A break from the summer blockbusters

Transformers 2 left me feeling amazing and Star Trek did not disappoint one bit. However the build up to these films always leaves me a little bit sad, in Terminator Salvation for example, we were treated with a smashing trailer promising robots, explosions, gripping dialogue and a wicked soundtrack except what we got was a film full of cliché and catchphrases and badly cut scenes. Don’t get me wrong the film was miles better than Terminator 3 but to me it felt like Christian Bale was wasted and Sam Worthington stole all the scenes.

I suppose this is what happens when you task a Director normally used to making music videos.

Now that the summer blockbusters are out of the way, here are a few films that I would like to see in the coming months. (Please not that the blurb has been blatantly ripped from the cineworld website)

G.I Joe : The Rise Of Cobra

Release date: 7 August 2009
Director: Stephen Sommers
Dennis Quaid, Christopher Eccleston, Marlon Wayans, Sienna Miller, Rachel Nichols, Channing Tatum

The Mummy director Stephen Sommers brings the famed action figures to life in this exhilarating action-adventure.

It’s the near future and, from his undersea HQ, megalomaniac Destro (Christopher Eccleston) has initiated a campaign of terror by toppling the Eiffel Tower. Facing the unprecedented threat of Destro and his malevolent organisation Cobra, battle-scarred veteran General Hawk (Dennis Quaid) has no option but to send in G.I. Joe. An elite unit of highly trained soldiers equipped with Delta 6 Accelerator suits, G.I. Joe have an arsenal of high-tech military equipment at their disposal. Duke (Channing Tatum), Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) and Scarlett (Rachel Nichols) head up the team as they race across the world in search of their nemesis Destro and his sidekicks Cobra Commander (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and villainous vixen The Baroness (Sienna Miller). But do the G.I. Joe squad have what it takes to stop Cobra and their plans for global destruction?

I want to see it because: It looks cool and very stylised and with Steven “The Mummy” Sommers behind the helm promises to be a fun ride.

The Time Traveler’s Wife

Release date: 14 August 2009
Robert Schwentke
Starring: Rachel McAdams, Eric Bana

Big-screen adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger’s enchanting love story in which a man involuntarily and unpredictably time travels.

Clare Abshire (Rachel McAdams) and Henry DeTamble (Eric Bana) are destined to be together, but theirs is a romance like no other. Since he was a child, Henry has been cursed with a rare genetic disorder (called chrono-displacement) that causes him to suddenly and abruptly disappear, travelling back and forth through time without warning. Although Henry cannot decide when he leaves, where he goes or how long he’ll be there, he and Clare begin to fall in love and, in spite of the obstacles they face, start to build a life together, getting married and having a baby. But with every jump that he makes, Henry’s life is put in increasing danger as he struggles to find safety and shelter. Now he Clare must learn to live with the agonising reality of their uncertain future.

I want to see it because: I really enjoyed the book and am interested to see how it pans out from someone else’s interpretation. I know there is a big risk of disappointment but i am prepared to take it.

Dance flick

Release date: 21 August 2009
Damien Dante Wayans
Starring: Shoshana Bush, Damon Wayans Jr, Essence Atkins

The Wayans Brothers take a snipe at the dance movie genre in their latest slapstick spoof.

Megan (Shoshana Bush) is a gifted ballet dancer whose hopes of studying at Julliard are all but dashed when her mother is killed in a car accident. After relocating to the inner city, Megan enrolls in Musical High where she meets pregnant breakdancer Charity (Essence Atkins) and Thomas (Damon Wayans Jr), a street dancer from the wrong side of the tracks. Much hilarity and vulgarity ensues as the mismatched crew (including a Tracy Turnblad lookalike called Tracy Transfat) put their differences aside and prepare for the mother of all dance battles, setting their sights on the $5,000 prize. From cross-cultural romances to broken dreams, the dance movie clichés come thick and fast as the Wayans Brothers reference and ridicule films like Save The Last Dance, Step Up and Flashdance in their signature style.

