Monthly Archives: June 2013

Windows Password Expiration

When writing books I typically find myself needing to use Windows servers in various forms.  However, I don’t need the password to expire.  I always forget how to disable that, erm, feature.  So here it is.  Nothing groundbreaking here, just me writing it down so I can find it later.

For local password expiration:

gpedit.msc

Computer Configuration -> Windows Settings -> Security Settings -> Account Policies -> Password Policy | Maximum Password Age

For domain password expiration:

Group Policy tab is missing in Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) so I went about it like this (there’s probably a different way):

Open “Group Policy Management” from the Tools menu in Windows Server 2012.

Click on Default Domain Policy within the domain that you’re working on.  Ignore the warning, if it comes up.  Click on the Settings tab.  Drill down through Policies -> Windows Settings -> Security Settings -> Account Policies/Password Policy.  Right-click Maximum password age.  This will open Group Policy Management Editor.

Within Group Policy Management Editor:  Policies -> Windows Settings -> Security Settings -> Account Policies -> Password Policy.

Whew.

Possibly run gpupdate /force on clients.

Watch out that this doesn’t apply for domains:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;269236

The beauty of e-mail aliases and vanity domains

I use the braingia.org domain as my own personal domain (as you can see by visiting this site).  I also use it for e-mail.  When providing an e-mail address through an online form, I typically create an e-mail alias for that site.  Doing so enables me to track if that site sells my e-mail address or, as happened the last couple weeks, starts sending out a ton of advertising.  Just today I deleted two e-mail aliases because the sites have become more aggressive when trying to solicit their wares.  I won’t bother to mention the sites or companies; they did nothing wrong other than start sending out multiple e-mails per week.

Could I have unsubscribed?  Sure, probably, maybe?  It’s not clear that I would’ve received less garbage from them though and doing so would’ve required more time than simply deleting the e-mail aliases.

Lesson learned for me (and you):  Use e-mail aliases liberally when signing up for services or filling out forms.

Lesson learned for companies:  Stop sending so much junk mail.  You may really, really think that what you’re offering is important and, if you send just one more e-mail, I might come back to your site.  But get some self-control.  Sending out an e-mail every now and again is fine.  Sending multiple e-mails in the same week over the course of a couple weeks is too much.

iOS 7: First Impressions

After getting through some unexpected activation issues last night I spent some time with iOS 7 today and this evening.  First impression:  If this is the UI that Jony Ive designed then he should be fired and be sent to a deserted monochrome island.  There is simply not enough contrast for, well, anything in the UI. The tiles blend together and the new fonts don’t do anything to help the situation.

Everything seems to blend together, there’s no texture or feel for any of the buttons or any of the UI within apps.  It’s not even clear which way to slide to unlock – the arrow/slider is missing (or at least I can’t see it).  What is clear is that Apple has taken minimalist somewhat too far.  If this is an evolution in minimalist then I expect the next iteration will just be a blank white screen where you poke at the UI with the hope that it will do something.

For now, I’ve reverted back to iOS 6.  I’m sincerely hoping that this early beta doesn’t capture the true iOS 7 look and feel or user experience.  I hope I can write an update to this post later saying how wonderful iOS 7 is (and some of the features appear to be nice).  But for now, the UI needs fixing.  Tempted to file a bug about the UI…

Windows Activation Problems

I do a fair amount of writing involving Microsoft products.  As such I’m constantly re-installing Windows into virtual machines.  One of the items that catches me off guard is Windows activation with multi-activation keys (MAK) from Technet.  Here’s my friendly reminder on what needs to be done in order to activate when Windows indicates there’s an activation problem:

slmgr.vbs /ipk <WINDOWS KEY HERE>

Windows activation will work after that command completes successfully.

Update: Raspberry Pi Firewall

The firewall built on Raspbian with a Raspberry Pi has been running for a couple weeks, rather flawlessly I might add.  I’ve ordered additional Pi’s (Pis?) from Adafruit.  I’ve had great luck with Adafruit; shipping is quite fast (same day!) and their tutorials are good too.

The overall layout of the firewall includes a Plugable USB-Ethernet USB2-E100 adapter, a Cisco/Linksys USB200M, and the native ethernet port on the Raspberry Pi.  Rather than tax the native USB ports on the Pi I hooked up a Plugable USB2-HUB-AG7 7-port USB hub.  I also added a Cable Matters Active HDMI/VGA adapter for console access.  The console still had a blink so I added the following to /boot/config.txt on the Pi:

hdmi_group=1
hdmi_mode=1

Uncommenting those lines in the file removed the HDMI/VGA blink on the console and now all is well.

The total cost for the entire rig was a bit under $150.  While this is somewhat higher than I would’ve hoped, the savings will come from electricity usage (or lack thereof) with the Pi.  I hooked up a Kill-a-Watt to the entire rig (Ethernet adapters, Pi, HDMI/VGA adapter) and can predict that it will use between 4 and 4.5KwH per month.  The current KwH rate is about 12.5 cents, so it should cost less than 75 cents to run the firewall per month.  That’s much less than the server that it replaced.

Overall I’m happy with the performance of the Raspberry Pi thus far.  Next update will be for the Raspberry Pi phone server running asterisk.

Total Cost: $141.09

Raspberry Pi: $39.95

CY Raspberry Pi Case: $17.49

Power Adapter: $5.95

USB A to Micro B Cable: $3.95

USB2-E100: $13.95 (x2 if you don’t have a USB200M laying about) = $27.90

HDMI/VGA Adapter: $19.95

Power Adapter for HDMI/VGA Adapter: $5.95

Plugable 7 Port USB Hub: $19.95

Transcend 8GB Class 10 SDHC: $8.95