Category: "VirtualBox"


  08:20:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 509 words  
Categories: Home Theatre, WiFi, Storage, Samsung UN50ES6500F, FreeBSD, VirtualBox

I got another HSTi Wireless Media Stick


I had acquired my first HSTI Wireless Media Stick back on April 24th, 2011 (from a marketplace seller on took some time to arrive and I blogged about it on April 30th, 2011 -- Getting local content to show on my Roku XDS.

Now my Roku has moved to my other HD display (24" 1080p), but that was before my old Samsung HDTV (43" 720p) regenerated into a Samsung Smart 3DTV (50" 1080p).... so I'm back to living room TV being my main viewing device for all content, though TiVo has a box that I could connect to the smaller display to access my TiVo content there....which I may want to get at a later date. The majority of content I watch is from of these days I need to setup my blu-ray player so I can get back into watching DVDs (not sure when I'll have blu-ray discs, but need to get back on my netflix backlog).

But, the other day I had an mp4 file that I needed to play....and I thought I should get someway to do that to my 50" HD display... Had to settle with using the Roku for a bit. And, decided that the plan will be to acquire another HSTi Wireless Media Stick.

After searching around online, eventually found that ordering directly from HSTi was the only option now. So, I ordered another one on May 17th. It arrived yesterday. But, I didn't set it up until I got home from work today. Somehow I had forgotten again that HSTi is in Calgary, Alberta. Not that I'll be going up there in the immediate future....

Anyways, no big surprises...good thing I had solved my USB2.0 and Windows 7 in VirtualBox on FreeBSD problem (got a Silex SX-DS-4000U2). I'm sharing TARDIS from orac to it still, since I don't yet have a replica on zen yet (need to free up space). Though when I moved the HSTi Wireless Media Stick it had forgotten the share, so had to pull up web again and add it back. Interesting that its graphic shows the itself, while the graphic on my older stick is that of the original Wireless Media Stick (it used to be the correct graphic, but after an update it keeps showing the graphic of the older version.) Though this one came from the factory with the latest firmware, so who knows what'll happen when there's an update.

Was interesting using the SmartTV to view it, though wonder if it'll be a problem with it constantly discovering the stick every time I turn it on and presenting dialogs and such. Afterwards I tried the Amazon app to see if that was working was still saying I needed to update my TV, though this time there was an update....and now that works. Which might make it interesting to decide on what I should do. The only problem with using the SmartTV versus some other viewer....the TV is only 2.1 audio while other routes I can get 5.1, and its a different input on my receiver....

Oh well, back to other projects....


  03:10:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1773 words  
Categories: General, Computer, Home, Windows, FreeBSD, VirtualBox, Quicken/TurboTax

Did my taxes for 2012

Like I do every year, I bought TurboTax Premier Federal + E-File + State 2012 as a PC Download from back on Jan 18th, in part due to sale email from TurboTax. But, probably should've waited, because its cheaper now. Not sure why PC download is so similar in price to buying PC/Mac package. And, wasn't sure if I would still be on a PC.

In fact, I haven't had a physical Windows machine for almost 10 months now. Last year I did my taxes in a Windows XP VirtualBox VM on orac, since I had evolved to running Quicken in different XP VirtualBox VMs and using Dropbox to house my Quicken datafile. My first XP VM was on my laptop....and I spent part of Gallifrey One 2011 getting Quicken up and running in that VM and recovering my Quicken data. Where it seemed the best place to put the file was in my Dropbox. Have since adjusted things to make that work better to mostly cope with the locking issues between Quicken and Dropbox. I set up the one on orac which is where I did 'Windows' for about 9 months, and still use on occasion due to the lack of USB 2.0 support for VirtualBox on FreeBSD.

Though on zen, I have a Windows 7 VM (and still own another Windows 7 copy that I don't know where I'm going to put to use, just as I have a couple copies of XP still...been planning to put the 64-bit XP one into a VM on zen...but it hasn't happened yet.) Perhaps when I finally do get my Mac, I'll use some copies there.

Anyways...I would fire up TurboTax now and then, to see it get updates. Always thought it strange that after it said it was done that it would say that it was restarting TurboTax, but not. So, I never did more than see what updates it was getting.

