Sunday, January 25, 2015

Windows Server Shutdown and Boot Times

Subtitle: When Gumption failed

This SUNDAY! morning whilst Agata was investigating an Agile Java issue, she has asked a company Sysadmin

Agata: How do you find the Boot time of my Windows Server?

Sysadmin:  No Idea!

No doubt in an effort to keep my ancient mind active, she therefore shouted out that her husband Marcus should immediately sort it out!

Windows Shutdown Date and Time

Recall that System log event 1074 is  good indication of System Shutdown

  • start event viewer i.e. run   eventvwr.exe
  • Control-F to get a search box up.  Search or filter for ID's  1074, 6008

Windows Startup Date and Time

From winternals 

psinfo utility


Cygwin 64, UNIX utilities for Windows


NB: who --boot  ; did not work on Cygwin


systeminfo  |  find "System Boot Time"

System Boot Time:          2015-01-25, 09:33:31


If you recall that Windows event number 6005 is  an indication of the system log starting up then searching for this in the System Event log is also a possibility.  Also ID 6009. In Powershell

get-eventlog System | where-object {$_.EventID -eq "6005"} | sort -desc TimeGenerated


Windows Management Instrumation API calls  (executed from PowerShell )

((Get-WmiObject Win32_OperatingSystem).ConvertToDateTime((Get-WmiObject Win32_OperatingSystem).LastBootUpTime))

Sunday, January 25, 2015 09:33:31


  • Start event viewer i.e. run   eventvwr.exe
  • Control-F to get a search box up.  Or use filter
  • Search or filter for ID's 6009

  • Summary:
    When your Sysadmin can't even be bothered to use Google to look up something he/ she should have known already perhaps it is time to consider a different outsourcing company to care for Agata's servers.   

    No gumption , initiative or common sense I am afraid.

    Windows Events and Message number search
    Windows event 1074
    Windows event 6005
    Windows event 6009

    Sunday Sermon: Mormons on the Train

    The Doors: Riders on the Storm

    [marcus contends that you can substitute /Mormons on the train/  for /Riders on the Storm/ in the above video.  Please try it]

    At the end of a long run last week I hobbled onto the metro here in Lausanne Switzerland.   The open wound in my foot meant I could not run a step further :-(

    But it was not a complete waste of time

    I met two young and most charming Mormon women.

    Now I love hearing what Religious people have to say, even if I might disagree strongly with what they are saying.

    I am not sure if Lausanne Switzerland  is a hotbed for believers in the Church of the Latter Day Saints  (LDS) because Agata and Marcus have previously seen groups of LDS disciples walking around our nearest town of Epalinges before.

    Anyway, I say thank you to Sister Sutcliffe and Sister Metsatahti for the all too brief dialogue.

    I'd make these points about LDS religion

    - LDS is a subdivision of the Christian religion
    - There are actually 3 different types of Mormons.  LDS is one.  See this link
    - The Mormon faith is beset by a large number of issues rendering it one of the most easily dismissible Christian faiths.
    - I'll name the historic ineligibility of Black People into the religion and current perceptions about Same Sex relationships/marriage/sex   as two areas that Mormons and non Mormons should investigate with respect to LDS ministries.
    -  Additionally the claim that native Americans are one of the lost tribes of Israel arriving in 600BC to America.  Check whether these facts agree with any modern day DNA analysis.

    It would be good to speak to these two sisters again but until then first

    Some free publicity for them to anybody interested in LDS in Lausanne, Switzerland.  But please note

    - I don't agree with your teachings
    - Although I fully support your right to preach to people
    - Even if #iamoffended  offended by Mormon teachings, ideas and beliefs, I don't believe that I can or should murder you as a consequence

    Marcus recommends all to  watch this video please



    Saturday, January 24, 2015

    Blue Blood too rich for Switzerland

    Michael: Blood on the Dance Floor

    Since we like to make a positive difference, on Agata's recent brief holiday Marcus and Agata decided to give blood at our local clinic in Epalinges, Switzerland.

