I'm currently in the process of moving our company's email
from being hosted on-site to being in the cloud.
The first step in that process is to setup a hybrid server
which will bridge the gap between on-site and off-site.
Recently I did just that and thought I'd share the process.
While Exchange 2016 is out, I opted instead to install an
Exchange 2013 hybrid server into our existing environment.
That existing environment consisting of Exchange 2010, two
sites, with a DAG and CAS server in each site. All external
email is being forwarded through a smart host.
As the Exch 2013 server is operating as the Hybrid
server it is not hosting any mailboxes. Therefore to
access the new Exchange console you need to modify the
URL as such:
Organizations installing a Hybrid server need to
acquire a specific license
key to use. As long as the server is not hosting any
mailboxes there should be no licenses needed.
Activate Exch 2013 with this key.
Updated our smart host to direct traffic to and
authorize the new server
This is where I encountered the first problem. Email from
our other site was not going out to the Internet and was
queuing up. After a bit of a scramble I found the solution.
I simply needed to add the new Exch 2013 server as an
authorized source server on our Internet send connector:
After all this was done I had a functioning Exchange 2013
server. It was proxying client requests back to the 2010
servers successfully. However I noticed a problem when I
modified the DNS alias we used for our SMTP mailer type
programs and applications to point to the new server. These
automated messages weren't going through. Doing some tests
with Telnet showed the server was rejecting them. So I
did some digging and found an
article which was the solution. I had to create a new
receive connector to handle these anonymous emails. I might
have been able to modify the permissions on the default
connector, but felt it was better to create a purpose
specific connector instead. I followed the article exactly,
but was still getting errors. Did some more digging and
article. Once I made that change everything was working.
At this point we're going to run this environment for a
few weeks to make sure everything is good. After that the
next step will be to run the Hybrid Configuration Wizard and
try and get mail working between the on-site mailboxes and
the hosted mailboxes. I'll detail that process on here at
A Test of
Will - Oct 22, 2016
As mentioned previously, along with a new video card I also
got a new monitor. Now, two months later it's finally hooked
Like the title says this was a pure test of will. I did not
think I'd ever get it done. The main issue was that it used
Displayport instead of HDMI. So I had to get a suitably long
cable to reach to the equipment rack in the basement. Of
course none of the vendors selling these hellishly (~$200)
expensive cables would guarantee they would work based on
the lengths I needed. So all I could do was order and cross
my fingers that they'd be ok.
So how long was the cable I needed? Well I based it on the
audio cable I bought off eBay when back when I decided to install a
headphone jack in the office. The description in the listing
said '30 feet/10 meters'. Based on that I figured I needed a
30 foot cable. So I found a vendor and ordered it from them.
It arrived, I hooked everything up at the equipment rack to
test and all was good. It was able to operate at the maximum
144Hz at a resolution of 2560x1440. Next up was to run the
cable through the pre-existing conduit I had run from the
rack to my office. I already had a lead in place and taped
the cable to it and tried to pull it up and out the other
end. Never having done this before I didn't know how much
resistance to expect. So at one point it stopped moving. And
in an effort to get it going I yanked fairly hard a couple
times on the cable. Sure enough the drywall couldn't stand
the strain and broke open. I'm pretty sure my neighbors
across the street could hear the resulting screaming and
After calming down I tried it again later in the day and was
able to get it pulled through - but it was too short! By
about 3 feet. Frustrated I pulled it back out and ordered a
longer cable from them. After it showed up I hooked
everything up at the equipment rack and it didn't work at
all. I'd get an image for a few seconds but then it would
drop, come back for a few seconds and drop again. Obviously
the run was to long for the signal. So I found a different
vendor online and ordered the correct length (30 feet) from
them. It showed up, I tested it and everything was good, so
I ran the cable through the conduit - and it was too
What the hell was going on? So I double checked the original
eBay description and it finally dawned on me. 30 feet is NOT
10 meters. 33 feet is! I went and looked at a number of
listings on Amazon, eBay etc. and they all said '30 feet/10
meters'. More screaming and swearing ensued. The thought of
suing them all briefly popped into my head. So I ordered a
35' cable from the last vendor, it showed up, and it sorta
worked. But I could only get it to run at 85Hz. While better
than my old monitor's 60Hz, it was still a far cry from the
maximum supported rate the monitor could display.
