Archives 2009

Windows Server Backup Sucks

Attention: This content is 12 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading as its contents may now be outdated or inaccurate.

This article is referring specifically to Windows Server Backup 1.0 that comes with Windows Server 2008 R2.

I recently had the pleasure of another horrid Server 2008 product.  This time around it’s the built in backup utility causing my head aches.

What’s the problem with it?  It’s slow.  I don’t mean takes a few extra hours slow… I mean it takes 18 hours slow.

First let me give a quick over view of the equipment being used… as this is definitely NOT a hardware issue.  It’s a poorly-written half-assed software issue.

The server is 2U rackmount HP Proliant DL380, running 2 Intel Xeon E5540 CPU’s at 2.53Ghz.  Each CPU has 4 cores with hyper-threading, giving it a total of 16 processing cores.  It has 24gb of ram (6gb free when in production).  For HD’s it is running 8 300GB 10,000 RPM SAS hot-swappable drives in a RAID 10 configuration.  This server is no slouch.  The server’s sole purpose is a Hyper-V server.  It runs 4 virtual machines, all Server 2003 machines with 4 gb of ram each.  In total, the virtual server has 746gb of data that needs backed up.

The server is connected via gigabit ethernet to a switch.  The switch is connected via fiber to another switch, where lives our backup server that is also connected at gigabit and has 2tb of storage space for the server backup.  Using straight file copying over network shares I have verified full gigabit transfer speeds.

It all sounds good right?  Well, it actually all is pretty nice… until you throw Windows Server Backup in to the mix.  What a piece of shit program this is.  I’ll save you the hours of configuration it took to get it to play nice in setting the backup to go to the network share and to play nice with the Hyper-V virtual machines.  Mind you this is a production server, so shutting down the 2003 servers for a couple hours isn’t an option.  Luckily volume shadow copy services comes to the rescue here, but again, I’ll spare you the explanation on that as this isn’t the point.

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I still like Avira

Attention: This content is 12 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading as its contents may now be outdated or inaccurate.

Yesterday I wrote about how I had stumbled upon a virus through Java in Firefox and how Avira didn’t quite stop all the infections.

I also mentioned I didn’t blame Avira because I felt that it was a new strain, and it looks like I was right.

Yesterday when I scanned the infected file it wasn’t reporting any issues.

Today I noticed a little update notice from Avira so for the heck of it I scanned the infected file again (kept it around to test with), and bam, detected!

detectedSo for the heck of it I popped it through my trusty online scanner, VirusTotal which will scan any file you upload against 41 antivirus engines.

The other day I got:

File iaStor.sys received on 2009.11.12 18:25:30 (UTC)
Current status: finished

Result: 1/41 (2.44%)

Reanalysing the file today I get:

File iaStor.sys received on 2009.11.15 00:09:41 (UTC)
Current status: finished

Result: 11/41 (26.83%)
So this was obviously a new strain and engines are finally starting to update!
Also, yay for Avira being one of the 11 detecting it now.  I picked Avira because of it’s high detection rates, so hopefully they will continue leading the sector. 🙂

Make Firefox More Secure, Disable Java

Attention: This content is 12 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading as its contents may now be outdated or inaccurate.

No, not Javascript.  Java.

Despite similar names, Javascript and Java are 2 entirely different things.

Java, or Java applets are programs that can be embedded in to websites.  They are generally poorly written, and hardly ever function right.  Most people will probably never even need java, and in fact the only website I can think of that I ever use it on is Facebook’s shitty multi-photo uploader which I use only a handful of times a year.

Why am I writing about this?  Because I had a Windows 7 machine that was fully updated, running an updated Firefox with Java (Java may have not been up to date),  and a fully updated Antivirus program.  By clicking one simple link, the machine was infected through the Java run time in Firefox.  Despite clicking “Deny” on the Java question, the app still managed to run itself.  It looked like it caused some type of crash in the Java run time and allowed itself to execute code.  The virus then proceeded to attempt to hijack the browser and insert other malicious code in to the system.  Avira Antivirus was able to block most of these attempts, but it did miss something.  I have a feeling that this was a new strain of the virus, so I’m not going to place too much blame on Avira here.  After all was said and done I ran the infected file through an online scanner, and only 1 of 41 virus engines detected it.  Yikes!

