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A strange conveyance

Despite my previous whining I am now, the vagaries of soliciting aside, very nearly the owner of an entire house including, though not limited to, some rooms, a roof, two floors, and at least four whole walls. I don’t have anything to put inside those walls – my main possessions being bicycles and books rather than cupboards and beds – but the option is there should I wish to make use of it.

These, then, are interesting times. At least they would be were the entire process not so utterly bereft of interest and urgency. I marvel, truly marvel, at the fact that the drudgery of house buying hasn’t been automated by now because I can’t think of a single reason why it wouldn’t be. It’s as though the entire industry is somehow deliberately anachronistic, convoluted and plodding so as to milk money from those embroiled in it. Imagine that.

Talking about houses, mortgages, kitchens, interest rates, and colour schemes is important you see, and I must share my insights with you always whether you want me to or not. There was a time when I didn’t understand why that was but now that I, too, have succumbed to the inexorable tick-list of what’s expected, I can confirm that it is indeed so. Oh my, yes. The good deals on the things in the places and the excellent cover for the material goods and the objects? All are paramount in my mind now.

Only … they’re not. They’re boring. They’ve always been boring and they’ll always be boring. They are dullness itself and, while I will accept that my enthusiasm for cartoons, weird music, and make-believe are childish and immature, at least they don’t involve talking to a solicitor about conveyancing or deciding which colour the bowl you shit in is going to be.

No mention of pants

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I guess some people go commando.

That said, East Anglian Hardcore is either a band or incest porn and I’m not sure I want to know which.

Aren’t we all?

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I mean let’s face it, it’s all about the money these days.

What a world

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Realistically, that’s what we already have and it isn’t all that.

Emboozening

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Do you want to go for a beer he says?
What a silly question.

It also would seem that some people visit pubs known for their excellent beer selections and order Carling. The savages.

Fun for all the family

Do you work in I.T? Do you hate talking to people? Do you need to uninstall something and want to avoid all that time-consuming social interaction? Well, you should have SCCM installed but if you don’t, there’s this.

Elevate your command prompt.

Use these words of power.

Wmic /node:"hostname" product where "name like '%theName%'" call uninstall /nointeractive

Replace hostname with, well, the hostname (or the IP) of the system you wish to target and replace theName with whichever application you want to remove. Leave the “” and %% in place as % is a wildcard to help matching and “” just encloses your hostname if you fqdn it.

If you want to be less vague with your words of power, swap “name like ‘%theName%'” for name=”theExactName” and Robert’s your father’s brother.

You can also call use call reinstall /nointeractive to reinstall the application if it pleases you to do so.

Obviously you’ll need the requisite permissions to the target machine in order to run these commands but I’m guessing you knew that already. Enjoy.

We property developers now

In this time of electoral focus I represent the nadir of political engagement. Not because I’m not interested in the governance of the country, the various party policies or the horrible inevitability of the next shower of bastards being just as bad and self-serving as the last. That’s not it at all. No, see, the problem is that I’m single, white, male and employed.

First World problems

Boo-hoo-hoo.

At this point some will no doubt have reached for their privilege checkers because, as we all know, complicated social issues are always best addressed with some trite millennial phrase that the witless can spout to seem intellectual and engaged – like those people who shout YOLO and think they’re expressing a somehow new concept that Carpe Diem doesn’t cover.

I know, OK? I’m aware of the manifold advantages that the accident of my birth has conveyed upon me. I’m also pretty certain that I’ll never be able to apologise enough for the random chance that is my existence to make some people happy and so I won’t bother. What I will do is gripe about the fact that, due to our vacuous and graspingly aspirational culture, everyone’s a property developer now. No one knows why they are, but people are seemingly consumed by the desire to ‘add value’ to their property as though living in it is some transient step on the ladder to an identical building where they can repeat the cycle.

Arseholes

Just look at them.

Consequently, and quite aside from the national shortfall in affordable housing – with new builds typically being featureless shitboxes crammed cheek-by-jowl on postage stamp-sized plots – my options are few. There’s little in the way of bribes, I mean incentives … sorry, policies in any of the manifestos that are of any particular benefit – presumably because I already have all the advantages I need – and those houses that do hit the market are either overpriced courtesy of speculation or snapped up by some tit and split into a dozen shoeboxes for people who like having their bed in the kitchen.

