Monzo Saves the Day!

I had an odd experience at a coffee stall where the barista charged my card then told me it failed and did it again. Both times I had to input my pin but he only gave me the receipt of the final transaction and kept the supposed failed one for himself.

This is dodgey behavior so I checked the Monzo app while I stood next to the cart drinking my coffee and sure enough he had double charged.

Less than 5 minutes later showing him & his manager the app I had my refund! All was handled very politely and swiftly and I believe it was an honest mistake but this proves to me the values of using my Monzo card and app.

If I had used a different card I’d never have known the problem had happened and been down £10!

Disney World Orlando Florida

If you find yourself in Florida and can get to Disney I recommend the Tower of Terror!

It’s a vertical thrill ride preceded by a short & spooky tour of the hotel’s history. Be sure to catch the start wars march too.

BE ADVISED!! Alcohol is very expensive in Disney. A double JD and Coke was almost $13 including tax. Walmart has regular prices so you can relax with your favourite booze by the pool back at the hotel 😝

American food in Disney is good and the burgers are far better than anything I’ve had in the UK. One thing to note is that US meals and snacks tend to be much sweeter than you might be used to, Starbucks frappucinos had much more sugar/sweetener and there are some oddly delicious combinations of food like the Sweet & Spicy Chicken Waffel available in the Magic Kingdom.

Tasty, tasty, syrupy waffle sandwhich thing!

The roller coasters are more bumpy and longer lasting than most in the UK which means they’re a lot better, even the water rapids ride has a sudden drop and you absolutely will get wet!

Many of the rides are very dark inside, sometimes so dark you can’t see anything at all while you’re being thrown about. This might be fun for some but I like to see the lighting effects going on and all the artwork/models around the rides.

The Dinosaur ride simulates a time traveling visit to the past when dinosaurs rolled the Earth. It is a tribute trip through time with great special effects and some surprising dinosaurs leaving it if the dark at you.

Which .NET Version is Installed?

I’ve found myself needing to know which version(s) of the .NET are installed on a server and the easiest way I’ve discovered is to browse to the directory and check the version on mscor*.dll files.

Browse to this directory which is the same on all versions of Windows currently in use.

C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\

Go into the Framework or Framework64 directories and you’ll see the overview of versions installed. For example, you might have a directory called v4.0.30319 and you would be forgiven for thinking that is the version installed. But what if you know you have .NET 4.5 or even 4.7 installed?

You can go into the directory and find the DLLs whose name begins mscor then right-click -> Properties -> Details tab and see the file version. This matches the version of .NET.

Ubuntu Static IP

Linux is a varied operating system with myriad ways of accomplishing a single task. Here is the cleanest, quickest, way I use to set a static IP for Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS (GNU/Linux 4.4.0-96-generic x86_64).

sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces

After entering your password you will be presented with a nano session showing the current configuration of your interfaces. If this is a fresh install you’ll see something like this.

# This file describes the network interfaces available on your system
# and how to activate them. For more information, see interfaces(5).

source /etc/network/interfaces.d/*

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

# The primary network interface
auto enp0s3
iface enp0s3 inet dhcp

Note! My interface is enp0s3 but yours may have a different name.

Comment out the current configuration for the interface you want to set to a static IP and edit in the new information.

# This file describes the network interfaces available on your system
# and how to activate them. For more information, see interfaces(5).

source /etc/network/interfaces.d/*

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

# The primary network interface
#auto enp0s3
#iface enp0s3 inet dhcp
auto enp0s3
iface enp0s3 inet static
 address 10.10.10.20
 netmask 255.255.255.0
 gateway 10.10.10.3
 network 10.10.10.0
 dns-nameservers 10.10.10.3

In this example I have set it to:

auto enp0s3 Automatically bring the interface online
iface enp0s3 inet static Told the interface it will use a static IP
address 10.10.10.20 Set the static IP I want this VM to use
netmask 255.255.255.0 Set the subnet mask
gateway 10.10.10.3 Set the IP of the gateway to other networks
network 10.10.10.0 Set the network address
dns-nameservers 10.10.10.3 Set the DNS server to the router’s IP

The simplest way to test the configuration is to reboot the machine but you can turn the interface off and back on again if you know the commands for your specific version of Linux.

Tera

I’ve been playing Tera through Steam which is free to play and has a shop you can buy [mostly] cosmetic items from should you want to. After having played Runescape for years and become bored of the MMORPG scene I have to say Tera is nicely refreshing for the first 40 levels.

There’s a lot to learn but you don’t have to memorize information like you would with EVE or other MMOs. I downloaded it and ran the game to quickly find there was enough on-screen help to get me through. So far I’ve completed several quests, done some dungeons, and ran around fighting monsters mostly by pressing ‘F’ when near an NPC (interact key – to get quests) and carrying on clicking on monsters until either they die or I do.

