What’s the score after 6 months?

Sure makes me fell β€œwarm” all over, how about you?
Actually more like ‘fired up’.

Obama’s First Six Months’ Accomplishments

1. Offended the Queen of England .

2. Bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia .

3. Praised the Marxist Daniel Ortega.

4. Kissed Socialist Hugo Chavez on the cheek.

5. Endorsed the Socialist Evo Morales of Bolivia .

6. Sided with Hugo Chavez and Communist Fidel Castro against Honduras .

7. Announced we would meet with Iranians with no pre-conditions while they’re building their nuclear weapons.

8. Gave away billions to AIG also without pre-conditions.

9. Expanded the bailouts.

10. Insulted everyone who has ever loved a Special Olympian.

11. Doubled our national debt.

12. Announced the termination of our new missile defense system the day after North Korea launched an ICBM.

13. Released information on U.S. Intelligence gathering despite urgings of his own CIA director and the prior four CIA directors.

14. Accepted without comment that five of his cabinet members cheated on their taxes and two other nominees withdrew after they couldn’t take the heat.

15. Appointed a Homeland Security Chief who identified military veterans and abortion opponents as “dangers to the nation.”

16. Ordered that the word “terrorism” no longer be used and instead refers to such acts as “man made disasters.”

17. Circled the globe to publicly apologize for America ‘s world leadership.

18. Told the Mexican president that the violence in their country was because of us.

19. Politicized the census by moving it into the White House from the Department of Commerce.

20. Appointed as Attorney General the man who orchestrated the forced removal and expulsion to Cuba of a 9-year-old whose mother died trying to bring him to freedom in the United States .

21. Salutes as heroes three Navy SEALS who took down three terrorists who threatened one American life and the next day announces members of the Bush administration may stand trial for “torturing” three 9/11 terrorists by pouring water up their noses.

22. Low altitude photo shoot of Air Force One over New York City that frightened thousands of New Yorkers.

23. Sent his National Defense Advisor to Europe to assure them that the US will no longer treat Israel in a special manner and they might be on their own with the Muslims.

24. Praised Jimmy Carter’s trip to Gaza where he sided with terrorist Hamas against Israel .

25.. Nationalized General Motors and Chrysler while turning shareholder control over to the unions and freezing out retired investors who owned their bonds. Committed unlimited taxpayer billions in the process.

26. Passed a huge energy tax in the House that will make American industry even less competitive while costing homeowners thousands per year.

27. Announced nationalized health care “reform” that will strip seniors of their Medicare, cut pay of physicians, increase taxes yet another $1 trillion, and put everyone on rationed care with government bureaucrats deciding who gets care and who doesn’t..

Bloomberg: Daschle says, “Health care reform will not be pain free. Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them,” while former Colorado Governor Dick Lamm says seniors have “a duty to die.”

If this does not sufficiently raise your ire, just remember that the President, Senators, and Congressmen have their own special gold plated health care AND RETIREMENT plan which is guaranteed the remainder of their lives and they are not subject to this new law if they pass it.

Upgrade Windows 7 from Release Candidate or RTM version

Many of you have been running Windows 7 since the first Beta and moved onto the public Release Candidate. They were offered to the general public as a free ‘beta’ or taste test of the new OS.
Windows 7 is, in my opinion, a huge step up from Vista in virtually every area.

But as you know – or should know, The RC expires in March of 2010! By that time you will have had to have installed the retail version or you will be warned by the machine shutting off every two hours. When the free Release Candidate begins to expire you can’t even do an upgrade install of Windows 7, you will have to either re-install Windows Vista first, or buy a standalone version of Windows 7!

So let’s get with the upgrading.
First let me point out that a ‘fresh/clean’ install is almost always the best way to go. However there are times when an upgrade makes a lot of sense. Such as when you had to ‘tweak’ a special driver, or have massive amounts of applications installed and uniquely configured, or simply just have everything ‘just the way you want it’.

A note on Windows 7 pricing:
The Windows 7 Family Pack, consists of 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade media Setup discs and a single product key which can be used to activate three copies of the OS on three different PCs! The Family Pack costs $150, or just $30 more than a single copy of Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade. It’s kind of a no-brainer to me.

OK on to the upgrade process:

  1. Copy of all of the files from the retail disc to a folder on your hard drive I called it “Win7Upgrade” 
  2. Navigate to and then open the “sources” directory in that folder, and look for a file called “cversion.ini”.
  3. Right-click and choose ‘open with’ and choose ‘Notepad’. You may also launch Notepad and choose File>Open and select that file.
  4. Change the number 7233 to read 7000 (you’re telling it the minimum version that’s allowed to upgrade). Save it.

