Monday, July 26, 2010

Run Away to the Circus

Trust the Gray Lady to cast her haughty gimlet eye down upon the gaudy big top and to find it wanting.

This is what I have to say about Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey's Coney Island Illuscination. Just go. And bring your kids. Sure, it's nothing that most adults haven't already seen. I suppose if your kids are especially jaded and have already seen Cirque du Soleil and Big Apple Circus and Momix and attended Robert Wilson's L'Orfeo at La Scala fer chrissakes, then it might all be a little passé for them. If your kids are like mine and consider Yo Gabba Gabba and the Backyardigans to be excellent entertainment, this'll blow their minds. The Tiny Leader (<4) and the Darling Leader (<2) were both rapt.

This is like a circus that might have rolled into your mythical little American town but better. It's a one-ring big-top with the worst seat in the house being no more than 50 feet away from the ring. You get jugglers standing on horses, spinning hair-hanging maidens, a posing trio of elephants with ladies in spangly costumes, blind-folded martial artists jumping through flaming spinning blades, a man in a cage with a whole pride of lions, clowns, acrobats, aerialists, dancers, tight rope acts, and ladies disappearing, reappearing, changing costumes in a flash, turning into a lioness, etc.

If you go an hour before showtime, your kids can hang out in the ring itself. The ringmaster clown leads them in activities like dancing, jumping rope, hula-hooping, and there's an up-close and personal cameo from (presumably) the most even-tempered of the three elephants.

The cheapest tickets are $10 and they're fine. $20 tickets are excellent. Under 2s are free and any number of businesses offer $5 off coupons for kid tickets (a 20 ride ticket from Deno's Wonder Wheel is the example that I know of). You can also check the website to see if they have a promotional offer going.

Two things to be aware of, as follows. The air-conditioning can be a little aggressive in spots, so bring sweaters and make sure that the whole gang takes a bathroom stop before going to the show, it's port-a-potties and not nearly enough of them. Bonus: You are in Coney Island: Luna Park, Deno's Wonder Wheel, The Cyclone, The boardwalk, the beach and Nathan's. Enjoy!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Joining a machine to an Active Directory Domain across a Hamachi 2 VPN

OK. This is extremely geeky. I put this here just so others who might want to try this can find it. It is possible to join a machine to an Active Directory Domain across a Hamachi 2 VPN. A little bit of trickery is required, but it's actually pretty low-impact. The first step is to make sure that the machine you'd like to join to the domain is a member of the same Hamachi network as the domain controller and that it can see the DC. Ping to get the IP address of the Hamachi intermediation server (I get . On the machine that is joining the domain, set the Local Connection DNS setting to the Hamachi IP address of your domain controller. Now go into the Hamachi 2 client on the machine being joined to the domain. Go to Preferences, Settings, Advanced settings, Server connections, Server address and hardcode the IP address of the Hamachi intermediation server there. Hamachi should then be able to resolve and reconnect to the network. At this point, you can go ahead and join the machine to the domain. The thing to keep in mind is if you ever lose the Hamachi network connection between these machines, check to see if the IP address of has changed and change that setting in Hamachi appropriately.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lenovo ThinkServer TS200v how doth thou suck *ss?

Ceaselessly and with great fervor. Let me count the ways:

1) Server 2003 installation crashes.
2) No 2003 Server drivers are available for download.
3) ThinkServer "EasyStartup" program hangs.
4) Driver installations need .Net framework 3.5 installed to run cleanly, meaning you have to add the Application Server role BEFORE installing drivers.
5) Hypervisor setting turned off in BIOS
6) When the Hypervisor setting is turned on, graphics go squirrely and machine freezes
7) If you boot into Safe Mode with Hypervisor setting turned on graphics are OK but machine blue screens upon password entry
8) BIOS flasher fails mid-flash.

I finally got the Hypervisor to successfully start up the virtual machine by turning off the Hypervisor in BIOS, booting, removing the display drivers (built-in, on-board adapter), booting, turning on the Hypervisor in BIOS, full power off, and then rebooting.