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Discounted Office 365 Home Premium Subscription
Great Amazon deal at $20 off the regular price for Office 365 Home Premium 1 Year Subscription Key Card. This can be used for your upcoming annual renewal as well. For Win7+. The funny part is that they send you a physical card. This would be perfect for a digital delivery, but I guess Microsoft does not trust Amazon that much. EDIT: I bought this, and now Amazon has applied a $15 credit to my account that is valid for over a year. That brings the cost of this offer down to $65. Sweet. UPDATE: I ......

Posted On Sunday, December 8, 2013 8:57 PM

Cleaning Up After Chrome
I find Google Chrome, which I have no interest in, is continually getting installed on machines in my house, mostly due to Adobe Shockwave bringing it along as an install package. (Family members are agreeing to the download, not realizing the Chrome is getting dropped as well.) My major issue after uninstalling Chrome is that you can no longer click on links in Outlook emails. There is a lot on the web about this, and Google has not been proactive at fixing their uninstaller. I have now added a ......

Posted On Sunday, September 23, 2012 2:48 PM

Windows 7 Registered Owner and Organization

This is another of those memory aid posts. After I got tired of seeing Hewlett-Packard as the licensed organization on my laptop, I dug into the registry and changed it.

Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion and make your changes to RegisteredOwner or RegisteredOrganization as desired. A reboot is not required. Your ProductId is there too if you want to record it.

Posted On Saturday, September 15, 2012 10:51 AM

C# Value Type Table
One of the things I always seem to be checking are the various characteristics of the C# value types. You know, stupid questions like whether int is the same as System.Int32 or System.Int64. I know the answer, but when I need it, I just want a quick reference. I could not find one, so I made one. I think it is correct since I combined multiple tables from the MSDN documentation. Value Type Category .NET Framework Type Approximate Range Default Value Literal Size Precision Implicit Numeric Conversions ......

Posted On Sunday, March 25, 2012 8:34 PM

MSDN vs. TechNet
For a period of time, I have access to both an MSDN and a TechNet subscription. Both offer Microsoft software for download. I wondered what the similarities and differences were between the two subscriptions. I copied the two download lists into Excel and aligned them. Most of the material I would never use. Some products I have never heard of. I present the lists, current as of today, for your reviewing pleasure. TechNet MSDN Applications (63) Applications (79) Access 2.0 Access 2003 Access 2003 ......

Posted On Friday, August 19, 2011 9:17 PM

Configuring the Synology DS1511+
My last post related the sad story of a dead HP MediaSmart Home Server. This time, I will relate the steps I took to configure the Synology DS1511+ for use. To avoid unnecessary typing, I recommend this post to provide the basic details. It is written for the older DS1010+, but the process is the same for the DS1511+. … OK, now that you have read that, I have different drives in my NAS so I had a different kind of problem. I chose to go with five Western Digital 2TB Caviar Green SATA II drives (WD20EARS) ......

Posted On Friday, July 8, 2011 9:40 PM

Replacing a Windows Home Server
There comes a time when computers die. So it was with our HP MediaSmart Home Server. At the age of 4, I was not expecting it to die. Oops. It has never really been an easy life before the death of that machine. It’s anemic 512MB of memory got upgraded to 2GB. The 500MB primary drive got expanded with two 1TB drives. The power supply fan started sounding like my lawn mower, so it had to be replaced. Things seemed stable until the primary drive croaked – and me unable to locate the recovery disk – ......

Posted On Tuesday, July 5, 2011 6:30 AM

Engineering Windows 8

I enjoyed reading the E7 blog entries.  I see that the E8 blog has been reserved.

Posted On Monday, May 3, 2010 6:05 PM

Killing Flash
Over the past several months, I frequently found myself cursing the Internet slowness of my fully loaded multi-core computer. I cleaned, optimized, defragmented, flushed and did everything customary to resuscitate a lethargic machine. A blog entry described the woes of someone in a similar position. He speculated that the cause was Abobe's Flash plug-in for IE. A Google search showed people with a similar problem and similar thoughts. I figured it would not hurt to just kill Flash ... kill it as ......

