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1&1 Internet

Archived News

Blocked by my own hostMonday 27th February 2012
Just another note as to why you should not use 1&1 hosting - as I foolishly do.

I attempted to logon to my hosting on Saturday with my laptop - alas my convoluted username is only something stored in muscle memory and the lack of a number-pad on my laptop resulted me typing it in wrong a couple of times and then promptly getting disconnected.

I assumed at this point my account would have been blocked for 15 minutes or something, but nooo. Instead my hosting company 1and1 decided that they would block my IP address - permanently.

Phoning their support line I was greeted by a message telling me they were closed until the 21st (calling on the 25th), and then promptly went through to a call-handler. He said it would take four hours for my IP address to be unblocked - an attempt to discuss white-listing my address left him confused.

The following day I still couldn't access my hosting. A subsequent phone-call and I discovered that the automatic banning of connections is not something that they can deal with at the weekend so I'd have to wait until Monday!

I'm now finally back on - but was unable to do anything related to any of my web-sites during this time.

So - if anybody can recommend a good UK based hosting company, please do get in contact!

Remote Desktop Connection dropping immediatelyMonday 20th February 2012
Found a funny one today. I wanted to do the rare task of creating a remote desktop, or terminal services connection with mstsc.exe to my PC from my laptop. Once I typed in my username and password, and accepted the untrusted certificate error, my connection would be dropped instantly.

Not being a frequent user or this functionality there had been a lot that changed since it last worked successfully. Which meant a long hard hunt for the problem. All the usual issues came up on Google such as firewalls and so - but I'm bright enough to figure those out for myself.

I have been playing with my TCP stack recently and IPv6, so I removed all that to see if that helped - alas no.

An inspired search for Avira anti-virus and remote desktop came up trumps. I have only just installed this as a trial as I'm fed up with AV companies charging for multiple machines. The culprit was "Advanced process protection" - which is fairly ambiguous, still disabling it did the trick and my computer is now working again. Just need to restore all my networking work I've done.

From in Avira:
Extra > Configuration > General > Security
Uncheck "Advanced process protection"

Resizing btrfsMonday 13th February 2012
The new swanky btrfs bit me in the rear recently. After embracing it for a couple of test machines I rapidly ran out of space.

Fortunately being virtual, I could grow the "physical" disk that Linux saw. In a previous post I noted how easy everything is with LVM drives - but in this situation I wasn't using LVM, but a standard partitioned disk. So whilst I could grow the disk, the partition didn't grow with it.

If I tried to run the btrfs resize command I got "ERROR: unable to resize '/' - Invalid argument", or "File too large", depending on whether I was using "max" or a specific growth size. This indicated to me that the partition needed growing first - which you can do with "parted" (or "gparted" if you have a gui).

Alas, parted didn't seem to recognise btrfs and would throw "Error: Could not detect file system." when trying to use the resize command. Luckily I stumbled across this post on how to resize btrfs partition and filesystem.

This method is to delete the partition you want to resize (er, delete? really?), and then create a new one in place with a larger size - using a completely different file-system (ext2).

Again, being virtual I had a backup of a drive to hand so tried it out, and yes, it works. I guess as the partition table and the file system are distinct it doesn't really matter that you delete it - no data is actually being erased from the disk, just the tables to find it. The btrfs resize command then worked a charm coughing up all my new space.

Morale of the story: use LVM.

Smarty syntax highlighting in Zend Studio 9Sunday 5th February 2012
Zend Studio, whilst not especially great compared to things like Visual Studio, is arguably the de-facto IDE for PHP development.

One of the major lacking components is support for Smarty. No, not small coloured sweets, but one of the most popular template engines for PHP. This means when you try and write Smarty directives into files in Zend it goes crazy with validation.

Luckily where the expensive Zend fail, open source provides with the free SmartyPDT project. This is a plugin for Eclipse (that's the free IDE that the expensive Zend is built on), which provides support for Smarty directives.

Installation is simple. Just download the latest version, go to the Add New Software menu item, select the Zip archive (deselect "group items by category") and click Next a lot.

Installing BizTalk 2006 R2 BAM Portal on IIS7Thursday 2nd February 2012
Whilst Windows 2008, nor IIS7 is a supported platform for BizTalk Server 2006 R2, nor the BAM Portal - it is still possible to get working.

I use this setup as my day-to-day development workstation. Code is committed and built on a build machine so I'm not too worried about incompatibilities.

The BAM Portal (with BizTalk 2006 at least) won't run on 64-bit IIS installations, which is annoying as it's likely you'll be running other web-sites and services in 64-bit mode. IIS7 has a great enhancement over IIS6 in that you can run a in a mixed-mode of 64-bit and 32-bit by applying it at the App Pool level.

Alas, this doesn't help in configuring the BAM Portal initially. But with a little devious trickery you can do it.

1. You need to install the legacy Admin Scripts for IIS. This is done through the Roles & Features stuff in Server Manager.
2. You need to set IIS6 to be 32-bit in the same way as you would for IIS7, using the script (whether IIS7 actually uses this or not I don't know):
cscript.exe adsutil.vbs set W3SVC/AppPools/Enable32BitAppOnWin64 1

3. You can now run the BizTalk Configurator, the above setting is enough to fool it into installing
4. Configure the BAM Portal as normal
5. Remove the 32-bit switch:
cscript.exe adsutil.vbs delete W3SVC/AppPools/Enable32BitAppOnWin64

6. Find the automatically created "BAMAppPool" Application Pool in IIS and change the Advanced Properties to set it to 32-bit mode.

This should be all you need to do to get it working. Now you have a 64-bit IIS server, with BAM Portal working just fine.

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