Monthly Archives: March 2010

Setting up the Internet CS:S Server

This was very helpful information:

Call this entry CSS1

it should be like so

Check the enable box
Service name: CSS1
Incoming ports: 27020 – 27039
Destination IP Address: “Your Internal IP here, for example”
*Destination ports: 27020 – 27039
Port type: Check TCP

Press submit

Now we need to create another, this time call it CSS2:

Check the enable box
Service name: CSS2
Incoming ports: 1200 – 1200
Destination IP Address: “Your Internal IP here, for example”
*Destination ports: 1200 – 1200
Port type: Check UDP

Press submit

Now we must make a final one, we will call it CSS3:

Check the enable box
Service name: CSS3
Incoming ports: 27000 – 27015
Destination IP Address: “Your Internal IP here, for example”
*Destination ports: 27000 – 27015
Port type: Check UDP

Courtesy of FPSBanana, a site that seems to live on in Google’s cache.

Server config generator is here…

The server is up, by the way 🙂


An adventure in storage expansion

In this great age of rapidly expanding storage, I’ve decided to stop throwing things away in a digital sense.  We are talking storage that is under $0.07 per gigabyte.  This means that each 3.5 megabyte picture I retain costs $0.00002.  Someday the real issue will be keeping track of these things, but that is a separate discussion.

First up, the fun part of this post.


Before, 1.59TB of available space


After, 2.96 TB of available space

One 1.5TB just doubled the storage capacity of my Windows Home Server.   When I put the 750 GB and 1TB drive in there, those were the $100 drives of the time.  The 1.5TB drive cost $102 shipped.

Now, here is the complicated part.  They (the hard drive industry as a whole) are changing how the data is laid out on hard drives that is not very compatible with Windows XP and Server 2003 (which is what WHS is based on.)  There are a number of technological issues at stake here that a number of sources like Ars Technica have covered this in depth so I will spare you that.  Basically, you get bad performance with the new drives on old operating systems – and WHS is effected.

What do you need to do?  Well, you basically have two options.  On most drives, there will be jumpers on there like there were on hard drives for a long time that limited their capacity to 2GB for 16 bit file systems that will fake out the operating system.  The caveat?  You can only have one partition per drive.  If you read the above article, you’ll know that this is intended for big drives, so you’ll be committed to something like a 2TB C: drive if you go that route, which is pretty ugly.

The second option is to use software to “realign” the partition after it has been created which allows for whatever layout you want.  The caveat here?  You could lose your data and any time you redo a partition you are going to be using this software.

Being the idiot I am, I didn’t use the jumper to fake out the operating system and I promptly put data on the drive by adding into the WHS storage pool (which you have to do to get the partition created that you can later realign.)  I tried to go back in and save myself with the bootable software, but this dropped the 1.5TB drive out of the pool and corrupted all my PC backups.  Then I shut it all down and did the jumper thing, which also made WHS freak out until I told it I really wanted to drop the drive out of the pool permanently and added it back in again.

Moral of the story – I wasted about three hours of my life and lost about 300GB of PC backups because I didn’t take time to set the jumper first.  If you are buying a hard drive for WHS or XP in the next few months, you are going to need to be aware of this issue.  Trust me, the jumper is easier and apparently neccessary with WHS as covered in the forums over at


Wow… Record labels hit with reality…

It is pretty common knowledge these days that when the sales of your widget go down, it is likely due to lower demand.  With lower demand, typically prices drop in order to capture more of the market who would buy your widgets if they only cost less .   To, you know, drive up demand to make sure you keep making money.

If you sell music or theaters tickets, you are evidently exempt from this rule,  the equivalent of defying gravity.

Well, it appears at least some of the record companies have realized the folly of this and are actually lowering prices to spur demand.  According to one study talked about in that article the link leads to, lowering prices to $10 ($9.99, to fool us) upped demand by 100%  I guess if you defy gravity long enough, coasting back down the hill is easy and in the short term should be very profitable.  While its only Universal at this time, you can see that they represent many popular artists and it is likely the other big music labels will follow suit.

With any luck at all this will quiet the claims that piracy is destroying the music industry.  If this is successful, we’ll all know it was just idiotic pricing practices as many of us have theorized all along.


