Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Problem with Capitalism

I have had this nagging irritation that capitalism is fundamentally flawed for some time, but haven't had a good way to articulate it till now. It seems to me today that capitalism makes the assumption that it can provide the greatest good for the greatest number of people, by in turn assuming that people are rational and will work in their own self-interest. The aggregate of that rational self-interest will be seen in demand curves and these curves drive capitalism.

The problem with this is that it confuses needs with desires. Like a kid, we assume that what we desire is what we need. And that the demand represented in a demand curve will answer needs humans have. Sadly, more often than not that curve represents not needs but wants, and not necessarily even very valid wants.

It's the job of a marketer to generate demand, and he or she does so by generating a want, and then helping us persuade ourselves that this is a need. Consequently, all my childhood, I needed the latest pair of Nike running shoes … despite the fact it would never answer any real need I had, and would be constructed in a sweat shop. This didn't provide the greatest good for the great number, merely fulfilling a whim for some, while injuring others. Today I need to update my phone every year because, well, I need too, despite the cost in natural resources and pollution that doing so wrecks. Again, not the greatest good for the greatest number.

So in the end capitalism is irrational and against our ultimate self-interest. It serves only to feed money from those with the greatest need to those with the least. Not good, since it seems to be the new religion of most of the world.

Probably not new thinking, but new to me.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Biggest Tsunami ever!

Without underestimating the suffering of those in Japan, Christchurch, Haiti and other earthquake ravaged places at present, we are still all lucky it was not worse. As the media have drummed into us, this was a mega quake, measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale, and it generated a devastating tsunami with waves up to 10 metres high (incredible video here). In 1953 in Alaska, an earthquake measured at 8.3 on the Richter scale generated a tsunami. The wave that hit reached a height of 524 metres. I'll repeat that. 524 metres of water crashing down! Putting that in perspective, that's higher than the Empire State building!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

BMW Hates Me!

My new car arrived recently, after much waiting and delay. However, it seems that there is a conspiracy to get me. In my old car (a now very dilapidated Honda Legend) I had one accident (a young driver decided that that whole right of way thing on round-abouts is for sissys, and decided to drive through me rather than wait their turn). That's it in over 10 years of driving that car. Since I got my new car 6 months ago, I have been hit twice. Both times by ladies working in the mental health field, both times by drivers of the BMW X series of vehicles.

The first time, a driver of a BMW X3 convinced herself that the bumping, grinding sensation as she backed from her position at stop lights (!) into a parallel park beside my vehicle was unlikely to be related to my car being between her and the car park, and that me honking and waving to get her to stop was nothing more than the raving of deranged tailgater (seriously, in heavy traffic, with cars backed up behind us, she decided it was a good time to leave the intersection backwards, not forwards).

The second time, a driver of a BMW X5 forgot a couple of important details of the road. Firstly, red light means stop, not go. Secondly, that cars stopped in front of me means stop as well, irrespective of what any pesky light may be saying.

Anyway, long and short of it is that I have had BMW X vehicles attempting to wipe off both my front and rear bumpers in the less than 4 months I have been driving my new car. But I can see the pattern now, and I'm ready for it. Not sure whether the next one will be an X7 or and X9 (depends on which pattern of progression is happening here), but I expect and BMW X something to T-bone me from the side.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Where Will the Next Big One Strike?

Just quickly, great Infographic out at Good crystallising a lot of earthquake related data.

Going Places

A long time ago (back in early 2007), I wrote brief post about some of the places I've been blessed to visit. Been to a few more now, and have added Spain, Russia, Jordan, Israel, Turkey, Cuba, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, Greece, Japan and China to my list. Pretty happy with that.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fix for Outlook 2010 Signature Problem

Found a solution to a very frustrating Microsoft Outlook 2010 problem here. On Windows 7, running Office 2010, the signature pane becomes totally inaccessible. The button to allow you edit your signature is there, but it does nothing. Finally found a fix for this today (desperation gave my Google wings). It requires editing the contents of two keys paths in the Registry. The two keys are:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Wow6432Node\CLSID\{0006F03A-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}\LocalServer32
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{0006F03A-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}\LocalServer32

Within these key paths there are two keys that appear:

