Sunday, December 31, 2006

Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
Happy 2007 to everyone. Over here in the netherlands we always eat oliebollen on new year's eve. Oliebollen:

They are made by using two spoons to scoop a certain amount of dough and dropping the dough into a deep fryer filled with hot oil. This way, a sphere-shaped "oliebol" emerges.

The dough is made from flour, eggs, yeast, some salt, milk and optionally some sultanas or currants and sometimes apple pieces. The dough needs time to rise for at least an hour. Oliebollen are usually served with powdered sugar.

(From: )

Monday, December 25, 2006

Esther enjoying a cup of tea

Esther drinkt thee
Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
After christmas dinner. We had Esther's mother and grandmother over. Nice, not too crowded, kids in bed at a decent time. Not bad at all for a christmas dinner.
This year my christmas stollen turned out better than ever. I suspect it did because I bought flour at the old windmill in town. Best flower I've ever baked with.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

turns out I have a macro lens after all

Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
This was shot with my old 35-70 in macro on manual focus. Crop of a larger pic. I'm stunned by the detail this old lens can produce.
Light from a SB600 on camera and bounced off the wall which it why there's a shadow on the face.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

2000 page views on my flickr album!

Yes, around 1700 CET my flickr album went trough the 2000 page views. Now if only more people left a comment....

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
It's the time of the year again! Foreigners have a look at:

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Nikon lens compatibility

There's a lot of confusion in forums on this subject. I thought perhaps it would be useful to write something about it. People seem to think that they need a DX lens or that only older lenses with a D on it will work with their new D50/D70/D80

Here's the deal:

Any Autofocus lens will work on your digital body!
There's a few sigma lenses that can cause problems under some conditions, Sigma is aware and fixes the problems. There's also lenses made for the pronea serie, labeled as IX. These turn up at very attractive prices on the second hand market but cannot be used on your Nikon dSLR.

Manual focus lenses will work as long as they're Ai.
Non ai lenses can be converted, see for information. Mounting an unconverted lens can seriously damage your camera.
However, on anything but the D1, D2 and D200 these will not meter. What does that mean to you? It means you're own your own to get your images properly exposed. You can use a hand-held light meter, you can simply guesstimate and use your histogram but you're own your own!

What AI lenses to avoid?
According to my D50 manual the following lenses should be avoided because they can damage your camera.
Some fisheyes: 6mm f/5.6, 8mm f/8, OP 10mm f5.6
21mm f/4
ED 180-600mm f/8 (serials 174041-174180)
ED 360-1200mm f.11 (serials 174031-174127)
200-600mm f/9.5
Anything made for the F3AF
PC 28mm f/4 (serials below 180900)
PC 35 mm f/3.5
1000mm f.6.3
1000mm f/11 (serials 142361-143000)
2000mm f/11 (serials 200111-200310)

As you can see a lot of rather exotic lenses on this list. If you have a Thom Hogan ebook (which I can recommend, there's also a table in there of what works and what doesn't. If you're happy enough to own a D200 have a look at

Monday, November 13, 2006

Rocks Rock

Rocks Rock
Originally uploaded by Dan Harrod.
Not often you'll see me blog somebody else's photo but with this I just had to. Not only a very good composition but also an excellent B&W conversion.

Available light

Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
Is sometimes not much like yesterday at 13.00 when I shot this.

Finally some time for a walk with the family and the weather's like this. Shot about 60 frames and this was the only decent one. I like it, reminds me a bit of the Lord of the Rings films.
Does gear matter?

I like to think it doesns't matter as much as skill. I got into a heated discussion over on the dpreview forums over it. A wife was asking the group if a D80 +28-80 +70-300 would make a nice Christmas present for her husband. Now the crop factor makes a 28-80 loose some wide angle but otherwise it isn't a bad lens. A bunch of the lens snobs felt otherwise. Yes, a 18-70 would be nicer but come on, you can still take very good pics with this kit. I got both lenses, the 28-80 is a nice portrait zoom and the 70-300 is nice if you got enough light.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wanted list

Now, what would you buy if you could spend a bundle on Nikon gear? Here's what I'd buy if I won the lottery. :-)

MB-D200 grip
18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED-IF AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor
50mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor
60mm f/2.8D AF Micro-Nikkor
85mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor
180mm f/2.8D ED-IF AF Nikkor
80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR AF Zoom-Nikkor
An SB-800 or two.
A nice case to put it all in.

Partial donations are of course very welcome.

But seriously, these are nice toys but as long as my son can still shoot this with a cheap-ass 20 year old 35-70, it's not needed to take great photos.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

My son is a photographic talent

Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
This weekend I lend my D50 to my 4 year old son. This is one of the portraits he did with it. I think the boy has talent!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
A sunday in Groenendaal parc, I had my Nikon Af 70-300/4.0-5.6 G in the camera bag and this deer (or is it a roebuck?) was lying there just inviting a shot. A lot of people write that the 70-300 g-type is soft at 300mm but I don't find this all that soft. OK, I had the aperture at 7.1 and that tends to help.
For those of you interested in this lens, here's a crop:

