Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How to set up DFS Replication in Windows Server 2008 R2

DFS Replication is an easy and effective way to replicate data between servers. When changes are detected in a file, only the blocks that change are replicated. Consequently, DFS Replication works efficiently over low bandwidth connections. This makes DFS Replication an excellent option for, among other uses, replicating data from remote locations to a central office. Let’s check it out.

Friday, November 2, 2012

GOgroove SMARTmini AUX

Spend any significant amount of time sitting in a vehicle and you might discover that terrestrial radio just doesn’t cut it, especially in this day and age of in-car entertainment systems with satellite radio, mp3, audio book, and podcast support. Unfortunately, not everyone has a new car with Bluetooth connectivity, USB ports, and touchscreens. There are a number of Bluetooth car kits available but very few at the price point of the GOgroove SMARTmini AUX. I picked one up the other day to use in my pickup truck. Let’s check it out.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

GrrCON 2012 - 2 Days of Info Sec and Hacking in MICHIGAN!?

Living in the metropolitan Detroit area can lead to a somewhat jaded outlook. Detroit gets kicked around, and not undeservedly, often enough that it’s become somewhat of a running joke. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of my home and I’m one of the first to defend the good things in Detroit, but living in or near a city in decline makes me tend to look for places that are as bad or worse when I travel. Yes, unfortunately, there are places that are as bad or worse than Detroit. Grand Rapids doesn't appear to be one of them.

From the outside, Grand Rapids seemed like an unlikely place for an Information Security conference until I actually attended GrrCON. I missed GrrCON last year and it’s been a long long time since I’ve done anything in Grand Rapids but drive through. Now that I’m home and the conference is over it seems like a great place to hold a hacker conference and I can’t wait for next year.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

DIY Fume Extractor

I've spent too much time breathing the stuff that emanates from the tips of soldering irons. After checking out the available fume extractors, I thought I could do better putting something together myself. If it didn't turn out that way, at least it would be my loud, expensive, and low air flow fume extractor. Maker's remorse is always better than buyer’s remorse.

Friday, September 14, 2012

How to Change the Product Key in Windows 8

Windows 8 activation got you down? Trying to activate the wrong key or the wrong kind of key? Use the Software License Management Tool and these easy steps to get your install activated.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dangerous Prototypes ATX Breakout Board [Review]

The day after I posted my review of Sparkfun’s Benchtop Power Board Kit, Dangerous Prototypes posted their latest project, the ATX Breakout Board. Curiosity got the better of me and I ordered one. After waiting for the shipment for the Orient and a few days of playing tag with my postal carrier, he finally got a signature for the international parcel and I got the Dangerous Prototypes ATX Breakout Board in my hands. Add a month or so of moving it around and doing other stuff, and voila a post. Let’s check it out.

Friday, August 17, 2012

How to Disable IPv6 in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1

IPv6 is the imminent next evolution of the Internet protocol, but it can cause problems with legacy equipment and DNS in certain environments. Disabling IPv6 is an easy way to fix certain network issues with Windows machines. If you're not experiencing problems, there's no reason to disable IPv6. Otherwise, it's easy to turn on and off by editing the Windows registry. Let's check it out.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Kinivo BTH220 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones [Review]

UPDATE 2014/01/19: I've been using these headphones for nearly a year and a half now. They work every bit as well as they did the day I bought them. In fact, they work better now. I originally had an issue with the sound going bad that required restarting the head phones. After upgrading to a new computer with a fresh install of Windows, I no longer encounter that problem. These things have been great.

While looking for inexpensive wireless headphones that I could use for listening to music and podcasts at work, I stumbled upon the Kinivo BTH220 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones. An unknown manufacture and a relatively low price didn’t keep me from ordering a pair and I’ve been using them for almost a month now. Let’s check ‘em out.

Monday, July 23, 2012

How to Transfer FSMO Roles in Windows Server 2008 R2

There are a number of reasons why an administrator would want to change the placement of Flexible Single Master Operations (FSMO) roles. Arguably, the most common reason is due to an upgrade or replacement of domain controller hardware. The procedure for transferring FSMO roles in Windows Server 2008 R2 is similar to how it is done in other versions of Windows Server. Let’s check it out.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Rust-Oleum “Hammered” Spray Paint

I recently painted a project with Rust-Oleum “Hammered” spray paint and I’m amazed with the results. This stuff is cool.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Adafruit Adjustable Breadboard Power Supply Kit [Review]

When prototyping circuits on a breadboard it is nice to be able to keep things as modular as possible. Breadboarding a new power supply every time you put together a circuit can take up valuable time. Adafruit’s Adjustable Breadboard Power Supply Kit promises a high quality power supply to help make your circuit prototyping a little more efficient. Let’s check it out.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sparkfun Bench Top Power Board Kit [Review]

If you’re anything like me, you’ve got more than a couple desktop computer power supplies laying around. Sparkfun has a kit that's tailor made for the frugal tech scavenger tempted to use one of those old power supplies for something other than a PC. Sparkfun’s Bench Top Power Board Kit turns your old PC power supply unit (PSU) into a bench power supply. Let’s check it out.

