Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Windows 7 - IE Very Slow - 100% CPU

I have recently encountered this issue: Internet Explorer on Windows 7 - when opening IE it takes a long time for your home page to appear. If you open a new tab, it also takes a lot of time, and the CPU is at 100%.

Checking the Task Manager, I have noticed the problem is with this process: ssvagent.exe

This process is a part of the Java Run-Time, which I have just installed. After some searching on the internet, I have found a workaround:

1) Tools -> Internet Options -> Programs
2) Click on Manage add-ons
3) Select the Java Plug-In and disable it

For me it both solved the 100% CPU, and the Java application that I needed still worked.

Thanks for for the workaround.

Monday, November 30, 2009

10 Google Wave Invites to Give Away

I have 10 Google Wave invites to give away. Just comment below with your first Name, State/Country, why you need the invite (just so that I know who I'm sending the invite to, it's not much to ask, is it?), and email address. First 10 who comment with these details will get the invites.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Second Thoughts About Mozy

After being so happy about Mozy, I've noticed that the Mozy Restore process on the MozyHome client was not working OK. The Restore window just closed without restoring any files. I've been on email with their support, but I tried searching for "Mozy Restore" on Google, and found a lot of complaints. I've narrowed it down to results just from this year, and still got quite a few stories of people who had a total meltdown of their system, and then found out that the Web Restore files takes forever to download, if they are downloaded at all. Some people had to resort to the DVD option, where they paid 100$ to get DVDs from Mozy, and some complained that not all of their stuff was on it.
So, I'm now thinking of abandoning Mozy. Instead, I may purchase a second external HD, and do alternating backups, keeping at least one HD offsite (perhaps even both).

Update 1: No word from Mozy support for the last 12 hours. Anyway, I’ve decided to remove Mozy. There goes my $5.

No more online backup solutions in the near future.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Online Backups Solutions – And The Winner Is…

Update: I have decided to remove Mozy.

Data. That’s an important part of our life for some time now. Documents, photos, music, you name it! For me, the data I would most like to protect is comprised of family photos I’ve been taking with digital cameras for the last 6 years (about 80GB of data). I also have ripped CDs, and I’m not sure the actual CDs have 100% survived (I have at least one CD which is almost not playable anymore).

In the past years, I have used CDs, and later DVDs to back up my files. The process was long, and as I know personally, a CD may not last very long. I once had a CD which was dead after only one year.

Today I use external hard drives to back up my data. I use a 500GB LaCie hard disk, and the backup software that came with it. They work pretty well. I back up about once a month, and keep the hard disk at work, to minimize risks.

This is not enough for me. I was looking for another solution, an online one, which is becoming more popular these days (the Cloud, you know…). I’ve played a little bit with DropBox, but it’s mainly for synchronizing files between computers, and not for backing up your files. As it only uploads files that reside in its own folder, it is not a good backup solution.

So yesterday I decided it was time to check the field of online backups.

Warning: if you just want to read the bottom line, and not what my tired mind has instructed my poor hands to write, scroll down to the bold, large font heading way down below.

I’ve read over several hours reviews of various services. To name a few: JungleDisk, Carbonite, Mozy, iDrive, Live Mesh, and Backblaze. I’ve read a lot of different opinions, and came down with three finalists: Carbonite, Backblaze, and Mozy. It was late, so I don’t remember why I ruled out Carbonite, but I also placed Mozy in second place because I didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t find a lot of information on their web site (something which is not true, as I found out later… much later…).

So, at 12:24am, I had Backblaze installed (15 day trial – not limited to data amount). I wasn’t happy. Backblaze did not let me choose what I wanted to back up. Supposedly, you only choose which drives you want to back up, and Backblaze backs up only data files on these drives. However, looking at the list of files it was backing up, I saw it backed up meaningless junk, and that junk came at a price of 160GB of data.

I went to sleep.