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Oops, we accidently deleted an OU

was the title of a high priority call that came in this morning. Now I knew that this client's infrastructure was connected by high-speed links so there was no chance of recovering the OU from a remote domain controller.
Being a MCSE I of course know the text-book solution to this, an authoritve restore and a lot of work with NTDSUtil. Not a job I was in the mood for this morning. So, after alerting the storage group to keep the tapes on hand I started looking for alternatives.
A quick google turned up KB article 840001 which outlines the procedure but I figured that by now there would be alternatives. The client's domain controllers weren't on SP1 yet so method 1 was out.
Reading that did remind me that objects that are deleted from Active Directory are not actually gone. Instead they are marked for deletion (tombstoned) but they are retained in active directory. I also read that it is possible with the LDP utility (ldp.exe from the support tools) to restore these objects. However using LDP for this is a rather time consuming process because you're manually editing properties for each object. So I figured someone else must have come across this already and that person would probably have written a clever little script for this tedious task.
Some more googling and I came across ADrestore from sysinternals. Now every admin knows that sysinternals makes excellent freeware so I figured I'd give that a shot.
Fired it up with adrestore -r laptops to restore the OU that was missing. OU restored in 3 seconds! Looked good so I did an adrestore -r nl-ams-lt to start restoring the computer accounts that were in the deleted ou. No luck! All the records had their LastKnownParent set to the Deleted Objects context.
Back to google and I quickly found Quest Software's Object Restore for Active Directory (registration required) which is a tool that does more or less the same only with a GUI. I noticed that the laptops OU was still listed as deleted. I restored it with that tool and tried to restore the computer accounts. Object restore crashed on me! So back to the command line and adrestore. This time the adrestore -r nl-ams-lt listed a lot of laptops with the correct lastKnownParent. Bingo! I quickly restored the 94 computer accounts and activated them.
Writing this I suspect that the admin who deleted the OU in the first place probably tried to save something by recreating the OU and that I restored that empty OU first.

Conclusion, to recover from an "oops" situation there are other options than booting in restore mode and messing with NTDSUtil.

Edit: This whole process would have worked a lot better if I'd remembered that unless you're in AD restore mode you can't restore passwords. So I had the computer accounts back but no passwords. Took a lot of tedious work with authorive restores to get that sorted.

The process I described here worked for me, however it may not work for you. Therefore this information is provided "as-is" with no warranty whatsoever. When working with Active Directory at this level the potential to do serious damage is great so be carefull and consider getting someone who knows what he/she is doing to assist you!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Manual Focus lens on a D50

Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
Trickier than I thought. You're totally on your own, no metering, just the little green focus dot and that's not always correct.

Thanks to my years of experience with the Zenith EM I was able to get decent exposure after just a few shots. Took some more tries to get something decent. This was shot #21 with a 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5 AIS Manual Focus Lens I borrowed from a friend.

Lens does have a nice weight to it, about 450 grams which is heavier than my 70-300. Focussing is tricky, the area of the focus screen you need the most is taken up by the AF points. All in all a nice experience though. Should I happen to find a nice manual focus micro such as the 105mm for a decent price I'd be very tempted. This is the lens I used:

Friday, October 06, 2006


I started out on this hobby in the mid-80s. At that time I was really into planes and airshow and wanted to shoot pictures of that. After a very brief stint with a compact camera I saved some money from my newspaper round and bought myself a Zenith EM. Light meter above the lens and shutter times of only 1/500 but it takes M42 screw mount lenses. Back in the day there was a large supply of used lenses for decent prices. Good camera, I still have it and I can still shoot very decent pictures with it without consulting the built-in meter. Built like a tank too! I dropped it once and the only damage was to my foot which was between the camera and the floor.

Only drawback was the long time it took to change screw mount lenses. So I bought a Minolta, first an XG-1 and later an XG-9. Nice cameras and they performed well at airshows but I was always struggling to avoid over exposure. Sold the Xg-1 to my dad and recently sold the XG-9. Never did form any attachment to those.

Late 2000 I came across a hardly used Nikon F60 with an 28-80 for a very decent price so I bought that. Good camera, only the built-in flash was overly harsh. With that my love for Nikon really start. The built quality and ergonomics were so very good!
Around 2004 when my kids were toddlers I switched to digital. Digital cameras were rapidly getting better and cheaper and so I bought a Fuji A203. Very nice, very versatile, very bad shutter lag! Still I've captured some nice moments with it.
At that time dSLRs were becomming very nice and still very expensive. It wasn't untill the D50 and the Eos 350 (Rebel to the americans) were on the market that I could even begin to consider owning one.
This summer I got some lucky breaks and after long discussions with my wife I could actually go and get me one.

My Nikon D50!

I bought it, in black of course, with the 18-55DX kit lens. I still had the 28-80 d-type and that worked really well. After a trip to Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam I felt the need for a telezoom. I quickly bought a used Sigma 70-210 and almost as quickly regretted it. Fine lens but we never agreed. Just sold it via ebay and bought for only 90 euros an F55 with an 28-80 G-type and a 70-300G lens. Sold the body and the wide angle for 60, got another 30 for the Sigma so for the 80 euros I originally paid for the Sigma I now have a 70-300G type. Much better for me.

When you buy a nice camera like this and you start getting involved in Nikon forums it's easy to be overcome with "lens lust". I'm trying to resist that. Have to remind myself that I'm nowhere near the limits of my current selection of gear. My next goals are working on my post processing (or PP) skills and see what the manual focus lenses a friend will lend me will do on the camera.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Transcipt updated!