    The results were unexpected ....

    We eventually found the offices in Epalinges less than 1Km from home.

    We each had to fill in the above form  (and more).  Marcus was extremely impressed that the form is available in English  (Agata completed it in French because she is a very smart bunny).

    We were then subjected to free Coffee, sandwiches, snacks or other foods whilst we queued to see a nurse.   We went for our respective interviews.

    Note the distribution of age and sex for blood donation.

    It turns out that you can't use an interpreter but must answer the questions to the nurse directly and they check this against your answers.  There were many attempts to check Marcus's age!

    It all seemed to be going oh so well ...


    Marcus gets some Chocolate

    A nice doctor came and told me in perfect English that my British blue blood was not good enough for Switzerland. The rule.

    You have spent more than a total of 6 months in England in the entire period 1980 to 1996 

    disqualifiies me.  Still!

    As a conciliation prize a nurse gave be a custom Cailler Sublim Noir chocolate bar.    Marcus appreciated the gift but was extremely disappointed about being denied blood donation!

    (We had known about this rule after our visit in 2010  but we had read in a newspaper, clearly in error that the Mad Cow rule for British people had been removed)

    Meanwhile Agata donated 500ml of her premium blood and skipped away 500 grams lighter.   Marcus was now even more jealous!

    Giving blood in 2010

    Friday, January 23, 2015

    Geotagging my DSLR Photographs

    There is a new (full frame) Camera in the Marcus and Agata household and we are trying to figure out the best way to Geotag our photographs.

    The way that we have used for over 3 years now is via Eye-Fi:


    Eye-Fi is a standard size SD card that contains somewhat amazingly a wi-fi wireless network.  So it is able to send all the photographs taken and stored to the SD card over a preset Wi-Fi network to your PC running a server listening program.

    And amazingly, since there is a worldwide network location database of MAC addresses and physical addresses  (yes, there is!), if when taking photographs it remembers the MAC addresses of any routers in the vicinity then

    When you get home and send the photographs to the Eye-Fi server, it can (quite often) figure out where the photo was taken, and thereby add GPS location information into the JPEG photo EXIF.

    It is just genius.

    But there is more!

    Using a Smartphone to Geotag
    (Assuming Android phone and Windows computer)

    Our new DSLR camera would prefer a fast SD card and rather than splash out on a faster more current Eye-Fi card we thought of a way to use a regular GPS Smartphone instead.

    First please install the free  Geosetter onto your Windows computer  (it might also pull in some other small programs)

    Next install the application My Tracks  (written by Google) on your Android Phone

    Common sense now tells me to make sure my Smartphone and Camera have exactly the same time set before proceeding.

    Before shooting with your DSLR start the My Tracks application.  I tested leaving it on for over 4 hours without significant battery drain.

    Now take as many photos as you want on the DSLR.  I'm using an enhanced JPEG format on the camera. When all photos are taken, e.g. at end of the day,  stop the My Tracks recording.

    When you stop i/My Tracks/ gives you the opportunity to name the saved track.  I just took the default which is the street where you finished.

    Now export the track from the application to your Android filesystem where it is stored in a .gpx file.

    You now need to transfer this to your Windows PC.   The most painless method for me was to /Share track file/ and send the file in a Gmail to Agata.  Then I goto my Windows PC and check the sent mails and download the file from sent Google Mails to my local PC.

    Next transfer all your pictures from your DSLR to your PC.   For our new Sony camera which has Wi-Fi this is achieved automagically using PlayMemories application which runs as a Windows service.

    The first time I started Geosetter I told it in Settings to change the time of the Photos to the Taken date inside the .jpg

    Now  load in all the photographs and select them all  (Control -A)

     Images, Synchronise with GPS Data Files

    Load in the .gpx track log that you sent from your smartphone

    Geosetter says that for all my pictures it has GPS location data.  Tremendous!  Click Yes

    Then Control - S  to save.  (Nothing is changed until you hit Yes in case you want to backout or make other changes)

    The jpeg files are already about 12MB each and grow very slightly after the GPS information is saved into them.  

