Archive for July, 2011

Details.exe – command line utility

As an IT professional, I’ve come to collect a rather large quantity of command line utilities that I use during my dealings with computers, laptops and servers. I wrote this command line utility (details.exe) with the intension to help me gather information about computers I’m working with – without having to load, or carry with me, all those uitilities that I may need to do the job.
Details – by no means will replace the many utilities out there; however, it’s just one piece of software that will get the most common details about your system.
Details was written using Visual Basic 2010, so it requires .NET 4 in order to run it.
Here is a list of the parameters and their output.

  • /Os – Displays detailed information about the local Operating System.
  • /DNet – Displays detailed information about default network card.
  • /ANet – Displays detailed information for all network cards.
  • /DTraffic – Displays traffic information for default network card.
  • /Traffic – Displays traffic information for all network cards.
These parameters can be typed in lower case and it will the application will operate as intended.

Following is a list of screenshot with actual output from these parameters.
Parameter: /Os
Os

Parameter: /DNet
Dnet

Parameter: /DTraffic
Dtraffic

What “details” still lacks.

  1. I’ve noticed a few custometic details that I will fix shortly.
  2. There’s no elegant way to catch for any bugs yet; I’ll take care of that shortly as well.
  3. More features.

Disclaimer
As with any software written by people other than yourself, run this piece of software at your own risk.

Download link

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Identify Default Network Card – Visual Basic

I’ve been trying to get back into writing some code, so I started with a little project that may see the light of the day soon.

With some help from some examples out on the internet, I came up with this function, which is now part of a class in my project, that tries to identify the “default network card” on your computer. Once the default network card is identified, the function will return: interface GUI id, interface name, interface description (if any), interface status, interface speed, MAC address, ip address, subnet, gateway, DNS, MTU, DHCP and WINS information.

I tested this code on a few computers, as well on some virtual machines, and it seems to work well. I’d love to hear some feedback about the code, and perhaps get a few coding pointers. (Screenshot at the bottom is from a virtual machine running under Parallels)

Here’s the code.

Private Function GetPrimaryNic()

‘ DESCRIPTION: this function  will provide networking details for primary network card

 

Dim PrimaryNic As New Collection

 

For Each networkCard As NetworkInterface In NetworkInterface.GetAllNetworkInterfaces

 

‘ Find network cards with gateway information (this may show more than one network card depending on computer)

For Each gatewayAddr As GatewayIPAddressInformation In networkCard.GetIPProperties.GatewayAddresses

 

‘ if gateway address is NOT 0.0.0.0 and the network card status is UP then we’ve found the main network card

If gatewayAddr.Address.ToString “0.0.0.0” And networkCard.OperationalStatus.ToString() = “Up” Then

PrimaryNic.Add(“Interface GUID: “ & networkCard.Id)

PrimaryNic.Add(“Name:”.PadRight(15) & networkCard.Name)

PrimaryNic.Add(“Description:”.PadRight(15) & networkCard.Description)

PrimaryNic.Add(“Status:”.PadRight(15) & networkCard.OperationalStatus.ToString)

PrimaryNic.Add(“Speed:”.PadRight(15) & (networkCard.Speed / 1000000).ToString(“#,000”) & ” Mbps”)

PrimaryNic.Add(“MAC Address:”.PadRight(15) & networkCard.GetPhysicalAddress.ToString)

 

‘ Get IP Address(es) and subnet(s) information

Dim IpAddressAndSubnet As UnicastIPAddressInformation

 

For Each IpAddressAndSubnet In networkCard.GetIPProperties.UnicastAddresses

PrimaryNic.Add(”  IP Address:”.PadRight(15) & IpAddressAndSubnet.Address.ToString)

PrimaryNic.Add(”  Subnet:”.PadRight(15) & IpAddressAndSubnet.IPv4Mask.ToString)

Next

 

‘ Get IP gateway information

PrimaryNic.Add(”  Gateway:”.PadRight(15) & gatewayAddr.Address.ToString)

 

‘ Get IP DNS information

Dim DnsAddress As IPAddress

 

For Each DnsAddress In networkCard.GetIPProperties.DnsAddresses

PrimaryNic.Add(“DNS entry:”.PadRight(15) & DnsAddress.ToString)

Next

 

‘ Other IP information

Dim IPProp As IPInterfaceProperties = networkCard.GetIPProperties

 

If Not IPProp Is Nothing Then

PrimaryNic.Add(“DNS Enabled:”.PadRight(15) & IPProp.IsDnsEnabled.ToString)

PrimaryNic.Add(“Dynamic DNS:”.PadRight(15) & IPProp.IsDynamicDnsEnabled.ToString)

End If

 

Dim IPv4 As IPv4InterfaceProperties = networkCard.GetIPProperties.GetIPv4Properties

 

If Not IPv4 Is Nothing Then

PrimaryNic.Add(“DHCP Enabled:”.PadRight(15) & IPv4.IsDhcpEnabled.ToString)

PrimaryNic.Add(“MTU Setting:”.PadRight(15) & IPv4.Mtu.ToString)

PrimaryNic.Add(“Uses WINS:”.PadRight(15) & IPv4.UsesWins.ToString)

End If

 

End If

Next

Next

 

Return PrimaryNic

 

End Function

 

GetPrimaryNic

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Record Your Mac OS X Desktop

Unlike Windows and Linux, there aren’t as many free applications/utilities for OS X. So, what if you want to record your OS X desktop; is there an easy and free way of doing this task?