Right, now you’re almost there.
One more thing you may have to do.

When doing an upgrade MS limits you to what ‘type or flavor’ of the OS you can upgrade to.
Example; Vista Home Premium can only be upgraded to Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 RC(and therefore ‘Ultimate’) can only go to Windows 7 Ultimate etc.
That is not entirely true!
You can upgrade to a different version with a simple registry adjustment.

Open a command promt on your Vista or (Windows 7 Release Candidate) machine and type in:


Navigate to HKLM(HKEY_Local_Machine)Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\ CurrentVersion

Change EditionID on the reg key from “Ultimate” to “[youreditionhere]”
Change ProductName on the reg key from Windows 7 Ultimate to “Windows 7 [youreditionhere]”
(minus the quotes of course)


EdittionID Professional

ProductName Windows 7 Professional

Close the registry editor, restart and do your install.
I have used this trick to upgrade some of our corporate Netbooks that came with Windows 7 Starter to our Volume License version of Window 7 Enterprise.

Remember you will have to have a valid install key/license for what ever version you install AND you will have to activate it. You won’t be able to use the same key on a bunch of machines.
That’s it.

Maximum PC has an article that details some of the steps above in a little more detail. Before you try any of these tricks you should check out this article too.

They also have a fantastically easy to walkthrough of how to boot and install from a USB.

Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows has a great article on how to do a Clean Install Windows 7 with Upgrade Media

Well that’s all.
Hope you find this information usefull.
Here is some great stuff on utilizing many of the features in Windows 7. I have also put a ‘short-cut’ image that can be printed out too.

Happy computing

Google Docs Exporting

As most of you know I am a huge fan of Google web apps – Gmail, Calendar and Google Docs.
By being available nearly everywhere (with Internet connection that is) they greatly enhance productivity.
Google docs is a great tool for putting up reference information such as technical walk throughs, How-To’s, and documents and forms that are needed all the time from different locaitons and the like.
Because my natural paranoia though, I don’t put up sensitive information into Google Docs. And I download my Gmail a few times a week to Outlook. Google (and all ‘cloud services’ – MSN, Yahoo etc.) go offline or are sometimes not available, and as I have written before, the security risk of the cloud is still very real.

If you have lot’s of documents in Google Docs and you would like to export them Google has made that MUCH easier now.
Now you can export all your documents, spreadsheets, presentations and PDFs from Google Docs in a siungle  ZIP archive.
Perfect for making sure your documents are available whether or not Google is available.
Check out this walk through.
Google Batch Export

Hackintosh x86 News

For another simple solution to building a ‘Hackintosh’ Lifehacker.com has just posted this updated article on how you can build your own out of a retail Snow Leopard CD and a Dell Mini 10v. It is a super article.
[Again as mentioned by me and in this article. Even though you’re using a standard retail-purchased copy of OS X, the disclaimer: Apple does not like Hackintoshing. It violates the OS X EULA, and probably won’t make the Dell folks too happy either, should you need to return your hacked Mini 9 for service. So, as always, proceed at your own risk.]

There has been a lot of neat stuff happening in the OSX86 world as of late.
As some of you know I have been using Apple’s for over two decades.
And MS Windows (DOS originally) for just as long. I am most certainly not an Apple OR Microsoft fanboy.
I do feel that both have done a good job for their prospective target markets.
What I like about OS X is the ‘under the hood’ stuff that can be done with a little terminal knowledge. The *nix kernal makes configuring and tweaking sooo much easier.
OS X is also easy for some of the ‘less tech savy’ users to learn, and harder to kill. Which makes OS X great for grandma and uncle Argyle.
What aggravates a geek like me is to listen people bash MS and lap up anything Apple. The facts are MS is a software/OS vendor and Apple is an hardware vendor. It was MS software that actually ‘made’ Apple a usable personal computer (PC) don’t forget.
What really sucks though, is to have to shell out 2k for new hardware just to run the new Apple OS every 3 years. It’s true that because Apple controls the ‘whole pie’ their systems tend to ‘just work’, But if you build or buy a high quality PC you can get the same reliability and ease of use at a much lower total cost of ownership.
I have newer Intel Mac and a few older models I use. I just recently upgraded a couple to Snow Leopard and so I now have a couple of retail full install disks and a few upgrade disks sitting here.
I also have a bunch of Virtual Machines on my server I use for testing and support purposes.
Well now to the point.
I think this guys page –
probably the best site/page I’ve found in a while for building a ‘hackintosh’ from a legit copy of OS X.
The information provided is superb and I look forward to maybe trying some of the tips and tools. It might make your quest for a hackintosh complete. Take a look.
I am also huge fan of the OSx86 project and all the guys who continually work and contribute.
Likewise here are some other great resources:
PCwiz Computer
OSX Freesite

You can google/bing your way to TONS more ‘hackintosh’ stuff if you wish.