This pretty much ends the MCSE part of this weblog, at least for now. I think I'll start blogging about my rediscovered hobby, photography.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Yep, I finally made it. This morning I sat and passed 70-297, Designing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory and Network Infrastructure. With the help of the self-paced training kit and a transcender CD I prepared for this exam.

During preparation I noticed that you shouldn't be fooled by the thin book. This exam requires knowledge from most of the previous exams (excluding XP and Exchange).

The form of the exam is a bit different that the previous exams. You get four scenarios with 10 questions each. The scenarios contain information about a company that will upgrade or migrate it's current IT infrastructure. To make it a bit more difficult the information you need is fragmented troughout business drivers, interviews, goals etc.

I've found that it helps to scroll trough all the question before moving to the next scenario. Most of the questions and answers have some relation with eachother.

It's difficult to give a study list for this one. You really need to know where to place things like WINS, DNS, DHCP, Domain controllers, VPN, etc, etc givven a certain set of variables.
One thing I'd suggest you memorize is what features the various domain levels bring (mixed mode, native mode, etc) and the differences feature wise between 2000 and 2003. When studying this focus on the administration parts of the differences.
Another suggestion, don't rely on this training kit alone for DNS. Go back to the other book and know exactly what's what with DNS!
Also make sure you know what a Windows 98 and NT client cannot do and a Windows 2000 or XP pro client can.

The transcender CD was useful to get used to the different exam style. In this exam it was more annoying than ever that the testing software doesn't support the scroll wheel on the mouse because you have a lot of reading to do.

For those of you who aren't as good with large amounts of information just make notes of the most relevant parts of the scenario information. When in doubt about two answers go back to the scenario and see if there's anything which will make the choice easier.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

ACommand Line SMTP Mailer for Windows is something that comes in handy from time to time. I stumbled across this one and found it excellent! A stand-alone executable of a mere 17kb and it does what needs to be done and nothing more than that. Highly reccomended!
A flying Me-262. I'd never thought that would happen but some crazy americans are actually building them again. Check out: Stormbirds

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Weber makes some very fine barbecues. Since my 33rd birthday a few weeks ago I'm the proud owner of a One-Touch Gold. Tried it out tonite and wow! That's grilling made very easy. My burgers tasted like ever before. The chimney starter makes it incredibly easy to get the thing started.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
My wife had bought herself a new cap (or perhaps a baret, I'm not sure). My son Bas also liked it a put it on. I was just in the garden to try and take a picture of a spider when I turned around and saw this. Had perhaps 2 seconds to take this shot so considering that it's not bad.
What I should have done is sit down, now his arm is cut of. Still, I'm pleased with this. Even the out of focus background turned out rather nice (bokeh?) and that with the humble 18-55 kit lens.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Moving day is tomorrow! Since we got the keys to our new house it's gone from "well, not much to do in the new place" to "and that needs painting, and that, and that...."

Most important bits are now wallpapered, painted or possibly both. Which is just in time because tomorrow I've rented a van, asked some friends to help out and we are going to move from this 2 bedroom appartment to a three bedroom house with a garden.

I'm curious to see if KPN will move my internet connection in time.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Rhianne eating a muffin

Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
is a pic I shot yesterday with my new D50. Since I got it I've been reading and posting in various photography forums. What amazes me is how easily amateur photographers discuss getting this 700eur or that 1100 euro lens.
OK, granted, there's some very nice optics on the market these days but why the **** does a hobby photographer need a 70-200/2.8 G AF-S VR IF ED (1800 euros) or a NIKON 17-55/2.8 G AF-S DX IF ED (1400 euros)???

OK, granted, perhaps I am a bit envious that I can't afford to spent that much money on my hobby. Since I can't I find that I'm more and more discovering and enjoying the challenge of doing nice work with inexpensive gear. Take this picture for example, it was shot with my current favourite, a 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6D which is a sub-100 euro lens.

I'm considering getting myself a 50mm 1.8 because of the 1.8 aperture. A 1,8 does allow for very extreme playing with out of focus areas.
Funny, 20 years ago you'd shoot with an f/8 or f/11 even and you'd be pleased to get your target properly focused. These days it's all about bokeh. Anyway, that 50mm is just sub-100 at 99 euros new. But perhaps the best thing to do is save my money untill I've had a few lessons of the photography course I signed up for. Then I may have a better idea of what lens would be the best investment.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Logparser comes in handy once again!

I got a call this morning to have a look at a client's application server that has been misbehaving for the last few days. A quick glance learned me that from saturday until tuesday morning the application had sent out way too many emails. For the 4 period I had 1.3gb of IIS smtp logs.

Curious how many mails had been sent out exactly I copied the logs to my workstation and started logparser.

logparser "SELECT c-ip, COUNT(c-ip) FROM *.log WHERE cs-username =
'OutboundConnectionCommand' GROUP BY c-ip" -i:iisw3c -o:csv

Gave me a result which I'm still doubting. According to the query the server had sent out 4.3 million emails. During this time the server's cpu never spiked higher than 40%.

The recieving party wasn't totally ignorant either and took their own precautions so I'm now getting NDRs in a rate of about 60000/hour. Since this tends to eat up diskspace rather quickly I scheduled a script that cleans out the badmail every 10 minutes.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

70-294 passed!

Yep, this morning I sat and passed 70-294 with a very reasonable 795 points. Not bad, especially considering the fact that I spent most of saturday night at the office sorting out an exchange problem, had my birthday party on sunday and we were too shorthanded at the office on monday to let me take my customary afternoon off to prep for the exam.

