Create a scripted Zenworks Imaging boot CD   3 comments

In this post, I’ll be showing you how to create a scripted Zenworks Imaging boot CD. This has a few advantages over the standard CD, like automatic reboot, a much shorter command required to restore an image, and a custom welcome screen.

First, you’ll need to download and install MagicISO and Notepad++.

Open MagicISO, then open your ISO  image file.

In the root directory of the disc, find the file named settings.txt, right-click it, then click “extract.”  Save it in the location of your choice.

Next, do the same for isolinux.cfg, found in /boot/i386/loader/.

Now, you’ll need to open settings.txt with Notepad++ and find the lines that read:

#PROXYADDR is the IP address or DNS name of the ZENworks Imaging Server.

Remove the comment from the second line and enter the IP address of your imaging server after the = sign, so it looks like this:

#PROXYADDR is the IP address or DNS name of the ZENworks Imaging Server.

This will prevent it from prompting you for the address when booting the disc.  Save and close settings.txt, and open isolinux.cfg with Notepad++.

Change the first line, which reads “default linux,” to read “default manual”

This causes “manual” to be automatically highlighted at boot.  Next, you’ll change the timeout to a shorter period, so you don’t have to wait for manual to actually be selected.

Find the line that reads “timeout    200” and change the 200 to 001.

Save and close isolinux.cfg.

Now, go back to MagicISO, select the root directory, and click the “Add Files” button.

Select the settings.txt that you edited and click “open.”  Click “yes” when prompted to overwrite.  Now, go to /boot/i386/loader/ and replace the old isolinux.cfg with the new one, in the same manner.  Alternatively, you can also drag files from the explorer window at the bottom.

If you’d like a custom welcome screen, replace /boot/i386/loader/welcome.jpg with any 800×600 jpg image.  Just make sure to name it welcome.jpg.

Now, you’re ready to create an image restore script.  Make a new file with Notepad++ and enter the following commands:

img rp //server/share/image_file.zmg
reboot -f

Where “” is the IP address of your imaging server.  The “reboot -f” command will cause the computer to automatically reboot when the imaging process is complete.

Save the file with a “.img” extension.  Since Linux is case sensitive, I give my scripts all-lowercase filenames, to avoid confusion.  Create a separate .img file for each of your images.

Going back to MagicISO, you’ll add these script files to the /addfiles/bin/ directory.  You’re done editing the ISO image, so you can save it (File > Save) and exit MagicISO.  Burn the image to CD.

When you boot the CD, it should automatically proceed to the bash prompt.  Once there, just enter the name of a script file to restore the image.  Be sure to include the extension.  For example:


This will restore the image and automatically reboot when it’s done.


Posted July 21, 2010 by i2kdave in Uncategorized

Motorcycle Valve Clearance Adjustment   9 comments

“Bikes don’t leak oil, they mark their territory.”

Today I’m going to show you how to adjust the valves on a Suzuki GZ250 motorcycle. Checking/adjusting the valve clearances is part of routine maintenance, and the service manual recommends you do it every 3000 miles or 15 months.


Here are the tools you will need:
6mm allen wrench
flat wrench, or other similar tool
3″ extension (optional)
set of feeler gauges
8mm wrench
22mm socket
17mm socket
10mm socket
valve adjuster tool (09917-14920)
spark plug wrench

tank bracket

First, remove the two 10mm bolts holding the back of the gas tank.

Make sure the fuel valve is in either the “ON” or “RES” position, and disconnect the fuel hose and vacuum hose. Now you can lift the gas tank off and sit it aside.

Remove the left cylinder head cover cap with the 6mm allen wrench.

Disconnect the spark plug and remove it with the spark plug wrench.

Remove the four 10mm bolts indicated by the arrows to remove the valve inspection caps.

Next, you need to get the piston in the correct position before checking the valves. Remove the valve timing inspection plug with the 17mm socket, and the generator cover cap.