I want to see it because: It’s Scary movie but for Dance movies


Release date: 21 August 2009
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Kat Dennings, Jimmy Bennett, Trevor Gagnon, Rebel Rodriguez, Jake Short

You get exactly what you wish for (no matter how outrageous) in this collection of weird and wonderful short films from the director of Spy Kids.

Eleven-year-old Toe Thompson (Jimmy Bennett) lives in the slightly strange suburb of Black Falls. While his (and everyone else’s) parents go to work for Black Box Industries, creating a popular communication and do-it-all gadget, Toe tries (but mostly fails) to avoid daily beatings from the local bullies. But things are about to change. Following a freak storm, Toe discovers a strange Rainbow Rock that grants wishes to whoever is lucky enough to find it. Suddenly, the neighbourhood is awash with miniature spaceships and giant boogers as the rock is passed around Black Falls’ junior residents. But the trouble really starts when the grown-ups get their hands on the magic pebble and it’s down to Toe and his friends to save the town before things get totally out of control.

I want to see it because: Simply – Robert Rodriguez, i think he is a great director!

Inglourious Basterds

Release date: 21 August 2009
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz, Diane Kruger

A group of WW2 soldiers hunt down Nazis in Tarantino’s historically ambiguous, blood-spattered and brutal wartime epic.

In German-occupied France, Shosanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent) witnesses the mindless murder of her family at the hands of notorious Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). She escapes the massacre and flees to Paris where she assumes a new identity as the owner of a cinema. When Shosanna learns that the Nazis want to premier their latest propaganda film at her cinema, she starts plotting her revenge. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) leads a group of Jewish-American soldiers known as ‘the basterds’ on a grisly mission to track down, torture and execute Nazis. Their assignment leads them to a certain Parisian cinema where, with the help of beautiful German actress and secret agent Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger), they plan to take down the leaders of the Third Reich in a glorious, bloody climax.

I want to see it because: Brad Pitt performs well in the trailers, Eli Roth has a mini film in the middle and I actually liked Death Proof!

I Love You Beth Cooper

Release date: 21 August 2009
Chris Columbus
Starring: Hayden Panettiere, Paul Rust, Shawn Roberts

Harry Potter director turns his attention to high school in this riotous coming-of-age comedy.

During his graduation speech, nerdy valedictorian Denis Cooverman (Paul Rust) declares his love for Beth Cooper (Hayden Panettiere), the hottest girl at Buffalo Grove High School. What could have been the most embarrassing moment of Denis’s life turns out to be the best decision he ever made as blonde bombshell Beth decides his declaration was kinda cute and plans to show Denis the night of his life. Turning up at his house later that evening, Beth takes Denis on an eye-opening joyride across town, starting out at a raucous pool party and finishing off with an intimate beer around a campfire, all while trying to avoid her mightily miffed boyfriend, Kevin (Shawn Roberts). Based on the award-winning novel by The Simpsons writer Larry Doyle, Columbus shows that the geek really can get the girl in this fast-moving, funny tale.

I want to see it because: Hayden Panettiere – nuff said!

The Final Destination 3D

Release date: 28 August 2009
Director: David R Ellis
Starring: Bobby Campo, Shantel Van Senten, Haley Webb, Nick Zano, Krista Allen

Death comes calling in 3D in the latest grisly installment of the Final Destination franchise.

Nick (Bobby Campo) and his friends are at the speedway when he suddenly has a terrifying premonition: a car is going to crash, sending pieces of flaming debris hurtling into the stands killing him and hundreds of others. Shaken up and panicked, Nick persuades the group to leave, escaping just minutes before his ghastly vision becomes a reality. Unfortunately for Nick, this is only the first of many premonitions. Having cheated death the first time round, the crash survivors start getting picked off one by one, checking out in increasingly gruesome and imaginative ways (you’ll never want to use a car wash again). It’s only a matter of time before Nick meets his maker, but can he work out how to cheat death once and for all before it’s too late?

I want to see it because: The only “3D” film that actually made me think “oh, that may work”.

