Applying Regional and Language Setting

Today at work I had a Windows 7 PC that was defaulted to English United Kingdom instead of English United States.  I was able to log onto the PC as the customer and go into Control Panel to access Region Language.  I selected English (United States) under each tab for Formats, Location, Keyboards and Languages.  I rebooted the PC and noticed the keyboard was still English (United Kingdom).  So a quick Google search and I found the following web link.

What I missed was selecting the Administrative tab, click the Copy settings button, and placing the two checks in the boxes.  Click OK to save and then reboot.  you should have the correct region and language settings for your PC.

Upgraded iMac and Diablo 3

I’ve been using the iMac constantly since I bought it.  It has replaced my Sager Core i7 as my primary computer.  About a week ago I upgraded the RAM to 12GB so I could play Team Fortress 2 and Diablo 3.  Oh and the memory upgrade also helped with running the Windows 7 Enterprise virtual machine I need for work.

So let’s talk about the memory upgrade process.  According to Apple, the most RAM my 2011 Core i5 iMac can upgrade to was 8GB.  I really had a hard time believing this.  I can see 32GB being a maximum.  So I started looking into going beyond the 8GB limit.  Normally I purchase memory from 4allmemory.com, but several colleagues mention looking at Crucial.com.   The Crucial website had an option to scan my computer for the exact match.  So I downloaded the zip file and extracted CrucialMacScanner.app.  The information will open in your default web browser.

I can upgrade the AM to a maximum of 32GB.  WOOT!!  I scaled the WOOT back after checking the price for a 16GB kit.  So I went with a 8GB kit to bring the total system RAM to 12GB.  The price seemed fair, and Crucial is a trusted company.  I received the memory within a few days and installation occurred shortly after dinner.

The five character classes of Diablo III. L-R ...
The five character classes of Diablo III. L-R Wizard, witch doctor, demon hunter, barbarian and monk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The link Crucial provided for video directions were for a Dell GX desktop computer.  FAIL!!  The correct directions are located on Apple’s Support web site.  However, the web site also states the maximum RAM is 16GB.  FAIL!!  Besides that, the directions were perfect.

OK, now I have plenty of RAM, time to purchase Diablo 3.  I am a big fan of the Diablo series.  My friends and I have played for 14 hours strait (before children) at LAN parties.  I still have my original characters.  I have to admit about not being too thrilled about logging into Battle.net just to play, but I like the idea now and here’s why.  Diablo 3 is installed on both iMac and my Sager notebook.  I can play the on either computer, and have access to my characters.  So if the kids are using the iMac, I can pickup where I left off with my notebook.  WOOT!!

Some users have complained about the performance of Diablo 3 on the iMac.  I have not seen any issues with the game.  I tweaked the video settings up a little, but I didn’t go crazy with enabling every single shadow, rain drop or whatever.  I average about 80 FPS (Frames Per Second).  I doubt I would see a performace hit with multiplayer.

My New iPad

After 2 years of shopping around for tablets, I finally purchased an iPad 3 aka The New iPad.

I was going to mention what took me so long to purchase the iPad, but it is a boring story about saving money, looking at tablets at least once a month, reading blogs about with everyone’s opinion, and just waiting for the tablet that had all the right features. For a few months, I thought the Asus Transformer 201 was the right device. Nvidia quad core processor, Ice-cream sandwich for the OS, and the optional keyboard to “transform” into a netbook.

New iPad
New iPad (Photo credit: sidduz)

But when I compared the iPad 3 to the Transformer 201, I felt the iPad was a better tablet. Yes, the iPad was more expensive, but over the last year I was becoming more use to the IOS interface, providing support for iPhones and iPads at work, and I really like my iPod. I have also noticed when I need to check my personal email away from home, or look at the calendar, I usually went to the iPod over my Android phone. Plus my Android phone needs to be replaced. Too many lock ups with apps, and I have to reboot it once a day.

I love my new iPad! I have used it every day for the last week for work and home. I take it to work and use Evernote to take notes of computers that I’m working on, use AIM app to keep in touch with colleagues and friends, listen to music, and attend web meetings with AT&T Connect. Plus several customers at work have made suggestions on apps and other accessories. I purchased a case at Amazon.com called the Bear Motion, in black. The case props up the iPad at a good angle for typing (writing this post on the iPad now), and for video calls using FaceTime.

