Universe belongs to another CMS

Today I was volunteered to help solve a problem with a SAP Business Objects XI R4 universe file somebody had previously created. I attempted to open the file in the Universe Design Tool, only to receive an error message:

You are not authorized to use this document (FRM 00008). Details: The universe belongs to another CMS. You cannot open it unless you are connected to the same CMS from which it was imported.

So I asked where the original Central Management Server against which the universe had been created, and was told that it no longer existed. Oh bother!

I remembered in past versions being able to log on as the General Supervisor user and being able to then open the universe up and save it with a “Personal” connection to circumvent the security. That doesn’t appear to work any longer.

Next I tried another trick that sort of worked in previous releases of XI, creating a new blank universe and then including the inaccessible one as a linked universe. Wasn’t perfect as the linked universe provided a read only view, but it was good for referring back to or copying and pasting from. That doesn’t work anymore either.

Luckily my Google-fu was strong this day, so after scouring the collective wisdom of the internet, trying and discarding 90% of what many of the self appointed experts proclaimed, the following set of steps worked for me.

  • Open up Universe Design Tool and create a new blank universe (File menu, New option) and name it what you want the inaccessible universe to be called, e.g. [Target Universe].

Universe Parameters

  • Export the new [Target Universe] to the repository (File menu, Export option).

Export Universe

  • Find the file system folder where the [Target Universe] is locally saved (File menu, Save As option) and make a note of the path and file name of the [Target Universe] universe file, e.g. C:\Users\[your windows login]\AppData\Roaming\SAP BusinessObjects\SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 4.0\Universes\Target_Universe.unv

Save As

  • Close Universe Designer Tool
  • Using Windows Explorer navigate to the directory containing the [Target Universe] you just noted. Rename the Target_Universe.unv file to something like old_Target_Universe.unv
  • Copy the inaccessible universe file into this directory, and rename it so it has the same name you originally used for the blank [Target Universe], e.g. Target_Universe.unv
  • Log on to the Business Objects Central Management Console
  • Select Universes from the drop down list, and then click on the Universes List item at the top of the navigation pane on the left of screen.
  • Right click on the [Target Universe] entry from the list in the right pane and choose the Properties item from the context menu. On the General Properties screen make a note of the File Name path.

Properties

  • In Windows Explorer on the application server containing the Business Objects server installation navigate to the directory containing the repository version of the [Target Universe]. This will be located in your installation path combined with the file path you noted above, e.g. C:\Program Files (x86)\SAP BusinessObjects\SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 4.0\FileStore\Input\a_151\018\000\4759
  • Replace the repository version of the [Target Universe] file (e.g. Target_Universe.unv) located in the directory you navigated to in Step 10 with the local version of the inaccessible universe you renamed in Step 5. The inaccessible universe file should now have overwritten the one housed in the repository directory.
  • Open up Universe Design Tool again, and Import the [Target Universe] from the repository (File menu, Import option).

Import Universe

  • You may be prompted to confirm you want to replace the local version of the universe you are importing. Click OK.
  • You can now open the previously inaccessible universe file in Universe Design Tool.

Kindle 4 Custom Screen Saver

Recently I was kindly given a shiny new Kindle 4 following the untimely demise of my old original Kindle.Kindle 4

The new kindle is great, however the first time the screensaver came on a picture that looked frightening like my grandmother appeared. It had to go. Five minutes of hunting through the various menus didn’t reveal a “change screensaver pictures” option, so I took to Google to find the answer.

There were a bunch of helpful posts that had bits and pieces of the solution, but I thought I’d pull the steps together in one place here so I could remember how to it again in the future should the need arise. Follow these steps at your own peril, they worked for me but your mileage may vary.

  • Plug the Kindle 4 into your Windows computer using the USB cable.

In Windows:

  • Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the “Kindle” drive letter.
  • Create a blank file named “ENABLE_DIAGS“, with no extension.
  • Eject the Kindle using the “Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media” feature.
  • Unplug the Kindle.

