If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy
James Madison (American 4th US President (1809-17), and one of the founding fathers of his country. 1751-1836)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Vista SP1 is finally out!

Well is finally here...Vista SP1. So, does this mean there will be a mass exodus to Vista...hrm? Probably not. I now when Vista first came out there were A LOT of folks that said they would hold out until SP1 came out and any post deployment bugs worked out. I was one of them, but unlike the die hard hold outs I did upgrade and to be previous negative reviews were in fact related to adopting Vista while those post deployment bugs existed. Seems pretty stable now...and I am actually looking forward to upgrading to SP1.

Prior to upgrading you will have to remove the previous SP1 Betas and Release Candidates (RC1/build 6001/KB936330). I will detail the RC removal as that is what I have and can't speak for the betas. You can do this the automated way via "Programs and Features" removal or you can go the manual route via the command prompt.

Automated: Start->Control Panel->Programs and Features->View Installed Updates then uninstall "windows vista service pack - KB936330".

type "cmd" in the Search box under the Start menu and right-click selecting "Run as administrator" from the contextual menu that will pop up. Identify the build number of your previous Vista SP1 installation and put in the following command: "start /w pkgmgr /up: VistaSP1-KB936330~31bf3856ad364e35~x86~~6.0.0.". This is obviously valid for 32-bit machines. On 64-bit computers replace "x86" with "amd64". For confirmation enter "winver" and press Enter in the Run dialog box.

On a side note...if you do plan to upgrade to Vista...GO FOR THE X64 VERSION. It really doesn't make any sense to upgrade to the 32-bit version at this point...go for the version with room to grow...X64.

UPDATE:: Be ready for this SP1 update to take an hour to install from start to finish. Hopefully you will get this bad boy via automatic updates and don't have to wait.


Vista SP1 x32 (32-bit)

Vista SP1 x64 (64-bit)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Faster DNS...and FREE!

I am sure a majority of folks that were keen on reading something about DNS already know about OpenDNS...from which these two IP's have become famous:

OpenDNS is a freakin' great site if you need to block Adult Content, Phishing Sites, a large DNS Cache, and a means for more customization once you sign up for an account. I actually have set this service up for many people and can't say enough about it if you need content blocking and more security.

However, I don't care about all that...I want DNS Servers somewhat faster but more importantly reliably faster than the ones that are provided by Comcast. That is when I found the following list of free DNS Servers:
Service provider:
Public Name server IP address:

It turns out that is a DNS Service of Verizon that like OpenDNS finds the nearest city to ones location and will use that Server. I have found a slight speed advantage in these 4.2.2x Servers over OpenDNS, but you be the judge. Thanks!

DD-WRT - Open up your router...

I can't give this router firmware enough just rules and is always getting better through the development team over at .

On my lowly WHR-G54S it has turned this $40 router into something quite a bit more impressive. Using the one that I do have as a Client Bridge at one point to a Repeater Bridge at another. I have also upped the capabilities and reliability of my Linksys WRT-150N to a router that for one doesn't lose the wireless connection every 15 minutes like the stock Linksys firmware well as making it a more secure and tweakable unit.

Hit up their site...and by all means check out their Wiki page to see exactly what this firmware can do for you router. FanBoy moment is over :P

Just an FYI...DD-WRT has inspired me to try my hand at a PC based LAN/Wireless router...I will let you know how that goes!?!

Various Vista commands for TCP settings

At the moment none of the TCP tools out there (TCP Optimizer, DrTCP, etc...) will do jack squat on Vista. Vista takes care of all these settings automatically, well dynamically, and the jury is out on whether this is a hinderence or helpful...I hate it. I would rather have more control of MY system. However here are some commands you can run if you want to play with them, but from are better off sticking to what Microsoft feeds you as there was not a noticeable difference in performance after doing these settings.

You need to run and elevated command prompt. Click Start > All Programs > Accessories, right-click Command Prompt and Run as administrator, Allow it to have administrator privileges, otherwise these commands won't work.

To disable TCP/IP autotunning, in "Elevated" Command Prompt type:

netsh interface tcp set global autotuning=disabled
netsh interface tcp set global rss=disabled

To check that it is dsabled:

netsh interface tcp show global

To set back to the default Windows Vista behavior:

netsh interface tcp set global autotuning=normal
netsh interface tcp set global rss=enable

Manually setting the MTU:
Then type/copy & paste the following command:
netsh interface ipv4 set subinterface "Local Area Connection" mtu=1200 store=persistent
netsh interface ipv4 set subinterface "Wireless Network Connection" mtu=1200 store=persistent

Where xxxx = the MTU that you want. Rebooting isn't required. "Local Area Connection" is a common name for the interface if you use a NIC for connectivity. A wireless NIC may be called "Wireless Network Connection". If unsure, the network status icon by the clock will tell you.

