Remote Software Scanner

I was writing a script that would scan remote Windows systems and return their installed software, complete with version information (a requirement), and quickly discovered that the process was more arduous than I had originally anticipated.  How to pull it?  WMI?  Use PowerShell?  Glean the information from the registry?  I fiddled with each and, given that I was working with a broad array of OS levels and a mix of 32 and 64 bit, each option had its annoying pitfalls.

Sometimes it’s better to let someone else do the work.  This is one of those times.

I found the EMCO Network Software Scanner, which does exactly what I need and much more, and amazingly enough is also free!

So much props to EMCO.  I’ll be keeping their commercial products in mind down the road.

2014 – The Pacific Northwest is Home


After a failed experiment in Arizona, we’ve moved.  We bought a fixer in Bend, Oregon, threw all of our shit into a truck, and marathon drove it up the west coast shortly before Christmastime.  Roughly 2 years after starting over, we’re starting over.

There is some solace to be had in having experienced starting over once before, and understanding that the negatives of doing so aren’t permanent.  Even so, it had only just begun to feel like things were looking up when we left Arizona.

Here are some random observations from my experiences since leaving our hometown of Atlanta.

  1. Grown people take their friends for granted, and often don’t realize that many “acquaintances” deserve to be reclassified as friends.  Your interactions mean more than you realize.
  2. Conversely, you learn who really values you – and who doesn’t – once you’re over a thousand miles away.  What you discover may surprise, and disappoint, you.
  3. Bigots, fools and assholes know no geographic boundaries.  There is no place in the United States where racism isn’t, and redneck is not a southern thing.  It isn’t even a rural thing.  It’s a people thing.
  4. The open-minded and kind hearted know no geographic boundaries either.   Pay attention, or you might miss out on someone wonderful.
  5. Family is an incredibly complicated affair.  It’s also one of the most important things we have.  It’s important to remember that for every frustrating thing we perceive family inflicting on us, there’s an equal amount of things we do that frustrates our kin.  You’re no angel either, buddy.  This is a big fat world, overflowing with inhabitants that don’t give a fuck about each other.  It’s ridiculous not to do all we can to nurture those few people around us that do care.
  6. Making new friends as a grown man is massively difficult.
  7. Working full time remote isn’t the dream office dwellers think it is.  It’s very, very hard on the psyche.
  8. Social introversion breeds social introversion.  If you don’t make yourself interact with people, you will forget how.
  9. Lastly, everything ends.  All of it.  It may not end well, but it will end.  Try to remember that, and adjust expectations accordingly.

So what’s next?  Work on the house.  Work on our lives.  I often make the mistake of forgetting the world is what you make it, and wind up being the guy who lets things happen to him rather than the guy who makes things happen.  It won’t be easy, but I’d like to flip that script.

Happy New Year.  Welcome to the rest of our lives.

Avast Port Redirect

When it comes to anti-virus, I’m a cheapskate.  I’m always using the latest highly rated free option.  And these days, that’s Avast.  I installed it on the little media box I run awhile ago.  Today I gave it a reboot per updates and – surprise! – SickBeard refused to start.  Port 8081 – the port I configured SB to run over – was in use, it said.  A quick netstat proved otherwise.

Avast does a redirect on a number of ports, it turns out.  So if you’ve recently installed Avast and have discovered port related problems, here’s your fix:

In the Avast console (obtained by double clicking the Avast icon in your tray):

  1. Choose Settings > Troubleshooting
  2. Expand Redirect Settings
  3. Observe this stuff here and make changes as per necessary.

avastAfter you OK your way out give it a couple of minutes for Avast to pick up your changes.

Novosoft Handy Backup

I don’t usually endorse software.  I’m not an endorser.  However, I’ve been using Novosoft’s Handy Backup for awhile now.  I’m quite pleased with it, and think it’s worth every penny.  I use it to pull down backups of remote websites, sync local data, and make archives of apps whose settings I would hate to lose in the event of a crash.  It’s all automated.  It does the job.

Windows 2003 Terminal Services Restriction

File this under Simple Stuff I Forget.

  1. Open Terminal Services Configuration in Administrative Tools
  2. In the left pane select Connections.  In the right pane, right click on RDP-Tcp and choose Properties
  3. Under the Permissions tab add or remove as necessary

I recommend utilizing the Remote Desktop Users security group builtin for good administrative karma.


Firefox download warning when closing browser

More than once I’ve closed Firefox whilst in the midst of a download that cannot be resumed.  When I do it, it makes me crazy.  But the fix is easy.

  1. Get to the Firefox config info by typing about:config in the URL line of the browser.
  2. Seek out the line
  3. Set its pref from 0 to 2.


The psychology of poverty. The psychology of loneliness.

This interview really got me thinking about myself. Not simply in terms of scarcity, but also loneliness and enrichment. I have friends and associates that I consider successful (speaking both fiscally and in overall fulfillment) and I’ve always envied what I perceived to be some innate tendency towards success that many of them appear to have. I never thought much, however, about the psychology of failure – especially not pertaining to myself. Hell, why would I want to? But taking it into account while considering many of of the important decisions and actions I’ve taken in my life… well, it’s eye opening.
Being Poor Changes Your Thinking About Everything