I don’t have any major issues or complaints about the iPad. I do want to find a good office suite for the iPad, and it would be nice if Microsoft would realse a version of Office for the iPad. I know Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are available. I had several colleagues recommend Documents To Go as an option. However, after all these years of trying different office suites, nothing compares to Microsoft Office. It is a standard, and I’m familiar with the programs.

I would recommend the iPad to anyone, but i also tell people to look at all the options. They might like an Android or Windows tablet over the iPad. Maybe picking up the iPad 2 would be a better option for someone instead.

Now, let’s see if I can figure out how to upload a few screenshots I made last week using the WordPress app.

20120407-214232.jpg
Lock screen for my iPad. Feels like a Star Trek Univerise
20120407-214334.jpg
Second home screen from march 31st
20120407-214648.jpg
Home screen from April 7th.

Getting an iMac

Over the past year I’ve been thinking about getting a new PC for the family.  The current Dell Dimension 8200 (almost 10 years old) was having a hard time running Windows XP and all the patches and security to keep it mostly virus and malware free.  I installed Ubuntu 11.10 server on that Dell PC and turned it into a media server and backup storage device.

So what to get for the family?  I could go with another Windows 7 PC and have the option to have more virus and malware installed every time the kids go to one of their kid friendly sites.  My wife might need Windows 7 for remote access to work, plus it’s a familiar interface for everyone.

I could go with Linux OS such as Ubuntu 11.10, Linux Mint 12 (when it is available), or some other disto.  But the problem with Linux for the family, a whole bunch of kid websites just don’t work with Linux.  For example, Cartoon Network has some pretty cool games, but most of the games will not work in Linux.  Those games require different engines such as Unity (not to be confused with Unity for Ubuntu).  Also, many games that I like to play are not available in a Linux environment.  I tried running Windows XP in a VM, but the performance is terrible and the games require high-end video cards which you never see in a VM.

My buddy at work suggested getting an iMac.  The first thing that went in my mind, “How am I going to afford that?”  Turns out the entry level iMac is within my budget.  So I stopped at the local Apple Store and took a look.  Usually I’m in there for a few minutes with the kids to kill time while my wife is shopping.  Now I had time to shop.  As usual I was assaulted but several employees right away.  But I needed time to look over what they had and get some ideas before I would talk with someone.

Steve, the sales person, saw I was ready to have my questions answered.  After a few minutes of talking about my concerns and what I wanted to accomplish, Steve unlocked the iMac and let me install some of the games from Cartoon Network.  Out of all my years in IT, from selling to support, I’ve never heard someone say let’s unlock the computer and install the web apps you mentioned.  So I played some of the Cartoon Network games. I was hooked.  Just need to upgrade the memory from 4GB to 8GB.  The Apple memory is expensive.  Looks like I’ll be checking on-line for a better price.

Now, what am I going to do about some of the Windows only applications I need?  I will keep my notebook PC as a dual boot between Windows 7 and Linux (not sure about keeping Ubuntu).  Maybe I’ll install VMWare Fusion, VirtualBox, Parallels or Bootcamp for my Windows needs.  I doubt I’ll ever break away completely from Windows.  Too many applications I need for Windows for my job.

So this Christmas Santa will deliver a new computer for the family.  It will meet the needs of my family, address my concerns, and also give me a little education in the Mac world.

Now, what book should I get…

Moving On to a New Job

Today is my last day with my current employer and working for a fantastic client here in Delaware.  I made a lot of new friends in IT and on the production floor.  Some of them I will stay in contact with on Facebook or Google Chat, others I will see in the area.  But now it’s time for me to move on, to take care of my family’s needs.  Sadly the new job will not include Linux work, but there are high profile projects which are scheduled to begin shortly after my start date.

My notebook running Linux Mint 11 and my fart bank

During my two year stay, I really appreciate the client giving me a wide latitude to develop my Linux skills.  When I first arrived in 2009, my cube was filled with twelve PCs all running Windows XP or Vista.  Shortly afterwards I installed Ubuntu 9.04 to learn how to use Linux in a production environment.  Soon, I was running two Linux boxes; one as a personal file server with Samba and NFS, the other as a VM host for multiple Windows XP machines in multiple non-trusting domains.

By the time I left, I had four Linux PCs (one as a Linux Mint 11 notebook with a Windows 7 x64 VM, my original Ubuntu file server, a new Ubuntu 11.04 x64 file server with an external RAID 5 1.3TB disk box running Samba and NFS, plus a Linux Mint 11 PC running a Windows XP VM in the other domain for Active Directory support).  I’ve also deployed Ubuntu 11.04 to my manager’s Dell M4500 notebook, Linux Mint 11 to a colleagues’ notebook, and started training another colleague, on using Ubuntu 11.04 with NFS and Samba.

