Thursday, April 30, 2009

Socialized Electricity, everybody give to the poor

This article was just posted on Pacific Business News.

HECO plans credits for low-income customers - Pacific Business News (Honolulu):
Hawaiian Electric Co. has proposed raising rates on all customers to help cut the electric bills of low-income households.

The utility filed an application Thursday with the state Public Utilities Commission to offer so-called “lifeline rates” in the form of fixed monthly bill credits to qualifying families.

The proposed credit amounts are: $25 on Oahu, $30 on Maui, and $35 on the Big Island, Molokai and Lanai.

All ratepayers would pay a monthly surcharge to cover the cost of the credit program.

If approved, the surcharge for a typical monthly residential electric bill is estimated to be up to 31 cents on Oahu; up to 77 cents in Maui County; and up to $1.54 on the Big Island.

“We started developing this proposal late last year, but it’s especially timely now given the economic challenges our community is facing, and the need to help those most vulnerable,” Dick Rosenblum, HECO’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

The credits would be available to customers currently enrolled in one of three government assistance programs: Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Medicaid, and Supplemental Security Income.

HECO committed to develop the program as part of an energy agreement signed in October 2008 with the state as part of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative.

I know it is just 31 cents on Oahu, but it is the principle of the matter. Do we have any say in what policies natural monopolies are enacting. I guess they can use the political swing to their advantage whenever they see fit.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Java Installation: Update 13 note

I just wanted to let everyone know that after getting JRE 6 update 13 installed on my own computer, I created a GPO to have it install to the network computers. Little did I know that there were also going to be problems with that. It seems that it is taking a long time, like half an hour long, to install via GPO. Luckily a long install time is the only problem and doesn't result in a non-install.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Java Installation: Internal Error 2753. regutils.dll

I was recently installing/uninstalling a ton of programs and at the end, ran CCleaner. Well that turned out to be a mistake (also because I didn't back up the registry) and ended up with a botched Java Runtime Environment (JRE) install. I only found that out when the newest update to Java came up and returned with an error box stating "Internal Error 2753. regutils.dll". Wow, such a specific message. I did some searching around and found that you can use the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility to get rid of all your old Java installations and then install the newest version. That's what worked for me, I hope it works for you too.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Spiceworks Help Desk Customization Plugin

I use the Spiceworks helpdesk function every day for work to keep track of the things I need to do. I think that it is a great built in function that lets me use one piece of software to handle many different functions. I really love the helpdesk feature but still find it a little lacking compared to some of the more full featured helpdesks such as OTRS. With the invention of plugins with the 3.6 (maybe it was 3.5) line of Spiceworks, there are a whole bunch of new posibilities out there. Cat, a Spiceworks UI Developer, created a neat little plugin that let you customize a few options in the helpdesk.
  • ticket status in the toolbar
  • increased ticket window height
  • colors for past due tickets and private messages
  • information on devices in the Related To field
Well, that wasn't enough for me so I delved into the world of plugin making. I added:
  • custom color codes
  • enabling/disabling ticket window height
  • custom ticket window height
  • more refreshes in the ticket status toolbar
It's still not perfect and I have to rely on the API provided, but I think it is a good start.

If you have Spiceworks, you can install the plugin here. If not, what's wrong with you? Download Spiceworks

The following is the source code for the plugin. Feel free to borrow from it or use it as a tutorial to start programming plugins for Spiceworks.
// @name Help Desk Customizations Clone
// @description Adds minor enhancements to your Help Desk, including ticket status in the toolbar, increased ticket window height, colors for past due tickets and private messages, and information on devices in the Related To field. From Kat's plugin, I made the expanding height optional and put a refresh of the status bar on ticket close.
// @version 0.3

settingDefinitions: [
{name: 'past_due_color', label: 'Past Due Highlight Color', type: 'string', defaultValue: '#ffdede', example: 'Default: #ffdede'},
{name: 'private_note_color', label: 'Private Note Color', type: 'string', defaultValue: '#e3eaf2', example: 'Default: #e3eaf2'},
{name: 'expanded_height_enabled', label:'Enable Increased Window Height', type:'checkbox', defaultValue: false},
{name: 'expanded_height', label: 'Ticket Window Height (in px)', type: 'string', defaultValue: '500', example: 'Default: 500'}

function refreshToolbarTicketInfo(){
// display ticket stats
var numOpenTickets ='all', {filter:'open'}).length;
var numPastDue ='all', {filter:'past_due'}).length;

var toolbarTicketInfo = $('toolbar').down('span.advanced_controls span.toolbar_ticket_info');

if (toolbarTicketInfo){
$('toolbar').down('span.advanced_controls').insert('<span class="toolbar_ticket_info" style=" float: right; background: #e8e8e8; padding: 3px 5px; border: #888 1px solid;"><strong>Open Tickets:</strong> ' + numOpenTickets + ' <strong>Past Due:</strong> ' + numPastDue + '</span>');
// increase window size
SPICEWORKS.utils.addStyle(" #active_overview {height: " + plugin.settings.expanded_height + "px !important;}");

