Archive for the ‘General’ category

Error 1603: Java Update did not complete

February 9th, 2016

3 Billion Devices Run Java.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) my workstation isn’t one of them.

I’m no stranger to Java and I’m more than willing to share my bitter experiences with it but rarely does my dissatisfaction stem from the installation process itself (that is if you don’t count the update frequency). This blog post is for my future self as I’m bound to run into it again.

I encountered a never before seen by me problem installing the Windows Offline (64-bit) version of Java Version 8 Update 73 on Windows 7.

Java Update did not complete

Error Code: 1603

The usual tricks did not work. Uninstalling the old version first. Run as administrator. Directory and registry scrubbing. System reboot. Trying an older version. In fact all version 8 builds exhibited this behavior. It wasn’t until I rolled all the way back to a version 7 build that the installation was successful.

For posterity, this spiceworks thread covers a lot of ground; there seems to be a variety of fixes for an equal number of root causes which all yield the same Java installation failure. The Java knowledgebase covering this issue offers some basic workarounds under Option 1 such as a system reboot, offline installer, uninstalling old versions, all of which I had already tried without success.

The fix in my particular instance was Option 2: Disable Java content (in the web browser) through the Java Control Panel. You’ll find the Java applet in the Windows Control Panel when a 32-bit version of Java is installed.

On the Security tab, temporarily deselect the “Enable Java content in the browser” checkbox.

Complete the 64-bit version of Java installation (launch the installer using “Run as Administrator“) and don’t forget to “Enable Java content in the browser” when finished.

Update 5-12-16: If you’re receiving this error and “Enable Java content in the browser” is already deselected, check the box, Apply, OK, uncheck the box, Apply, OK.

BenQ W1070 and the Universal Ceiling Mount

September 15th, 2014

Over the weekend I hung my first theater projector, the BenQ W1070 1080P 3D Home Theater Projector (White), using the BenQ 5J.J4N10.001 Universal Ceiling Mount, both available of course through Amazon.com. While I didn’t expect the installation to be overly complex, I did employ a slow and methodical planning approach before drilling large holes into the new knockdown theater ceiling.

After unboxing the projector and the universal ceiling mount kit, I looked at the instructions, the parts, and the underside of the projector. If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re in the same boat I was in – the diagrams don’t closely resemble the configuration of what you’ve got with the W1070. Furthermore, reading some of the reviews on Amazon seems to suggest this universal ceiling mount kit doesn’t work with the W1070 without some modifications to the mounting hardware. I read tales of cutting and filing as well as adding longer bolts, tubing, and washers to compensate for the placement of the mounting holes on the W1070. Not to worry, none of that excess is needed. If you concentrate more on the written instructions rather than the diagrams for mounting the hardware to the projector, it all actually works and fits together as designed with no modifications necessary. The one exception to this is that not all of the parts provided in the kit are used. This perhaps is what leads to some of the initial confusion in the first place. The diagrams suggest a uniform placement of four (4) mounting brackets on the underside of the projector in a ‘cross’ pattern. While this may be the case for some projectors, it’s not at all a representation of the W1070 integration.

For openers, the BenQ W1070 has only three (3) mounting holes meaning only three (3) mounting brackets will be used and not all four (4). Furthermore, the mounting holes are not placed uniformly around the perimeter of the projector. That, combined with the uneven surface of the projector can lead to uncertainty that these products were meant for each other and if so, then how. Simply follow the directions and screw the three brackets into place while allowing a little give so that you can swing the brackets into a correct position. I say _A_ correct position because there are nearly countless positions in which you can configure them and it will still work correctly resulting in a firm mount to the ceiling.

The image below shows an example of how I configured mine:

Next, place the mounting plate on top of the mounting brackets. Slide the mounting screws in the brackets, and gently swing the brackets themselves, so that the screws can extend through one of the channels in the mounting plate. Gently remove the mounting plate and torque the screws attaching the bracket to the projector.

I took some additional steps which may not have been necessary with modern projector technology but nonetheless the methodical approach helps me sleep better at night and reassures me I’m not destroying my ceiling in the wrong spot. I used a felt tip marker to mark a center point on the projector relative to the telescoping pole that will mount to the plate.

I then temporarily removed the mounting plate to measure the telescoping ceiling mount offset relative to the front and center of the projector lens. This measuring translates into the offset for the ceiling mount relative to the center of the room and distance to the projection wall. Performed correctly, it allowed me to mount the front of the lens 10’10” from the projection wall (sweet spot for my calculated screen size, seating, zoom, etc.) as well as mount the lens exactly in the middle of the room from a side to side lateral perspective.

