Google Chrome – Always Download the Latest

As a Desktop Admin, I’ve found certain tasks to be very bothersome.  Some apps just get updated far too often for any single person to monitor, Chrome being one of them.

I attempted to find a static link to download Chrome on a regular basis, and there is a solution, but nothing official (of course).  If you download the Chrome MSI, you’ll see the URL where it’s coming from as some long, gigantic string that only makes some sense.  It looks something like this:

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https://dl.google.com/tag/s/appguid%3D%7B8A69D345-D564-463C-AFF1-A69D9E530F96%7D%26iid%3D%7B9B88D2E6-EF2A-B40D-C07B-95D6CA14875C%7D%26lang%3Den%26browser%3D4%26usagestats%3D0%26appname%3DGoogle%2520Chrome%26needsadmin%3Dprefers/edgedl/chrome/install/GoogleChromeStandaloneEnterprise.msi

To break it down, translate the %xx code to the true character encoding:

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https://dl.google.com/tag/s/appguid={8A69D345-D564-463C-AFF1-A69D9E530F96}&iid={9B88D2E6-EF2A-B40D-C07B-95D6CA14875C}&lang=en&browser=4&usagestats=0&appname=Google Chrome&needsadmin=prefers/edgedl/chrome/install/GoogleChromeStandaloneEnterprise.msi

The good part is, you can break this down to make a URL request simpler.

  • appguid={8A69D345-D564-463C-AFF1-A69D9E530F96} is the key piece of the URL that NEVER changes.  Definitely keep.
  • iid={…} section is unique to the download session, so it can be tossed out.
  • lang=en section is default to US/GB English, but can also be removed as it’s the default of the application.
  • browser=4 means…I have no idea, but it’s not needed for immediate download.
  • usagestats=0 I believe is a statistic report to the Google servers on download stats.
  • appname=Google%2520Chrome (which ends up saying Google Chrome with a space) is also superfluous.
  • needsadmin=…  is a keeper, otherwise the URL won’t work.

In the end, here’s what the URL looks like:

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https://dl.google.com/tag/s/appguid={8A69D345-D564-463C-AFF1-A69D9E530F96}&needsadmin=prefers/edgedl/chrome/install/GoogleChromeStandaloneEnterprise.msi

Bonus Round: Here’s a bit of code in AutoIt that will help with deploying Chrome (the Business MSI) to your environment (use only if you have a decent Internet connection speed to the desktop):

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#Region ;**** Directives created by AutoIt3Wrapper_GUI ****
#AutoIt3Wrapper_Run_Obfuscator=y
#EndRegion ;**** Directives created by AutoIt3Wrapper_GUI ****
 
#include 
#include 
#include <_FileGetProperty.au3>
 
;Ensure running as Administrator account
If IsAdmin() = 0 Then
	RunAs("", @ComputerName, "", 1, @AutoItExe)
	Exit
EndIf
 
;Set paths and existing version info
If @OSArch = "x64" Then
	$ChromePath = "C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\"
	$installedVer = FileGetVersion($ChromePath & "chrome.exe")
Else
	$ChromePath = "C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\"
	$installedVer = FileGetVersion($ChromePath & "chrome.exe")
EndIf
 
;Get Chrome MSI
InetGet("https://dl.google.com/tag/s/appguid={8A69D345-D564-463C-AFF1-A69D9E530F96}&needsadmin=prefers/edgedl/chrome/install/GoogleChromeStandaloneEnterprise.msi", @TempDir & "\GoogleChromeStandaloneEnterprise.msi", 1)
;~       https://dl.google.com/tag/s/appguid={8A69D345-D564-463C-AFF1-A69D9E530F96}&iid={this is random}&lang=en&browser=4&usagestats=0&appname=Google Chrome&needsadmin=prefers/edgedl/chrome/install/GoogleChromeStandaloneEnterprise.msi
 
$dlVer = _FileGetProperty(@TempDir & "\GoogleChromeStandaloneEnterprise.msi", "Comments") ; Returns an array with all properties of the file
 
