By aaron.axvig, 11 October, 2008

When I ran the installer for SQL Server 2008 Books Online (download here) I got an error.

This installation package cannot be installed by the Windows Installer service.  You must install a Windows service pack that contains a newer version of the Windows Installer service.

How Vista is not auto-updated with the latest installer is beyond me, but here's what you have to do.

  1. Download the new installer package.
  2. That page says you need to use wusa.exe to install the package, but if you just double-click on what you downloaded it will do that automatically.
  3. Restart.  (Yes, I tried not restarting, but it doesn't work until you restart).
  4. Bask in brand-new installer glory.


By aaron.axvig, 11 September, 2008

Vista seems to have an annoying habit of creating several "Tunnel adapter Local Area Connection* ##" entries in my ipconfig results, which means I have to scroll up to see the actual entries I want to.  That is a pain to do on a laptop with a touch pad, but also I think it was contributing to connectivity problems when switching between wireless and wired connections.

If you want to remove them, there is a method that seems to be harmless:

  • Right-click My Computer, go to Manage.
  • Go to Device Manager
  • Click View on the top of the window, and check Show hidden devices.
  • Now expand the Network adapters tree, and you should see several entries that start with isatap.(something).
  • Disable (right-click, Disable) several of them, and verify that all your networking things still work.
  • If that didn't cause any problems, you should be able to safely delete them (right-click, Uninstall).

Now your ipconfig readout should be a little more sane.  This problems seems to be caused by IPv4 and IPv6 tunneling of some sort, which you can read about here.


By aaron.axvig, 6 May, 2008

Last night we upped the RAM count to 6GB (from 2GB).  I'm pretty sure that was completely unnecessary, but it is still sweet.  There are some weird things you notice when you get that much RAM: the pagefile is reported by Task Manager to be over 12GB, and the hibernate file takes up over 6GB.  Hopefully it doesn't actually think it's going to be using that hiberfile anytime soon--it would be tough to check my e-mail.  :)

It's also now running a Radeon HD 3850 512MB graphics card, but the purpose of that is to test how good of an output we can get on a TV through component outputs, and it will soon be replaced with a lower end Radeon HD 3450 that is passively cooled.  Then our poor little server will have yet another job: HTPC.


By aaron.axvig, 3 May, 2008

The idea is to create a new site with no real documents to look at, that is purely for re-directing one URL.  It took me a few tries to get this working, so I thought I would document the steps.  In the example we'll be redirecting to

  1. Create a new site in IIS7.  Pick a name, point the Physical Path to the folder you just created, and in the Host name box.
  2. Double-click on HTTP Redirect (in the lower half of the pane when you have the site you just created selected).  Check the first box, and put in the box.  Check the box that reads "Redirect all requests to exact destination."  Change the drop-down to permanent.  Click apply.
  3. Notice that it created a web.config file in the folder you created.
  4. May need to restart the site.
  5. Create a folder for the site.
  6. Give the Network Service and IUSR users read access to the folder.  Note that your mileage may vary; I have historically had a difficult time with IIS file permissions.

Not too difficult really.  I tried to do it without a folder first, and was thwarted by file permissions after that.


By aaron.axvig, 2 May, 2008

I have about 4000 messages in my Deleted Items folder in Outlook 2007 (connected to Exchange 2007).  Unfortunately two unread message snuck in there, and it is quite hard to find them.  And it is annoying to see the (2) next to the folder.  I could right-click on the folder and mark them as all read, but I want to see if maybe they are important.

Trying to sort by read status is proving to be difficult.  First I tried using the existing columns, but none of them provide read status.  Then I added a read status column, but someone decided it would be funny to not let users sort by that column.

I'm currently waiting to see whether my latest scheme will work.  I created a new folder, Unread, and am moving all the messages into that folder.  Then they should show up in the Unread Messages virtual folder that Outlook provides, I'll be able to read them, I can move everything back, and I can get on with my life.  It is taking quite a while to move them though.


By aaron.axvig, 20 April, 2008

Ever wondered what service is running inside of each instance of svchost.exe that you see in Task Manager?  You can tell by right-clicking on the instance and selecting "Go to Service(s)".  This will take you to the Services tab and select the appropriate service(s).  You might want to sort by PID so that they are all grouped together.


By aaron.axvig, 30 October, 2007

(and probably many other cameras too)

I realized recently that I had deleted a picture that I kind of wanted to keep.  I deleted it using the interface on the camera, not by hooking it up to a computer.  Happily I hadn't taken any pictures since, so I figured on a reasonable chance of reclaiming the picture.