In closing, the only other thing I’d add here is that if your lag bolts are not hitting studs in the ceiling, don’t bother with the plastic sheetrock inserts. While they may work, I don’t trust them for the amount of money I spent on the projector and I certainly don’t want the projected image wiggling because the projector isn’t firmly mounted to the ceiling. Only one of my lag bolts hit a stud. For the remaining bolts, I went to home depot and purchased some low cost anchor bolts (these are the ones I used along with a fender washer) good for 100lbs. each. Suffice to say, the projector is now firmly hung from the ceiling.

Available Lab Gear

May 29th, 2013

Heads up to any locals looking for server grade vSphere hardware infrastructure.  I’ve been doing some lab spring cleaning the past few weeks and after some consolidation efforts, I’ve got some hardware available that’s not being put to good use any longer.  All of these are 64-bit and will run vSphere.  All have Ethernet and/or Fibre Channel options.

  • 2x HP DL385 (1x AMD DC Opteron, 4GB RAM, rails, RPS)
  • 2x HP DL385 G2 (2x AMD QC Opteron (Barcelona), 34GB RAM, rails, RPS)
  • 2x HP DL585 G2 (4x AMD DC Opteron, 64GB RAM, RPS, power cables)

If you have any questions not pertaining to power or heat, please ask.

You pick up – Lakeville, MN.

The price is right – email me if interested.

Patio Door Lock Replacement Tips

August 25th, 2012

1.  Make sure you purchase the correct replacement lock at your home improvement store.  This one looks like a match.

Snagit Capture

2.  Before removing the old lock or installing the new lock, insert the long door handle screw in the door.  Now it is safe to remove the two mounting screws located on the face of the lock.

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3.  Failure to perform step #2 above allows gravity to cause the lock to fall down inside to the bottom of the door.  Not such a big deal if it’s the old lock being replaced, such as in my case, but you don’t want to drop your new replacement lock down there.  As far as I know, there is no easy way to retrieve it without removing the door.  Notice my new lock stays in place while I go grab the two mounting screws.

Snagit Capture

Well that’s it.  I hope I was able to save you that 2nd trip to the home improvement store.

Microsoft Flight, Week 1

March 4th, 2012

I’m a Microsoft Flight Simulator fan.  I’ve purchased several versions and add-ons over the years.  Unfortunately the Flight Simulator development team was disbanded by Microsoft after the release of Flight Simulator X.  It was a great run and I probably would have been satisfied with FSX for many years until the next thing came along.

A few months ago I was made aware that MS picked up the flight sim program again and their next generation product “Flight” was in it’s final testing stages.  I was not a part of the beta and waited for the GA release like most others.

Last Wednesday, Microsoft released “Flight” to the masses.  What’s new in this release? For openers, the price.  It’s a FREE download  How does that work? The free content is fully functional (including multiplayer) and consists of a few planes, one very beautiful Hawaiian island, several airports, tutorials, missions, challenges, aerocache hunts, and pilot leveling.  Current and future bolt-on content such as terrain, planes, and perhaps other types of content can be purchased through the Microsoft Marketplace.  At this time, Microsoft offers the Hawaiian Adventure Pack (the additional Hawaiian islands), the Maule M-7-260C (required for cargo missions), and the North American P-51 Mustang (by far the fastest plane with the highest service ceiling, unfortunately, no cockpit; as such, this plane is sold at a discount compared to the Maule).

Let’s see, what else – We’ve now got the ability to open the cockpit doors and exit the planes to have walk or run around. This gives us the ability to explore the terrain and other objects in sim more closely. In addition, it provides the ability to reach some of the difficult aerocaches which would otherwise be unreachable by plane.

The scenery is gorgeous and landmarks well done with incredible detail.  By default, my installation was set for “Medium” detail across the board and my nearly 3 year old Intel Quad Core i7 920/8GB RAM/Nvidia GeForce GTS 250 handled it flawlessly. I bumped up all detail to “High” and my machine handles it well enough that I’ve left it on High. Occasionally I’ll lose a few frames during rapid and massive scenery transitions but it doesn’t happen too often. My machine is not quite fast enough to further bump the individual settings to the Maximum setting.  The frame rate isn’t smooth enough but wow is the scenery beautiful and thick.

Microsoft has gone a little educational with this release which I think is a great element.  Everything from aerocache hunts to the passengers in the back seat will give you some history lessons about the many beautiful features of the Hawaiian islands and of course one of the most well known landmarks in US history – Pearl Harbor.  For a guided tour, complete the photographer mission.  It’s long but well worth it.

