Importing Trusted Certificates onto Legacy Wyse WinTerms

Overview

Root Certificates are used by web browsers to identify a trust with web sites. When root certificates expire, Windows usually auto-updates them (Vista and above) or deploys them through Microsoft Update (Windows XP). The Windows CE 5 operating system on the Wyse 3150 WinTerm (windows terminal) has no automatic way of updating them so they must be imported manually.

We had this situation arise when our remote users complained that they were unable to log on to one of our Citrix Servers. All they would get was an SSL Error 70 message when they tried to load the virtual desktop. Luckily, one of the more up to date terminals gave a more specific error, stating that one of the certificates, from GlobalSign, had expired. So my challenge became to get the latest one imported manually.

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Easily access all bookmarks in Google Chrome

I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like any major browsers have got their bookmarks/favourites features quite right. One thing I dislike about Google Chrome is when you use the omnibox it favours search results over bookmarks.

Luckily, to make searching them easier, you can give yourself one-click access to Chrome’s bookmark manager by adding this link to your Bookmark bar

chrome://bookmarks/#2

Screenshot of my Google Chrome bookmark manager shortcut

Continue reading Easily access all bookmarks in Google Chrome

A new kind of computer? Chromebook

I was interested to see goolge officially release their cloud-based netbook » Google Chrome Blog: A new kind of computer: Chromebook.


Over a year and a half ago I blogged about why I was excited on Google’s development but that was a long time ago in technology terms. Smart phones were just going mainstream and I don’t even remeber if iPads and modern tablets existed?

I haven’t quite digested all the latest info on Chromebooks (as they are now known) but it will be interesting to see if they take off. Have a look at my original article, Google Chrome OS – What is it for and is it any good?,  to see what my initial thoughts were and get a good summary of what Chromebooks were meant to do.

I think Google should make the Chrome OS a free download, I for one would be much more likey to use it on my laptop in a dual boot setup rather than a dedicated machine, then again I suppose I can stay with Windows 7 and just use Chrome exclusively? Does that really offer the same benefits of going all in with a Chromebook? One thing I do like is that Google have launched it with tools for System Administrators so it can be controlled in a business or school environment, that’s 1-up on the iPad, not even going into the price difference. This has the potential of being quite big in schools.

On a side not, this isn’t the first time we have seen an “internet-only” device, take a look at The Internet Appliance … It is Finally Here 🙂 (via @shanselman)

WAMP, or installing Apache, MySQL & PHP on Windows Server 2003

Occasionally I get asked to do things that I don’t like to do. One of them is setting up a server with Windows Server 2003 on it. I’d much rather always go for the current operating system (e.g. Server 2008 R2) and if there is some incompatibility then we can work through it. One time this doesn’t apply is when you are setting up a server as a cold backup. This is a benefit of Software Assurance

For each Server License you have with Software Assurance, you have the right to install the same software product on a “cold” backup server for disaster recovery purposes

That means I can have one server waiting unplugged in server room to switch on if it’s twin server goes bang. I needed to build a replica of a particular web server in our company. It has to be exactly the same as the existing one because it is for Disaster Recovery only, therefore, no point in wasting a new licence. Yes the time may come when we have tested enough to get it on the most current OS but when that happens I’ll also update the cold backup.

So, on with the main part of this article. I have to install versions of Apache, MySQL and PHP on Windows (a.k.a. a WAMP server). The original server was set up by a person long gone from the company so it was a chance for me to try something new. I found the whole process really easy thanks to following the article » Beginners Guide: Install PHP 5, MySQL 5 on Apache 2.2 on Windows (with screenshots!) but there were a few tweaks and notes I had to do to get everything singing happily together. Below is the process I went through.

Continue reading WAMP, or installing Apache, MySQL & PHP on Windows Server 2003

Tips – Finding the right Group Policy setting

UPDATED – see below for info on the new Group Policy Search web app

Now Windows Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) is nearing the end of it’s beta process it won’t be long before SysAdmins will be deploying it out across their networks. Something that occurs with any new Microsoft software is the need to update Group Policy to control any new features and lock down as appropriate. I thought I’d share a few tips on how I find discover and configure these new settings.

It seems that with each new Administrative template (ADMX) there are an ever-increasing amount of settings that can be managed (Over 1500 for IE9 alone!). While great for security it can be a headache to navigate. Microsoft usually lists the group policy settings for each product on the TechNet site, like this page for IE9, but did you know there is also an MSDN website (hosted on Azure) called Group Policy Search. This is a godsend policy administrators because not only does it allow you to search the contents of all the Microsoft Windows & Office policies but it also gives you the info like what the policy is supported on and even the registry key that the policy changes. This is a great place to copy details if you need to report to a manager on what a certain setting can do.

Group Policy Search Cloud App
Group Policy Search Cloud App

 This site does work on smartphones but I can see this working really well as a reference app on a mobile device. UPDATE: I just found that somebody has made this into an app for Windows Phone 7/8. Find it in the web store or search on your phones marketplace for Group Policy Search. Now it’s up to another dev to make one for Android and iPhone!