Fear of Technology

I think it is pretty interesting, sitting in my graduate classes in which we have readings about how technology fears in the past came to nothing, people right now are chatting about the evils of new technologies.

For instance, it was once thought that reading too much stressed the brain and “learning too much” could lead to insanity and infirmity of the mind.  A few generations later, there was fear about how radio was cheating those used to reading, that the value of information passed on by the radio was inherently less valuable than what you learned from reading.  A generation later, TV was corrupting “family radio” time… now no one seems to be bemoaning the impact of the Internet, texting, etc. on our TV consumption, but the current fear is how constant stimulation from ipods, Facebook, etc. is corrupting the current generation.

Let’s face it – history says we’ll likely be OK.  This sharing of information and shrinkage of the world is part of the human evolution…  we should be responsible enough to recognize the symptoms of addiction in those around us and step up to the challenge of being a good friend for family member, but that again is nothing new.    Studies have shown that while things might be changing, it likely isn’t for the worse.  If it can be argued that not all change is good, then it follows that not all change is bad.  There are several studies out there showing that while TV does in fact have some negative impacts, computer is largely positive.  Exercise your brain and find them yourself!

Welcome to the digital age.

Hey, put down your phone, I’m talking to you!  🙂


Happy Birthday Me!

Well, 26 years in…

Today should be a great if gloomy day.  The day started a little after midnight when I turned in an assignment for class… that’s a weight off my shoulders.  Of course it was late, you don’t even need to ask 🙂  Meeting my dad for supper tonight, I suppose I should fill him in on those plans soon!  It is pretty cool that he is up here anyway, glad the stars could align for this week.  After that Kristin, Rick and I are heading back to Blaine to chill out and enjoy the evening.  Just have to make it through the day!  20 minutes until lunch time and an episode of Reaper…

It is also pretty cool watching my Facebook page get hit with a wave of well wishing.  There is a least one good reason to have a Facebook profile!


Pandora, how have I ignored you for so long? – the awesome streaming radio site that is free.

A while back I had tried it out but wasn’t too happy with what I was hearing… it uses a system where you give “thumbs up” to music you like and likewise a “thumbs down” to music you don’t like.  I was finding that I wasn’t hearing anything that I didn’t already have in my collection or heard way too many times on the radio.  So I stopped using it until just a few weeks ago.

I decided to try to a whole new genre compared to what I already listened to.  Say what you want, but I get a kick out of the Lady Gaga “Bad Romance” and I have listened to pop music, well, ever, so I thought it would be a good way to hear some of the hits I had likely missed out on.  So, I fired up Pandora, started a station with that song and proceded to thumb up everything I liked on that station.

That’s the wrong way to do it.  The station quickly lost its focus from pop dance beats into something more resembling a pop variety station.  Fed up with that, I decided to move back to my Metallica channel to see if I could salvage it.  I undid all my previous ratings and saved the “thumbs up” for only the stuff I really liked.  Evntually it happened upon some Iced Earth, which is great… Hammerfall, which I also really enjoy.  My Metallica station has morphed into a late nineties to current thrash/power metal station (artists like Dream Evil, Testament and Dragon Fire) with some Anthrax, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest thrown in for good measure.  Giving death metal genre songs a couple thumbs down and the consistentcy of quality has been great and I keep getting introduced to new bands.

Thanks Pandora =)  I am actually thinking of buying a premium account for the ad removal and the higher bit rate music.  I don’t know if that works with all of the set top boxes, like the Roku, that act as Pandora receivers for your more typical home stereo, but I am hopeful…

Check out Pandora if you haven’t yet, it is a great way to enjoy a lot of free music.


