Using WebDAV Folders to Share Network Shares Via the Internet

I have clients that use WebDAV services on Windows Server 2003 to share folders securely over the internet. They often use a self-signed SSL certificate to encrypt the connection. Here's how...

Tea-Brined Pork Tenderloin

This pork has an amazing, incredible flavor. It is one of those rare recipes where the sum is truly greater than the parts. Simple, but amazing. This process could be used with a larger pork loin (I would put it on the rotissere instead of cooking on the grill grates), but the tenderness of the tenderloin really works well with this brine.

Polycom SIP Phone Directory Error

This is kind of silly, but I was updating a large phone directory for a client's Polycom phones and somehow made a mistake somewhere in the xml file and the directory stopped loading in the phones. I tried rolling back some of the changes I had made, but still couldn't really see where I had made a mistake. Visually scanning the XML file didn't work, either.

The error message in the phone's log was

0904142121|cfg  |4|02|Edit|Parse error 7 with local cfg /ffs0/local/local-directory_xml.zzz

This location is where the phone saves the local copy of the directory file that gets downloaded while booting. OK, so I knew the problem was with parsing the xml file, but where? The thing is over 10K of text!

My workaround was pretty simple. All I did was transfer the file to my local system from the asterisk server I was using and open the file in a newer browser (firefox in my case).

It parsed the xml and reported an error, including the line it was on (actually a few lines after, but it got me looking in the right spot):

XML Parsing Error: mismatched tag. Expected: </sd>.
Location: file:///C:/fixes/polycom/temp/0004f9149999-directory.xml
Line Number 42, Column 5:

OK, now I know about where the problem is and that it has to do with a missing </sd> tag.

A quick scan of the file for sd tags turned up the culprit. I was missing the < on a closing </sd> tag. I fixed it and reloaded firefox to verify the file could be scanned.

I'm sure there are better tools for this than firefox, but it was handy and it got me looking in the right place--always good when you are trying to debug something.

Free Google Earth Flight Simulator

Want a free flight simulator? Download the latest version of Google Earth here, install it, start it, and if you are using Windows, press Ctrl-Alt-Shift-A (it has to be a capital A). You can then choose between an F16 jet or single engine SR22 prop plane and start flying right where you are or take off from selected airports.

You can fly with the arrow keys and adjust your engine thrust with the Page Up/Page Down keys. Turn your head by using Alt-arrow key (slow) or Ctrl-arrow key (fast).

Complete control descriptions are here.

The cool part isn't just that's free. You can fly over your house with the same photo resolution as you are used to with Google Earth. In the cities that have the "show building" feature enabled, you can fly between the buildings!

Virus Threat from Innocent Looking Emails

The latest threat in the ongoing struggle against viruses is the innocent email with a link to an infected website. The attack actually comes once you follow a link to a web address. The email itself can be safely deleted as it only contains a link, not the virus. Most antivirus software that I've seen does not detect the email as a threat. A compromised website (or one setup just to send out the virus) will have some kind of automatically executing code that will take advantage of a flaw in windows or internet explorer and install something on your system, maybe even if you are running at reduced user rights.

The attacks started in July 2007 with "you have an e-greeting card" types of messages. Now we are seeing an increase in "membership info" messages. For instance, you might receive an "acknowledgement" for your new membership in the "Bartenders Guide" or some other website. The messages are usually plain text and don't have the usual misspellings and formatting problems that are common for bogus messages.

The biggest tipoff is that the link for you to log in is always (so far) a numeric IP address instead of a domain name. For instance, the link will be to instead of

In the future, the email will change from login information to prize winning or some other attractive "what will it hurt to look" draws. There may even be full domain names in the link. Instead of bogus login information, you'll see your email address as the login and a password derived from that information (for instance it would say my user id is and my password is stevej100 or something else that might make sense to me).

The safest thing to do is to only trust emails that come in immediately after you sign up for membership somewhere, have full domain names that match the site you signed up for, and that match the information you provided. Avoid anything that seems close to what you would use or interesting such that you are tempted to find out what it is all about. If you are responsible for your PC (like with your home PC), you would do well to setup Microsoft Update for automatic updates and automatic reboot and keep your system updated. Also keep your antivirus up-to-date.

Problem with Drive (un)Mappings

I have a client that uses a logon script on a Windows 2003 Small Business Server. The first thing the script does is un-map any mapped drives that might get used.

Most of the time the script works fine, but once in awhile, a certain user on a certain computer would lose all of the drive mappings and none of the drives would work. They might reboot a few times before things worked again.

After some work, we figured out that the script was hanging on the last NET USE /delete command and giving the error 2250 "There are open files and/or incomplete directory searches pending on the connection to X:" (where X: was the drive with the issue)... and FreeVPS Virtual Private Server

UPDATE: I no longer use because their customer support staff forwarded my email to a hacker's account, without any security verification, based on just an email support ticket request from a gmail account that was unrelated to me. This allowed the hacker to hack my domain hosting account access my domain name inventory and attempt to transfer away one of my valuable (3 letter!) .com domains. The attempt failed because of the security monitoring by my domain name host, but I figured that since it was easier for a hacker to get a support ticket processed than it is for me when I ask for support, maybe I'd better switch providers.

I switched to in August 2007. I didn't have all the details at the time I switched other than I would be getting a 256mb VPS with 40gb of disk and 200gb of data transfer per month.

I moved from a shared hosting server with 220 other domains and a first-page-to-display start time of 15 seconds to a Virtual Private Server (VPS) with dedicated resources (memory, processor, processes, namespace...) and a less than 1 second first-page-to-display start time. The cost went from about $10 per month to $30 per month, but so far, I think the increased speed and extensive access (ssh command line) makes it more than worth it.

I'm going to document what I learned since switching, but first, a word or two about the configuration of my new server...

Fresh Green Bean Salad

This is great farmer's market fare and using fresh green beans gives it a great, fresh, flavor.

New Hosting Service for Mojocode

I've moved my hosting service from to

There may be a few bumps along the way, so I apologize in advance. This type of thing is always a pain.

The main reason I moved providers was that I could get a VPS (Virtual Private Server) with full command line access for just a little more than I was paying for my shared (with 219 other domains) hosting. I should get much better performance and much better access. I'll give a full review after everything is moved.

HP 3005 PCL 5 Driver Won't Save Custom Form

I had a problem with an HP 3005 that wouldn't save a custom form for a user. They clicked the "Printing Preferences..." button, clicked Paper/Quality, clicked the Custom... button, changed the name and size of the form, then clicked the Save button and the OK button.

No error or warning message popped up (not even the one that would normally come up and says, "to see your custom form you must exit Printing Preferences and return" or whatever). If you exit out and return, nothing has been saved.

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