The Nerd Lifestyle

Archive for the ‘Computing’ Category

Getting Crystal Reports ActiveX working in Win7 IE8/IE9

without comments

Something we recently encountered at the office was getting Windows 7 clients to install the older Crystal Reports ActiveX plugin. We run Crystal Reports Server XI which we have tightly intergrated with our CRM system (SageCRM) due to the lumbering nature of our CRM, we do not update components of it without extensive testing. Thus we are using a slightly older Crystal Server.

Problem: We encountered on some Windows 7 systems during deployment that the Crystal Report Plugin for IE would not install. It’d prompt then present a red x. Searching shows us that IE8/IE9 are not exactly supported. Anyways searching for about 3 hours and trying numerous things here is the work around we found.

  • Downgrade to IE8
  • Create a local account. Assign that account admin rights.
  • Reboot into the created local account
  • Enable full UAC
  • Browse to the site that wants to present the ActiveX plugin. You should get prompted by UAC.
  • Return UAC to the previous level

After that you can reboot and it should now work for all accounts on the workstation (including domain users).

Last Thoughts: I don’t know if downgrading to IE8 is necessary. Something I have noticed with IE and some of the newer features in Vista/Windows 7 that when you disable something that would reside fairly low-level in the program (pop-up blocker in IE) a lot of times even if it is off, it still trips up. I think in this case even though we gave full ActiveX unsigned rights and had UAC off, it still passed that request through that layer and got tripped up. Enabling UAC allows the trip up to be brought up.

We have had luck upgrading to IE9 after the plugin install and having it still work.

So take this as you will.  It is a work around.

Written by eod

December 7th, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Posted in Computing,Ramble

Dell XPS 15 (L502X)running linux (ubuntu 11.04) with nvidia optimus support

with 15 comments

I ended up with a snazzy new Dell XPS for my birthday. A dream laptop for me, it even included a fancy 2 gig video card.

It came with Windows 7 (which I don’t have a direct problem with) but my preference when I compute at home is to use linux. I partitioned part of it off and loaded up the new lubuntu. Install went fine but the sucker ran hot, loud, sucked the battery and the gpu seemed to be on but not in use. Something definitely seemed off.

This lead me on a search which explained about the nvidia Optimus GPU and people struggling with this on linux.

What is Optimus?

This is a technology created by Nvidia to switch off the power hungry GPU when not needed. On my laptop it switchs from the beefy 2 gig Nvidia GPU to the onboard Intel GPU. So when not gaming or doing graphic intense work, the system is running on less power (thus longer battery, less fan noise, heat, etc).

The problem?

Nvidia did not produce any Optimus drivers for linux and has stated that there are no plans to support it on linux. Typically in the past Nvidia has supplied some closed source drivers for their nvidia cards.

The solution?

The Bumblebee Project! After digging around on the ubuntu forums, I was ready to give up. Many people stated that nvidia would not be writing this driver and there is no current solution. Then murmurs of the Bumblebee project came about. A bit buggy at first, it has really started to gain steam. I’ve been using it error free for a while and really am happy to have my laptop running somewhat smooth.

And it just got easier to install if you are using debian/ubuntu. Bumblebee has now been packaged into a PPA @ Launchpad.

First thing you’ll want to do is add the repository:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:mj-casalogic/bumblebee

Then update and install:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install bumblebee

It’ll take you through the installer which will ask you which profile you want to use. At this point from what I understand these are successful profiles submitted. All of the ones for my laptop have worked just fine.

After the install you can launch a program using the command optirun

Example: optirun java -jar ~/Downloads/minecraft.jar

This will launch minecraft using the nvidia card.

At the time of writing there is also:
Arch, OpenSuSE, Fedora, Mint support.


Github page lots of info for all the newest

Link to the bumblebee launchpad site

Author’s blog which has bumblebee info also

Written by eod

July 27th, 2011 at 2:56 am

Posted in Computing

Squeezeslave running on Dockstar (Marvell ARM Processor)

with 3 comments

This is the path I took in getting squeezeslave to run on my hacked Dockstar (Should work on Pogoplug or Sheeva/Guruplug). Squeezeslave is a software implementation of a squeezebox. It is command line driven and so far fits great on my little marvel devices. I now have one in my daughters room for streaming her children’s audiobooks from our squeezecenter (which is running on another Dockstar).