Before shutting down the system I had ran FULL scans with Malwarebytes and Avira, both came back clean.  I rebooted the system and that is when it happened.  7 load screen… blue screen…. reboot.  Over and over.  Safe mode was of no use, other methods of recovery didn’t work, the bluescreen yielded no useful information.  It wouldn’t even point me to the file causing the crash (which would of helped me tremendously).  To make a long story short (I put probably 4 hours in to fixing this bluescreen), the virus had attempted to insert code in to my iaStor.sys driver.  This is an Intel Storage driver, vital to system operation.  I believe that because this was a Windows 7 machine, it was unable to successfully hijack this file (the virus was probably written to hijack XP machines).  I found the lone infected file by pulling the drive out of the laptop and using a separate computer running Nod32 to scan the entire drive,  and replaced the infected file with a good copy I had in my archives.  The really strange thing about it was the good file and infected file were the same exact size, but the infected file no longer had the Intel signature and had a different MD5 hash then the good file.  The virus obviously tried to re-write some part of my storage driver… who knows what though.

Nod32 identified it as Olmarik.pv which from what I can tell is a pretty new strain.

To bring this story back to it’s point, a fully updated system, running Firefox still caught an infection thanks to shitty ass Java.  So, do yourself a favor out there RIGHT NOW.  Disable Java.

Tools -> Options -> Content

Un-check Enable Java:

disablejava

The nice part about this is that if you do end up on a site that you TRUST and need to enable it, you can simple check the box again and reload the page and it will work.  You don’t have to restart your browser.  Just be sure to disable it again after you’re done to keep your browser safe!

I have made this change on all of my machines and I strongly encourage you to as well!

Wanda Sykes Sucks

Attention: This content is 12 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading as its contents may now be outdated or inaccurate.

Yup, that’s right.  She is a talentless hack, and every time I hear her obnoxious voice on tv, it makes me want to change the channel.  Seriously… she is not funny, she is annoying, and usually offensive.

I can’t wait for Fox to cancel what will surely be one of the worst shows to ever air on Fox.

I don’t have much else to say about this other then most people across the country seem to feel the same way

googlehatessykestoo

Good Riddance Hulu

Attention: This content is 12 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading as its contents may now be outdated or inaccurate.

Apparently Hulu will begin charging for it’s content in 2010
Hulu has done all it can to push away viewers of it’s service and it looks like it is going to deliver the final blow.
Why does Hulu think they can charge for their mediocre-quality streaming service that locks people in to their site and their ads… when anyone can download high quality HD rips of the shows WITH OUT ads for free?
I just can’t grasp where they are getting the idea that this will actually be a successful pay-for service.
News Corp (who owns Hulu) issued a statement saying “It’s time to start getting paid for broadcast content online.”

Hahaha, wow… what a bunch of pompous pricks. Good luck with that News Corp.  You make it sound like you deserve money for streaming media online.  Sorry, that is not how the internet works.

As I stated in my other article, I think you’ll find that people will do 1 of 2 things when you start charging for service. 1) They will simply go with out. People use it because it is free. Charging for that isn’t going to instantly create a group of people willing to pay for it. Or 2) People will use alternative methods to download shows and watch them.

Why Powermat Fails

Attention: This content is 12 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading as its contents may now be outdated or inaccurate.

So lately I have been bombarded with these “Wirelessly Charge Your Shit!” ads from Best Buy for a product called “Powermat”.  So I did some looking in to it and decided it is one big ass bucket of fail.  They claim it to be convenient, an energy-saving, and neater.