  • (Default)
  • LocalServer32

On my machine the (Default) key had a value of C:\PROGRA~2\MICROS~2\Office14\OUTLOOK.EXE and the LocalServer32 key had a value of 1^V8!!!!!!!!PZKSkOUTLOOKFiles>tF{~$3Q]c@qPX6MxaTO5 (or something like that). All four of these values need to be changed to C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\Outlook.exe and Outlook rebooted. And then everything should just work, like magic! And so far, no nasty side effects!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Really Simple Toggle iPhone App I Want

OK, so we went ahead and got iPhone 4s for work. Mostly all good, although a little bit bigger and more fragile than our sturdy Nokia E71s. And the whole millions of apps things is sort of handy. However, there is 1 app I really want and just can't find. Actually, make that 2. I want an app that is simply a toggle button. All it does is switches tethering on and off. And another one for Bluetooth. In other words, want to be able to touch on an icon on the home screen and Bluetooth switches on, touch again and its off. Better yet if the icon can indicate whether it's on or off. Come on someone, write this already. I reckon lots of other people would be willing to pay for this app.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

JZX110 Mark II Fortuna by Modellista Information

I went digging through some old sites and then used the Wayback Machine to find the original content of the sites (now lost) and then used Google Translate to translate the content into an approximation of English. Long winded, I know. But I couldn't find this information anywhere else.

This info is mainly from the Toyota Japan site, back in 2002-2004. And yes, the color coding is tricky and doesn't make much sense. I think they mean this:

Special Features (red)

Standard (blue)

Optional (yellow)

Dealer installed options (by Moderisuta) (purple)

Is this a warning?

Is it just me or have there been a lot of large-ish earthquakes this year? Haiti, Chile, Indonesia and now, this. Are we being warned? A quote from this article out of the LA Times:

"The number of quakes greater than magnitude 4.0 in Southern California and Baja California has increased significantly in 2010. There have been 70 such quakes so far this year, the most of any year in the last decade. And it's only April. There were 30 in 2009 and 29 in 2008. Seismologists said they are studying the uptick but cannot fully explain it."

Be ready!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Making Stuff Happen

Sometimes stuff doesn't seem to happen in a timely manner in MOSS. Sometimes you just need to give it a bit of a kick along. Here is a little command to do just that.

Stsadm –o execadmsvcjobs

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How to move Microsoft SharePoint databases from one SQL server to another

I have been using Ahmed Ammar's excellent instructions for moving MOSS databases. However, I noticed I could only find them in the Google cache, so I have taken the liberty of repeating them in total here, with a couple of notes from me. Ahmed, let me know if you want me to take this down, but folks, in the interests of preserving a very useful resource, here are Ahmed's instructions.


Step 1 – Move

Step 2 – Move Sharepoint_Config database

Step 3 – Move all other site collection databases

Step 4 – Restore Indexers and SSP (Shared Service Provider)

Step 5 – Correct configuration database.


SSP: SharePoint Service Provider
CA: Central Administration
RDP: Remote Desktop
MOSSSRV: Web Front server hosting SharePoint central administration and web service.
OLDSQL: SQL server you want to move DBs from.
NEWSQL: SQL server you want to move DBs to.


Write down version of your SharePoint farm.

New SQL server needs to have mixed security mode set and TCPIP access enabled.

Local SQL user is required for DB access and creation, together with domain search account, that will perform crawling.


MOSS 2007 SP2 – ver. with two servers in a farm.  (Win2k3 and W2k8 32 bit systems)

One web front end hosting CA and second SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition.

Step 1 – Move Sharepoint_AdminContent database

Central Administration website is stored in  Sharepoint_AdminContent
Database, thus it cannot be moved from administration interface, however you can see it there under its web application.

0, Login to OLDSQL and make backups of all databases related to SharePoint farm to shared folder.

1, Put DB offline using CA - Application Management – Content Databases – select proper web application "SharePoint Central Administration V3" and change database status offline.


2, Login to MOSSSRV server using RDP

(I recommend you to create BAT files with commands, in case you mistype character and close CMD.EXE window by mistake.)

Launch prepare to move command from CMD.EXE or BAT file:

STSADM –o preparetomove –contentdb OLDMOSS:SharePoint_AdminConfig_0245-87547-a547f" –site http://mosssrv:4235

 After Operation completed successfully, disconnect DB using:

STSADM –o deletecontentdb –url "http://mosssrv:4235" –databasename "SharePoint_AdminConfig_0245-5698-485-asd21"

3, Switch to OLDSQL server and in SQL Management studio backup SharePoint_AdminContent_2254-sdsa454-45454

After backup, copy this DB to NEWSQL and restore database. Now it's the best time to rename database just to "SharePoint_AdminContent" and get rid of GUID.