    Note that Geosetter sets the Date and Date modified fields with the time from inside the JPEG.  However notice that the Accessed and Created timestamps are not changed and are a bit nonsensical!

    (I did not find a tool to automatically correct this en masse, anybody?)

    And now the photo contains GPS information .  Wahoo!


    The Smartphone GPS tagging mechanism is quite a bit more painful than Eye-Fi but very reliable in that your smartphone, with its inbuilt GPS will definitely know exactly where you are.

    Eye-Fi is simpler but won't help you if you are shooting in an area devoid of Wi-Fi routers :-)

    We think we'll give the smartphone mechanism a go for now and see if we can put up with the extra pain in the ass processing.

    Why Falling Prices Are Actually a Really Good Thing

    This is a quick knee jerk reaction to the latest insanity which is European QE (Quantitative Easing) as announced by Mr Draghi on Thursday Jan 21 2015.

    First, the best summary I found so far is in Quartz


    But it is also accompanied by an avalanche of /suck up/ articles trying to justify one of the good effects / consequences of QE one of  which is price inflation rather than deflation (i.e. falling prices) which is what the Euro Zone was about to enter.

    I'd argue in favour of consumer based deflation if Interest rates are set at this artificially Engineered pathetically low level.
    Bloomberg: Why falling prices are Really Bad

    What total and utter bollocks, Bloomberg!

    I speak as a conscientious consumer in a First World country, with a finite income and a desire not to fill my house or life with crap.

    With reference to the Bloomberg article

    1. Retail Price declines
    Yes shoppers will buy less.  GOOD.  Most shoppers buy too much crap on discretionary spend items.  Let them wait a little and consider what they really need.

    For mandatory spend items e.g. food, power etcetera, lower prices are good.

    2. Business price declines.
    GOOD!  Business delay purchases of raw materials, making their supply chain leaner and more efficient, saving money and passing on lower cost of production to consumers.

    3. Business can't charge more.
    I'm a consumer.  That's great.

    4. Lower Business profits. & Staff wages
    Not necessarily. Certainly business have to consider what they pay staff and the cost of losing good ones. Employees need to consider leaving and not chickening around if their employer does not pay them what they deserve.

    5. Owed money does not change.
    Yes, but by the same token those of us who saved up our whole lives have a fixed pot of money in the bank   (which by the way has been lent x10 to others at rates far in excess of my savings rate).  Now with falling prices my pot goes further.  I like.

    And to the people with big debts in the bank.  First, you are the tossers that precipitated this whole mess, and second be very grateful that the interest rates are so low that despite your huge debts you pay practically nothing, for that say, that 1M pound mortgage.

    6. Policy makers are in a bind because of low interest rates.
    Yes well, instead of inflating away the debt you chickened out.   Because the whole word is in debt you did not increase interest rates fearing default. Okay but then you just lowered rates so that people could borrow even more.  And you want sympathy?  Come on.

    So to me, with my small fixed savings, and zero interest rates at the bank, deflation would reduce my living costs and help me to prioritise my spending.  

    How about you?

    Thursday, January 22, 2015

    It is the POLICE

    Marcus was on a teleconference on Wednesday afternoon when outside was heard the sound of sirens.  

    First one Police car, then a second.   Then the area was cordoned off to the public.

    Next the arrival of 3 Fire Engines.

    Getting more serious then.

    In Switzerland Police have guns, and so it was no surprise to see Police with holstered guns running out of their cars into the apartments nearby.

    Apart from a single loud bang/ explosion there was nothing to see.

    After about 90 minutes they packed up and left.

    We were not scared


    Because we live in Switzerland, a country and a society where the Police are in fact here to help us and enforce the rule of law.  They do not come around, unjustly arrest individuals without due case.  They do not come around to beat up minorities or religious groups.   They are impartial.

