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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Games – Only 12 hours left on the Humble Origin Bundle – give to charity and get great games

A new Humble Bundle, the Humble Origin Bundle has been available for a while and will be over in 12 hours. don’t miss out on the great games.

This is a way to give to charity and get great games (or the other way around). Basically you can determine how much you give and you can even specify who should receive which amount of your donation. You can read more about the concept and other bundles in a previous blog post.

It’s also good to note that ALL proceedings will be going to charity. Even though Electronic Arts (EA) has been criticized a lot in the past, this is a great thing they’re doing.

The Humble Origin Bundle

The Humble Origin Bundle contains the following steam redeemable games:

  • Dead Space
  • Crysis 2 Maximum Edition
  • Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box
  • Medal of Honor
  • Mirror’s Edge
  • The Sims 3 (along with two expansion packs in The Sims 3 Starter Pack)
  • Battlefield 3
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 – Uprising
  • Populous

To give you an idea what these games look like, take a look at this YouTube video:

Make sure to visit the website and don’t wait too long:
https://www.humblebundle.com/

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Posted by on August 28, 2013 in Entertainment, Games

 

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TechNet subscriptions will be retired, last week to get or renew a subscription.

As you might have already read by now in my previous post, TechNet subscriptions are going to disappear. For more info take a look at this blog post and the Subscriptions retirement FAQ.

This is just a reminder that you have until August 31 to buy a last year of technet.

You might also want to backup existing keys and files:
http://www.zdnet.com/five-things-every-technet-subscriber-needs-to-do-before-time-runs-out-7000017687/

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2013 in Network, Windows 2012

 

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Games – My Portal 2 map

 

Ever since Half-Life on the PC came out in 1998 I’ve been a big fan of the Valve franchises Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Left4Dead, Portal, Team Fortress and DOTA.

In my opinion, Valve is also the best game company in the world. I feel this way because:

  1. They created a lot of great game franchises and keep actively supporting it for a long time.
  2. They created the best PC gaming platform Steam and are continuously improving it.
  3. They provide the community with free tools that can be used to easily create, share and find user generated content like maps, mods and other content. Because of this you can keep playing your already existing games with new content. There is also a lot of user generated content because these users get a large share of the money earned from it.
  4. The Free-To-Play (F2P) games Team Fortress 2 and DOTA are done properly, they aren’t pay-to-win (P2W).

So when Valve released the level editor for Portal 2 about a year ago, I couldn’t wait to create my own level. Even though the level editor is really straightforward and simple, it took me quite a while to create the level (mainly to test and prevent players from taking unintended shortcuts).

To map I created is called “TAG recruits survival test” and is a tribute to my old Half-Life Deathmatch clan called The Assassins Guild (TAG). To give you an idea of the map I uploaded a quick tour video to YouTube:
The map can be downloaded from steam: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=72096196.If you’ve played my map, please leave a comment.

I really liked making the map, but because it takes a lot of time I don’t know if and when I’ll make a new map. Luckily many other people have been creating content and at the time of writing 263,886 maps have already been created. My friend Bart Fuchs also made a map you might want to check out called: cubed laser.

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2013 in Entertainment, Games, Portal 2

 

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LazyWinAdmin – a great powershell script for more efficient Windows management

The last couple of months I’ve been playing around a lot with PowerShell and I’ve also been trying to make some nice GUI versions for my script using PowerShell Studio 2012 from Sapien Technologies Inc. While looking for more information how to best use PowerShell Studio 2012 I came across LazyWinAdmin.

LazyWinAdmin is a great tool created by Francois-Xavier C that will save you a lot of time. It provides you with most of the commonly used tools and commands in a very structured and easy to access way. In the picture below you can see what I mean.

For more info on the tool, take a look at the website and be sure to download and test it yourself.

If you want to take a look at other useful tools I’ve found in the past, take a look at my applications list.

 
 

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Sample ICT troubleshooting process flowchart

Troubleshooting can be very difficult and there are many different approaches and personal preferences. Also the chosen approach can even differ based on the situation.

Even though there is no troubleshooting process that is  best in all situations, it is considered a good practice to troubleshoot in a structured manner.