But, I had intended to start my taxes last weekend...where DST began, though that turned out to be a bit of a weird weekend so I didn't get to it. I had actually intended the weekend before DST, but that also didn't pan out. But, seems tradition has been 2nd or 3rd weekend of March lately.... It is also for some reason the weekend that they always bring down HRIS for upgrades. As it happened this year, I did want to go on there and check something....

So, Friday night at 10pm I fired up TurboTax to see what updates, there were a lot. Been kind of unsettling lately...especially after the IRS Notice I got last year, which I dealt with using the services of Tax Resources...but it might have been a variation of a TurboTax bugs -- "Federal 2010: Customers with certain 1099-R retirement distribution codes" or "Federal 2010: Qualified Pension Conversion and Rollover" -- so I probably should've gotten TurboTax to take the heat for it.

Of course, TurboTax has had other issues in the past, and yet I stay with it year after year....

Full story »


  01:00:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 370 words  
Categories: Computer, BOINC, Ubuntu, FreeBSD, Virtualization, VirtualBox

VirtualBox VDI and 4K alignment

So, after my Windows 7 machine at work ate itself after a Windows Update. I decided to turn it into an Ubuntu 12.04 system.

But, so much for becoming Windows free. I was informed that I need a Windows machine to run vCenter on, because the shared Windows 2003 server that we had been using is going away.

So, I setup Windows 7 in VirtualBox...pretty simple. But, soon I was getting ext4 messages complaining about unaligned access for a certain inode. The VDI for the Windows 7 install.

I searched around on VDI and 4K alignment, and eventually found this:

HOWTO: Modify empty VDI for optimal alignment of Windows

Though reading further it seems to suggest that newer versions of VirtualBox get the alignment right for you....and 4.1.24 is much newer than 3.0.12 in the original post. (had opted for 4.1.24, since 4.2.6 is not recommended for BOINC Test4Theory....but 4.2.8 is out now, and it is it'll be time to go and update all my machines, I guess. The only systems with 4.2.6 were FreeBSD, because the 4.1.24 will cause the 9.1 kernel to panic on VM exit. though don't know if 4.1.24 was bad in ports or not, had been 4.1.22 before upgrading to 9.1 -- but had to recompile the kernel modules after the upgrade so had first tried 4.1.24....)

So, I went through the HOW-TO to create an new emtpy VDI...and found that it is already 4K aligned. So, why was the VDI created through the 'New Wizard' in VirtualBox Manager not?

Anyways...I then booted gparted and copied my partitions over to the new VDI....and then had to boot the Win7 installer to fix the startup to get it to boot, and no more complaining.


Guess I'll have to remember to create VDI before creating the new VM in the future? Wonder if there are issues in other disk image formats. Wonder if ZFS would complain that my VDI isn't aligned? Wonder how to check? Though the other formats I use are either VHD or VMDK. VHD because that's what Microsoft Windows Image Backup creates, and I'm using the last one of Zen to try to recover files from.... VMDK is after an import/export of a VM or for raw zvol accesses. So, guess those aren't areas of concern for me right now.


  10:09:00 am, by The Dreamer   , 1100 words  
Categories: Software, Computer, BOINC, Storage, FreeBSD, VirtualBox

I upgraded to Zen to FreeBSD 9.1

I have a number of FreeBSD projects at home on the go that I've been trying to find enough free time each weekend to tackle. Having a recent problem where my system will freeze/panic/reboot whenever I shutdown or saved a VM...I thought maybe upgrading to 9.1 would help. It didn't.

Anyways...I wondered how freebsd-update would proceed, given that checksums on everything had changed...because at one point during things I had rebuilt the world with optimized compile flags, though otherwise still running GENERIC and no other alterations, though later rebuilding kernels so uname would reflect p4 and p5....

But, from what it said it was going to do to get me upgraded, it seemed okay with everything. Though the merge was a bit strange....first time through it didn't present one of the merge conflicts for me to resolve (/etc/login.conf), so I said no when it asked if the file was ok before proceeding. That just stopped it instantly, had hoped that since it didn't ask how to resolve before that it would ask now. But, running the update did ask for that file this time (otherwise I was considering what would happen if I fixed it by hand during or later.... So, then it went and upgraded.