// mark past due ticket rows
item.up().setStyle({backgroundColor: plugin.settings.past_due_color});


// color private messages
item.setStyle({backgroundColor: plugin.settings.private_note_color})

// add device summary
var deviceLink = $('ticket_review_summary_view').down('p.related_to a');
if(deviceLink) {
var deviceURL = deviceLink.readAttribute('href');
var startIndex = deviceURL.indexOf('id-');
if(startIndex != -1) {
var substring = deviceURL.substring(startIndex);
var deviceID = substring.gsub(/[^\d]/, '');
var device =;
if(device) {
var displayInfo = '<div id="related_to_summary" style="display: none; clear: both; border:1px solid #ccc; padding: 10px; margin: 5px 0; overflow: hidden;"><ul style="margin: 0; padding: 0;">'
var listStyle = '<li style="float: left; width: 200px;">'
if(device.ip_address && !device.ip_address.empty()) {
displayInfo += listStyle + '<strong>IP:</strong> ' + device.ip_address + '</li>';
if(device.mac_address && !device.mac_address.empty()) {
displayInfo += listStyle + '<strong>MAC:</strong> ' + device.mac_address + '</li>';
if(device.manufacturer && !device.manufacturer.empty()) {
displayInfo += listStyle + '<strong>Vendor:</strong> ' + device.manufacturer + '</li>';
if(device.current_user && !device.current_user.empty()) {
displayInfo += listStyle + '<strong>Last Login:</strong> ' + device.current_user + '</li>';
if(device.primary_owner_name && !device.primary_owner_name.empty()) {
displayInfo += listStyle + '<strong>Owner:</strong> ' + device.primary_owner_name + '</li>';
if(device.asset_tag && !device.asset_tag.empty()) {
displayInfo += listStyle + '<strong>Asset Tag:</strong> ' + device.asset_tag + '</li>';
if(device.operating_system && !device.operating_system.empty()) {
displayInfo += listStyle + '<strong>OS:</strong> ' + device.operating_system + '</li>';
if(device.serial_number && !device.serial_number.empty()) {
displayInfo += listStyle + '<strong>Serial No:</strong> ' + device.serial_number + '</li>';
displayInfo += '</ul><p style="float: right;"><a href="#" onclick="new Effect.BlindUp(\'related_to_summary\', {duration:0.20}); return false;">hide</a></p></div>';
$('ticket_purchase_container').insert({after: displayInfo});
deviceLink.insert({after: ' (<a href="#" onclick="new Effect.BlindDown(\'related_to_summary\', {duration:0.20}); return false;">info</a>)'})


I found this over at Business Pundit and couldn't help but repost it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Free Success Manifesto

While browsing the good old Google reader, I came across a post from Seth Godin with an abstract title 'Making a living online.' Seth usually posts some pretty interesting things so I decided to go check it out. It turns out that there was a free guide to overnight success posted by Chris Guillebeau. From a first glance, it is an interesting and quick read.
On another note, his site looks pretty awesome.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Congratulations Hawaii...not the worst Pork spenders

According to the new report released by the Citizens Against Government Waste (or CAGW for short,) Hawaii ranks as the second worst per capita pork spenders in the Nation. The good news is that we aren't the worst.

According to the CAGW site,

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) is a private, non-partisan, non-profit organization representing more than one million members and supporters nationwide. CAGW's mission is to eliminate waste, mismanagement, and inefficiency in the federal government. Founded in 1984 by the late industrialist J. Peter Grace and syndicated columnist Jack Anderson, CAGW is the legacy of the President's Private Sector Survey on Cost Control, also known as the Grace Commission.

This story makes me wonder, does CAGW also stand for Citizens Against Global Warming?

Monday, April 13, 2009

First they came...

Very good poem written by Pastor Martin Niemöller that will probably apply to every era.

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew

Then they came for the trade unionists
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant

Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up