Funny People

Release date: 28 August 2009
Judd Apatow
Starring: Adam Sandler, Leslie Mann, Eric Bana, Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman

A stand-up comedian is told he only has 12 months to live in the latest from Knocked Up director Judd Apatow.

George Simmons (Adam Sandler) is a successful stand-up who’s just been diagnosed with a terminal blood disorder and given less than a year to live. After performing at the same club one night, George takes a shine to up-and-coming funnyman Ira Wright (Seth Rogen) and asks him to become his personal assistant and warm-up act. While George teaches Ira how to perfect his performance, Ira helps his boss come to terms with his imminent demise and the two become friends. Then a strange thing happens. George learns that the disease has gone into remission and, inspired by this near-death experience, decides to try and reignite his romance with old flame Laura (Leslie Mann). But he’s going to have to try and get past Laura’s tough-guy Aussie husband, Clarke (Eric Bana), first.

I want to see it because: Looks like it has all of the ingredients to make a good laugh.

District 9

Release date: 4 September 2009
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Sharlto Copley, David James, Jason Cope, Mandla Gaduka

Peter Jackson presents this intriguing, documentary-style sci-fi flick in which aliens are forced to live and work in the South African slums.

Based on director Neill Blomkamp’s six-minute short Alive in Joburg, we enter a fictional world in which a race of extraterrestrials has landed on earth via large spaceships hovering above Johannesburg. These ‘non-humans’ are quickly confined in an area called District 9, a makeshift refugee camp monitored by an agency called Multi-National United (MNU), which they must not leave under any circumstances. Before long, the extraterrestrials begin to break the rules, leaving the confines of the camp, committing crimes and frequently clashing with the authorities. The civilian population begins to feel increasingly threatened by the visitors, resentful at the money being spent on maintaining District 9, and tensions begin to rise. But when a government agent is exposed to their biotechnology, the aliens think they’ve finally found a kindred spirit.

I want to see it because: A totally different Sci-Fi from an unknown director with ultimate backing from Mr Lord of The Rings himself makes me very intriugued.


Release date: 4 September 2009
Director: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Starring: Gerard Butler, John Leguizamo, Michael C Hall, Amber Valletta, Kyra Sedgwick

A mind-control game has taken the world by storm in this high-concept, explosive thriller.

We’re sometime in the near future and reclusive, slightly deranged billionaire Ken Castle (Michael C Hall) has developed a controversial, ultra-violent online game called Slayer that allows millions of players to take control of real human beings in full-scale combat. The humans happen to be prisoners on death row and if they survive 30 game battles, they are set free. Kable (Gerard Butler) is the cult hero of Slayer who, under the control of a young gamer called Simon, has defied the odds and survived 27 games and counting. Separated from his family and forced into combat, the only thing that keeps Kable going is the hope that he’ll see his wife (Amber Valletta) and child again. But with the battles getting increasingly brutal, can he survive for long enough to escape the game and save the world from its deadly obsession?

I want to see it because: Gerard Butler, the directors of Crank and a novel twist on future video games.

Miss March: Generation Penetration

Release date: 11 September 2009
Director: Zach Cregger
Starring: Zach Cregger, Trevor Moore, Raquel Alessi, Hugh Hefner

Two buddies take an unforgettable comedy road trip to the Playboy Mansion.

When Eugene (Zach Cregger) decides to lose his virginity to girlfriend Cindi (Raquel Alessi), he promises a night to remember – then promptly topples down a flight of stairs, ending up in a four-year coma. When he regains consciousness, he discovers once-conservative Cindi is now the centrefold of Playboy Magazine! With the help of permanently-amorous buddy Trucker (Trevor Moore), Eugene vows to win Cindi back. Along the way, they hitch a ride with a bizarrely-named hip-hop star (Craig Robinson) and his scantily-clad troupe on The Party Bus – as well as meeting psychotic firemen and a pair of Russian ladies who ingeniously unlock the front door of Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion using their tongues. Two thirds of American comedy-trio ‘The Whitest Kids U know’, Zach Cregger and Trevor Moore are co-writers, co-directors and co-stars of Miss March, their gag-packed big-screen debut.

