Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

July, 2005

  • Windows cannot access the file gpt.ini for GPO

    Heart attack time.  There’s nothing worse than reviewing a Windows Server 2003 event log and seeing row after row of red X application event log entries.  This is especially true for something like a bunch of nastygrams indicating group policy is failing on your Active Directory (AD) Domain Controller (DC).  It happened on my DC.  I went to do my daily review of the logs and sure enough, I had a whole screen of red X events.  In fact, the events were occurring every couple of minutes.  The exact messages I was getting are at;en-us;830676  The 1030 and 1058 events are pretty well documented although the actual source of the problem can be VERY elusive.

    My DC is similar in design to a Small Business Server (SBS) 2003 implementation.  In fact, I plan to move to SBS eventually.  My DC is a tri-homed server running ISA 2004 SP1, Exchange 2003 SP1, etc.  The ISA server is using the perimeter template and I’ve customised the rules, networks, protocols, etc. rather extensively.  I’m like you and seem to always be fiddling with stuff.  My most recent set of tweaks were related to DNS so I figured I’d butchered something up and hosed AD.

    When reviewing some of the KB articles on the 1030 and 1058, I spent time reviewing the DNS implementation.  I was pretty confident it was correct so I started looking at the other potential sources or culprits of this error.  I looked at the registry, checked to make sure services are running, checked service dependencies, etc., etc., etc.  Nothing seemed to work.  Now I’m getting nervous.  I’m thinking my SBS implementation might be happening sooner than I thought. 

    Then I noticed something in;en-us;314494 that I had blown off.  Down at the bottom of the KB, it mentions File and Print Sharing being disabled on the network interface.  I thought, surely this can’t be the reason I’m seeing all of the messages.  After all, the internal LAN interface has File and Print turned on.  The only place I turned F and P off was the WAN interface.  So, I turned it back on and cleared the application event log.  Time to grab a cup of coffee.  I come back a few minutes later and click refresh… sure enough, no events.  Kewl.  So I surf the web, check email, etc.  I come back to check about 20 minutes later…  F$&% !!!  I couldn’t believe that one little check box caused so much trouble.  Geez I was happy.   Time to relax.  Screw the coffee, where’s my margarita?

    Moral of the Story:  Don’t Mess With Windows. 


  • HDTV help needed

    I’ve been saving my pennies.  I have enough saved to buy a really nice High Def TV.  I have no idea what to get.  I have decided it’s going to be a 50” screen.  Moving from a 36” analog TV to a 42” high def TV seems too small a jump.

    Does anyone have recommendations on good consumer review sites?  I want to start doing my research and it would be nice to find some good sites with side-by-side comparisons, feature lists, explanations, etc.


  • The Need For Speed

    I endured the last fiscal year on the road without decent connectivity.  Sure, you can get really good connections in a hotel room now, but that doesn’t do jack when you’re at a meeting location like a theatre.  I swore I wasn’t going to do that in FY06 which started a couple of weeks ago.

    I’d be interested in any observations some of you’ve had on this subject.  I was thinking 3G was the solution.  EDGE is to slow for my needs.  The problem is that 3G doesn’t seem to be available everywhere. 

    Verizon Wireless has their BroadbandAccess.  This looks fast enough and fortunately their coverage handles many of the cities in my region (southern states).  It’s a little above what I want to pay but it’s certainly a candidate.

    Any other suggestions? 

  • 3G EVDO Here I Come!!!

    I took the plunge.  I signed on the dotted line.  I’m locked for a year.  I’ll have high speed wireless wherever I go in my territory.  Now I need to get my boss to pay for it.  No problem, he’s easy.  Actually, it should be a no brainer.  I bet I spent more on WIFI hot spot charges last year. 

    Now you might be thinking, gee Keith, what kind of speeds are your really going to get?  Heck I don’t know!!!  Here’s the quote from my provider at their website:

    High Speed
    Verizon Wireless BroadbandAccess is one of the fastest, fully mobile wireless Internet data solutions available. Quickly download complex files and view email attachments at typical speeds of 400-700 kbps, capable of reaching speeds up to 2 Mbps^. Access your mission-critical data and applications behind the corporate firewall and get the answers you need with customers in the field right there. ***

    We’ll see what the real speeds are.  I doubt I’ll ever hit 2meg speeds.  From my research, it appears many of the 3G cell towers only have a T1 and considering that is shared bandwidth, I’ll likely never hit 1.5meg.  I’ll be happy with something close.

