Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Asus Eee Pc - 1005PEB-RRED01S



With Alicia's birthday coming up, I wanted to get her something I know she'll really use. She had been talking about a netbook, so I decided that would be it.

I was a little concerned about pulling the trigger without her input, so I went ahead and clued her in to my idea. She really wants one, so she agreed I could get one for her.


I had done a little research, and had narrowed my search to a couple of different makers, including Asus, MSI, and Samsung. I was definitely leaning toward the Eee Pc.

Of course, you know Alicia, it had to be pretty ;)

On a whim, we stopped by Best Buy to take a look last night, and to get a feel for the different styles and keyboards.

When we arrived, we saw the 1005PEB-RRED01S, which I hadn't read anything about online. I did a little digging on my iPhone there at the store, but didn't find much...

She immediately liked the little netbook from an aesthetic point of view, and the keyboard had a better feel than the other models. It was reasonably priced at $329.99, so we decided to go ahead and buy it. Good thing too, since first thing this morning, the price jumped to $349.99.

Happy Birthday Alicia!

When we got the little thing home, I opened it up and fired it up. I know, I know... it's Alicia's... but she was cleaning the sink, and I needed to put anti-virus on it, and get rid of all the stupid crap the manufacturer puts on there.

First boot happened pretty quickly, and I was presented with the Windows 7 wizard. I setup the basic stuff (hostname, username, etc), and it then went to an initialization screen... for TEN minutes. Took far too long, but eventually it booted up into Windows.

The laptop is pretty quick. Definitely more responsive than one would think given the low processor speed. I did the usual IT geek stuff like removing crap Asus software, Trend Micro, and some other BS that was installed from the factory. Once I was satisfied with the installed software, I got a bit adventurous...

Things get interesting...

Asus provides a utility to automatically download and update the bios. Neat.... "I'll see if they have any updates available." The installed version was 503. Sure enough, there was an update to 706.

Why not I thought?

I thought wrong.

After updating the bios to 706 (which was quite easy with the utility... next next done...reboot), the laptop no longer detected the battery!

oops. I forgot to save a copy of the original bios.... bad IT guy.

So now what?

Fortunately, Asus put a little "call for help before returning this laptop" card in the box, with a phone number for 24hr Technical Support. Surely they can provide me with an old revision of the bios, I thought....

I thought wrong... again...

So I call tech support, sit on hold for 15 minutes, and finally "Stacey" from India answers the phone.

I explain exactly what I did, and that I would like her to send me an older revision of the bios.

Here is where things get even worse!

She explains to me that the only way to fix what I've done is to restore Windows from the system restore partition.

Now, I know I'm not paid by Asus to provide tech support for Eee Pc computers... but really?

Last time I checked, I could re-install Windows as many times as I like, and NEVER get back to the old bios.

I tried explaining this... to no avail. I guess she because angry with my ignorant technical ability, and insisted I had two options.

Restore Windows or let the Geek Squad fix it.

Rather than enlightening her that I was on the Geek Squad before the Geek Squad was the Geek Squad, I simply hung up and decided to rely on my googling ability.


Fifteen minutes later, on some random asus ftp site, I had located an alternate, older revision of the bios. I flashed the bios again, and voila, we have a battery again.

Now in retrospect, had I realized how new this laptop was, I never would have tried the bios update (and I definitely should have saved a copy of the old one first). I still say Asus should eliminate the stupid woman at tech support who thinks the bios is part of Windows.

What next?

Now that the laptop was back in working order, I proceeded with normal new computer stuff... Installed Firefox, Office, and some other fun toys. I also decided to upgrade Windows with the Anytime Update utility. This worked well, and the next thing you know, she had a version of windows that would at least allow her to change her background.

N-Aero-ly Surprised!

This little thing can run Windows Aero! After the Windows upgrade, and the Microsoft Hows-My-Hardware test, Windows Aero turned on! Impressive. And it's still nice and quick.

