Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Anything and Everything

OpenManage and iDrac

We migrated systems from one colocation to another and re-thought our entire VLAN structure. All IPMI/iDrac/iLO/out of band management was segmented off into another VLAN for easier support and DHCP enabled. Unfortunately our e-mail servers didn’t get the memo about the IP change; sure, their network cables were moved to the new VLAN, but the IP address was not changed to either that network or a DHCP enabled state.

We didn’t find out until this morning when we attempted to revive an email server that had fallen flat on its face. Lesson learned.

That being said, I had always changed iDrac settings on these servers via the BIOS or lifecycle controller. I didn’t want to reboot the box again just to set an out of band management interface, so what was I to do?


Anyway, here’s the brief list of commands you can run if you have Dell Open Manage installed on your computer (with a simple ADMIN cmd.exe window)
Get current configuration
racadm getniccfg

Set Static IPv4

Set Static IPv6

racadm setniccfg -d

Turn off or turn on the port
racadm setniccfg -o

Whole bunch of stuff here

Android Playstore

I have an android phone now for only the second (third) time in my life:
1.) working for an MSP they required me to have their phone and it was a terrible motorola piece of garbage
2.) I bought a freedompop Samsung SII which had a battery that would last ~2 hours and was terribly slow
3.) I bought another freedompop LG Optimus F3 which has an awesome (so far) battery and is iPhone4-or-iphone5-peppy

I’ve been on the iPhone since the 3G came out, so it’s still somewhat different for me.

During updates on the LG phone I noticed that it was rather difficult to install new applications; I’d have to play around with rebooting it, turning the wifi off and on, laughing at it, and singing songs just to get a new app to install. In the play store I saw that google maps was constantly “downloading” but never finishing. I tried to stop it, didn’t work.

A day later, and growing more weary of how slow it was to download apps, I googled.

btswein gave the answer:
“Clear the data and cache for google play”
Settings > Applications > All > Google Play > Clear data
or, on the LG
Settings > Apps > Google Play services (AND google play store) > Clear data

Then it magically worked much better! Thanks, guy.

Cord Cutting

So I “Cut the cord” back in 2013 after having ATT Uverse for a couple years. ATT had just informed me that my TV and internet rates would both be going up by a combined $30 a month, but that my internet speed had doubled (6Mbps up to a blazing 12Mbps)! Yay! So the service was cancelled.

An antenna was purchased from Crutchfield (Channel Master 4221HD)
While this antenna says “Mid-Range outdoor rooftop” I ended up just setting it up in the attic of the house and I get great signal strength (Channels 2 through 67+ all come in crystal clear)
I live roughly 30 miles away – line of sight – from the closest major city with broadcast towers
If I had a need (or more money) I probably would have settled on the Channel Master 4228HD for extended ranges
The antenna requires no power and I ended up re-using the existing coax run from the basement to the attic

Netflix and Amazon Prime apps on the TV. An AppleTV for connectivity to the mobile phones. Chromecast. XBMC (now Kodi) running on a raspberry pi is a major provider of entertainment as well.

The only complaint, after about a year of antenna TV, was the lack of a DVR function. I priced it out running MythTV/XBMC combo, but the cost of the computer in addition to the 30-35 watts of power used (about $3.50 a month in electricity) wasn’t ideal.

Then I read about the Channel Master DVR+ and was amazed! This is going to sound like a CM ad, but this is my experience so far.
I received the DVR+ and set it up with HDMI, power, and a wireless USB. I ran through the initial setup wizard and then updated the firmware. I could now pause live TV! But something was missing; it wasn’t automatically recording what I was watching so I couldn’t rewind. I grabbed an old laptop and a USB to SATA enclosure, did a little work, and then had a 250GB SATA drive external to the DVR+. After formatting all functionality was as it should be! $250 for this isn’t bad, although I had a USB wireless and external HD laying around already.

Cisco Callmanager CUCM LDAP Logs

So we had a working LDAP lookup system for our callmanager 8.x system up until very recently. What changed? We moved colocations and decided to decommission a few of the older domain controllers. No big deal, just point anything that had LDAP lookups to new DCs. Right?

So we noticed the callmanager was not populating any new employees. Hard to assign phones etc to them if that’s the case.

SSH to your CUCM box (our cucmadmin account was necessary)
I used putty.

List all logs, Take note of dates
file list activelog cm/trace/dirsync/log4j/ det date
The newest file should be on the bottom, looking like “dirsync0007.log” or similar

Open the log and see the errors
file tail activelog cm/trace/dirsync/log4j/dirsync00007.log
This will view the bottom part of the log (newest) live, so run a LDAP resync from the web interface of the CUCM and see results.
Unfortunately I had to wait the 10 minute timeout period to notice that it was looking at the old LDAP server despite the changes.

