Showing posts from 2013

Bitcoin Mining with

Bitcoin Mining in the Cloud
Day One: On 12/4/2013 I went to to try out ASIC Cloud Mining.
I purchased the Silver Plan for $275.95 USD to get 4 Gigahash/s for one year.
Cloud Mining is where you buy a chunk of ASIC processing power for one year for one price and cross your fingers and hope that the cost of Bitcoin goes up enough and difficulty stays low enough for you to make a profit.

Cloud Mining Claim vs. ASIC Hardware Purchase
I wanted to test the waters without dumping in a lot of money and the best way to do that was to buy a Bitcoin Mining Claim on
Before I did that I looked at 3 different ways to make money with Bitcoin.

1. Buy Bitcoin and see if they go up (Speculate) I'm used to buy 0.1 BTC just so I can say that I have some Bitcoin. Total investment: $110.00 USD.

2. Buy a mining rig and see if you can mine your own Bitcoin.  I think that the days of easy mining are gone.  It's hard to say if you can make your money b…

3CX Drops support for Polycom and Grandstream

It looks like as of Version 12, Service Pack 3, that 3CX has dropped support for Polycom and Grandstream phones.
The phones no longer show up in the Phones area as Provisioned making it impossible to reboot or provision them from the console.

A discussion about this can be found on the 3CX forum here:

This article ... hallenges/ contains reasons why 3CX doesn't want to support Polycom phones anymore.

Time to find a new PBX or is this just a bug?
Tell me what you think in the comments.

Our 3CX Background:
Skills Inc has 250 Polycom SoundPoint phones connection to a 3CX PBX.
The phones all connect to one Hyper-V Virtual server over a Fiber Optic WAN from 3 locations.  We have a Comcast PRI that connects to a Patton Gateway for our main trunk.  We use Grandstream FXO GXW4104 gateways to connect analog lines to the 3CX at each location for 911 calls.

How to fix a Windows 8.1 upgrade that ends with a black screen

After your upgrade to Windows 8.1, if you see a black screen and only a mouse pointer, you may have video drivers that are incompatable.The solution is to remove the video drivers in safe mode and here is how to do that.

Make sure you boot to the Windows 8.1 DVD or Windows 8.1 thumb drive using UEFI and not legacy boot if you have a PC with UEFI.On a Dell PC, using F12 will let you choose what to boot to.
Once you have booted from the 8.1 install media (Win8 may work too), look for the repair option.
Then choose Repair + Troubleshoot + Advanced Options + Command Prompt
1.Open Command Prompt.
2.With Command Prompt open, execute the correct bcdedit command as shown below based on which Safe Mode option you'd like to start:

Safe Mode:
3.bcdedit /set {default} safeboot minimal
Safe Mode with Networking:
bcdedit /set {default} safeboot network
Safe Mode with Command Prompt:
bcdedit /set {default} safeboot minimal
bcdedit /set {default} safebootalternateshell yes
Tips: Be sure to type whatever c…

Setting Windows 8.1 default save location from SkyDrive back to Documents

The default for Win8.1 when you go to save a document, is to send it to SkyDrive.

In order to change it back to Documents, here are the steps.
From the Desktop bring up the charms and click Change PC settings at the bottom.

Then choose Skydrive and File Storage and turn the “Save Documents to Skydrive by default” slider to off

Using Dead Man's Snitch with Windows Servers

About two weeks ago I came across a site called Dead Man's Snitchthat makes it really easy to track your servers in the event that they go offline.
When your servers don't report back at a specified time, DMS will send you an email and you can also track your snitches in their smart phone app.

You get one free snitch to start and for $19/mo you can go Pro and get unlimited snitches.

To get this running all you need to do is send a simple Curl command from Unix/Linux in order to "Ping" the DMS servers with a heartbeat.  The command looks something like this: 

Where xxxxxx is a random code to identify your server. 
That's it, really simple.

Now if you want to use Dead man's Snitch with Windows it becomes a little more complicated.

First you will need to install the 64 bit version of cygwin from and make sure you search the installer for all references to curl and add them to the install.

Now you can create a Scheduled T…

Installing Sound Drivers for Windows 8.1 on a HP Pavilion P7-1258

I just upgraded my HP Pavilion P7-1258 Desktop PC to Windows 8.1 and after that I didn't have any sound. 
When I tried to install the IDT High Definition Audio Drivers for Windows 8 from the HP website , I got an error about having the wrong operating system because it's checking for Window 8.0 and not 8.1.

The trick to getting around this is to let SP59424.exe expand into the Temp folder (and then leave the installer running so that the temp files don't get deleted) and then run the actual install from there.

So go to %temp% and look for the newest folder in there.
Then inside that folder you will find a src folder and inside that should be a setup file, run this and you will be golden.

Here is information about the driver I'm using:

Download from HP: SP59424.exe

Title: IDT High Definition Audio Driver

Version: 6.10.6418.0
Category: Driver - Audio

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (64-bit)

Automating Windows Azure Active Directory Module for Powershell Connections - Office 365

I have been working on a PowerShell script to automated the Windows Azure Active Directory Module for Powershell Connection and login. 

I started by exporting my password to a file so that powershell could load that from my script.

(get-credential).password|convertFrom-SecureString|set-content c:\cred.txt

Then I created this powershell script to make the connection.  At the bottom I added some powershell to tell us when the last DirSync was run too.  This is set to utc by default, so I also convert that to Local Time.

