Skype Lacks Win10 Love

Building out new Win10 machines on our network, specifically a master of masters in VMware’s esxi.  Probably this can happen in a bare-metal Win10 installation as well.  I haven’t tested it much beyond what you find here.

I tried installing Skype from the Web.  I suppose there are those who will whine I’m supposed to install it from the Windows Store (or however they have branded their store in Windows 10).  Regardless, since I want to ensure I am getting the full version (and not some stripped down Metro-we-don’t-call-it-that-anymore-and-besides-we-don’t-use-it-but-we-do version) I downloaded and installed from the usual executable.

I tried this and it failed.  I found myself caught in an installer loop.

12-10-2015_[1]
So exciting to get started…
12-10-2015_[2]
Fuck Skype Click to Call. Seriously, who does this?
12-10-2015_[3]
Oh, yes. Just what the doctor ordered. Not!
12-10-2015_[4]
The Moment of Truth
12-10-2015_[5]
This looks like the same installer?
12-10-2015_[6]
Yeah, every time…
Since I have not yet installed using the regular installer successfully, I cannot say whether this is by design.  Which is to say, perhaps Microsoft is attempting to force users to use the installer found in their store.  If this is the case, they are doing a lousy job of communicating this fact.  Regardless I was able to get an installer that worked.

Go get this one instead:  http://www.skype.com/go/getskype-msi

That will work.

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How the Application Experience Service Fux Firefox

I have been having this problem on a VM pool replica master.  Don’t worry about what that means if you are not familiar with machine pools (VMware); it’s not important.  The important part is that I was not able to save certain files I was downloading with Firefox to the Desktop.

The download process would proceed as expected up until the end of the download.  Then when Firefox would merge the two files of the download into the single file which was the actual downloaded file, it would fail.  Every time.

I tried running Firefox in its safe mode (no extensions).  Nada.

I tried using Revo Uninstaller to utterly remove all traces of Firefox (as IE, Chrome, and Opera did not have this issue) from the machine.  After rebooting and re-installing Firefox the problem persisted.

Eventually I found an obscure mention of a service called Application Experience.  If that service is disabled, this sort of thing can happen.  I checked my personal VM and found that this service was set to Manual.

So I changed that replica master to Manual and rebooted it.

No problem saving the 64 bit Java installer downloaded through Firefox to the Desktop.

It’s an odd connection.  Hope this helps you too.

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The New Disk Utility in El Capitan

Two steps forward, one step back.  Often in computing it’s a way of life.

There are a lot of new features in El Capitan and its related hardware.  If you want to learn about them you can find hordes of information in them Interwebz.  But if you are thinking something might be amiss, you’ll have difficulty slogging through the praises to locate the deficiencies.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Apple and Macs.  Well, I dislike them only as much as I dislike all computers and operating systems.  Same thing.  It’s just that Mac fans, greater than any other group of technology adherents, have the awesomest rose-colored glasses.

If you gander at this article on the latest version of Disk Utility, you will find much praise.

It made sense that repairing permissions on files for which OS X knew precisely what settings should be in place could fix random faults…. Even so, from all reports, permissions repairs had little real effect for years—it just made us feel better.

So here at work we support more than 200 Macs.  I can assure you that at least some of the time Repair Permissions does actually fix permissions and thus fix issues facing real users.  Yes, that gives me all the feels; but it does that by actually fixing problems.  It is not praiseworthy to remove such functionality.

Have the new security measures introduced in El Capitan removed the need for future permissions repairs?  This remains to be seen.  Nonetheless, it was doing good work.  Whether that work is now unnecessary is yet an open question.

What about Disk Repair?

Select a drive or a partition and click First Aid, and a seemingly much-changed repair operation proceeds.

It doesn’t just seem different.  It works differently and in at least one scenario fails utterly to repair the disk (presumably the partition table).