First off, lets take a look at convenience.  They say this because you won’t have to plug in your devices.  You just set them on the mat, and it charges via electromagnetic induction.  Well, that may be true, except they leave out this fact in the commercial… there are only Powermat cases that attach to devices for 8 devices.  Yup… unless you own 1 of those 8 devices, you get to use the Powermat “Tip”.  The “tip” is a white hunk of plastic that you plug in to your device’s USB port when you want to charge it.  Wait… what?   So you still have to plug in your phone to charge it?!  Oh, and it must remain perfectly seated ON the powermat, WHILE it is plugged in?  SERIOUSLY?!?!  What kind of fail is this?  So let me make sure I have this right.  To use the powermat with my HTC Fuze, I would have to plug in the “tip” and set my phone on the mat, and leave it there.  That means I can’t pick my phone up and use it while it is charging.  How the fuck is that convenient?  That sounds like a pain in my ass to me!  I frequently use my phone while it is plugged in and charging, whether it is playing games, watching videos, surfing the web, or talking on it.  The powermat would prevent me from doing any of those things.

Next, they claimed it saves energy by shutting off when you’re not using it.

I quote from this YouTube video:

“…you’re also using a lot of power especially when the products are not being charged, you know, nobody really unplugs their stuff “

Ole Ron claim that leaving your chargers plugged in is using energy.  Well, this claim sounded like pure bullshit to me, so I tested it.  Here is a picture of my HTC Fuze charger plugged in to a Kill-a-Watt power meter, showing how much energy is being used when my phone is not plugged in to it.  Get ready for this… it may surprise you:

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The Phantom of the Opera

Attention: This content is 12 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading as its contents may now be outdated or inaccurate.

phantom-of-the-opera3This weekend my girlfriend and I had the pleasure of seeing The Phantom of the Opera at Fox Theater in St. Louis.  It was an amazing performance.  This was the 2nd time I have seen it, and the first time for her.  I got us seats as front and center as possible, and really they were fantastic seats (row M of the Orchestra area).  When the organ music first hits your chest and the chandelier comes back to life, it is just an overwhelming feeling.  The entire performance was wonderful.  I can’t say I have a single complaint about it, other then the fact that it ended.

Before heading over to the Fox, we went by a local Italian restaurant called Vito’s Sicilian Pizza and Restaurant per recommendation of my sister and her fiance.  I have to give this place my highest recommendations.  I had originally made reservations for 5:30, but due to unforeseen events (I forgot the tickets at home when we were already on the road… can’t believe I did that), we were running very late.  I called and pushed the reservations back to 6.  We still didn’t get there until 6:15, but they still had our table reserved, so on a very busy night (any time a show is at the Fox, they are busy because they are only a few blocks from the Fox), we had zero wait time and were able to get right in and sit down.  Service was excellent and their food was delicious.  I had the Spinach and Ricotta Manicotti with Meat Sauce, while Heather had Bacon Wrapped Scallops with grilled Asparagus.  Both dishes were great.

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Alton Fall 2009 Ride

Attention: This content is 12 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading as its contents may now be outdated or inaccurate.

Whew, what a day!  Got home around 7 this evening.  Overall the ride was mostly good… Except for Mike’s bike breaking down.

The weather could not have been more perfect.  The ride to Alton was a blast and Fast Eddie’s was awesome.  It was probably the busiest I have ever seen it!  Even though they were busy it only took 30 minutes to get out food, which isn’t bad… and even better considering for $6 and some change I got a dozen shrimp, a cheeseburger, and fries.

The River Road was gorgeous as it always is in the Fall and Perre Marquette was beautiful as well.  Here the ride took a detour though.  At the top of Perre Marquette when we went to turn around Mike’s Ducati suddenly died.  We spent an hour and  a half working on it and couldn’t get the bike to fire back up.  We checked everything we could have and couldn’t find anything obviously wrong with it that wouldn’t require more time and tools then we had available to us at the top of the park.  Unfortunately Mike had to stay behind and wait 2 hours for his brother from Decatur to come pick him up with his trailer.  That really sucks 🙁

After the now 3 of us got back on the road, the rest of the ride went off with out a hitch, but it was a somber ride home as we all worried about our stranded buddy.  Here are some shots I took during our 280 mile trip.