System Center Configuration Manager Trace Log Tool

If you haven’t already figured it out, the Configuration Manager Trace Log Tool is an amazing little tool for debugging SCCM issues.  Essentially, this is the “tail -f” of the windows world for viewing real time log files – and it comes with SCCM by default.  It is available in your SCCM installation directory, typically at [Program Files]Microsoft Configuration Manager\tools\cmtrace.exe

Because CMTRACE is a stand-alone executable, it can be run from virtually anywhere.  I typically copy cmtrace.exe onto the sources root, so that it is distributed to all of the distribution points.  This way, when I am on a client and troubleshooting some issues, I can simply run it from the local UNC path of the dist. point.

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Registry hack enables continued updates for Windows XP | ZDNet

As reported by Wayne Williams at Betanews and confirmed by us, a simple registry hack to a Windows XP system tricks Windows Update into providing updates for it.

Williams says that the hack, included just below, makes the system look like Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 which will continue to receive updated until April 9, 2019.

via Registry hack enables continued updates for Windows XP | ZDNet.

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30 Python Language Features and Tricks You May Not Know About

30 Python Language Features and Tricks You May Not Know About.

Apparently this was recently been circulating around, and I am just now finding it.  Good stuff.

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What We Do in the Shadows – Official Trailer – YouTube

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Comixology Dumps In-App Purchases

In their infinite wisdom, Comixology and Amazon (who recently purchased Comixology) are disabling the in-app purchases feature of the Comixology iOS app.  What does this mean?  Well for starters, it means I can no longer make purchases easily on my iOS devices.  I have to visit the website, make the purchase, and then go back to the iOS device to download/sync it up.  This is very similar to the iOS apps for Kindle.

I honestly have mixed feelings – I understand that Amazon is probably trying to squeeze Apple out of the commission they receive, but as a user this is a huge inconvenience for me.  I am used to the convenience that I can simply purchase the next book in-series if I want, or jump around some. Now that is gone, and I believe so is some of my impulse buying.  This could be reconciled if Amazon lowered the cost of digital books, but I doubt that is going to happen due to the Diamond monopoly on the industry.  Amazon is a big fish though, and they make Diamond’s monopoly look tiny in comparison.

For now, I guess my comic purchases will be planned in accordance with switching in-and-out of the app from now on – maybe I will spend the extra money I save in the Dark Horse or IDW apps.

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Simple Hosting by

The journey to find a new home for  has been a long one.  I settled on WordPress early on as the framework from which I was going to base things this time around, but where/how to find hosting for it?  I wasn’t interested in a low-performance shared hosting environment, but I also wasn’t interested in a full-blown VPS environment to manage.  I jumped early from due to the lack of plugins and customization ability – I am aware I can purchase these, but I really wasn’t interested in a $100-200 investment into a specific platform.   I checked out some of the wordpress-specific shared hosting environments that promised optimizations and performance out-of-the-box.  I was far from impressed.

Was I going to be stuck setting up an entire VPS environment on Rackspace or Amazon AWS for just one little website?  I have used both services in the past, and I love both services.  However, I continually balked at the thought of the recent OpenSSL Heartbleed events, and my frustration professionally in dealing with the aftermath.  The last thing I wanted to do was to work hard at work to go home and do the same thing on my own public-facing AWS instance.  At that point I was almost ready to give up on wordpress being my framework of choice, and stick to serving up some static html content like I have in years past.

Enter and their new Simple Hosting service.  Simple Hosting is what Gandi’s calls their Platform as a Server (PaaS), where you pick what you want, and they take care of the rest.  For my needs, I choice PHP and MySQL to work with WordPress.  I already keep my domain name regsitered with Gandi, so I was able to take advantage of a 50% discount as well on their monthly plans.

So how is it running?  Essentially, very well.  I am super-impressed with the page delivery speeds, and responsiveness of the environment.  It certainly beats the pants off the shared hosting environments I tried, and the wordpress-optimized hosts as well.  Best of all, I don’t have to worry with much other than what is running in my instance – my evenings have been saved at last.

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Searching for a System Documentation Management System

I am in need of a documentation system I can use to collect and store information on servers, systems, etc.  Wiki pages of some sort tend to work fine for this type of information, but what if I wanted to do some reporting?  I can’t easily generate a report showing the list of current vendors that have systems on our network, or a list of ip addresses being used currently, etc.

Would like it to document a growing list of variables for each system, as well as some general technical notes, troubleshooting information, etc.

I don’t need to automatically generate the information – I just need a place to put it.  Thought about Confluence, but I am unsure if it is exactly what I am looking for.  We have a ton of resources for this (sharepoint, system center, etc.) but I don’t want to roll my own solution – something must already exist that I am just overlooking.

Anyone have any thoughts?

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Popular Programming Languages

Most popular programming language on #codeeval in #2014 is #python! Next to it, #java. (via Twitter / dc0d: Most popular programming language …)

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Updates? has been my personal domain for my e-mail for going on 15 years now.  At times, I attempt to utilize it for other things, but mostly that has been an exercise in futility.

Well, I have decided to start yet-another-weblog on, this time with tumblr running the backend wordpress running on the backend powered by’s Simple Hosting.

We will see how things turn out.  Until then.

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Ubuntu SSH Login: Fixing the traffic jam

I started to login remotely with ssh into my Ubuntu desktop at home, and discovered an issue that I thought would warrant a solution posted to the blog.

It appears that the default Ubuntu openssh-server package on 10.04 LTS attempts to do some DNS magic when a person tries to login.  However, these lookups, etc. only serve to slow down the SSH login process significantly.

If you don’t have a use for them (like me), and wish to speed up the SSH login process, you can edit the /etc/ssh/sshd_config file and add “UseDNS no” to the bottom of the file on it’s own line.

This will eliminate the DNS processing that takes place when a user attempts to login.  Be aware however that the default procedures of performing the DNS lookups do serve a purpose, and removing them will incur a marginal security risk…for me this risk is acceptable when weighted against the inconvenience of not having it.

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