At this point I started considering moving my rackmount PC
out of the equipment rack it was in and buying one of those
6U wallmount racks and installing it all on the other side
of the room. That would have solved all my problems, but I
really didn't want to do that as it'd interfere with all the
shelving I had already installed for all my movies.
In a last desperate attempt I searched and found a third
vendor. After communicating with them they assured me
their cable lengths were truly 10 meters or 33 feet and I
ordered from them. A few days ago it showed up. I tested it
and was able to get 120Hz - at that point I was ecstatic, no
it wasn't the max, but considering all the crap I went
through up to that point I was ok with it. I ran the cable,
but had issues fishing it the last bit to the outlet and was
ready to start smashing things again when the wife in her
quiet, soothing way was able to calm me down and we managed
to get it through. I hooked the monitor up in the office and
The only downside, is the cable is still (of course) a
little bit to short. Everything is connected, but it's
pretty tight. I had to move the rack over a few feet to be
able to connect the PC. But I'm happy with the result.
Surprisingly the physical size of the monitor seems to be
less than my old monitor, likely because the old one had a
much wider bezel. I bumped up the text size to 125% as I
found the default size to be a little bit small for my
crappy eyes. The only issue I found is that older apps
aren't able to tie into the system wide setting and still
show text in the smaller size. But for any relatively modern
app they display properly.
It was with immense smugness that I could say I had my
computer downstairs with just the monitor, keyboard, and
mouse upstairs in my office. But this was the one instance
where my cleverness bit me in the ass. But it's finally done
and working. Next up is to install and spend the winter
months playing Fallout 4...
Mystery - Sep 19, 2016
I recently bit the bullet and took advantage of Microsoft's
free upgrade to Windows 10 before the deadline expired.
Surprisingly, the upgrade was seamless and I didn't
encounter any issues. I went through and ran various
programs and they all ran fine. Frankly the whole experience
was a bit underwhelming. I mean come on! Give me something
to complain about...
Well ok. I did notice that whenever I'd walk into my office
on any given evening that the system wasn't sleeping. The
screen was off, but the keyboard would be lit up so I knew
something had woken it out of it's blissful slumber. So the
first thing I did was to go into the Control Panel, Security
and Maintenance, Automatic Maintenance, Change maintenance
settings, and turn off 'Allow scheduled maintenance to wake
up my computer at the scheduled time'. The thinking was for
whatever reason it wasn't going back to sleep after
But that didn't fix the problem. So I did some digging and
came across a neat command line that pointed me in the right
Finding the Culprit
This command lists any active timers. From the details I
could see that it was a scheduled task that was the cause.
It was also nice enough to show the exact drill down menu
structure to get to the offending task in Task Scheduler. As
I'm not overly concerned with Windows Media Center checking
for updates I didn't have a problem disabling the task.
Powercfg is a pretty useful command that can return all
kinds of sleep and power related information. Now my
computer only wakes when I tell it to wake.
Upgrade - Aug 17, 2016
With winter here in a few months my thoughts turned to how I
was going to manage my upcoming hibernation and I decided
that spending hours and hours and hours in a virtual world
hunting Deathclaws would do the trick.
So I ended up ordering the Pip-Boy edition of Fallout 4.
Of course with a new game comes new beefy hardware
requirements. While I recently built my new gaming computer
I decided at the time not to upgrade my graphics card,
instead I bought a 2nd identical card and used ATI's
Crossfire connector to squeeze some extra life out of what I
had. And for the most part it worked well. Each card would
'draw' every other line on the display and it allowed me to
play some of the newer games with higher details and decent
frame rates. However in the past few weeks an odd issue
popped up - essentially I'd randomly get digital snow
flickering on the screen. Not sure if it was the card or my
(equally dated) monitor I figured I'd solve all of my issues
at once by getting both a new video card and monitor.