What’s missing? Obviously the multitude of planes, liveries, and the rest of the world.  Some of the more complex and interactive navigational elements don’t appear (yet).  The RV and the Maule support VOR navigation (including DME), ILS guidance, separate COM radio channels for keeping conversations private with buddies, but no Garmin GPS, ATC (Air Traffic Control), auto pilot, hold course, or hold altitude.  There’s no push back or a key to bind to that feature.  All of this may be on the horizon with the larger jets.  There is no slew but we can essentially pick up our plane and drop it in any spot on the map and fly from there.  There is no time advance feature for long flights, but MS alternatively offers waypoint advancement which essentially accomplishes the same task – long flights for those with challenging real life schedules.  Be aware that using the Next Waypoint feature is fine, but it may reduce your total achievable score if used during a mission or challenge.  By the way, following are links to helpful instructional videos on VOR navigation:

VOR Navigation Tutorial (Part I) – MSFS
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f67low6D-T0

VOR Navigation Tutorial (Part II) – MSFS
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLOqAaObGsw

VOR Navigation Tutorial (Part III) – MSFS
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Exqz65WeF2w

VOR Navigation Tutorial (Part IV) – MSFS
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRHuKsCYiyo

VOR Navigation Made Easy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Enq5RU6k3AQ

Short VOR Navigation Lesson
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoiUrTjuo6U

Navigation Using a VOR
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCCk2ch-xL4

A blogger by the name of peterb wrote an opinion piece on Flight yesterday.  The review was positive overall and much of it was consistent with my thoughts.  Thus far, Flight leans a little more toward the game genre than its predecessors. However, I feel there’s plenty of sim left in it for my tastes and I think it’s really going to appeal to those who might have been intimidated by the complexities of previous versions.  It is still a sim, not a game.  Case in point: I ran into a younger generation during a multiplayer event who downloaded what they thought was a video game. They conveyed through online chat they didn’t understand the point of the virtual flight world they were bored to tears with. I can’t think of a better compliment than that.  In addition, this is an unfinished project.  There’s a lot more coming which could fill some gaps. For me, the rest of the world and commercial jets can’t come soon enough but I had a lot of fun this past week, logging about 10 flight hours, completing missions and challenges, rescuing a kayaker, finding 53 of 54 aerocaches, and reaching level 16.  On the leveling, if you’re looking to advance quickly:

  • Grab all the aerocaches available (except Curvature of the Earth).  They range in value between 1,000 and 5,000 points a piece depending on difficulty level.
  • Run repeated Gold Rush challenges.  Up to 6,200 points is available in each run which only takes a few minutes.
  • Try some of the other Challenges or Missions.  There are a few in there worth an easy 12,000 points one time only (one example is the aerobatics competition).

Regarding multiplayer, the installation of Flight will apply the necessary Windows firewall policies to host a game, but I found that my NAT router was blocking incoming game requests which prevented me from hosting. By looking at my router logs, I determined that UDP port 3074 was required to be open in both directions on the NAT router (where incoming UDP 3074 traffic would be forwarded to the PC hosting the MS Flight session).

Following are some screen shots from my flights.

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Updated 3/8/12:  I picked up a lot of points tonight while trying several challenges to unlock paint schemes.  In doing so, I reached level 20 and at this point I’m able to level no further.  Level 20 appears to be the cap in this first release of Microsoft Flight.  I’ll continue to fly as it’s still a lot of fun and not really about leveling.

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The 9/11 Post

September 10th, 2011

Snagit CaptureMy memory isn’t what it used to be but there are a few experiences in the past which remain clear in my mind.  The first time I met the person who would eventually become my wife. The birth of my daughter. The first time I saw VMware ESXi at a Minneapolis VMUG meeting.  September 10th, 2001 and of course what followed the next morning.  A lot of people have a 9/11 story.  I have mine.  Tomorrow being the 10 year anniversary, I’ll share it here as requested.

In 2001 I worked as a Systems Engineer for a large bank based out of Minneapolis, MN.  One of our datacenters was located in Columbia, MD which is situated between Baltimore, MD and Washington D.C.  We were re-IP’ing the datacenter the weekend before 9/11 so I had spent the prior week on site making the final preparations for the long weekend ahead which I would also be involved in.

As I recall, it was a pretty long weekend working around the clock.  Par for the course when we had to deal with the finicky attitude of Microsoft SQL Server clusters.  We got through it and Monday morning arrived.  I would usually stick around through mid day Monday for this type of activity to make sure we were out of the woods, then fly out in the afternoon or early evening.  There were no issues to speak of but I hung out with my Maryland co-workers until the last possible minute I had to leave for the airport.  This was my normal routine.  At this point in time there was no reason to arrive at the airport two hours early.  There weren’t security checkpoints & the associated lines to deal with.  However, I had cut it way too close this time and was going to miss my flight.  I didn’t know it at the time but arriving late and missing my flight would allow me a brush with fame opportunity.