    And now, in time honoured tradition some music to celebrate the POLICE

    The POLICE Roxanne - Moulin Rouge

    Roxanne, Moulin Rouge, music only

    Wednesday, January 21, 2015

    Crashplan meets Dropbox meets Google Drive

    Setting the Scene
    For over 1 year now I have been using Crashplan to backup my essential home server datafiles.

    I do already have an elaborate multi copy system in place that has worked well for over 15 years (!!), so one might ask why change?

    - Until recently upload DSL speeds did not make it practical to store large data in the cloud

    - Until recently the cost of storing large data in cloud was prohibitive
    - By large data I mean over 1TB
    - Use of a reliable and fast services could mean I could store the bulk data in the cloud, have access to it anywhere, and save myself the admin of maintaining a home NAS and backp strategy


    I've been /testing/ this for about 18 months now.  I still did not cut over to it, so all in all it's turned out like an additional backup.  In a nutshell

    - With Crashplan you buy a typically yearly subscription and have one computer or multi computer home licenses

    - You backup to a Crashplan server in Europe or America
    - There is no limit on the data you can upload
    - It is fully encrypted
    - For Windows it's running as a service and there is a GUI to check the progress
    - The big gotcha is that for me I get an average of ONLY 3Mbps upload speed.  ( 0.37MB/sec). I checked with Crashplan and this is typical.
    - So some simple math:  If I backup a 200GB Virtual machine. That would take 153 hours or over 6 days initially.   Then on subsequent starts assuming 50% of the VM is touched whilst running then this is a further 75 hours of backup.  Too long! 
    - Another way to look at it: In 1 day you'll upload about 31GB
    - On the plus side Crashplan support is very good, I even had a Telco/ screen share with support to fix a problem
    - 60 USD per year or 150 for the multi computer version
    - There are some fancy options to send Crashplan a disk with your initial data, but not valid for Europe, only USA.

    Google Drive

    - Now with storage options upto 30TB 
    - However anything over 1TB gets expensive
    - 1TB is 120 USD per year
    - You have a cloud mirror of a nominated directory on your local system
    - Actually this directory can exist on multiple local machines you have whilst signed onto Google. Example, I'm using 400GB storage, so all machines on which drive is installed have that 400GB taken.  Any changes to any replicate to all machines and to cloud)
    - I've had multiple issues (12 months back) using the Google Drive free client and large files and number of files (> 100K files)
    - Since switching to the paid and excellent Insync client, I've had zero issues.
    - Using Insync I'm able to upload at 2.8MB/second to Google which is close to my Fibre upload limit.
    - This translates to 230GB/day upload limit
    - gdrive has an architectural current filesize limit of 5TB


    - Attractive personal 1TB storage costs 120 USD per year
    - As standard a local disk storage is mirrored to cloud
    - Unlike standard Google drive your can elect to replicate selective parts of the local system to the cloud
    - Like Google drive you can have multiple computers and any change to any file on any system as mirrored is reflected to all your other computers and Cloud
    - Dropbox for Business has a minimum of 5 users who each need to pay 120 USD per year.    (600 USD minimum)

    However you must have 5 users and each user can only have 1 Million files.  I did a check of one of my drives as above and I saw almost 2M files.  So this would not work for me

    - In testing I got at least 2.8MB/sec upload speeds. In other words restriction is Wirespeed, and there are options to throttle the speed as you want.
    - Options under Android OS  so that photos taken are automatically uploaded to my Dropbox, very nice.

    The Others

    I've also tried Amazon drive and Microsoft Cloud and a few other lesser products.  None of these go up and beyond the TB data plan limit either at all or without crazy prices.

    Not doing this all at home
    It's quite a simple task to buy, configure and use a home NAS (Network Attached Storage) device.  In fact I'd recommend Synology and QNAP as low maintenance high function home storage hubs.

    But for reasons of security i.e. theft you need to consider matching offsite Storage so you are back to copy disks or Cloud.

    Mobile Futures
    Our needs may not be typical, but ideally we'd like to store all our data including music and photographs and ideally at least VM (Virtual Machine) environments in the Cloud.  Principally so we can access them from any place.  In the future we may be constantly Globally mobile so Cloud storage would be absolutely perfect.