The Nvidia GTX 1080 had just came out and was getting rave
reviews and although hellishly expensive I rationalized it
by the fact that I wouldn't have to upgrade again for
several years by installing such a powerful monster of a
card. As I'm partial to Asus, I sourced it from
them. Of course such a high end card requires an equally
high end monitor so I splurged for Asus's latest and
greatest gaming monitor, the
GeForce 1080 GTX vs Radeon HD 4850
As you can see from the screenshot the thing is a beast
especially compared to my old card. However installation was
a snap once I found the appropriate 8-pin power connector on
my power supply (actually a 6+2 connector).
should have done a bit of research before ordering as once I
went to set everything up I realized I had a problem. The
monitor only has a Displayport connection instead of a HDMI
connector. If my PC was in the same room as my monitor that
wouldn't be an issue. But instead, it's in an AV rack in a
different room (floor) roughly 25' away. After doing some
furious Googling of the Displayport standard it appeared at
first glance that I wouldn't be able to get a cable long
enough which would still give me the resolution and refresh
rate that I wanted.
However I did find one
vendor that according to their specs may or may not
work. The only way to know for sure is for me to try. So I
plan on ordering the cable and then testing. If it works
then I'll have to get my AV guy to come out and replace my
existing HDMI wiring with the new Displayport cable.
Thankfully when I had everything built I had them run
conduit from my AV rack to my office.
So as of now I have my new fancy video card, but am still
using my old monitor with it's 1920x1200 resolution
connected to my existing HDMI wiring. Of course the card is
massive overkill at that resolution. I fired up Bioshock
Infinite and maxed out the quality settings and the game ran
almost too fast to be enjoyable. But if I can't resolve the
cabling issue that's what I'll be stuck with...
To Wii, or
not to Wii? - Jul 24, 2016
Awhile ago I picked up a Wii U. We had just moved into a new
house and were getting a media room built and as part of
that process I wanted to incorporate Nintendo's latest
gaming system into that space. In the end it didn't end up
there as I was paranoid my fancy Panasonic plasma would
suffer burn in from gaming - instead it's final destination
was to be in the garage, over a year after I bought it.
We previously had the original Wii and really enjoyed it. So
at the time it made sense to upgrade to the newer, more
powerful version. Probably the main selling feature was the
Wii U's high definition resolution, outputting up to 1080p.
The other nicety was supporting the faster wireless-N
standard. Finally, it still worked with all the original Wii
games and accessories. A guaranteed winner right?
Sadly, during the time it actually took me to buy one and
hook it up it hasn't exactly been the success Nintendo had
hoped. Sales compared to the other big two, Xbox and
Playstation, are abysmal - in fact they've only sold a 10th
the number of systems as the original Wii. The amount of new
titles coming out has dwindled to literally a handful in the
past year. Nintendo has now shifted focus to their next
generation console instead.
I'm not sure exactly why it's been such a failure, my only
guess is its because of the lack of 3rd party titles. Sure,
we all love playing Mario Kart or Super Mario World but how
many iterations of basically the same game can you go
through before you get bored with it. Fallout 4 is out for
the PC, Xbox, and Playstation, but not the Wii - and that's
a huge problem.
Despite all that, having spent a few days playing around
with everything, I do really like it and think it's a solid
upgrade from the original. Our old games all play fine on it
(the only limitation is the GamePad only works with Wii U
titles) and our old controllers work fine as well. I've also
heard various opinions on if the old games are upscaled or
not. All I know is that the old titles looked fine to me.
Although you could probably make the argument that they will
automatically look better by virtue of using an HDMI
connection versus the old component hookup. As for the
GamePad, its essentially a self contained system that you
can use to play games using its built in screen. Most of the
kids I've seen playing seem to prefer using it to using the
TV as their display. It also has a built in camera which you
can use to take a picture of yourself and morph into onto
the face of your Mii character. I haven't had time yet to
explore all the various options, but I did spend some time
playing with the built in browser. Unlike before, it's
actually fairly usable now. And like almost all devices
these days (TV's, blu-ray players etc.) it also includes
Netflix. The couple of new games I tried were fun and the
visual upgrade appreciated.
