Archive for the ‘General’ category

VLC media player – free

March 25th, 2009

I came across some video training to preview for which I did not have an application that will play them back. Stu over at Vinternals suggested VLC media player which is a free piece of software that plays most audio and video formats.

Stu was right as rain. I did not recognize the file extension of the video files, and the file extension was not a registered type that VLC would natively support, however, VLC had no problem detecting the video format and then opening and playing back the file.

VLC provides the following charts showing their support for the various formats and platforms:

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3-25-2009 11-45-19 PM

MobilePress caused 55,000+ files in c:\windows\temp

March 19th, 2009

A while after installing the MobilePress 1.0.3 plugin for WordPress, my IIS server locked up.  I rebooted it and all was well.  A while later, it locked up again.  Upon further investigation, I found 55,000+ files in the c:\windows\temp\ folder and new files were popping in there at a rate of a few per minute.

Each of the 55,000 files looked like:




where the prefix of sess_ is common but the rest is random.

Using Sysinternals procmon.exe, I was able to identify right away that the process responsible for creating the files was w3wp.exe which pointed me to IIS.  However, I wasn’t sure why IIS would begin doing this after being stable for a long time.

Searches on the internet said the files were being generated by PHP and indicated new user sessions as visitors hit my blog.  That helped confirm the fact that these were coming from IIS and the blog but still no tell tale reason as to why all of the sudden.

Then I opened up one of the files and it showed:

That was enough to jog my memory that I had recently installed the MobilePress plugin.

Removing the plugin immediately resolved the issues and the temp files are no longer created.

Horray! We’re mobile device friendly

March 9th, 2009

I received the feedback that the blog was not easily readable on mobile/handheld devices (Blackberry, iPhone, etc.)  Taking the suggestion from a few friends to install the MobilePress plugin for WordPress, the blog was mobile friendly within five minutes. While I had always “dealt” with the blog’s rendering on my own Blackberry, I hadn’t realized it could be improved (with so much ease).  I like it much better now as a lot of the “noise” has been removed. Thank you for the suggestions and feedback! Update:  The MobilePress plugin has been disabled for the time being due to a bug.

Twitter outage

February 19th, 2009

I don’t see this often (in fact I’ve never seen this) so I thought it was blog worthy given the increased use of social media as a professional’s tool.

2-19-2009 12-15-10 AM

Microsoft Performance Monitor tweaks

February 17th, 2009

Today I discovered the workarounds to a few issues in Microsoft Performance Monitor that have bugged me for quite a while (read: years).

Issue 1: Vertical lines are displayed in the Sysmon tool that obscure the graph view

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Cause: This behavior occurs when there are more than 100 data points to be displayed in chart view.

Resolution: Microsoft KB article 283110

To enable or disable this behavior:

  1. Start Regedit.exe.
  2. Navigate to the following key:
  3. HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\SystemMonitor
  4. On the Edit menu, click New, and then click DWord Value.
  5. Type the following value in the Name box:
  6. DisplaySingleLogSampleValue
  7. Set the value to 1 if you do not want to view the vertical line indicators, or set the value to 0, which is the default setting, to display the vertical indicators.


2-17-2009 9-47-48 PM

Issue 2: When looking at large numbers in Performance Monitor (Windows XP), comma separators do not exist thus making it difficult to interpret large numbers.

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Cause: Microsoft

Resolution: Microsoft KB article 300884

Follow these steps, and then quit Registry Editor:

  1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
  2. Locate and then click the following key in the registry:
  3. HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\SystemMonitor\
  4. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
  5. Type DisplayThousandsSeparator, and then press ENTER.
  6. On the Edit menu, click Modify.
  7. Type 1, and then click OK.


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Extra credit:  Check out Microsoft KB article 281884 for one additional tweak that deals with viewing PIDs in Performance Monitor counters.

Windows on multicore processors

January 22nd, 2009

Great article by Randall C. Kennedy comparing Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 and their multicore efficiencies (or lack thereof).  If you want to know which Windows OS is going to take most efficient advantage of AMD and Intel multicore technology, this article is worth a read.  You may be surprised at the results.


“In order to test the limits of Windows multicore support, I constructed a comprehensive, multiprocess workload test package using the ADO (database), MAPI (workflow), and WMP (media playback) Stress objects from the DMS Clarity Studio; see “How I tested” for the details. I then executed the package across representative dual- and quad-core systems in an effort to document the scalability, the execution efficiency, and the raw performance of the workloads when running against each of the available Windows incarnations.”

Read the full article here.

2008 web statistics

January 4th, 2009

I’ve hosted a web server on the internet for more than a decade.  It is a hobby that helps keep my skills sharpened and most of the time I enjoy it very much.  Over the years I have hosted web sites for individuals and small businesses.  Aside from due diligence, one of my interests is to examine the logs and look at trends and statistics.

