RDGW with Traffic Manager is working!

Looks like I have RDGW load balancing working now.   I simply had to create two separate VMs on their own cloud services, then enable endpoints on each for ports 80 and 443.   This essentially provides two endpoints that I can use individually, if I want to.   I then set up a Traffic Manager for these endpoints and configured it for round robin load balancing.

What happens with Traffic Manager is a simply DNS trick.   Since each endpoint has it’s own URL (<service1>.cloudapp.net and <service2>.cloudapp.net), and they are each open on the same ports, when a request is made to Traffic Manager (<manager_name>.trafficmanager.net), it simply responds with whichever URL it wants you to go to, then your client goes there.   Traffic Manager will verify that the endpoint is online, so it provides a level of redundancy, and can load balance based on different rules, but I used round robin since that’s the simplest.

So far so good.   If it breaks, I guess it’s back to the drawing board, but this is a pretty simple answer that I think should work for good.

Azure Load Balancing and RDGW

I’m trying to get Remote Desktop Gateway (RDGW) working on Windows 2012 with some load balancing provided by either Azure Load Balancing or Traffic Manager.   RDGW was easy enough to set up on a couple of machines and I was able to open endpoints individually to each, and then I verified that they worked.   When I enabled a load balanced endpoint, though, it was flaky.   Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.   This isn’t too surprising, because this whole thing may be unsupported anyway due to sticky session support.

Now I’m moving my two machines, built in the same cloud service, into their own.    After that, I’m enabling individual endpoints on them, then going to set up a traffic manager connection around them.   My understanding is that Traffic Manager is basically a DNS trick, so I’m hoping that with it, I can point computers to the traffic manager IP and it will round robin the connections.   More to come….

New Helmet Mirror

I got myself a new helmet mirror last week.   I just ordered it off of Amazon for about $18, because I was in a hurry to get it and didn’t really feel like going to a bike shop for such a small item.

I got a Race Icon Helmet Mirror (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00SXHQP4C/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) just from the reviews.   I got it and stuck it on my helmet, and it looked really blurry.   Later, I got an automated email from the company asking me to leave them a review on Amazon, and a big bold note telling me that there’s a protective film on the mirror that you just can’t see because it’s cut exactly the same as the mirror.   Sure enough, there it was…I scraped with my fingernail until I got a corner up and it came right off.   Now it’s as clear as can be.

Hopefully this works out well.   I’ve really gotten nervous without a mirror of some sort.   My other bike (the Kona Dew Deluxe I bought a decade ago) has flat handlebars and I have a mirror on the end of the left side.   That thing is awesome, and they make a similar one to go on drop handlebars that Jenny uses, but I didn’t want all that bulk on there.   It would’ve been handy, but probably get me made fun of by my cycling friends.   You know, add 10 grams to the bike is terrible, but adding 10 pounds from drinking too much microbrew beer is fine.

Anyway, I’m going out on my first ride with it tomorrow.   We’ll see if it helps.

Chocolatey and OneGet are AWESOME

There’s a sweet application called Chocolatey (http://chocolatey.org) that allows you to run a single command to install other applications.   On the Chocolatey servers, they have tons of applications stored, such as Firefox, Chrome, Notepad++, and other awesome freebies.   You install the little Chocolatey application on your computer, then to install another program, you simply open a prompt and enter “choco install firefox”, or whatever app you want to install.

I’ve written a simple little script to install all the applications that I need on my computer.   You can see it below.

———————————————————————–

@powershell -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy unrestricted -Command “iex ((new-object net.webclient).DownloadString(‘https://chocolatey.org/install.ps1&#8217;))” && SET PATH=%PATH%;%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\chocolatey\bin

choco install notepadplusplus.install -y
choco install javaruntime -y
choco install googlechrome -y
choco install 7zip.install -y
choco install firefox -y
choco install vlc -y
choco install adobereader -y
choco install sysinternals -y
choco install putty -y
choco install filezilla -y
choco install fiddler -y
choco install adobeshockwaveplayer -y
choco install silverlight -y
choco install greenshot -y
choco install rsat -y
choco install git.install -y
choco install mssqlservermanagementstudio2014express -y
choco install visualstudiocommunity2013 -y

———————————————————————————————————————-

You can simply remove any of the lines for applications you don’t want.  The first line actually installs the Chocolatey add-in, so you don’t even need to install anything before running this.   I rebuilt my computer the other day and this came in super-handy, as I just ran this script and everything was done automatically.

Microsoft have built a similar tool (actually, damn near exactly the same) called OneGet (http://oneget.org).   It’s so similar that you actually can connect to the Chocolatey storage to download and install applications using the OneGet toolset.   OneGet acts as a PowerShell add-in, so you have to be comfortable with PowerShell to use it.   You can download OneGet right now from the link above and start using it if you choose.   MS is going to include this in Windows 10.

This represents a GREAT STEP for Windows.   Linux users have run apt-get forever to install and update their applications.   This does the same thing.   All you ever need to do to update your program is run the Chocolatey or OneGet update.   FINALLY!!!!

