Always Get Better

Archive for July, 2008

Cuil not so Cool

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Jumped on the bandwagon and tried out Cuil today.  The verdict – more development time needed.

1. Result counts are wrong
I searched for the (rare) name of a friend and found 3 results.  The search engine counter said 4 results were found.

2. Duplicate content
I searched for the bizarre phrase ‘fell in outhouse’.  The first 3 pages were nearly identical results.  For a time I wasn’t certain I was really changing pages.

3. Named after a Salmon
Apparantly ‘Cuil’ is a gaelic word referring to knowledge and hazel – they talk about a salmon of wisdom.  I’m not sure how that sits with me…

I chalk up the high server load and weird results to the infancy of the product and expect that it will improve over time.  The column interface is sleek and attractive.  The results clustering appears to be advanced although similar to WebFountain.

Right now, though, I don’t understand why Cuil is being touted as the next generation search engine that will replace Google.  The press coverage and their own site confuse me as to whether the big deal is the size of the search catalogue (apparently 3x that of Google) or the fact that the company’s leaders are made up of former Google employees.

Time will tell, but as of launch today I don’t see Cuil becoming my default search provider any time soon.

Reboot Windows Server 2003 Using Remote Desktop (RDP)

Friday, July 18th, 2008

Since Microsoft updated their Windows Server 2003 software, administrators relying on their Remote Desktop Connection are having difficulties rebooting.

When connected via RDP, if you reboot normally you will be disconnected from the server and all will appear well.  Sometimes, however, the server won’t actually reboot!  Furthermore, it will block all incoming connections to RDP, and to everything else.  The only means of recovery is rebooting from the console.


It is possible to use our knowledge of the command line to perform a proper system reboot using the shutdown command.

The relevant switches are:

/f – Force the shutdown even if other users are connected

/r – REBOOT, rather than shutdown

/t 0 – Set the timer to 0 seconds, i.e. perform the command right away


reboot /f /r /t 0

I hope this helps prevent some head-scratching!

Getting Real Power in Vista

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

Windows Vista hides the administrator user. In order to access it, open a command prompt and issue the command:

net user administrator /active:yes password

Password can be anything you want, and will set up the administrator user.

Although you can access much of your system’s setting under the default super user account, Vista implements a User Access Control System that effectively makes administrator the only real super user. In particular, the “Local Users and Groups” interface is normally hidden from you.

One more note – the command listed above can’t be run from a regular shell – you must open the shell as administrator.