Tasty Chicken Caserole

When we were in Iowa last weekend, we had the great fortune of sitting down for Sunday supper with my parents, my Grandma Dorothy and Grandpa Ben.  It was tasty of course and there were of course leftovers.  Kristin and I packed up some buns and Grandpa Ben’s chicken and headed north.  During the week we had a couple chicken sandwiches and exhausted the bun supply.  We were left with a fair amount of chicken, so we looked online for a chicken casserole recipe that didn’t contain peas by default (Kristin doesn’t like them.)  Here is what we found:

Chicken Noodle Casserole

Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 8 ounces egg noodles, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup butter (8 ounces)
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms, about 4 ounces
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup pimiento, chopped (2 ounce jar, drained)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups cooked diced chicken
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Cook noodles according to package directions and drain. In large skillet, melt butter in a large skillet over low heat; sauté mushrooms. Blend in flour, stirring until smooth. Gradually add broth, milk, pimiento, salt and pepper, stirring constantly until sauce is thickened. In a buttered 2 1/2-quart casserole, combine noodles, chicken and sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top. Bake chicken noodle casserole 20 to 25 minutes in a preheated 350° oven.

What we did:

Instead of using egg noodles we used a random 12 oz box of pasta and put some aside after cooking it up.  Egg noodles aren’t exactly the healthiest.  We also just used enough butter to saute the mushrooms, we didn’t go all out as the recipe calls for.  The Pimeintos were found near the olives in the grocery store.  They added a little flavor but where also a nice way to add color to the dish as they are bright red.

It was really quite a tasty way to use up some leftovers.


OVF Exports from VMware Products

An OVF is a portable container for VMs that allows for easy import into a virtualization platform, like the VMware suite of products.

It seems like a no-brainer task to make one, you just highlight the VM in vCenter, click on file –> export, easy peasy.

This process is slow, prone to error and isn’t very flexible.  There is a very elegant, if non-gui centric way of accomplishing this seemingly easy task.

OVF Tool

It is a great little command utility that takes a couple arguments (target, destination) and out comes a VM or OVF/OVA file.   It is supported under Windows and Linux and provides reliable functionality for your OVF import/export needs.

Tool Syntax:

c:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware OVF Tool>ovftool –help examples
Source Locator Examples:



vi://username:pass@localhost/my_datacenter/vm/    \

Destination Locator Examples:



vi://username:pass@localhost/my_datacenter/host/    \
vi://username:pass@localhost/my_datacenter/host/    \

Note: the /host/ and /Resources/ part of the above inventory path are fixed and must be specified when using a vi destination locator.  The /Resources/ part is only used when specifying a resource pool.


ovftool -tt=vmx c:\ovfs\my_vapp.ovf c:\vms\
(.ovf file to .vmx file. Result files will
be: c:\vms\my_vapp\my_vapp.[vmx|vmdk])

ovftool c:\vms\my_vm.vmx c:\ovfs\my_vapp.ovf
(.vmx file to .ovf file. Result files will be c:\ovfs\my_vapp.[ovf|vmdk])

ovftool http://my_ovf_server/ovfs/my_vapp.ova c:\vms\my_vm.vmx
(.ova file to .vmx file)

ovftool c:\ovfs\my_vapp.ovf vi://username:pass@my_esx_host
(.ovf file to ESX host using default mappings)

ovftool c:\ovfs\my_vm.vmx vi://username:pass@my_esx_host
(.vmx file to ESX host using default mappings)

ovftool https://my_ovf_server/ovfs/my_vapp.ovf \
(.ovf file from a web server to ESX host using defaults)

ovftool c:\ovfs\my_vapp.ovf \
(.ovf file to vCenter server using managed ESX host ip address)

ovftool “vi://username:pass@my_vc_server/my_datacenter?ds=\
[Storage1] foo/foo.vmx” c:\ovfs\
(VM on ESX/vCenter server to OVF using datastore location query)

ovftool c:\ovfs\my_vapp.ovf \
(.ovf file to vCenter server using vCenter inventory path)

ovftool vi://username:pass@my_host/my_datacenter/vm/my_vm_folder/my_vm_name \
(VC/ESX vm to .ovf file)

ovftool https://my_ovflib/vm/my_vapp.ovf
(shows summary information about the OVF package [probe mode])

\End Tool Syntax

The syntax for this tool is grueling.  I started out trying to a do a datastore query export and gave up, I ended up using the folder method.  It took me *36* attempts to get it to work.  You can view the folder structure by looking at the VM and Template view in vCenter.  The syntax is case sensitive and you need the “quotes” for when you have a open space in the command, much like other command line entries.  Also, the “\” in the examples seems to be VMwares way of saying you need a space there, putting that in the actual line throws an error.

Good luck!