Kicking Skype Up a Notch

A few weeks ago, our Senior Pastor asked for some assistance with setting up a skype video conference so that Adam could participate in a meeting being held in Texas. The alternative was to have him fly down to Dallas for a 1-hour meeting, effectively blowing out an entire day of productive hours.

We don’t currently have a dedicated video conference system, so we had to improvise.

We scheduled the meeting in our studio and coordinated with the other end to make the conference happen via Skype.

On our end, we took Adam’s MacBook Pro, and hooked up a Canon XL2 via FireWire for the video, a Shure wired lapel mic hooked to the camera (for phantom power) and then the audio output from the camera into the MacBook’s line-level audio input (because it appears that Skype doesn’t recognize the audio device on the XL2). We then connected the audio and display output from the mac into a 40″ LCD TV.

Here’s what it looked like:

The end result is a conference that looks and sounds excellent.

Fixing network Priority in Windows : Win7 Update

A long time ago, I made a post about fixing network priority in Windows, and I found myself having to do the same task again on my new Windows 7 system. The process isn’t quite as easy to find under Windows 7/Vista. Here’s the updated version:

Right-click on your network icon and go to the “Network and Sharing center” (if the “Network” icon is on your desktop, you can also get there by right-clicking and going to properties)

Click on “Change Adapter Settings”

Network Advanced

Press the “Alt” Key to show the menu, and click on “Advanced”, then “Advanced Settings”.

(from here, the process is unchanged)

Move the Wired LAN Connection (By Default, “Local Area Connection”) to the top, followed by the wireless connection. Make sure that any VPN virtual adapters come after these, otherwise the VPN will only use the ones above it. This tends to be problematic if you’re using split tunneling, as it will kill any network connection you have.

Once you’ve applied the settings, open a command prompt and run “nslookup” – it should default to the DNS server for your wired network.

Say Whaaaaaaaa?????

The last few days have been rather stressful.. Our shiny new web infrastructure at COR has been throwing major temper tantrums, which means I’ve been rather busy of late. Today, it melted down half a dozen times after I thought I’d fixed it. Each time it did something different. (and if that wasn’t enough excitement, our upstream provider had a BGP issue this morning that knocked their entire customer base off the web for about 5 minutes)

All you folks that hit our website, thank you for your patience. These have been trying times.

This morning, I noticed something very odd. And again this evening as I’m migrating the data to a new server.

root@corweb1:/content/sites# uptime
11:35:56 up -24855 days, -3:-14,  4 users,  load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00

Negative uptime??? What?

root@corweb1:/content/sites# date
Wed Aug 31 11:50:17 CDT 1955

Perhaps running apt-get install flux-capacitor wasn’t such a good idea, as the machine seems to be performing on about the level of a computer from 1955.

It’s become pretty obvious that something is very ill on that box, and I think it’s time to ditch VMWare Server for ESXi. Until then, we’re moving the servers over to the bare metal on the other box (which includes the blog server, it’s already been moved).

Last login: Wed Aug 31 11:44:51 1955 from

No wonder I feel old.

Following the spam…

Mark Wade at CA recently posted a neat article about what happens when you respond to a spam message. Check out some of Mark’s other posts as well. Lots of good stuff there for our users, but in a forum where your typical end-user is not likely to be found.

I will occasionally chase down phishing messages (and populate with bogus data) just to see how elaborate the phish is, so I can warn our users. There have been a few recently that have been particularly well crafted, and thus pose a higher threat, as the deception is far more effective.

Just a reminder for your users, unless your bank is run by a bunch of idiots, they won’t e-mail you out of the blue. If they do, it’s time to change banks.