Raspbmc remote display

So there I was assuming the display could be remoted using native X11 capabilities and it turns out xbmc on the pi uses opengl for embedded systems – gles. This means the app runs locally with no inbuilt way to remote the display. The solution is to run vnc, on the latest builds it’s part of the distribution so just needs an initctl start vnc and then use the glvncviewer on Ubuntu. 😊

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Easy way to take command line output and paste it into another application

Well I never knew that:


Using pipes take me back to my decade of Unix.


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I realised back in May last year that the Cisco CCNA certification was to be revised on September 2013. So I spent July and August hitting a couple of books I had bought previously and going over an accelerated CCNA course I took in 2011. Luckily I passed first time.

The point of this post is that it reminded me that me actually studying a subject for a certification is very different to reading a technical book or looking at blog posts. While hard work, it does provide a lot of technical context and capability when talking to my network colleagues at work.

It had been years since I’d done a certification exam. I may now even be inspired to study for the CCNA Wireless.


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Boots laces too tight

When snowboarding I’m one of those paranoid types who likes to know their kit is always secure and tight. That’s just my mential abberation, this attitude was enforced on a Canada backcountry trip when a screw came off my bindings which could have left me stuffed on top of a mountain with only 1 foot able to be bound (since then I always carry ties and tape).

However, on the annual trip – some days boarding with the guys seemed better than others. I always put this down to my usual skills dip on the middle of the week i.e. the first 2 days start of excellently, I dip for the next 2 and get frustrated at myself then the last 2 it all starts to come good again.

After some self-examination, it turns out that after the first couple of days I used to pull the boot laces really tight, the just make sure the mental itch to be tight and secure is scratched. Then my performance would dip. When my boots are too tight I don’t get the soft ankle movemovement (no heel lift) that my boarding style requires. It’s all too stiff and I feel uncomfortable.

This year I slackened off the laces and I didn’t have the mid week dip!

My thinking is that the first couple of days my mental attitude doesn’t focus on my kit just my joy at being there. This gives me a really sweet riding experience. At that point I don’t know to pull my boot laces really tight. My goal next year is to make sure I don’t pull them too tight again.


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Internet Explorer 8 – HTTP timeout with SAP Desktop Intelligence DA0003 error

We had an issue with a customer whereby his installation of SAP’s Desktop Intelligence product was timing out when running large queries after an upgrade to IE8 showing an error – SQL Execution (DA0003) CS, Job already in use. It’s a thick-client product but under the hood uses HTTP to communicate with the server estate.

We found a Registry fix:



Value 3600000

The Registry fix increases the timeout that the WinInet library (which is responsible for HTTP comms) has to receive any content from a website. Under IE6 the timeout is 60 minutes, under IE7 and IE8 a new version of the library is introduced which times out at 30 seconds. According to the Microsoft KB article Internet Explorer itself should be unaffected, it’s only applications that use the WinInet library.

 On IE6-XP SP3 the version of WinInet is 6.0.2900.6148 and after IE8 upgrade its 8.0.6001.18702



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Outlook 2010 Error – “Your outlook data file cannot be configured” referencing my OST file

Outlook 2010 on Windows 7 hung so I killed it off with the close all open windows option in Windows Explorer. After that I got the above error message stating that it couldn’t configure my email with a reference to my .ost file.

I didn’t want to reboot or log-off so I was looking for a solution that I could use within these constraints as a standard user. I found a blog entry that advises exiting Microsoft Lync before trying to start Outlook, suddenly it all started working again!




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IIS 6 COM interop performance

My current client has a pair of load balanced windows 2003 servers running IIS hosting 30+ sites each configured with its own app pool. They only serve pages to approximately 85,000 internal users but we got reports of occasional slow page load times. On investigation the worker pool associated with one website was consuming lots of CPU. With a 30 second sampling average we could see peaks of 75% at busy periods of the day with a CPU queue of up to 8. Using perfmon with a much more granular sampling period we could see the reality that the CPU was regularly spiking to 100% over the same 30 second period the enterprise monitoring tools were showing. We discounted caching issues after looking at the IIS perf on counters, and a hardware upgrade was out of the question as we already had the best CPU model the server could take. We looked at scaling out by re-purposing hardware in the same environment bit this would have cost and taken a relatively long time. One of the guys knew that some of the content was ASP pages and some of them used COM components, the theory being it was this that was causing the issue i.e. maybe the components weren’t being correctly released. Looking at the pages we could see that the MSXML component was being used on public pages to apply XSLT transform on XML encapsulated data (e.g. telephone lists). While MSXML 6 was present the registry configuration for the component was incorrect – only v3 was used. By default this is the Microsoft configuration, the latest COM version is set to 3 rather than 6. However, using procmon on the spiking threads in the worker process consistently showed that COM interop and marshalling at the top of the stack. The content authors were asked to not use the COM component, so they changed to using client browser side mechanisms instead. Once deployed cpu dropped to about 15% at peak.


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