Around 3:00am I woke up. I wasn’t happy with my choice. I had a lot of questions on my mind. 3:49am, I knew I couldn’t fall asleep, so I got up to check how Backblaze was doing. It was still backing up, 40 days to complete. I’ve checked the second runner, Mozy, again. This time I found lots of information in the Mozy support site, and understood how powerful, Mozy’s solution is.

I’ve checked Backblaze again. In 4 hours of work, it backed up 460MB of data (around 155MB an hour). I’ve uninstalled it, and installed Mozy instead.

Mozy provides a free 2GB account. I’ve selected around 1.2GB of files and went to sleep at 5am.

Woke up at 6:45am. Tired.

At 12:00pm I checked my account on the Mozy site. The backup was complete. 1.2GB at 7 hours – around 170MB an hour. Not too bad.

Tonight I purchased a monthly unlimited subscription ($4.95) for Mozy, and set up an 87GB backup (I’m currently not backing up audio, only focusing on photos and documents).

So, why did I choose Mozy?

  • It has advanced features. You can select a preset backup set (e.g. “Word processing documents”), select specific files or folders, or create backup sets of your own using rules (e.g. all of the doc files in a specific folder).
  • Backup open files (Backblaze doesn’t do this).
  • No size limit on individual files (Backblaze has a 4GB limit).
  • 3 ways to restore files: Web (that’s the only way Backblaze does it), the Mozy client, or using Windows Explorer.
  • You can also add files to the Mozy backup directly from Windows Explorer.
  • Let’s say you trashed a file (e.g. drew a mustache on a picture of your child by mistake) and it got backed up. You can still restore to an earlier version. I’m still checking this one though. I tried restoring a previous version using the client, and it just closed. I was able to do this with the Web restore. I’m also not sure how long and how many previous versions are kept. Deleted files are kept for 30 days, perhaps the same with different versions, I’m still waiting for the Mozy support with this one. Got a quick response from Mozy:
    ”We don't have any issue with the "Client restore" restoring previous versions. We keep the deleted data for 30days, and we keep 30days of file versioning.”
    They offered a solution which I will try later.
  • When switching to a new computer, you can install Mozy on the new computer, and you will have 30 days to download your files. With Backblaze, you first need to download the files. If you install it on a new computer, your old files are lost.
  • Probably more reasons, I’m getting tired now…

2 important notes for conclusion:

  1. Whichever online backup solution you choose, note that it’s a backup, not archive solution. If you delete a file from your computer, it will be deleted from the online backup. Mozy lets you restore your deleted files for 30 days.
  2. I don’t believe it replaces the need for a backup on an external disk. I still plan to back up my data every month on my external disk. Restoring files from an external disk is much easier, and I’m keeping all of the versions as well. I don’t delete anything.

That’s all for now.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Samsung P2350

Got a new LCD monitor, the Samsung SyncMaster P2350. What a magnificent screen!

First of all, to work with a screen resolution of 1920x1080 is simply great. The amount of space you have makes it really easy to place multiple application in such a way that they are always visible. For example, you can have your browser, IM, Gadgets visible together.

Second, the screen is just great in all other aspects, such as color, sharpness, etc. It’s just great to look at!

Now, playing games on this is something else. Unfortunately, I can’t play Crysis Warhead in full resolution because the FPS is too low, but even with a lower resolution, with the screen size, and it being wide, it's a whole new level of experience.

I still need to check it out with FSX. It should be equally great.

Also checked out some HD video (only 720p) which looked great. I need to get a sample of Full HD content (I hope my machine can handle it).

Where am I?

No, the blog isn’t dead. I’ve been lucky enough to be busy with a lot of things. To name a few, iPod Touch, which is simply a great piece of device. A minor thing called work has also kept me busy.

BTW, got an invite to Wave. Sorry, haven’t received invites to share. Nothing to talk about though. The few friends that I have there don’t seem to be using it much themselves.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Google Wave Invite Needed

I wasn’t one of the lucky ones to get an invite (insert sad face here). However, there is still hope, as the lucky ones get a chance to invite 8 people! What do they do with such invites? Some probably invite their friends, others share them freely within their online community (e.g. Lifehacker).

