Category Archives: General

Fermentation vessel modifcation

So, over the past 18 months or so I’ve started to get into home brewing. So far I’ve only been dealing with kits, but will be looking to start doing it “properly” (i.e. all-grain brewing) in the not too distant future.

Anyway, my last couple of brews have had very vigorous initial fermentation’s, so much so that they’ve “foamed over”. In order to counter this, I’ve made some modifications to my fermentation vessel lid. It’s only a basic “Young’s” FV so it doesn’t have even an airlock so I’ve added a bung for an airlock and I have also fitted a tap:

FV Lid

The tap will have a length of 1/2″ tube running from it into my bottling bucket, which will have a sterile liquid covering the end of the tube. Then, should I suffer any more foam over, it’ll flow up the tap, down the tube and into the second bucket. This is completely untested, but with the airlock also helping to release a build up of CO2 I reckon it should work. I will update when I’ve done my next brew, but that won’t be for a while as I’m waiting for the last lot to be ready to drink before I start on the next, which should be the end of May.

Powershell Script for disabling computer accounts

I found this script online (can’t remember where exactly), but have modified it to exclude an OU and output to a log file:

<CODE>

# This PowerShell Command will query Active Directory and return the computer accounts which have not logged for the past
# 60 days. You can easily change the number of days from 60 to any number of your choosing. lastLogonDate is a Human
# Readable conversion of the lastLogonTimeStamp (as far as I am able to discern. More details about the timestamp can
# be found at technet – http://bit.ly/YpGWXJ –MWT, 03/12/13

import-module activedirectory # Activates the required module in PS for this script to work.

$then = (Get-Date).AddDays(-30) # The 30 is the number of days from today since the last logon.

Get-ADComputer -Property Name,lastLogonDate -Filter {lastLogonDate -lt $then} | where-object {$_.DistinguishedName -notlike “*OU TO EXCLUDE*”} | FT Name,lastLogonDate > C:\SCRIPTS\Stale_Records.log

# If you would like to Disable these computer accounts, uncomment the following line:
# Get-ADComputer -Property Name,lastLogonDate -Filter {lastLogonDate -lt $then} | Set-ADComputer -Enabled $false

# If you would like to Remove these computer accounts, uncomment the following line:
# Get-ADComputer -Property Name,lastLogonDate -Filter {lastLogonDate -lt $then} | Remove-ADComputer

</CODE>

Mapping drives with SSD’s

So I’ve recently upgraded to SSD’s on most of my machines, along with an upgrade to Windows 8.1 on my main machine. I’ve started to run into an issue where my mapped drive to my NAS don’t reconnect at logon. I’ve been searching the web for a while now seeing if I could work out why this is, but haven’t been successful. Today however, I’ve hit upon the answer; I first mapped the drive via IP rather than name which was successful, so then put the name of the NAS into the HOSTS File. This was also successful, so it definitely appears to be DNS that is affecting it.

I can leave it there, but I’m curious now; what if I stand up a VM on my ESXi host to act as a DNS server for my local network, a job that is currently being handled by the router? I suspect it will be better, but we won’t know until we try!

*Edit: So, before I went through the setup a a DNS server, I decided to try one more thing; all the clients that use my router for DHCP get a connection suffix of “home”, so I changed the drive mapping to connect to \\nas.home\share and that appears to be working. I’ll try it on a few more machines but it looks like that’s the answer here: add the DNS Connection Suffix to your drive map and it should be good to go.

Uninstall software via Powershell script

I’ve been trying to uninstall a large amount of unwanted software off the network. After a great deal of reading, I have the following as a powershell script. The script is pretty easy to modify/add to if required, you can just put whatever you want at the end of the script, specifying a different variable for each unique piece of software. It isn’t foolproof, as it relies on the software installing with an MSI file so Google Chrome for example, installs to a unique location (C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\%Version Number%\Installer\Setup.exe) and can’t be uninstalled this way.

The powershell script is called with a computer startup script which has the following in it:

—CODE START—

powershell -executionpolicy bypass -file \\Server-Name\Share-Name\Script-Name.ps1

—CODE END—

The PS1 script then has the following:

—CODE START—

#Run Powershell as Admin

function Set-Elevation
{
# Create a new process object that starts PowerShell
$newProcess = New-Object System.Diagnostics.ProcessStartInfo “powershell”;
# Indicate that the process should be elevated
$newProcess.Verb = “runas”;
# Start the new process
[System.Diagnostics.Process]::Start($newProcess) | Out-Null
}

# Uninstall MS Bing Bar
$Bingbar = Get-WmiObject -Class win32_product -Filter “Name = ‘Bing Bar'”
msiexec /x $Bingbar.localPackage /qn /norestart

# Uninstall Google Earth
$GoogleEarth = Get-WmiObject -Class win32_product -Filter “Name = ‘Google Earth'”
msiexec /x $GoogleEarth.localPackage /qn /norestart

—CODE END—

When I work out how to uninstall Chrome etc. easily, I’ll post again.