2008 was the web server’s busiest year yet.  My domain,, was purely a family/hobbiest site.  The addition of a VMware virtualization blog in mid October caused domain traffic to jump by a factor of ten.  I had more traffic in December than I had five previously combined months.  A new high watermark of well over 1 million hits was set compared to 323,000 total hits in 2007.

Increased traffic urged me to upgrade my bandwidth.  Fortunately, I was able to pick up a sponsor late in 2008 –  Please visit them if you have a chance – especially if you are searching for a job or a qualified engineer to help you with a project.

Without further delay, here are some of the interesting stats that stood out to me for the year 2008:

Unique visitors 36,932
Number of visits 54,247
Pages 347,179
Hits 1,378,355
Bandwidth 16.77GB

Average busiest day of the week:  Wednesday

Average least busiest day of the week:  Saturday

Average busiest hour of the day:  8 am CT

Average least busiest hour of the day:  1 am CT

Top 10 visitor domains/countries:

Domain/Country Pages Hits Bandwidth
Unknown (unresolvable IP) 126,583 442,561 5.38GB
Commercial (.com) 71,498 277,979 3.29GB
Network (.net) 55,813 291,385 3.63GB
Netherlands (.nl) 6,186 31,077 364.67MB
China (.cn) 4,051 4,859 11.74MB
Germany (.de) 3,964 15,195 309.21MB
United Kingdom (.uk) 3,759 19,052 349.44MB
South Africa (.za) 3,527 4,840 50.51MB
Australia (au) 3,068 18,287 335.27MB
Canada (.ca) 2,389 13,966 185.33MB

Top 10 robots/spider visitors (numbers after + are successful hits on robot.txt files):

Robot/Spider Visitor Hits Bandwidth
Yahoo Slurp 24,258+2,691 899.63MB
BaiDuSpider 17,223+71 8.54MB
Googlebot 10,587+262 272.53MB
MSNBot 6,643+2,,430 99.14MB
Feedburner 8,492 11.16MB
Unknown robot 5,608+117 314.38MB
MSNBot-media 3,071+1007 459.43MB
Unknown robot 3,268+542 330.10MB
Voila 2,459+756 59.40MB
Google AdSense 3,091+97 116.51MB

Visits duration (number of visits:  54,247 – average 291 seconds):

Visits duration Number of visits Percent
0s-30s 41,963 77.3%
30s-2mn 3,351 6.1%
2mn-5mn 2,039 3.7%
5mn-15mn 2,175 4%
15mn-30mn 1,179 2.1%
30mn-1h 1,234 2.2%
1h+ 2,306 4.2%

Operating systems (this category deserved a full listing):

Version Hits Percent
Windows 16,452 88.1%
Windows XP 9,638 51.6%
Windows (unknown version) 4 0%
Windows NT 1,775 9.5%
Windows Me 2 0%
Windows Vista 3,909 20.9%
Windows CE 61 0.3%
Windows 95 4 0%
Windows 2003 863 4.6%
Windows 2000 196 1%
BSD 16 0%
FreeBSD 16 0%
Linux 563 3%
Ubuntu 338 1.8%
Suse 33 0.1%
Fedora 57 0.3%
Debian 33 0.1%
Centos 18 0%
GNU Linux (unknown or unspecified distribution) 84 0.4%
Macintosh 1,142 6.1%
Mac OS X 1,142 6.1%
Others 495 2.6%
Unknown 476 2.5%
Sony PlayStation Portable 19 0.1%

Top 10 browsers:

Browser Hits Percent
MS Internet Explorer 846,588 61.4%
Firefox 394,107 28.5%
Safari 55,359 4%
SharpReader (RSS Reader) 3,949 2.4%
Mozilla 24,965 1.8%
Opera 11,305 0.8%
Unknown 6,468 0.4%
NetNewsWire (RSS Reader) 1,169 0%
Konqueror 1,128 0%
Netscape 668 0%

Top 10 referring search engines:

Search Engine Pages Percent Hits Percent
Google 27,817 86.8% 28,424 76.1%
Yahoo! 1,359 4.2% 1,393 3.7%
Windows Live 1,273 3.9% 1,291 3.4%
Google (Images) 463 1.4% 3,628 9.7%
SoSo 442 1.3% 442 1.1%
MSN Search 146 0.4% 149 0.3%
AOL 106 0.3% 108 0.2%
Google (cache) 99 0.3% 1,556 4.1%
Stumbleupon 62 0.1% 102 0.2%
Unknown 57 0.1% 63 0.1%

Top 10 search keywords:

  1. deep
  2. jack
  3. thoughts
  4. handy
  5. by
  6. vmware
  7. handey
  8. esxi
  9. esx
  10. to

Top 10 referring pages (non search engines):

Referring page Pages Hits 1,221 1,226 1,137 93,529 489 489 408 408… 355 355 268 268 262 262 219 223… 191 191 186 186

Top 10 referrers (non search engines):


Advanced Web Statistics 6.8 (build 1.910) – Created by awstats