And, then that's where all the fun started. While rebuilding all my ports wasn't necessary. It was necessary to rebuild all the ports that create kernel nvidia, virtualbox, fuse, webcam....

Full story »


  04:08:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 983 words  
Categories: Digital Photography, Software, Travel, Home, Windows, VirtualBox, Quicken/TurboTax

Quicken 2012 Premier One Step Update started failing....

Earlier this month my Quicken 2012 Premier stopped being able to get updates from Discover, Target, Commerce Bank and my Credit Union. But, only on one computer. I run Quicken 2012 Premier in a VM (since I no longer have any native Windows hardware around), and I have my quicken data file in Dropbox so that I can keep my records up to date whether I'm at home or on the road.

This actually came about when zen died, I needed to get my records updated and keep them updated (and later be able to do my things dragged out.)

So, I had reinstalled Quicken 2012 Premier into the Windows XP VM on my laptop, since zen died a couple days before I went to Gallifrey One...and I did the Quicken recovery while I was at Gallifrey one.

Later when I was home, I repeated the process into my Windows XP VM on orac. Orac became my main home computer while zen was out of commission. But, eventually I got zen going again, and it was time to set up a new Windows VM on there. Not being able to locate the other copy of my WXP SP3 OEM image (that I got just before they stopped selling them)... though later I found I have a Windows XP - 64-bit OEM CD. Wonder what was I thinking? Anyways...I had bought a Windows 7 Professional Full, during the attempt to revive zen as Windows 7 Professional. (I should finish that post someday...) And, I intend to rebuild old zen into the Windows 7 VM on new zen, but that's been dragging.... But, I did get Quicken 2012 Premier installed and moved to mainly working from there. Though I still have the option now to do Quicken updates when I travel (rather than try to keep notes on what I've spent, etc. and then forget or lose notes by the time I get home)

Which reminds me....I didn't update everything after last trip....hmmm, darn...I have less cash than I thought I did, hopefully it'll be enough to cover incidentals during my next trip....

Anyways the recent problem seemed timed with my return from LISA '12, the Sunday following...updates for 4 of my accounts stopped working. Though now it seems that KB2761465 released on December 11th (during it had applied before I finally got around to using Quicken....I initially started it up to let Eye-Fi do its stuff....except I keep forgetting to unpack my digital cameras -- guess I can do that now. :yes: ) Though when I'll get to posting pictures online again...who knows. That part of zen rebuild hasn't happened yet, though I should work on getting the data replication working again at least....

But, the error with Quicken kept pointing to something wrong on my end, like check the time (nope...and NTP is using 4 servers...which in a poster session is the minimum in an unreliable environment for reliable time keeping. And, I do see that 1 of the 4 servers has gone away...) Or if I'm on XP, check if root certificate update is installed. Well, it works on XP....not on 7.

Kind of annoying having to go to XP on Orac to do One Step Updates....etc. So after a week, I decided that the problem wasn't going to fix itself and Quicken was still pointing to my connection as being the problem. But, 7 other accounts were updating fine....though it was also going much more slowly...

I had been seeing complaints about slowness recently online....though the hits for connection errors were old and/or unhelpful.

So, since the world didn't end today...I decided that it was time to investigate more in depth....

I eventually did notice in Windows Event Log, Schannel errors - Event ID 36888 that seemed to coincide with failed attempts. Which didn't yield much in helpful hits first.

But, this seemed to indicate some kind of SSL connection problem with I compared the security settings of IE9 on Windows 7 and IE8 on Windows XP. There were some though more in that IE9 has more security options like TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.2 (though it had TLS 1.0 I checked TLS 1.0 ... its was checked on XP and it was the only TLS option. Both SSL 2.0 and 3.0 were checked on XP, but I didn't feel that was necessary...though I tried it at one point.) That didn't help.