Wii U - Where's the Love?
At this point though I wouldn't recommend anyone buying the
Wii U unless they were able to get one used or get a really
good deal. The Wii has always filled a different niche than
the other consoles awash in their first person shooter
titles. It was always more about fun interaction with
friends and family, making use of of the motion sensing
controllers, and getting people up off the couch and moving
around while playing. Hopefully their next generation
platform will continue embracing that philosophy when it
comes out some time next year.
Privacy? - May 28, 2016
You know those EULA agreements that you just click on to
dismiss every time there's a new product update? The one's
you never bother to read before you agree to them? Perhaps
you should actually go through them occasionally...
First up is news that Facebook will record and analyze sound
through your iPhone's microphone whenever you use it to do a
status update. So for instance, say you're listening to
Taylor Swift on the radio while posting adorable videos of
your cat. Soon after you start getting ads in Facebook for
her new album which just dropped. Or alternatively, you're
yammering away to your girlfriend about what hotel you
should stay at during your Hawaii trip, and coincidentally
next time you log on to Facebook you're helpfully shown ads
for the Waikiki Hilton. Now you know why. Once word got
around of this latest 'feature' of course Facebook
cheerfully reminded everyone that you have to enable it as
it's disabled by default. Strangely though, both my phone
and the wife's had it enabled - and yet we never turned it
on. Personally I don't like having my life analyzed so as to
further bombard me with enticements to spend more of my
money. To turn off, got into Settings, Facebook, Settings,
and deselect Microphone.
How Very Orwellian
Apple also is up to similar shenanigans with it's latest
'feature' in Spotlight. Introduced with OS X Yosemite and
present in the latest version El Capitan, by default
whenever you do a search on your computer your search terms
are sent to Apple which then distributes them to third
parties including Microsoft. All ending up in one massive
database for all eternity to be analyzed and mined at will.
Keep My Searches Private
To turn off, go into System Preferences, Spotlight, and
uncheck 'Bing Web Searches' and 'Allow Spotlight Suggestions
in Spotlight and Look up'. Some people might not think it's
a big deal, but it's at least somewhat ironic considering
the big stink Apple made in it's fight with the FBI over
being forced to decrypt iPhones and it's public defense of
it's users privacy being sacrosanct.
In all these
instances you can protect your privacy by turning things off
- typically only after finding out about them through other
users discovering them and being outraged - but you have to
think that it's only a matter of time before people are no
longer even given the choice.
Upgrade - May 22, 2016
I've been wanting to swap a SSD drive into my 24" iMac
(2006) for awhile now but have held off due to concern over
how much a pain the process would be and fear of breaking
Recently however my screen started to display graphical
glitches occasionally which in all likelihood is a result of
the thermal paste being old and cracking/no longer adhering
properly. So I decided since I needed to deal with the video
card I might as well do the hard drive at the same time.
Never having done this before though, I figured I'd tackle
the hard drive first as with it you don't need to completely
remove the logic board like you have to with the video card.
I managed to find a brand new Nvidia 7600GT card off eBay
which is amazing considering how rare they are. But I think
I'll keep it as a spare and instead remove and re-apply the
thermal paste on the existing card.
But first, the task of replacing the hard drive...
I ordered the drive from Crucial as I've used them in the
past to buy memory upgrades and their website will certify
various drives to work with various Apple computers. I ended
up picking a 500GB
model they listed as compatible with my vintage iMac. I
also ordered a 3.5" to 2.5" drive carrier converter
bracket. I know a lot of people simply use velcro tape
to affix the SSD, but I wanted to do it properly.
Once everything showed up it was time to start the upgrade.