If you have a router, ensure that the MTU is set to the MTU chosen here (refer to your router's manual).

Misc other commands:
netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled
netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=Normal (To activate it again)
netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=experimental (crazy settings)

netsh interface tcp set global congestionprovider=ctcp
netsh interface tcp set global congestionprovider=none

netsh interface tcp set global ecncapability=enabled

Find your MTU...

For those of you out there who want to find your optimal MTU...check it:

MTU Ping Test
A series of ping tests using the command, ping -f -l xxxx, where xxxx is the packet size, can be used to determine the optimal MTU for your connection.

1. Go to Start and select Run.
2. Type in cmd (Windows 2000/XP) or command (Windows 98/ME) into the Open: field. Hit the enter key or click OK. The DOS prompt should open.

3. At the DOS prompt, type in ping -f -l 1492 and hit the Enter key.

4. Note the results above indicate that the packet needs to be fragmented. Lower the size the packet in increments of +/-10 (e.g. 1472, 1462, 1440, 1400) until you have a packet size that does not fragment.

5. Begin increasing the packet size from this number in small increments until you find the largest size that does not fragment. Add 28 to that number (IP/ICMP headers) to get the optimal MTU setting. For example, if the largest packet size from ping tests is 1462, add 28 to 1462 to get a total of 1490 which is the optimal MTU setting.

6. Change the MTU using DrTCP or editing the registry. See MTU Settings for further information.

Handy way to reset a Mac password

I have no idea if this still works on the newer models of the Mac Laptops, but it sure came in handy a few times over the last few weeks with a few friends. This method is all over the web, but for my own purposes I will post it here as the method that works best for me:

1. Click Restart at the login window
2. While the computer is restarting, hold down "Command-S" until you see text scrolling through the window. This boots the computer into single user mode.
3. At the Localhost% prompt type:
/sbin/mount -uw /
You will then see various services starting up.
4. When the Localhost% prompt reappears, type:
passwd root
It will then ask you to type the new root password twice, so do so.
5. After entering the new password, type:

1. First, you'll need to reboot into single-user mode. This boots your Mac into a text-only mode (you might be familiar with this experience if you've ever had to run fsck). You'll see instructions on how to run the file system check -- fsck -- and then a command prompt. Enter the command mount -uw / so that we can make changes to the disk.
2. Next, you need to be able to make changes to the users' accounts on your Mac in order to reset your password, and we'll do that with NetInfo. Start NetInfo by typing Systemstarter. You'll see a pile of messages appearing, which might seem familiar to you if you've ever watched the startup progress bar. When you see the message System started. and a stationary cursor, hit Return. You'll see the shell prompt appear again.
3. Now that NetInfo is running, we can change our lost password. If you don't know the short username for your account (for example, 'jane' instead of 'Jane Doe'), you'll need that - enter the command niutil -list . /users and hit Return, to see the names of the accounts on your Mac.
4. Now that you know the name of the account you want to use, enter the command passwd user -- where user is the short name of the account you're changing. You'll be told that you're changing the password for user and asked to enter it twice. Do this, being careful with your typing: you won't see the characters you're typing, or stars. Watch that Caps Lock key, while you're at it.
5. Now type reboot and press Return once more to reboot your Mac. You should now have no problem logging in.

HOWTO: Reset a lost OS X password
I've you've forgotten your Mac's admin account password, don't worry. Assuming you haven't locked out OpenFirmware, it's a pretty simple task to change your password back to something you know.
Here's how:
* Hold Apple+S when booting to enter single user mode
* #sh /etc/rc
* #passwd yourusername
* #reboot
If you can't recall your user name, you can either look in the /Users folder (the directories are named by user), or run "niutil -list . /users".
Also, on older systems the /etc/rc script isn't available, apparently. If that second step fails, try mounting and starting the base services manually:
* #/sbin/fsck -y
* #/sbin/mount -uw /
* #/sbin/SystemStarter
I've had to do this a couple of times for friends when they've bought a second hand machine, and once when I had a momentary brain lapse and forgot my own password. Works like a charm, though you'll loose any passwords stored in your keychain.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Battlefield 2142 won't load? Try this!

If when you try to load a map from one of the many BF2142 (Battlefield 2142) servers and find that it will only load half to 3 quarters of the way and hangs. Go to the drive you installed it to usually c:\Program FIles\Electronic Arts\Battlefield 2142 and make sure all hidden files are showing (from explorer...TOOLS->FOlder Options->View tab->check show hidden files) then delete the file called radial.cdb. Enjoy the gaming again!