Vista Start Menu won't launch some applications.

As strange at it may seem, this is often caused by a bad Shell Extension, which is mistakenly handling the launch request.

I had this happen on Vista, and found the NirSoft ShellExView was just the thing to fix my issue. It is freeware and if you don't need it, you won't even know what it is, but if you need it, you really need it.

An interesing Fedora 9 glitch.

I encountered this message in my logs: "restorecond: Will not restore a file with more than one hard link (/etc/resolv.conf) Invalid argument". A bit of searching found this fix at the Fedora Forums. Elevated to administrative level:

: ls -i /etc/resolv.conf #(or whatever file is problematic)
NNNNNNNNN /etc/resolve.conf #(will return the inode)
: find -inum NNNNNNNN #finds all copies
/etc/sysconfig/networking/profiles/default/resolv.conf #most likely hard link
/etc/resolv.conf #the original

ARCserve Backup 1.11 database rebuilding.

CA ARCserve backup came with one of our backup devices as a pack in. It has always been a bit dodgy, but recently it collapsed completely. It appears to have been a database issue.

ARCserve uses Centura Software's "RAIMA VLDB" and there are utilities documented in "VLDBUTIL.HTM" file in the main folder of the backup software. Well, mostly documented... you need to know that the *server* you are working on is always called CASDB (the baked in user name and password are documented).

BackupPC from RPM on Fedora Core or related systems.

I decided recently to try BackupPC at one of our sites; one of the advantages it has is the ability to back each file it finds up once, and only once, saving much space on the backup device. This would be a secondary backup, but being disk based should allow faster recovery of files than our existing solution does (although the media changer is fast, it still isn't disk access).

Configuring it on Fedora Core 9 was easy, although not obvious what was required thanks to fairly spartan documentation.

Net Neutrality, part 4: Technical Solutions vs Rent Seeking

An interesting article was posted over at CircleID explaining why network neutrality would be a bad thing. I am cross posting my comment here, because I think it is probably the shortest and most direct way of illuminating the current confusion over network neutrality.

An interesting time for copyright.

The house has passed H.R. 4279 (a short summary can be found at This, combined with a recent finding about DMCA complaints, should lead to excitement.

Wikis for Business

One of the more useful and cost effective tools for corporations and developers that need to organize large amounts of structureless information is the Wiki. Wikipedia, the largest Wiki in existance, has a good definition of of what a Wiki is here, but the important features of a Wiki are:

1. Users can edit content quickly and easily in their browser without needed any additional tools. This makes a Wiki a low friction tool that actually gets used.

Net Neutrality, part 3. How to manage a network.

Comcast is one of the flash-points in the current Net Neutrality debate, thanks to a decision to slow some kinds of applications (Bit Torrent on purpose, Lotus Notes apparently by accident).

Net Neutrality, part 2: how does it work today.

I operate under an assumption: the assumption that when I pay for a service, I will get a "best effort" attempt at delivery of that service, within the constraints of the service level I purchase. This applies no less to the services I pay for that are deployed on the Internet. I understand that if I pay more for a service, I get better quality service... the price difference should reflect the enhanced performance.

Sometimes hitting limits means a new approach.

In my last post I was very disturbed by the attitude that hitting limits (or wanting to know about the box you are in) means you are doing something "wrong". Yet, the main examples used actually do represent reasonable limits... 50 nested windows, 25 level menus and similar are most likely pathological code. In fact, such limits can help avoid denial of service attacks that consume system resources via recursive calls. Nevertheless, even limits like these leave me uneasy. Unexpected uses do not necessarily mean abuses of a system.


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