Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thumbs Down: Agnitum's OutpostPro Firewall

For grins and giggles, I tested Agnitum's OutpostPro firewall. Current firewall is just fine, except it would be nice to eyeball programs as they interact with the web.

OutpostPro has a lot of potential, except for the little things that make the difference with this network admin. Firstly, when you're viewing the logs, you can't right-click on an IP address to do a WHOIS search on it. I know, I know, it seems petty, but it sure is a time saver. Secondly, when adding rules on the fly, you can put in a range of ports, but not a range of IP addresses!?! Finally, when I tried running my HTML editor, Outpost blocked it automatically. It said my editor was trying to inject something into it. First time it happened, Outpost did give me the option to add my editor to the exclusions list, which I did, with no joy. When I went to the exclusions list, my editor wasn't listed. So I added my editor manually and still no joy. Looked all through the program settings/options/help and could never find out what why it wouldn't let it work. Nor could I find anything in the logs saying my editor had ever been ran, evaluated, banned, nada.

Too bad as it was nice to be able to manage a firewall via application or protocol. If it's still around in a year or so, I might give it a go again.

Using CRON for Nightly Partition Purges

Ok, so this technically isn't a problem solved, but it is more along the lines of, “Why on earth didn't I think of this sooner!!!” So I'm tooling around the web, looking for something else on Netware, and I came across tech tips site. Tip number 84 gives you the drill to use CRON to do nightly purges on the partitions. Big dope-slap to the forehead, as I would do periodic manual purges to keep the partition space in line.

# nightly purge process for deleted files

#purge files over 180 days old from SYS volume
purge sys:\*.* -q -d=180

#purge files over 180 days old from DATA volume
purge data:\*.* -q -d=180

#purge temp files from SYS volume
purge sys:\*.tmp -q
purge sys:\~*.* -q

#purge temp files from DATA volume
purge data:\*.tmp -q
purge data:\~*.* -q

CRONTAB entry to schedule it:
#purge old deleted files from server as 3:30am
every day
30 03 * * * MYPURGE.NCF

Friday, May 11, 2007

Restore XP Profile & HCTRL.OCX Error

My XP profile decided to take a dive a week or so ago. Via Google, found some nice instructions from PC Answers on how to recreate it. PCA did warn me that I might see some weird stuff happening for a while. First time I tried to run CAM Unzip, it threw the "the DLL C:\Windows\System32\Hhctrl.ocx occupied an address range reserved for Windows system DLLs" error msg. Googled it and was taken to The Poorhouse. Bless you again Adam for the posting the solution. Short version is to go here at the Microsoft site for the 935448 download. What's really amazing is after installing the patch, I did not have to reboot the computer! CAM Unzip was it's happy self again.

Google Notebook

Google continues to become more and more useful. Other than the Ask section, I never use Yahoo! any more. Just tried the Notebook function and FF add-on. Rather than copying a chunk of data to a local file and then possibly forget to take it to home/work with me, I can drop it in a GN and have it handy where ever. Later, if I want to put it in my Clie or format it to a specific file, I've got it. Very sweet Google.

GroupWise Changes Video Display Settings

Out of the blue, when my CFO double-clicked on his GroupWise icon, the video display changed to something basic/ugly. I showed him how to change it back by right-clicking on the desktop to get to the properties. No joy, the next time he opened GW, the display would change. Then he told me that when he exited GW, the video display would go back to normal! So I uninstalled/reinstalled GW with no joy again. Baffled, I took a look in the GW program folder. Seeing nothing untoward and as a last-gasp, I right-clicked on gpwise.exe and started looking at the tabs. Under the Compatibility tab, the Run under 256 colors box was checked. Unchecked it and what do you know, no more problems. How it was checked in the first place... (cue Twilight Zone theme music)