Astaro and Steam client

Steam was not working on my home network after I installed Astaro firewall.
I found a post on a forum that said to open the following ports.
I only opened up the TCP port range and it seems to be working so far.

TCP 27015-27050
UDP 27000-27015
UDP 1200

iPod Shuffle voice over doesn’t say the names of playlists

I picked up an iPod shuffle to use with my waterproof headphones for swimming.  They added a great feature to the shuffle that reads the names of songs, playlists and batterylife.  Since it does not have a screen to navigate by this comes in handy.  I set up the shuffle on my laptop loaded music and everything was working.  But then I decided to change computers I was putting music onto it with and then the voice over quit reading the playlist names.  It just said “Playlist 1, Playlist 2”  That’s not helpful.  Turns out the “Enable VoiceOver” setting was not checked on the computer I moved over to. Once I checked that in the Options section on the Summary page for the iPod shuffle in iTunes it started working again.

Update:  I thought I’d clarify that the iPod shuffle is not waterproof on it’s own.  I use the shuffle inside a waterproof case for swimming.  More about it here:

Astaro security gateway and Netflix


I recently installed the Astaro security gateway firewall in my home. They offer it free to home users. It does an excellent job of protecting your home network. One of the downsides to firewalls is there’s always something that gets blocked that shouldn’t.  The issue I was having was with Netflix.  On tablets and home streaming devices I could not get Netflix to work even though I had told it to bypass scanning for streaming content. To fix it I added the following URls to the exceptions list and skipped all checks.


Google SMTP mail and Astaro

I recently setup the home version of Astaro for my firewall because I use it at work and like how it works and how you configure it. After setting it up my wife’s laptop starting having problems sending email. It was receiving email ok, but couldn’t send. After some poking around the standard Astaro setup allows for SMTP SSL traffic through port 465 but Google uses port 587. To fix it I added a Google SMTP SSL service definition to the Email Messaging service group. The Email Messaging service group was setup during the initial installation as allowed traffic through the firewall. To add the Google SSL port: from the service definitions section locate the Email Messaging group and click the plus to add a new service definition. Name it what you want make the port 587 and you are good to go.

  • Taken: 8 January, 2012

Launch XBMC from Windows Media Center remote

I like Windows Media Center, but lately I’ve been liking XBMC more for streaming media to my TV. I bought a Roku player and love it, but (for now) there are things it doesn’t yet do that I want. Namely Hulu Plus (coming soon) and reliable, easy network streaming of my own content. PlayOn is not bad but just there yet for me plus it costs $49.99 plus $19.99 a year.
XBMC has an excellent interface and works well with streaming music and video from Windows shares.
I have a Windows Media Center remote that also works well with XBMC but the green button on it launches Media Center. A web search came up with Jacob Johnston’s blog who wrote a cool little tool for fixing this dilemma.
Get it here.
Jacob also has a launcher for Boxee if you prefer it to XBMC, available at the link above.

Using XCopy and excluding files and or directories

I use XCopy to back stuff up because it’s fast and easy.  Until you add 11,898 files you don’t want to actually backup.
So I set about trying to figure out how to exclude directories and or files from the XCopy routine.

It turned out to be pretty easy.

I basically have 2 text files.  RunBackup.cmd and MyExcludes.txt
They both reside in the same folder. 
The RunBackup.cmd text file has just the following line in it (all one line no line breaks):

xcopy /E /Y “C:\MySourceDirectory\subdirectory” “G:\MyDestinationDirectory\subdirectory\” /EXCLUDE:MyExcludes.txt

The MyExcludes.txt has the following line in it:


So this backs up everything in the source directory including subdirectories to the destination directory but excludes anything in a directory called \Storage and all sub-directories and files below that.