In Kindle:

  • Press the Home button.
  • Press the Menu button.
  • Select “Settings”.
  • Press the Menu button again.
  • Select “Restart”, the Kindle will reboot in diagnostics mode after about 30 seconds.
  • Once rebooted select “N) Misc individual diagnostics” and push the middle button on the 5-way control.
  • Select “U) Utilities” and push the middle button on the 5-way control.
  • Select “Z) Enable USBnet” and push the middle button on the 5-way control.
  • Select “X) Exit – FW Right to exit” and push the right direction button on the 5-way control.
  • Select “X) Exit – FW Right to exit” and push the right direction button on the 5-way control.

In Windows:

  • Plug the Kindle 4 into your Windows computer using the USB cable again.
  • In your Network Settings find the new connection named something like “Local Area Connection 3” (the number may vary depending on your setup, it’ll most likely be the highest number).
  • Right click on the new network connection and choose “Properties”.
  • Right click on “Internet Protocol 4 (TCP/IPv4)” and click the “Properties” button.
  • Click the “Use the following IP address” radio button.
  • Set the IP Address to “192.168.15.1
  • Set the Subnet Mask to “255.255.255.0
  • Click Ok.
  • Click Close.
  • Click Close.
  • Download and run Putty, a free SSH client utility you’ll need to use to talk to your Kindle in the following steps.

In Putty:

  • In the Host Name box type “192.168.15.24
  • In the Connection type choose “SSH
  • In the Port box type “22
  • Click Open, A command line window will open up.
  • Log in to your Kindle using the username “root
  • Enter the password “mario
  • Mount the Kindle by typing “mntroot rw
  • Create the custom screensaver directory by typing “mkdir /mnt/us/screensaver
  • Mount the file share by typing “mount /dev/mmcblk0p1 /mnt/base-mmc
  • Backup the old screensaver directory by typing “mv /mnt/base-mmc/opt/amazon/screen_saver/600×800 /mnt/base-mmc/opt/amazon/screen_saver/600x800_
  • Create a softlink to the new directory by typing “ln -sfn /mnt/us/screensaver /mnt/base-mmc/opt/amazon/screen_saver/600×800
  • Type “exit

In Kindle:

  • Select “D) Exit diagnostics mode and reboot” and push the middle button on the 5-way control.
  • Select “D) Disable Diagnostics” and push the middle button on the 5-way control.
  • Select “Q) To continue – FW LEFT” and push the left direction button on the 5-way control. The Kindle will reboot in diagnostics mode after about 30 seconds.

In Windows:

  • In Windows Explorer browse to your Kindle drive and open the new “screensaver” folder you made earlier.
  • Copy whatever pictures you want to appear in your custom screensaver. The pictures are supposed to be:
    • black & white or greyscale
    • be png or jpg format
    • have dimensions of 800 x 600 pixels
  • Eject the Kindle using the “Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media” feature.
  • Unplug the Kindle.

In Kindle:

  • Press the Home button.
  • Press the Menu button.
  • Select “Settings
  • Press the Menu button again.
  • Select “Restart”, the Kindle will reboot in normal model this time.
  • Click the power button on the bottom of the Kindle and one of your custom screensaver pictures should display.

There are a bunch of screensaver images on a tumblr feed a google search turned up, or there is always the Google image search.

Could not find the Database Engine startup handle

Today I tripped over an annoying issue when attempting to install a Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 instance. About 30% of the way through the installation an error was thrown up:

Could not find the Database Engine startup handle

Not the world’s most informative error message, but something to search for on Google nonetheless. Unfortunately in this instance the collective wisdom of the internet was for the most part wrong, misguided or just plain unhelpful.

So what was actually the problem? And how did I fix it (because fix it I did)?