This is why I’ve created a sample ICT troubleshooting flowchart in Visio for companies that:

  • Have separate dedicated management teams for various IT disciplines like Windows, Linux/Unix, Database, Backup, Storage, Virtualization and Applications.
    • Have both offshore and onshore IT personnel where all tickets are initially routed to the offshore team.
  • Uses a ticketing system:
    • To log events, incidents, changes, problems, etc.
    • To route tickets to various disciplines.
  • Use a CMDB.
  • Use a change calendar.

Keep in mind that this is a sample troubleshooting flowchart that was only created to provide some structure or inspiration for troubleshooting.

I hope it is useful. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please leave a message.

PS: If you don’t have Visio, you can download Microsoft Visio Viewer 2013 from Microsoft.

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2013 in ICT, Microsoft

 

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Microsoft – Exchange 2013 exam preparation notes for 70-341 and 70-342

In October 2012 I took the beta exams for Exchange 2013. Since there were no books yet, I created a One Note document with all kinds of notes gathered from various sources including TechNet, blogs and 3rd party tech websites. I totally forgot to post these on my blog back then, but better late then never.

I’ve uploaded the original One Note document and a PDF version and a Word version, because the conversion from One Note to WordPress is not really perfect.

But still it’s up to you to use whatever you prefer. Also since there are now books and video training materials, I would recommend you use these as well for preparation.

Enjoy.

General

  • Various
    • EAC (web based Exchange Administration Center)
    • Set-ServerComponentState to take CAS or Mailbox offline
    • Cmdlet enhancements
    • Forefront Online Protection for Exchange (FOPE) –> Exchange Online Protection (EOP)
    • EAC Feature Panes info
    • Site mailboxes accessible through sharepoint and Outlook 2013, but don’t appear in OWA
    • Hybrid Configuration Wizard (HCW)

What’s New in Exchange 2013

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Home LAB Setup guide – 07 Make your lab available over the internet

In the first part of this LAB setup guide, I described the hardware selection process.
In the second part, I described the hypervisor selection and installation.
In the third part, I described VM guest considerations and preparations.
In the fourth part, I described Configuring Server 2012 VM as DC with DNS and DHCP using PowerShell
In the fifth part, I described easily creating (many) proper AD users with PowerShell
In the sixth part, I described creating a local PowerShell v3 Help Repository with PowerShell

In this post I will describe how you can make your lab available over the internet.

When you’ve created your home LAB, you want to be able to use it anywhere. Depending on your situation, one of these options probably best meets your needs.

Examples include the use of:

  1. Remote desktop connection to your server
    + Easy to configure (enable on server and configure NAT forwarding if appropriate)
    – On many enterprise or public networks TCP3389 is blocked by the firewall.
    – Connects only to specific server. Even though you access the rest of the network from there.
  2. VPN connection to your network
    • Using your hardware router
      + Connection to network, not just a server.
      – No dependency on Windows Server
    • Using Windows Server 2008 / 2012
      + SSTP VPN (TCP443), is generally not blocked on enterprise/public networks.
      + Connection to network, not just a server.
      – Dependency on Windows server.
      – Requires more configuration.
      – The root CA certificate for the certification authority (CA) that issued the server authentication certificate needs to be into the store Local Computer\Trusted Root Certification Authorities. For a self-signed certificate, this means that you need to have local admin permissions to add it.Note: DirectAccess is a great feature, but it requires the client to be a member of the domain. And in my case this would limit where I can connect from, therefore I don’t plan to use it. For other situations it might be a better solution though.
  3. Using 3rd party tools like logmein, teamviewer or VNC
    + Connects only to specific computer.

Since I want to be able to connect from within enterprise environments as well, I chose to use SSTP VPN in Windows Server 2012. The basic steps you have to perform, include:

  1. On the server, you have to install and configure the VPN service.
  2. On the server or your own PKI, you would want create and install a machine certificate. You can create a Certificate Signing Request and request a 3rd party public certificate. Alternatively you can create a certificate using your own Certificate Authority, or you could create a self-signed certificate, For creating the self-signed certificate you can use the great PluralSight SelCert tool.
  3. On the client, you have to make sure the created certificate will be trusted. This means you have to add the certificate to local system\trusted root certificate authority if you’re using a self-signed certificate, which requires local administrator permissions on the client.
  4. On the client, you have to set-up the VPN connection to the server. Preferably you want to connect by DNS name. For your home lab you can also utilize dynamic DNS services like by example no-ip.com or alternative solutions.

For some more information, you can also take a look at this:

 

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