Problem starting Oracle Database Control Service

Today I run into problem running Oracle Database Control Service on Windows 2003 Server. When I was trying to run it using Administrative Tools->Services I got an error:
“Windows could not start the OracleDBConsoleWIND on Local Computer. For more information, review the System Event Log. If this is a non-Microsoft service, contact the service vendor, and refer to service-specific error code 2”.
Quick look in the Event Viewer proved it usless:
The OracleDBConsoleWIND service terminated with service-specific error 2 (0x2).
The solution came when I tried to run the service using console:
set ORACLE_SID=wind
C:\ptc\PDMLink>emctl start dbconsole
OC4J Configuration issue. C:\oracle\ora102/oc4j/j2ee/OC4J_DBConsole_winddev1_wind not found.

Gotcha!
In C:\oracle\ora102/oc4j/j2ee/ directory I had only:
OC4J_DBConsole_winddev1.devintl.com_wind
After some network reconfiguration the host started to appear using only host name, not fully qualified host name. Fair enough, I had just copied the folder to match current host name and the console is working again:

C:\ptc\PDMLink>emctl start dbconsole
Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Database Control Release 10.2.0.1.0
Copyright (c) 1996, 2005 Oracle Corporation. All rights reserved.
http://winddev1.devintl.com:1158/em/console/aboutApplication
Starting Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Database Control ...The OracleDBConsoleWI
ND service is starting...............
The OracleDBConsoleWIND service was started successfully.

Importing phonebook to Android

It’s been almost a week since I got Motorola Milestone. It’s an Android based phone and I absolutly love it. Actually I’m using it to write this post. And since it’s running on an open source platform, it will provide many hours of fixing and twicking.

First quirk you’ll notice soon after booting your new toy is that you can’t import your contacts from old mobile. Android do not accept contacts sent by bluetooth nor can read them from sim card. So to copy your contacts you need a pc (or mac if you are gay or female).
I was able to make my old sony-ericsson k750 send all contacts directly to my outlook. This wasn’t what I really wanted – I hoped for a file, but still it was a step in good direction.
Gmail can import contacts from various formats, including csv and this was a format I’ve chosen when exporting from outlook (file -> export -> follow the wizard).
If you think it was too simple, you’re right. Somewhere during the process all phone numbers lost + sign from the country code. Still… 140 +s to edit is better than 140 contacts to add ;)

Using Google Forms for feedback gathering

For some time now Google is running Google Forms service which allows anyone to create web forms using extremely simple creator. Just log in to your google account, go to documents to try yourself:

Then follow on-screen instruction, there’s nothing that can cause any trouble to anyone. When you save the form, you will get email with two URLs – one to the form itself, second one to Google Spreadsheet which to which all data typed to your form will be saved. Clean and easy!

I’ve used Google Forms to gather  feedback from my recent presentations and I’m more than happy with results. I’ve created anonymous forms with no required fields not to put any pressure on responders. The turn-over was higher than expected, I got both positive and negative responses. Some people used “other comment” field to provide their email.

My tips for using Google forms for feedback gathering:

  • use open questions
  • ask for positive and negative sides separately “what did you like… / what didn’t you like…”
  • if you had several separable parts of presentation, ask for each part separately to make the answers more straight forward
  • do not make fields required – you will see that most people will fill all fields without you pushing them!
  • make the survey anonymous
  • add “other comments” field

Good luck! :)

Disabling VT-x/AMD-v in VirtualBox on Ubuntu

VirtualBox on Ubuntu has an issue preventing host waking up from suspend. This issue is marked as resolved, but unfortunately it’s still present in 3.1.2 r56127 running under control of Ubuntu x64. The workaround for this issue is well documented: disable VT-x/AMD-v support. Fine, but… the option is greyed out in the settings:

To change it, you have to go directly to vm configuration file and change enabled attribute in HardwareVirtEx to false. After the change CPU node should look similar to:

      <CPU count="1">

        <HardwareVirtEx enabled="false" exclusive="true"/>

        <HardwareVirtExNestedPaging enabled="false"/>

        <HardwareVirtExVPID enabled="false"/>

        <PAE enabled="true"/>

      </CPU>
Now restart VirtualBox and you’re done!

Windows 2003 server password recovery on VMware ESX

Having too much systems to work on has one small disadvantage – there’s a hell of a lot of Administrator and root passwords to remember. And yesterday happend what was meant to happen for some time  – I forgot an Administator password for one of my Windows 2003 Servers. For obvious security reasons (I had no pencil on my desk) I haven’t noted password to this machine anywhere.

The server is running on my company VMware ESX server and I decided to hack into it. VMware Infrastructure Client has great ability – it let’s you share your local CD (or .iso image) to the server. I don’t need to say more, do I? ;) Yes, it is so simple.

So, here’s a step by step tutorial how to reset Administrator’s password on Windows 2003 server running on ESX. Prerequisites:

– VMware Infrastucture Client

– Permission from system’s administrator (don’t be naughty!)

– Live CD with your prefered password tools (I took http://pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/ 3MB only!)

Disclaimer: The procedure below can destroy data on your server, use on your own risk! I don’t take any responsibility of the damages you may cause trying to runt the procedure (or any of its parts).

1. Stop the server. I had to shut down VM image, not good for file system, but I had no choice.

2. Edit preferences of your image to enable remote CD drive:

3. Change boot options to set boot delay

My image has been set to boot from Hard Drive first. I had to go into bios settings to set boot order. I’ve also set 10s delay on booting to give myself time to connect CD image – on power on it’s unconnected.

4. Power on machine and set up boot order

5. Connect iso image. Quickly, before system start booting :)

6. See system booting from CD, use your the tool to reset Administrator password.

7. Enjoy!

Hint:

It was impossible on my machine to set new Administrator password using ntpasswd. I had to use option to blank the password.

Home audio system – solved!

I’ve been struggling for quite a time with setting up home audio system that can play my mp3 collection (about 8500 files) without need to turn my computer on. I failed to find reasonably priced audio system, so I bought LG 2.1 Home Theater system – HB354BS, which can play mp3 from usb drive. The sound it produces is really nice – solid base, clear trebles, powerful medium range – more than enough for me!

The HT system has one issue – it supports only 1999 files per drive. This is nowhere near my requirement, but I found out that it treats partitions as separate drives. I split my usb drive to four partitions, which gave me space for 8k files. 500 files had to go away (sorry Andrea Bocelli and some scene mp3 stuff), but now I can listen whatever I want (currenlty Tracy Chapman – Mountains O’Things)! :) With my TV off (and computer on, but I can close the lid and the music will be playing!) :)