Accessing disks in a VMWare VM

When you have disks sitting in a VMWare vSphere/ESXi box that are formatted NTFS, and you want to access them from inside a VM, you need to look at Raw Device Mapping (RDM).

What it took more than a little time to find out is that for SATA disks (i.e. not in a SAN or RAID config), you need to create “pointers” first.  Great instructions are available here. But, in essence, you’re looking to make a couple of calls like:

vmkfstools -z /vmfs/devices/disks/[long weird name of disk got from ls -l in /dev/disks] /vmfs/volumes/[name of datastore]/[sub folder]/[name of disk].vmdk
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Silent Hyper-V

Turns out that VMs in Hyper-V can’t handle sound unless you’re using RDP.  So, if you have a sound-card in the server that you’re wanting to use, you can’t access it.

Fail!

So, I’m turning back to VMWare.

Remote permissions in Hyper-V

Continuing the journey towards Hyper-V server, I’ve found some tricky challenges with remote management of the server from a Windows 8 PC when said PC is not on a domain, but is in a workgroup.

This site has the answer I needed – in essence, enabling the anonymous user on the client and then changing some firewall rules on the server. I actually couldn’t get the Firewall snap-in to work, but continuing to issue commands in text worked for me.

Also, this site has 12 steps for remote management: http://pc-addicts.com/12-steps-to-remotely-manage-hyper-v-server-2012-core/

Really simple skinning of Windows 7 logon screen

In case you’re wanting to change the logon screen wallpaper on a Windows 7 machine, details are here http://www.techspot.com/guides/224-change-logon-screen-windows7/

In short:

  1. Update the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\ Authentication\ LogonUI\ Background\ OEMBackground value to 1
  2. Create a folder called C:\Windows\System32\Oobe\info
  3. Then create a subfolder called backgrounds
  4. Then put the wallpaper – named BackgroundDefault.jpg and no more than 256KB – in the folder.
  5. Reboot.

Raspberry Pi goodness

Turns out that Raspberry Pi is pretty sweet! Not only is the little-computer-that-could a great project with some really laudable intentions re: education, it’s also a great platform for XBMC!

Just wanted to record some of the tips and tricks and learnings as I go through the process of learning another platform:

  1. When setting up passwordless access via SSH (i.e. using keys), the .ssh folder needs to be chmod 700, the authorized_keys and authorized_keys2 files both need to be there with chmod 600, and the key needs to be a DSA key indicated by ssh-dss in the authorized_keys file(s).
  2. Yeah, I’m not proud of this workaround (okay, maybe a little), but when you have a large video library (600+ titles), the Pi struggles a bit with reading back from the cache. So, in the short-term, I’ve installed incrontab and I’m watching the temp folder with the following line entered via incrontab -e: /home/pi/.xbmc/temp/ IN_CLOSE,IN_CLOSE_WRITE,IN_CLOSE_NOWRITE rm /home/pi/.xbmc/temp/vdb-17492a19.fi. In short, the moment that file is written, it’s deleted again. Saves about 10-15 seconds off the load time, but it’s still slow. 😦

DD-WRT, Telecom Thomson router and New Zealand broadband

Finally!  I can’t tell you how long I have tried to get DD-WRT working as a proper internet gateway in New Zealand!  The challenge is that broadband here is PPPoA (not PPPoE), so you are left trying to work through the mess that is half bridging and other such dramas.

Anyway, I leave some notes here for anyone else who is trying, and if I need to refer back.

  1. I have the Thomson TG585 router (v 8) with the DHCP server on.
  2. I have the Linksys WRT54G with DD-WRT (micro) running and a cable from the WAN port to a LAN port on the Thomson
  3. On the Thomson, under Home Network > Devices, I have selected the Linksys and chosen the link down the bottom that says “Assign external IP address to device”.  This only worked when I had the WAN setting on the Linksys (in DD-WRT) set to be DHCP, and had to restart a couple of times. It won’t work if the Thomson thinks the connected device has a static IP.
  4. By now, the external IP address was appearing in the Linksys under WAN IP, but I still couldn’t get internet access. Turns out that there was no default gateway set.  Through some serious Googling, I found this site that gave the following commands to be added to the Firewall script section under Administration > Commands:

ip route replace $(nvram get wan_gateway)/32 dev $(nvram get wan_ifname)
ip route replace default via $(nvram get wan_gateway) dev $(nvram get wan_ifname)

SSH’ing into the Linksys after running those commands, and then running route, shows the external gateway appearing at the top of the list.

And then everything seems to be working!  Hurray!