If I find out why it was still pointing to the old system I will update this post accordingly.

Cisco Callmanager Custom Ringtone

I’ve verified the steps work (with some deviation required) for CM 4.x through 8.x

As I have access to both Windows and Linux, I have directions that may utilize either one of these platforms.

Save your file as a .wav. I ended up using VLC Player to convert/stream to a .wav file.

On linux (with sox installed)
sox -t wav MYWAVEFILE.wav -t raw -r 8000 -U -b 8 -c 1 NEWFILE.raw resample -ql

Next steps are not well described, but I may expand them later.

Open your callmanager web page
Login on the OS Administration portal
Grab the ringtone.xml file (mine was in the / dir) (TFTP files)
Edit this based on your current ring tone files (follow along like a template)
Upload both the newly edited ringtone.xml and the ringtone.raw
Login on the Unified Serviceability portal
Tools > Services Feature
Restart the TFTP service

Check your phone and verify you can see the new ringtone. I found that certain models (7940) didn’t like ringtones longer than ~5 seconds whereas others (7945) were totally fine.

KMS Setup and Citrix XenDesktop

I might split this off since KMS doesn’t need Citrix and Citrix doesn’t need KMS. But for my environment I needed both.

I had installed a KMS server (Key Management Services server) for a recently-deployed Citrix XenDesktop environment. XenDesktop does NOT support MAK keys for the shared desktops (although it technically works), and instead lets me know to use KMS. KMS is really nice now that it’s working.

I actually ended up installing KMS on the WSUS server. Things I found out (my notes, take with a grain of salt since I haven’t gone back over it nor verified anything):


  • Server 2008R2 Installed and configured on an AD Domain (member server or domain controller OK)
  • Server 2008R2 KMS Key (VLSC site at Microsoft)
  • Client KMS Keys (see below)
  • Hypervisor (for XenDesktop VDI) – Hyper-V, VMWare ESXi, XenServer are all supported. I use XenServer 6.1 although 6.2 just came out.

Common Client KMS Setup Keys
Full List found here ( and

Windows 7 Professional
Windows 7 Enterprise
Windows 8 Professional
Windows 8.1 Professional
Windows 8 Enterprise
Windows 8.1 Enterprise
Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard
Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
Windows Server 2012 Standard
Windows Server 2012R2 Standard
Windows Server 2012 Datacenter
Windows Server 2012R2 Datacenter
Office Professional Plus 2010
Office Professional Plus 2013

Install And Activate Your KMS Server
Add the product key (your KMS key from the VLSC) on your server and activate with Microsoft. If you utilize the GUI you will receive an alert saying “Are you sure you want this to become a KMS Server in your environment?” I used the command line instead:
slmgr /ato
If you receive any errors, you will not be able to proceed much further.

You can also use the Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT).

KMS For Office Products
Download the Office 2010 KMS Host License Pack
And install/run the executable
The wizard will ask for your KMS key for Office – enter that.
To install a new Office Key, simply type:
ospp /inpkey:YOURKMSKEY
ospp /act

Verify KMS Is Working
You must have 5 or more SERVER clients or 25 or more CLIENT clients trying to activate. Every 6 months. The KMS activation is good for 180 days before it needs to re-register with your KMS server.
Command line find out the number of activations
slmgr /dlv
Your pop up will display the following key information: The KMS channel your server belongs to (B channel for me), License status, Current KMS count, and number of requests received.
There is a KMS Emulator that can artificially inflate your numbers on the KMS server:
KMSClient.exe 1688 Windows
KMSClient.exe 1688 Office2010
KMSClient.exe 1688 Office2012

Citrix – Initial Setup

  1. Create a new virtual guest – I ended up using Windows 7 SP1 x64 Enterprise (Pro for proof of concept, Ent for production use)
  2. Install all updates and software required on the base image. I ended up with the OS, Antivirus, Java, Flash, and Reader installed by default.
  3. Join this guest to the domain if applicable.
  4. Install the Virtual Desktop Agent – I ended up “sharing” the XenDesktop Installer CD from the primary DDC XenDesktop system (\\xendesktopserver\sharename)
  5. Shut down the VM by using the Desktop Agent – in my case I had a virtual private disk as well, so this is very necessary with all changes
  6. Take a snapshot of the VM – name it “PREARM”
  7. Start the VM back up and rearm the Activation Key
    slmgr /rearm

