Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Level 3 vs. Comcast - In a Nutshell

How the last couple of day's events have panned out...

Level 3, who owns NetFlix, announces rate increases

> Level 3's PR team puts out a press release about Comcast forcing the rate increase by upping bandwidth charges

> Comcast states there is no wrong doing by Comcast for the rate increase

> Really rich stockholders at Comcast make more money, really rich stockholders at Level 3 make more money

> Sucks to be me who subscribes to both

Point a FatCow Domain to Blogger

I recently moved my hosting from FatCow to Blogger but didn't know (because I am not too smart (and it was rather hidden)) that there was a separate place that I needed to disable automatic renewals and that was the domain.  So there I was with a domain name and no hosting.  I looked at Blogger's help materials and they had several of the "big" hosting companies but not FatCow.  I looked all over and couldn't find any materials so thought I would write a post on how to point a FatCow domain to Blogger (or Blogspot).

1.) First thing, from FatCow's Web site, click on 'Control Panel'
2.) Then, click on 'Custom DNS Record'
3.) Select the domain name from the drop-down under 'Primary Domain' and click 'Go'
4.) Under the 'Points to IP' there should be an IP address right underneath that says, "To route your web traffic to FatCow, set this value to ###.###.###.###".  It doesn't make much sense since our goal is to route our traffic not to FatCow but to Blogger but you do enter that number where it says, 'Points to IP'
5.) Under 'Subdomains' put a 'www' next to your domain name in "1."
6.) Under 'Points to IP/Domain/Alias:' put in 'ghs.google.com' (without the ')
7.) Under 'Wildcards' in 'Points to IP/Domain/Alias' point to the IP address you put in for #4
8.) Under 'Mail', under 'MX1 Priority:' put in '10' and under 'Points to Alias/Domain' put in mx.fatcow.com

That should do it.  What a pain in the butt!

30 Down, a Whole Helluva Lot to Go

Last week I talked about taking on the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (orig site: http://www.1001beforeyoudie.com/) and have gotten 30 done.  Thus far, it has been an incredibly rewarding and fun experience.  I am a little concerned when I start getting to albums that I can't listen to on Grooveshark http://listen.grooveshark.com/ or be able to check out of the library.   Anyway, in case you frequent this site (there are a few of you) and haven't checked it out, I have a page that has the album with a little mini-review.  Feel free to use the comments section to discuss music.  There will be more "techy" posts coming soon, maybe even today seeing as I guess I should do something work related one of these days.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Disconnect Terminal Services Sessions with ColdFusion

I was hit with this today so thought I would write it up quickly while it is still in my mind.  I needed to write an admin tool that could show Windows terminal services sessions and also could disconnect them.

There are Windows tools in place to do this so I just used <cfexecute> to call those.  This way, from a Web page, we can fire up the necessary tools.  Anyway, here we go...

To show the sessions:
<cfexecute name="c:\WINNT\system32\query.exe"
<cfdump var="#data#">

To disconnect the sessions (for this project I only had to disconnect two licenses so I disconnected them, if there are more, you will need to disconnect each on in the arguments of the <cfexecute>  tag):
<cfexecute name="c:\WINNT\system32\tsdiscon.exe"

<cfexecute name="c:\WINNT\system32\tsdiscon.exe"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quick Tech Tip: Access the Desktop when a Virus Knocks it Out

I helped a coworker today who snagged a virus (av8 to be exact) and thought I would do a quick write up of what to do if you can't even get to your desktop.

His problem: AV8.exe took over his machine (Windows 7 machine) and when he rebooted the machine, it gave the log-on page and after that it was just black.  He couldn't access the desktop.  That was when panic set in for him.

The easiest solution to this problem is to CTRL-ALT-DELETE and bring up the 'Task Manager'.  Click the 'Applications' tab if it isn't defaulted.  Once up, click the lower-right-hand button for 'New Task'.  Then type 'explorer.exe'.  This will bring up Windows Explorer and you should be able to access programs that will help to eliminate the virus. 