4, Go back to MOSSSRV and launch attach DB command :

STSADM –o addcontentdb –url http://mosssrv:4235 –databasename "SharePoint_AdminConfig" -databaseserver "NEWSQL"

5, After operation completed appear, launch command iisreset /noforce.

6, Check http://mosssrv:4235 – e.g. CA website if it is functioning.

 Now you moved Sharepoint_AdminContent
database and renamed it to more understandable name.

Step 2 - Move Sharepoint_Config database

Most difficult part from SharePoint structure view is moving Sharepoint_Content database. This is the first database created and holds settings of your Sharepoint structures.

1,Go to OLDSQL and backup Sharepoint_Content database with suffix "before_move" for example "SharePoint_Config_before_move.bak"

2, Go to MOSSSRV and launch command to disconnect database from server  :

Psconfig.exe –cmd configdb –disconnect

3, Go to OLDSQL server and in SQL Management studio backup SharePoint_Config

After backup, copy this DB to NEWSQL and restore database.

4, Connect database back to sharepoint farm using :

psconfig.exe -cmd configdb  -connect -server "newsql" -database "SharePoint_Config" -dbuser "mossdbcreate" -dbpassword "Aaa123456" -user "DOMAIN\USER" -password "user_password"


·         mossdbcreate user is local NEWSQL user with permission to create DB.

·         DOMAIN\USER is user that was set as Sharepoint Administrator. ( I used domain admin account for all these operations.)

·         Your new "SharePoint_AdminContent" database will be used automatically.

Naaman's Life Note:

This didn't work for me, so in the end I ran the following command, which worked:

psconfig.exe -cmd configdb  -connect -server "newsql" -database "SharePoint_Config" -user "DOMAIN\USER" -password "user_password"

5, Launch Sharepoint Technology wizard and provision new CA :

·         Choose "No do not disconnect" and click NEXT,

·         Change the port to the same you had before e.g.  4235 in our case !! and leave NTLM and click NEXT

·         Wizard will now display summary page (already filled with NEWSQL name) and will start creating CA website.After finish it will open you CA website.

Browse around to check everything is functioning…try SSP Admin page for example.

Now we almost finished move of Sharepoin_Config DB, but this step needs to be finished as described in last step. ( You may notice, that in Operations – Server in Farm is written OLDSQL as home of configuration database.)


Step 3 - Move all SharePoint Site Collection Content Databases

Now move all production "normal" databases.

1, restore your production DBs from step 0 to NEWSQL or backup them all again at OLDSQL and restore in NEWSQL.

2, Go to CA – Application Management – Content DB

3, Change the web application from the drop down list appropriately.

4, open content DB, write down its name, select "offline" and check "Remove Content Database". (If database was created using special account use that account to delete it).

5, After removal, click "Add Content Database" and add the same database but from NEWSQL.


Repeat these steps for all your production databases.

Note: Some sources are recommending to use chain : preparetoremove > disconnect > connect (same as in Sharepoint_AdminContent) to move all content databases. This is probably needed, if you are moving databases to different farm environment and not to the same Sharepoint_Config database. It has something to do with site and DB GUID.


Step 4 – Restore SSP

Shared Service Provider – is a feature of Sharepoint Farm and you will not found it by WSS. As name is saying it goes about services, that could be shared in a farm. For example crawling (or indexing or searching) could be configured here and one server can perform crawling and its searchDB could be then used be then used by other servers in a farm.

1, Go to OLDSQL and backup SharedServiceProved_DB (in fact I do not know default name, but there are two databases for SSP – one is content and second is search.)

Then go to NEWSQL and restore this DB. There is no reason to restore search DB, because it will be created anyway.

2, Open CA -  In order to restore SSP from a database you need to enable indexers. This is done in Operations – Servers on Farm – Office SharePoint Server Search.

You need to provide content access account – see prerequisites. You can then leave default name of search DB – WSS_SEARCH_MOSSSRV.

3, In the same menu enable also second Office search service.

4, Go back to SSP Administration page – now choose "Restore SSP"

     Fill the form with existing DB name you restored to NEWSQL and click OK.

Note : Restoration and provisioning process of new SSP could take long time.