    I’ll have an entire year to test this.  That’s my contract term.  I really didn’t want to sign up for a whole year but if the service doesn’t work as advertised, I’ll bail out and either eat the early term penalty ($150) or haggle with my provider over it. 

    You might be wondering what I’m paying… well, fortunately we get a corporate discount although it isn’t a steep discount.  One of my colleagues tried to tell me it was $20 per month.  Unfortunately he was wrong.  That would be a killer price.  Some day we’ll all have cheap wireless internet access wherever we go. 


  • WinV Commeth

    VistaLike it or not, the cows (or steers) were put out to pasture.  The Texas Longhorn fans will be disappointed but I think unless they beat OU this year, they don’t deserve to be our mascot anyway.  Hee Hee.  Anyway, the Windows Marketing organization has come up with a new name for the next generation of Windows.  It’s Windows Vista.  Vista has a number of interesting connotations.  See some of the dictionary definitions at

    I kind of like the butchered term WinV (for Windows Vista).  As one of my colleagues pointed out, that could be a Roman Numeral.  So be it.  5th generation Windows it is.  Actually, that’s rather close to the mark.

    You’ll start to see a lot of air and ground cover on the product.  It will be available for the masses soon and I plan to run it as my production environment starting with Beta 1.  I’ve been doing that since the Windows 3.1 Beta days so I know all about the pitfalls.  It can be an especially scary proposition for a presenter like myself.  You never know if some issue might crop up in front of 150 people.

    No worries.  The only way to get the bugs out is to run WinV through it’s paces and report issues in a timely fashion.  I run a pretty healthy mix of software so I’ll stress and strain it plenty.  I’m downloading one of the daily builds right now.  It probably won’t be the Beta 1 build so I’ll get t rebuild my machine a few more times before Beta 1 gets locked down.

    I still can’t talk about it much.  When Beta 1 becomes available, we can talk all we want about the new features, UI, etc.  Fortunately for me, our last laptop puchase has a nice video chipset.  This will be helpful for some of the new UI stuff and of course running Half Life 2.  See a tiny peek of the product name launch video.

  • Are you bad enough?

    BadtotheboneEveryone thinks they’re kewl.  You could be kewler riding around on one of these. The gang Orangecountyat Orange County Choppers is making Microsoft a custom chopper and it’s part of a contest from the SQL Server 2005 product group.

    What’s the catch?  Well, you need to migrate from Oracle to SQL Server and tell us your story.  See the official rules for the details.

    Now before you go getting all crazy, don’t forget what it’s like to ride a motorcycle on the street.  What?  You’ve never driven a motorcycle on the street? 

    I have 30 years of street and dirt experience.  I can tell you, riding a motorcycle on the street in any major city is a dangerous proposition.  Riding choppers is also a little tricky.  Notice anything out of the ordinary about the chopper pictured here?  How about those long fork tubes?  Yea, that extended front end makes things interesting.

    Riding on the street can also be a blast.  It isn’t real fun right now with the heat and all. I’ll be back out on my machine when the temps go below 100.  Sorry, I don’t get a big thrill in 103 degree heat.  The way it’s looking, that won’t be until October.  Yea, it’s hot in Texas. 

    Fyi, I own a couple of two wheelers.  I have a 1998 Harley Low Rider.  Here’s the 2006 Low Rider.  LowriderMy bike is very similar.  My mean machine is black and has lace wheels like the picture.  I added a front windshield and a rear sissy bar and luggage rack.  I bought my Low Rider in 1998 and it’s still in immaculate condition.  I might sell it.  I’ve been wanting a Road King for several years.  If I ever buy one, I might disappear…  grin…  My friend Dr. Michael McLoughlin has a BMW that is bad ass.  I really love the BMW’s, too.  They are so smooth and quiet.

    What was your first motorcycle?