  8. Shut down the VM by using the Desktop Agent
  9. Take a second snapshot of the VM – name it “ARMED”
  10. Use this second image (“ARMED”) as the base for your XenDesktop rollout

Updating the Master Image

  1. Roll back to the snapshot “PREARM”
  2. Startup the VM
  3. Make any changes/updates
  4. Shut down the VM by using the Desktop Agent
  5. Delete the current “PREARM” snapshot
  6. Take a snapshot of the VM – name it “PREARM”
  7. Start the VM back up and rearm the Activation Key
    slmgr /rearm

  8. Shut down the VM by using the Desktop Agent
  9. Delete the current “ARMED” snapshot
  10. Take a second snapshot of the VM – name it “ARMED”
  11. Use this second image (“ARMED”) as the base for your XenDesktop rollout

I couldn’t get my office 2010 laptop to activate against the KMS host. I verified that the DNS entry was added:
nslookup -type=srv _vlmcs._tcp

Port 1688

The eventviewer showed “The client has sent an activation request to the key management service machine” along with “0xC0020017, 0X00000000,”
That’s why!! Localhost my arse.

You can change this by setting the host:
Open a command prompt with admin privs
cd\program files\microsoft office\office14 (or 15)
cscript ospp.vbs /sethst:YOURSERVER_FQDN.domain.tld
Then activate
cscript ospp.vbs /act

To set this back to default:
cscript ospp.vbs /remhst

To change the key:
cscript ospp.vbs /inpkey:YOURKEYHERE

Remote key:
cscript ospp.vbs /inpkey:KEY COMPUTERNAME
cscript ospp.vbs /act COMPUTERNAME

NON-Domain Systems KMS Activation
cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /skms FQDN_OF_KMS_SERVER:port
cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /skms IPADDRESS_OF_KMS:port

Fog, Windows 7, Sysprep

Back in the day (I’m starting to feel old now) I setup a Ghost server with PXE booting. It was a pretty nice setup; a Dell PE2550 with 4x144GB SCSI (~385GB usable), 24port gigabit switch, and enough desk space – and power – to handle 16 laptops or 22 desktops at a time. It took 2 of us about 3 weeks to get the workspace setup, and another 3 weeks to get the Ghost server and PXE working. And then there was always the issue of updating the drivers on the PXE image without breaking anything else. Basically crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.

That was five years ago.

Looking back on my previous experiences I can definitely say I’ve grown and become more knowledgeable. Back then, when I had researched a solution, I just googled for “imaging software server” or something similar. Working for a computer reseller meant that I had access to NFR copies of quite a bit of software, so management decided that we should go with Ghost. I hadn’t even begun to research into FOG yet.

Fast forward the five (almost 6 now) years, and I know to look into server software that supports all operating systems, supports multicast, and is fairly intuitive to setup. Enter FOG.

I like to install the latest and greatest, but in this case I had some issues that I didn’t feel like resolving when I tried to use FOG with 12.04LTS. Instead I opted to use 10.04LTS. It’s an internal server, so the patching levels are not generally as critical. I also installed this on a production network – there are 7 VLANS, active directory and windows DNS/DHCP, cisco switches. IP helper has already been set on the switches for DHCP. The active directory environment is 2008R2.

Install Ubuntu 10.04LTS x32 – I gave it a single 2.4GHz Xeon core, 512MB RAM, and 120GB partition. Installed with LAMP (no mysql password), SSH, and Mail.
Change the Root Password
sudo passwd root
Login As Root
Update the system
apt-get update && dist-upgrade

Install FOG – version 0.32 at the time of this writing
mkdir -p /opt/fog-setup
cd /opt/fog-setup
tar -xvzf fog*
cd fog*
cd bin
The wizard now starts.
I chose the following:
“N” normal installation IP Address of FOG
“Y” to setup a router/DHCP address IP address of DHCP server
“Y” to DNS IP address of DNS
“N” eth0 is fine by me
“N” I already have DHCP
“N” I’m not international
“Y” looks good; set it up
Make sure you read! If you have a password setup on mysql you must adjust the configuration files accordingly (opt/fog/service/etc/config.php)
I ended up rebooting the server just in case.

Edit the Windows DHCP Options
I have 7 different DHCP scopes (one for each of the VLANs I had), so your settings may be different. Instead of making the options change per scope, I performed the task in the Server Options area.
Right-click and select “Configure Options”
Select 066 and set the value to your FOG server IP address
Select 067 and set the value to pxelinux.0

At this point you should be able to connect to your PXE FOG server – set a test workstation/laptop to boot PXE (Dell’s have F12 for this), and connect via your network interface.

SYSPREP coming soon