Anyway, the exam itself. First of all the title, Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure, is somewhat misleading. A better title would have been "Group policies in Windows 2003 and some other Active Directory subjects". No questions were very difficult or ambiguous. Out of the 39 questions, 5 of those were simulations by the way, 25 were about group policies quite a few of those were drag & drop type questions. Up until a month or two ago a lot of people would tell you that the simulations didn't count. You'd only get two or three of them at an exam. The fact that I got 5 on a 39 question exam leads me to believe they definitely count towards your score.

A lot of the other questions were about structuring your AD in a way that it allows a specific delegation of control scenario. Only a few were about AD replication issues, troubleshooting (answers involving AD restore mode are usually right). I've also seen three questions on the "your company bought another company and you need to setup trusts between the forests to accomplish XYZ".

I prepared for the exam with the official microsoft self paced kit:
and a Transcender Cd. So, things to study
GPO concepts
Difference between computer and user policy
Software deployment with GPO
Troubleshooting GPOs
How to apply a GPO to a user or computer depending on OU, group membership or site.
How to delegate GPO administration
Everything else GPO related you can get your hands on
OU structures and delegation of control
Domain replication between site
Schema administration
Domain trusts (know what incomming and outgoing means, the term is used often on the exam and not much in the book)
AD disaster and fuck-up recovery.

That's pretty much it. Not one of the hardest exams. When you do them in sequence about 80% of what this exam covers should at the very least be vaguely familiar to you. If you want to setup a home lab for this you'd need at least two machines to experiment with GPOs. More if you want to try your hand at AD intersite operations.

That's it for this month, on the 23rd I'll finalize the purchase of my new house, the weeks after that will be full with moving and redecorating. My 70-297 exam is planned for the second of october. Until that time you can probably expect a lot of pics from my new Nikon D50.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Enumerate the list of installed Hotfixes using WMI
Shows a very simple way to display all hotfixes installed on a machine.
Just do a wmic qfe list full /format:htable>c:\somefile.htm and you'll end up with a nicely formatted list of hotfixes.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
Some sort of Butterfly sitting on an orchid. Taken at Blijdorp Zoo with an old 28-80 zoom. Not bad considering the lens I was using.
Here's how I did it:

Camera: Nikon D50
Exposure: 0.003 sec (1/320)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 80 mm
Exposure Bias: 0/6 EV
ISO Speed: 800

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I've taken a week vacation. The kids also don't have to go to school so we've got the time to do fun things with the kids. And I got time to try out my new D50!
I'm also skipping class this week so that means a lot of reading next week to catch up. I get the feeling 70-294 may me more difficult than it seems at first.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
Renkoekoek aka RoadRunner in the Blijdorp zoo. Having a white mouse for it's afternoon tea.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
Petunia shot with my new Nikon D50. I think this one really shows of the macro capabilities of the kit lens and the colors this camera is capable of.


Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
Some sort of little red flower, unsure of the name.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

70-293 passed!!

Yesterday morning I sat and passed the 70-293 exam. It was a tough one but I managed to score 844 points. As always I used the Microsoft Press book and a Transcender CD. This time I followed the advice of Transcender and downloaded the exam file from the website instead of using the file on the CDROM. The transcender questions were a lot more difficult than the real exam questions.

One thing that wasn't covered nearly enough in the book but which you should understand is certificate templates and the difference between version 1 and 2 templates.

A lot of the subjects should be familiar to you if you've passed 70-290 and 70-291. DNS and DHCP are repeated. This exam does pay more attention to WINS than the previous ones.
RRAS also comes back in this exam. Be sure you know exactly how it is decided wether or not a user has access at a specific time. Also study the various protocols and know which client supports what.

Clustering was also covered, study NLB and know the differences between unicast and multicast with one or two NICs and when you can expect NLB members to talk to eachother.
Have a look at real clustering and at least understand the various architectures and the way load balancing can be handled.

IPSEC, try it out, play with it, test it, get the hang of implementing it via policies.

Study everything you can find about certificates and their usage from mail signing to file encryption to smart cards. Know what rights are needed to perform admin tasks and know when you can and should use auto-enrolment and when you shouldn't.

The exam is hard but nowhere near impossible. From all the exams I've done so far this one and 70-284 I really do advise you to set up a lab and try a lot of things out!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Wrote something yesterday about the new Clarkconnect box I installed. For some reason the people at Clarkconnect didn't find it necessary to include the gcc. I was about to install it by hand but then I remember that they have some apt packages for extra installation. So I opened a console, logged on as root and typed:
apt-get install cc-devel
Waited 5 minutes and voila, the gcc and a load of other stuff you need when installing software from source.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Last night I replaced my old home server with a new one. The old one, a P2-350 with 128mb ram was showing signs of age. Also the 13gb disk wasn't sufficient enough for my needs anymore. I installed the new one with the latest release of ClarkConnect.

Clarkconnect is a nice Soho linux distribution. I had it installed in 45 minutes. Configuring it took me about an hour. There's still a lot of work to do however, I need to install a website on it, setup easy access to postfix monitoring and fine tune the spamfilters.

For hardware I use old Compaq Deskpro small form factor workstations. They're very nice for this sort of thing since they're small, silent and don't use much electricity.

