Fix–“You’ve launched and older version of Firefox” error

IF you get the error “You’ve launched and older version of Firefox”..

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DON’T create a new profile:

If you create a new profile will not have your bookmarks, lose your cookies and site specific settings and any extensions you had installed and enabled.

You can amend the target in the shortcut – add:

-allow-downgrade

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After:

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This will allow Firefox to start without having to create a new profile.

Then launch the application and then check for upgrade – it should update.

After the update, remove the “-allow-downgrade“ info in the target and Firefox should be able to work properly.

Virtual USB-disks on VMware Guests

As anyone who has tried to use a USB licensing key or test USB devices in a VMware/vSphere cluster environment knows that using a USB can be problematic. You may have dozens or hundreds of guests on multiple hosts in you data center/cluster; and trying to map a USB port to just one VM gets silly (and unsecure)

Apparently there is a VMware feature available that I didn’t know about or haven’t read about.

I cobbled the info below from multiple sources after a lot of research. Hope it helps some. If you have anything to add or need credit let me know.

See https://communities.vmware.com/thread/580985
We are used to the VMware virtual disk format (vmdk-files)
This VMDK-files can be attached to a VM so that the guestOS perceives them as:
– IDE-device
– SCSI-device
– SATA-device
– NVME-device
Until today I was not aware of the fact that there is one more option:
– USB-device

This feature is not exposed in the GUI but using it is quite easy and straight forward.
To define an existing VMDK as USB-device you have to edit the vmx-file.
First of all make sure that you have this line:
ehci.present = “TRUE”
You need this line as a main switch for USB 2 ports.
You should also see a line like
ehci.pciSlotNumber = “35”
Do not edit this line – instead simply delete it if you want to reset the port.
If you assign a “bad” port you will get obscure follow-up problems – so don’t do it.
Now to assign a VMDK as USB-device set this parameters:

ehci:0.present = “TRUE”
ehci:0.deviceType = “disk”
ehci:0.fileName = “usb-vmdk.vmdk”

ehci:1.present = “TRUE”
ehci:1.deviceType = “disk”
ehci:1.fileName = “usb2-vmdk.vmdk”

Using this appears to be possible for more than one VMDK – so it maybe possible that the full range from ehci0 – ehci5 is allowed.
This is just a first guess – I need to do more research here ….

I said that this feature is not exposed in the GUI – that is not entirely correct.
Once you created the required vmx-parameters and start the VM you will see the disks appear in the list of removable devices:
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Inside a guest both vmdks appear like this: (using my Linux-LiveCD with Ubuntu 14)

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During my experiments I noticed that the USB-vmdks may appear in a write protected mode.
At the moment I cant claim to have completely understood in which constellation the vmdks are write-protected.
This will require further research ….

Anyway – even at the moment I would call this an extremly useful “new” feature.

1. for all those guys that develope USB-bootable tools

If the USB-vmdks are created with the monolithicFlat VMDK-format the USB-images can be easily transferred to real USB-devices with a simple dd-command.

2. for all users who are looking for a way to assign VMDKS  as “optional”

A USB-vmdk is allowed to be temporarily unavailable !!!
All other options to assign VMDKs will fail if the file is not present.
With USB-vmdks the VM will start even if the file is not available.
This will open new paths to acchieve obscure constellations that were impossible until now.

3. for all users that missed the option to assign single-partition images as a VMDK.

All other options to assign VMDKs usually require a partitioned image including a valid MBR or GPT.

Using a Feed Reader

I was talking with someone about how I try and keep some of all the information that is out here in a useable, readable fashion that I can access quickly. I mentioned that I use a Newsreader and sift through the ‘noise’ there easier than hitting dozens and dozens of sites and getting squirreled on tangents.

Here’s a quick run through of what I use and how.

My go to newsreader is QuiteRSS

Get QuiteRSS reader here. I use the Portable version.

Install/unpack and launch.

Some application options I use to make navigation easier:

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I use the ‘external browser – so the reader uses my Windows Default browser:

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You can import exported feeds (both OPML and XML formats).

I have my news and other feeds already exported from previous Newsreader. I regularly export my OPML file after adding new feeds, and backup/copy it to the cloud so that I may have it to use on my phone or other device I happened to load the portable reader on.

