Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Vinacafe: Not Tea, but still darn good...

I was big into coffee before switching to tea, not su much anymore.  However I do like the occasional cup of what i now refer to as the "lesser brew" from time to time. Being a tea snob you'd think I'd demand some sort of custom roast in my coffee, but actually I typically prefer just a standard medium roast with a little cream and sugar (darker roasts just taste burned to me). I did always demand that it be freshly brewed at least. Perish the thought of every trying "instant coffee". Needless to say I was amazed when a coworker of mine introduced me to what has to be the best instant coffe on the planet, Vinacafe:

Each pack of Vinacafe consists of a bunch of smaller satchels of dehydrated espresso, cream and a bit of sugar. Just empty one satchel into a standard-size coffee mug, add water and you have a nice hot coffee beverage that tastes like it was *literally* brewed seconds ago. I was utterly amazed at how something so quick and easy to prepare could be so utterly delicious! I recently stocked up on these (they are gloriously cheap) and plan to keep them on-hand in the future if I ever get an urge for coffee. Given them a try! They are wonderful!

SCCM SQL Query: Disk Usage Reports

I can't take credit for all the SQL in this report, but I did tweak it enough to make it my own. Just change "FCM.CollectionID = 'SMS000DS'" to reflect the Collection ID of whatever Collection you want to run the report against. In my case I'm using the built-in collection for all servers:

 List all servers with Disk Usage Summary:

SELECT DISTINCT FCM.Name AS 'Computer Name', LDSK.DeviceID0 'Drive Letter', LDSK.Description0, LDSK.VolumeName0, LDSK.FreeSpace0 AS 'Free Space (MB)', LDSK.FreeSpace0/1024 AS 'Free Space (GB)', LDSK.FreeSpace0*100/LDSK.Size0 AS 'Free Space (%)', LDSK.Size0/1024 AS 'Total Space (GB)' FROM v_FullCollectionMembership FCM JOIN v_GS_LOGICAL_DISK LDSK on FCM.ResourceID = LDSK.ResourceID JOIN v_R_System SYS ON FCM.ResourceID = SYS.ResourceID WHERE LDSK.DriveType0 = 3 AND LDSK.Size0 > 0 AND FCM.CollectionID = 'SMS000DS' ORDER BY FCM.Name, LDSK.DeviceID0

Monday, February 6, 2012

SCCM SQL Query: List all systems by 'Computer Description'

Upper management made the decision to create a standardized convention for computers on our network based on the Computer Description field in Windows. They wanted a quick report to show what was already there for everything on the network. This query did the trick :

SELECT DISTINCT CS.Name0 AS 'Computer Name', CS.UserName0, OS.Description0 AS 'Computer Description' FROM v_GS_OPERATING_SYSTEM OS, v_GS_COMPUTER_SYSTEM CS WHERE CS.ResourceID = OS.ResourceID ORDER BY CS.Name0
Hope you find it useful.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Tea: Hao Ya 'A' is a *fantastic* morning brew

If you are a morning coffee drinker looking to make the switch to tea then you just can't beat a good Keemun. These teas actually hail from a Chinese city called 'Keemun' and tend to produce a really intense cup with a nice amber liquor. Its these qualities that make them suitable coffee replacements for any morning routine. I've even had a friend go as far a adding half & half to a good Keemun, but I prefer mine with plain old sugar and milk. My favorite Keemun is the Hao Ya 'A' from Harney and Sons:

Hardware: Synology DS1511+ as a Home Media Server

I recently purchased a Synology DiskStation DS1511+ to use a a media/file server in my home:

I am overwhelmingly pleased with this device, it is simply amazing. I was able to consolidate my entire library of audio and video onto a single 10 TB array that could then be streamed directly to my TVs using DLNA:

This allowed me to remove all the computers I *was* direct-connected to my Samsung LCD TV's (two computers, each with a different set of media files, and neither having the capacity to consolidate my whole library). All I had to do on the DS1511+ was enable one feature:

Now my TVs just plug into a power outlet and each utilizes a Samsung-branded USB-based 802.11n adapter to stream the content wirelessly. Once the TVs were connected to my network they immediately recognized my DS1511+ and I was able to use nothing but my TV remote to browse and play my ENTIRE library of audio and video files. Simply amazing and a far easier solution than the previous one for playing my digital media (my mantle-piece is now much cleaner).

Books: 'Mere Christianity' by C.S. Lewis

In recent months I've had a lot of friends recommend this book to me:

Normally I tend to read a lot of fiction (i.e. something with a story or plot) and I tend to avoid anything that might fall even remotely into any sort of "self help" category. Still having read the Narnia series as a child I already had great respect for the author so I gave it a go. I burned through the first chapter last night and (honestly) I was surprised. Given the density the subject matter and the sheer vocabulary at Lewis' command he still manages to convey concepts that so often cause bitter feuds in such a simplistic and wholeheartedly genuine fashion. The fact that the material was gleaned from radio broadcasts made by Lewis during World War II makes it even more interesting as you learn a lot about his personal opinions and experiences while living though such a horrific time in history. I have not finished it yet but I am really enjoying what I've read so far. Highly recommended!