I got mine from the office where it had been sitting in a storeroom for some years. I had two old maxtor disks, a 40 and a 30gb and 384mb of pc133 ram. Fitting two disks into this tiny case seemed a challenge at first untill I decided I didn't need the floppy drive anyway.
During install the clarkconnect installer suggested combining the two disks in one file system so now I have 70gb of storage.
Mine didn't have a cdrom player which wasn't too much of a problem since I only need it during installation, just a matter of hooking up a normal cdrom player temporarily with the case open. I could have installed one of course but these machines take those slimline players and they're expensive and hard to find.
You can often find these machines or simular ones from Dell or HP in shops that sell batches of old company equipment, in this country a nice one will set you back about 70 euros. If you do shop around for a machine like this try to find one with a lot of memory. They often have only two SDRAM sockets. PC133 RAM is still around but new it's very expensive. On ebay you can expect to pay around 25 euro for 256mb and prices are going up. Clarkconnect will run on 128mb but runs a lot better on 256mb. With Ram it's just like money, it's difficult to have too much.

I realize that a 500mhz CPU and 384mb of memory doesn't sound like a lot in this age of multiple Ghz CPUs and multiple Gb memory but it's quite sufficient to run a fileserver, webserver and low volume mailserver. I'll post some load statistics later on.

If you are running a server don't forget to enable port forwarding on your ADSL modem (or whatever you use to connect). Here's a guide for the Alcatel Speedtouch modems that are extremly common in the Netherlands.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Darik's Boot and Nuke is a very nice tool if you need to wipe your disks before selling them or otherwise disposing of them. Burn it to a disk, boot, fire and come back an hour or two later to a disk wiped to DoD standards.
Dutch Paedophiliacs start their own political party. Only in this country people actually think they can get away with it!!
Main points in their party program seem to be lowering the age to star in porn from 18 to 16 and allowing kids from age 12 and up to have voluntary sex. They also want an independent organisation to screen child pornography for unwilling actors.

I think whatever 2 consenting adults are up to is between them and I sincerely hope this party will get nowhere and be outlawed. Almost makes me ashamed to be living in the same country.

Just in case you're wondering, the wikipedia article on this distasteful practice can be found here.

Friday, May 26, 2006

WK lingerie bij Veronica one of the dutch TV channels has a very nice alternative to all the commercials during half time of the world championshop soccer next month. 5 women in lingerie taking penalty shots. Can't wait to see that. :-)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Friday, May 19, 2006

Yabse Usenet Search Engine is one binaries search engine. Others I've found of use so fare are: (NZB option) (NZB) (also torrents) (temp. no NZB)

Be aware that such sites might be the copyright police's next target. Also, downloading binaries from newsgroups might be illegal whereever you live.
40 Years of STAR TREK: The Collection will be auctioned by Christies this october in New York. The auction seems to feature some highly collectible goodies. Personally I wouldn't be surprised if some estimates are way of. There's a script from "the encounter at farepoint" listed for a mere $300. I think that's going to be tripled at the very least. Still... it's all way out of my budget.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Converting Dynamic Disks Back to Basic Disks is something that, according to Microsoft, cannot be done. However, this site has a procedure that was tested by two of my collegues today and it does work!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Lack Of Mobile DRM To Cost 3.5B Euros
First the copyright mafia hits the DVD and CD front and now DRM on your phone? Surprising in this study and almost all others is that I have yet to see a single shred of evidence that proves that illegaly copied content would otherwise have been bought. And DRM on phones? Come on! I've used mobile phones since 1997, currently I'm carrying a Motorola V3. On it I have a ringtone which I've made myself by ripping a small fragment of audio cd to mp3.
Imagine having a phone with DRM that would prohibit that. I'd either buy a different phone or make do with the built-in ringtone.
70-284 passed!!!

Yes, today I passed the 70-284 exam, also know as "implementing and managing Microsoft Exchange 2003". Due to personal reasons, nice weather, an exchange server that went down sunday night and a visit to the dentist, my preparation wasn't as good as it should have been. This resulted in a score of a meagre 700 which happens to be the passing score for this exam. :-) (Now, doesn't that fit nicely in the microsoft idea of "minimal amount of administrative effort"?)

To prepare I had three days in a classroom with an instructor. One day with a guy I can recommend if you need a good exchange instructor, Alex de Jong. In addition to that I had a Microsoft Press book a Transcender CD. The Microsoft Press book was better than previous ones I've used. Less clutter, a lot more to the point. As adviced previously by the people at transcender I download the latest version of the exam from their website instead of using the CD. Finally, transcender again as I've come to know and love. Good questions, close approximation of the real thing and good explanations (but still check with the web or the knowledgebase when in doubt).

What to study:
  • Installation requirments (forestprep, domainprep, rights, etc)
  • SMTP connectors
  • SMTP virtual servers
  • Front-end/back-end designs
  • Clustering (pay specific attention to what needs an IP address and how users should access a cluster)
  • Connecting Exchange and Notes and Groupwise (free/busy information!!)
  • Scenarios when another company is taken over
  • Routing groups and especially redunancy and routing costs

I'd expected some more legacy Exchange questions, I've only seen one. I think I lost points on routing group redundancy, what to monitor and installatin. Some practice exams suggest that domainprep is not a seperate preparation action if you are going to install servers in the domain anyway. I'm not entirely sure if that's correct.

The previous exams could be done by stuying theory only although that would be hard. I'd advice against trying that for this exam. In order to pass this you really need some hours at a console setting up and administring an exchange server or two (or more).