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Easily add feeds for sites; example of adding HowToGeek site:

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Go up to feed icon and click and or copy that link. Looks like this:

https://www.howtogeek.com/feed/

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Copy that feed address:

Then add to QuiteRSS. Open QuiteRSS and use the dropdown and add new Feed:

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It should automatically find the copied item on your clip board

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Next and finish

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Now some real fun

You can export all your YouTube Subscriptions and import them into your Feed Reader – QuiteRSS.

Go to the YouTube subscription manager page:

https://www.youtube.com/subscription_manager

At the very bottom you’ll see the button to ‘Export subscription’

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Click on it and save your subscriptions, I just called them YouTubeScriptions.

This will export an XML file of all your subscriptions which can then be imported into the Feed Reader

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Then open QuiteRSS and go to File>Import Feeds

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Select the file and import your feeds

Now your Reader will have all your YouTube feeds/subscriptions too!

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Fix Server Manager Crash and Server Manager ‘fails automatic refresh’ errors

I recently upgraded one of our servers from Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2012 R2 doing an ‘in place upgrade’. After a few restarts to complete the upgrade, the Server Manager would crash on start up. After much Googling, I found the resolution to that problem was simple – install .NET 4.7.2.

That resolved the crashing of the Server Manager (and other MMCs).

Then once that was resolved and I was able to launch the Server Manager, I got the warning exclamation – the Server Manger would ‘fail automatic refresh’.

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When I expanded on any of the effected services the error box read “Online – Data Retrieval failed”.

The following is the result of clicking on the yellow notification flag and expanding details.

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For more information I went to Event Viewer-Application and Services Logs-Microsoft-Windows-ServerManager-ManagementProvider operational log. There was the following warning

“Generic failure querying the localized name for channel: Microsoft-Windows-DxpTaskRingtone-Analytic [hResult = Function failed during execution., hLastResult = The system cannot find the file specified.]”.

When I attempted to open the DxpTaskRingtone Operational log it reported the log was either corrupted or not present. After doing some research I found this log is created from the following key in the registry.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WINEVT\Channels\Microsoft-Windows-DxpTaskRingtone/Analytic

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The registry values did not look corrupted but I backed up (exported to a folder) the key and then deleted it. Closed and then opened/refreshed Server Manager and everything is green.

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Now all good.

If you wish to verify this is in fact the issue you can re-import the exported key and sure enough the error will return. So get rid of it. 😉

Inexpensive Cell Service Experience

Recently I went in search of new secondary service for a work phone. And my really old iPhone was totally dead. So I figured I grab my current ‘spare’ Samsung 8+, which is wholly owned by me supposed to be completely unlocked etc, and use that.
When I tried to get the phone ‘registered’ (have to check the IMEI on sites to see if compatible and not under contract etc.) with any MVNO it was showing that it was NOT TRULY unlocked by Sprint – still had some contractual issues.
To finally get that BS cleared up was a complete exercise in determined persistence. A hassle requiring 30+ hours of chatting and numerous calls!. More on that incredible story in and upcoming post.

I was looking for an inexpensive, non contract and non big three service provider – one that would compliment my current Sprint backbone phone service – CDMA network(s). But again, without the Verizon prices. And I won’t use ATT because of their horrid service everywhere I am or have been.
I searched far and wide for and MVNO that rides on Verizon’s and Sprint’s backbone. [More on what an MVNO is here
I finally settled on Twigby after checking out compatibility and network information of all the MVNO’s I could find that met my criteria.
And … I’m now using Twigby https://www.twigby.com/page/howitworks for my work phone. (I still have Sprint for main phone because I want the priority of a top tier provider for that phone)

Twigby is an MVNO that primarily provides talk, text and data service on the Sprint network with talk and text roaming on Verizon’s network – so you should be able to call from just about anywhere in the US.

Most newer iPhones and Android phones are compatible. If you currently have Sprint, Verizon, Virgin, Boost and just about any other CDMA network provider it’ll work.
GSM only phones (read many of AT&Ts older offerings) are NOT compatible with Twigby’s service.