Trojan Horse: A Novel and Kill Decision

While searching for new books from some of my favorite authors last night, I stumbled across the new Mark Russinovich book, Trojan Horse: A Novel. I can’t wait to get my hands on this thing when it comes out. That goes for the upcoming Daniel Suarez novel, Kill Decision, as well.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


A brief study of history shows us that the old Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times," is a bit silly. They're all interesting times. A more apt curse might be, "May you live in times when science and exploration are highly funded." We need to keep funding stuff like this.

Link: xkcd

Monday, June 18, 2012

Adafruit Internet of Things Printer [Review]

What’s more fun than reading tweets on a smartphone, tablet, or computer screen? Reading them on an Arduino controlled, Ethernet connected, thermal receipt printer like the Adafruit Internet of Things Printer. This little printer kit might be the answer to all your Twitter ticker tape dreams and more. Let’s check it out!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dell XPS 13 [Review]

Last but not least. Dell has taken its sweet time bringing an Ultrabook to market and it’s taken a while for real users to get their hands on the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook. I’ve set aside my 13” MacBook Air and spent a few weeks using the XPS 13 as my portable computer. Was it worth the wait? How does it stack up against the MacBook Air? Let’s check it out.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Elenco Power Supply Kit XP-720K [Review]

The Elenco XP-720K is the only complete bench power supply kit I could find. I wish there was broader selection, but I’m glad there is at least one manufacture still making this kind of thing. Let’s take a look at the kit and see if it lives up to the hype of being the world’s only complete power supply kit.

Adafruit Lady Ada's Bento Box [Review]

Do you need to work on your Arduino based prototype circuits on the go? I know what you’re thinking, who doesn’t? Whether you want to tinker while on the couch, at Starbucks, or on the train across town, the Adafruit Lady Ada’s Bento Box promises a crush-proof, drop-proof, and water-proof solution for the hardware hacker on the go. Let’s check it out.

Friday, June 1, 2012

How to Install the Windows 8 Release Preview in a Virtual Machine

The Windows 8 Release Preview is out and everyone wants to check it out. Not everyone has an extra computer to install beta versions of Windows on and not everyone wants to install unproven software on their main machine. That's all completely understandable but it doesn't get Microsoft's latest operating system into your hands.

Virtualization is one way to get Windows 8 running on your machine with little effort and zero expense. While virtual machines can get complected, very little or none of that is necessary to get Windows 8 set up. Follow the guide below and you'll be fumbling with the Windows 8 Metro interface before you know it.

How to Install Windows 8 from a USB Flash Drive

Installing Windows 8 from an USB stick is about as easy and convenient as it gets. Here's how to set it up.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Microsoft Windows 8 Release Preview Download Available

The Windows 8 Release Preview is available for download. Microsoft released the latest preview of Windows 8 today a few weeks ahead of schedule. We've all been hearing rumors about Microsoft moving the release up. The download dropped a few minutes ago. If your as eager as I am to see what's changed, check the download links below.

Press release -

Windows 8 ISOs -

USB/DVD Download Tool (ISO installer) -

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Timex Ironman Road Trainer [Review]

I was sucked into the desire for a heart rate monitor when a buddy of mine showed me his Polar FT80. The price and reviews on Amazon were a little disheartening and turned my attention to Timex’s line of heart rate monitors. The price on the Timex Ironman Road Trainer was low enough for me to just grab one and deal with its shortcomings later. It turns out the shortcomings are few and far between.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX [Review]

Every once in a while a product comes along that is almost perfect in form and execution. Apple seems to pull this off on a semi-regular basis but not being an Apple guy can be kind of painful sometimes. Now and then someone throws me a bone. The Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX is one such device.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

LaCie MosKeyto [Review]

The LaCie MosKeyto is a nice little flash drive with a few problems and at least one surprise. I've been using several LaCie MosKeyto flash drives on a daily basis for a while now. Much of their appeal is their size. It's also the source of all my problems with these devices.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fluke Networks Intellitone Pro 200 Kit [Review]

Locating and isolating network cables can be a frustrating exercise even with a cable toner. Fluke Networks claims to put an end to the confusion with its Intellitone line of toners. Take a look at the Fluke Networks Intellitone Pro 200 Toner and Probe Kit and see how it stacks up against an analog toner and bundles of cable spaghetti.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cables to Go Workstation Repair Tool Kit - 27372 [Review]

Tasked with putting together a few tool kits for IT technicians and saddled with corporate restrictions, I was drawn to the Cables to Go Workstation Repair Tool Kit (Cables to Go P/N 27372). How does it stack up in an IT environment or as a computer tool kit in general? Let's take a look.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Happy Birthday 1911

Kimber Gold Match .45 ACP and Kimber Stainless II in 9x19mm

Today marks the 101st anniversary of the M1911 pistol. On March 29th, 1911, after an extensive trial period that included six other designs, the U.S. Army formally adopted the Colt automatic pistol and designated it M1911. For most of the last hundred years it has been the top choice of competitive shooters and warriors the world over. The iconic "1911" is arguably the finest fighting pistol the world has ever known. Happy birthday 1911!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The HP 15c Scientific Calculator is Back... Again