Well during this past weekend I decided to give Microsoft Virtual PC a test drive. I’ve long been a fan of the free VMWare Server, but having heard recently it was to be discontinued I thought it time to consider the alternatives. So I ran up a virtual machine, installed the operating system, waited for hours while it completed the seemingly endless series of Windows updates and reboots required to bring the virtual machine up to date, before finally I was ready to install SQL Server 2008 R2.

I pointed the virtual machine DVD drive to the installation media ISO I had downloaded ages ago off MSDN. It opened the file with no apparent drama, and after clicking on Setup.exe the installation process proceeded as per usual. As mentioned above it got part the way through before raising an error I hadn’t seen before,  “Could not find the Database Engine startup handle”.

At this point I should explain that I’ve successfully installed instances from this copy of the installation media without issue.

After much trial and error, following bum steers and red herrings off offered by many a self appointed “expert” on various technology forums, I got to the bottom of the problem.

Turns out Microsoft Virtual PC has trouble reading ISO files properly. Burn the file to a real live physical DVD and the install works. Extract the contents of the ISO to a file folder, then run the install from there and the install works. However run it from the ISO like I have successfully done with VMWare server and it crashes and burns.

The moral of the story? Virtual PC is actually pretty good, probably a tighter integration with the host operating system than VMWare Server offered. Also you tend to get what you pay for, so take what you read on techie blogs and forums with a large dose of caution.

A connection cannot be made to redirector

Recently I uninstalled an instance of Analysis Services from a server running SQL Server 2008 R2. It was a development server hosting Reporting Services, a couple of instances of SQL Server, and a couple of named instances of Analysis Services.

The uninstall was uneventful, no error messages or issues were reported by the SQL installation program.

After the uninstall was complete I rebooted the box. Then I tested the connectity:

  • Connect to SQL Server instances. Check
  • Connect to Reporting Services. Check
  • Connect to the remaining named Analysis Services instance… Fail!

At that point my day took a turn for the worse. When I attempted the connection in Management Studio I got an error stating:

A Connection Cannot be made to redirector.Ensure that 'SQL BROWSER' Service is running
No Connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it 127.0.0.1:2382

I had been attempting to connect remotely from my desktop so I thought I’d have a go logging on to the server and connecting locally, just in case the remote connection property had been switched off somehow. No joy.

I checked that the Analysis Services and SQL Browser services were both up and running. They were.

Out of ideas of my own I turned to Google. It appeared this was a relatively common problem, with people complaining about it on every version since SQL Server 2005. Unfortunately while there was a lot of whinging about the issue nobody seemed to have understood or actually solved it.

The error message mentioned ports so I checked the firewall configuration to ensure that port was still configured to allow connections through. It was.

The common work around people seemed to come up with was change the account that the Analysis Services and SQL Browser services are running as so they use the inbuilt Local System account. Not exactly a solution, the instance could be connected under the existing service account prior to the uninstall after all so this looked like a coincidence rather than a fix of the problem. Plus the SQL Browser service was already running as Local System.

I checked the ini file that SQL Browser uses for port mappings and everything was consistent with the equivalent file on a different server were the connectivity was working correctly.

I didn’t really want to uninstall, reinstall, and reconfigure the instance I could no longer connect to. So next I tried running the Repair option in the SQL Configuration Manager over the shared components which includes SQL Browser. No luck.

Finally I ran the Repair over the Analysis Services instance I couldn’t connect to. There was no logical reason for this, I hadn’t changed anything on that instance so it should all still be configured and functioning as it had been prior to my uninstall.

The Repair exercise reported back after 10 minutes that everything was fine and it didn’t output anything that indicated it had changed any configuration settings. However when I attempted to connect to the remaining named Analysis Services instance it succeeded. At which point I did the victory dance and decided to write up my misadventure here in case I ever run into the problem again and by then can’t remember what I did to remedy it.

iPod Nano flashing red and green

Recently I jumped on the treadmill at the gym, all set for a run down the road to nowhere. I went to switch on my iPod Nano only to discover it wouldn’t play any music. At first I thought it was just a flat battery, but after a couple of hours charging it still wouldn’t work.