Seeing what I scored on this exam I think I won't try to do the 70-285 exam just yet, instead I'll hit the books and see what I missed on this one.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Enabling security tab in exchange System manager. For some reason that option is greyet out. Here's a link where they explain which dword you need to create.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Souls Alike is an excellent Bonnie Raitt fansite. I was looking for some pics from yesterday's concert.
Yesterday I drove 200kms to Groningen to see Bonnie Raitt play live at the Oosterpoort. One of my absolute favourite artists, an excellent blues performer and an all-round great musician. 200 kms to Groningen and 200kms back does mean that I'm now suffering from severe lack of sleep. But, it was worth it. She's got a new irish guy, Foy Vance, on tour with here. Interesting, certainly's got load of potential, somehow he reminds me of an early
Bruce Springsteen but more the singer/songwriter Bruce than the hard-rocking Bruce.

And then the main set.... Bonnie once again still doing what she does best, performing live. Set list from the concert in Utrecht was. What she playes was this I think:

Unnecessarily Mercenary
I Will Not Be Broken
God Was In The Water
I Believe I'm In Love With You
Bad Case Of Loving You
Nick Of Time
Crooked Crown
Papa Come Quick (Jody and Chiko)
Women Be Wise
Something To Talk About
Love Sneakin' Up On You
--- encore ---
The Bed I Made
I Can't Make You Love Me
Road Runner
Luck Of The Draw
Angel From Montgomery

But I was too busy enjoying myself to take notes.

I'm trying to find some pictures, I did see one guy in the front row busy with a digicam, just hoping he'll put them online somewhere.

It's so nice to see such skilled musicians performing very well without any apparant effort. George Marinelli is very good at that, always chewing a wad of gum and just doing his thing. Nick of time was nice with Jon Cleary and Bonnie playing keys together.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Terry Pratchett Quotes - The Quotations Page a nice selection of quotes from the discworld series. Of course nowhere near as complete as the files at lspace.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Family sued by record companies. Yep, the RIAA strikes again. This time they're suing a family that doesn't even own a computer. Nice country that makes lawsuits like that possible.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Weird Secpol problem

Even when dealing with Windows 2003 you can still run into weird errors.
I had one of those this morning. Installed a server with an unattendend install. After installation I tried to start up the Local Security Policy MMC and found this staring me into the face:

MMC Cannot open the file C:\windows\system32\secpol.msc

This may be because the file does not exist, is not an MMC concolse, ro was created by a later version of MMC. This may also be because you do not have sufficient access rights to the file.

Of course I checked the file and the rights and they were perfectly normal. The file was not damaged either, it worked fine on another machine.

Googling a bit didn't reveal much. Other people either could not run any MSC file at all or they had weird errors with admin tools on XP-64 bit. Going trough google groups did get me thinking in the right direction. Turned out all I needed to do was to go to:
C:\Documents and Settings\\Application Data\Microsoft\MMC
And delete the secpol file there.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I was just listening to Faith Hill's latest album

Fireflies is such a wonderful track on her latest album. A beautiful ballad with a nice wistful atmosphere to it.

I found mayonnaise bottles and poked holes on top
To capture Tinker Bell
And they were just fireflies to the untrained eye
But I could always tell

Before you met me I was a fairy princess
I caught frogs and called them prince
And made myself a queen
And before you knew me I'd traveled 'round the world
And I slept in castles
And fell in love
Because I was taught to dream

Another nice track on the same album is Stealing Kisses :

I was stealing kisses from a boy
now IÂ’m begging affection from a man
in my house dress,
donÂ’t you know who I am,
donÂ’t you know who I am.
Standing in your kitchen.

Two excellent ballads that contrast with the first three tracks that seem to be destined to become the singles that will drive the album's sale.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Hello World in 200+ languages. After installing something it's nice to know it works. On this page you'll find hello world (a simple test) in just about every language you can imagine.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Log Parser 2.2 is a tool published by Microsoft to make extracting information from logfiles easier. It is part of the IIS 6 resource kit. I mainly use it for IIS logs but you can use it on most Microsoft logfiles.
It's also one of the very few tools that can analyze an IIS ftp log file. It's a really powerful tool which is also the reason that I don't use it much, the syntax is not very friendly if you don't have much SQL experience.

Anyway, after reading some documentation I was able to dig out a list of unique visitors from 4 months of ftp logs. The command to do that is this:

logparser "SELECT DISTINCT c-ip FROM *.log" -i:IISw3c -o:CSV

Important here is the DISTINCT. If I didn't use that then I'd get all the ip adresses from all the logs. The latter would get me 2meg of output, using distinct I only get about 2k of output. The -o:CSV option tells logparser to output in CSV format. If you didn't use it you'd have to press the space bar every time.

The c-ip stands for client IP. You can get a list of fields you can query on by issueing the command: logparser –h –i:IISW3C (or replace IISW3C with the logformat you're using). For other SQL-challenged people like me, this Professor Windows article might help. For those of you more skilled with windows scripting and SQL have a look at

Just figured out you can even have it resolve dns. So:

logparser "SELECT DISTINCT REVERSEDNS (c-ip) FROM *.log" -i:IISw3c -o:CSV

Would give the same result as the first query but display DNS names instead of just IP adresses.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Years of Rice and Salt: Books: Kim Stanley Robinson
Award-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson delivers a thoughtful and powerful examination of cultures and the people who shape them. How might human history be different if 14th-century Europe was utterly wiped out by plague, and Islamic and Buddhist societies emerged as the world's dominant religious and political forces? The Years of Rice and Salt considers this question through the stories of individuals who experience and influence various crucial periods in the seven centuries that follow. The credible alternate history that Robinson constructs becomes the framework for a tapestry of ideas about philosophy, science, theology, and politics.