But, eventually, I saw that the Event 36888, Schannel was giving a fatal alert 43...which I then found to mean TLS1_ALERT_UNSUPPORTED_CERT. So, I did a packet capture to see where it was connecting to and tried connecting there myself. Well, those sites worked...though I was trying them in Chromium on FreeBSD. And, they also worked in Chrome on Windows 7. But, finally when I tried in IE9, they didn't work. The troubleshooter was no help. But, it was in IE9 that I confirmed that I could get to sites that had the same issuer cert for an intuit/quicken domain. So, there was something specific to the sites.

Finally, I decided to connect to the problem site using openssl to see what its sending during the negotiation. Hmm, its doing TLSv1. Well, I turned on TLS 1.0, wonder if TLS 1.1/1.2 being on causes problems. During my search, I had read somewhere that TLS 1.2 enabled would prevent SSL 2.0 from happening...enabled or not. Wonder if it also prevents TLS 1.0?

Answer...YES....TLS1.2 is causing problems.

Unchecking it (so SSL 3.0, TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 are the only ones checked). Fixed all my connection problems. I did updates of the accounts individually first (my credit union, then Discover, then Target, though Target failed with a different error because I had tried disabling and the reconfiguring Discover and Target...and Quicken hadn't relearned all the extra security passwords needed yet.

Then, I tried updating all the accounts at first it seemed that it was going to go slowly still. But, once it updated one of the problem accounts, it suddenly started them in bunches and in a blink it was done.



  04:13:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 429 words  
Categories: General, Software, Home, VirtualBox, Quicken/TurboTax

TD Ameritrade, IRS, Turbo Tax and Audit Protection

In what turned into the continuing saga of Finally rolled my retirement to new job... I get notice from IRS that I owned them taxes for my IRA rollover plus interest and that unless I provide document to the contrary, I was to send them payment or arrange a payment plan....

At first I wondered what the heck was up... and why would TD Ameritrade report to the IRS differently than what they had reported to me, and that I had filed in my return. TD Ameritrade reported the distribution from my Rollover IRA, but not that it went to a qualified retirement account. And, reviewing my Turbo Tax data, no other documentation was needed for to document such. And, checking with TIAA-CREF, they said no tax form was needed from them and that they had nothing to issue for it.

I then struggled with how I would file an appeal, when I remembered that I get the Audit Protection service every year I've been filing with Turbo Tax. So, I open up a case with the Audit Protection company (Tax Resources). They then ask me to send some forms giving them permission to access my return data with the IRS, along with the TurboTax data file, and granting them power to represent me on this matter. Plus copies of the forms I had gotten from TD Ameritrade. Later they ask if there's some kind of confirmation letter when TIAA-CREF received the rollover, which TIAA-CREF was able to send me a new copy to forward on.

After many months....I get a call that the matter has been resolved and that I'll get an official letter from the IRS in a couple of weeks. But, we're done and hopefully we'll never have to talk to each other again. &#59;D

Pages: 1· 2


  10:30:00 am, by The Dreamer   , 2100 words  
Categories: Hardware, Software, Computer, Storage, Ubuntu, FreeBSD, VirtualBox

Orac is looking strangely bare, with Zen taking over.

For a long time, I've been running a 6 drive RAID 10 array of Hitachi 5K3000 2TB drives in Orac for backuppc. This configuration got me at 5.4TB array, and somewhat better performance than when I tried a RAID6 configuration. But, eventually, I kept running out of space and the price of harddrives went up so expanding the array over time didn't happen as I had hoped. Being RAID10, the options were other concat another array, either 2 in RAID1 or 4 in RAID10 or 4 as 2 RAID1....using volume manager. Or maybe see if RAID10 would deal with having all 6 drives upgraded to 3TB, though hadn't considered the transition of 512 to 4k and how it would cope with that.

Though I did, eventually find out when I upgraded a 1.5TB RAID1 set to become a 2TB RAID1 set....going from ST31500341AS to ST2000DL003, where I contributed my experience here: Though it first started because one of the ST31500341AS drives had failed.