I want to see it because: It just seems road trip funny

Dorian Gray

Release date: 11 September 2009
Oliver Parker
Starring: Ben Barnes, Colin Firth, Rebecca Hall, Ben Chaplin, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Emilia Fox

Oliver Parker paints a vivid picture of Dorian Gray in this rich, sweeping adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s classic novel.

Originally brought to the big screen in 1970, Dorian Gray follows the pursuits of a breathtakingly beautiful young man (Ben Barnes) whose portrait is painted by artist Basil Hallward (Ben Chaplin). Soon after, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton (Colin Firth), a charismatic socialite who believes in nothing more than the pursuit of beauty and sensual pleasures. On hearing this, Dorian proclaims that he will remain exactly as he appears in the painting, pledging to sacrifice anything – even his soul – if the portrait will grow old instead of himself. So Dorian begins a life of debauchery and, as he wished, each sin is meted out on the picture as ghastly physical disfigurements. But while Dorian’s appearance remains youthful and flawless, his soul cannot escape the consequences of his depraved actions…

I want to see it because: I like the story of Dorian Gray


Release date: 11 September 2009
Director: Christian Alvart
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster

Two astronauts wake up on a spacecraft with no memory of who they are or why they’re there in this creepy, claustrophobic thriller.

In deep space, corporal Bower (Ben Foster) and Lieutenant Payton (Dennis Quaid) awake in a sleep chamber. It’s pitch black, the place is seemingly deserted, neither man can remember why they’re on board in the first place and the only sound they can hear is a mysterious rumble coming from the bowels of the ship. Bower decides to investigate. Leaving Payton behind to guide him on the radio transmitter, he nervously begins his exploration of the spacecraft and discovers that the two men are not alone. Bower encounters some missing members of the crew and they’re locked in a brutal battle with a strange and sinister enemy. But things aren’t as they first appear for the stranded astronauts as the ship slowly begins to reveal its terrifying secrets…

I want to see it because: Ben Foster was good in 3:10 to Yuma and Dennis Quaid impressed me with his comeback in Vantage Point. The story itself seems a little Pitch Black meets Aliens meets Event Horizon but i enjoyed all of them so fingers crossed!

Exchange Activesync not working on WM6

I just had a problem where one of our user’s HTC tytn ii phones was refusing to sync with exchange over the mobile network. I conducted the usual action of veryfying the password but could not find the problem. So I googled for the error code 85010014 which came up with loads of articles about resetting outlook – but I wasn’t using outlook, I was using activesync.
Back on the device I checked to see if I could navigate to OWA in Internet explorer which pulled up an error 500 code. This made me think that it could be the Internet connection but everyone else was connecting fine.
The next step was to doable the hspda connection and connect the device to the internal wireless – still not syncing!
Could it be the user account? I removed the exchange account from the device and set up mine in it’s place to test my theory. Mine synced fine and I could even connect to OWA as well.
I set the users account back up and got the user to enter their password and straight away the device started syncing!

The moral of the story is – if exchange activesync is playing up, it only takes a few mins to delete the account and start again as opposed to troubleshooting less likely suspects. The error code produced is a ‘general error’ so use a ‘general’ fix to rectify it.

Some Windows VPN connections through ISA 2006 failing

Having successfully set up our company’s ISA 2006 Server, tested it from home and on a few mobile networks, I confidently distubuted the instructions to the staff of how to set up and gain acces to the VPN.

A few days later, I was sitting back and admiring my success, when i recieved a phone call from a user stating that they are connected to the VPN but cannot access our terminal server.

A bit confused, I asked the user to disconnect and then try again, walking me through what they were doing. The user was not doing anything wrong!

It’s connecting to the network but it cannot see the network.

An nslookup confirmed that the connecting device was trying to use their local broadband router as the primary name server – no wonder it cannot see the devices on our network!

I assumed that windows would change the binding order and place the VPN connection to the top of the list allowing it first choice for name resolution.