    Conclusions in Jan 2015

    For me, if I only needed to store 1TB and less than 1M files DropBox would win easily.   It is 120 USD per year and the upload and download speeds are limited by the speed of my Fibre.

    Although I've not lost any further data since moving to Insync with Google Drive client my prior troubles left me cautious and bitter and I'm still daily staging my data to a local copy drive which is what Google Drive on the host sees.

    Crashplan throttles your download and upload rates to about 3 Mbit/sec and this is almost a showstopper of an issue now that our Fibre connection allows for an upload speed in excess of 10 times this limit.

    If I could wave a magic wand I'd ask DropBox to cut us a special deal for say an unlimited 2 user plan, then Agata and Marcus could switch predominantly to Dropbox and fully if they allow more than 1M files.   So we're waiting Mr Dropbox, and until then we continue to use these 3 products together. In addition to our already comprehensively paranoid local and remote backup strategy!

    #crashplan  #dropbox #googledrive

    Tuesday, January 20, 2015

    sNOw Stop Me

    I am rather afraid that for Swiss school children or unhappy office workers hoping for a day or even week snowed in at home, I have the following Reality check.

    NO CHANCE, in Switzerland.

    And pretty much the same is true in most Western European countries save for the United Kingdom where Marcus is rumoured to have spent his childhood.

    In the UK we take pride in being Work Challenged as soon as the first flakes of snow are seen to fall on /England's green and pleasant land/.

    But back to Switzerland.

    Today we had our first snowflakes of 2015.   This is pretty pathetic for Switzerland, in fact untl now we had thought that winter had been completely cancelled in our home town of Lausanne.

    In fact Agata and Marcus's direct experience in the last 10 years correlates with the broader studies of NASA and NOAA released on January 16.  2014 the globally warmest year in modern times.

     Yes, it might look like the snow is going to win.

     The trees have surrendered

     But Swiss technology is at hand 

     Wait, is that a cyclist!

     Yes, of course it is

     Marcus continues his walk

     Man clears snow

     But with snowploughs like these

    In Switzerland, the roads will always be clear.

    sNOw problem
    Shaun of the Dead: Don't Stop Me Now
    Queen: 1979 Paris, Don't Stop Me

    Tuesday Sermon: Papal Fallibility

    On his journey to the Philippines Pope Francis came out with some unfortunate  IMHO quotes and actions:

    On the positive side the Pope  said

    “Let’s consider our own history. How many wars of religion have we had? Even we were sinners but you can’t kill in the name of God. That is an aberration.”

    On the negative side

    "If my good friend Doctor Gasparri speaks badly of my mother, he can expect to get punched"
    "You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others. There is a limit."

    - You should not make fun of the faith of others

    - If you insult my mother I may punch you

    By my non Catholic standards

    - I can understand how one could become enraged if somebody insulted my mother without reason

    - I could imagine though that publically advocating or accepting a physically violent response,  is not the way that the head of a Religious institution should be going

    - There are limits on free speech in democratic countries  (usually anti hate and anti racist legislation), however given the fundamental contradictory ideas that conflicting religions propound at their base and not /radicalised/  level it would a great hypocrisy to include religion here.

    [ Because, quite obviously then, a person with of Religion A can walk into a holy place of Religion B, record the sermon, and then take this to the court as evidence of Blasphemy against Religion A ]

    If only because it is the religion itself that sets the standard for offence

    - This is why in most civilised countries the legal offence of Blasphemy has been repealed with some notable exceptions  (Ireland etcetera).  Note that the generic Wikipedia Blasphemy page is not accurate and should not be relied on.

    The UK abolished the charge of Blasphemy in 2008

    To Conclude with a Marcus parable:

    A man gets on a plane

    Gets caught up in the moment

    Says and does something he later regrets

    Yes, we have all been there

    Personally, I would forgive that man.

    Lo, he is but a fallible human.

    Pope: You cannot insult the faith of others