It is always a good idea to have a back up CD or Flash drive with Malwarebytes, an anti-virus program, and CCleaner for situations where you cannot use the programs loaded on the hard drive.

BTW, if you are curious how to get rid of AV8 or Antivirus8, here is what I did (this is for Windows 7).

End the process: av8.exe

Delete the following registry keys (never mess with your registry without backing it up):
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\WinJS (it also can be WinFD)
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run (find AV8 and delete)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\explorer.exe

Then delete the .lnk from the desktop, and C:\program files\av8.  Then do a search of your C:\ and search for av8 and see if you find any other remnants.  Reboot.  Run virus scan to grab anything that may be missed.  Don't click Antivirus8 again!

1001 Albums I Must Hear Before I Die

With two jobs, a three-year-old, this blog, attempting to have some semblance of a social life, a mountain of games that I have purchased and never played, and keeping up with new programming and technical skills, I have discovered that I have plenty of spare time to take on a new project.  This one I am going to do is the '1001 Albums you Must Hear Before you Die' (http://www.1001beforeyoudie.com or buy the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die).  I will use this blog to keep up with this as I go through the albums and even give a score of my opinion (as if you care) of the album from 1-100 (100 being best).  I will keep up with the information on my page, titled - '1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die' - http://www.geekyclown.com/p/1001-albums-you-must-hear-before-you.html.  I will also listen to any album that I have already heard just to be precise and also to be able to give an accurate score. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Quick Review: Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon

My three-year-old and I were perusing the local library looking for a game and she quickly became enamored with Square's Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon.  I tried to explain to her that it wasn't what she thinks it was but the cutesy duck on the cover outweighed any insight I can give into the world of RPGs.  My three-year-old is a sucker for the Sonic the Hedgehog's of gaming, not for a 40+ hour, redundant RPG based on story, spells, and leveling up.

Anyway, I lost the battle and we brought home Chocobo's Dungeon.  Once in, she kept asking, "when do we play?"  I repeated the importance of patience when it comes to RPGs.  After the beginning of the story unfolded, Chocobo tended to be the stereotypical, yet overly simple, JRPG.  A cutesy little duck going from dungeon to dungeon to complete relatively simple tasks. 

Once we had the game going there were two things that I noticed, I was impressed with the soundtrack and this game was too involving for a three-year-old and too dull and cutesy for yours truly.  The slow moving pace and simple layouts just never held my interest but I could see where this would be a great stepping stone for a nine through twelve-year-old gamer just starting out in the world of RPG.

Either way, I played through about five hours of the game.  I would have stopped about two hours in but my three-year-old enjoyed the story and liked watching and maneuvering Chocobo.  I don't think she is ready for old school Phantasy Star Portable yet, but the time is coming.

Final anlysis: Graphics: not bad, but it is Wii so wasn't expecting too much.  Audio:  the highlight of the game, definitely its biggest selling point.  Playability: the controls were ok.  It didn't really take advantage of the Wii-mote where it could have in some situations.  Fun:  if you are over the age of fifteen, you may find it a bit dull and slow moving.  If you are under the age of seven, it may be a bit too involving.  And, if you fall in between, it should be just right.  Grade: C-

Friday, November 12, 2010

How to play the New Super Mario Bros. 3 DS on your PC with Ease

With the Super Mario All-Stars: Limited Edition coming out, I have a new nostalgia for the old NES games.

Here is what I learned about how to play Super Mario Bros. 3 using the New Super Mario Bros. for DS' game engine on your PC, but I cannot tell you exactly how to do this - but I can give you some helpful hints...

Anyway - make your life easy and create a folder for this project and put everything in it!

Then - grab yourself a copy of no$gba.exe it's a Nintendo DS Emulator - here (http://www.emulator-zone.com/doc.php/gba/nocashgba.html)

Then, you need to make sure you have the following:



Go here:


And follow the instructions...