If you use Windows 7/Server 2008 R2, or later, you can also download a Search Connector (from the site’s Settings menu). This lets you search the Group Policy Search website from Windows Explorer, giving you an excerpt of the description and link to the relevant webpage. UPDATE: Unfortunately, due to the change of host for the web app, the connector is broken. Luckily, it is easily fixed by editing the OSDX file. Download the GroupPolicySearch.osdx connector from the site and open with a text editor. Change line 5 to the code below, save and then double-click the file to install to your userprofile/Searches folder

<Url type="application/rss+xml" template="http://gpsearch.azurewebsites.net/gps/rss.ashx?search={searchTerms}"/>
Group Policy Search Connector
Group Policy Search Connector in Windows 7

Another task that becomes complicated is to find settings you have previously changed. I may open up the Group Policy Editor knowing I need to modify a previous setting change but it can be like finding a needle in a haystack digging through all the non-configured settings. You can find it via a report in the Group Policy Management console but did you know you can also filter policies in the editor? Go to the View menu and choose Filter Options. Here you can set up a number of criteria on what you want to see. I typically would change it to only show configured settings and also any policy with my initials in the comments. This makes it really easy to see the changes I have made and adjust them appropriately.

Group Policy Filtering
Group Policy Filtering

I hope that’s given you a bit of help in discovering and managing group policy settings. Let me know your tips in the comments.

UPDATE: I discovered this great page in the increasingly useful TechNet Wiki – Group Policy Survival Guide. It contains links to anything and everything to do with Group Policy

Testing blogging capabilities – Word 2010 versus Windows Live Writer 2011

I was wondering if Word 2010 would be a better blog editor than Windows Live Writer 2011 (WLW).

I constantly find myself using Word/Office keyboard shortcuts in WLW only to get annoyed that they don’t work.

This is really just a quick test to see the pros & cons and what features actually work. It may look a complete mess once I upload it!

Setting up Word 2010 to blog is really easy

  1. File>New>Blog post
  2. Select WordPress (or another host)
  3. Enter Blog URL and user credentials

Pros (if they work!)

Picture Editing

Photo of me with background removal tool and artistic pencil effect

Smart Art

Word Art

This is written using a special font on my PC.
If Word is clever it will change it into a picture

Cons

  • Only supports categories, not tags (can always do that after from WordPress dashboard)
  • No support for WLW plug-ins
  • No preview option/theme support

Time to publish and see what happens!

Update

OK, so after hitting the publish button I can see a few niggles but nothing major.

  • The photo of me came out properly but before I published it was overlapping the right of the toolbar image.
  • Smart Art and Word Art came out identically (converted to images).
  • The custom font underneath the word art came out in the bigger size and displayed properly on my PC but returns to the default when viewed from a PC where it isn’t installed
  • Basic formatting (like highlight, bold, italics, h1, h2) all worked

Overall, I think Word gives you a lot more power, not to mention better performance, than Windows Live Writer. It could be improved in the way it handles the whole blogging side of things (e.g. hyperlinkng to live articles, updating existing posts, source code editing). Ideally I would want it to have all the features of WLW (or vice versa!) but I can use the WordPress dashboard to easily fine tune things.

I think I will probably use it for all my posts for a while and see how it goes. If you’ve got it, flaunt it!

WP7: My favourite apps

This is a back-dated post due to me having a shuffle around on my blog. I’ll still have the main What I Use » WP7 page but I wanted away of updating that without loosing my app history

I got my Samsung Omnia 7 at the begining of December 2010. As one of the early adopters I thought I should keep a list of the apps that I have downloaded that have lasted longer than a week. They all work in the UK on my Samsung, I can’t vouch for other hardware/locations. I let my kids play with my phone so a few of the apps are for their benefit…honest.

I haven’t paid for a single app yet so all the ones below are available from the marketplace for free 🙂

You may also want to look at all my WP7 posts on my blog for other tips and reviews.