I’m on WiFi most of the time and don’t take many calls – my work calls are usually pretty short. And Twigby’s plans come with unlimited texts.
They also have data overage coverage will bump you up a plan notch to keep you from getting hosed with giant bill.
I chose 300 minutes and 3GB data and it’s only $19/mo for 1st 6 months, and then $24 after. And you get hotspot included.
NO contract!
A few things I had to do. First when trying hotspot – it didn’t work/load so chatted with them online and they reset my ‘network/plan’ settings and then on phone updated settings and it worked!
When checking my LTE speeds at first I was frustrated because they seemed slow (using the Ookla Speedtest app), so signed into account and checked the bandwidth settings (they can be adjusted to enable you to throttle yourself so you don’t use loads of data), changed settings to lower speed, saved then back to unlimited and BAM ripping 4G speeds.

For the past few months now I have been amazed at the service – inexpensive and it works!

If you have an unlocked phone and want to check it out go here:
www.twigby.net/friend
When signing up, on the last page I believe, if you enter my account (Account Number: 41549 in the referral section YOU and I will each get a $20 credit!

Stop unresponsive service via command line. (Windows & some Linux distros)

In Windows:

If you have a service that is not responding or showing pending in Windows services that you are unable to stop, use the following directions to force the service to stop.

  1. Click the Start menu
  2. Click Run or in the search bar type services.msc
  3. Press Enter
  4. Look for the service and check the Properties and identify its service name
  5. Once found, open a command prompt. Type sc queryex [servicename].
  6. Press Enter
  7. Identify the PID
  8. In the same command prompt type taskkill /pid [pid number] /f
  9. Press Enter

In Linux (Ubuntu for example)

1. Open the System Monitor app. In the Processes tab, scroll down the list until you find the unresponsive app.

Use the system monitor to kill an unresponsive application in ubuntu

2. Right click on it and select “Kill Process”.

Once confirmed, this will kill the unresponsive application.

Via Command line:

Open terminal

Enter the command to show currently running services. Type ls /etc/init.d into Terminal and press ↵ Enter. This will bring up a list of currently running services and their corresponding command names.

If this command doesn’t work, try ls /etc/rc.d/ instead.

Find the command name of the service that you want to restart. You’ll typically find the name of the service (e.g., "Apache") on the left side of the screen, while the command name (e.g., "httpd" or "apache2", depending on your Linux distribution) will appear on the right side.

Enter the restart command. Type sudo systemctl restart service into Terminal, making sure to replace the service part of the command with the command name of the service, and press ↵ Enter.

For example, to restart Apache on Ubuntu Linux, you would type sudo systemctl restart apache2 into Terminal.

Enter your password when prompted. Type in the password that you use for your superuser account, then press ↵ Enter. This should restart the process.

If the service doesn’t restart after doing this, try typing in sudo systemctl stop service, pressing ↵ Enter, and then entering sudo systemctl start service.

To list running services in the command line:

Use this command:

service –status-all

Here’s an example of what this looks like on an Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS system:

root> service –status-all Example:

[ + ] apache-htcacheclean

[ + ] apache2

[ + ] apparmor

[ – ] bootmisc.sh

[ – ] checkfs.sh

[ – ] checkroot-bootclean.sh

[ – ] checkroot.sh

[ + ] console-setup

[ + ] cron

[ + ] dbus

[ – ] hostname.sh

[ – ] hwclock.sh

[ + ] irqbalance

[ + ] keyboard-setup

[ – ] killprocs

[ + ] kmod

[ – ] mountall-bootclean.sh

[ – ] mountall.sh

[ – ] mountdevsubfs.sh

[ – ] mountkernfs.sh

[ – ] mountnfs-bootclean.sh

[ – ] mountnfs.sh

[ + ] mysql

[ + ] networking

[ + ] nginx

[ + ] ondemand

[ – ] plymouth

[ – ] plymouth-log

[ + ] procps

[ + ] rc.local

[ + ] resolvconf

[ – ] rsync

[ + ] rsyslog

[ – ] sendsigs

[ + ] ssh

[ + ] sysstat

[ + ] udev

[ + ] ufw

[ – ] umountfs

[ – ] umountnfs.sh

[ – ] umountroot

[ + ] urandom

[ – ] uuidd

The meaning of the Ubuntu service command output

From the Ubuntu Linux service man page:

service –status-all runs all init scripts, in alphabetical order, with the status command. The status is:

[ + ] for running services

[ – ] for stopped services

[ ? ] for services without a ‘status’ command

This option only calls status for sysvinit jobs; upstart jobs can be queried in a similar manner with initctl list.

