HayesJupe's Blog

December 18, 2014

Upcoming move of hosting

Filed under: Internet — hayesjupe @ 7:55 am

Hi all,

just a heads up – I have finally bitten the bullet and registered http://www.hayesjupe.com and will be moving this blog over to that site this weekend (20/21st December)

I have cleaned up a little, got a new theme – and being on a hosted service, all features of WordPress are available – and I have a couple of things I will be trying out with the new site over the coming months. In addition, over the xmas break, while there is time, I hope to write a few new articles and update some existing favourites.

There will be a site redirection implemented from hayesjupe.wordpress.com to http://www.hayesjupe.com, however for those of you that have subscribed, I believe you will need to re-subscribe on the “new” site.

November 26, 2014

Online (at home) MS exams…. interesting idea

Filed under: Windows — hayesjupe @ 11:24 am

https://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/online-proctored-exams.aspx

Conflicting thoughts about this….. obviously more convenient, especially in a place like Adelaide where we have a grant total of 2 testing centre’s, which aren’t available full time and often booked out.

On the other hand, It wont stop “exam factories” (nor can anything but changing exam content), and not even being able to take any notes what-so-ever is a bit harsh for the scenario type questions.

While I still am of the opinion that certification offers little value these days, come Dec 16th (when the program becomes available) – I think I might take one, just to see what its like.

 

November 18, 2014

Finding the “right” motherboard for the Samsung XP941

Filed under: Hardware — hayesjupe @ 3:13 pm

So most nerds would be familiar by now with the Samsung XP941 an M.2 PCIe SSD which offers, what seems to be, substantial performance benefits over standard SSDs.

If not:

http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/news-events/press-releases/detail?newsId=12921

https://www.ramcity.com.au/buy/samsung-xp941-256gb-m.2-pcie-x4-80mm-ssd/MZHPU256HCGL-00000

 

Some of the difficulty with new tech, as always, is finding compatible parts…. searching for a motherboard which will work with the XP941, at first, would seem easy…. “some Z97 motherboards and all X99 chipset motherboards”… but unfortunately, when reading bit closer at product descriptions such as this one:

http://www.gigabyte.com.au/products/product-page.aspx?pid=5125#sp

1 x M.2 PCIe connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280 SATA & PCIe x2/x1 SSD support)

 

When the XP941 specs specifically state (from the RamCity page)

10nm Class Toggle Mode MLC NAND • 1080 MB/sec Read, 800 MB/sec Write • PCIe 2.0 x4 • 512MB cache • 3 Yrs Warranty

 

So there’s a disconnect…. the SSD supposedly needs and M.2 PCIe 2.0 x4 connection….. and yet X99 motherboards that I first looked at seemed to offer an M.2 PCIe 2.0 x2 connection. So, it will work, but at reduced speed….. which kind of defeats the purpose of shelling out a premium for a performance drive.

The best post I have found on this is over on a tomshardware message board:

http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-2316109/system-ssd-question.html

To quote the user – JohnnyLucky

The situation with the new X99 motherboards is a little better. There are a few more X99 motherboards that can fully support the XP941 but the majority of boards still only use M.2 connectors with two PCIe 2.0 channels.

One of the biggest problems is trying to determine which motherboards support the XP941. Most motherboard descriptions are incomplete. They do not distinguish between M.2 PCIe 2.0 x4, M.2 PCIe 2.0 x2, and M.2 SATA 3 6Gb/s. There are a few exceptions. ASROCK calls an M.2 PCIe 2.0 x4 connection “Ultra M.2” and an M.2 PCIe 2.0 x2 connection as plain “M.2”. Some of the other motherboards are listed as “M.2 10Gb/s” which is PCIe 2.0 x2 and M.2 32Gb/s which is PCIe 2.0 x4. Unfortunately a lot of the motherboard descriptions only list “M.2” and it is a royal pain trying to find out which ones actually use 4 PCIe channels.

