Monday, March 30, 2009

The usefulness of my Windows Mobile Phone just went up by orders of magnitude…

Work provides me with a Windows Mobile phone. For the most part, I don’t find it overly useful. It syncs my Exchange Email, Contacts, Calendars, and Tasks except when ActiveSync decides to stop syncing for inexplicable reasons. It has the worst calculator I’ve ever seen on a phone. Website browsing is a horrendous experience. Adding useful applications is a costly exercise in futility. In alerts me endless to calendar reminders I’ve already dismissed in Outlook. The only useful things I’ve found for it our the Live Search application and SMS messaging, and SMS messaging is only useful because it has a full thumb keyboard and the cost for the data plan isn’t coming out of my pocket.

While listening to Windows Weekly Episode 100 Paul Thurrott (of SuperSite for Windows) fame mentioned a Windows Mobile application named WMWifiRouter that will turn your Windows Mobile device into a Wi-Fi router that uses your cellular data plan on your laptop or other Wi-Fi device without the need to pay extra to your provider to add the tethering option to your phone and data plan.

Sounds good. I’ve used PdaNet to do this in the past, but PdaNet requires software to be installed on the client side, and PdaNet requires a physical USB connection. No Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity between your computer and phone, and since it requires software on the client, PdaNet is Windows only.

WMWifiRouter allows connectivity via Wi-Fi, USB, and Bluetooth. In Wi-Fi mode, WMWifiRouter sets up an Ad-Hoc network.A slight downside for me as corporate Group Policy has Ad-Hoc mode disabled on wireless network connections. I tried with my iPod Touch and it worked no problem. That alone opens a whole new world of possibilities with the iPod Touch. I also tested it on a Mac Mini (stil in Wi-Fi Ad-Hoc mode) and it worked great.

Still trying to figure out if I can overwrite the lockout on Ad-Hoc networking on my Windows computer to test that...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

MacHeist Bundle 3

The headline is: Discover some amazing new software. Unleash new potential from your Mac. Support independent Mac developers. And make the world a better place.

For only $39 you up the 13 pieces of software that would normally sell for $626.75 to $975.70 if purchased individually, and 25% of your purchase goes to charity. Currently you get 10 pieces of software. The remaining 3 products are unlocked for others when MacHeist has met their charitable giving goals. For example, all customers will get BoinxTV when MacHeist has raised $400,000 is raised for charity.

I haven't played World of Goo yet, but I've heard enough good things that I'm willing to hand over my money.

The MacHeist webpage explains it all better than I can, so check it out.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Combining RSS feeds with Yahoo Pipes

Problem: I have multiple blogs, each with their own RSS feeds. Facebook only allows a single RSS feed to be imported into your Facebook profile. I wanted to get all of my personal RSS feeds to display on Facebook.

Solution: I probally could have written something in PHP and run it on my own webserver to make it work, or found an OSS package to do it. I asked for some feedback from an IRC geek hangout and was pointed to Yahoo Pipes.

Yahoo Pipes looked simple enough, so I gave it a shot and found it to be incredibly intuitive. Add a source to get the RSS feeds, add a sort operator to sort the RSS feeds by date just to be sure they appeared in the correct order, and then output. Volia, the EverythingAndyZib RSS Feed.

Now I just need to blog on a more regular basis.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Apple Computers in the Enterprise Environment: Almost There Part 3

Being the proactive kind of administrator, I created a great VB script that goes through my OUs and marks computer that haven't updated their password as disabled, and modifies the description of of the computer to show why it was disabled (Disabled after 90 days of inactivity.) The goal was to cleanup stale computer accounts, and it worked spledlidly.

Fast forward about a year, it's time to run the script again. This time around we've joined about 25 OS X 10.4 clients to Active Directory. The script disabled every, single, 10.4 computer object. Picture me pulling my hair out. Somewhere in the back of my mind I remember something:

Tiger (10.4) doesn't update it's computer password in AD, but Apple fixed this in Leopard (10.5).

Yeah I knew it, but slipped my mind completely. Argh. Eenable the accounts in ADUC and removed the scripts comments and all is fine.

Possible work around using Samba's net use command to update the password periodically. Need to try it on a test computer one of these days. Or just upgrade all the clients to Leopard, but that costs money.