Microsoft Active Directory and Cached Credentials

Microsoft has a feature that allows you to log into your computer using the Active Directory domain password.  That’s great, until you need to log in on an airplane, where you may not have internet connection back to your office.  So, Microsoft manages the cacheing of credentials.  The downside to this is if you log in from multiple computers and one day decide to change your password.  You’ll get a nice error like “The user or password is not correct.”  The problem is that there is a local user, which is cached to help you log into a disconnected environment, and the domain user, which is the global user for your company.  And if you are out of the office, you can’t communicate with Active Directory without connecting via the VPN.  So, to correct this, you do the following:

1) Log onto the system with the local/old credentials
2) Connect through VPN and verify that you have connection to the domain using your new domain password
3) Lock your system (this will force the system to reset your cache using the domain password)
4) Unlock your system, prompting you for credentials, and use your domain password to log in now

There you have it. Your login credentials are now effectively synchronized with Active Directory. (Verified with Windows XP SP3 and Windows 7).

My experience with Daily Deal sites – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

There are a couple notable comparisons of daily deal sites.  Most people have been using them for a while.  Many are shifting to a more “on-demand” type service.  These include finding deals near me right now with my phone.  But, since you are purchasing through these daily deal sites, you essentially have a middle man.  This middle man can make or break you.  Now that I’ve gotten to experience the dark side of them all, here’s my experience with them.

Groupon (The Good)

The original.  Based in Chicago, they started sending out daily email deals in select areas (Chicago, NYC, LA, etc) and have since expanded to everywhere in the US of A.  Some people are concerned with their business model and whether it can scale.  Of course, this argument seems to hold true for all of the clones as well.  Unfortunately, you have to put feet on the ground in each city.  Internet startups don’t like that.  Human capitol is much more expensive.  They like to increase profitability by the only cost associated with growth being adding more computers.  But, since I’m speaking as a customer and not as a internet startup guru, I could care less how the business model will scale.  Only how it affects me.

Groupon has been the pinnacle of light for customers.  I have experienced restaurants/stores closing (or restaurants/stores where they aren’t even sure if they have closed cause it’s still there, but nobody can get in).  They refund everyone immediately without anyone having to call them.  I experienced moving, where I hadn’t used a deal.  I called the restaurant to try and use it, and they were booked.  Guess what?  No questions asked.  They refunded it at my request.  I didn’t even have to call.  Just a quick issue put in on the website and money back in my account.  Amazing.

Some have said to avoid Groupon for your business.  This is good information to know, for sure.  However, I disagree with them.  There are definitely good ways to make money on Groupon, but some folks don’t understand the overwhelming crowds or the preparation required for staff.  You just have to be prepared before using them. Continue reading

Bash and Zsh Shortcuts

I’m not going to beat you up with the benefits of using zsh over that of bash. You really should know both, since bash is everywhere. Zsh is the newer version that is a powerhouse, though. So if you should decide to use this, I suggest checking out the program oh-my-zsh, which gets all of the common shell configurations set up for you and keeps it up to date.

But, what I really wanted to share was a good reference for bash/zsh shortcuts.  There are others out there, but they seem to be incomplete.  If I’ve missed anything, let me know and I’ll add it.

Command What it Does
Tab Auto-complete files and folder names
Ctrl + A Go to the beginning of the line you are currently typing on
Ctrl + E Go to the end of the line you are currently typing on
Ctrl + F or → Forward one character.
Ctrl + B or ← Backward one character.
Meta + F (in OSX this is ESC, F or ALT+ →) Move cursor forward one word on the current line
Meta + B (in OSX this is ESC, B or ALT+ ←) Move cursor backward one word on the current line
Ctrl + P or ↑ Previous command entered in history
Ctrl + N or ↓ Next command entered in history
Ctrl + L Clears the screen, similar to the clear command
Ctrl + U Clears the line before the cursor position. If you are at the end of the line, clears the entire line.
Ctrl + H Same as backspace
Ctrl + R Lets you search through previously used commands
Ctrl + C Kill whatever you are running
Ctrl + D Exit the current shell
Ctrl + Z Puts whatever you are running into a suspended background process. fg restores it.
Ctrl + W Delete the word before the cursor
Ctrl + K Kill the line after the cursor
Ctrl + Y Yank from the kill ring
Ctrl + _ Undo the last bash action (e.g. a yank or kill)
Ctrl + T Swap the last two characters before the cursor
Meta + T (in OSX this is ESC, T) Swap the last two words before the cursor


Update 7/22/2013 – My buddy David Souther liked this one so much he created a little worksheet from it and added some sed commands.  It’s great for a reference.  Check it out here!

Nearly The Only One Even Thinking of Buying a Chrome Pixel

Yup. You read that right. I think I’m nearly the only one on the planet even thinking that buying a Chrome Pixel might be worth something.

After the rediculously true reviews that have been coming out – some reasonable, and some just brutal.  The short and long of it is that there is no hard drive.  What are you supposed to do with that?  OK, they are pushing you to the cloud, we get it.  And actually, I mostly am doing that anyways.  I actually am able to do a bunch of my work on an iPad at this point.  All I need is a shell terminal to an AWS Server, really.  Unless my work needs me to do something fairly intensive.  But I could have another laptop for that, right?

It’s a REALLY nice screen though.  I can get over the fact that there are no function keys – only the Chromebook specific keys. The Google development team has shown us how to run Mint Linux on it too, so you can have something that is more than a web browser.  Just don’t install too many programs.  Of course… then your fancy multi-touchpad doesn’t work.  Neither does your touchscreen (which, let’s be honest, you weren’t going to use anyways).  Also, Mint isn’t exactly set up to handle high resolution vector graphics like the comparable Retina MacBook.

OK, it’s a stupid idea.  I told you I was thinking about it, not that I was going to do it.


Update (8/26/2013): Guess someone was much more interested than I and tried it out.  It didn’t go so hot.  Read about it here.