Before the failure of one of the 1.5TB drives in the above mentioned RAID1 set, I had 4 ST31500341AS in a RAID5 on old-Zen. It had been done in under RR622, under Windows, and NTFS partitions, etc. I had tried copying the data at various times, not really having anywhere that would hold the data elsewhere...but wanting to get it over to FreeBSD for recovery. While I got the rr622 driver working, and it saw that I had a single array (rather than the native driver that would see the 4 individual disks.) I couldn't get access to the data. Though it had worked when I was previously playing around with Xen (had tried copying it a 2 1TB RAID0 set, but then one of the 1TB drives I lost the copy, I had then replaced it with a 2TB RAID1 set....using an ST2000DL003 and an ST2000DM003, the DL being a 5900RPM drive and having a 5 year warranty...while the DM drive is a 7200RPM drive, but with only a 1 year warranty. And, turns out the 1 year is generous.

At work, I had built my FreeBSD desktop using a pair of the ST1000DM003 drives...and 3 drive failures is now a pair of ST2000DL003 drives. Yeah...I was having trouble with the array, and apparently using XFS was a mistake too...because I thought it was recovering, but instead it was slowly eating the data. When I had nuked the RR622 RAID5 array, and had switched to using it as JBOD and create a RAIDZ set under FreeBSD...I found that there was nothing to copy back from the RAID1 array. D'Oh! >:XX

Though I had also copied the Microsoft WindowsImageBackup files, to see if I could mount the VHD file under VirtualBox to help in recovery. I largely had the data in bits and pieces elsewhere, it was the environment I was wanting to recreate...and Oops!Backup didn't back up that part anyways (the data I was mainly trying to migrate). The image mounted, and I could see it...but soon after Windows would try to fix it and then it would disappear....kind of like what it did on February 15th to make the original Zen go away. No idea what kind of disk rotting the Intel Matrix RAID had been doing, when it had to initialize the array again every time after a Windows crash. I've had Ubuntu crashes, but the RAID arrays remained stable...usually. While Windows & Intel was pretty much every time. I'm sure it was slowly corrupting things overtime to where things wouldn't recover, though it choose to do that after an automatic reboot for Windows updates...and the day before I left for my first Gallifrey One made things even more annoying.

Anyway with another 1.5TB drive freed up, I contemplated adding it to the RAIDZ I had made of the 4 1.5TB drives, keeping it as a hot spare, or just use it by itself -- living dangerously. I ended up with the latter for some temporary data. Because in my mind I was starting to lean to what happened next.

Pages: 1· 2


  06:53:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 337 words  
Categories: Hardware, Software, Computer, Healthcare, Windows, VirtualBox, Quicken/TurboTax

CPAP Data Recovered

As I may or may not have mentioned, Zen failed to boot after it got the latest set of Microsoft patches on February 15th. After various attempts to recover, it has been declared lost. I haven't gotten around to resurrecting it.

So, I've been making do with a Windows XP VirtualBox that I have my on Linux system (starting to look like when I do get around to resurrecting it, I'm going to try 12.04LTS Desktop and Windows 7 in VirtualBox....)

Previously, it was just Quicken and then TurboTax. But, I've been wondering about my CPAP data.

First was EncoreViewer. How do I recover that historical data. I knew where it kept the files, because I had copied them from TARDIS into Windows XP mode. The question now was how do I get the files out of Windows XP mode. In the end, the answer was merge the differencing-VHD that Windows XP Mode uses, into a single file and then convert it for VirtualBox use. Could've gone direct...except that I found first try with WinImage didn't second time I converted to a fixed VMDK file, and then converted the fixed file into a dynamic sizing virtual disk for use on VirtualBox.

Though later I realized that I only want it as get my data back....anyways.

That worked.

Next question was how do I recover my data in SmartLink.

I installed it into my Windows XP VirtualBox, and wondered where does C:\ProgramData exist in Windows XP space....but, while poking around, I remembered it has a backup/restore database option...and wondered if I had ever done a backup.

I lucked out. The last time I used the software was the only time I had ever used the backup function....and that's just perfect, I restored from that and then did my latest downloads from both my xPAPs.


Just have to see if I remember to do another download before my next doctor appointment. I didn't print anything, because I hope that by then...I'll also have my new printer. :))

Now instead of subjecting some poor random forum to a long rambling thought, I will try to consolidate those things into this blog where they can be more easily ignored profess to be collected thoughts from my mind.

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