A good read, a very good read. Apart from a very interesting alternative history it's also an interesting view on the whole concept of reincarnation. Kim Stanley Robinson does tend to lecture on a bit but in this one it only got on my nerves a bit at the very end. All in all highly recommended.

It's the third alternative history novell I've read. The other two being Len Deighton's SS-GB which is set in a Great Britain that lost the battle of Britain in 1940. And of course Fatherland by Robert Harris which is also a murder mystery but set in the 1960s after Hitler won the second world war. You may remember the movie starring Rutger Hauer.

Main difference between these two and the years of rice and salt is that you notice that Robinson is a scientist and Harris and Deighton are just good writers.
Only 'freaks' waste their time with Linux in Oklahoma is a nice headline for the continuing saga of a rather thickheaded civil servant who's made himself absolutely ridiculous in the Linux community. The man sees a default error page on a Linux web server and starts attacking and even threatening the distro makers, CentOS in this case. The guy just doesn't know when to throw in the towel.

Friday, April 07, 2006

As I said earlier, I was working on a little script to archive IIS logfiles. Microsoft has the logfile rotation working nicely now but provides no other mechanism to keep your logfiles from eating your diskspace. Here is my first attempt at a solution for that. It's still very simple and you need to set the logfile directory yourself.
Things that need doing:
  • Read logfile location from metabase
  • Allow working with multiple logfile folders
When trying to solve the first issue I came acros something weird. On some IIS 6 boxes the metabase was a binary file like in the old days, on most others it was the XML you'd expect. I noticed that only on IIS on XP the log file location was coded in the registry. If anyone has an explanation for this or suggestions how to get the logfile location I'd apprieciate hearing them

Anyway, here it is, if you find it useful I'd apprieciate a note. If you improve on it (which shouldn't be too difficult) please send me your copy so that I can learn from your improvements

What's needed:
7zip's command line version
the batch file itself

  1. You are running IIS 5 or later
  2. You have not modified the standard IIS logfile naming convention which is exAABBCC.log where AA= year, BB=month and CC is day.
  1. Open the 7zip download and extract 7za.exe to somewhere in your path (system32 for example)
  2. Place the batch file somewhere.
  3. Edit this line in the batch file:
  4. rem set iis logfile location
    set logfolder=d:\logfiles

    So that it points to your logfile folder
  5. Create a user with read access to the script and the 7za.exe and write access to your IIS log folder.
  6. Schedule the batch file under that user's credentials so that it runs every 1st of the month.
And that's pretty much it. When running it will zip last month's logfiles and then delete the originals.

Of course It would be really easy to integrate a logfile analysis tool somewhere into this. I've had good experiences with WebLog Expert but anything that can be called from a command line should do nicely.

All this is tested on a few of my systems, it works there but I provide it with no warranty whatsoever. If you use it and your server is suddenly sucked into a wormhole and ends up in the dungeon dimensions it's your problem.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Nerds op lokatie is a company started by a few friends. They're offering PC support at home. Good idea, I hope it will be a succes.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Simpsons film begins production | The Register
Yep, you're reading it right. After the Flintstones and just about everything Marvell ever created now a live action version of the Simpons. I downloaded the trailer and that looks really good.

Oh and I'm back from vacation. Spend the afternoon sorting out the 45mb of email that accumulated last week. Tonite I'm going to try and get my mailserver back to life and get started on the exchange course manual.
In between all that I'll need to find the time to install windows on the replacement harddisk that finally arrived for my Notebook.

Friday, March 24, 2006

IIS logfile rotation is pretty decent these days but archiving is, as far as I know still non-existent. IISFAQ has something in Article 141
but I think that's rather rudimentary.
My linux box already came with cron preset to take care of all this.
Today I wrote a rather crude batch file that looks at the date, gets the previous month from it and copies log files from that month. I needed that to get input to be processed by WebLog Expert but this could be easily modified to zip last month's logs and then delete the originals.
I need to polish the code a bit. When I'm done with it I'll post it here.
Won't be soon because next week I'll be on vacation.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I dug up my old Zenith EM camera to show to some collegues and found that someone took the trouble to put the Zenith, Zenith EM instruction manual online. It's a sturdy, heavy and robust camera which has always served me well. Perhaps I'll put my Fuiji digital and my Nikon F60 aside for a while and put a few rolls of film trough this beauty.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

This morning I sat my 70-270 exam (XP pro) and boy, was it a though one! I managed to scrape trough with 922 points but that took work! Also, something funny happened, I got the same question twice.
I prepared for it with the MS-Press book a transcender CD . My strategy is always to read the book, write a summary and then take a test examn, study what I did wrong, take another, etc.. Usually 4 test examns is sufficient.
Despite other people's opinions up until now I had the impression that transcenders were a decent way to prepare for an examn. Not for this one! The transcender questions are hopelessly outdated, a large part seems to come directly from the old 2000 exam.
What to study:
  • Basic TCP/IP
  • Policies, what they can do and how to check if they are applied and how to force them onto a machine
  • All the different ways to install and upgrade XP
  • PXE booting
  • Printing (spooling, queues, operating rights, pooling)
  • Dial-up networking
  • ICS
  • Firewall
  • Remote assistance and remote desktop
  • What rights are needed to install hardware (printers, removable media devices)
  • IIS and especially the limitations of the XP implementation
  • Encryption and what you can and cannot do for a user
  • Offline files
  • Disks, basic, dynamic and what you can do to extend them
I'm glad it's over. In my opinion it was a lot ground to cover in a single exam. Also, 58 questions is rather a lot. Anyway, I passed it and with my old NT 4 MCSE this should make me MCSA certified now.
Next exam: 70-284, Microsoft Exchange!