You can also get into trouble here, especially if SharePoint's versions are different. You need to be sure, you are restoring SSP from same version of SharePoint system.

5, After successful finish you should see two providers. Now, by clicking "Change associations" change association of old SSP's web applications to new one.

6, By clicking on "Change Default SSP" you change default SSP to restored one.

7, Delete old SSP with option "and delete the associated databases". After clicking OK, un-provisioning of old SSP will occur and it takes a lot of time. May be you will need to restart IIS with /noforce if system will stop responding.

Now you are done with moving all the databases. Before continuing, please double-check all content databases are transferred. You can stop SQL Server service on OLDSQL and check all sites and CA.


Step 5 – Correct configuration database

As you may noticed, no one told Sharepoint_Config, that configuration database is not on old server, but someplace else. In fact this should be done by disconnecting and connecting operations done by SharePoint Wizard, but system writes, that config DB is still on OLDSQL in CA.

Fact is, system is now using NEWSQL for SharepointConfig, but some sub-systems may not work, because somewhere is still written OLDSQL.

In my case, creating site collection from stsadm in new contentdb was issuing error, that DB is not accessible. Unfortunately, system did not write which DB, so I naturally thought it was NEWSQL, that is not accessible and I have bad credentials, but content DB was created, so what was wrong??

I then started OLDSQL resp. SQL service there is tried again.

So I looked at NEWSQL – directly into SharePoint_Config database and find out you have to change Name in first row in dbo.Objects table, where OLDSQL still resides.

I did it using "New Query" button in SQL Management studio and executing this SQL command.

update dbo.Objects set Name = replace(Name, 'oldsql','newsql.ccc.com')

Note : You cannot use newsql name only, because then system reports an error. My workaround was to use FQDN e.g. with dns name like MS's favorite contoso.local  - it is unique in table, and still valid for the system. Probably you can create DNS A record and use this one instead. It will anyway point to same location.

Sharepoint Migration

Currently working on migrating the databases for a MOSS 2007 install from one SQL Server to another. To be more precise, I am moving the database from one instance on one node of a clustered SQL Server to the clustered instance of the SQL Server itself. Anyway, have been working though Ammed Ammar's excellent instructions (I found them here). Had moved my Admin_Content db, and was in the process of moving the Config db when I hit a roadblock. Was using the psconfig.exe command to reconnect to my now migrated Config database and kept on getting the dreaded "The server parameter specified with the configdb command is invalid. Failed to connect to the database server or the database name does not exist. Ensure the database server exists, is a Sql server, and that you have the appropriate permissions to access the database server. To diagnose the problem, review the extended error information located at C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\12\LOGS\PSCDiagnostics_9_24_2009_11_5_7_53_419108824.log. Please consult the SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard help for additional information regarding database server security configuration and network access." error ...

Couldn't work out the appropriate username and password to connect to the database for this command ... I finally found a solution by fluke. Ammed suggest the following command to reconnect the config database:

psconfig.exe -cmd configdb -connect -server "newsql" -database "SharePoint_Config" -dbuser "mossdbcreate" -dbpassword "Aaa123456" -user "DOMAIN\USER" -password "user_password"

If that doesn't work, try running the cmd exe from your mossdbcreate account using "runas /user:Doman\mossdbcreate /noprofile cmd.exe" and then use the following simplification of the psconfig command:

psconfig.exe -cmd configdb -connect -server "newsql" -database "SharePoint_Config" -user "DOMAIN\USER" -password "user_password"

Worked for me, anyway. Let me know if it helps you out.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Monopoly City Streets Housing

Just done some analysis on the rates of return from houses in the new Monopoly City Streets. It seems to me that the City Centre Cottage is the best building to build if you are not running out of space.


Price (1000s)

Return (1000s)

Rate of Return

Green House




City Centre Cottage




Cane Top Multiplex




The Sentinel




High Reach Place




Nova Tower Block




PolyHedron Plaza




The Grid Building




Four Sided Fortress




Nori Place




Honeycomb Complex




Blanco Bastion




The Photat Building




Cubix Quarters




Opaque Overlook




Tri-Rectangle Tower




Spear End Summit




Unbounded Megaplex




Update: OK, just made the discovery that the amount you make for properties has an effect on the return. It appears that the higher the value of the street the greater the return on the building. So rental returns will depend on having high quality streets. Even so, the City Centre Cottage still remains the building with the best return. I am making 60% on mine!