After unzipping/installing and following the README instructions, you should be ok.

- Reduce your screen resolution to 800x600: Right-click desktop>Personalization>Display>800x640

- Start by right-clicking nbo$gba > Properties > Display Settings>Run in 640x480
Open program - find your game from the read me.

- (once open) - in non$gba Open > Emulation tab > NDS Cartridge Backup Media > FRAM 32 KBytes

Have fun - comment if still problems.

Sonic Fan Remix Demo Reviewed

I just got through playing the demo for Sonic Fan Remix (first three levels of Emerald Zone which can be downloaded here - http://www.filedropper.com/mirror.php) and thought I would give some impressions.

First impression: It is perfect for fans of the old time Genesis Sonics.  It plays like the original series of games and for those who have a nostalgic soft spot for those games, you should stop reading now and download just to get a taste.  Familiar enemies, familiar levels, and familiar feel to the original Genesis carts.

Graphically: Aesthetically it is out of this world.  Beautiful scenery throughout the demo.  That being said, I did get hit a couple of times because you couldn't see the enemies because there was so much going on.

Sound: It is the original music from the Genesis.

Problems: I did have some problems though.  The first, and it could be because I played it on my work laptop (Dell Precision 6300 w/ Duo Core 2 and 4 gigs of RAM), it moved drastically slow and I blue screened half-way through the first level.  After the reboot, I played just the game with nothing else running and jacked up the virtual memory and that solved the issue.  I liked Knuckles and was sad I didn't get to see him but maybe later in the game when the full version is released.  Also, Sonic doesn't have the Sonic attitude that he had in the first game when you let him stand for too long.  Finally, my biggest concern, what is Sega going to do with this?  It appears the developer's goal is to have it freeware (which is awesome) but will Sega let him or are they going to stop him before the full version is released.  Anyway, that being the case, I will keep an eye out and do a write up when it comes out so we can all grab it in case Sega decides to pull the plug on a game that they wish they would have made.  Final Grade: A-

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

10 Best Professor Frink Quotes

To celebrate 'The Simpson's' 20th-Anniversary, I thought I would break out my ten favorite quotes from the geekiest of Springfield's finest - Professor Frink (however, I suppose an argument could be made for the comic book guy):

10.) Man! If this is happening here, I'd hate to think what's happening at Euro Itchy and Scratchy Land. Mm-hey.

9.) Oh my great good God! Gentlemen, your attention please.  I am detecting a gigiantic amphibious life-form, it's 80 meters long and it's heading this way. Oh good glayven it's on my shoe. It's a small frog, just get off, just get off there, just get out of it, get out of it. Stupid machine, oh wait a minute, this isn't the Monsterometer, it's the Frog-Exaggerator Mm-hai.

8.) Why it's the AT-5000 Auto-Dialer. My very first patent. Aw, would you listen to the gibberish they've got you saying, it's sad and alarming. You were designed to alert schoolchildren about snow days and such. Well, let's get you home to Frinky. Hope your wheels still work, bw-hey.

7.) Well, it should be obvious to even the most dim-witted individual who holds an advanced degree in hyperbolic topology, [Frinky noise], that Homer Simpson has stumbled into...the third dimension.

6.) Excuse me, Lisa, but I couldn't help but overhear your nerdly predicament.  Maybe I can be of assistance with the dancing and the twisting and the [singing] kung fu fighting.  Deedle-deedle dee dee doo.

5.) (Using a baby toy that has the balls that pop when rolled): No you can't play with it, you won't enjoy it on as many levels as I do... Mm-hai bw-ha whoa-hoa. The colors children. Mwa-ha-lee.

4.) This radio-controlled plane gives your baby the chance to fly, just like my son here. He can execute the barrel-roll, loop-de-loop, then bring it in for the perfect landing. Whoo.  (Plane crashes) Oh dear, my wife is going to kill me.