If StringInStr($dlVer, $installedVer) Then
;~ 	MsgBox(0, "Vercheck", "Same-same" & @CRLF & "Local Ver: " & $installedVer & @CRLF & "DL Ver: " & $dlVer)
	FileDelete(@TempDir & "\GoogleChromeStandaloneEnterprise.msi")
	Exit
EndIf
 
;Remove the policies that might stop the Chrome install
RegDelete("HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google")
RegDelete("HKLM\SOFTWARE\Google")
ShellExecuteWait("sc", "config gupdate start= auto", "", "", @SW_HIDE)
ShellExecuteWait("sc", "start gupdate", "", "", @SW_HIDE)
 
;Install Chrome
RunWait("msiexec.exe /qb-! /norestart /i " & @TempDir & "\GoogleChromeStandaloneEnterprise.msi")
 
;Copy the master_preferences file to the appropriate directory
FileCopy(@ScriptDir & "\master_preferences", $ChromePath, 1)
 
;Disable Google Update
RegWrite("HKLM\Software\Policies\Google\Update", "AutoUpdateCheckPeriodMinutes", "REG_DWORD", "0")
ShellExecuteWait("sc", "stop gupdate", "", "", @SW_HIDE)
ShellExecuteWait("sc", "config gupdate start=disabled", "", "", @SW_HIDE)

KS Golem Arcana

Edit: And it’s good!  In just 7 hours left, the Golem Arcana KS campaign finished, and while its numbers are still slowly climbing, we’re all hoping for another $50k to get the remote play stretch goal!

 

The good folks at Harebrained Schemes is producing a new game, which the funding will end here in another 36 hours.  Golem Arcana is a miniatures game without the hassle of rulers, twenty handbooks, and fists full of dice (though that’s optional).  They’re just shy of $20,000 to be funded, so please consider it!  The base game (at Tribesman level) is $65, but there are extras if you pledge more!

Twitter Testing

While this might look like a throwaway post, as my earlier tweet might show, it’s an honest test of a plugin that seems to have a professional side to it.  $30 is a bit much for what I do, so I think I’m going to stick with the free version.

Exams, EVE, and BlizzCon

It begins once more!  BlizzCon 2013 is happening, and we’re on the bandwagon!  Again, I’ll be attending the Benefit Dinner for the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), and hopefully presenting Metzen with something I promised him two years ago.

I’m still in EVE Online, albeit making poor choices that got me banned for a week (missing out on the Launcher debacle that gave everyone a days worth of skill points).  If you play EVE, do yourself a favor: never by PLEX from a third party.  It’s not worth the risk.

Last, but not least, I passed exam number 2 a couple weeks ago, the MTA Web Technologies Fundamentals (98-363), by the skin of my teeth.  But the course I’m at now is something I haven’t really studied for, because I use it in my every day job, MTA Windows OS Fundamentals (98-349).  Windows 7, a smidgen of  configurations, a dab of App-V and MED-V, and you’ve got the gist of the exam.  I’m trying to get our campus Certiport proctor to get allowance to give the exam, but we’ll see what happens tomorrow (first day of Summer classes).  The last exam is the MTA Windows Server Admin Fundamentals (98-365), which should be slightly more challenging than the current one.

Reaper Mini Produces, Harebrained Gears Up, and College

So those who got into the Reaper Miniatures Bones Kickstarter (see the icon to the right), they sent out all the Vampire level kits a bit ago.  241 figures were listed on the sheet for the Vampire level, and I got more of the NOVA squad figures than what I was supposed to.  Now I wish I had opted for some paints…

Second on the list, is Harebrained Schemes, who is doing the Shadowrun Returns game (again, look to the right), is gearing up their Kickstarter returns.  Doc Wagon pictures and names are being submitted, t-shirt sizes are being chosen, and credit names are being pondered.  If you’re a Kickstarter, reading this, and haven’t filled in your info before April 22nd, 2013, you might be outa luck.