Well that’s it just thought I’d pass on some info for those of you that might have been lost in their quest to test a Mac 1st hand with out shelling out $1-2k
The information provide here is for information purposes only. Since the OSX’ EULA clearly states that you aren’t allowed to install OSX on non-Apple hardware, you aren’t allowed to Install OSX Tiger or Leopard on your regular Windows machine (Intel or AMD, doesn’t matter). This site is in no way liable or responsible for the actions of its visitors. This site takes no responsibility for the information you obtain or use from links provided. You are free to do as you wish but we are not liable for any actions you take.

Bogus and Malicious emails

Here is a reminder.

Let’s all keep ourselve and our data and systems safe.
I have just recently seen numerous emails comming in supposedly from UPS containing trojan/infected files!!
If you are not expecting and ‘EXPLICIT’ file in an email from a TRUSTED person.

Info on some here.

Legitimate vendors – eBay, ups, fed-ex amazon etc. will send you notice that you have invoices, receipts, shipping info etc. ready for you viewing.

BUT do not click on links provided in emails requesting personal information – they can contain links to bogus/phishishing sites! [sites that mask as legitimate but instead ‘steal/get you to give them your personal information]

If the email is from a true valid vendor you should be able to go to the appropriate vendor site by typing in the web address into your web browser and logging into your account and checking ‘messages/status etc.

I have spent a lot of time recently cleaning up systems that people inadvertently infected with spy ware/malware. And by trying to ‘fix’ the problem by themselves many of these folks have only infected/wrecked their machines more dramatically.

There are LOADS of malicious emails out there claiming to be ‘security updates/upgrades’ or Outlook system updates etc. that are cleverly (dastardly actually) masked (spoofed) as comming from within your organization, or some other trusted entity (often Microsoft).

Here is a good article on what some of these look like. Here is another. And still another.
You get the idea I hope.
They vary but the result is the same – you infect your system and your entire network with a ‘backdoor’ trojan.
These types of emails are very dangerous ‘phishin’ attacks designed to place a trojan silently onto your machine.

Once again please NEVER click on a link with in an email! From anyone.

The safest thing to do is call the person suposedly sending the email and verify it’s validity, or simply type the address directly into your browser.

As always I hope that any of you who read this have current Antivirus and Anti spyware software installed and most importantly keep them updated daily. And have them currently running.
While there may be advertisements listed on my site for anti-spyware and anti-virus protection, I can’t always control who or what they are for. I can however, recommend the links below.
My recomendations are as follows:

For a very, very good Antivirus and spyware solution (and free at that):


Their solution – Blink is fantastic.

You may also have Symantec/Norton, McAfee or AVG installed – Great!! but is it updated daily?




Another super free and great anti-spyware is Spybot Search and Destroy (Spybot S&D;).

I have used this to successfully fix/repair dozens of machines.

Beware though there are many ‘bogus/extortion’ appliations that are trying to trade off the ‘Spybot’ name.

The home to the one and only freeware SpyBot Search & Destroy is:

And a very highly rated anti-spyware package by PCWeek is Spyware Doctor. Not free but worth the price:

Google Wave

I have been messing with Wave for a short time now and I can tell you it is ‘neat’, and powerful, but fairly hard for the average joe to understand. I think the potential is huge; if I can just figure out how I will actually use it. πŸ™‚

Google Wave was designed by software engineers to solve a problem that didn’t really exist till they created it. A lot like Twitter. And most of you know how I feel about that. This guy has good rundown of the idiocy of Twitter. But I digress..

Google Wave looks to be a great help to people who regularly and continually need to collaborate in a ‘live’ environment. Like software engineers! Go figure.
It combines a live very powerful Wiki, email and documents in one single point in ‘real time’. For people in businesses that require lots of quick correspondance to work on and complete projects this could be a big help. Likewise for social groups (PTA, Boy Scouts, Soccer Club, Business Alliance etc.) to keep events organized this may prove very powerful.

