VMware Player 3.0 and Network Configuration

29 Oct 2009
October 29, 2009

I updated VMware Player to the latest version (3.0) on my home machine last night[1]. Wanted to check out the latest version and get a first hand look at the new features.

I pointed it to my trusty Xubuntu “security” virtual machine and booted up. I ran into a snag pretty quickly though. Seemed that the client couldn’t get an IP address to get on the network.

I’ve seen and fixed this before. VMware Player seems to like to grab my Hamachi “personal VPN” network adapters instead of the local Ethernet one – it will never get an IP from the Hamachi network!

That’s when I hit the next snag: the new version of VMware Player doesn’t include the vmnetcfg network configuration that I’ve always used to fix this in the past. I poked around a bit but it wasn’t there and I didn’t see anything that looked like a replacement.

I ended up fixing this in a bit more of a low-tech fashion. I simply disabled the Hamachi adapter and then booted the VMware client. Client got an IP and I then re-enabled the Hamachi adapter.

Disabling a network adapter

Of course, after my low-tech solution I went looking for better options… Turns out I’m not the first one to notice that vmnetcfg went missing. I found discussion and the answer in a forum post:

The vmnetcfg.exe is included in the installer, but won’t be installed.
1. Run the installer with /e option. For example:
VMware-player-3.0.0-197124.exe /e .\extract
All contents will be extracted to “extract” folder.
2. Open “network.cab” and copy vmnetcfg.exe to your installation folder,
typically “C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Player\”.

Well there you go. Even better.

[1] – Past mentions of VMware Player.

Synergy+

14 Oct 2009
October 14, 2009

I first mentioned Synergy almost 4 years ago on this blog – that’s a lifetime in blog years! Ever since then it has been a utility installed on almost all of my machines. I often have two or more going on my desk and Synergy makes it so easy to control all of them with just one keyboard and mouse.

Not that it isn’t perfect… And after 4 years the little things can get annoying. For instance, everytime I launch and start it I also have to click a “hey, I started” dialog. Seriously? I know! I just clicked the button!

image Well, the original Synergy project doesn’t appear to be very active but I recently learned about the Synergy+ project. They call themselves a “maintenance fork” and they’ve been busy making changes (listed).

I installed this on a couple machines earlier today and already spotted two great additions.

  1. No more extra dialog clicks when starting
  2. The ability to run the server as a service. (that saves even more clicks!)

Lovely stuff. I’m officially migrating to the plus version.

Free. GNU GPL v2 licensed and multiple platforms.

image

Microsoft Security Essentials

02 Oct 2009
October 2, 2009

As geeks, we’re often asked for help with choosing and installing antivirus software for friends & family members.  We all have our favorite “packages” and we all trade thoughts on the latest/greatest free AV offerings.

For instance, until this week I’d settled on the free version of Avira AntiVir coupled with Microsoft’s Windows Defender. Those two together seemed to do a reasonable efficient job without bogging down the system too much. The Avira “hey I updated would you liked to buy me?” daily banner can get annoying, but seemed a small price to pay for effective coverage.

However, I had been beta-testing a product for the last couple months and it was released this week: Microsoft Security Essentials.  Kinda like Defender, but with antivirus coverage too. Free, low-impact and hey — no banners. What’s not to love?

It didn’t hurt that ars technica doesn’t hate it.

Microsoft Security Essentials

I’m switching the rest of my home machines over to it and plan to start working on extended family machines next week.

I should point out I don’t really expect the software to do all the work (or do it all perfectly). I also spend some time training (aka lecturing) a bit on safe browsing habits. That helps bridge the gap between antivirus/antimalware software not covering 100%.

Online OneNote?

17 Sep 2009
September 17, 2009

While reading Ed Bott’s article about Microsoft’s partial preview of online office apps, this particular bit caught my eye:

Officially, Microsoft is positioning the new web-based offering as “online extensions to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.”

Intriguing! It seems the OneNote bits won’t actually be available until the launch, so too soon to get too excited, but it could be nifty.

Granted, just yesterday I admitted that I haven’t really gelled with web-based notebooks (or GTD) systems… but still, maybe I just haven’t used the right one yet.