 

So there are a few issues here:

  • Samsung have made an SSD which while they are targeting at the OEM market, nerds want to get a hold of it
  • OEM’s, as usual have been very slow in bringing products containing the drive to market
  • When OEM’s do bring products to market – they will be aimed at the “premium” price point
  • Nerds would normally prefer to build their own rigs anyway
  • Marketing people creating confusion (as usual) by labelling things “ultra M.2” (just like super speed USB!), just call it what it is
  • Motherboard specification pages are incomplete or use disparate terms for describing the same thing. If ASRock call I ultra M.2, are you really gaining anything by calling it Turbo M.2? or super-jet-speed-mega-good-now-M.2 ?
  • Depending on where in the world you live, sometimes getting a hold of some motherboard brands can be slightly more challenging than it might be for the writers at tomshardware or anandtech or <insert your favourite hardware site here>

So…. which motherboards have an M2 PCIe 2.0 x4 connection ?

From some searching around, the ones I have found which (claim to) have M2 PCIe 2.0 x4 connectors (as at 18/11/2014):

All of the ASRock X99 motherboards (using the term Ultra M2) – http://www.asrock.com/mb/index.asp?s=2011-3

All Asus x99 motherboards list ultrafast M.2 x4 on the sales page, but don’t specify a speed on the specifications page – http://www.asus.com/au/Motherboards/Intel_Platform_Products/

All MSI x99 motherboards list Turbo M.2 x4 on the sales page, but don’t specify a speed on the specifications page – http://www.msi.com/product/mb/#?category=Socket 2011-3&category_no=1179

One gigabyte motherboard – GA-X99-SOC Force

 

I had a look around at the following x99 motherboards too:

GA-X99-UD3 – x2 only

GA-X99-UD4 – x2 only

GA-X99-UD5 WIFI – x2 only

GA-X99-UD7 WIFI – x2 only

GA-X99-Gaming 5 – x2 only

GA-X99-Gaming 7 WIFI – x2 only

GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI – x2 only

Intel do not appear to have motherboards based on the x99 chipset according to the drop downs in this page… http://www.intel.com.au/content/www/au/en/motherboards/desktop-motherboards/motherboards.html

 

So really, I started this article because I went to the gigabyte page first and saw something funky…. but it pretty much appears that they are the only major MB manufacturer that don’t support M2 PCIe 2.0 x4 on all of their x99 boards. (Gigabyte is of course the only manufacturer my local wholesaler stocks…. the law of maximum inconvenience strikes again!)

 

The next questions are, is the XP941 bootable from these motherboards, does it nerf anything else and what’s the performance like ?

for more info and discussion on these, head over to https://www.ramcity.com.au/blog/m.2-ngff-ssd-compatibility-list/189 and have a look in the comments section. You will see some people have gone through the pain of differing BIOS versions, mucking around with BIOS settings and in some cases, having their video card performance nerfed or having to use different slots for other devices.

 

November 12, 2014

Lynkype, skync, Lype ?

Filed under: Uncategorized — hayesjupe @ 8:43 pm

http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-rebrands-lync-as-skype-for-business-readies-2015-releases-7000035665/

While it makes sense to align the technologies… “skype of business”…. gives the impression of a consumer product with business functionality as an after-thought…..

November 3, 2014

Windows 10 – Wireless with web page auth doesn’t seem to work

Filed under: Uncategorized — hayesjupe @ 10:24 am

1 month in, and there has been a few annoyances… but the I’ve now experienced my first “big pain in the arse” issue with windows 10.

I am travelling for work at the moment – and the hotel has the “connect to our hotspot, a web page opens and you auth in the webpage”

I can connect to the hotspot using my phone, a win 8 machine, but the Win 10 machine simply tries to connect for a while, then disconnects with a “could not connect to this network” error message.

This was also then tested at a client site who uses the same method for their guest wireless… same scenario, phone, win7 and win8 clients connect fine – win 10 cannot connect.

At this point, I can only assume that the connection process in Win 10 has changed and there are additional requirements which define “connecting” to a wireless network.

As a side note, a recent update also changed the “click on the system tray network icon” functionality, from the very useful, right side of screen list of Direct Access status, wireless networks available, VPN connections etc…. to a completely useless full-screen view. Disappointing step backwards there.