Some services are managed by Upstart. You can check the status of all Upstart services with sudo initctl list. Any service managed by Upstart will also show in the list provided by service –status-all but will be marked with a ?

[Note: Running with/without sudo can make a difference.

Some services in /var/run/ have read access only to root user. Those services show status [-] without sudo, and [+] with sudo.]

How to download videos from the Internet

I am asked VERY often how I am able to save videos from the Net (read disclaimer at bottom please)

There are many reasons one might want to download a video for later viewing. To watch while offline or traveling, to study. Maybe because so many videos get removed if they don’t fit the ‘censor lords’ narratives or views. Or sometimes the vids show a happening that would undermine a current narrative or lie.

What ever your reason here are a couple ways.

This extension lets you download most flash videos EXCEPT YouTube (more on that in a moment)

https://www.downloadhelper.net/install

To download YouTube Videos.

First, install Tampermonkey

Open https://tampermonkey.net/ and install the extension for your browser.

Firefox: [https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tampermonkey/]

Then go here https://en.savefrom.net/userjs-setup.php and install the script:

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Or

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Now you can download any YouTube videos as you like.

(you may have to switch your YouTube viewing to the ‘old format’ search google for how. For Chrome you can try this extension here but note some said it doesn’t work or requires authentication)

Head over to YouTube and select a video. You’ll see a button you can click to download files (has dropdown to choose quality too)! See example:

Untitled

NOTE: Sometimes you must ‘right-click’ on the download link and choose ‘Open in new Tab’ for the download options to show. Then you can save to whatever location you wish

There you have it. Two ways to get some videos.

[disclaimer: by downloading ANY copyrighted or owned property YOU are responsible for that action and any possible consequences. You may be violating some ‘terms of service’ or other legal shtuff. ALL that is your decision or choice. The information provided is just that – information. Not an endorsement of these methods.

How to export your YouTube channels to a RSS feed reader

To help make my time more productive while online, I use QuiteRSS portable RSS feed reader. Get it here:  https://quiterss.org/en/download (I use the portable version but you can use fully installed version if you like. Or use any feed reader you’re comfortable or familiar with.)

I find it so much easier to check up on what I want to without getting squirrelled onto tangents by being able to have my preferred providers in one spot.
I actually have 50 subscriptions for news and such alone, not including all my YouTube channels.

Okay so how to get all your subscribed YouTube channels into your RSS reader..

Make sure you’re logged into your Google/Youtube account first of course:

Got to: https://www.youtube.com/subscription_manager
At the bottom look for the ‘Export to RSS Readers’ line and then Export Subscriptions.
This will save all your subscribed feeds (feeds NOT content obviously) to an OPML XML file (download and save somewhere) that can then be imported into your RSS reader of choice. Simply open you reader and ‘import feeds’ and BAM all your subscriptions will now be there.

Additional tip for those that actually want to download YouTube videos. (YouTube does not wish you to this and sometimes it’s said you’re not supposed to via copyright or some other T.O.S. – but I believe that for personal has been adjudicated in the positive for individuals)
These two addons allow for a button to ‘Download’ at the bottom of the video. I Simply right-click and choose ‘Open In New Tab’ and have the option to download the video to my HDD.

My default browser it Chrome (sometimes I switch to Firefox) but both have the Tamper Monkey Extension/Add on on both browsers and have these two scripts installed
https://greasyfork.org/en/scripts/371817-youtube-best-video-downloader-2
and
https://greasyfork.org/en/scripts/33219-fastest-youtube-downloader-video-or-mp3/code

Office 365 installation tips and scripts

Hi all, if your like my self and many of my customers you’ve had issues moving from on premises Office installations – that use a MAK or KMS keys.

Seems when you think you’ve removed previous Office versions, and then login to Office365 and download then install the O365 installation you run into errors stating you still have previous versions of Office installed.

The solution is to FIRST completely remove ANY previous Office installations.

If you just use the ‘Program and Features’ control panel applet you are likely to still have remnants left.

To resolve this you can run the appropriate script s below and choose ‘ALL’ or whatever you feel is good enough.

[note: I have added the extension ‘.txt’ to these vbscript files. You need to remove that and leave the extension just ‘.vbs’ to run]

Here is a 7zip archive with all the scripts from Office 2007 to Office 365