Category Archives: General Rants

Group Policy not applying – Inaccessible, Empty or Disabled

This is affecting Windows 8.1

Group Policies that used to work are now not applying. A quick check on the failing PC using gpresult –h shows that the policy is Inaccessible, Empty or Disabled.

GroupPolicy_Inaccessible_Empty_or_Disabled

No changes have been made to Group Policy.

Quick Solution

This is due to a Microsoft Patch to plug some holes in the way Group Policy is deployed ( https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/kb/3159398 ) and affects group policies where there are security filtering enabled.

Find the Group Policy that is being affected and on the delegation tab give “read” permission to the “authenticated users” group. This will not apply the policy to all users as that is controlled using the “Apply group policy” permission. This will simply allow the GPO to be read and thus interpreted by the PC.

GPODelegation_Inaccessible_Empty_or_Disabled

Once updated, run a gpupdate /force and things should be back to the way they were.

Fixed_GPO_Inaccessible_Empty_or_Disabled

Alternative Solution

Remove the patch KB3159398 from all affected PCsUninstall_Patch_Inaccessible_Empty_or_Disabled

How to upgrade a Jailbroken iPhone 3Gs to 3.1.2

If your SHSH hashes for your iPhone have been logged to Cydia, you can upgrade your iPhone firmware to 3.1.2 with a bit of hacking.

Step 1

Check to make sure that your SHSH files are logged with Cydia

If this is the case, you are in luck and should be able to upgrade you iPhone.

Step 2

Download the iPhone 3.1.2 firmware from http://www.felixbruns.de/iPod/firmware/

Step 3

Edit your hosts file (usually located in C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts) using notepad and add the following line to the bottom of the file.

74.208.105.171           gs.apple.com

This fools iTunes into pointing to the Cydia servers for the verification codes to confirm that the 3.1.2 firmware is allowed to be applied to your iPhone.

Step 4

Make sure your iPhone is fully charged (this reduces the risk of it turning off mid upgrade), plug it into your PC and fire up iTunes

Step 5

Once connected, in iTunes, click on your iPhone in the side bar Shift+Click on restore and browse to the 3.1.2 firmware that you downloaded.

Click OK and wait for iTunes to go through its motions.

Step 6

Once complete your iPhone will reboot and you will be given the option to restore your files and settings from a backup.

Choose your backup and then click continue.

iTunes will now restore your files and settings to your iPhone.

Make a cup of tea or something whilst waiting…

Step 7

Download your Jailbreak of choice. I use blackra1n – http://blackra1n.com/

Step 8

Jailbreak your iPhone following the instructions of the jailbreak program. For blackra1n, just launch the program and click “make it ra1n”

Job done!

Useful links:

iPhone Firmwares – http://www.felixbruns.de/iPod/firmware/

Blackra1n – http://blackra1n.com/

Pwnage Tool – http://blog.iphone-dev.org/

Youtube Video by tysiphonehelp for blackra1n – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7DnqOS1njU

Can’t sleep…

I can’t sleep. I have been up since 3am so I figured as it has been a while since I made a post, a quick update was in order.

The past few months have been quite busy for me, I have been focusing a lot on my career and building up my certifications, work has had a few restructures and I have also just moved house.

In July I passed the CompTIA Security+ exam and in October I completed the final exams to gain my MCSA in Server 2003. I am now focusing on my CCNA which all things going well, I hope to complete by the end of the year or beginning of January at the latest. I was originally aiming to complete my MCSE as well but money and time have not been on my side especially with moving house and work commitments.

I am sitting in the kitchen of my new house which overlooks some farmers fields, waiting for the sun to come up drinking a cup of tea. We moved in on the 31st of October and two weeks on most of the things are sorted. Our stuff has been unboxed and places have been found for most things. Internet is still waiting to be connected and we are playing it safe until our gas and electric switch over to our preferred supplier. Funny how important it is nowadays to search for a property that is serviced by a decent Internet connection! Before we decided to go for the house, I logged onto www.samknows.com to check what the local exchange could offer us, the house is lovely but I wonder if we would have gone with it if we couldn’t get some form of ADSL connection. There is a scheme called the Digital Region running in South Yorkshire the aims to get every house connected to the Internet via fiber at speeds of around 100meg within the next few years. They have already laid the fiber down the main road next to work so things are looking promising. 100meg line to your house sounds pretty neat, but I wonder what the contention will be like. Still, anything is better than relying on a 3g data dongle for all our Internet needs. 3g coverage is not great here and my iPhone flutters from GPRS and 3g depending where you are in the house, the data dongle is a bit more consistent which I put down to having a stronger antenna buy is still shaky at best. Here’s hoping that our broadband gets connected soon.

I forgot how tiring and stressful moving house can be but thanks to a few mates, we managed to get everything across in a weekend without anyone being stabbed or otherwise abused/injured! Being preoccupied with the move I completely missed Halloween and Guy Fawkes this year and it seems strange that Christmas is only a few weeks away. Is it something to do with getting older that the years seem to get shorter? Like when you are five a year is a fifth of your life so seems quite long but when your 25 it is only a 25th of your life so seems much shorter?

Kinda tailing off now so I’ll leave it at that…

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
Starring:
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
Director:
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
Director:
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

Shorts

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
Starring:
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
Director:
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
Director:
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.

Gamer

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
Director:
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

Pandorum

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!