Manually Check NTP Server from Windows 8 Command Line

Periodically, I am in the field and need to query an NTP server from a Windows command prompt. The following command works in Windows 8 and Server 2003 / 2008; I presume Windows XP has the same program available for manual queries.

This is an example of a valid NTP query response, when requesting time from Penn State’s public NTP server:

C:\Users\Dennis Little>w32tm /stripchart / /dataonly /samples:5

Tracking [].
Collecting 5 samples.
The current time is 8/14/2014 12:08:31 PM.
12:08:31, +01.2892989s
12:08:33, +01.2903465s
12:08:35, +01.2800907s
12:08:37, +01.2809490s
12:08:39, +01.2832552s

If the remote NTP server is blocking our queries to UDP port 123, you might see error messages like this:

10:16:59, error: 0x800705B4
10:17:02, error: 0x800705B4
10:17:05, error: 0x800705B4
10:17:08, error: 0x800705B4
10:17:11, error: 0x800705B4

An explanation of error XXX is provided by this site:

“W32TM Error 0x800705B4 occurs when the calling NTP Client program, W32TM in this case, can’t connect to the destination time server, either because that time server isn’t running NTP server software, or UDP port 123 is blocked on the server.”

WRT54G / WRT54GL Fast Blinking Power & Ethernet Lights

Though they are falling out of use, I do still have a few WRT54GL (Linux-based) routers running in the wild. One recently appeared to go belly up. When plugged in, the power light and all four Ethernet lights would blink fast, and the unit would never appear to boot up. Resetting the router using the typical 30/30/30 and other tricks did not work.

Then I remembered that I had seen this issue before and it was related to a faulty power supply.

I rounded up a spare power supply of the same rating and plugged it up. The router works perfectly.

Testing showed that the power supply was only supplying between 11.25 – 11.5 Volts DC output, which is a bit short of the 12V requirement on the Linksys WRT54G/L.

The power supply in question is a Leader Electronics model no. MU12-G120100-A1, rated at 100-240V input and 12V, 1.0 Amp output. Replacement cost from an eBay source was $6 shipped.

Enable Long (64-bit VT-x) Mode Support on Latitude D630 for VirtualBox

I was in the process of setting up a 64-bit CentOS x86_64 virtual machine instance on my Dell Latitude D630 and received a message from the RHEL installer: “Your CPU does not support long mode. Use a 32bit distribution.”

This perplexed me a bit, as I verified that the D630 with Core 2 Duo T7250 does indeed have VT-x support. Apparently, VT-x mode is not enabled by Dell by default and I do not see a setting in BIOS to turn it on. Instead, Dell’s Client Configuration Toolkit (CCTK) must be installed and used to enable VT-x. Thanks to this web site for providing instructions:

Basically, the steps are this:

  1. Download Dell CCTK here:
  2. Install CCTK
  3. Run c:\Program Files (x86)\Dell\CCTK\x86_64\cctk.exe --virtualization=enable
  4. Create your VirtualBox virtual machine and enable “VT-x” in Settings > System > Acceleration > Hardware Virtualization

Astricon 2013 Presentation Slide Downloads: Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity

Many thanks to Digium and the Astricon committee for accepting my presentation proposal. THANK YOU for attending my talk and giving quality feedback to improve Astricon next year.

Last but not least, a huge thank you to the entire team that help put Astricon together; we all look forward to many, many more years of growing Astricon events.

Download my Astricon 2013 presentation slides below.

Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity: The Asterisk Advantage

Astricon 2013 – Celebrating 10 Years of THE Asterisk Event

Digium (Asterisk) Astricon 2013 kicks off today in Atlanta; this is the 10 year anniversary of THE Asterisk telecommunications event!

See you tomorrow at 3:30 in Ballroom II for my talk, "Disaster Recovery – the Asterisk Advantage".

If you are involved with telecom in your enterprise, this is the place to be.

Reliable, secure and scalable Asterisk Business Telephone Systems for the Enterprise

I recently had the privilege to present at the Asterisk VoIP Users Conference, Astricon 2012, and gave an overview of how to use commodity resources and Open Source Asterisk PBX systems in the globally-distributed enterprise.

Watch the presentation here

tapestry technologies Offers License-free Business Telephone Solutions using Asterisk®, Polycom® and Xorcom™

VoIP telephony engineers at tapestry technologies, LLC are now certified with Polycom and Xorcom to design affordable voice over IP business phone systems that do not require yearly per-feature, per-user, hardware, or software usage fees.

Comcast Business Class + Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) = No Go.

I have been using Comcast Business Class internet for going on two years now at my home office and am quite pleased with the service. Up until now, I have been paying a flat $59.95 per month for internet that is usually quite fast and has been very reliable. It has been even more gratifying that my past bills have never had a tax line item.

One thing that has always annoyed me about Business Class is that Comcast provides an SMC “gateway” device that essentially forces double-NAT, even if you just want a modem. There is no true bridge mode with the SMC device. A few months ago, I did some research and settled on a Zoom 5341 DOCSIS3 modem from Comcast’s approved modems list, but never go the chance to swap it in.

Fast forward to today: I received my latest Comcast bill and an “equipment charge” of $7.00 plus $0.42 in tax has shown up on my bill. Suspecting that I already knew what was behind the 12% increase in my bill, I called customer support and verified that indeed, I am now being billed for a leased modem. Apparently, Comcast just increased prices for some services and audited accounts; they are now charging me for the modem I have been using for almost two years.

No big deal, I will just swap in the modem I bought months ago, I thought. Since I do not have a static IP (requires the SMC gateway) or digital voice, I just need a modem and this swap should be easy.

After 45 minutes with tech support and speaking with a supervisor, it is confirmed that Comcast Business Class will not allow a business subscriber to “bring your own device” (a.k.a. BYOD) because they quote “can’t support it”; the only exception is the Motorola SurfBoard 6120 and it is said to be semi-supported, whatever that means. Nevermind the fact that I am an I.T. engineer and can support my own connection, thanks. Or that Comcast Residential has an extensive list of devices that you can use with the service, which happens to included my device. Or that I know and agree that “unsupported” means I will pay a service charge if I can’t figure out how to plug in the device I provided and get an internet connection.

Let’s get real, there is no technical difference between Residential and Business Class service and this is all semantics.

Thanks for being a hard-ass Comcast; you have once against reaffirmed the terrible customer service reputation that everyone associates with the name “Comcast”.


We have lost a great visionary. RIP Steve Jobs

FOSE 2011 Government IT / Security Conference & Expo, 20% Discount Code

The top Government IT / Security Conference & Expo, FOSE 2011, is returning to Washington, D.C., July 19-21 with featured speaker Steve Wozniak. In past years, the vendor floor has been very good and I enjoy getting hands-on with the newest tech.

The 400+ vendor  expo is free, and if you plan to attend the conference, you can get a 20% Discount Link here.