northben's blog

As a Software Developer...

As a Software Developer now, I suppose I'll start blogging about my crafty programming exploits. I work mainly with .NET at this point.

OH CRAP! This is another "Welcome to my blog" posts! fuuuuu

How to download a webpage with PowerShell

$a = new-object net.webclient;



Working with IIS logs


If you live in the unfortunate world of IIS6, or perhaps you're just masochistic, you're going to use ADSI in PowerShell to work with IIS. A friend of mine showed me a handy way to delete log files older than a certain date using an ADSI query in PowerShell.

The Module DLL C:\Windows\System32\inetsrv\logcust.dll failed to load. The data is the error.

Running Server 2008 R2, IIS 7.5, if you get this error in the Application event log:

The Module DLL C:\Windows\System32\inetsrv\logcust.dll failed to load.  The data is the error.

It's kind of an obscure situation. IIS is saying it could not load the logcust module, which is the Custom Logging feature. In my case, I was setting up a development server farm, and had installed this feature on one server. The shared configuration caused IIS to try loading this module on the other server.

List all VMware snapshots on all Virtual Machines

I was on the phone with VMware the other day and asked if there was some way to get a list of all the snapshots I have across all of my virtual machines. The VMware rep said no, you have to click on each VM one by one. However, I figured that it could be done. Here's how I did it.
Update: more concise output

SQL Server date time conversions to/from Unix bigint format UPDATED


I am in the middle of a SQL data conversion project. Amazingly, our *new* SQL Server database requires dates to be stored in Unix format, which is a bigint field with the number of milliseconds since 01/01/1970. Amazing, I tell you.

Here are some queries that I have found useful in this project. I have updated this article to include an alternative that does not involve functions.

Comments on my website

Due to unrelenting spammers, I have switched to allowing only Facebook comments on my website. I hope you are all ok with that, you Googlers of the internet!

How to snap windows horizontally in Windows 7


You may know the convenient feature in Windows 7 to snap windows to the right and left: drag a window all the way to one side of your screen and it will snap to the side of your screen, taking up exactly one half of it. The keyboard shortcut Win+Left (right) arrow does this as well. But how do you snap windows to the top and bottom of your screen? It's easy!

Enable Drupal's Clean URLs feature on Network Solutions hosting


If you are running a Drupal site with Network Solutions hosting, please accept my condolences. And the lack of shell access? The pain of your loss is almost unbearable.

However, thanks to jomariworks on the Network Solutions forums, at least you can enable Clean URLs!

Converting FLAC files on Windows, or, "How I use ffmpeg to rule the world"


I had some FLAC audio files on my computer that I wanted to convert to a lossy format (AAC, in my case). iTunes won't play FLAC, and VLC wasn't helping me. I ended up calling FFmpeg in a PowerShell script to quickly convert all of the files.

$target = 'J:\FLAC'
$target = $target + "\*.flac"
$files = Get-ChildItem $target

foreach ($file in $files) {
    .\ffmpeg.exe -i $file -acodec libvo_aacenc -b:a 256k -ar 44100 -threads 4 -n $($file.BaseName + ".m4a")


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