First thing I did was grab the tarball:


Unpack it

#tar xzfv squeezeslave-marvell6281-lnx26.tar.gz

Which will give you the license file and a executable named squeezeslave. At this point if I attempt to run squeezeslave I get the following.

# ./squeezeslave
PortAudio error4: Host error. Could not open any audio devices.

From my brief understanding (and I mean brief) and light research we need the AOSS wrapper files in order to play with my USB sound device. I grab the following packages:

# apt-get install alsa-oss

Next go into the directory you unpacked squeezeslave in. You should now be able to execute with the following.

#aoss ./squeezeslave -L
Output devices:
* 0: /dev/dsp
#aoss ./squeezeslave IP_of_squeezeboxserver

And that is it. Just run it and point it to the squeezeboxserver.

Thanks to the folks at the squeezebox forums and the authors of squeezeslave.
Current release forum: here

Any questions or more likely corrections, leave a comment.
Some people are having issues with it quitting out. I have had luck by running it with ‘-R’

#aoss ./squeezeslave IP_of_squeezeboxserver -R

Written by eod

November 4th, 2010 at 2:39 am

Posted in Computing,Ramble

Greylisting and ZoneEdit’s Secondary MX service spam scanning

with one comment

So I think I’ve finally come down to nailing what in the world was causing some emails to be randomly rejected after implementing ZoneEdit’s backup MX service. Now this post may be invalid if my understanding of greylisting is flawed but let me play it out. So someone sends us a email, the email is greylisted and bounced back to their server to be resent. The server says “Ok let me try this other MX”. It sends to the other MX which is zoneedit’s backup MX service.

Now here is the rub. ZoneEdit’s backup MX also does it’s own form of spam scanning which you cannot edit. It will reject messages that do not match the hostname. I see a lot of mail come in where the Client host has a active directory name like mailserver.local. So the secondary MX rejects it to the original sender with a 550 Client host rejected: cannot find your hostname. That secondary MX doesn’t even try and send me the message.

I also saw the message on the main xwall page about greylisting and zoneedit, which sort of pointed out to my ah HA! moment. So it either comes down to not using greylisting or dropping the secondary MX.

Written by eod

October 14th, 2008 at 7:37 pm

Posted in Computing

Weather Station back online

without comments

This is my Oregon Scientific Wireless Weather Station up on the roof of my house. I have a serial connection setup from my indoor receiver to one of my servers which then logs the data, compiles and ftps the data every 15 seconds to my website. You can rest assured that I graph all the logged data.

Written by eod

September 11th, 2008 at 9:46 pm

Posted in Computing

Outlook 2007 recurring meeting bug an dell laptops

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When I found this out, I was stunned. We have someone in the office with a Dell laptop that kept complaining about meetings making themselves as recurring. I looked at the issue and figured it was user error. A week later he came back and complained that again a meeting had turned itself into a recurring meeting.

Then I discovered this little gem.

This “bug” affects only Dell laptops with Direct Media.

Dell laptops include an application called Media Direct and this application installs an Outlook add-in called “Outlook Setup Addin” which is causing problems for some users. This add-in supports the Instant Office feature of Media Direct. Uninstall it from Control panel, Add and Remove Programs to prevent the problem with future meeting requests.

Along with causing meeting requests to become recurring, it doesn’t work well with Outlook 2007 and is responsible for at least some of the complaints about Outlook 2007′s slowness and CPU resources spiking.

BAH! Removed the program and no more issues.

Written by eod

March 5th, 2008 at 10:58 pm

Posted in Computing

What ports are listening/connected on my windows machine

without comments

I’m just going to blog a quick bit about using netstat. The command netstat (NETwork STATistics) will display network connections, routing tables and information on network interfaces. This is a command line tool. It is available on windows as well as *nix. I’m talking mostly about it in regards to the world of windows.

