorter than the screen display. This doesn’t happen in IE.

The result is a s lightly jarring effect but luckily there is a simple fix…

In your CSS statements, either in your style sheet or in the HEAD section of the page, add the statement:

html {height:100%;margin-bottom:1px;}

What this basically does is fool the browser into thinking that the page is filling the screen vertically so it will show the scroll bar. The result is that the design no longer shifts as the vertical scrollbar is always displayed.

In the words of the tic-tac advert, neat huh? 😉

→ No CommentsTags: Tinterweb stuff

How to Shrink MS SQL Server 2005 Log Files

February 5th, 2009 · No Comments

Now any sysadmin know that MS SQL server can generate whopper log files for the databases especially if there are a large number of transactions taking place. It’s simple enough to shrink the logs periodically but I wanted to find a way to safely automate this.

A quick Google turned up this very informative post by Roni Schuetz. In essence it will loop through all of the DB logs and shrink them back to “normal” size:

CREATE TABLE #TDatabases(
DBName nvarchar(128),
DBLogicalName nvarchar(128)
)
INSERT INTO #TDatabases
SELECT db.name DBName, mf.name DBLogicalName
FROM sys.databases db join sys.master_files mf
on db.database_id = mf.database_id
WHERE db.name not in ('master', 'tempdb', 'model', 'msdb',
'distribution') AND type_desc LIKE 'log'

SET NOCOUNT ON
DECLARE @VarDBLogicalName nvarchar(128)
DECLARE @VarDBName nvarchar(128)
DECLARE @VarRowCount int

SELECT top 1 @VarDBName = DBName, @VarDBLogicalName = DBLogicalName
FROM #TDatabases
SET @VarRowCount = @@rowcount
WHILE @VarRowCount <> 0
BEGIN
EXEC(' use ' + @VarDBName + ' backup log '+ @VarDBName + ' with no_log
dbcc shrinkfile(''' + @VarDBLogicalName + ''', TRUNCATEONLY) WITH
NO_INFOMSGS')
DELETE
FROM #TDatabases
WHERE DBName = @VarDBName
SELECT top 1 @VarDBName = DBName, @VarDBLogicalName =
DBLogicalName
FROM #TDatabases
SET @VarRowCount = @@ROWCOUNT
END
DROP TABLE #TDatabases
SET NOCOUNT OFF

Now you can also automate this process by savin the above script into a SQL file and then creating a BAT file to run this command:

osql -E -i shrinkalldatabases.sql -o result.txt

where shinkalldatabases.sql is the above SQL script.

Set it to run once a week and Bob’s your Uncle. And yes I do have an Uncle Bob…

→ No CommentsTags: Tinterweb stuff

We will remember them…

November 11th, 2008 · No Comments

Today at 11am, walk away from whatever you are doing and fall silent for just two minutes and spend the time thinking about those who have died in conflicts around the world…

These brave men and women fought and died for us as individuals so it doesn’t matter if you are having a bad day at work or feeling grumpy, that is nothing compared to the sacrifice they made.

So today just one simple thing, just remember them….

→ No CommentsTags: General

How to increase speed on your ADSL broadband connection.

October 22nd, 2008 · No Comments

OK this is something I see springing up quite a bit on various forums so I thought I would write a simple how-to to make sure you are getting the most out of your ADSL broadband connection.

Check Your Line Quality
First things first, you need to check your line quality as this is the biggest influencing factor on your speed. It’s very simply to do just locate the master socket for your BT line where it enters your home.

Carefully unscrew the master faceplate and ease it off the retaining box. Behind the faceplate there should be a socket that is for testing purposes. Plug an analogue telephone into the socket and dial 17070 and hit option 2. You will then carry out a quiet line test. There should be no or minimal hissing, crackling or popping noises on the line. If there are, ring BT and complain until they sound out an engineer to sort it out. Don’t mention your ADSL speed, just the noise on the line.

Set a Benchmark Speed
Assuming you’ve done the quiet line test, we next need to set a baseline speed to measure against. First plug your modem directly into the test socket above and run a speed test at somewhere like www.speedtest.net. Do a couple of tests to get an average and note the result. Next do the same with your faceplate screwed back together and make a note.

There’s a good description of this here:
http://adsl.yesyes.info/modules/edito/content.php?id=3

If the second set of results is significantly lower then the problem may be down to your internal wiring so read on…

Remove Your Bell Wire
This is used for older style bell ringers which if you don’t use are pretty useless. Its simply an orange wire in the back of your faceplate and removing it can improve your speed:

http://www.draytek.co.uk/support/kb_vigor_linefaults.html

Fit a New Filtered Faceplate
The standard face plate that comes with the socket is unfiltered. Most ISPs will supply a micro filter but it is well worth replacing the master faceplate with a filter built in. They are not expensive and can be purchased here:

http://www.adslnation.com/products/xte2005.php

Filter All Other Extensions
On all your other extensions, make sure you either fit a faceplate as above or add a micro filter to the line. This especially important if you have a sky box.

If you carry out all of the above then you should see an improvement in speed. The biggest factor outside of your control though is the distance to the exchange will can dramatically reduce your speed.

An excellent way of checking the location of your nearest exchange is to use Sam Knows:
http://www.samknows.com/broadband/search.php

This will tell you all sorts of handy information about your local telephone exchange.

Finally look at your provider and consider whether they are giving you the best possible service for your money. http://www.thinkbroadband.com is an excellent resource for switching…

→ No CommentsTags: General

Accidentally deleted your cPanel cron jobs?

October 8th, 2008 · No Comments

Well that s what I did with one slip of the command line. Instead of typing crontab -l for a list of the root cron jobs I used the -r switch by accident and poof, off went my root crons…

Dopey I know but I needed to reset the cPanel default cron jobs so after a bit of searching I found the following which should be suitable for anyone else who has fat fingers like me…

Access the root cron:
pico /var/spool/cron/root

And now add the following:
2 0 * * * /scripts/upcp
0 1 * * * /scripts/cpbackup
*/15 * * * * /usr/local/cpanel/whostmgr/bin/dnsqueue > /dev/null 2>&1
2,58 * * * * /usr/local/bandmin/bandmin
0 0 * * * /usr/local/bandmin/ipaddrmap
30 21 * * * /usr/local/cpanel/whostmgr/docroot/cgi/cpaddons_report.pl
--notify
0 6 * * * /scripts/exim_tidydb > /dev/null 2>&1
*/5 * * * * /usr/local/cpanel/bin/dcpumon >/dev/null 2>&1

Ctrl + X to save and you’re done.

Moral of the story: put your fingers on a diet and think before hitting enter 😉

→ No CommentsTags: Tinterweb stuff