All for now...

That's all for now, but I'll update you with more when I get to play with her toy some more ;)

Here are some pics from I'll get Alicia to upload some pictures of her's soon enough...


Monday, September 21, 2009

Symantec Endpoint Protection (SmcGui.exe) and Citrix (Terminal Services)


We have been experiencing some issues with Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) and Citrix.

By default, when users would launch a published application via Citrix, the Symantec Management Client (smc.exe) service launches a process called SmcGui.exe. This also puts a SEP icon (little yellow shield) in the users system tray. This is the GUI front-end for SEP.

Upon closing their published application (any application), the little yellow shield, as well as the SmcGui.exe process, stay running in the background.

How do I resolve this?

Step 1) Seems logical... Disable the icon.

Configure a policy on the SEP server for terminal servers to disable the system tray icon and the gui.

Problem: Even if you setup a policy via the SEP Management Console to disable the system tray icon, the server still launches SmcGui.exe, and fails to close the process when they logout.

Step 2) Google It

A quick google of SmcGui.exe and Citrix yeilds a terribly log thread on the issue over at Symantec's forums. Reading this thread leads to nasty hacks like renaming the SmcGui.exe executable file (which doesn't work), replacing the file (which sometimes works), and some other issues.

too much wasted time on that forum thread!!!

Step 3) Google it More!

After some more googling (sp?) I came across this Symantec knowledge base article...

Woohoo! Turns out we already had the proper maintenance pack installed, so I tested adding the registry key and it worked great...

Step 4) Do this on lots of servers.

I created a custom administrative template file that will allow these settings to be pushed out with group policy.

Hopefully this will help someone else along the way.

here you go. Just save the following to a file (whatever.adm) and add to administrative templates in group policy.


CATEGORY "Symantec Endpoint Protection"
POLICY "Launch SmcGui.exe"
EXPLAIN !!LaunchSmcGui_Explain
KEYNAME "SOFTWARE\Symantec\Symantec Endpoint Protection\SMC"
VALUENAME "LaunchSmcGui"


LaunchSmcGui_Explain="Set to Disabled to prevent SmcGui.exe from launching. Prevents errors on Citrix servers and Terminal Servers."

Friday, April 17, 2009



I finally did it. I signed up for twitter. I am such a sucker.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

House Project - Update


Well, we are still working on the house. The good news is things have progressed quite well!

We have floors everywhere downstairs except the breakfast room and the guest bathroom. We have done around 1000 sq. ft. so far. It has been a lot of work, but I have enjoyed the challenge, and we've saved a ton of money doing it ourselves.

We still have to finish the floors, and the put all of the baseboards and trim back up. We will be using a new style of trim, although I'm not positive what style yet.

We will also be remodeling the downstairs guest bathroom. This will be a fun challenge, and I am thinking of trying to do my own concrete countertop. This looks difficult, but I think it could be worth it.

That's all for now I guess...

Word to your mother.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

House Project


Well, Alicia and I have been hard at work with the house project. We have been without any living spaces downstairs for a month, and we have now torn up the floor in the kitchen.

I'd like to mention that Casey and Graham have been a TREMENDOUS help to us in the project. Not only have they gotten their hands dirty, and helped us a ton, they have also been willing to listen and discuss COUNTLESS options, ideas, and whatnot with us. Thanks a ton to both of you!

Step 1: Demolition

Between the storm, and us choosing to replace the remaining floors downstairs, we have a lot to take out of the house. This includes:

  • Remove all carpet downstairs
  • Remove all tile downstairs
  • Remove all baseboards downstairs
  • Remove all window and door trim downstairs
  • Remove most of the drywall in the front of the house downstairs (we had this contracted out)
This is mostly complete. We are going to dispose of the removed materials this weekend. This has been a lot of work, and I'll be glad to see it go.