  • Adobe Reader
  • Beezz – awesome twitter client
  • Big Oven/Tesco Real Food – Recipe Finders
  • Break.com Videos – Some funny photos & videos delivered daily, saves me hunting around YouTube 😉
  • CardStar – Keep all your store loyalty cards (e.g. Nectar, Boots, Tesco) on your phone as readable barcodes. UPDATE, this app doesn’t seem to work at Tesco or Sainsbury’s self-service checkouts. I’ve been to embarrassed to show it a real checkout. Still it’s a glossy way to keep a backup.
  • DIY Calculator – Really handy at working out your materials and costs for any DIY projects, seriously considering buying this app.
  • Photo Apps
    • Photogram (Samsung Only)
    • Photo Studio (Samsung Only) – 3 nice effects but needs a bit of tweaking. Currently defaults to VGA quality instead of 5mp.
    • Colorizer
    • FotoChop – add captions to pictures
    • PicFX – Great Tilt-Shift option
    • Pic-o-Twit – Upload directly to Twitter
    • PictureFrame – Provides Slideshow ability
    • Touchnote – send a photo as a real physical postcard
  • Send to WP7 – Pushes a link from your Desktop browser to your phone
  • Currency Convertor
  • Facebook – lovely way to get to most Facebook features
  • Foursquare – not used much but seems good so far
  • Flixster – good for finding local UK cinema times and user reviews. I wish it would let you add your own review to one’s existing Flixster account.
  • Fuels – track your fuel consumption
  • IMDb – I use this practically every time I watch a film now to find actor info or other interesting facts
  • Hangover Helper – genius idea for those who wake up not knowing where they are or what they did last night
  • Music
    • Last.fm – good for an instant hit of decent music
    • Shazam – Identifies tracks playing on a radio/TV and lets you download it staright to your phone. Magic.
    • Lyrics – Search for song lyrics. It also identifies the currently playing track so you can sing along
  • Level – A working spirit level for your phone (Shame Omnia doesn’t stand on it’s edges!)
  • Lunar Phase – Check what phase the moon is in or when the next full moon is
  • Maps [built-in] – Works great. Just needs turn-by-turn navigation to replace my TomTom
  • OneNote [built-in] – Take notes, add pictures, voice recordings, sync to SkyDrive
  • Shopping List – Brilliantly simple but advanced enough to cover my needs
  • Springboard Series for Windows – Technical articles & videos from Microsoft for IT Pros
  • Weather [by the Weather Channel] – Doesn’t look very nice but it’s accurate WeatherBug – Much nicer representation of the weather, good live tile and the RADAR maps work to.
  • Where’s my Car? – Locates your car in case you forget where you parked
  • World Clock – always handy to see when that state-side broadcast is really happening
  • WordPress – Blog while on the go
  • YouTube – A necessary evil 😉
  • Games, Timewasting
    • Magic 7 Ball
    • ElectricBeans
    • Fun Sounds
    • Fake Calling
    • Flashlight 7 – great strobe effect for raving!
    • Flowerz – not particulary great but only free XBOX Live game atm
    • Fruit Ninja (demo)
    • iBlast Moki (demo)
    • Fast Food
    • Ice Ball
    • Impossible Shoota
    • KillTheDuck
    • Omni Jump_Free
    • Plan Bee
    • Pirates Ahoy (Fruit Ninja rip-off)
    • Quadra
    • SkyDiver Classic
    • Swipy Man
    • TouchMeQuick
    • Tic Tac Toe – Great 6×6 grid option
    • Unite – Tilty fun
    • Ultra Air Hockey 2
    • Word Tangle Free

Let me know what you think in the comments or add any recommendations of your own.

You can also read my reviews of the Samsung Omnia 7 hardware and the Windows Phone 7 OS.

Other “What I Use” pages

Warning: Beware fake Adobe Acrobat & Reader updates

It seems to be getting more and more common that Adobe Reader (previously known as Acrobat Reader) is the target for phishing scams and malware. Today I got another email pretending to be from Adobe alerting me of new updates to Reader.

image

This can easily lure the reader into clicking before reading the message properly. There are a few thing that should ring alarm bells to someone who works with computers e.g.

  • Adobe only release updates from their own site not the one listed in the email
  • The new versions are called Adobe Reader X and Acrobat X not Acrobat 2011
  • It is sent from a newsletter that I haven’t subscribed to.

Read more to find tips and info on the real Adobe updates

Continue reading Warning: Beware fake Adobe Acrobat & Reader updates

Capture and Upload Screenshots in an instant with Gyazo

I just got hold of a really useful (multi-platform) tool called Gyazo. It is a single-minded app that will upload an image of whatever you select up to their website to allow easy sharing to twitter, facebook or whatever.

I’ve used Jing before and also heard of ZScreen and SPGrab but Gyazo wins becasuse it is so light and easy to use.

Continue reading Capture and Upload Screenshots in an instant with Gyazo

How to Migrate Windows Deployment Services to a new Server

When we first started using Windows Deployment Services (WDS) it was installed as a test on our backup server. It came to the point where we wanted to put it on a more permanent server with some built in hardware redundancy. Luckily this was easy to do.

In the following example I migrated WDS from a Windows 2003 R2 x64 server to a Windows 2003 R2 x86 server

Step 1 – Install WDS

Install WDS from the component wizard

  • On the new server open the Add/Remove programs control panel (appwiz.cpl)
  • Click the Add/Remove Windows Components button to open the “Windows Component Wizard”
  • Scroll down the list and tick the “Windows Deployment Services” box
  • After the wizard is completed, set up the WDS as you did on the old server. Make sure you untick the box to “add images” at the end of the wizard.

Continue reading How to Migrate Windows Deployment Services to a new Server