Lack of Marketing

Jenny and I dumped cable about 2 years ago.   I bought and installed a small antenna on the roof, ran the coax from it down to our existing cabling, and plugged in the digital converters.    Yes, my TVs were that old.   They are still, but I have one that has the converter built-in.   Fancy.

That’s another story.   All told, I spent about $120 on the whole thing.   We get around 25 stations, including all the networks and more PBS than you can shake a stick at.  There are also oddball stations like MeTV, Retro, and some others that are neat.

Until we did this, I never realized how much time I spent around sports.   SportsCenter in the morning, some ball game on at night, and the Reds on Fox Sports Ohio just about every day.   This isn’t to say that I was glued to it, but I kept up with most of the sports news pretty darned well and could recognize all the players.   Getting rid of cable, though, eliminated almost all of it.   There are games of the week for NCAA basketball and football, and there’s NFL on Sundays, but that’s basically it.

Now I don’t follow any sport closely.    I even have quit reading si.com for the pieces by Peter King, Andy Staples, and others.   The only sports guy I read is Joe Posnanski anymore, and that’s because I love his writing.

Save yourself a ton of money, get yourself and antenna and dump cable.   Between the networks and what you can get from Netflix/Amazon Prime, you don’t need anything else.   And you’ll give yourself a lot of time back in the day when you aren’t checking up on the latest sports news.

New Things

I like to think of myself as being open minded and willing to try new things.   As I’ve gotten older, though, I have become pretty set in my ways.   There are certain things I like and certain things I don’t.   Hopefully more likes than dislikes, but that’s for Jenny to know, as I sure don’t.

Yesterday I tried something I never tried before and was blown away at the result.   I have never been a vegetarian, but I think I eat my veggies and fruits.   I’m certainly not a meat and potatoes kind of guy, but I’m not some organic-only, non-GMO vegan hippy.   That cook Christina on PBS drives me crazy with her BS about organic, vegan, “health food”.   I don’t go to Whole Foods for anything other than the bakery or maybe the hot bar once a year.   When lettuce can be bought either organic or traditional, I buy traditional.   I like my chickens the size of turkeys of old, due to hormone injections or whatever.   I hope my corn kernels are as big as lima beans due to GMO improvements.

Yesterday, though, Jenny talked me into making a faux meatloaf with lentils instead of meat.   I’m on a bit of a diet right now because I’ve gained a few pounds over the past year, so I said OK and went with it.   The link to the recipe is below.   It’s basically ground up cooked lentils with meatloaf-like spices.

http://www.grit.com/food/recipes/vegetarian-meat-loaf-recipe-ze0z1501zcwil.aspx

Holy crap.   While I can’t say I’ll never have real meatloaf again, since real meatloaf still rocks, this was pretty damn good.   I’ll make it again.   As a matter of fact, I’m thinking that if we ground all of the lentils into the mix, as opposed to mixing in one cup of them whole, then smash it down with a pan while it cooks, it might make one helluva gyro.   It might work to just make patties out of it to saute….not far different that felafel, really, other than the spices.

Personal Email

I cannot fathom that someone in any job setting would think that it’s okay to use personal email for business.   Every company I’ve ever worked for has had explicit policy forbidding it.   To think that Hillary Clinton didn’t just do that, but had a whole email system in her house to run it, is just inexplicable.

For years I have fought over the argument that it’s a pain-in-the-butt to carry a device for personal stuff and one for business stuff.   I had the fight at MillerCoors over cell phones that I was able to obtain for folks and I had it at every consulting gig I’ve had.  At my current employer, we explicitly allow personal things on business systems, but that does not mean you can do business on personal systems.  See the distinction?

Today, I find the HuffPost article quoting Mrs. Clinton with this as her reasoning to use her personal email system instead of the State Department-provided one (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/10/hillary-clinton-email_n_6841218.html).   While I’m not saying that she did it to hide things, I know that folks have done this before, and I know that folks are looking for things in the past that were allowed to throw her under the bus for, I find it unbelievable that someone would think they even should do this.   ESPECIALLY the person at the top.

This is not, no matter how much Fox News wants to make it out to be, a “Clinton Thing”…it’s a product of our hierarchical management structure.   I know that the higher up you go in the corporate world or in the government world, the more you expect to be able to do what you want. In my opinion, the higher ups should actually be doing less of what they want and dealing with more of the BS that goes along with it.  Their accounts, emails, and everything else is much more important for the sake of the organization than the stuff the low-level person has access to.

I’ve known senior folks who have themselves exempted from password change policies, while everyone else has had to change passwords quarterly.   I’ve known management to have unlimited email storage on the systems, while everyone else was stuck with a small mailbox and actually not be able to send email because of it.   I know folks have different cell phone usage policies the higher up the chain they are.   I’ve known one company to set up a separate IT support system based in the US, just so the VPs and above don’t have to call India for their first-level support.

In every case, I find this behavior to be offensive and childishly entitled.   They feel they don’t have to eat their own dogfood and deal with the very policies they have pushed everyone else to need.  It actually insults me, and while I’ll still probably going to vote for Hillary down the road, I think she’s well-deserving of the heat that’s coming from this firestorm.