I used dd to copy a drive from an ssd to a thumb-drive of smaller capacity.  After dd finished it’s copy operation I checked the drive in GParted which reported no partitions.  This was likely due to the partition table including a partition-end beyond the end of the drive.  This is expected.  Just need to repair the partition table.  The drive booted as expected; all the data was good.

I attached that drive to an El Capitan machine and discovered the new Disk Utility.  Being that all the usual repair options were missing I ran First Aid.  That completed successfully.  Nothing was changed: GParted still reported no partitions.

I then attached the drive to a Yosemite machine and ran the old Disk Repair.  This also completed successfully.  The difference of course is that when I checked again using GParted the partitions were listed correctly.

In short, the Disk Utility on Yosemite was able to make the necessary repairs while the new Disk Utility on El Capitan was not.

I don’t know that the new Disk Utility will be of any use to IT professionals.  I recommend you keep a bootable Yosemite around in case you have need for these useful tools.

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UniFi Controller and Ubuntu

I bought a UniFi wireless access point.  Expensive but supposed to be about the nicest you can get for the money.  I have high hopes.

Anyway, I was a little worried about getting it set up using their software as so much of the talk was Windows centered.  I didn’t need to worry.

This article gave me the commands I needed to install the software and run it on Ubuntu natively.

First add this repository:

deb http://www.ubnt.com/downloads/unifi/debian stable ubiquiti

Then run these commands in sequence (make sure you are up to date before you begin).

##
#

# First get the key for the repository you just added
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv C0A52C50

# Update your repository lists and install unifi
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unifi

# Check to see unifi is running
sudo service unifi status

##

You are supposed to be able to visit https://:8443/ but I had to add localhost to the URL, so you may want to try this instead:

https://localhost:8443

When you first visit the controller, it will walk you through a basic set up process.  That’s pretty much it.

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YUMI and Clonezilla (and possibly others)

We use Clonezilla periodically.  I really like to use YUMI for creating a versatile thumbdrive capable of booting into several operating environments and various utilities (Clonezilla among them).

Recently I ran into troubles with my thumbdrive but only in relation to Clonezilla.  I do not know what caused the misalignment, but I was able to sort out the matter and I am placing a record of that here.

In short, I was getting a host of errors worded similar to this:

failed to load com32 file

It looks like a change was made at some point in the way syslinux functions, but I didn’t dig too deeply into that.  I have a friend who is using the same basic set up and his Clonezilla was working.  I checked his drive out and compared it to mine to see what I could see.

I didn’t see anything worth commenting but I did notice that these four files were in the root of the multiboot directory:

ldlinux.c32
libcom32.c32
libutil.c32
vesamenu.c32

These were also located in the syslinux folder in each of my Clonezilla folders (I have 32 and 64 bit versions installed).  I simply hid those files (in each Clonezilla’s syslinux folder) and it fixed the Clonezilla boot process.

ldlinux.c32.remove
libcom32.c32.remove
libutil.c32.remove
vesamenu.c32.remove

Hope that helps someone.

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File Sizes in Ubuntu

So you may find that you would like to sort out some file size information.  Of course you can access any directory (or file) and look at its properties using the file browser (Nautilus), but you may want to dig deeper or you may want to get a broader picture.

First, from the command line you can just list out the directory contents thus:

ls -alh /path/to/directory

This will give you file sizes and the number of items in each directory in human-readable numbers (MB or GB as it were).  You might also like to see how large directories are, and you can do that like so:

du -hcs /path/to/directory

If you are not so interested in the terminal, there are a couple of good GUI applications for sizing matters.  There is Disk Usage Analyzer (baobab from the terminal) and Graphical Disk Map (gdmap from the terminal).  Both are small and both are in the repositories and can be installed easily:

sudo apt-get install gdmap

sudo apt-get install baobab

Finally, to get an overview of all disk usage, I like the terminal command df:

df -h

This will list your partitions and their usage.  These ought to cover just about any size question you might care to have answered.