There’s also the curious trend toward rents being in roughly the same ballpark as mortgages, with the same litany of mysterious fees – including council tax which, so far as I can tell, evaporates into the ether – and the question of why it’s ok for millions to pay someone else’s mortgage by-proxy when they can’t necessarily obtain one of their own.

Look, what I’m saying is that I hate my housemates and I’m stuck for the next twelve months. God damn it.

The suburbs they are dreaming

Do I work in I.T. because I watch cartoons, read comics and listen to Metal or do I listen to Metal, read comics and watch cartoons because I work in I.T? It’s an ancient conundrum that no stereotype-wielding acquaintance has so far been able to answer.

Not that it matters really, stereotypes being what they are, but very few people consider why the geek and nerd tropes persist when we all have smartphones and the internet pervades every aspect of the lives of millions. People realise that that’s down to the same basement-dwelling, sword and sorcery reading, cat photographing people that the previous three assumptions are so very incorrect about, surely?

Perhaps not. It’s one of those quirks of human nature that there’s little point in wondering about too deeply. Do so and you soon realise that we all do it and that isn’t a very pretty mirror to look in – it is well known, for example, that all people who watch Britain’s got X-Factor on Ice are drooling idiots who cavort with Smirnoff Ice in flat-roofed pubs.

Nothing at all wrong with my baseless assumption there, not at all.

Ok, so sometimes stereotypes have a foot in the door of accuracy, but bear with me. Yes, it’s a show about sentient clothes and, well, fan service. Quite a lot of it, actually. It’s also gloriously over the top and ridiculous in ways that are difficult to describe without a frame of reference. Don’t judge me. Do however, judge this. It’s a track from the soundtrack called Blumenkranz and I rather like it.

A song in German, sung by a Japanese for an anime about fascist clothing. Funny old world.

Not a rice wine

I first encountered sake when my grandfather, having served in the Far-East during the war, poured me glass and bade me drink. I didn’t like it. Then again, children don’t like many things beyond cartoons, sweets and make-believe. In that respect, I think only my opinion on sake has changed noticeably in comparison to a ten-year-old self  who, I suspect, would be very disappointed with how things have turned out.

Salt and SakeSake next made an appearance in my early twenties, a gift from a friend, and warmly received in the manner of so many presents you’re not sure what to do with but understand that the gift isn’t the point. It was drunk, not savoured, and went the way of all drinks encountered when you’re young and caught up in all those things that seem so important at the time.

Then a lull.

Then, ostensibly, a one-off trip of a lifetime to Japan. Nights spent in a town called Takayama, some people barely met and sake of many subtleties sampled and sampled again. Then sleeping in an onsen, a big mountain, cans of Strong and home.

Only, home’s comfortable and familiar, with a great interminable rut running through it, and now seems rather grey and prosaic so why not … take another trip? Only this time take some friends, talk to some locals, see what happens.

A lot happened. We went everywhere, spoke to everyone, ate and drank everything – two of us even tried to eat sparrow and were only thwarted by it being off the menu at the moment, so sorry. We also found ourselves at a place called Saijo where, by chance and design, they were having a sake festival. I like sake now, or so it would seem, and in deference to my ten-year-old self I would say that perhaps his horizons were not all that broad.

http://www.tengusake.com/product/waning-moon/Not that they’re anything to brag about these days, though they do encompass a great many things that I would never have dreamed of back when I had that first cup. This bottle to the left here, for example, is a brew called Waning Moon. I like it. It’s drinkable. I don’t know why I like it exactly because, frankly, I’m not a connoisseur of anything much and osusume gets you a long way in culinary situations.

The people over at Tengu Sake are connoisseurs however, and it’s very refreshing to find that something that I enjoy is creeping into the UK marketplace where I can, for example, drink it. There’s even a helpful little blog, if that’s your thing. Speaking for myself, I think it just might be.

As per the blurb, I can confirm that Waning Moon is indeed and easy-drinking sake because it’s mostly gone now. I can’t speak to what it’s like warm because, well, it’s summer and it just doesn’t feel right, but for sitting outside and having a snifter it does just fine.