Oh, and others sell them on ebay! That’s right, currently I see 7 people selling on ebay, with prices reaching up to $100. That’s really not so nice…

So anyway, if you have an invite to send me, I would be happy to receive one at this address:


And if you want to receive an invite, feel free to comment, and hopefully someone nice will come along and share their invite.

BTW, this brings back memories of the Gmail invites. I got mine in return for a postcard (actually 2 postcards, as 2 people sent me an invite).

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Picasa 3.5 People Name Tagging

One of the most cool features of Picasa 3.5 is the name tagging feature. What Picasa does is go through all of your pictures, identify faces, tries to group them into similar faces, and lets you name the faces, so that later you can find pictures of specific people easily. As this is something that I used to do manually, using the labels, it is going to save me a lot of time in the future.

I’ve been playing with Picasa 3.5 for a couple of days now, and I’m very impressed with how easy it is to find and tag a large number of faces. I already have 4000 labeled pictures of my son, 3000 of my daughter, and a few thousand of various relatives.

The way it works is very nice. You start identifying people. As you identify more pictures for a certain person, Picasa “learns” this and suggests more pictures of the same person. So, for example, if I identified 300 pictures of my son, I already had 800 suggestions for other pictures of my son. You still have to go through these suggestions manually, as there are misses, but this is done very quickly.

Even today, after I think that most pictures of my son and daughter were identified, when I go through the Unnamed list (of 18,000 faces!), I sometimes find pictures of them, identify them, and afterwards Picasa suggests more pictures of them.

So currently I still have to go through 18,000 faces, to ignore the ones that I don’t care to tag. There are were funny moments too, where I have found faces of statues, a drawing on a shirt, people from scanned DVD covers, a sphinx, and so on. This part is going to take some time to complete. There is no quick way to do this, and the pictures are not grouped in high numbers (usually 2 pictures per thumbnail).

There are other new features too, such as integrated geo-tagging, and Adjust Date and Time, which I believe is new, but so far, People Tagging is the best reason, at least for me, to upgrade to the new version.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Internet Explorer Market Share Decline

While checking my humble blog’s statistics, it was very interesting to see how Microsoft IE’s market share declined over the last few months.

At the beginning of the year, the IE visits on my site were at about 50%. Let’s take June for example.


July showed a rather huge decline of about 10%, which went mostly to Firefox.


August had an interesting results – an exact tie (what are the chances of that!).


And now we are in September, and although the month isn’t over yet, I wanted to check the status of this contest. As you can see, currently Firefox has taken the lead. However, Firefox has taken only some of the IE market share, and the other browsers have enjoyed this decline as well.


I know this isn’t an exact science. I don’t have too many visitors, and the sample data in each month is different (luckily I get more visitors these last few months), but still it is saying something.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

WeGame - Beware of Spam

Just got a message from saying "itai sent you a photo. Want to see the photo?"
As much as I love photos, it seemed to be a little suspicious, so I've searched "wegame" on the web and found some interesting stuff. First of all, if you just search for "wegame" you get their official site, and a few other, safe looking sites. However, if you search for "wegame spam" you get a few more interesting sites. I have not investigated this very thoroughly, but as far as I understand, in order to see the photo you need to sign up, and as part of this process, you may end up emailing everyone on your address book that you have sent them a photo. I don't know how it's done. Perhaps you give them your user name and password for your email, or they may do this in another way.

The main point is that if you get an email from, don't click on any link, even if it's from someone you know.

If I'm completely wrong, please let me know.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cannot Access Amazon Due To Anti-virus

For the last two days, I cannot access due to this warning:


Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6.0 for Windows Workstations claims that the site is infected with “HEUR:Trojan.Script.Generic”.