 

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Random Spamdom

Just a few entertaining spam messages we have received here.

Yes! Finally someone writes about tee inspector.

I don’t know why more people are not writing about tee inspectors.  I didn’t, but now I feel bad for not having done so.  Stay tuned for more tee inspector news.

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Who doesn’t want an apprentice?  Especially one into fantastic beats?  I’m game.

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The clearness in your post is just cool and i can assume you are an expert on this subject.
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with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the
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These words of encouragement bring tears to my eyes.  Of course you can grab my feed.  Unless that’s a euphemism for sex.  Then sorry, I’m taken.

Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted
to say that I have truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.
After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and
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I hope I write again soon too.

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Opera 32 on Ubuntu bookmarks page rendering issue

(This has subsequently been solved by an update to Opera.)

Having upgraded to the latest version of Opera (stable) on Ubuntu 14.04, I have encountered a seemingly insurmountable issue with rending the page for the bookmarks.  Possibly related to this, the bookmarks pop-up menu appears blank.

The menu is interesting because though it appears to be empty white space, you can click items in the menu if you can guess at their invisible locations.  Very much unusable but interesting nonetheless.

The bookmarks page (Show All Bookmarks) however is utterly useless.  It is true that one could make guess about locations of invisible items on the page, since the page is very much larger than the pop-up menu such guesses seem profoundly unlikely.

The bookmarks page itself… well, have a look.

Opera Bookmarks Rending  Issue
Opera Bookmarks Rending Issue

The echo is live on this top row (the echo repeats down the page but I only included the top here).  You can see that on the left I have clicked into the address bar, and the echoes have also highlighted the contents of their address bars.

Not sure what can be done at this point.  I am opening a thread over at the Opera forums.  I’ll keep you posted.

edit:

Looks like this is only an issue with the xorg (open source) driver.  If you are able to switch to a current proprietary driver you may be in good shape.

Change Video Driver
Change Video Driver

As you can see I am now using the most current NVIDIA proprietary driver and no longer using the X.org driver.

It’s also broken in other OS’s so there you have it.

Opera Forums

Hope this helps.

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Shortcut the Long Way ‘Round

Sometimes you want an application to start when you log into a machine.  In most new versions of Windows you can manage this within the Task Manager, there is a Startup tab.  However, in Windows 2012 R2 there is no such tab in the Task Manager.  Yet you may still wish for one.

Fear not; there is a solution.

If you want to add a startup item for the currently logged-on user only, use this command:

shell:Startup

If you’d like something to start for any user which logs in, then use this version instead:

shell:Common Startup

Now normally you can simply drag while holding the Alt key and when you drop you drop a shortcut in that location.  This is true even for the first version of this command above; if you drop into that folder while holding the Alt key, you drop a shortcut into that Startup folder.

However, the Common Startup folder is a dangerous and protected system folder.  You will not be able to create a shortcut in that folder.

And just where do you think you're going?
And just where do you think you’re going?

So I said Yes and then moved that into the Common Startup folder.  I had to confirm I wanted to do it, but it allowed the shortcut to be placed.

World’s smallest hack?  Go MS!

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PowerShelling Proper-like

We have started using some cool features in VMware’s Horizon infrastructure which enable us to remotely serve virtual applications.  These applications are being served from a Windows 2012 R2 server.  When install an application to participate in this infrastructure, you must use a special mode called (wait for it) /install, and when you are ready to serve those applications you switch back to the usual mode called (hold tight) /execute.  It’s a very simple PowerShell command.

change user /install

change user /execute

Problem was PowerShell informed me in no uncertain terms that I had to be an administrator to run them.

 

Who do you think you are?
Who do you think you are?

Only one issue: I am a member of the local Administrators group.

I pushed the turbo button on my brain and it thinked.  I right-clicked on the PowerShell icon and chose Run as Administrator.

Just a bad error message.  No worries here.

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