Aparrently i assumed wrong and it does not work like that!

After some research and googling, i found a solution to the problem in a form of the Microsoft KB311218 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/311218) unfortunately the solution provided was not adequate for an end user and also ad to be used everytime the connection VPN was established. What i needed was a script that could do this on the fly and also some way of packaging it up in a user friendly way.

This lead me to Connection Manager Administration Kit (CMAK) which is something i was looking into for when I implemented IPsec, which was the next stage of the VPN rollout.

Basicly CMAK is a way for administrators to preconfigure VPN settings and package them up to a neat executable that end users can install without having to mess about with the settings. It also has the ability to run pre, post and disconnect scripts automatically making it ideal if I actually had the script to fix the problem.

I performed a search for CMAK scripts and KB311218. After a while I found an amazing script by Torgeir Bakken, a Microsift MVP in Scripting and WMI at http://www.ureader.com/message/89324.aspx it seemed to me that someone else was in the same boat as me back in 2005!

Here is the script:

Const HKLM = &H80000002

sComputer = “.”

Set oReg = GetObject(“winmgmts:{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\” _

& sComputer & “\root\default:StdRegProv”)

sKeyPath = “SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Linkage”

sValueName = “Bind”

oReg.GetMultiStringValue HKLM, sKeyPath, sValueName, arValues

arValuesNew = Array()

For i = 0 To UBound(arValues)

If i = 0 Then

If LCase(arValues(i)) = “\device\ndiswanip” Then

‘ entry is alredy first in the list, no point in continuing

Exit For


‘ put NdisWanIp in the first element in the new array

ReDim Preserve arValuesNew(0)

arValuesNew(0) = “\Device\NdisWanIp”

End If

End If

If LCase(arValues(i)) <> “\device\ndiswanip” Then

iCountNew = UBound(arValuesNew) + 1

ReDim Preserve arValuesNew(iCountNew)

arValuesNew(iCountNew) = arValues(i)

End If


If UBound(arValuesNew) > -1 Then

oReg.SetMultiStringValue HKLM, sKeyPath, sValueName, arValuesNew

End If

By running this script, the VPN connection is placed at the top of the list. Excellent! Now just package it up with the rest of the settings using the CMAK and you are good to go!

A bit more searching and I found a tutorial that explians everything, and even uses the script, with step by step guides.The title is a bit misleading but the content is sound.

I discovered it a bit late but i’m glad i worked things out for myself. However, in the future i will probably just refer to this article as it takes the guesswork out of things.


Setting up WSS3 email support and recieving SMTP error: missing adsiisex.dll

The time has come to set up our Windows Sharepoint Services installation to receive emails. One of the first things that you need to do is install the SMTP service on the sharepooint server using add/remove windows components.

So you go through the motions:

  1. Click Start, Control Panel, Add or Remove Programs.
  2. Click the Add/Remove Windows Components button.
  3. Select the Application Server component and click Details.
  4. Select the Internet Information Services (IIS) component and click Details.
  5. Scroll down through the list and check the box next to SMTP Service, as shown in. Click OK, OK, and Next.

But instead of a nice and quick install you are presented with:


Setup cannot copy the file adsiiex.dll

No problem, just point the browser to your i386 folder on your win 2003 cd and all is well – Wrong! It’s not there!

You need to Extract the file from the cab file IMS.CAB and then point the browser to that file instead. The quickest way to do that is to fire up a command prompt and run the following command.

expand -F:* D:\I386\IMS.CAB C:\temp\ims

where D:\i386\IMS.CAB is the path to the CAB file and C:\temp\ims is a temp folder (which needs to exist before running the command)

This will solve your problem and allow you to complete your install of the SMTP Service

Sky to roll out content on Xbox 360

According to the BBC Sky have struck a deal with Microsoft to deliver sky content direct to your Xbox without the need for a sky dish.

Set to be released in the autumn, Xbox Live customers should be able to receive live sport, programmes, catch-up TV and on demand films through their broadband connection.