In the past I’d run netstat, use it to show what connections are open and on what port. It also would display the PID allowing me to open task manager and see what PID is using that port. I recently found out that since SP2 on XP (and I’m going to assume Vista). That you can run the following command.

netstat -nob

Netstat -nob will do the PID look up also. Resulting in a display like so.


Of course yours will be a longer list. So in summary.

* Bring up your command line

* run netstat -nob

* HOORAY enjoy all your information

Written by eod

November 13th, 2007 at 5:43 pm

Posted in Computing

How to hard reset the Sprint Mogul

with 30 comments

I get a lot of different smartphones thrown on my desk to be repaired. Today our CEO came in with his Sprint Mogul (which is pretty slick of the HTC series. A lot more refined than my HTC 8525). Anyways it is performing an endless reboot. Since I can’t get into the OS of it, there isn’t much I can do. So I figured I’ll do a hard reset.

So I fire up google and look for information on hard reseting the Sprint HTC Mogul. Well I’ll be damned if there isn’t really any clear information. I did end up finding it but I had to load the pdf from the sprint site. So here it is in texty blog goodness.

Hard Reset
You can also perform a hard reset (also known as a full reset). A hard reset should be performed only if a normal reset does not solve a system problem. After a hard reset, the device is restored to its default settings — the way it was when you first purchased it and turned it on. Any programs you installed, data you entered, and settings you customized on the device will be lost. Only Windows Mobile software and other pre-installed programs will remain.

To perform a hard reset:
1. Press and hold both softkeys on the device. Keep these keys pressed, and at the same time, use the stylus to lightly press and hold the RESET button on the bottom of your device.
NOTE: I had no idea which of the many keys were considered the soft keys. They are the two buttons above the phone control buttons.

2. Release the stylus but keep the softkeys pressed when you see the following message on your device screen:
“Do you want to erase all user data and restore to manufacture default?”
3. Slide open the hardware keyboard, and press R to restore to factory default or press X to exit the hard reset process.

Your device will be set back to factory default settings. Please ensure any additional installed programs and user data have been backed up before a hard reset is performed.

There you go. Hard reset on the Sprint Mogul.

Written by eod

September 10th, 2007 at 8:09 pm

Posted in Computing

Turn off sticky keys

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I don’t know what it is but I turn on sticky keys about once a week. It always happens at the worse time and the effect of being crippled by the sticky key loop is well, crippling. Turning off sticky keys is actually not very straight forward once it is turned on. Hit shift 5 times then window comes up and says to disable sticky keys hit cancel. Easy enough, click cancel. It is still on.

Here is the solution


Just a PSA.

Written by eod

September 4th, 2007 at 3:41 pm

Posted in Computing

enabling telnet in vista

without comments

I tangoed with Vista on a new workstation batch we ordered at work. About 10 systems came in during a period where Dell would ONLY ship this line with Vista (they’ve changed this now). We ended up returning half of them and with the others formatting them back to XP using the OEM licensing structure. Why? Half of our software didn’t run on Vista and when we contacted our software vendors they said they had no plans in making Vista compatible programs for another year. Also the performance decrease for no actual gain (except the window flip interface in aero… *yawn* how *cute*). Basically people seemed a little ticked off at microsoft for this stunt.

My own workstation was one that I kept Vista, mostly because I didn’t have time to format it but I figured I’d be supporting it soon enough due to Microsoft’s strong arm tactics of forcing OS downgrades. One thing I noticed right away was telnet was missing. For the life of me I cannot figure out why one would disable the telnet protocol except that the stock telnet always sucked and maybe, just maybe a trojan could use the telnet app to reach out to something else (doubtful since a trojan will normally bring its own payload).

Anyways here is how one can enable telnet in vista.

1) Goto Control Panel

2) Click Programs (the renamed add/remove programs)

3) Turn windows Features On/Off

4) A window interface will pop up. You’ll want to scroll down this and select ‘telnet client’ and then select Ok.

Telnet is old, it is insecure but it is still used plenty day to day for testing things. Is the pop server responding, sure let me telnet in and check the banner.

I lasted about 2 months on vista then formatted back to XP

Written by eod

July 11th, 2007 at 6:19 pm

Posted in Computing