That’s annoying.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Adding Pictures to the Windows Desktop Backgrounds in Windows 7

If you like the default Windows 7 backgrounds, but you want to add more pictures to that collection, here is a simple solution:

The Windows Desktop Backgrounds are located in the folder C:\Windows\Web\Wallpaper. You can simply create a new folder and place your images under it. Here is an example for a new “Chipset” folder:


The folder in Windows Explorer


The new pictures in the default Windows Desktop Backgrounds

Upgrading from Windows 7 RC to Windows 7 RTM

So, the time has come to upgrade to the final version of Windows 7. Out of the box, you cannot upgrade from RC to RTM. There is a simple hack that enables you to do so, but I decided I wanted a clean install. I still needed to retain my files and settings, and I needed to install Windows on the same hard disk, as the second hard disk contains Vista.

So, I decided to use Easy Transfer to make the transition. I ran Easy Transfer on Win7 RC. I’ve selected all the files and folders that I needed to retain, including program settings. The results was an 8GB file, which I saved on the second hard disk. Afterwards I booted using the Windows 7 RTM install DVD. I ran setup and chose the custom installation. I formatted the Win7 partition, and made a clean install on that partition.

After Windows 7 RTM was installed I ran Easy Transfer. I selected the Easy Transfer file which was created from the RC version, and after a few minutes all of my files and settings were back.

Now I still need to install of my applications. I’ve installed most of them already, and I still need to move files from my Vista installation (which wasn’t used at all since Win7 RC) to Windows 7.

That was an easy transfer!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wii Internet Channel is now free

I’ve just purchased the Nintendo Wii two days ago, and was disappointed that the Internet Channel provided was only a demo video, and that the real channel isn’t free. Today I was surprised to see that the Internet Channel is now free! Thanks, Nintendo!

As for my Wii experience, my shoulder is sore. I guess I better switch hands. 

Monday, August 17, 2009

Windows 7, Total Commander, Slow Network File Copy

I’ve upgraded to Windows 7 at work, and found out that Total Commander is really slow in network copy operations. When copying or unzipping any amount of files it frequently pauses and makes it impossible to work like this. After finding the usual advises from Vista, and seeing they are not working (Windows copy is OK, BTW), I tried something else. I’ve paused my Antivirus software, which is the new Kaspersky version for Windows 7. Total Commander started working correctly immediately. After playing with the Kaspersky settings a bit, it appears that Proactive Defense is causing this problem. The settings inside Proactive Defense don’t matter. If it’s activated, Total Commander pauses during copy operations.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Use Easy Transfer To Migrate Settings to Windows 7 [Windows 7]

The article below is from Lifehacker. I've already used Easy Transfer at work, to migrate from Vista to Windows 7 through the network, which was quite easy. Now I need to migrate from Win7 RC to Win7 RTM at home, on one machine which is dual boot between Vista and Win7 RC. this is going to be a bit more tricky!

Easy Transfer Migrates XP Settings to Windows 7 [Windows 7]: "

Windows 7 only allows you to upgrade directly from Vista, so if you are looking to switch from XP you are out of luck. Thankfully the built-in Easy Transfer tool makes the upgrade process much easier.

Over at the How-To Geek site (my home away from Lifehacker), blogger Mysticgeek has put together a full guide to using Windows Easy Transfer to move all of your files and settings from your XP computer to your new Windows 7 PC—though the tool can be used from Vista, or even if you decided to dual-boot Windows 7 with XP or Vista.

The principles are simple: just run the Easy Transfer wizard (included on the Windows 7 disc) on the computer you want to migrate settings from, choose everything you want to transfer, and save the Easy Transfer backup file to a drive. Once you've installed Windows 7, you can run the Easy Transfer wizard to restore all of the settings from the backup file to your new computer. The tool only packages documents, settings, and things like wallpaper—so you'll have to reinstall your applications—but it works surprisingly well for helping migrate your settings.

