Archive for July, 2009

Install Windows7 to vhd notes.

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

I’m currently trying an install of Windows7 to a vhd on one of my virtual xp machines (to see if it can be done). I’m thinking that this may be possible but we’ll see.
I’m following the instructions on Keith Comb’s Dual boot VHD blogpost but I did find that calling the vhd file c:\windowsrc7.vhd will cause issues as you cannot have the name starting c:\windows.
I’m hoping this is fixed in the RC (I have a feeling my dvd is the beta but i’m not sure) and certainly in the RTM version.
The whole reason I’m attempting this is to test my idea about truecrypt encryption. As I guessed, it is not possible to do this with Windows7 on a truecrypted drive as it sees the drive as raw. My hope is that by decrypting the drive, installing and then encrypting again it will work – time will tell.

dd-wrt upgraded

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

I updated my Linksys wrt54g router to the latest version of the firmware this morning due to the recent announcement of a pretty big vulnerability where the software does not parse html correctly. I run on a different ip address range than the factory default so it would be harder to trip the effect but I think would still be pretty easy to do.
As usual the upgrade process, although fairly complicated, went smoothly. The system has the facility to backup and restore the config but unfortunately it is highly recommended that you hard reset the router before and after the upgrade which means a fairly tedious amount of data re-entry into the router.
To help document the router configuration I use the screengrab extension for firefox, visit each configuration tab and save the output to a file ready for review when reconfiguring the router.
The whole process takes about 30-40 minutes – I’m glad I don’t have to do this very often.
Having said all that – if you’ve not patched your dd-wrt router in the past two weeks – DO SO NOW!
I use the following pages for assistance (and save them for offline reference in case the router gets bricked.)

Removing WordPress version number from themes.

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Thanks to Digging into WordPress (a blog I’ve just started reading), it’s possible to easily remove the WordPress version from the header information on a WordPress site. This (slightly) helps security in that the version of wordpress is no longer transmitted to the web browser. It would be nice if this was a toggle switch in WordPress’s admin panel though.
To implement the change, just edit the functions.php file in the Theme and add the following line.
remove_action ('wp_head', 'wp_generator');
One thing to watch is that if you upgrade your theme this change is likely to be undone. I’ve actually created a draft post in WP where I keep my theme changes listed so that they appear in the dashboard and I have a record of what changes are made to the design.
On another theme related post, I have now enabled comments on all the posts on the blog as I had issues where posts that had the enable discussion enabled were not allowing comments to be made on them. Hopefully akismet will continue to do a good job of trapping the spam. I didn’t get any help from the WordPress Support forums so this was my workaround.

MySQL installation error – The wizard was interrupted before MySQL Server 5.1 could be completely installed

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

I had to install a WordPress installation on IIS last week (I really would not recommend this is done – a linux install is so much easier) and part of that installation requires the install of MySQL for the database. The most current version is 5.1.35 but unfortunately there is a big bug with the install. It completely fails to install with the error message of “The wizard was interrupted before MySQL Server 5.1. could be completely installed.” With no useful explanation in the dialog box, event viewer or installation log files it is extremely hard to work out what is wrong. The solution for the time being is to download the 5.1.34 installation. The windows version is available at filehippo. It doesn’t help that the official MySQL web page does not link to previous versions of the software either. After logging a “me too” comment on what now seems to be the official bug report at MySQL Bugs – #45418, the number of people with the same problem has increased dramatically.
I had to register with the MySQL website to log my bug and they sent me an email a couple of days later mentioning the release of the new software (that has the problems) – rather annoying as it’s not a good idea to publicize software that doesn’t even install. I tweeted my comment that they should fix the issue before emailing out and I got a reply that they are aware of the problem and are working on it. No post has been added to the bug report though.

Dual boot with WindowsXP, Windows7 and Truecrypt?

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Due to a variety of reasons, it is not currently possible to upgrade our work laptops to Windows7 – we’re skipping Vista and want to be ready for Windows7 when it is released in the near future.  As an alternative to using Windows7 as the main host OS I was thinking about dual booting the laptops to the different OS’s but that would mean some messy editing of disk partitions.

However, watching the Microsoft Edge demonstration of installing Windows7 to a VHD and then booting from that I got my hopes up. Unfortunately we use Truecrypt to encrypt out hard disks, and as the video demonstrates, you have to boot from the Windows7DVD which of course is not going to support TrueCrypt enabled drives.