What it was doing was flashing the LED light in an alternating green and red pattern. Very festive given the season, but pretty unhelpful when you consider that in the gym that day they seemed to be having a Phil Collins lovefest on the inhouse entertainment system.

Doing a bit of research on the internet turned up a bunch of forums and message boards which had the consensus view that (a) the problem was somewhat common, and (b) the iPod was now toast.

One thing I noticed when I’d plugged it in to charge is that the device still showed up in iTunes even though it wouldn’t play any music. This got me curious.

To start with I restored iPod to the factory defaults by clicking the Restore button in iTunes. All my music was removed from the device. It still gave me the flashing green and red light treatment, and when I copied a song onto the device it still would not play.

Even though iTunes could see it, the iPod didn’t show up under Windows Explorer. A bit more research turned up a check box on the Settings screen in iTunes to enable disk usage, which is Apple-speak for make the device visible to Windows Explorer.

iPod Nano - enable disk usage

Once done the iPod Nano showed up as a drive letter under Windows Explorer. Right clicking on the drive letter produced the context menu shown below. I chose Format to reformat the drive.

Select format from the Windows Explorer context menu

This brings up a dialog box where I could specify the details of the reformat operation. To work the iPod needs to be formatted using FAT-32. I opted for a Quick Format and clicked the Start button.

Quick format using FAT-32

After a little while the format completed. The drive letter was still visible under Windows Explorer, and under iTunes so on the face of it not much had changed.

However this time when I copied music across to the device gave me a solid green LED light, and more importantly music played!

How to make a ringtone in iTunes

The out of the box ringtones on an iphone are pretty unimaginative. This is an easy problem to solve however as iTunes has a feature that makes it easy to turn a segment of a song into a ringtone.

(1) Go into iTunes, navigate to the music library, and pick the song you want to use as the ringtone.

(2) Right click on the song and choose Get Info.

(3) In the window that opens up click on the Options tab.

(4) Define the beginning and end positions of the music sample you want to turn into a ring tone by entering the Start Time and Stop Time positions as shown below. Click OK to close the window.

Set the start and end times for the ringtone.
Set the start and end times for the ringtone.

(5) Now right click on the song again, this time choose Create AAC version. A second copy of the song will appear in your iTunes music library, this one only containing the sample you selected when you supplied the start and end times.

Create AAC version of song

Create AAC version of song

(6) Open up a Windows Explorer window and navigate to the file system location of your iTunes music library. It will be located somewhere like C:\Users\[your windows user name]\Music\iTunes\iTunes Music

(7) Change the file extension of the copy you just created from .m4a to .m4r.

(8) Go back into iTunes and choose the File menu, Add File To Library item.

(9) Browse to the location of your iTunes music library where you changed the file extension earlier, and select the file with the .m4r extension you just renamed. Then click Open.

(10) The ringtone will have been added to the Ringtones library in your iTunes.

(11) Now for a bit of housekeeping. Go back into your iTunes music library folder again and delete the entry for the copy of the song you made earlier, as it no longer points to anything since you changed the file extension to be a ringtone.

(12) Sync the iphone with iTunes to copy the ringtone across to the phone.

(13) On the iphone go into Settings, Sounds, Ringtoneand browse for your newly created customised ringtone.

That’s all there is to it. The hardest part is choosing the right song to sample.

Colour coded SQL Server 2008 sessions

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 has a limited capability to provide a visible alert if you are connected to a production server.

It does this by changing the colour of the notification bar in the SQL Server Management Console, which can be a life saver if you have numerous SQL Server instances that you work with,  or have production access on some instances and not others.

By default all connections look the same.

By default all connections look the same.

The implementation isn’t fool proof, it only works if you create a new query from the Registered Servers menu rather than clicking the New Query button. Hopefully Microsoft will get this right with a future patch or release, but for it now it relies on the user to retrain themselves to create query sessions via a right click on the Registered Servers pane.

