Friday 12 February 2010

Look, it's a wormhole!

I've just created a two-way connection between Posterous and Facebook. Not only will this post echo from Posterous to my page on Facebook, but if anybody comments on it, comments should be echoed back to my Posterous site. Which is kind of nifty.

For this magic to happen, i needed to create a custom domain (for reasons i don't know -- i would happily have used my regular Posterous URL) and a Facebook app. As a Learning Experience, that was okay, but i do fear that you'll need to accept yet another stupid Facebook application to be able to comment.

Anway, first commenter from Facebook gets grand kudos and ten brownie points!

How to figure out who runs your IIS process

I was asked the following, totally normal sysadmin question; will the Internet Information Service at a given server be allowed to write to a network-mapped folder. Whoa.

Had this been Linux, it would have been an easy one, but since it was Windows, it instead turned into a Valuable Learning Experience.

Through some creative googling and a wee bit of experimentation, here’s how, on a Windows 2003 or XP, using IIS 6.

First we need the Internet Information Services (or is it Server?) management interface.

·         Open Start menu à Administrative tools à IIS Manager

Then we need to know which Application Pool runs a given Web Site, marked relevant web site below:

·         Click your way: IIS Manager à server name à Web Sites à relevant web site [right-click] à Properties

·         Relevant Web Site Properties à Home Directory à Application Settings à Application Pool à Which Application Pool

On a one-site server, this may turn out to be default application pool DefaultAppPool. Oh if things were more exciting J

Now we’ll figure out who runs That Application Pool:

·         IIS Manager à server name à Application Pools à That Application Pool [right-click] à Properties.

·         ThatAppPool Properties à Identity à The Service Account You Are Looking For

Again, on a one-site server, it just might be Network Service. There is something in me that rings a small alert bell that this may not be the most secure of options. If some security guru knows better, please do leave a comment!

Alright, now we’ll need to check whether That Service Account has proper rights.

·         Open Windows Explorer on My Computer and right-click the folder you want to examine à Properties

·         From the Security Tab, click Advanced, and on the popped up dialog box, choose Effective Permissions

·         Press the Select button, fill in That Service Account and press Enter

The Effective Permissions will now be displayed.

Phew. Easy as algebra.

Friday 5 February 2010

Recovering from a bad Windows profile

Sometimes, Windows XP loses the user's profile and goes with a temporary profile instead which is just that, temporary. Any changes made to that profile -- like Outlook settings -- are lost with the next logout.

Here is a simple ten step process to get the profile back.

0. Reboot the computer. You'll see why in a minute.

1. Log in with Administrative priveleges (domain or local). If you're trying to recover your own profile and your own logon has admin priveleges, you need to take the longer route. You need to log in as somebody else than you're trying to restore. [0]

2. With Windows Explorer, navigate to C:Documents and Settings. From View » Options » Advanced [1], set the appropriate option to show hidden files and folders.

3. Make a backup copy the Problematic user's directory under Documents and Settings -- for this discussion, we shall call it C:Documents and SettingsProblematic or Problematic for short -- just in case. This is why you needed to reboot; if the user has been logged in since the last boot, there will be some files locked inside the Problematic directory.

4. Tricky time. Rename the hidden (and now made-visible) directory Default User into Default User Original. Rename the Problematic directory to Default User. [2]

5. Log out Administrator and ask Problematic to log in. Since Problematic does not have a profile, a new one is created using the data from Default User. This is not just magical, but doubly so, as the bad data isn't copied verbatim but used as profile fodder to create a new and altogether less Problematic user profile!

6. Log out Problematic (who know for the discussion really should be called something else :) and log in as an administrator.

7. Delete the "Problematic" Default User directory. Rename the Default User Original into Default User.

8. Log out. Feel smug.

OK, that was only nine steps so keep one in store for your next sysadmin magick. We both know you will both use and need it.

[0] In short, the longer router involves creating a new user and granting that user admin privs.
[1] OK, that isn't the exact path, but you'll find it. It's the second rightmost menu. I don't have an XP handy at the moment.
[2] You could probably achieve the same thing right clicking My computer > Properties > ... > User profiles and removing the offending profile, but this method includes recovering the b0rken profile itself. Do this for extra karma.

Wednesday 3 February 2010

S60 Profile Scheduler by Dr. Jukka

The Profile Scheduler by Dr. Jukka is such an insanely useful application that it's amazing the
feature of timed profiles isn't built into the S60 platform per
default. Profile Scheduler has become such a natural part of my normal
phone functionality that i can only vaguely remember the times when i
had to switch the phone on normal profile manually after having it
quiet over the night. Or remembering to switch it on night mode so i
don't have to hear the beeps when it starts or stops charging, or when
some id..ndividual decides to call or text me in the middle of the
night. Be noted: you are ignored.

The Profile Scheduler user interface may be a little confusing at
first contact, but it's really just simple: choose which profile to
switch to, which days and at what time. Press save. Repeat as
necessary. There are no separate "entry" and "exit" times, just a
single time when to switch and what to switch to. The other confusing
bit is that the application has an Exit button. Pressing it will only
exit the profile scheduling configuration interface; the profile
switching will still take place as scheduled.

A more complex scheduler might react to calendar events or cell towers
- and perhaps future Nokia phones will. Until then, i'll happily
support Dr Jukka with a buck for Profile Scheduler, even if there is
the no-cost unsigned version you can download, sign and install
yourself. I did that twice. This time i think both Jukka and i are
worth the paid version.

Tags: automation nokia s60 mobile profile scheduler