I like the ability to ‘drag and drop’ files right into a wave.

Here is Google’s best description I’ve seen to date.

LifeHacker has a good post about how people are actually using it in various scenarios here.

It has been hyped to no end by Google and the media. Check it out for your self. You may find a good use for it you may not, who knows.

You may get an invite soon if you are reading this; I ‘nominated’ a lot of my contact list. πŸ™‚

Anyways have fun all.

Latest Virtual Machine tools and tips

As some of you know I have been using VMware for years to create and manage virtual machines. It is one of the best ways I know to evaluate operating systems and configurations with out messing up a ‘live’ system. Using VMware (and the VMWare converter) I can also convert Acronis images to Virtual machines, enabling me to test service pack updates and application upgrades. I even have several OS X VM’s I use too. Look here and here.

I also use Virtual Server 2005R2 on my server/home workdation (for XP it’s called MS virtual PC 2005) and now Hyper V for 2008 server. Using MS Virtual server I have been able to download and evaluate various full blown MS products extremely easily by just downloading a pre-made VHDs from MS and adding them to the virtual server. Things like, Win2008R2, Exchange 2007 and 2010, SQL2008 and many more operating systems applications and configurations.

There is now an updated tool available from Sysinternals (who where swallowed up by MS) to actually create complete VHD’s (virtual hard drives) from your existing running systems!
These can be used as backups, for fail over safety, or testing purposes too. The vhd’s can be added to Virtual server, Virtual PC and Hyper V VERY easily. And they will not require another activation as is nearly always necessary when using VMware.

Here is very good article from LifeHacker with a quick rundown of it:

This article prompted me to revisit this, so I decided to see how well it would work with my office machine, which I just happened to have sitting on my desk here at home.
I downloaded and copied the new Disk2vhd app to the laptop, ran the application to create the vhd and saved the vhd to a share on my home server. After the vhd was created I launched the MS Virtual Server Administration console on my server (a localmachine website), ‘created’ a new vm and added the vhd, set up the network options and started it.
And bam, it works like a champ! I was even able to connect from the VM to my office via VPN and run my ‘Cisco SoftPhone’!

Now, if you have no desire to try this just take off now, sorry for wasting your time.
But for any of you fellow techies that want to learn or experience something new, here is more info.
Latest version of Disk2vhd:

MS VirtualPC 2007:

or:Virtual Server 2005 R2:Info:

More info:


Or if you are already using Windows 2008 Server you can use Hyper V:

As always if you do not understand something, take the time to read about it and learn it. If you still don’t get it, read some more. Maybe a lot more. If you try something and is doesn’t work. Try this http://www.google.com/ and type in your question. But don’t type it to me πŸ™‚

Other notes:If you don’t have a modern machine with modern processor (Intel core2duo, Athlon multi-core or better) and plenty of RAM, don’t even think about trying to create a virtual machines. It will be slower than a 1995 Packard Bell.


Portable tools for Procuctivity and System Recovery

I have a few custom bootable USB recovery sticks containing Hiren’s Boot CD, UBCD4Win and ERD that have recovery consoles along with a WinPE (Mini XP) environment that I use to recover and repair all sorts of Windows issues.
On my USB drive I have loaded hundreds of applications; some for use in the WinPE/Recovery mode (AV/Antispyware system and Troubleshooting apps) and many, many more for use in ‘tweaking/setting up’ a proper secure system.
I also use both of these two tools listed below; sometimes in the PE environment and also in Windows.

Even if you don’t have (need or want) a bootable USB recovery stick, these two utilities – Liberkey and NirLauncher – are fantastic tools to have on a USB drive.

Both give you tons of ‘portable applications’ you can bring with you to any Windows machine. Just plug in your USB drive and you can access loads of portable applications.
Nirsoft Download and integration information:

To creat a bootable USB drive with Hirens:
UBCD4Win to USB:


Please note if you are going to create and use Hiren’s or UBCD4Win and create a bootable USB drive you must read and follow the directions from Hiren’s and/or UBCD4 Win’s sites.
The have listed the how to’s now in great detail. And there is plenty more info available by just checking their forums and of couse Google.
If you don’t understand all of what is required or just ‘can’t do it’ – do not even attempt it.
You may end up doing something real silly like formating your hard drive or worse some one else’s!!
Also beware if you are not sure what you are doing or are not COMPLETELY versed in all of the the recovery and system tweaking applications listed you may also kill your macine or someone else’s.
If you do hose something DO NOT CRY TO ME!