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Yes, you aren’t dreaming… I did update the blog the other day. I have decided that I should start updating it again as my job role has changed and I’ve now got interesting stuff happening from time to time!

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I realise today that I forgot to update y’all on my Xbox. Turn around was about 3 weeks, which included the Christmas holidays, so not too bad overall. It sat in the UPS depot for about a week before it was delivered to Microsoft, as it arrived in the depot on Christmas Eve. Still I have it back, although there is a little wierd thing going on with Lips (the game that was in the machine when it went tits-up). The other games seem ok though.

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Last week I bought myself an MSDN subscription. There are some things happening that may require that I need to know Windows 2008 & Exchange 2007 soon, so I thought I had better prepare and actually use the product I might be supporting. Anyway, I’ve now got an MSDN subscription and I can definitely say its well worth the money (for an IT guy like me anyway). I have access to so much software its like being a kid in candy store. Now I don’t have a huge amount of money to throw around, so I have installed VMware on my machine and started to build a virtual domain for me to so some messing around on. You may recall that back in February I had to buy some parts for my computer as I had a little “accident” that meant everything went tits up and I ended up buying in my haste four 1GB sticks of RAM. “Fantastic!” I Hear you cry, however it wasn’t what I was planning to do. I was planning for my next upgrade before the “disaster” to move to 8GB of RAM as motherboards these days can handle it and x64 OS’ can use it. But I didn’t. Anyway, I bought the 4GB and was happy up until I started making a domain…

I had 3 servers (2008) and a desktop (Vista) running on VMWare and my machine was getting slower and slower. Not long after I had powered on the last machine (the Vista desktop) I got a warning about memory… my machine was running low on 4GB!

Being the kind of rational individual I am, I hopped onto ebuyer and grabbed what I should have done in the first place – 2 sets of 4GB dual channel kits. So today I have installed the RAM, and everything is running sweet as a nut. All 5 (additional 2008 server installed today) VM’s are running and I’ve not hit the memory ceiling yet… although I am close at about 6GB.

At least I’m able to sell on the “old” stuff onto one of my colleagues for about 75% of what I paid for it…

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Over the Easter weekend I bought a Canon EOS 400D Digital SLR. I’ve been wanting a DSLR for a while now, as I find that point and shoots are great for quick snaps (I have a 10MP Sony something or other), but for really good shots you need the control and quality that only a DSLR can provide. I’ve been playing with it pretty much constantly since I bought it trying the different settings and learning how to use it. As I’ve not really used a SLR before its been quite the learning curve, but its definitely worth it as it just so easy to get a good shot once you’ve worked out how each function affects the others.

Of course, now that I have it, I’m thinking I could do with a “better” lens as I’m intending to use it when my brother and I go on trackdays to get get some really nice shots of the car. After doing some reading, I’m thinking a lens that goes to at least 300mm is a good idea, and the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III Lens seems like a good bet for the budget consious buyer. I’d love a better lens, but as this is just another(!) hobby I can’t justify a larger price tag than the 100-odd quid the canon costs. And anyway, I’m not good enough to warrant a better lens!

I will probably also invest in a monopod to get some stability from my shots (I already have a tripod I bought a few years ago, although I’m having trouble “locating” the actual camera attachment plate for it!). You never know, if I get some shots that I think are good enough, I might just post them up here for you to look at. Now isn’t that exciting?

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I’ve recently started playing poker online (free play only) to just past the time and I’ve noticed that a lot of people seem to use the “all-in” mentality to increase their stack size. This play consists of just chucking all their chips in as soon as they arrive at the table with no regard to the hand they’ve got (a symptom I assume of the fact that its free play and there is no consequence for losing).

They will repeat this every time they lose, which normally happens 3-4 times in a row. At that point they either give up or get lucky and win a hand. I’m curious though, as to whether they believe that this is truly good play. I mean, they only ever seem to get back about twice their all in at most, so on average they are actually down on the amount of chips.

Still, I seem to win quite convincingly against these types if they hang around long enough, so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much!