I Hate Ma Bell

The only thing more annoying than dealing with Ontario Health Care is dealing with Ontario Internet Providers. It is unfathomably difficult to get uncapped, un-shaped Internet in Ontario. You cannot imagine.

In short, there are only two services (lower than T1) that offer it. Rogers Business High Speed, and Bell Business Ultra High Speed. No independent DSL ISPs are able to offer un-shaped Internet, even on a dry-loop — Bell only wholesales their Residential network (yes, that includes TekSavvy.)

Rogers offers un-crippled business-class Internet, but not if the location you’re installing it at is zoned as residential. Have a home office, or a small business run from your home? Sorry, you’re screwed.

Bell will sell you business-class, uncrippled Internet for your home office/small office, but they charge 1.5 times what Rogers charges, and 3 times their residential (shaped and capped) Internet.

And what they don’t tell you, in their righteous indignation about “protecting the world from file sharing pirates,” is that their shaping technology throttles any encrypted traffic. That includes online banking, and VPN access to a remote office. Your 6MBPS DSL becomes 30KBPS DSL as soon as you encrypt the traffic!
And what’s worse? No one at Bell even knows what “traffic shaping” is. Trying to get information from them on who you can pay and how much, to get real Internet, is like trying to get a newborn to stop pooping her pants. They just don’t know how.

Don’t even get me started on the cell phone companies — and don’t get Nicole started on OHIP. You may have heard me bash certain American policies and bureaucracies, but I’ll tell you what, moving to Canada is like moving backward in time 15 years.

It’s like we’ve spent 2.5 years living as the Jetsons, and now we have to figure out how to live as the Flintstones…

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Controlling a Hyper-V Server with a Remote Client

In our organization, we’re prototyping rolling out a number of Hyper-V servers, possibly even moving to headless development servers. Microsoft does provide a client that allows you to manage them remotely, but its in a very pre-release state right now. It only works with Vista. Here’s some tips and a best practice or two we’ve settled on for getting started. These links all come from the same guy who seems to know what he’s talking about:

The Client requires that the workstation have a user configured with identical credentials to a corresponding server user. Since our plan involves different developers connecting to different servers, we needed to standardize:

  • Each server has an account called “hypervadmin”
  • Each client has an account called “hypervadmin”
  • Their password’s are the same

Unfortunately, at least in this version, the accounts must be administrators on both the client and server boxes.

The problem then becomes what user to work under on the workstation. Each developer needs to be logged into their domain account, and its not acceptable for them to have to log out and re-log in as “hypervadmin” every time they want to tweak something on a server. And of course Vista has removed the “Run As…” context menu item from Windows Explorer, replacing it with the not-nearly-as-useful “Run As Administrator” menu item.

So, here’s the silver bullet:
runas /env /user:hypervadmin "mmc \"%ProgramFiles%\Hyper-V\virtmgmt.msc\""

This little command, run at the command line, from the “Run…” dialog, or via a Shortcut (where you can customize the appearance of the command window) will allow you to “Run As…” a specific MMC snap-in as an arbitrary user in Windows Vista.

I pulled it together in a batch file that made it look a little prettier, put it in a nice Shortcut and dropped it in my Start Menu. Now I can connect to any of our Hyper-V servers without having to switch user’s on my Vista box.