Someone gave me a heads up a few months ago that HP was bringing back the HP 15c Scientific Calculator in a Limited Edition. I quickly ordered one for $99.99 from HP's website and have been happy with it. Happy enough, in fact, to order another one. The problem is they have been sold out for months. The can be had on Ebay and Amazon for as much as $170, but I'm not paying that much if I can get one for less. I dropped the link on my desktop and have been checking it at least once a week. I checked it today and they're back in stock at HP and still $100. I'm not sure how long this "Limited Edition" will be available, so click the link after the break and order one, if you're into this sort of thing.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

MyFord Touch Performance Upgrade [Update]

A shiny blue envelope containing the MyFord Touch “Performance Upgrade” was sticking out of my mailbox when I pulled into the drive yesterday. Inside the envelope a USB thumb drive and a SD card of map data was nicely presented in a cardboard case. The upgrade was very straight forward: start the car, plug in the USB stick, wait an hour. It took mine almost 50 minutes.

Following the update, the changes are immediate and obvious. While the overall scheme is the same, much has changed with the interface. The four corners are still used to select the four sub-systems; phone, navigation, climate, entertainment, but each has a different look. The system is considerably more responsive overall. Although it still exhibits a slight delay, the touch screen is many times faster than before. I couldn’t possibly list all the changes. Just about everything is moved around and/or displayed differently. The change is pretty drastic and I was a little concerned I wouldn’t like it, but it looks and feels a bit more polished now.

So far so good. My Galaxy Nexus paired right up and everything seems to be working fine. My problems have been when Bluetooth audio stops working from my phone and a very occasional random self-reboot. I’m hoping these items have been addressed as well. I look forward to not having to reset the thing every two weeks, or so, to fix the Bluetooth audio. Only time will tell, but I’m pretty happy with it so far. I like the idea of having something I own continue to improve. It would be great if Ford could send me an update that increases the gas mileage or lowers the zero to sixty times, but this will have to do.

UPDATE: After a few weeks it looks like the The MyFord Touch Performance Upgrade has fixed my problem with Bluetooth audio, however, it looks like I have a new problem with playing podcasts from USB drives. Podcasts no longer pickup where they left off. I now wish I never would have applied the update. The Bluetooth audio problem was annoying but at least I could reboot the thing when I needed to.  

Links: Ford Press ReleaseYour Upgrade is in the MailMyFord Touch Reset Button Mod

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

$10 Amazon Gift Card for $5

What's the easiest way to double your money? Subscribe for Amazon Local and get a $10 Amazon gift card for $5. Unfortunately, you're limited to one card per household, but the card doesn't expire so use it whenever you want. What a deal!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

What it's like to be the Shuttle's solid rocket booster

Michael Interbartolo (NASA guy) posted this video on Google+ a few hours ago. It's a first person ride on the Space Shuttle's solid rocket booster. The clip is from an upcoming DVD/Blu-ray called Ascent: Commemorating Space Shuttle.Watch it in HD, it's amazing.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Your Upgrade is in the Mail - MyFord Touch

Earlier this week Ford announced that upgrades to MyFord Touch will begin going out to customers this week. The upgrade will contain a USB drive with the updated software and a SD card with "all-new" updated navigation data and maps. Owners can also take their vehicles to their dealer to have the update/upgrade installed. 2013 model year vehicles will come with the updated software already installed. The upgrade offers a bunch of new features including, Audible support, improved voice recognition, and tablet compatibility. Hopefully, this will fix some of the bugs and render the MyFord Touch Reset Button Mod obsolete.

Source: Ford

Saturday, March 3, 2012

MyFord Touch Reset Button Mod

I spend, on average, from a hour and a half to two hours a day in my car commuting to work and back. I pass the time listening to podcasts and audio books through my smart phone and the My Ford Touch/Sync system in my Focus. There are known problems with the system that are supposed to be addressed by a future software update. While we're waiting for the next revision of the software, I and others have to pull the fuse or disconnect the car's battery every so often to force a system reboot. This is impractical while on the road and I've done it often enough to start joking that the fuse is going to get loose in its socket and start falling out.

The My Ford Touch Reset Mod is a reset button for the car's computer. It's intended to be minimally invasive and requires no permanent modifications to the vehicle.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Windows 8 Server Beta

Yesterday was a banner day for Microsoft beta releases. There was one other release that didn't garner as much fanfare with the "technoroti" as the Windows 8 Consumer Preview... Microsoft also dropped the Windows Server 8 beta. The download link is available after the break.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Skil 10" Drill Press with Laser [Review]

I’ve wanted a drill press for a long time.  Recently I've had the need for one and I went looking online.  I was just looking out of curiosity because I knew I wouldn’t be buying anything.  I found what some might call a “mini” drill press on Amazon.  The Skil 3320-02.  It’s not exactly the industrial machine shop tool that I had in mind but I thought that it might work for most of what I need.  I ordered it.  Free Prime shipping makes buying stuff too easy sometimes.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The IAU Comes Clean About Orion

From this day forward when I look up into the clear sky on a cold winters night, I'm going to giggle just like I did when I read this.

Source: xkcd