3.) We studied traffic patterns and found that drivers move the fastest through yellow lights, so now we just have the red and yellow lights, mm-haiai.

2.) Right, step away foolish amateurs, just keep back, keep out of it. The role is mine with the acting and the groupies and the "Luke, Luke, save me" with the lightsaber and the vwing, vwing, vwing.

1.) Ha ha wha. Oh, sorry I'm late. There was trouble at the lab with the running and the exploding and the crying when the monkeys stole the glasses off my head. Wh-ha ha.  Oh, no, please no. I have a funny story if you listen. I even wrote theme music, here listen. Ha ha, mm-m hey hey, Professor Frink, Professor Frink, He'll make you laugh, he'll make you think, He likes to run, and then the thing, with the... mm-m person...Oh boy, that monkey is going to pay.

To watch 'The Simpson's' on your computer - click http://www.hulu.com/the-simpsons

5 Movies That Shaped the Way the World Looks at Computer Geeks

The 70's and 80's made a point of making the computer geek fit into a stereotype featuring a pocket-protector, thick glasses, and greasy, perfectly parted hair.  However, those stereotypes didn't stand the test of time and there were five movies that helped to shape and reshape the way the world thinks about computer geeks.

War Games.  Ferris Bueller himself, Matthew Broderick, stars as the slacking, underachiever scamming his way through high school while hacking his way into military computer systems and creating a bogus nuclear war.  This was one of the first movies that started to get a clueless population into the potential of computers.  While, like pretty much all computer movies, it definitely has its technical flaws, it changes thoughts of computer geeks from nerdy and awkward to Joe Average.  Broderick's character isn't blatantly nerdy (side note, of course, Hollywood did need to stick in their stereotypical computer geek, in Eddie Deezan's character Malvin) but more of an average high school student who just happens to be intelligent enough to find a back door into the U.S. government's nuclear computer.
Technology Highlight: The voice of the computer is awesome!  Completely simulated computer speech.

Revenge of the Nerds.  'Revenge of the Nerds' is great for the sheer point that it takes the Hollywood stereotype of computer geeks and makes them take on those who oppose them head on to show in the end, they aren't that different.  While an obvious 80's film, Nerds shows the world that the stereotypical computer geek is just an outer shell and computer geeks can be just as ruthless (and perverted) as everyone else.  Whether it be breaking into sorority houses, out drinking the competition (through a scientific farce that doesn't allow alcohol to enter the bloodstream), and out throwing a javelin, the computer geeks in this film show that even though they may look like Nerds, they are every bit as demented as everyone else.
Technology Highlight: Gilbert drawing himself and his new lady friend by simply using the keyboard on an old orange CRT display.

Hackers.  Any movie that has Angeline Jolie starring as one of the computer geeks speaks for itself.  This is the pretty people computer geek movie.  The film takes a group of seemingly popular high school students and the writers, more or less, make them computer geeks because (in 1995), the Internet was starting to gain ground with average users.  If culinary expertise would have been a growing, trendy topic, they would have all been chefs instead of computer geeks.  It was obviously written for the high school/college market by people who were relatively unfamiliar with computers and computer networks.  However, it did bring into light a new generation of computer geek, one that blew past the Hollywood stereotype and instead brought on a new trendy and hip geek.  What was once goofy nerd speak was now being spoken by the 'cool' kids.  And, for a time, it made it cool to be geeky.
Technology Highlight: Since technology hadn't made its mind up about virtual reality and its role in gaming, they decided to throw it in  just in case and have an annoying Fisher Stevens character playing some sort of fighting game with it.