October 14, 2014

Nokia Lumia 930

Filed under: Uncategorized — hayesjupe @ 7:57 pm

I purchased a Nokia Lumia 930 approx. a month ago now, moving up from my HTC Titan.

I found the HTC titan to be quite good overall, but the camera wasn’t the best – and now with a child and a dog doing funny things all the time, I found myself wanting a 1/2 decent camera close at hand quite often.

The main functions I use my phone for are: the phone (duh), txt messaging, music, calendar, email, torch, camera, Bluetooth and occasionally, the maps. I’ve never really been an app user, so the substantially smaller range of apps available on the windows marketplace isn’t a factor for me.

The reception on the phone is substantially better than the Titan, basically because its 4G vs. 3G, but it is nice to have far better reception in areas that used to be black spots.

Txt messaging, email, calendar, torch is all the same – and just works, the way you would expect them to.

The camera is awesome, the quality of shots and video it produces is very good – and obviously being part of the phone is very handy. This is nothing new for anyone else with a current generation phone – and I see there are lots of websites that compare the photo quality in painful detail…. for those of us that don’t expect to take professional quality photos with a phone, in my opinion, this offers a very good “always available” photo and video option.

Every now and again, I get a pop-up in another language (Korean maybe?) – which is prompting for something – and a reboot of the phone seems to be the only way out. Not sure how I am triggering the pop-up.

Overall speed and cleanliness of the interface is great, its easy to customise and easy to use.

For me, the phone has two big downsides :

– Xbox music is just rubbish. It crashes, its slow, when connecting via Bluetooth the phone wont default to playing random songs (which it did on WP 7.5) when pressing play – you have to start the app on the phone first! (Which doesn’t defeat the purpose of Bluetooth audio at all!) selecting “random play” plays all the tracks, but not randomly! you have to select random (again, it worked on WP 7.5). Hopefully an update will come out to give us back the music interface from WP 7.5 and ditch this poorly thought out rubbish.

– Non-removable battery. Apparently, Nokia, under an MS banner, has decided to take the Apple approach and try to lock people into using “authorised service centres” for doing something as basic as replacing a battery… and of course ignoring the situations where it can be handy to have a spare battery with you – and just swap it out. Shithouse design decision there.

Its possible that the music situation gets fixed (although I think unlikely) but not so for the battery.

Overall – its still a good phone, but the fixed battery and music app really lets down what otherwise, would have been awesome.

Windows 10 – 2 weeks in

Filed under: Uncategorized — hayesjupe @ 7:10 pm

So far, everything has been pretty positive…. I’ve found one thing that could possibly be a bug – a pretty minor one.

I normally set/raise my task bar to be “two” levels high, this seems to be set ok, but on next logon, it reverts to “one level” high.

Offline files – after realising I had some redundant data in my home drive, I removed it. The local offline files cache was full – and the offline files process doesn’t seem to continue once an error has occurred.

This functionality isn’t any different from previous versions – but it would be nice if there was some robocopy style /MIR functionality, where after an error occurred, the process continues – so deletions can replicate, remove large amounts of data from the cache, then fix itself up on next replication.

That’s about all I have to say about it at the moment…. most of the things I’m interested in will occur when attempting to mass deploy.

October 7, 2014

Windows 10 – First thoughts

Filed under: Windows — hayesjupe @ 2:56 pm

I have been using Windows 10 enterprise tech preview for a few days now – and here are my initial thoughts