I had to loosen the cap with some WD-40 and removed it with a flat wrench I had in my toolbox.

Using the 22mm socket, turn the crankshaft until the “T” mark aligns with the arrow on the generator cover, and the piston is on the compression stroke. You can tell when it’s there by plugging the spark plug hole with your finger and rotating the crankshaft until you feel pressure on your finger.

Once all that is done, you can start checking the valve clearances. You’ll be checking the space between the valve stem and the adjusting screw, indicated by the arrow. Be aware, the intake and exhaust valves have different specs. Just to clarify, the intake is toward the rear of the bike, and the exhaust is toward the front.

If any need adjusting, loosen the locknut with the 8mm wrench and turn the adjusting screw with the valve adjuster tool until it has the proper clearance. Try not to let the screw turn while you’re tightening down the locknut, or you’ll have to adjust it again. Trust me, I speak from experience.

The exhaust side isn’t that difficult to work with, but the intake is in a very tight location. I moved some of the wires and cables out of the way and still had a hard time getting my fingers in there. Do yourself a favor and buy some angled feeler gauges. Mine are flat, and that made it even more difficult, not to mention that they got all bent up in the process.

Once you get them all adjusted to spec and the locknuts tightened down, rotate the crankshaft 720° and check the clearances again. If everything is good to go, just put everything back together and you’re done!

Related links:
Understanding Feeler Gauges and Valve Clearances
GZ250 Service Manual
Dan’s Motorcycle Valve Adjustment

Posted July 23, 2009 by i2kdave in Uncategorized

Lawnmower Tune up   2 comments

Today I’m going to show you how to give your push lawnmower a tune up.  About 2/3 of the way through mowing my new lawn for the first time, my mower started spittin’ and sputterin’, and I realized it was time for some routine maintenance.

Job: Lawnmower tune up
Tools: 3/8″ drive ratchet w/ extension, spark plug wrench/socket/adjustable wrench, spark plug gauge, measuring cup, funnel, flathead screwdriver, oil
Supplies: motor oil, air filter, spark plug
Time: 1 hour
Cost: about $16

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Check your owner’s manual for the specs on the spark plug, filter, oil capacity, etc.  When you’re ready to get started, run the engine for a few minutes to get the oil warm, then shut it off.  Before you do anything else, be sure to disconnect the spark plug wire to prevent an unintentional start-up.  I can’t imagine how an “unintentional start-up” might occur, but as long as you’re going to have your hands that close to a lawnmower blade, there’s no sense in taking any chances!

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Next, pick up the mower and place it on something that will raise it enough to give you easy access to the underside of the deck.  Sawhorses work great for

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Now, place an oil drain pan underneath the mower and use your ratchet and extension to loosen the drain plug.  If your mower is as high off the floor as
mine, you might want to hold the pan up near the drain plug until you know where the oil’s going to go.  After all the oil has drained out, replace the drain

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Measure the appropriate amount of engine oil (mine takes 18 oz.) and remove the dipstick, placing a funnel in the fill hole.  Slowly pour the oil into the
funnel, stopping to check the level with the dipstick once you’ve poured most of it.  Once the dipstick reads full, screw it back in and hand tighten it.

P1020393 (Medium)P1020394 (Medium)P1020395 (Medium)

Next, we’re going to replace the spark plug.  It should already be unplugged, so just remove it with a spark plug wrench or socket.  I used an adjustable
wrench because it’s all I had on hand at the time.

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Set the gap on your new plug and install it, tightening it with your wrench.

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To access the air filter, use a flathead screwdriver to remove the air filter assembly, taking care not to drop any debris into the carburetor.

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Pull the plastic shell apart and remove the filter.  As you can see, mine is filthy.

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Saturate the new filter with fresh oil and squeeze out the excess.  Place it in the filter assembly and reinstall it.

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Put the mower back on the floor and reconnect the spark plug.  That’s it, you’re done!  Crank it up and get to work!