Office Space.  Michael Bolton and Samir were computer geeks who took on some of the stereotypical Hollywood computer geek and morphed it with a bit of a Hackersesque coolness and a 'War Games' plainness.  Listening to old school hip-hop while driving to work each day showed some of the not-so-fun side of being a computer geek.  While your average movie makes the computer geek the go-to-guy/girl when in dire need (hack a program, decipher encrypted data, override just about anything), 'Office Space' shows the monotonous work that being computer geek, more times than not, entails. Writing code, tweaking code, and in this case, going through thousands of lines of code to remove the two digit date before Y2K, has a lot more to being a computer geek than say starting a fake nuclear war or hacking into your high school to set off the sprinkler system.  Office Space took over where 'War Games' ended and showed that computer geeks are generally, average guys.
Technology Highlight: I get this message on my work fax machine all the time and laugh each and every time, "PC Load letter, what the f*ck does that mean!"

The Matrix.  It had to be on here.  This film takes the hip and pretty kids from 'Hackers' and turns them into kung fu fighting, reality bending, bad asses.  It told a story about a computer programmer/hacker that discovers the world isn't what it appears and goes against the computer that rules it.  Like 'Hackers', this movie shows no sign of the stereotypical computer geek but instead shows a hip, computer fluent Keanu who can do pretty much anything he would like by the use of computers and his own mind.  This and 'Office Space' both came out in 1999 and I enjoy the way that these two movies play a role in how Hollywood would like people to see computer geeks.  While 'Office Space' has computer geeks who are a bit more realistic, 'The Matrix' has what Hollywood would like the general population to idealize.
Technology Highlight: The very end seeing the Matrix through Neo's eyes.  Don't want to give too much in case there is a person left in this world who actually hasn't seen it. 

Farkle Strategy Guide

I have become addicted to the Facebook game Farkle.  Two reasons: one, it is like a speedier version of Yahtzee; two, I suck at Bejeweled Blitz.  Here is a strategy guide that I use for Farkle to help build up big scores.

The 500 rule.  Keep going unless you have a minimum of 500.  Even if there is one die left, just keep going.  Farkle has a tendency of going in waves so when hot streaks come, take full advantage to 500 or higher.

500 rule exception 1: If you are playing for your third Farkle, forget the 500 rule and take the easy 300 and avoid negative points.

500 rule exception 2: As I stated above, when talking about the 500 rule, Farkle comes and goes in waves.  If you are on a down wave you are going to Farkle if you live by the 500 rule.  Break the cycle and start again.  Example, you got a Farkle the turn before and your first throw on the next turn is a five, two three's, two four's, and a two - it may be time to end your turn when you hit 300. 

500 rule exception 3: Feel out your throws, if you are at 350 and had to work real hard to get it with only one die left, maybe cut your losses and hope for the next throw.

More dice the merrier part 1: don't fall for the two fives.   The key to the game is getting three of a kind (hopefully ones).  That being said, two fives may equal 100 points but it also removes two dice from the table.  Just take one five and leave the extra dice on the table.  Also, if you have a one and a five on the table, take the one and leave the five giving you better odds for the next roll. 

More dice the merrier part 2: at the same time don't fall for the low triples.  Triples are the key to success and three two's looks great but it only gives you 200 points and you left with only three dice on the table. 

Don't get cocky.  It's good to play cocky and play by the 500 rule but the game has a tendency of taking a turn on you when you get too cocky.  For example, when you get 2500 points it may just go ahead and give you a Farkle with 4 dice left.  Feel out your wave, if you have been doing great all game, you may be able to get a huge turn.  On the other hand, if you have Farkled three of the last five rounds, you may want to take your points and run.

Beware of the three dice.  When you have three dice left, that is the fence.  Four, five, and six dice are no brainers - keep going.  One or two dice are no brainers (with a score of 500 or above) - stop.  Three is the fence.  If you have a great score (500+) it may be best to stop with three left on the table.  Otherwise, keep going.

When to spend your chips?  I generally only spend mine when I have a great score to begin with (8,000-10,000+) or am looking to beat someone in particular.

Hopefully this helps.  And if any of my Facebook friends read this, just ignore it - nothing to see here.