  • The new eval centre from where the eval is downloaded is odd. Apart from having to sign in multiple times, the download progress is not shown anywhere
  • A fresh install (which I opted for) is lightning fast
  • Skipping the “sign into your Microsoft account” still isn’t clear. You need to click on “create an account” then “use existing account”. Considering its meant to be the “enterprise” version, not wanting to sign in to a personal cloud account isn’t going to be an uncommon request
  • No option to skip the annoying “welcome” animation manually – but it is in group policy (and was with win8) – still, just be nice if it was available on non-policed machines
  • Option to boot to start menu or start screen is bleedingly obvious – hurrah!
  • Look and feel is still quite win-8-ish….
  • Still no option to include source files in the install. While I understand that doing so reduces the footprint, one of the nice things in win 7/2008r2 was that you didn’t have go searching for source media. Sure, the make the small footprint the default, but give us enterprise admins a setup option (/copylocalsource ?) to copy the local source, so we don’t need to perform steps in our SCCM builds
  • No media centre – at least for the moment – I hope MS realises that enterprise users like to use stuff like media centre while travelling – even if its a paid option, preventing it completely from being run like in 8/8.1 is a silly decision – and one that will hopefully be reversed
  • Client hyper-V – sure, nothing earth shatteringly different on the client side – but its just very nice to have it
  • The “multiple desktops” has potential – just might take a while to get used to it
  • The qtr screen snap can be useful on some occasions on large monitors, but not so much on laptops
  • Direct Access to a 2012 R2 DA server works with no modifications (yay)

All in all – its off to a good start. Its obviously early on in the dev cycle, lets hope that the rattling’s about win 10 being “enterprise focused” are true.

One thing I did initially leave off this list is “why oh why is there an x86 version”… surely its time to kill off x86 by now ? I understand there are still some applications which will not run on an x64 windows platform, but announcing the end of x86 Windows OS’ will, in some cases, help speed the transition of some applications – and for those that are no longer supported or have ludicrously long dev cycles, Win 7 and Win 8.1 offer supported x86 options for some time to come.

CurrentlyDownloading

“Currently downloading…” call me whacky, but a % downloaded, current speed etc. might be handy here.

October 2, 2014

SCCM 2012 R2 CU3 released, allows specification of MP’s

Filed under: Uncategorized — hayesjupe @ 4:40 pm

http://support2.microsoft.com/kb/2994331

In our last large project we had a situation where there were two forests with no trust, one forest housed the primary business network and the other forest housed the operational machines which ran a certain utility for our state.

This CU contains the following option…

Management point communications

    1. This cumulative update introduces a new registry entry for clients. This entry will restrict which management point (MP) a client can communicate with. This can be useful in environments that have multiple MPs in different forests, and the clients can only communicate with a subset of them. Setting the registry value to only those MPs that can be reached by the client can improve overall efficiency. The new registry value is AllowedMPs, a REG_MULTI_SZ (multi-string) type that is under the following subkey:
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\CCM

This would have been exceeding useful a few moths ago for us… but at least it is in there now and available for the next environment.

Windows 10 and SCCM

Filed under: Uncategorized — hayesjupe @ 1:19 am

An announcement over at

http://blogs.technet.com/b/configmgrteam/archive/2014/09/30/windows-10-enterprise-management-with-sc-configmgr-and-intune.aspx

3 things of note:

Windows 10 will be delivered in a way that allows for more choice and flexibility for businesses

Oh shit – here comes a product which is going to limit choice and flexibility and force me down a specific path for something I previously could make a choice about. (Sales speak hasn’t made me bitter and cynical)

  • The next version of System Center Configuration Manager will deliver full support for client deployment, upgrade, and management of Windows 10 and associated updates.

  • System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager or SP1 – we will provide an update to support Windows 10 deployment, upgrade and management with existing ConfigMgr features.

Some clarity on what the difference between “full support” and “support” would be good…. this could be anything between “2012 R2 will still do everything with Win 10” to “by support, we meant that if you applied 3 sccm patches in a specific order, that require 2 windows hotfixes to be uninstalled while chugging a beer, singing the national anthem and potting the 8 ball in the corner pocket on one leg, then yes, you can view inventory information only in 2012 r2”

Its a given that some version of SCCM will be able to deploy windows 10, but I question the value of posting such vague information. The implication is we will miss out on something if a client doesn’t go to SCCM 201? – which may well be fair enough.

as such we have decided not to ship a Configuration Manager preview at this time, and will do so in H1 CY15.

This is kind of useful-ish…. we now have a, relatively large, window of when we can expect to start testing windows 10 deployment with sccm.

October 1, 2014

Windows 10 announced

Filed under: Uncategorized — hayesjupe @ 8:10 am

http://blogs.windows.com/bloggingwindows/2014/09/30/announcing-windows-10/

features etc. have been consistently leaked, so none are a surprise, the main quandary is – what was wrong with calling it Windows 9?