Posted On Monday, May 18, 2009 10:56 PM

Our First Zune
My wife and I were talking by phone while I was at a store when she mentioned that she wanted an MP3 player for use around the house. Easy in-car use was also a requirement. I went to the music player display case to see what was offered. A full 80% of the boxes were various flavors of iPods. The rest were Zunes with a couple of Samsung units. Since I have a bad opinion of Apple DRM and iTunes lock-in, I bought her a 4GB pink Zune and brought it home. My wife loved opening the box and playing with ......

Posted On Sunday, March 16, 2008 11:29 PM

IE8 Beta 1 - Fixing the Favorites Crashes
IE8 Beta 1 now available here. My initial experience with this version was not good. As soon as I viewed my Favorites and started to mouse over the list, the browser crashed. Every time. After the fifth or sixth time, I uninstalled it and returned to IE7. After downloading a new copy, I reinstalled. It still crashed. Then I started the browser without add-ons. (Right click the Desktop icon and choose "Start Without Add-ons.") No crashes when viewing Favorites. Ah hah. I went in and pruned down the ......

Posted On Saturday, March 8, 2008 11:21 PM

IE7 Downloads Are Live
Go to the main site before it gets hammered with traffic: Even better, they seem to have fixed the nonresponsive Favorites folders bug that crept into the last release candidate. Update 1: Too late. Microsoft's download servers, as well as the supporting authentication, RunOnce and update servers, are creaking under the load. It would be best to wait a bit for the update rush to subside. When the phased Automatic Updates hit, expect even more mayhem. Update 2: ......

Posted On Wednesday, October 18, 2006 8:22 PM

Microsoft Private Folder 1.0 MSI
Update: You are now too late. It took Microsoft five days, but they have finally removed the download file and the page linked below. Sorry. You may want to try the Google search linked below to find someone who has it posted elsewhere. After corporate security types screamed, Microsoft pulled the download of their Private Folder 1.0 installer. More accurately, they pulled the web pages that pointed to the file, but, for the moment, left it posted on their download server. You can find it using this ......

Posted On Friday, July 14, 2006 6:12 PM

New Dell Computer Crapware
Today I got to unpack and set up my new toy. After over five years of existing with the same old 1.1GHz P3, I finally got my brand new Dell XPS 400 -- Pentium D Dual Core 3GHz Processor 930, 4GB DDR2 SDRAM, 256MB nVidia GeForce 7800 GTX, and other toys -- Sweet! I plugged in two 19-inch LCD monitors that I had ready, fired it up, and promptly got deluged with the Dell advertising crapware. I had to read the startup configuration screen very closely to make sure I was not agreeing to AOL Broadband ......

Posted On Friday, June 2, 2006 9:12 PM

ClearType in IE7 Beta 2 Preview
I mentioned earlier, that I endorsed IE7 Beta 2 Preview, but I should clarify that something seems wrong with the ClearType implementation. It is so bad for me, that I have had to turn it off. Now I admit that I have a wimpy old home system (P3 1.1GHz), but the ClearType pages at Microsoft say that I should have seen an improvement. There is a new IEBlog entry today talking about this. Try it and see if it will improve things for you. I think it will likely be a wash on more modern hardware, but ......

Posted On Friday, March 3, 2006 2:21 PM

IE7 Beta 2 Preview - It's Worth It
After playing with Beta 1, I find the Beta 2 Preview to be worth it. Uninstall Beta 1 if you have it before installing Beta 2 Preview. My installs were seamless. Note: The .Text editing window is a little flakey with delete/backspace and cursor positioning. It also has problems with the post body toolbar. Hmmm ... maybe a reboot. Lots of people are calling this Beta 2 -- that is incorrect. The IEblog announcement calls a beta preview “a release for everyone involved in making the Internet work.“ ......