Well, there is…it’s called QuickTime Player – and it comes free with Mac OS X.

Here are the steps on how to achieve this:

  1. Open your “Applications” folder
  2. Click to launch “QuickTime Player”
  3. Now click on “File” and select “New Screen Recording
  4. When the “Screen Recording” window comes up, click on the “record” button
  5. You’re going to asked if you really want to record, click on “Start Recording
  6. When you’re done recording, simple click on “Stop Recording” on the menu bar (button’s located on the upper right-hand corner)
  7. Once you’ve stopped your screen recording you’ll be asked to save your “movie”; select the file format to record this movie
  8. Done!

 

From step 3. New Screen Recording

From step 4. Screen Recording

From step 5. Screen Recording 2

From step 6. Stop Recording

From step 7. Save Recording

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Secure my Google+

So the new kid in the block, Google+, has made an impression on me so far. There are a few things still that need some polishing; however, I think I personally like Google’s new product. With that said, how can I secure by Google+ profile?
First, let’s start by editing your Google+ profile by clicking on the “Edit Profile” icon. Once you’re in “edit mode” now you can change many privacy settings in your  Google+ profile.
Up until now, the only profile setting that is public by default, and can’t be changed, is your gender option; all other profile setting can be modified to make them private. (Update: You can now privatize the “gender” field)

Let’s begin.

Who can contact you via email.
This option sits right below your profile picture. When in profile edit mode, you can change who can contact you via emails.
Step 1. Send Email 1 Step 2. Send Email 2

Protect who can view your circles.
This feature prevents other people from viewing who is in your circles or network. Where is this section that I’m talking about? This is the section that shows just about below your profile picture. When you click in this area, then you’ll be asked what you wish to display – people in your circles or people who have you in their circles. You can either select both, one or the other, or none. I like this flexibility.
Step 1.View Circles 1 Step 2. View Circles 2

Protect your – Introduction.
By default, this section is public for everyone to read.
Agan, once in “edit mode” click on the Introduction field, and this will give you the opportunity to choose who can read your Google+ profile introduction. As you type your Google+ introduction, for the world or just a few, to read, you are given the option to select who can view it. Those options are given to you by clicking on the drop down box that’s just below the introduction text box.
Step 1. Introduction 2 Step 2. Introduction 1

Protect your – Bragging rights
By default, this section is public for everyone to read.
To modify privacy settings for this section, you pretty much have to do the same as in the previous section (Protect your – Introduction); click on the section and then you’ll have the options to set your “bragging rights” in addition to set privacy settings.
Step 1. Bragging Rights 2 Step 2. Bragging Rights 1

I think you get the idea on how to protect your privacy in the new Google+ networking site. All the other profile sections can be protected the same way as the previous sections that I’ve mentioned so far, so please take the time to set the privacy settings to your liking.
As I find new, and improved, features in the new Google+ I will post them in this site.

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Introduction to ZABBIX 1.8.1

I’ve been a Cacti user for quite some time now; however, recently I was introduced to Zabbix by a visiting co-worker of mine.

Installation was pretty straight forward, as a matter of fact I have it now running in the same Linux virtual machine as my Cacti installation. I will not talk much about installing Zabbix on a Linux box as there are many documents that discuss this topic.

However, I will discuss the steps of how to monitor Windows servers with Zabbix. From a new Zabbix user perspective, this task was pretty challenging – especially having to gather information from the many threads in Zabbix’s forums.

So, here’s what must be done in order to monitor your Windows servers after Zabbix has been successfully installed.

I won’t go into details on how to setup a Windows hosts in Zabbix; however, the easiest way, in my opinion, to monitor Windows servers is by loading Zabbix 1.8.1 Windows’ agent (download the executable from here). Now, in Zabbix web console, go to Configuration, then Hosts, click on Create Host. At this point type the host name, select a group for this host, select a template, type in a dns name for this server (if there is one), type an ip address for this server, and choose whether Zabbix will communicate with the server’s agent either via ip or dns name. When you’re ready, click Save and you’re done. I’ve attached a screenshot to help you with this step.

The template you picked, during the host creating process, plays a big role in how Zabbix will monitor this host. The windows template will provide you with about 30 items, and these items are the objects that you will use to help you monitor your server. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the items page. Later on, these items are the objects you will use in your graphs.

One item that’s missing from the Windows template is the NIC’s bandwidth utilization. I will go in details on how to create this item. The template does provide items for CPU, memory, disk space, etc.

So, I’m going to give details on how to create the NIC’s bandwidth utilization item.

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