I also had the chance to deploy RHEL 6 workstation as a host with a disk box for off-site archive, and a introduction to ESX for creating new Windows Server VMs.

I wish all the best to previous employer, my manager, my colleagues (local and other sites through out  the U.S.), and to all the people I supported at the Delaware locations.  I will miss working with you, and hope to see you soon!

Deploying Ubuntu 11.04 onto a Friend’s PC

Unity

Last week I received a Facebook message from a friend asking for PC assistance.  Over the last 2 years, they have seen my PC running Ubuntu 10.x and heard me talk about how stable and secure my PC is.  When Ken’s hard drive failed a short while ago, he ordered a new hard drive from Dell (it was cheaper through Dell than other retailers here) and installed Windows XP Home Edition.  Unfortunately Ken was not able to install the drivers for his PC.  Ken brought his PC over to my place, and we talked about Linux while I installed the missing drivers and SP3 for Windows XP.

I had my work computer (Dell Latitude E6400) which runs Linux Mint 10 at home.  The Dell PC and my Sager PC were booted and I gave a demonstration of each OS.  After about 30 minutes, Ken wanted to run Linux Mint 10 on his Dell Inspiron1525.  So I used my Linux Mint 10 USB stick to verify this PC would run Linux without problems for Ken.  Everything worked except for the Dell wireless NIC.  Linux Mint 10 was unable to detect the card, and since I was running out of time and didn’t want to configure it manually, I shutdown the PC and booted from my newly made Ubuntu 11.04 x32 and x64 ISO USB stick.

Ken’s PC is several years old so I tried the 32-bit version.  For once I was pleasantly surprise with Ubuntu 11.04.  Unity worked, and it wanted to install the proprietary drivers for the Dell wireless NIC. So I started the installation as a dual boot system and went back to some house work.  I installed all third party codecs and drivers from the initial installation screen.

Afterwards I gave Ken a quick tutorial on how to use Ubuntu 11.04.  Although I am not a big fan of the Unity interface, I think this might be a great introduction to new Linux users.

So far I’ve nothing but happiness from Ken about Ubuntu 11.04.  He is using Facebook and has access to his e-mail.  I wish I could have installed a client that would allow Ken to use his iPod Touch to connect to his iTunes store.  If anyone knows of an application that will give Ken this ability in Ubuntu without using Wine, I would like to try it out.

Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2

Recent PCs meeting the minimum hardware requir...
Image via Wikipedia

So Microsoft finally released Sp1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.  I am going to wait on installing SP1 on my home notebook, and my three Windows 7 x32 and x64 PCs for at least a week or two.  Why??  I need to ensure SP1 will be stable before I install it on my PCs.  If someone asked me to install it on their PCs, I would recommend they wait.  And no matter what, ALWAYS make a full system backup.

Here are a few links which you may have already been to regarding SP1.

I am still amazed about the size of SP1 for x64.

Ubuntu 10.10 on Work Notebook

Last year when a new IT Service company took over the contract from another IT Service company I was working for, they issued a new Dell Latitude E6400 notebook to each of us.  This PC is not the beefiest notebook from Dell, but this is not a review of the PC.   The notebook specs are:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo P8700 @ 2.53GHz
  • 2GB RAM (upgraded to 4GB by employer)
  • Intel Video
  • CDR / DVD ROM
  • 14″ Screen
  • SD Card Reader
  • Intel network

The PC came with Windows 7 x32, Symantec EndPoint 11, MS Office 2007, and a few other applications.  Being a good IT technician, I used Symantec Ghost to create a backup image the day it was delivered.  At first I left the PC as is and installed a bunch of software to support the client.  After a year of hard use, computer was having problems booting or just being stable.  In no way is this a bash of Windows 7.  I like Windows 7 but the system needed a rebuild and it was time to try something that’s been on my mind.

After sending an e-mail to my manager asking for access to the ftp server to download MS Office 2007 and Symantec EndPoint 11, I wiped out the HDD and installed Ubuntu 10.10 x64.  With a 64 bit OS, I can use the full 4GB of RAM.  Just like before, installation took about 20 minutes, and everything worked without having to install additional drivers.  Since the client I’m working for has started to roll out Windows 7 x64, I wanted the same for my VM.  Running Windows 7 x32 would be all that I need for the VM, but as I found out over the last 5 months, some applications that work in the 32bit environment will not work in a 64bit environment.  Sometimes you need the native 64bit software to install or work correctly.