Right, college.  For those who don’t know, I’m going back-ish.  My bachelors is coming through Western Governors University (WGU.edu), in Information Technology.  I passed my first class a couple of weeks ago, and got a professional certification out of it (CIW Web Foundations Associate), with a score of 83 out of 85.  I’m working through the Web Development Fundamentals course now, which focuses on ASP.NET.  By Crom, I dislike Microsoft, but when the code needs to be done, they do have the tools.

Torment: Tides of Numenera – Sucessor

Today, I would like to point to a Kickstarter that began two days ago, and was funded in less than 6 hours.  Torment: Tides of Numenera.

Many years ago, there was a game called Planescape: Torment.  It was, and is, an epic game, with many, many paths to go down, be, and do.  Like many games, it has an ending scene, where all paths lead, but the amount of webbing between the start and the end are complex and can cross over to each other easily.

Now, some of the same people who did the original are kickstarting a successor.  Not a sequel, not a continuation or a branch off, but a game that has the same basic question: What can change the nature of a man?

It will be epic, I promise you.  Fund it if you can!

Some things…

Off to the side, you’ll probably see that there’s a couple more icons for things.  Please, don’t let me distract you from clicking on them.  Go ahead!

They, aside from my Untappd profile page (the gold icon with the two bottles), are Kickstarter projects I’ve helped fund.  They were awesome going in, and all are providing adequate updates on a regular basis.  The only ones I missed out on that I wanted was Wasteland 2 and the Pathfinder MMO.

I’ve also updated my Battle.net profile links to include my StarCraft II profile.

Ah, and BlizzCon 2013 will be happening.  It’s in November.

Odell Brewing – Isolation Ale

The last one for tonight is the Odell Brewing Isolation Ale.

From the label:

A funny thing happens here around summer’s end – our eyes start searching the skies for those first fall flakes. As we welcome autumn’s first snow, we celebrate the return of Isolation Ale. A sweet caramel malty ale that is balanced by a subtle crisp hop finish. Whether you ski, shred, or shoe, Isolation Ale will inspire you to make first tracks.

This was, by far, the best of the Odell brews I’ve had so far.  It’s a near perfect balance of malts and hops, with a beautiful color, and a smooth finish.

At a 6% ABV, the balance is solid.  A great introduction into the Odell Brewing line, albeit seasonal.

As a side note, I had the Odell Mountain Standard (Double Black IPA) after coming home from Thanksgiving dinner.  It’s got a 9.5% ABV, it was beautiful, tasted great, but due to the consumption of mass quantities, hardly knocked on my alcohol tolerance meter.  Darn, I’ll have to try it again later.

Sierra Nevada – Narwhal Imperial Stout

This was one epic brew.  The Sierra Nevada Narwhal.

From the label:

A malt-forward monster, highlighting the depths of malt flavor.

Narwhal Imperial Stout is inspired by the mysterious creature that thrives in deepest fathoms of the frigid Arctic Ocean. Featuring incredible depth of malt flavor, rich with notes of espresso, baker’s cocoa, roasted grain and a light hint of smoke, Narwhal is a massive malt-forward monster. Aggressive but refined with a velvety smooth body and decadent finish, Narwhal will age in the bottle for years to come

Yes, epic.  I said it.  Trust me.

Deep, dark, and heavy, this brew was like drinking pure awesome.  It has a particular focus around the deep malts, espresso, and cocoa, but keeps its balance by letting a tiny bit of the hops filter in.

I want everyone to try this.  It’s a 10.2% ABV, so don’t try this without something to eat, but I suggest a dessert, instead of a dinner.

Sierra Nevada – Celebration Ale 2012

The next on the list is the Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale of 2012.

From the label:

Celebration Ale is a special ale for the holidays. Featuring the first hops of the growing season, this pioneering IPA is full of complex flavors and aromas from the generous use of whole cone American hops.

This was a very nice brew, and is very similar to the Torpedo Extra IPA, but remember that it’s definitely NOT so.  It has a flavor profile different enough to separate itself, but still is very hop heavy.  Also, see this article, which highlights some myths about the brew.

A 6.8% ABV, this goes well with just about any meal out there, and should be considered a robust accompaniment to any meal or event.

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