Update: According to the friendly people at Transcender next time I should try and get the exam from their site instead of from the CD.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Esther wijnands's Blog My wife also made an attempt at blogging (in dutch). In my unbiased opinion (ahum!) she's not a bad writer but lacks a bit in perseverance.
Finally, Better Batteries - Technology Review
Way better batteries, commercial space exploration, am I the only one getting the idea that Heinlein is finally right? OK, the old geezer project the "shipstone" battery for the 1950s and Harriman's space exploration for the 60s and 70s but still....
Even the space elevator, which many SF writers deem a necessity for decent space exploration is now getting some of the attention it deserves. Granted, it will take quite some materials research but at least some people are taking the idea serious. (remember the space elevator from Kim Stanley Robinson's "Red Mars" which was shot down? Excellent reading though, the whole trilogy)
Jetze Mellema has an outstanding Homecomputer Collection. Who doesn't remember the old MSX machines, the commodore family and the old clunker on which I got started in the early 80s, the Acorn Electron. Those were the days...........

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Kinderboerderij was, as always, a succes. Bas feeding the guinea pigs some carrot ends:

And Pien, the sow that will eat just about anything:

Image hosting by Photobucket

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Looks like today won't be nearly as nice as last sunday when it was sunny enough to go to the beach at Zandvoort. Sunny enough that it was nice and warm in a sheltered spot behind a dune and my daughter managed to get her nose a bit sunburned. Still chilly wherever the wind could get at you.
(picture taken with my motorola v3 phone)
Also, tomorrow is my wife's 31st birthday and in this culture that means a lot of visiting family today. With any luck I'll find the time to take my son to the Groenendaal "kinderboerderij" to feed the pig there some scraps but I won't be able to do much else today. Not that that's bad since the weather is lousy and I haven't seen a lot of family in a while :-) While googling for a translation for kinderboerderij I came across this nice description of dutch (sub) urban living.
A new Lara Croft model seems to have been chosen. Karima Adebibe is here name. Some more here. Tasty enough but we're not going to forget Angelina Jolie's interpretation that quickly either.

I can already hear the discussions amongst the hardcore tombraider fans. "Karima!" "No Angelina!"

Me? I'm not taking sides in this. The only lara I've ever had on my computer was a tombraider the movie wallpaper.
Just like most men I like to see a woman on high heels, the higher and narrower the better. I like to see them to a calm, hip-swining casual stroll. The editors at the dutch Glamour magazine take a different view. Different enough to organize the first "stilleto run". 150 young ladies (and 1 man)on high heels do a 100 meter dash trough the most expensive shopping street of the country. All for a good cause of course. See for yourself, click on the link, vids behind the pink squares in the top-center.
makes some nice DVD players including a divX player on sale here for about 60 euros. I almost bought one today. Almost because the only dealer in my home town, a branch of this chain: but they refused to demonstrate it and wouldn't allow me to test it and bring it back if it was terrible. Shame but on such conditions I'm not buying a budget DVD player. Customer service apparantly. Well, perhaps other people do it but I'm not going to throw away a 60 euro DVD player if it's crap. Sent Cyberhome an email asking for dealer adresses.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A collegue just send me this:

Memory was something you lost with age
An application was for employment
A program was a TV show
A cursor used profanity

A keyboard was a piano
A web was a spider's home
A virus was the flu
A CD was a bank account

A hard drive was a long trip on the road
A mouse pad was where a mouse lived

And if you had a 3 inch floppy . .

. . . you just hoped nobody ever

Found Out

Memorex revives 1970s tape look for Flash disk era | Reg Hardware
Is it a tape reel? Is it a floppy disk? No, it's a tiny 16mb stick in a pretty cool exterior.

Might be a nice present for my dad, remind him of his start in IT in the mid 1970s.

Some more US sabre rattling
Iraq war still in full swing and they're making threatning noises at Iran an Korea. Especially nice since North Korea always gets nervous when the south holds a major excercise. Nervouse enough to
threaten a pre-emptive attack
It reminds me a bit of Larry Bond's Red Phoenix which is set in a second korean war in the early 90s.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Google Has a new feature which allows you to customize a startup page with RSS feeds and your gmail account. It has been available for some months now but surprisingly few people seem to know about it.
Started doing MCSE last november. Passed 70-290 with flying colors, 70-290 a litte less spectacular but still with a respectable 833 points.

Today I was doing examn training for 70-270 (win xp) which I'm starting to despise when I came across a rather bizzare registry key.
According to it's possible to set a key which allows you to generate a stop error by pressing right controll and scroll lock twice.
WTF? Whoever came up with that one?