I was/am still keen for this, no matter what the name is. I was one of “those” who placed windows 8.1 in the “its a good OS under the covers – but I don’t like metro” bucket….. there were also some other fairly major issues, such as not effectively being able to manage marketplace apps with any enterprise tool – let alone SCCM and the lack of being able to set “boot to desktop” via group policy.

Keen to get my hands on Windows 10 – and even keener to get my hands on whatever version of SCCM will support Windows 10.

September 29, 2014

hotmail/outlook.com/LiveID constant security prompts

Filed under: Uncategorized — hayesjupe @ 7:18 pm

Dear Microsoft – Logging on to outlook.com or a service which uses a Microsoft/Live ID from a different IP address does not fucking constitute “unusual activity”; subsequently blocking access to the account with security measures that

a) are invasive

b) don’t fucking work (the text messages only sometimes come through and when they do – its in 8-16 hours time)

c) are unnecessary for some (if not many) accounts

At least provide the option to opt out of such silly “security” measures.

(oh and I love the irony of the cloud services that are available from “anywhere”…. except if anywhere has a different IP address to the one you used when you last logged on….)

August 13, 2014

Far Cry 3 (Getting through the steam backlog)

Filed under: Uncategorized — hayesjupe @ 11:12 pm

As per the title – I’ve been playing Far Cry 3 – not a new game I know, but instead of buying new games (such as elite dangerous) I’m trying to actually play some of the games I have already purchased – generally in steam summer sales.

I know I am not alone in this endeavour, I have a few mates that are the same and I imagine there’s quite a few people out there with large steam libraries – of which they have not played a great deal of.

Anyhoo – I just finished Far Cry 3… and, well, that was impressive and fun… best game I have played in a while.
Some aspects of the story were a bit bizarre, but graphically it was great, the weapon variety and available upgrades were fantastic, the missions and stealth aspects were done quite well, in that you could go in guns blazing, or stealth, or a mix of both… I was a big fan of disabling the alarms via stealth then using the shredder to run around an finish the bad guys off.

In short – for those of you that also have a steam backlog (you know who you are) – I recommend putting Far Cry 3 near the top of your “play it at some stage” list.

June 26, 2014

Downloading using FTM with IE11

Filed under: Uncategorized — hayesjupe @ 7:53 am

Work around for getting File Transfer Manager to download from TechNet/MSDN

direct downloads are normally a good thing – and download managers normally suck, but in the case of TechNet/MSDN downloads – where the download sizes are large (up to 6gb generally for me) – Microsoft File Transfer Manager is great.

I think why I like it so much is that it performs basic functions well – and that’s it – none of the additional bullshit and spyware that is so common in most download managers.

Anyhoo – Stealth puppy has an article on putting IE11 into IE9 compat mode to enable the use of FTM. A choice within the site would be nice….

May 27, 2014

XP/2003 clients cannot run logon scripts from 2012 R2 U1 servers

Filed under: Windows Server — hayesjupe @ 8:13 am

Recently we had a client who diligently updated their 2012 R2 DC’s to U1 as part of their normal patching cycle – and found afterwards that their 2003 servers were experiencing some “odd” behaviour.

After having a look, sure enough, networking was fine, RPC was fine, all services were fine, but when trying to connect to \netlogon, the error: “The specified network name is no longer available” was thrown.

A short amount of searching later, turned up this article:
http://workinghardinit.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/windows-xp-clients-cannot-execute-logon-scripts-against-a-windows-server-2012-r2-domain-controller-workaround/

Our experience of the issue was slightly different – in that it did not occur when the 2012 R2 DC’s were first upgraded, only when U1 was applied, in addition, the 2003 clients could connect to the file server which was running 2012 R2 (not u1) without any issues, but had trouble to any file shares on 2012 R2 u1 servers. It is also worth noting that all of these servers had been upgraded from 2008 R2/2012 – none were fresh builds.

The registry change documented in the article worked and all was good with the world. In this instance, the client only had a small number of servers still running 2003 – and this has given them a bit of a hurry up to sort out the apps on these servers.

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