Saturday, December 2, 2017

Verizon Fios TV Remote with Vizio - Input not working FIXED

I recently started using Verizon Fios TV service.  It is a big difference from the Comcast Xfinity X1 platform.  That aside, I was having trouble getting the 'A/V TV Input' button on the P265 remote to work with my Vizio TV.  The simple instructions on the back of the remote would get most of the buttons working: power, volume, mute, etc.  The 'A/V TV Input' button did not respond.  If I wanted to switch to another device, I would have to use the button on the side of the TV.  I will note I did not have this issue with the Comcast remote even using the simple setup instructions.

I searched Google and did not find any answers that worked.  So I took a step back and followed a simple user perspective: I went to the Verizon Support page.  I searched for 'program remote' and found instructions for programming the remote.  Simple enough.  First step was to locate the remote control code for the TV.  The code for a Vizio TV using the P265 remote is 424.  I followed the instructions and it worked!  I could now switch input on my Vizio TV.

TL;DR - Follow instructions here and use code 424 for P265 remote for a Vizio TV.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Inside a KONG Retractable Dog Leash

This is totally not related to what I have posted in the past, however I could not find this information in my Internet searching so I decided to post this for anyone else who may need it.

Here is the inside of the "KONG® On The Go Reflective Palm Retractable Dog Leash" and some key components.

1.  Remove the short wrist band from the rear of the unit.

2.  Remove the screw holding the unit together.

3.  Remove the cover to expose the insides.  Be careful not to drop the spring or ball.

4.  The spring sits in a 'seat' on the track of the thumb button.

5.  The ball sits on top of the spring and is responsible for 'locking' the thumb button into place against the leash reel.

6.  The thumb button sits in its track.

The reason I posted this is because my daughter walked my dog and somehow the leash came apart.  I took it apart and put it back together and the thumb button would not lock into place.  I took it apart again and determined something was missing.  Something needed to sit on/with the spring and engage the thumb button when it slides.  I tried a few things I had lying around and it did not work.

I later asked my daughter about it and she said "Oh yeah!  There was some piece that I put in your office."  And it was the ball that sits on the spring.  Problem solved.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Unix Commands in Windows Command Prompt

I have always been a DOS command kind of guy (dubbed DOS Command Warrior) since the early days.  I've used unix/linux and was familiar with the command set but I wasn't as fluent as I was with DOS.

In the past few years I've transitioned into the inverse and have done the whole wrong commands in a Windows Command Prompt window a lot.  Tonight I decided to look up whether there are any binaries or anything I could install to still utilize the Windows Command Prompt and have the luxury of also using Unix commands.

Of course I could install Cygwin and use that terminal window, but I am comfortable with the Windows Command Prompt and I like to keep things somewhat simple.  Why not take advantage of Unix Commands from Cygwin within the Windows Command Prompt?  Thank you sir, may I have another!

I found this article on that explains just that.  Super simple.

1.  Install Cygwin
2.  Open your Windows System Properties (Start > Run > sysdm.cpl)
3.  Click on the Advanced Tab, then click the Environmental Variables button

4.  Select the Path variable and click Edit

5.  At the end of the text, add a semicolon followed by the path to your Cygwin 'bin' directory - Mine is ;C:\Cygwin64\bin

6.  Click OK 3 times.
7.  Open a Command Prompt
8.  Profit

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Move VM between datastores in ESXi

After installing my new (faster) 1TB drive in my ESXi server, I wanted to move some VMs to it.  In my mind, this logically seemed like a very simple process.  After spending 10 minutes navigating around in vSphere, I realized it wasn't.

I started searching Google for the easiest process for this and I did find a few solutions.  After I performed one, I realized it did not maintain the minimal file size of my 'thin' provisioned disk.  My disk was now inflated to its full size on the new disk.  I did not want this, I wanted to maintain the 'thin' provisioning, so I searched again.

I finally came upon a response on serverfault from 'ohaal' with step by step instructions on how to copy VMs between datastores and maintain thin provisioned disks (I believe these may have been replicated from another blog but it no longer appears to resolve).

Look for 'Step by step guide using vmkfstools in the CLI' or just see the copied walkthrough below.  I do not take credit for this, I simply wanted to replicate it in case it disappears.

I have confirmed this works on ESXi 5.1.  Additionally I do not have any snapshots to worry about.

