Monday, September 28, 2009

Group Policies Gone

Today, a number of my LAN users lost their O: and P: drives, which were mapped to the shares on my old Windows 2000 Server. The drives are mapped in a logon script, defined in a group policy object. When I checked the GPOs, they were not loaded.

Next, I checked the event log on the domain controller and there were numerous Event ID 1000 messages. Some said that "Windows cannot query for the list of Group Policy objects", while others insisted that "Windows cannot access the file gpt.ini for GPO The file must be present at the location <>. (). Group Policy processing aborted."

What I did next was to open the GPO editor and check the GPO, of course. They were there, all four of them, including the default domain policy, but I found I couldn't edit them. All I got was the dialog box saying "Failed to open the Group Policy Object. You may not have appropriate rights."

The GPO permissions were OK. The next step was running gpotool. To my surprise, the only response I got from the tool was "DC list is empty". I had an impression that the AD is down, but it wasn't. From what I could find with Google, DNS could be the point of failure, but DNS was working well, like everything else. Another tool I tried to use at that moment was netdiag, but it gave no results, things were up and running.

I checked whether SYSVOL was accessible from the workstations and it was. The permissions on directories and files in SYSVOL were OK, but some files were missing. So, the domain\Policies was pristinely empty. I tried to create a new policy in the GPO editor and the corresponding directory appeared in sysvol\Policies.

So, I made sure I could recreate the GPOs from scratch, but I didn't have the Default Domain Policy. I found a tool to recreate it, Windows 2000 Default Group Policy Restore Tool. I didn't run it, though. Instead, I decided to compare the contents of my SYSVOL and that in the backed up system. Of course, I found the old policies in the domain\Policies and simply copied them into the corresponding directory. The immediate result was that gpotool could run and produce some meaningful results. So, it complained about a missing policy, but the old ones were there. Altogether, gpotool found seven policies instead of five actually present (the default one, three GPOs I had defined and one more which was created five minutes ago), but it was more or less OK.

So, now I have the default policy and I can use the GPO editor to recreate my old policies. There were only a few of them and it shouldn't take long.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Keyboard navigation addons for Firefox

As I wrote before, Conkeror doesn't support many useful Firefox extensions. I thought I should go back to Firefox and check a number of Firefox addons for surfing with keyboard: mozless, Hit-A-Hint, NumberFox, nomouse. Much to my surprise, neither of them worked with Firefox 3, all of them were outdated. The only one that worked was Mouseless Browsing, but it lacks some features. To begin with, the link numbering cannot be turned off.

So, if four extensions out of five are abandoned, does it mean that the mouseless browsing in Firefox turned out to be too uncomfortable or even completely impossible?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Conkeror once more

I've learned to move focus away from the input fields and I found a replacement for TidyRead. See the new configuration file below (unfocus and readability).

// new webjumps:
define_webjump("gread", "");
define_webjump("gmail", "");
define_webjump("youtube", "");
define_webjump("del", "");

// show history in the url bar:
url_completion_use_bookmarks = false;
url_completion_use_history = true;

// my login at delicious:
add_delicious_webjumps ("minaev");

// install addons from anywhere:
session_pref("xpinstall.whitelist.required", false);

// use tabs:
user_pref("", 1);

// auto-save and auto-load session:
//session_auto_save_file = "/home/minaev/.conkeror.session";
session_auto_save_auto_load = true;
session_auto_save_auto_load_fn = session_auto_save_load_window_current;

//Open Middle-Clicked Links in New Buffers:
clicks_in_new_buffer_target = OPEN_NEW_BUFFER; 

// Borrowed from David Kettler (
            "Toggle whether conkeror uses style sheets (CSS) for the " +
            "current buffer.  It is sometimes useful to turn off style " +
            "sheets when the web site makes obnoxious choices.",
            function(I) {
  var s = I.buffer.document.styleSheets;
  for (var i = 0; i < s.length; i++)
    s[i].disabled = !s[i].disabled;

            "Readability is a simple tool that makes reading on the web more enjoyable by removing the clutter around what you are reading", 
            function readability_arc90(I) {
                var document = I.window.buffers.current.document;

                _readability_readStyle.text = 'var readStyle = style-novel;';
                _readability_readSize.text = 'var readSize = size-large;';
                _readability_readMargin.text = 'var readMargin = margin-narrow;';

//      "Open new tab",
//      alternates(follow_new_buffer, follow_new_window);
//      $browser_object="");

define_key(content_buffer_normal_keymap, "M-q", "unfocus");
define_key(content_buffer_normal_keymap, "M-s", "toggle-stylesheets");
define_key(content_buffer_normal_keymap, "C-x C-s", "session-save");
define_key(content_buffer_normal_keymap, "F", "follow-new-buffer-background");
define_key(content_buffer_normal_keymap, "C-f", "follow-new-buffer");
define_key(content_buffer_normal_keymap, "d", "follow-new-window");
define_key(content_buffer_normal_keymap, "z", "readability_arc90");

// some Firefox keybindings:
define_key(content_buffer_normal_keymap, "C-page_up", "buffer-previous");
define_key(content_buffer_normal_keymap, "C-page_down", "buffer-next");
//define_key(content_buffer_normal_keymap, "C-t", "new-tab");
define_key(content_buffer_normal_keymap, "C-w", "kill-current-buffer");

Monday, September 7, 2009

What is wrong with Conkeror?

  1. You have to change focus from input fields to something else if you want to run a command from the keyboard.
  2. I couldn't find a way to do what I used to do with the right click in Firefox, like copy the url, save image, etc.
  3. Too many extensions do not work in Conkeror. Most of all I miss Google Notebook, TidyRead and Flashblock.

Conkeror: Emacs-like browser

While a long-time user of Firefox, I'm always ready to have a look at the alternatives. Firefox works well, but it's too heavy. Some time ago I found a new Firefox extension called Conkeror, which added Emacs-like keybindings to Firefox. It was too unusual for me at that time and I ditched it. Since then I switched to tiling window managers (first Ion, now Stumpwm) and I thought that Conkeror might fit my new style of work.

It turns out that the new Conkeror is not an extension anymore, but a standalone browser packed with features. It's fully customizable (in JavaScript), extensible (in Python, AFAIU) and, of course, keybound all the way through.

Below is the initialization file I compiled on the very first day with Conkeror:

// shortcuts for Google Reader and Gmail:
define_webjump("gread", "");
define_webjump("gmail", "");

// keybindings to open links in new buffer and new window
define_key(content_buffer_normal_keymap, "F", "follow-new-buffer-background");
define_key(content_buffer_normal_keymap, "C-f", "follow-new-buffer");
define_key(content_buffer_normal_keymap, "d", "follow-new-window");

// show history items when typing URL:
url_completion_use_bookmarks = false;
url_completion_use_history = true;

// use my delicious:
add_delicious_webjumps ("minaev");

// allow installation of addons from any URL:
session_pref("xpinstall.whitelist.required", false);

// show Firefox-like tabs:
user_pref("", 1);

There's a lot of things to borrow from other RC files, but the first steps were made.

I started by installing Conkeror packaged with Ubuntu 9.04, version 080629. This version could not find the location of the Conkeror init file till I explicitly pointed at the file in<profile>/prefs.js, where I added a new line:

user_pref('conkeror.rcfile', '/home/minaev/.conkerorrc');

The Ubuntu version did not support tabs, so I had to grab a Debian package from the Conkeror web site, version 090624.