So I chose VMware Player to run Windows 7 x64.  The VM is configured for 2.5 GB of RAM, 2 processors, with the NIC configured at bridged for DNS registration.  After activating Windows 7 x64, the system was ready for MS Office 2007 and Symantec EndPoint 11.  While waiting for may manager, I installed Banshee, Filezilla, Terminal Server Client, Google Chrome, Adobe Air, Tweetdeck, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Gimp, Skype, VLC, Ubuntu Tweak, Shutter, modified my Pictures Screensaver, plus a bunch of minor configurations I use for Ubuntu.  After several days of using Outlook Web Access (OWA), I finally received my email with the server information and software keys.

So now I am supporting my client with Ubuntu 10.10 x64 at work.  I can honestly say Ubuntu is ready for the IT professional in a real world environment.  I have three different Microsoft Windows vms for supporting two non-trusting domains, covering x32 and x64 operating systems.  Due to the limited resources on my notebook, I can only run one VM at a time, but that’s OK.  There is a second Linux computer constantly running a Windows XP x32 OS which I use to manage one of the domains.

The nice thing about my setup is the dual monitors.  The default screen is the notebook display, the second screen I use for my VMs or if I need to focus on a particular task.  I usually run Banshee and Empathy IM on the small LCD, Tweetdeck minimized, and Google Chrome for all my personal stuff.  Terminal Server Client is used to connect to the three Windows 2003 or 2008 severs I support orto VNC into a Windows XP workstation.  Plus the other techs at work were impressed with what I accomplished.

So give Ubuntu or any Linux distro a shot at work for a month.  If you plan it a little, you can have your system running Linux with a VM or two to meet your clients needs.

Playing a Game from 1988 on VM in 2011

An Apple IIe with DuoDisk and Monitor //.
Image via Wikipedia

Tonight I read a post on Howtogeek.com about the Apple IIe.  The Apple IIe was our family’s second computer my dad purchased back in 1984 or 1985.  I remember the night my brothers and I drove out to the Apple dealer on the far side of Pittsburgh, PA.  If I remember correctly, it was past Green Tree Hill.  The post on Howtogeek.com started reminding me of all the great times I had with that Apple IIe.  Here are the specs:

  • CPU: 65C02 @ 1.02MHz
  • 128k RAM
  • Mouse single button
  • Duodisk 5 1/4″ floppy disk drive
  • Apple Color Dot Matrix printer (unknown model)
  • 1200 bps modem (unknown model purchased about 2 years later)
  • Green mono-color monitor with tilt action

So I went to Google and searched for Ultima V Warriors of Destiny, and found some pictures of the game.  And I thought to myself, “Oh, so that’s what it would have looked like in color.”  One of my children came over and saw the screen and asked what I was looking at.  So I explained to him about the game I used to play back in 1988 and I wished I could play it again.  We did find a video of Ultima III Exodus and while the video was playing he said it looked cool and he wanted to try it too.  So I sent him off to bed and I started reading on how I was going to play this game again.

I knew that VMware Player was going to be the tool of choice.  I just needed a few things like MSDOS 6.22 in a preferred ISO format, a way for VMware Player to see the files, oh and the game itself.  Well finding the game, manuals, maps, and scanned copies of the front and back of the box, and MSDOS 6.22 was easy.  So I created a VM with 1GB HDD, 16MB RAM and a single processor (all over kill but who cares, it is a VM.)  I set the MSDOS 6.22 ISO as the CD-ROM and booted from it.  I was able to fdisk and create a C: drive and rebooted.  I formatted the C: with the /s parameter copied over all the files from the CD-ROM, and rebooted into the VM BIOS.  I changed the boot order to so the HDD would boot first instead of the CD-ROM.  So now I have a VM of MSDOS 6.22.

But I could not figure out how to get the seperate files from the game into the VM.  Remember this is MSDOS6.22 without any network support, just a base OS.  A little more research brought me to a blog on WordPress which explained to me how to create a .IMG file. The part of that post which helped was was Creating the image:.  Now I have a .IMG file of Ultima V Warriors of Destiny.  That IMG file can be mounted as a floppy drive in VMware Player. From within the VM, just change to drive A: and run ultima.

Here are a few screen shots of the VM with the game when it first starts.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.