Thursday, August 04, 2011

Caffeine - Utility to disable screen saver w/o interrupting input

I ran this on a machine I was RDP’d into to prevent the screen saver from appearing while I was logged in.  Handy.  And like other powerful utilities, potentially dangerous.  Not so much in an RDP session, though, because the console running the RDP client wouldn’t/shouldn’t(not a good idea) have this running, just the target host.  The author simulates an F15 keypress to make this work.  Didn’t know I had an F15 key.  Very nice.

Only 2 files inside the compressed download, and one is a README.

imageIf you have problems with your PC locking or going to sleep, caffeine will keep it awake. It works by simulating a keypress once every 59 seconds, so your machine thinks you're still working at the keyboard, and won't lock the screen or activate the screensaver.

The icon is shown above - it's the leftmost one in the task tray, and this is all you see. Double-clicking the icon empties the coffee pot (that's what the icon is) and temporarily disables the program. Double-clicking it again refills the pot, and will keep your machine awake.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Firewall Upgrade to pfSense 2.0 RC3 from pfSense 2.0 RC1

This morning I downloaded the latest (2.0 RC3) full upgrade of pfSense for my home firewall.  I was previously running pfSense 2.0 RC1.  I’ve been using pfSense since it was in alpha, and have always found it to be extremely stable.

Step 1: Backup your current pfSense configuration, just to be safe.

Step 2: Download the full upgrade for your architecture(i386 for me – I run pfSense on an old laptop for power savings)


Step 3: Upload the firmware via the pfSense web interface ( System >> Firmware ) & click ‘Upgrade firmware’


Step 4: Wait for the upgrade to complete.  I navigated to the home page of the web interface for pfSense during the upgrade and found this nifty ‘upgrade is currently in progress’ screen.  The speakers on the old laptop still work, and a lovely series of beeps and tweets played once the firewall completed its upgrade and boot sequence.


Step 5: Logon to pfSense web interface, verify new version, and confirm firewall functionality.


All done!