Snagit CaptureAt this time it’s probably 5:30pm EDT.  I worked with the ticketing agent to find a later flight out.  Fortunately there was a later flight, I believe it was the last out of BWI.  I checked my bag and made my way to the gate for the long wait.  The portion of the airport where my gate existed was fairly empty.  I was doing the long walk thing to one of the last gates.  As I’m walking, a young guy who had gotten off a plane is walking towards me from the opposite direction.  From a distance he’s tall and has a baseball cap on.  As we passed each other, I got a closer look.  One thought immediately entered my mind as he was walking away “He looks like Travis Pastrana (a pro motocross Suzuki rider).”  The DUH moment followed “Travis and his parents live in Maryland.”  When you eat, sleep, and breathe motocross, you follow motocross and pro riders closely. You know these things.  I spun around and called out his first name “Travis!” from 20 feet away.  We talked for about a minute.  He was a nice guy and autographed a full spread poster of him performing a lazy boy contained in a motocross magazine I happened to be carrying in my laptop bag.  Then we went on our respective ways.  I called my wife (girlfriend at the time) and told her she’d never guess who I just met.  I spent the rest of the evening smiling.  I would always remember that particular day (but not necessarily the date September 10th itself), as one of the best days in my life.  The following day would be one of the worst.

Tuesday morning I woke up and drove to work in downtown Minneapolis.  As I waited at the intersection of 11 Street to turn right onto Hennepin Avenue, the frantic reports started coming in over the radio.  For me, that’s where I was when 9/11 happened – at that intersection making a right turn, trying not to believe what I’m hearing on the radio.  The details of that event are known by all and don’t need repeating here.  I had a difficult time grasping what had happened, how they could have happened.  I thought about how close I had been to one of the sites the night before.

The following weekend I loaded up the truck to race at Mazeppa.  There was such a poor turnout due to the week’s events that the races were cancelled and for those that stuck around, we just practiced the entire day.  A small and inconsequential example of how the events 9/11 would impact the future.  By the grace of God, I didn’t lose any of my own loved ones, friends, or co-workers but when I see the faces of the innocent people who lost their lives, I can’t help but feel a connection to each of them.  I’ve watched interviews of so many who suffered the loss of family members and I absolutely cannot comprehend how they dealt with it.  I pray that those who passed on and their family members who remain receive love and comfort from God.  It will be an emotional morning at church tomorrow as we join together in a special service of remembrance.

My daughter started kindergarten last week.  I also have a three year old boy.  In time they will learn about 9/11 and will inevitably talk about it and/or ask my wife and I questions about it.  I hope that it is the type of event they will only have to learn about through history books.  Tomorrow I’ll pray for peace and hope that my children and my children’s children can grow up in a better world.

On a creepy side note, for the first part of my tenure at the bank, each time I traveled to the Columbia site, a national level tragedy occurred:

  • Columbine High School tragedy – 4/20/99
  • 9/11 tragedy – 9/11/01
  • Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy – 2/1/03

I no longer work for the bank and as such, no longer travel to this site.

USB Thumb Drive Not Recognized – 3 Fast Beeps

July 27th, 2011

No Earth-shattering material tonight.  In fact this tip isn’t even VMware/virtualization related other than the fact that the problem came up while working in the lab.  It has been several months since the last article I wrote under the “General” category which contains no VMware/virtualization content.

Anyway, I was working in the lab when…

My Windows 7 OS would no longer recognize my USB thumb drive.  Inserting the thumb drive into any of the USB  ports produced three quick USB-style beeps.  Having cut my x86 teeth in the days when A+ certification amounted to quite a bit, the three beeps told me something wasn’t right from a hardware standpoint but with a hint of driver hence the USB audio indicator.  I was mildly concerned because I sometimes carry data around on this drive which hasn’t been backed up or cannot be quickly reproduced.  A warm reboot of the OS produced no joy.  Neither did a power off.

Back in Windows Device Manager, the device was shown as disabled with an option to re-enable.  This did not work however.

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This being a USB device which can easily be reinstalled, the next step was to uninstall the driver by right clicking on the device and choosing Uninstall (notice the “down arrow” depicted on the device indicating it is disabled):

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After the uninstall of the driver, I unplugged the USB thumb drive, waited a few seconds, plugged it back in, and immediately heard the friendly USB sound I had been wanting all along.  Windows 7 went through a device discovery process, installed drivers, and I was on my way.