Return of Tunes for Tuesday - Johnny Cash

I have put Tunes for Tuesday aside for a few weeks but this week it makes its triumphant return with a 1996 soundboard from Johnny Cash.  I grabbed this originally for the Soundgarden cover but the whole show is solid. Enjoy!

1.Folsom Prison Blues
2.Get Rhythm
3.Sunday Morning Coming
4.Ghost Riders in the Sky
5.Oh Bury Me Not
6.Never Picked Cotton
7.Rowboat (Beck cover)
8.Rusty Cage (Soundgarden cover)
9.Southern Accent (Tom Petty cover)
11.Ring of Fire
12.Walk the Line
13.I Got Jesus In My Soul
14.Big River
15.I Still Miss Someone
16.Orange Blossom Special
17.Far Side Banks of Jordan


Credit to original poster - tdfitz from Guitars101.com

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mini-review: WHITE - Paint meets FPS

I started playing WHITE this morning and the next thing I know, an hour-and-a-half had passed and now I will need to work through my lunch to make up the time lost.  It isn't that WHITE is really interesting or difficult (there is NO difficulty in fact), it is just so damn bizarre that it makes it rather fun to run around and shoot little paint pellets to create art.  And that is the gist of the game.  You literally run around a canvas shooting little 'Calvis' to make a painting.  At the end, you are given a score based on your painting.  An ok FPS that hosts an array of weapons including a shotgun and, my personal favorite, a N64 GoldenEye-esque grenade launcher.  This was apparently a school project for the developer and is available for free so I would recommend grabbing it (word of warning, it is 211 MB so a little inflated), but don't play it when you have other things to do - as it does have the ability to suck you in.

Final analysis. Graphics: ok, kind of 3-D Pac-Manish. Audio: ok, but the sounds of the Calvis kind of made me feel bad shooting them. Playability: good, I will end up playing it again just because of its fun level. Controls: ok - average for a FPS. Realism: walking around shooting paint balls name Calvis with a grenade launcher. Worth $0: hell, yeah.

Return to the early 80's by playing Zork Online

There was a time...let's call it Junior High School when gaming was of two genres - NES & text based adventures on my Apple II. It is no secret I love me some retrogaming and found a place to play one of my all time favorite text based adventure games - Zork. Take a look and play some Zork online to get a glimpse of 1980ish.



Monday, November 1, 2010

Microsoft's Mr. Mom Marketer thinks you should Inflate your Caloric Intake to Win a Kinect

I have been having a little fun with Microsoft and their decisions to force-feed their new Wii rip-off gaming add-on to the masses of stay-at-home moms.  Now, they are starting to really work their demographic.  They have teamed up with Burger King to give a Kinect away every 15 minutes through November 28.  All you have to do is check your game pieces on, what I assume Microsoft's Mr. Mom Marketer feels is common stay-at-home mom cuisine, such high calorie, kill your organs, raise your cholesterol through the roof swill healthy treats as a Whopper or large fries.  But, I guess you won't have to worry about the calories once you have a Kinect, they will just melt right off.

You get game pieces on: 30oz drink; 40oz drink; Whopper sandwiches; large fries.

So, to get three chances to win, you can get a Whopper value meal with large fries and a large Coke to run you 1590 calories, 67g of fat, 17g. saturated fat, and 1820mg of sodium.  Oh, who am I kidding, this is the home shopping network, stay-at-home mom demographic we're talking about here - let's go with the Triple Whopper with Cheese value meal with large fries and large chocolate shake for 2750 calories, 134g of fat, 55g saturated fat, and 3220mg of sodium.  That is three game pieces.  Now, the Ellen/Oprah/HSN crowd is really salivating for a Kinect.

Here is the Web site for your "no purchase necessary" chance to win. https://bkkinect.bk.com/

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Launch Trailer is out for GoldenEye 007 on Wii

The launch trailer was released today for GoldenEye 007 on Wii. Have to say, as a long time fan of the original, it looks pretty damn good. Long live paintball mode!