Also, you can be a deranged-looking teddy bear.

Overlooking the courtyard
Sitting on a bench

If you have a HOTAS or other game controller connected you might have performance issues after 30 minutes. This is a bug in Tera that’s been around for years and still not fixed. You can resolve the problem by unplugging the controller before starting the game. Make sure to uninstall or disable any virtual controllers!

By the time you hit level 40 you’ve probably learned all the controls, the NPC attack patterns, and seen the same 3 monster models dozens of times with slightly changed names. It definitely gets samey and boring at that stage but as a free game you can certainly get a nice twist on combat in massively multiplayer online games.

WordPress

I decided to move to WordPress because I wasn’t getting enough time to develop any new features for the blog software I made. Also, WordPress is a full-featured system that has a slick interface and is nice to use.

I installed it on a fresh install of Server 2012 R2 with IIS 8.5 using the Microsoft Web Platform which helpfully popped up when I opened IIS. This took care of installing PHP, MySQL, and WordPress itself by turning the whole process into little more than a wizard.

However… I later decided to move the installation to a different folder so had to change WordPress Address and Site Address under Settings within WordPress then move the files and reset the permissions.

IMPORTANT: Make sure IIS IUSRS has Read & Execute on all the WordPress folders and Write & Modify pm wp-content. You should also add IIS AppPool/ApplicationPoolName with the same permissions to each folder. Check your website’s application pool name and fill in the “ApplicationPoolName” part.

I then discovered I had to edit the C:\Program Files (x86)PHP\v5.6\php.ini file and change upload_tmp_dir to a directory where IIS IUSRS had Read, Write, Modify, and Execute. This enabled editing of images which is needed if you crop images to use as part of the theme.

One plugin I find extremely useful is Enlighter which does all sorts of syntax highlighting for code.

TLD & IP Regex

I needed to validate both a domain name and IP addresses in one regular expression (or: regex) and put this together:

(^((\w|\-|\d)+\.)+\w{2,20}$)|(^(\d{1,3}\.){3}\d{1,3}$)

It’ll match a single line to validate an IP or domain name, including any of the new TLDs at the time of writing.

Let’s Encrypt Free SSL on Windows!

Letsencrypt had been around for a while now and is supported by very big names in tech such as Facebook, Mozilla, Cisco, and a lot more. The free service is there to allow anyone to have a secure website which helps the whole web by making sure things like login details are encrypted.

The system had been designed with Linux in mind and some very kind people have offered up Windows variants to make use of it. You can see a full list of recognized bots/programs and websites under the documentation ACME Client Implementations.

I use letsencrypt-win-simple which is a project started by Bryan Livingston which is easy to use and can automatically keep the certificates up to date with a scheduled task.

The main step to remember is adding a mime type on the acme-challenge folder so the verification keys will be served by IIS when the Let’s Encrypt service tried to check your site. Verification will fail without this because IIS will present a 404 error for unknown for types.

. Text/Plain

For example, if your site is located at C:\inetpub\wwwroot you will be guided to create some directories:

C:\inetpub\wwwroot\.well-known\acme-challenge\

NOTE: Windows prevents you from starting a directory with a dot so you can create it through Command Prompt/Powershell with mkdir. There are other ways to fiddle with it but this is the quickest and easiest.

Once that’s done you can run letsencryptwinsimple and get your free certificates! They’ll be saved to:

C:\ProgramData\letsencrypt-win-simple\httpsacme-v01.api.letsencrypt.org

Get Computer Model with WMIC

Windows Management Instrumentation can be a crucial tool in day to day IT tasks. One thing I often use it for is getting the model of a server or PC because it’s quicker to type the query than go to the documentation and open the spreadsheet.

wmic /node:SomePC computersystem get model

Simply run that as an account that has enough privilege to do so and you’ll get the model number of the Windows machine you’re querying. You can get a lot of useful information this way including all the performance stats which could be queried programatically.

What Is My IP?

I needed a quick way to find my IP without using Telnet so I added https://mcgrane.co.uk/ip to my site. Here’s the ASP Classic  code because I was feeling nostalgic.

<%@Language="VBScript"%>
<%
If Request.QueryString("debug") = "1" Then
  Response.Write("<pre>")
  For Each x in Request.ServerVariables
    Response.Write(X & " = " & Request.ServerVariables(X) & vbCrLf)
  Next
  Response.Write("</pre>")
Else
  If Len(Request.ServerVariables("HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR")) = 0 Then
    Response.Write Request.ServerVariables("REMOTE_ADDR")
  Else
    Response.Write Request.ServerVariables("HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR")
  End If
End If
%>

 

 

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