I went online and watched literally a dozen videos on
YouTube on how to do the upgrade. In each video they showed
the person opening the case using a credit card inserted
through the vent slot. This is done to unlatch the bezel
allowing it to be removed. And here we had my first major
I could not get the thing to open. I then found out there's
a specific Apple tool for this process and ended up ordering
it. Not long after I stumbled across a video where someone
showed you how to make your own simply by taking a rewards
type plastic card and using boiling water to soften it and
then bend it into shape. So I did that, but again, i could
not get it open. I then tried it on my 17" iMac and after
only a few tries got it to work. So what was going on?
Well it turns out that Apple in it's infinite wisdom decided
to use a different method to open a 24" iMac. Everything
online that shows them using one of these cards only works
on the 17" and 20" models!!! The only reason I found this
out is after stumbling across the official Apple service
manual - which in hindsight I probably should have looked at
It's actually super easy to open the larger model, you
simply unscrew the memory slot holder and the bottom screws,
remove the memory, squeeze together the plastic memory guide
clips and lift up the bezel. You are then supposed to remove
the cable for the camera and microphone and while I was able
to detach one of the cables easily the other one was all
taped together. It looked pretty delicate so I decided
against messing with it and instead simply leaned the bezel
against the wall and left it connected.
From there it was a matter of unscrewing a couple screws on
the LVDS cable and popping it loose and then removing the
inverter cable. Now here was where I encountered my second
frustration. The inverter cable is very brittle and I would
bet anyone trying to pry it off by pulling on the cable
itself would rip off the leads and end up ruining your iMac
in the process. So instead I carefully worked the connector
prying each side up bit by bit until it finally popped off.
There was then eight screws to remove around the display and
two pieces of aluminum tape on each side that I had to
carefully peel back. And with that I was able to remove the
Then it was a matter of disconnecting the existing drive.
First I removed the SATA and power connectors and squeezed
down on the metal clip at the top of the drive carrier which
popped it open and allowed me to swing open the carrier and
remove it - there was also a connector for the attached
thermal sensor which was easy to remove. I removed the two
screws on the one side of the drive holding the clip and
then the two 'posts' on the other side and attached them to
the SSD with it's converter bracket. I then carefully pried
off the thermal sensor from the old drive and thankfully
there was enough glue still attached that I was able to
affix it to the new drive. Then I re-attached the drive
cables and sensor cable and put everything back together
I powered on the system and was relieved when I got the
familiar chime. Holding down the option key I had it boot
into the Startup Manager. I then selected the USB boot key I
had previously created which had an install of OS X Lion -
which is the last supported OS for that system. A bit of
panic ensued when I saw that the SSD wasn't recognized. Then
I realized it had to be formatted first and I looked up the
required settings to do so. Once that was done the drive was
recognized and I was able to install Lion onto it.
I did a quick comparison of the boot up times before and
after and the difference was pretty substantial. In
addition, now that it's been upgraded everything runs much
smoother. I still need to do the video card at some point,
but for now I'm going to kick back and just enjoy my vintage
Mac that's been given a new lease on life.
Puzzler - Apr 8, 2016
Got a call recently from a colleague at work who was having
an odd issue.
Every time he got an email in Outlook it would immediately go into his
Deleted Items folder. He works in IT and deals with Outlook
on a regular basis so he knows more than the typical user.
As such he went through and checked all the obvious things -
He didn't have any rules turned on, tried with both cached
mode on and off, had turned off his iPhone, and also
encountered the same problem when just running Outlook Web
Access (OWA). As it was also doing it in OWA I knew that
meant it wasn't an Outlook issue, but was instead related to
his account. And as no one else was having the problem I
knew it wasn't something systemic to Exchange.
So we both wracked our brains for a bit and took to Google
for possible solutions.
Eventually we came across an article that mentioned in some
instances that the mailbox gets its AutomateProcessing flag
messed up. For resource mailboxes you want them set to
AutoAccept and normally it won't allow you to set a user
mailbox to AutoAccept. But sometimes (the reason why wasn't
entirely clear) a user mailbox will get set that way which
causes the behavior of automatically moving incoming email
to the Deleted Items folder.
The articles then detailed that to fix you simply ran the
Shell and punched in the following command:
However it'd always return an error stating it didn't
recognize the command. And here again we have the problem
with Googling a solution. Most of what is out there is
simply wrong. In this case, all these articles that
mentioned running this command failed to mention they were
talking about Exchange 2007. As we are running Exchange 2010
it has a different set of commands.