My next thought was to temporarily decrypt the drive, install and then encrypt the drive with Truecrypt again – I think this will work but I was planning on storing the VHD file on a usb drive (for portability and the fact that my laptop hard drive is always full) but it looks like this won’t work according to Scott Hanselman’s post where he talks about doing something similar. So I guess I’ll have to wait until I can get a large hard drive for the laptop 🙁

More Blackberry fun – upgrade to v4.5

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

I discovered that Sprint have finally released the 4.5 version of firmware for the blackberry 8330 that will work with a BES server. I took the plunge to upgrade my device (as I *really* want the html email functionality). The upgrade went fairly smoothly apart from the following gotcha’s.
After the reboot, my theme was set back to a different one than what I normally use. No big deal but surprising this was the case.
My Cacheberry software lost the database and registration details – again no big deal as I can reload the gpx into Cacheberry and I have the registration details saved.
Blackbird, my twitter client, lost it’s settings so I had to re-enter the username and password again. Again, no real problem.

The biggest thing was that the device lost it’s ability to synchronise with our corporate server – so no incoming or outgoing email – oops! This is a big deal as my blackberry is used primarily for corporate email AND I had to go and get my BES manager to reactivate the phone for me.

Unfortunately I don’t have html email or the ability to view other people’s calendars yet as both these features look like they need the blackberry server upgrading to a new version – something I’ve requested we look at doing, especially as this will make us a lot more effective.

I did like the fact that one of the new applications is voicerecorder – functionality I miss from our old phones as I was able to record timekeeping notes on the phone as I left a client site ready for updating back at the office. Now this functionality is in the phone and you can quickly and easily send the recorded memo via email. It saves it in amr format (for some weird reason) so you will probably need quicktime or another program to play the recorded message if you don’t listen to it on the blackberry.

I also now have the ability to send/receive mms messages – I’m much more likely to receive them as this phone doesn’t have a camera but as everyone else in the office also has the same phone it’s unlikely that I’ll ever use this functionalilty.

One really cool feature is the web browser – finally we have a real mouse cursor that moves around the web – much easier to navigate and as it has a flash player I can also watch youtube videos now.

As far as the memory is concerned, I did find that not going into google maps, gmail or cacheberry seemed to keep my available memory free so I’ll be running more tests to see which application is leaking memory. I do now have 10mb free on the device (but that is probably because I have an empty cacheberry database at the moment)

Overall, a great upgrade – I’m looking forward to the enterprise server to be upgraded and then I’ll really be able to be more efficient with work emails and checking what everyone else is scheduled to be doing at the office.

For more details on the upgrade check the v 4.5 Blackberry release notes .

Blackberry out of memory again

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Last night the blackberry started to act all sluggish again and lock up at random. Sure enough, the memory was down to zero bytes. Unfortunately I’ve already gone through the suggested options of reducing the amount of email stored on the device, calendar entries, deleting the help file etc. I did delete the log by pressing alt LGLG and this gave me a bit of memory to allow me to reboot. After the reboot I had 3.39mb of free space. Not a lot considering it comes with 64mb and has a 2gb SD card attached. Why RIM were so shortsighted to force apps to run from memory only I don’t know but I am sure there is a technical reason.  This was also one of my pet peeves with the Windows Mobile and Palm devices – why can’t programs run from removable devices?

Anyway, after about an hour I checked the free memory on the phone again – it had gone down to 2.4mb free. I hadn’t used the phone at all – the free memory had been eaten up by mail that had come in on the phone or something else.  The weird thing is that deleting the new email made hardly any difference to the size of the free memory available.

This morning I am down to 1.09mb but I have tried installing and removing a couple of apps and checked gmail. The one app I did download was softreset that allows me to quickly reset the phone – it does the equivalent of pulling the battery out without the hassle of removing the cover and the battery. I’ve been reluctant to constantly remove the battery as this often leads to loose fitting batteries (and I shouldn’t really have to do it!)  The icon for softreset looks like a blue screen of death which is rather amusing. After my reboot this morning I had 3.6mb available which is weird considering I have one more app than I did yesterday and I have overnight email downloaded. It does look like I have a memory leak somewhere though.