Posted On Tuesday, January 31, 2006 6:34 PM

Sony DRM Debacle: Now for the Lawyers
Brian Bergstein, AP Technology Writer, gives us a good summary of where things stand with Sony and their DRM problems. Suffice it to say that they relied on First 4 Internet for the expertise and F4I proved to be inept. I think Sony's suits have little concern about the “thieving users” who are trying to steal their content, but only get concerned about the lawsuits and lost profit. The music industry got too used to obscene profit margins and now cannot live without them. Sony seems ......

Posted On Sunday, November 20, 2005 5:37 AM

Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List
Now updated and expanded, go and read Scott Hanselman's 2005 Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List.  Highly recommended, this is another link to keep around.

Posted On Monday, June 20, 2005 6:54 AM

Port List

Here is a well-maintained list of ports for those moments when you just cannot recall if the Ricardo North America License Manager is on port 6143 or 6148.

Posted On Monday, March 7, 2005 11:54 PM

Sony DRM Death Spiral Continues
The media is looking for blood, and there is plenty of Sony's lying around. Update 1: Someone finally says that the antivirus companies who were supposedly protecting us have no clothes. Update 2: A good USA Today article that links the Sony DRM to executive changes, a questionable merger, and staff downsizing. The stories are only getting worse. I think this will emerge as a perfect case study of now not to protect a company's intellectual property. Sony issues a second apology, stops production ......

Posted On Wednesday, November 16, 2005 4:21 AM

Sony Maximizing Their DRM Pain
Previously, I hypothesized about a fictional pitch that sold Sony on the rootkit XCP DRM they included on some recent CDs. I then examined how the software's authors pitched their product. All of those scenarios were fatally limited because I think I fell into the same trap the Sony did -- I did not examine how CDs are played from all angles. My assumption was that the players in this game were Sony (and by extension First 4 Internet) and the incipient thieves who buy the CDs. The point of view that ......

Posted On Monday, November 14, 2005 5:31 PM

Service Packs and Hurricanes
Within the past few months, I repaved my machines, removing old versions of win98 and WinME, installing fresh copies of WinXP. I installed Windows XP SP2 on my machines and was pleased to find that all installations went without a hitch. I did not play with any of the Release Candidate bits, so I was underwhelmed by the much vaunted Security Center. I expected it to appear on my Start menu. Nope. I looked at the Start menu properties for a customization to make it appear. Nope. I finally found it ......

Posted On Friday, August 13, 2004 5:46 PM

Plotting Graphs for Free
As I stated in an earlier post, I have been working on the EDR to get a fuse curve plotting program working. Between that and real life travel, illness, and work around the house, June was a very thin blogging month. Now that all that is past, I can work on other things, such as this blog. One of the interesting tools I used to get the EDR plotting requirement done is a program called DPlot. While the program itself is worthy of consideration, it has a free sibling called DPlot Jr. For the programmer, ......

Posted On Sunday, July 4, 2004 6:20 AM

Selling a (Bad) DRM Technology
Now that we know quite a bit about how the XCP DRM copy protection scheme was implemented for Sony, how was it sold to the record companies? First 4 Internet has the following posted on their XCP DRM website. Read the following knowing they are talking about a specialized player supported by a rootkit-based DRM driver. They pitch it as a “disc format“ when it is actually a standard format (to play in regular CD players) with added autorun software for computers (both PC and Mac), and ......

Posted On Sunday, November 13, 2005 5:40 AM

When DRM Gets You Fired
I have lots of links in this post about Sony's XCP DRM software and how they bungled it. The last update there brings up an interesting point. Picture yourself in front of senior management pitching the “cutting-edge” technology you have found at an unremarkable British software company. No lawyers or PR flacks are around. You are suitably vague about the detailed techniques, but you breeze through the slides extolling the benefits of the process. The suits are impressed. You get the ......

Posted On Sunday, November 13, 2005 5:20 AM

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