Step by step guide using vmkfstools in the CLI

  1. Power off VM
  2. (Optional) Consolidate snapshots if needed.
  3. Remove VM from vCenter inventory
    • Right click VM and click "Remove from Inventory" enter image description here
  4. Enable SSH on the ESXi machine
    • In the vSphere client go to: Configuration -> Security profile -> Properties (next to Services) -> SSH (in the list) -> Options -> Start
  5. Log in via SSH as root
  6. Prepare a directory on the destination datastore
    • mkdir "/vmfs/volumes/destination_datastore/Some VM"
  7. Clone the .vmdk files using thin provisioning
    • vmkfstools -i "/vmfs/volumes/source_datastore/Some VM/Some VM.vmdk" -d thin "/vmfs/volumes/destination_datastore/Some VM/Some VM.vmdk"
  8. Copy any remaining files (avoiding overwriting the .vmdk files)
    • find "/vmfs/volumes/source_datastore/Some VM" -maxdepth 1 -type f -print0 | grep -v ".vmdk" | while read file; do cp "$file" "/vmfs/volumes/destination_datastore/Some VM"; done
  9. If you did not consolidate snapshots in step 2, there may be snapshot .vmdk delta files, we also need to copy these (this may take some time):
    • find "/vmfs/volumes/source_datastore/Some VM" -maxdepth 1 -type f -print0 | grep [0123456789][0123456789][0123456789][0123456789][0123456789][0123456789] | grep ".vmdk" | while read file; do cp "$file" "/vmfs/volumes/destination_datastore/Some VM"; done
  10. Once done cloning and copying all necessary files, add the VM from the new datastore back to inventory
    • In the vSphere client go to: Configuration->Storage->Data Browser, right click the destination datastore which you moved your VM to and click "Browse datastore". enter image description here
  11. Browse to your VM and right click the .vmx file, then click "Add to inventory" enter image description here
  12. Boot up the VM to see if it works, when asked whether you copied or moved it, just answer that you copied it. (I'm not sure what this means, but I think it has to do at least with the MAC address of the vNIC being changed.)   Choose "I _moved it" to maintain the MAC Address.enter image description here
  13. If the VM boots up fine, you can remove the VM from the old datastore.
    • rm -rf "/vmfs/volumes/source_datastore/Some VM"

My ESXi Whitebox Server

Just like many IT enthusiasts, I built a whitebox server to play around with various IT related technologies.  I wanted something that was capable of running VMware ESXi so I could run a small IT enterprise in a virtual environment, but would also not break the bank.  I ended up installing ESXi 5.1 on a USB2.0 thumb drive that I had laying around and threw in some drives for datastores.

At this point I am running anywhere from 3-8 VMs at any given time depending on what I am testing out.  It is a mix of Linux and Microsoft Operating Systems, along with a few 'turn key' virtual appliances (Security Onion, Web Security Dojo, and more).

Here is a breakdown of the hardware I am using:

AMD FX-8150 (8-core)
4x 8GB Corsair Vengeance LP (always been a fan)
Hard Drive
3x 250GB Western Digital (random drives I had around)
1x 1TB Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003
Cheapest Rosewill case for mATX, Corsair CX430
Syba SY-PEX24028 PCI-Express Dual Gigabit NIC

I am using one of the ports on the Syba NIC configured in promiscuous mode to monitor network traffic sent by a 'Mirror' port on a TP-Link TL-SG108E 8-port switch.

My implementation of ESXi is basic, no frills.  I wanted something where I could spin up an OS and roll with it.  And this works perfect for me.

Annoying 'Log in to sync Facebook' Android notification

Ever since I upgraded my Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant to the S4, I have been getting these notifications to 'Log in to sync Facebook with your other applications'.  The weird thing is that I already had the Facebook app and have been using it.  I dealt with it for awhile until recently.  After searching online I found out how to disable it and wanted to share.

Open Settings > More > Application Manager
Swipe over until you are looking at 'All' applications
Scroll down and look for SNS - It will have a Facebook icon
Select SNS and then choose to Force stop and Turn off

What the annoying notifications look like for reference:


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bitcoin Mining - Playing with Raspbian and a BFL miner

I have been keeping up with the whole bitcoin scene and decided to take a crack at trying to set up a miner.

I acquired a miner from Butterfly Labs and decided to pair it up with my Raspberry Pi.  Some quick googling and searching on the BFL forums I found this post:

It is a very quick and easy step-by-step guide to setting up raspbian on your Pi and getting your miner working.  Unfortunately I did not take great notes when setting it up as I was in a rush, but I did take a few notes of some things that were required for me but were not in the initial post - I found them later in the thread.  If you're reading this, hopefully it is of some help to you.  If I have the chance to revisit my configuration/setup, I will provide an update confirming my additions.


When installing the dependencies for CGMiner, I needed to include libusb-1.0-0 and libudev-dev:

 # sudo aptitude install libusb-1.0-0 libudev-dev

These last two commands I ran... I do not know if I needed to but I highlighted them in my notes.  They are also not in the initial post but I do not know if they are in fact needed to get going:

Add the current user to the 'plugdev' group:

 # sudo usermod -G plugdev -a `whoami`

Copy 01-cgminer.rules from the cgminer folder in the home directory into /etc/udev/rules.d/:

 # sudo cp ~/cgminer/01-cgminer.rules /etc/udev/rules.d/


When you are connecting to the VNC server on your Pi, be sure to specify the port!  For me, I used :1.  The address looked like this: