Monday, January 28, 2008

Vista client VPN to an ISA 2004 server

New technologies, new woes. I was having problems getting access to resources over the VPN. I solved half of them by unchecking the IPv6 checkbox for the VPN connection and then restarting the laptop. I also went ahead and explicitly set the connection type to PPTP and made sure it was using the remote server as the Default Gateway under the Advanced tab of the IPv4 settings. For the old XP boxes we used to unset that to keep down crap traffic through our network from remote users. It's still a little flaky sometimes with mapping drives, etc but at least now I can get to internal web servers and RDP.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Netflix Instant Viewer and XP 64 bit fun

It all started out innocous enough, go to netflix's site, download the client, and roll film. Needless to say, murphy's law kicked in. Netflix's module tried to upgrade media player to 11 and by default tries to load the 32 bit version. After that failed, then my browsers started randomly crashing during use.

So I upgraded the box to WMP 11 64 bit edition, then ran the netflix DRM reset program. C:\Program Files (x86)\Netflix\Netflix Movie Viewer\ResetDRM.exe
Then went back to the site and ran the installer again. It's still a little flaky but it's running now and I can now watch vids on the box.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Virgin Mobile Phone Activation Hell

So I've been trying to activate my wife's virgin mobile phone for two weeks now. She's had the service for a few years now and every year we upgrade the phone to a newer model. This year they've made it so if you activate with a customer service representative you have to pay $10. But if you do it online, it's free. So we tried the online route and the POS web server kept rejecting the ESN number. Call number one which took over 45 minutes consisted of confirming that it was indeed the right ESN and that we did have enough IQ to use the web page. Yet the end result was that yes they understood it was their fault but for them to fix it would cost $10 as the computer would not let them override. Thus began the email rant to customer service. After a few volleys they said they'd fix it for us for free. Followed by a few more emails confirming information, then followed by a "We're sorry, you'll have to call us to fix this". Thus began Call number 2. Talked to friendly advisor who came to the same unfrigginbelievable response. I decided it was time to escalate and asked for a supervisor. After 15 minutes on hold I was beginning to wonder if Sir Richard Branson himself had been roused to come and defend his company's honor. Unfortunately no, just some low level supervisor who came up with pretty much the same rubbish and added - "it shows the computer has automatically launched an investigation." To which I asked well hasn't it been generating errors for two weeks now? What's the difference now?
Yeah, it's only $10 but at this point it's just the principle. Any good customer service company has to provide a way to fix issues that are caused by their own systems or they are worthless.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

D630 wakes itself up - aka the haunted latitude

So I have a latitude D630 running Vista that works fine, falls asleep and wakes up okay, etc. But if you leave it sleeping for about 18 hours you can hear it try to wake itself up. So I checked the usual suspects in bios, wake on lan was off, system turn on timer off, etc. I finally found the culprit to be hibernate. The laptop is set for high performance power mode which by default sets hibernate to occur after the laptop has been 'sleeping' for 1080 minutes. And of course, there's no GUI option to turn off hibernate in Vista so back to the old trusty command line.

powercfg.exe /hibernate off

I don't use hybrid sleep mode or any of those fancy functions so turning this off saves me disk space and the peace of mind knowing that the laptop will not try to wake itself up at a bad time and choke to death in a laptop bag.

For more info on turning off hibernate and turning it back on -