To set up the colour coding follow these steps:

(1) From the View menu choose the Registered Servers item. A new window pane should appear on the left of the Management Console window.

(2) Register the details of the instance you are wanting to connect to by right clicking on the folder you want to include the server registration under, e.g. Local Server Groups, and choose New Server Registration.

(2a) Alternatively if you’re wanting to modify the registration of an already registered instance right click on the registered instance name instead and then choose Properties.

(3) Enter the details of the instance to be registered in the General tab.

(4) Click on the Connection Properties tab and tick the Use custom color box. Push the Select button to choose the colour you wish the notification bar to be colour coded with. Choose the colour and click OK.

Choose custom colour for notification bar alerts

Choose custom colour for notification bar alerts

(5) Click Save to persist the instance registration.

(6) Now right click on the newly registered instance and choose New Query. The query session that opens up in the right hand pane of the window should display the notification bar coloured with the shade you selected during the registration process.

Colour coded notification bar.

Colour coded notification bar.

Once you have retrained yourself to use the Registered Servers pane to launch new query sessions you will have no excuse for accidentally running code in a production environment!

Desktop themes on Windows Server 2008

The default interface of Windows Server 2008 is a tad plain. There is a built in option to spruce it up a little, giving it the Vista Aero treatment.

To do this perform the following actions:

(1) Click on the Start menu, then click Server Manager.

(2) In the left pane of the Server Manager window click on the Features item.

(3) In the right window pane click on the Add Features menu item.

Click add features from the Features section of the Server Manager window.

Click Add Features from the Server Manager window.

(4) In the Add Features Wizard dialog that appears tick the Desktop Experience box and click Next

Tick the Desktop Experience option.

Tick the Desktop Experience option.

(5) Click the Install button on the next screen that appears, then go get a drink and stretch your legs, the feature takes an eternity to finish installing. Click Close when it is complete.

(6) When the installation finishes you’ll need to reboot the machine. After the reboot the Server Manager Features screen will show the Desktop Themes feature as having being installed.

Desktop Themes shows as an installed Feature.

Desktop Themes shows as an installed Feature.

(7) Once the server has restarted click on the Start menu, Administrative Tools, Services item.

(8) Scroll down to find the Themes service. It will probably not be running and require a manual start.

The Themes service needs to be running.

The Themes service needs to be running.

(9) Right click on the Themes service and choose Properties from the pop up menu.

(10) Change to the Startup type to Automatic, click the Start button to initiate the service now, and then click OK to make the changes permanent.

Start the Themes service automatically each time the server boots up.

Start the Themes service automatically each time the server boots up.

(11) Now right click somewhere on the desktop background and choose Personalize from the pop up menu. From the screen that opens up click on the Theme item.

Choose Themes from the Personalization screen.

Choose Themes from the Personalization screen.

(12) Select Windows Vista from the Theme drop down, and then click OK.

Select the Windows Vista theme.

That’s all there is to it, after a few seconds the windows theme will change and you will be basking in the Aero themed user interface.

The new theme has been applied.

The new theme has been applied.

Disable Internet Explorer Enhanced Security

Windows Server 2008 has a security feature called Internet Explorer Enhanced Security that makes it difficult to surf the internet. In a production or commercial environment that is probably a great idea, however if you have run up a virtual machine at home to play around on then you may find it gets in the way.

To disable Internet Explorer Enhanced Security perform the following steps:

(1) Click on the Start Menu, then choose Server Manager.

(2) Click on the Server Manager item from the left window pane, then in the right window pane scroll down to the Security Information heading.

(3) Click the Configure IE ESC item from the menu on the right of screen.

Configure IE ESC

Configure Internet Explorer Enhanced Security from the Server Manager.

(4) In the Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration dialog that opens click on the Off option to disable Internet Explorer Enhanced Security, then click OK.

Switch off Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration

Switch off Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration

That’s it, job done. Do think carefully about whether disabling this security feature is appropriate for your server before switching off Enhanced Security.