P1020400 (Medium)

Posted July 5, 2009 by i2kdave in Uncategorized

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TV Cable Install   2 comments

Today, in my blogging debut [applause], I will show you how I performed an in-wall cable installation for my wall-mounted TV.  I decided to do this so that I would have room to sit any equipment that I might connect to the TV, and so that the area around the TV would have a neat appearance.  While I was working inside the wall, I also ran coax up into the attic to connect to an antenna.  Yes, as attractive as they are, the rabbit ears are only temporary.

Job: Run cables inside wall to relocate TV connections.
Tools: jigsaw, flashlight, 550 cord, tape measure, drywall saw, keyring
Supplies: low-voltage wall boxes (1 single, 1 double), pass-through wall plate, multi wall plate, cables, zip ties
Time: approx. 3 hours
Cost: about $100

After mounting my TV above the fireplace, I quickly realized that placing other equipment on the mantle isn’t an option.  Not only does it look like crap, but when I had all those cables bundled up behind the TV, I got major interference in the picture.

I thought about building a media cabinet into the left side wall, but decided that it would be too costly and time consuming at present.  After dropping that idea, I decided I would just put a wall plate on the left side wall with all the connections I would need, and just sit my equipment on some kind of shelf or stand.

Before I cut any holes in my wall, I wanted to know what was behind it, so I headed up to the attic.  After moving the insulation out of the way, I cut out a small hole so I could see down into the wall cavity.  I had the feeling that the sound of a jigsaw buzzing away in the attic of our new house wouldn’t exactly be music to my wife’s ears, so I performed this step while she wasn’t home.  I was glad to see that it’s a nice, open area, and I shouldn’t have any problems running the cables.

I began work on the box behind the TV, first.  In order to avoid having three plates next to each other and cutting an additional hole in the wall, I replaced the box that was already there with a low-voltage box that is more open so there’s enough room for the cables.  CATV and phone cables were running to this box, but I don’t plan on using them, so I pushed them back into the wall.  I’m using a simple pass-through plate here, instead of another set of connections for several reasons:

1) It’s a lot cheaper.
2) I won’t have to buy an additional set of cables.
3) Any extra cable can be pushed back into the wall.

To install the second wall box, I measured about a dozen times, used a level to make sure it would be straight, and marked the square with a pencil.  After measuring a few more times, I hesitantly jabbed my keyhole saw into the wall of my brand new house and sawed away.  After removing the drywall, I installed the wall box.

Now for the fun part!  It took a bit of brainstorming to figure out the easiest way to fish the cables, but I finally came up with a plan.  I attached a keyring to the end of my tape measure and headed back up to the attic.  Extending the tape measure down to the larger hole, I had my wife tie a length of parachute cord to the keyring.  I then moved the tape measure over to the smaller hole and had her untie the cord, pulling it out a bit so it wouldn’t fall back into the wall.  Now it’s time to pull some cables!

I had 5 cables to pull; component, VGA, RCA audio, and 2 HDMI.  I tied the parachute cord around the end of the first cable at the lower hole and fished it up to the other hole.

Pulling the parachute cord back each time so I wouldn’t run out, I pulled one cable at a time until they were all through.  A few of them wanted to hang on the fireplace inside the wall, but some strategic yanking took care of that.  I put them all through the pass-through plate and screwed it to the wall box.

Now it’s time to install this bad mammajamma.  RCA component, composite, 2 sets of RCA audio, s-video, coax, 2 HDMI’s, and VGA.  Basically, the Arnold Schwarzenegger of wall plates.  I won’t be using s-video, coax, or composite because I don’t need that outdated garbage.

Now, it’s just a matter of plugging the cables into the wall plate…

…and screwing it to the wall.

All done! Here’s the PS3, hooked up and ready to go.

Looks much better now, wouldn’t you say?

Posted July 2, 2009 by i2kdave in Uncategorized