I was successful, and it was easy.  I used PC Inspector File Recovery.  The interface kind of sucks, and the hardest part I think is selecting which drive to search.  It did pick up the the FAT partition on the camera over USB though, which was good as I had half expected Sony to have some middle layer in which the camera represented the pictures it could see on the card to the computer (in which case I would have had to put the Memorystick in a separate card reader).


By aaron.axvig, 13 September, 2007

Here at NDSU we use the content portal known as Blackboard.  A few years back I was on my slow internet connection at home and noticed a URL full of POSTDATA in the address bar that would appear momentarily each time I logged in.  The connection was slow enough that I was able to copy and paste it into a bookmark.  Seeing as it contains fields like "&encoded_pw=XXXXXXXXX" and "&user_id=XXXXXXX" it was only natural I would try it as something to keep me from having to login manually every time.  And it works still, 2 years later.

Here's how you can hack your own Blackboard login so that you never have to type in your username and password:

  1. Download Paessler URL Recorder.
  2. It will start automatically after installation, so just put your school's Blackboard address in the address box of the program.
  3. You will see the webpage that you normally get in your browser, and just login normally.  Several links will appear in the bottom pane of URL Recorder.
  4. One of them will contain a query string that stores your login information (you have to scroll to see the entire thing).  Don't let this fall into the wrong hands because anyone who has this text can login to Blackboard as you.
  5. Right-click anywhere in that lower pane and do the "Copy All to Clipboard" option.  Open Notepad and paste it in there.  One of the lines will be something like this: action=login&remote-user=&new_loc=&auth_type=&one_time_token=&encoded_pw=XXXXXX&encoded_pw_unicode=XXXXXXXXX&user_id=XXXXXXXXX&password=&Login.x=37&Login.y=9
  6. Your link will have random letters and numbers instead of the XXXXXXX that I replaced mine with.  Also notice how there is some space between "webapps/login/" and "action=login".  Replace that space with a question mark so that it is more like this (attention to the bolded area):
  7. Copy and paste that into your favorite browser and see if it logs you in automatically.  If it does, make a new bookmark and copy the long link we just made into the destination of it.
  8. Now clicking that bookmark will log you in to Blackboard from any computer.  Once again, be very careful with it, because you don't want other people logging in as you.

This is very handy for a tablet PC where you would have to key in the username and password using an onscreen keyboard.  I'm sure you can find other sites out there that this would work for too.


By aaron.axvig, 11 September, 2007

As I dragged some photos out of Windows Photo Gallery into a folder so that I could upload them all to Facebook, where I then manually tagged them and added captions, I wondered why there isn't a program that could do this.  It should be possible now given Facebook's Application Platform.


  • Can upload any grouping of photos from WPG as an album to Facebook.  If more than 60 pictures are there, due to Facebook's 60/album limit, automatically break them into separate albums (Example 1, Example 2, etc.).  Also prompt for a name name of the album(s).
  • Carry tags, names, and captions over to Facebook.  For example, if I have a tag for Aaron Axvig in WPG, it should automatically tag me as in the picture on the Facebook side.  Ideally WPG would support placement of tags like Facebook does, but that might be tricky, so I'd settle for some sloppiness on the Facebook side.
  • Keep track of what's been uploaded to Facebook already, so I could potentially have it automatically keep all my photos on there.
  • Is a plugin for WPG (assuming WPG supports plugins or extensions of some form, otherwise a standalone app could work but would have to re-implement a lot of stuff that's already in WPG).


Also, how about something that adds in support for creating albums in WPG?  (Again, assuming some sort of plugin model exists.)


By aaron.axvig, 29 August, 2007

So I was annoyed by the blinking light that my desktop has when it's sleeping, and decided to put it into hibernation.  I was then further annoyed by the lack of a hibernation option in the Vista shutdown menu, and even more annoyed when I couldn't find a way to re-enable hibernation.  Via Google I then found several sites confirming that there is no way to enable or disable hibernation in Vista using the GUI (I think I disabled it by removing the hibernation file in Disk Cleanup).  However, it is possible to enable or disable it via the command line, and you can read about it at those sites I linked to above.

Instead of doing this though, I have found it just as convenient to use the command shutdown -h.  Just type that in the search box in the start menu and hit enter, and the computer will drop into hibernation, whether the menu option is there or not.