Step 2: Drywall Repair

The water that came into the house caused a lot of drywall to be damaged and/or moldy. This was all ripped out by Hugo! Just yesterday, he finished putting in the new drywall, as well as finishing and texture-ing it. If anyone needs drywall or paint work done, let me know, and I'll give you his contact info. He did a fantastic job at a very reasonable price.

Step 3: Paint

We have decided that now is an excellent time to paint the downstairs. We had already painted the den, so we only need to paint the formal living, formal dining, kitchen, and breakfast areas. We are going to leave the foyer the existing color since the high walls would be very difficult to paint. Hopefully we can finish painting in the next week or two.

Step 4: Level the Floors

After completing the painting, it will be time to level the floors. We will be using a self-leveling cementious underlayment available at home depot. This stuff basically gets mixed with water, poured on the floor, and within a day or two, you have a nice new level floor to install over. Fun stuff. The sixty bags, along with 20 bottles of primer, were delivered from home depot this morning!

Step 5: Install new floors

The next step is to actually install the new flooring. We have discussed and debated back and forth over which flooring to choose. Real Wood? Engineered Wood? Laminates? How much do we spend? Do we do it ourselves? What installation method do we want; float, nail, or glue?

It has taken us quite a while to answer these questions, but at the end of the day, we have decided on laminate planks. These will not only be cheaper, but they are the easiest to install, and are the most durable. Sounds like a no brainer right? One would think so, but when actually faced with the decision, it was not that easy...

We will be ordering from After we have ordered and received the floors, I'll let you all know what we think. They seem to have good prices and alot of good information, so I hope they don't disappoint us.

The floor we picked is by a manufacturer called K-Swiss, and it's a darker colored laminate.

We must have ordered 30 samples of laminates, and another twenty of engineered woods, and this is what we've decided on. We haven't actually placed the order yet, but it won't be long now.

Step 6: Baseboards and Trim

After installing the floors, it will be time to put the baseboards and window/door trim on. Now, if you know me, then you know that I can be very particular about certain things. Alicia says she doesn't care in the least what the trim looks like. I have a little more of an opinion than that...

I came across this baseboard design when browsing the web, and I really like the look of it. But $45 for eight feet?!?!?!?! I think not...

So, Graham and I put on our thinking caps. We determined we can make our own for a fraction of that cost, using some clever design, some MDF, and Graham's awesome tools! We haven't actually started yet because it's so far along into the project, but it sounds promising.

I did get in touch with Houston Hardwoods, and they can custom mill some matching this design at a very reasonable price as well, so that might be another good option. We'll decide as the time gets closer...

Step x.5: Paint cabinets?

One of the ideas we have thought about pursuing during the project is a little makeover to the kitchen cabinets. We don't particularly like our existing cabinets. Alicia hate's the color, and I hate the traditional design of the doors. What better time to take on something like this than when your downstairs is already torn to shreds?

There is no better time, and that's what we thought too...

We haven't made a decision on this, or even on exactly what we'd be doing, but it's something we're considering.


Now that I've most certainly bored you to death, assuming you were bored enough to actually read this, I guess I'll let ya go.

If anyone wants to get some good exercise and help us out, just let me know!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ike... House... Floors...meh


So, things have been crazy lately. Alicia and I braved the storm de Ike, and were able to defeat some of the water that came flying through our windows. Unfortunately, the rest of the water totally defeated our carpets. This presented us with a choice: put in more crappy carpet, or spend some extra money and do hardwood floors like we want?

Well, if you know me, then you know what I wanted to do. New floors!

A few months back, I mentioned I was bored and needed a project. Well... I got one.

We are ripping out all of the carpet and tile downstairs in the house to replace it with hardwood floors. We are doing it ALL OURSELVES!! :) Yeah, it's fun. And it's gonna get better.

I'll keep everyone informed.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Boba Fett dance


This is one of the greatest internet movies I have ever seen!

Wow that is cool!