One of the intriguing parts is that you don’t need to be a sky subscriber to benefit from the service and sky are suggesting that they will offer a discount for existing customers.

It seems that even thought the PS3 has better graphics, the 360 still has some tricks up it’s selves.

Read the full article on the BBC website

Increasing your site exposure through WordPress Ping Lists

There is no use writing great content if no one knows that it is published. One way of increasing your wordpress site’s exposure is to edit the ping list.

When you publish a post in wordpress, it has the ability to send out a notification to multiple websites designed to track and aggregate posts.The sites that it notifies are stored in the Ping List

By default wordpress has only one entry in the list: http://rpc.pingomatic.com/ which means that you are only notifying one site of your update.

The theory is that by adding to the list you can notify more sites and thus increase your chances of exposure.

A bit of research and i came across a post on  Vladimir Prelovac Site that has a decent list:


To use this list you need to log into your wordpress admin panel, go to Settings > Writing and then scroll down to Update Services. Copy and paste the list into the box and then click Save Changes

There are more extensive lists out there and i recommend tweaking this list based on the content of your site, however tempting what you don’t want to do is drop a massive list into there as no one likes a spammer and quality is always better than quanitiy!

Edit Sharepoint sites for free!

A bit late but still worth a post, Microsoft has announced (in April 2009) that Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2007 is now free!
Go over to SharePoint Designer 2007 Download to get your free copy.

For those who don’t know much about SharePoint Designer, here is an excerpt from Microsoft:

Build solutions faster to enhance team productivity and efficiency

Use Office SharePoint Designer 2007 to create and deploy interactive solutions on the SharePoint platform, without having to write code.

  • Automate business processes such as document approval, custom event notification, and other collaboration tasks with the Workflow Designer.
  • Create reporting and tracking applications using data views and forms to easily gather and aggregate data from outside your site and from SharePoint lists and document libraries on the Web site.
  • Get started fast with pre-built Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services Application Templates, which are fully customizable and extensible using Office SharePoint Designer 2007.
  • Extend your solutions by building advanced interactive Microsoft ASP.NET pages. Insert and edit controls with the same powerful activity menus and control property grid previously found only in development tools such as Microsoft Visual Studio 2005.

Continue reading “Edit Sharepoint sites for free!”

Hard times and tightening budgets…

Money is tight, redundancies are possible and projects postponed.  Whilst budget cuts by some degree are inevitable, careful planning for the downturn will impact your business in a positive way.

Being forced to ‘do more with less’, forces you to look at problems in new ways and take an approach that you may not have looked at, wielding innovative results.

Often regarded as an area with high running costs, IT is likely to be one of those areas where businesses will look at in order to try and shave a few zeros off their overheads.

Faced with the prospect of reduced resources it can be daunting to cut back on IT, an area that integrates with the business on so many levels, but it is possible to cut back without cutting out.

Continue reading “Hard times and tightening budgets…”

Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator Warning

Well I got a new error today other day on one of our domain controllers after doing a restart. A bit of a bug in Windows 2003 SP1 and easy enough to fix. The error is:

Event Type:    Warning
Event Source:    MSDTC
Event Category:    SVC
Event ID:    53258
Date:        05/01/2009
Time:        08:23:06
User:        N/A
Computer:    APOLLO
MS DTC could not correctly process a DC Promotion/Demotion event. MS DTC will continue to function and will use the existing security settings. Error Specifics: %1

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

Continue reading “Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator Warning”

Investigating! See, I have these feet…

“I’m telling you about my feet! My investigating feet.”

Feet in the sense that i have just installed ubuntu on my laptop which comes pre configured with gnome which has a footprint as it’s logo – yes very loose link but i felt the need to reference red dwarf and it’s my blog so i will do as i please :p

Although my feet (sorry – laptop) is not my primary machine, it is my most used machine for general surfing of the interwebs and word processing, mainly due to the ease of working anywhere around the house etc. Its the kind of pickup and go element that makes it so handy.

Continue reading “Investigating! See, I have these feet…”