Archive for February, 2010

Free unlock codes from AT&T! How? Just ask them for it!

AT&T SIM card logoI’ve been seeing all of this chatter on the web, YouTube and everywhere else about unlocking phone handsets, so they can work on any provider’s network. There are dozens of companies out there who offer unlock codes for any phone, any provider, for a fee of course. You can get them on eBay, you can get them on various online sites, you can get instructions through torrent sites and so on.

The one thing you can’t get, no matter how hard you look, is the actual algorithm they use to generate these codes.

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SOLVED: Windows 7 networking in VMware Workstation and ESXi


VMware logoI’ve been using VMware Workstation for many, many years and I run a few hundred gigabytes of virtual machines for development and testing on various platforms. Some of these include physical machines that have been converted to virtual machines (using VMware Converter, which used to be called P2V [Physical 2 Virtual]) and some include purely virtual machines I’ve built from scratch using the default ISO file or installation media.

Almost all of my Windows virtual machines are physical machines converted to virtual machines, due to the cost and licensing of that platform.

I have a Windows 7 virtual machine that I’ve built up and have been testing with some new Office products and other snap-ins to help me test Funambol and productivity tools, but I noticed that the 64-bit Windows 7 version I have lacked any networking. It flat-out did not have a valid network driver.

I looked around on the CD, installed the VMware Tools from the menu, and made sure the current patches and service packs were applied (I keep a local repository of these to avoid re-fetching them over the WAN every time I have to rebuild my virtual machines). The 32-bit Windows 7 had working networking, but the 64-bit did not… and I couldn’t figure it out. I installed a 64-bit Windows XP VM, and it had the same exact problem… no networking.

Being the reverse-engineer that I am, I started looking into the VMware configuration and the files themselves, and grep’ing the source and strings(1) on the binaries, and then I stumbled upon the solution…

Shut down your Windows VM (do not suspend it, you have to shut it down completely) and open the main .vmx file in an editor and add the following line:

ethernet0.virtualDev = "e1000"

If your VM has more than one network device, make sure you set the right one in your .vmx file for your networking. I have several in my session: one for bridged, one for host-only and one for NAT. The NAT one happens to be ethernet0, so that’s the one I wanted the “public” networking functional on.

That’s it… when you reboot the VM, Windows will detect the “new” Ethernet interface, configure it for you, and then networking will work perfectly. Another VMware problem solved!

Ruminations on Baggage

Overstuffed luggageThe more and more I expose myself to people from all walks of life, the more I realize… almost everyone tries to offload their baggage onto anyone who will listen.

Look, EVERYONE has baggage. Those who say they don’t, are lying.

It’s not that you have baggage, or don’t have baggage, or have less or more than anyone else… it’s all in how you “pack” that baggage. I’m not talking about the kind the TSA cares about, I’m talking about emotional, social and financial baggage you carry with you every hour of every day.

But it is a lot like the kind of baggage you take with you on a flight. Let me explain:

Bad Baggage

If you fly, you know the type. They come bounding down the aisle with a roller that’s too wide for the row, banging into everyone’s elbows, knocking things over, causing a ruckus. They get to their seat, which is inevitably against the window.

They try to jam the handle of their luggage down, case bulging at the seams, and then try to fit it into the overhead. Naturally, it’s too wide, tall, over-stuffed or whatever. It won’t fit.

They try to take some stuff out, move things around, move other people’s luggage around, just to accommodate their own in the space.

They “affect” everyone else around them with their own baggage. Their problems become everyone else’s problems.

This is an example of “bad baggage”.

Good Baggage

Sleek, well-dressed, and gliding their custom, European-designed luggage down the aisle.. they get to their seat, they collapse the handle of their bag, and they stash it in the overhead, where it fits perfectly in the space allotted.

They sit down, and become part of the background of the other activity on the plane and you barely notice them at all. They’ve packed the right amount of luggage, they know how to pack it well, where it fits and how to store it away.


I’ve met so many people lately that just affect (or infect?) everyone around them with their own personal baggage. They have so much, they burden other people around them with helping them carry it. It drains my energy and drags me down, like dragging a parachute behind that plane of luggage.

In a word, don’t be that person who can’t pack their own emotional bags and has to make everyone notice them when they can’t help but spill it all out on the rest of the world.

HOWTO: Repair your Outlook PST file from the commandline

The more I use Outlook 2007 for work and other data capture, the more I loathe how fragile the “Personal Storage Table” (.pst) file format is. You can’t relocate it on a network share because Microsoft’s locking mechanism will fail, and trash the data. At random times Outlook will just “hang” when trying to read or open the local .pst file, necessitating a force-quit, trashing the data. It’s so lovely, everyone should use it. Groan.

Normally, you can repair the issues found, by using a tool like ScanPST from Microsoft themselves, but that tool is strictly interactive, and can’t be scripted or automated or run from the commandline at all.

But there is a way, read on to find out how…

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