You can also put (each on a seperate line) things like:


That would do the same as above but also exclude any .doc and .pdf files from any directories in the source.
Tested on Windows 7 Professional.


attcm.exe “application failed to initialize properly (0xc00000005)” error trying to launch AT&T connection manager – Fix

After installing the software and drivers for our AT&T air card on a Windows XP machine I was unable to launch the connection manager.
Everytime I launched it we recieved an error message stating “application failed to initialize properly (0xc00000005).”
I tried un-installing and re-installing and downloading a newer version from their website all to no avail.
Finally after several Bing searches (yes I said Bing, not Google) and trying a few different “fixes” I had success.
I’m not sure which of the final 2 fixes actually did the trick but they were:
Open command prompt and type:   sfc /scannow
This causes the system file checker to run and fix any issues with system files.
I’m pretty sure that’s what fixed it but at the same time I also enabled and disabled the Data Execution Prevention setting under system properties/Performance/Data Execution Prevention tab.
By default it’s set to “Turn on DEP for essential Windows programs and services only” I changed it to “Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select:” hit apply, did not reboot and then changed it back and then rebooted.
After rebooting the AT&T connection manager launched but got hung.  I rebooted again and ever since it’s been working fine.

During the process I also ran to following 2 commands, I don’t think they helped but I put them here since I did it during the troubleshooting:
Note:  I vaguely understand what these do and don’t suggest you do this unless you know what you are doing:
CACLS %systemroot%\System32\*.dll /E /G BUILTIN\Users:R
CACLS %systemroot%\System32\*.ocx /E /G BUILTIN\Users:R

Add OSX to Fedora Grub triple boot of Windows 7, OSX and Fedora


I managed to get triple booting setup with OSX (iDeneb 10.5.7), Fedora 10 and Windows 7 on my Lenovo T400.

I did it by first installing Windows 7 then OSX next.  After the OSX install I couldn’t boot to Windows 7.
To fix this I booted onto the Windows 7 installation disk and selected repair then command prompt.
At the command prompt run diskpart.  At the diskpart prompt do the following:
list disk
select disk n (n is the disk where Windows is installed)
list partition
select partition n (n is the partition where Windows is installed)

Now Windows 7 should boot, if it doesn’t (and mine didn’t normally) boot onto the Windows 7 install again and select automated recovery of the boot area.
Windows 7 now boots and OSX doesn’t.  Install EasyBCD in Windows, this is used to edit the bootloader.  You can add the OSX in the Add/Remove entries section.
Save and reboot.  Now you should be able to dual boot Windows 7 and OSX.

The next step was to install Fedora 10 (I tried 11 but there was a bug that kept the partitioning tool from installing into the free space on my drive.)
After installing Fedora 10 I was able to dual boot into Windows 7 or Fedora but no OSX using the Grub bootloader.

Next we need to edit the Grub config file that controls what shows up on the menu.  Within Fedora open a terminal and type:
su and hit enter
Put in your root password
Next type:  sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst
This opens the menu.lst file in a text editor.  The first thing I did was change the Windows option from Other to Windows 7 in the title field.
Next I added the following to get OSX into the menu:

title OSX
root (hd0,2)
chainloader +1

Now the root(hd0,2) you have to customize to your setup.  For mine the OSX partition was the 3rd partition on the drive so it ends up as hd0 (the first hard drive),2 (3rd partition starting at 0)

Save and reboot.  You now can triple boot Windows 7, Fedora and OSX.  In theory.
I also changed the default from 0 (Fedora) to 1 (Windows).  This way it automatically goes into Windows (my choice OS) if nothing is selected.

Firefox keyboard shortcuts

I posted these a couple of years ago and I found a few more to add to them:
Close a tab = Ctrl + W
New tab = Ctrl + T
Move to address bar = Ctrl + L
Move to Search engine box = Ctrl + K
Go to next Search engine = Ctrl + Arrow up or down
Open downloads tool = Ctrl + J
Add .com to address bar = Ctrl + Enter
Add .net to address bar = Shift + Enter
Add .org to address bar = Ctrl + Shift + Enter
Next Tab = Ctrl + Tab
Previous Tab = Ctrl + Shift + Tab
Find on this page = Ctrl + F