$pass = get-content C:\cred.txt | convertto-securestring $cred = new-object -typename System.Management.Automation.PSCredential -argumentlist "",$pass $Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri -Credential $cred -Authentication:Basic -AllowRedirection Import-PSSession $Session | Out-String Connect-MsolService -Credential $cred | Out-Str…

Tetra4D can kiss my ass

I have been using Adobe 3D technology since it first arrived with Adobe Acrobat 3D V.8.  It has become the defacto standard for 3D CAD Model viewing since Adobe Acrobat is on just about every desktop.
We also view all the Boeing parts we make on the Boeing Portal using the Adobe Acrobat 3D PDFs that Boeing provides on REDARS.

The subject of my post today is not so much how well the software works, because it does a great job, but more about how poor the customer service is at Tetra4D. 

When you buy a seat of Tetra4D 3D PDF Converter, you get an activation code.  If you uninstall the software or move it to another PC you will need to open a ticket to get the activation reset.

It's been a week and I still don't have my activation reset.
When I opened a ticket asking for an activation reset, this is what I got. (31 hours later)

If you are upgrading from 3.5 to 3.6 your licenses will transfer right over for you. You can upgrade to 3.6 at

That's it.  If it wa…

Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 Previews

Here are some places you should be able to find the Preview downloads of 
Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2

Windows 8 Home users can upgrade here
MSDN (If you have a subscription) Has the Server 2012 R2 ISO now and should have Windows 8.1 sometime after 9am on June 26, 2013.
The Windows Enterprise Website The Windows 8.1 Launch page
Enterprise ISO Download Link
Make sure you watch the Keynote from Build 2013!

Windows Connect
Should you want to give Microsoft feedback on your testing, you can sign up at Connect, but I don't think they are taking 8.1 testers right now.

Windows Store
You wi…

Rubble PC Timer for kids

Do your kids spend too much time on the computer?
What you need is a timer that will shutdown the PC after a set amount of time.

I have tried every PC timer I could find and my son was able to bypass every one of them, so I wrote my own, Rubble PC Timer.  My son has been unable to bypass my timer because the uninstall for Rubble PC Timer has been disabled and there are no running processes that they can end from the task manager.

In order to protect the application from being hacked by your child I limit how much information that I can publish on this page.  More details will be included with the software after the purchase.

The price for my software is only $5.00 and you may use it on as many PCs in your home as you want.
I can't give this out for free or give out trial copies because this would make it to easy for kids to figure out how to bypass it.

By default the software will shutdown the PC 2 hours after the child logs into the PC on weekdays, and 6 hours on Friday-Sunday.  …

TELA (Technology Executive Leadership Academy )

I just finished a TELA (Technology Executive Leadership Academy ) Refresher day in Bellevue,  WA on May 14, 2013.
The Technology Executive Leadership Academy (TELA) is targeted to directors and managers you want to groom for executive IT leadership.
I enjoyed it very much and it was totally worth the time and effort to drive into Bellevue and meet at the Harbor Club.  
So many of the meetings I attend seem to be a sales pitch and there was none of that here.
It was a great opportunity to network and talk to other Pacific Northwest  IT leaders about what they are doing at their companies.
It was put on by Nancy Truitt Pierce of the Woods Creek Consulting Company.
My favorite speaker at this meeting was Rory Hudson from Zumiez.
The next meeting is a Technology Executive Peer Group (TXPEG) meeting on Sept 25.

Dell Latitude E5530 - Unknown Driver/Device Solution

The Dell latitude E5530 is a great 15.6" laptop.
If you wipe the OS and reinstall with lets say; Windows 7 Enterprise; then you will be missing a few drivers.
There was one device that just kept showing up as "Unknown Device" in Device Manager and turns out that it was the Hard Drive free fall sensor.  If you go to you will find that under the driver downloads and then the chipset section.

The one I used was:
Free Fall Data Protectionv4.10.0036 (A05)January 02, 2013

iPad Conference Room Meeting Scheduler/Wall Board

I wanted to use an iPad outside of my conference rooms to show if the room was Vacant or Occupied along with the day’s schedule and also the ability to book a quick meeting right from the iPad.
I had to change my Meeting Rooms from Room Resources to Users before I could attach them to the iPads. Here are my reviews and what I had to do in order to make all this work.

Evaluation of the Applications
I evaluated the following iPad apps.
Meeting Room by Visual Jazz Isobar Pty Ltd
Book a Room by Effektfabriken
Event Board Pro by Ender Labs
Pronestor Display from Pronestor
Here are my evaluations of these applications in order of ranking:

Meeting Room
This is the application we choose. It has a nice interface and with a onetime purchase price of $8.99, you can beat the price.
It links to whatever is showing on the ipad’s calendar. Clicking on the clock shows you 3 days of upcoming meetings. When the room is open you can book 15,30, and 60 minute blocks.…

CATIA Errors

Here are some tips to go with some CATIA errors that I have resolved.

OSM_VE004 : Cannot open document due to data storage versionning.

This means that the file you are opening is newer than the Version of CATIA you are running.
In my case I opened the catpart in notepad and searched for LastSaveVersion
Next to that I found 5/21/4/
Since I was on V5R20, this told me that I needed to install V5R21SP4.

CATIA V5R21 will not find the LUM License Manager
CATIA now wants to use the DSLS License Manager, but you can force it to use LUM.

To tell CATIA V5R21 to use LUM, add this Enviromental Variable: