Touch for HTTP in VB Script

There are times when I need a Windows program that performs an outside function to simply access a website with a particularly formed URL. Many times, these programs do not have an option to “touch” a URL. By touch, I am referencing the touch command in Linux which creates an empty file. Sometimes I need to touch something like http://www.somewebsite.com/folder/update.php?q=Update. I could use wget for Windows, but why do that when I could use a built-in function of Windows. I wrote a VB Script that simply “gets” a URL and exits.

' httptouch.vbs
' Created by Jason C. Greb
' http://www.electronerdz.com/

Set Args = WScript.Arguments
URL = Args(0) ' Read argument (must be in quotes)
Set oHTTP = CreateObject("MSXML2.XMLHTTP")
oHTTP.Open "GET", URL, False
oHTTP.Send() ' Send to the server
'Wscript.Echo oHTTP.Status ' Output the status if you'd like
Set oHTTP = Nothing

This script takes an argument after it, in quotes, and accesses that URL, then quits. You can add it to your program that runs an external program and put the argument after it. Keep in mind that you may need to reference the cscript.exe file (usually in system32) then the script, then the argument.

TimeKeeper over subnets

If you use Kronos TimeKeeper on a large network, you’ve probably had issues with running it in different subnets or VLANs. It says that it can’t find the database even though you have mapped the necessary drives. I’ve had those very issues, but apparently, TimeKeeper doesn’t have a way to fix it. I found a way today.

The best I can figure, TimeKeeper sends out a broadcast packet during the install to find out where the server is. On a subnetted network, this won’t help. TimeKeeper creates several ODBC entries during the install. In these entries, you manually specify the the server IP address. Go to SystemDSN in the ODBC control panel options. You will see three entries for TimeKeeper. Edit each one, and on the Network tab, add Host=[ipaddress] to the TCP/IP options where [ipaddress] is the IP address of the server TimeKeeper is installed. It should work beautifully after that.

Stop calls about locked accounts

From time to time in a corporate network a user may lock out their account accidentally. In the corporate network that I am involved in there are generic accounts (unfortunately with dead simple passwords) that occasionally get locked. Since this is a 24/7 operation, it can happen in the middle of the night (in fact, more common at night). So to ease this a bit, and be proactive, I decided to find a way to get an alert ¬†every time an account gets locked. I of course, just used Windows easy to use built in feature. Oh wait, Windows doesn’t have that… Read on for how I did this…

Continue reading Stop calls about locked accounts

Upgrade from SharePoint Services 3.0 to SharePoint Foundation 2010 in 10 Steps

*Edit [11/23/2011]: Alright, if you tried these instructions before now, they probably didn’t work. I attempted this again, and found a lot of mistakes. I am reworking this now, and will be doing this one more time for good, so I might make a few more minor changes.

I recently needed to move a SPS 3.0 server to a new Foundation 2010 server. Now, Microsoft posts several documents on how to do this, but I think we all know that their documents aren’t always that helpful. I first tried to move the Sharepoint to another server, then do an updgrade, but it did not go so smoothly. So I tried it again using the “database attach” method. I did a lot of Googling, and tried an unbelievable number of things before I finally got the upgrade to work. I’ve collected my steps here. Hopefully, I remembered everything correctly. There were what seemed like a lot of steps, but it mostly went smoothly. Read on for my guide to upgraded to SharePoint Foundation 2010 and I hope it helps you with your upgrade. Continue reading Upgrade from SharePoint Services 3.0 to SharePoint Foundation 2010 in 10 Steps

Your Child’s Information

Welcome to the tech blog. I’ll be writing in here things that I find throughout my life and career about technology. It will include things such as code that I find useful, gadgets that I’ve used, and rants about technology. I hope you enjoy it.

I’ll start with a rant…

My son is in Cub Scouts. Since we have recently moved to North Carolina, we had to find a new pack to join. We found one that appears to be a lot more involved than the pack we were in in Florida. They are even up with the times. They are using a third party website to keep track of the packs activities and events. You can post pictures, look at a calendar, find out information about the other adults, etc. Cub Scout leaders even keep all of the information about the cub scout (including the address) in the website. Here is the problem. The third party website… not so much with the times.

First problem I noticed when I first logged in, not using SSL. This website is hosting information about dozens of children in just our pack. Who knows how many more all over the country. And it is not using SSL to transmit this traffic about children under the age of 13? This information, including passwords is going over the clear on the Internet. If someone were to get a hold of the database, they’d have the addresses of thousands of children.

This is where the second problem comes in. You might say, we the database is probably encrypted. I’d like to think so. Yesterday, I signed into the site, and changed the password from the default one that was given to me in the welcome email. Well, the cub scout leader decided to resend out these welcome emails this morning, in case people did not receive them. I received this email this morning. Inside this email was the password that I had chosen yesterday. So not only is the traffic insecure, now the database is not encrypted in any fashion? You might say they could be using a reversible encryption… but I think we all know that if you hack into the site and steal the database, you’ll be able to just as easily break into the websites pages and steal the salt.

Anyway, I have emailed the site’s tech support team to complain about these very things and hope to get a response. In the meantime, I’ll be considering not using the site, or having incorrect information inputted for both me and my son on purpose. I’ve already changed my password to one that I don’t use on anything else.

Technology tips and news in the eyes of a nerd.