So after doing some more digging I finally came up with the
As you can see in the screenshots his
mailbox was indeed set to the wrong setting. After making
the switch everything was working properly again. We talked
a bit more about it and it appears that just prior to things
breaking he was working on accounts and opening multiple
mailboxes from within his profile to make changes. Obviously
something along the way caused the setting to get messed up.
Woes - Feb 15, 2016
We use DFS Replication to copy redirected folders off our
tablets onto a file server in another site for disaster
recovery. Recently, however we started getting errors in the
event log complaining that we were exceeding the staging
Event ID: 4208
The DFS Replication service detected that the staging
space usage is above the staging quota for the replicated
folder at local path (path). The service might fail to
replicate some large files and the replicated folder might
get out of sync. The service will attempt to clean up
staging space automatically.
Ok great, but what size to set the quota to be??? After
doing some digging I found a handy Powershell script which
will go and search through the target folder and add up the
largest files and give an appropriate value you can enter in
the Staging properties:
Obviously you can edit the value to make is search more than
the top 32 files, however for Windows 2008 R2, 32 is the
recommended search value.
Setting the Staging Size
Once you have that value, all you need to do is to go into
the DFS Management console, click on the Replication group
under the Replication node, on the memberships tab right
click on the replicated folder and select Properties. Click
on the Staging tab and update the quota value to match the
one returned by the script. Changes will take place during
the next DFSR polling cycle.
Now those pesky event errors should go away and replication
work more smoothly.
Jan 24, 2016
Now that the basement is mostly done, I found some time to
work on my arcade games. Sadly they've been neglected ever
since we moved a couple years ago. I finally decided to work
on my Tron upright as I thought it'd be a straightforward
The issue with it was that ever since I had it, the MCP
translite (lit graphic at the back, above the monitor) didn't light up. I never thought much of it
initially as I figured the light bulb was simply burnt out.
So I cracked open the manual, looked at the various parts
and diagrams and saw that it used an 18" fluorescent tube
assembly. I guessed all I had to do was simply grab a
replacement bulb from Home Depot and pop it in and it'd be
good as new. However when I finally got around to opening
the back up - I found that the entire lighting assembly was
missing. Not broken, entirely gone!
Not only that, but after temporarily shining a light through
the back I noticed that the translite had a tear through the
middle that the previous owner had tried to fix by simply
taping over it. So I went online and found someone selling
one that was in much better condition. Now I just had to
figure out the lighting issue.
Replaced Tron MCP Translite
According to the manual I needed the tube, ballast, and a
starter. I made some inquiries on
KLOV which led me to a website that sold various arcade
and pinball parts. After contacting the owner he said to
simply grab one from Walmart for $10. At first I thought he
was being a smart ass, but after questioning him on it I
realized what he was talking about. You can now get
fluorescent lights that come in one integrated piece. No
need to buy all the separate components - and they run off a
regular plug-in outlet which there just happens to be at the
bottom of the game.
I picked one up and thankfully the power cord was just long
enough to reach the outlet. There is a wood strip that goes
along the back so I simply used a couple of tie wraps to
affix the light to it. I then went to fire up the game and
got that sick feeling when it didn't power on. After looking
closer I noticed a piece of wood from the cabinet had fallen
inside and ripped out some of the wiring from the monitor to
the power supply. The wires in question were from the AC
outlets of the supply so I took a gamble that there was no
polarity and that I wouldn't fry things by connecting the
wrong wires together. I tied the wires together, tried it
again and success! Everything powered on.
Next I ripped out the old translite and replaced it with the
newer one I had bought. Unfortunately there's some speckling
on the plastic shroud itself which despite my best efforts I
couldn't get out. Still, as you can see from the picture it
looks pretty sharp. Last thing I did was to tweak the
vertical hold of the monitor as there was always a slight
shimmering line to the right of the screen. Now that's gone
and the image looks rock solid.