Dec 15

Why I picked the Xbox One over the PS4

Why I picked the Xbox One over the PS4

After a few post on this site about not purchasing a next gen console until much later i the cycle(http://www.splanic.com/games/console-release-week-xbox-one-ps4-or-neither/),  I then caught the bug and went out and got one.   I have some very specific reasons why I selected the Xbox One.   As many of you know I am a console junkie.  Each console has its own strengths and weaknesses.   All that being said I will will buy more games for my WiiU this Christmas than any other console.

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Dec 02

Andriod 4.4 KitKat Feature List. Should I Upgrade or Wait?

The Question

I like to stay in involved in the iOS and Android worlds.   My primary tablet is a Nexus 7 and have been extremely happy with it.   I have run into some issue when upgrading in the past with with my MKV player and HBO to go failing to work after the upgrade.    I spend a surprising amount of time trying to figure out what was in this KitKat 4.4.   I will share the feature list and some of my results from testing the new features

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Nov 16

Windows To Go 8.1 Updated with Steam Quick Transfer

I have written a few post about the magic of Windows To Go but I figured it was time to revisit it since Windows 8.1 was released.   Windows 8.1 brings tethering and the store to WTG so nothing major there.   My goal with Windows To Go is to have a portable game machine that I could run on my work laptop and never touch it’s hard drive.   After re-reading my old post I made some assumptions about diskpart that I will clear up in this post.   I am going to rebuild my WTG disk but this time I want to add my 250GB Steam library without re-downloading any of the content.

Goal:  Create a step by step process for creating a Win8.1ToGo drive with all Steam data that can run on any laptop/desktop.

Previous Post:  http://www.splanic.com/uncategorized/windowstogo-can-i-take-my-wow-with-me-part-2/

Pre-work

  1. Download Windows 8.1 – Quick Link to MS site: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/hh699156.aspx  – This is the eval version it will last 90 days, you can use slmgr /rearm twice on it for a total of 270 days.  Hopefully this process will be easy enough you can rebuild in 270 days.   By using the eval means you do not need to buy a separate copy of Windows 8.1 for the portable game machine.
  2. Extract the install.wim from the newly downloaded ISO. It is located in sources\install.wim.   I suggest downloading 7zip, its free and will quickly extract the file.   http://www.7-zip.org/
  3. Obtain Imagex.exe This is included in the WAIK which is a free but large download here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=5753
    1. Alternatively you could use dism.exe that comes with win7,win8 and server 2008/12.
  4. We will be playing games off this drive so I suggest buying a decent size USB 3 Hard drive.  I purchased a 500gb drive for this, this is the only thing you are buying so make sure it is fast.

Drive Prep

  1. Open an Admin command prompt on Win7/8 or Server2008/2012
  2. type in diskpart
  3. List Disk – Verify the number of the disk that your USB drive is located on.   If you have any question type “List Disk” before and after the drive is plugged in
  4. Sel Disk x – X = the disk number from list disk
  5. Clean –  Everything on that drive will be wiped at this point
  6. Create Part Primary – This will use the full drive for the WTG install.  If you want to use 400gb you would type Create Part Primary Size=400000
  7. Format FS=NTFS Quick – This will format the new partition with NTFS
  8. Active – Sets the drive as active

Installing Windows 8.1 To Go

  1. Open an Admin command prompt
  2. Apply the image,  There are two ways I would suggest the DISM method
    1. dism /apply-image /imagefile:install.wim /index:1 /applydir:x:\ – x: is the drive of your USB device
    2. imagex.exe /apply install.wim 1 x:\   –Where X is your USB drive
  3. bcdboot x:\windows /s x: /v   –This is where the magic happens, make sure to replace x: with your drive letter.  This command varies depending on OS. If you have any issues run bcdboot /?

Adding Steam Content to the USB Device

  1. Locate your Steam folder on your workstation
  2. copy the steam.exe and the \steamapps folder to a new folder on the USB drive
  3. When you boot your Win8toGo workstation run steam.exe as an Admin,  it will rebuild the program files and use your \steamapps content
  4. Your games will be ready to play in minutes

If you have any questions feel free to drop a comment on here.   You now have your steam library available on any laptop/desktop that has a compatible with Windows 7 sticker on it.   You can even do this on your encrypted work laptop that you would never dare installing a game on.   This process will not touch the hard drive of the machine you boot windows to go on.  Enjoy!

 

 

Jul 27

Powershell Web Page Downloads and Get-Content Slowness

I ran into a couple issues on my achievement scraper that should be shared.    My previous version of the achievement scraper took about 2 hours to run and missed some chunks of data from websites.    The new version takes about  15 minutes to run and is 100% accurate.   Two simple changes were made.

The first is with Get-Content,  I was downloading HTML pages then using get-content to parse line by line.  These HTML pages are over 5000 lines so the simple parsing looking for content was taking 15 minutes per user.   I read the .net text file reader is much quicker than get-content and will probably use that in the future.    This time I examined my data and realized I was always looking for a line near the end of the HTML file.   I used the following loop to step backwards through the file,  It now takes less than 30 seconds to extract what I need:

for ($i = $lines.Lines; $i -gt 0; $i–)
{ $parse = (get-content $destination)[$i]
if ($parse.IndexOf(“mod mod-community-feed mod-feed-edit mod-feeds”) -gt 0)
{$file = $parse
$i = 1}
}

The second thing I ran into was with content not populating in my HTML file that is visible on the website.  I was using the following code to download a website.

$wc = New-Object System.Net.WebClient
$wc.DownloadFile($source, $destination)

I have changed this to:

$holding = Invoke-WebRequest -Uri $source
add-content $destination $holding

Using this gave me the same results as opening a browser and viewing the website.    This took some time to troubleshoot but I believe the first method does not execute any scripts on the website.  The second method appears to execute/render everything on the site then allows you to store the content.

 

 

Apr 30

SCCM 2012 Right Click Tools 1.4 install issue

I assume that everyone that uses SCCM has used different right click tools. After upgrading to 2012 I was lacking a good set of right click tools.  I searched the web and found these: http://myitforum.com/myitforumwp/2012/05/07/config-manager-2012-right-click-tools/

These have all the same tools as the 2007 version.  I installed these but ran into an issue that was not documented.   If you are having the same issue I hope this resolves it for you.  Once resolved these tools are the must have addition have any SCCM Admin.

Symptom:  Right Click tools 1.4 installed, show up in configuration manager console but when any tool is executed nothing happens.

Fix:

  1. Go to the c:program filesSCCMConsoleExtensions
  2. Right click on the scripts, go to properties and unblock