In time I suspect the novelty may wear off to be replaced by some fresh interest, like Armagnac or abstinence – ha, no – but until then it’ll be fun to see where this takes me.

Levels of excitement

I work in I.T and am therefore both exciting and dynamic, this much is given. Often this exciting dynamism – henceforth known as excitamism – takes the form of such thrilling activities as massive OS rollouts, cluster building or VOIP tinkering. Sometimes it takes the form of adding a generic photo to every user account in AD.

Every user account. All of them. The mail-enabled ones anyway, there’s no point with the others because they don’t appear in the address book. Amirite?

It is at times like these that you think to yourself “but I don’t want to do that all by hand, I am lazy” and by summoning the full power of your brain you achieve the impossible. At the very least you achieve a mackled together PowerShell script that does the job for you. Then you run it on a schedule so that you never have to do it again. EXCITAMISM!

#If I could be bothered, I'd hack this a little more to add error some handling and a message when no results were returned.
#I can't though, because I am. There's some annotation though. Let's hear a big hurrah for jerry-rigging.

#import PowerShell AD Module
Import-Module ActiveDirectory
#set search root as required eg: OU=Users,DC=your,DC=Domain
$searchRoot = OU=Users,DC=your,DC=Domain"
#set default image source for your user profiles 96x96px jpg, gif, whatever
$defaultImageSrc = "C:\Tools\Powershell\Resources\default.jpg"

#wait function just for the sake of it
function wait{
Write-host -ForegroundColor Green "`nPress any key to continue ..."
$HOST.UI.RawUI.ReadKey("NoEcho,IncludeKeyDown") | OUT-NULL
$HOST.UI.RawUI.Flushinputbuffer()
}

# exit the script
function quit {
exit
}

#queries ad for mail enabled users with no profile photo set
function setPhoto{
Write-host -ForegroundColor Green "Running"
$users = GET-ADUSER -filter * -SearchBase $searchRoot -properties ThumbnailPhoto,Mail | Where { $_.ThumbnailPhoto -eq $NULL -and $_.mail -ne $NULL}
#loops through the returned results and sets the thumbnail photo
ForEach($user in $users)
{
"Setting photo for $($user.name)"
#Old method removed to replace the requirement for Exchange Snap-In being loaded
#Import-RecipientDataProperty -Identity $user.distinguishedName -Picture -FileData ([Byte[]]$(Get-Content -Path $defaultImageSrc -Encoding Byte -ReadCount 0))
Set-ADUser $user.distinguishedName -Replace @{thumbnailPhoto=([byte[]](Get-Content $defaultImageSrc -Encoding byte -ReadCount 0))}
}
Write-Host -ForegroundColor Green "Done"
wait
}

#queries ad for mail enabled users and returns them in a list
function noPhoto{
Write-host -ForegroundColor Green "Mail enabled users with no photo set"
GET-ADUSER -filter * -SearchBase $searchRoot -properties ThumbnailPhoto,Mail | Where { $_.ThumbnailPhoto -eq $NULL -and $_.mail -ne $NULL} | Select Name | Sort-Object Name
Write-Host -ForegroundColor Green "Done"
wait
}

#menu loop
do {
[int]$xMenuChoiceA = 0
while ( $xMenuChoiceA -lt 1 -or $xMenuChoiceA -gt 3 ){
cls
Write-host "AD Photo Tool`n"
Write-host -ForegroundColor Cyan "1. List users with no photo"
Write-host -ForegroundColor Cyan "2. Set default photo"
Write-host -ForegroundColor DarkCyan "3. Quit and exit"
[Int]$xMenuChoiceA = read-host "`nPlease enter an option 1 to 3" }
Switch( $xMenuChoiceA ){
1{cls | noPhoto}
2{cls | setPhoto}
default{cls | quit}
}
} while ( $userMenuChoice -ne 3 )

Run at your own risk, no support or anything else is implied. Blah, blah, blah. I’d credit the various people I bodged this together from if I could remember who they were. Don’t come crying to me. It’s all fun and games until someone loses and eye and so on.

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