Hit the link for the full walk-through, or check out our guide to upgrading to the Windows 7 RC, or how to upgrade the Windows 7 RC to the final RTM release.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

No Recording Device on Windows 7

A while back I wrote that Windows 7 didn’t detect the rear microphone input. Yesterday I tried the front microphone input, and found out that it didn’t work either, so I decided to get to the bottom of this, and was able to solve the issue. Here is the solution:

The problem was with the default Microsoft IDT High Definition Audio driver, which was obviously not compatible with my on board sound device (Intel® Desktop Boards with IDT audio). The Intel driver on the other hand, was only compatible up to Vista. I have tried to install it before, and it has broken the audio functionality on my machine. However, the breakthrough came after I found some advise on the web on how to install it anyhow.

I take no responsibility for the following steps, and they are provided “As is”, without any warranty whatsoever. They worked for me, but they may not work for others, and may cause problems.

1) Download the latest Intel IDT Audio driver. I downloaded mine from here. There is a list of motherboards that this driver supports, so read the list carefully to see if your motherboard is there.

2) After that, run the file that you downloaded (AUD_allOS_D20001.0x_PV_IDTGUI_v105_Legacy.exe). It will extract to a location of your choice, and then start to run setup. Cancel the setup.


3) Go to the extracted folder, and then down to WDM and Vista. Find the two inf files, one is for 32bit, and the other for 64bit.


4) The following advice was found here, though I didn’t follow it to the word. I’ll tell you what I did, but I’m still giving credit to this post, as this was it.

I opened STWRT.INF. If you have a 64bit OS, you should open this: STWRT64.INF.

Went to the section [IDT.NTx86]. It has a lot of lines that look like this:


I modified them by removing the &SUBSYS_xxxxxx part, so that it will look like this:


I did it for all the lines (used Excel to do this quickly).

5) I went back to the main extracted folder, right clicked Setup.exe, selected Properties, and set the compatibility mode to Vista Service Pack 2. I’m not sure it is needed, but I did this anyway.


6) I ran Setup, it asked me some questions, including if I was sure I wanted to install this driver. I approved all questions, and it took a long time, but finally it was complete, and I restarted Windows 7.

End result: the audio is working, the front microphone is working. The rear microphone input is recognized, but not working yet. I will try and solve it later, but at least I have a microphone now!


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fedora on Virtualbox

So, after my past experience with OpenSUSE I've decided to give Fedora a try. Installation went fine. After experiencing issues with Guest Additions on OpenSUSE, I've searched in advance for a solution, and found one. The solution worked, but after boot my screen got corrupted. I found a solution to that as well (lower the Display Memory in VB to 64MB).

So, I have a working Fedora now, with the optimal screen resolution (1280x1024), so I can actually try it. I'm still in opinion that if you don't have minimal experience in Linux commands, it's almost impossible to get this to work. There is no replacement for Windows in this aspect.

I would like to see more eye-candy though. I've tried activation Desktop Effects, but got only a white screen. I'm installing KDE now, hoping for a nicer GUI. I will update on that later.

Update 1: Fedora didn’t fail my expectations, and not in a good way. I’ve installed KDE using the official instructions in the Fedora KDE page. I’ve restarted the VM and got a beautiful KDE login screen. Entered my login details… and got a black screen… Back to Google to try and fix this.

Update 2: After another restart, KDE works. Very nice looking, although a bit slow now. Will need to increase the memory in VB.

Update 3: Here is a screenshot of the nice desktop:


Friday, July 10, 2009

I Killed OpenSUSE 11.1

I like to try Linux distributions from time to time. This time I tried OpenSUSE 11.1 on VirtualBox.

Setup went fine:

OpenSuseInstall Installed correctly, but the resolution was low – 1024 X 768. After a quick search on the internet I found out that all I need to do is install Guest Additions. So I tried, got error messages, installed more software, the virtual harddisk got close to 5GB, installed more software, and finally the VM died… How I love Linux! Now I’m looking for a new distribution to break.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bing Translator Available for Hebrew

Bing Translator supports Hebrew, but it is so embarrassingly bad. Check out this example:


Some of the highlights:

  • Chinese characters.
  • English gibberish (not even a transliteration of Hebrew).
  • Embarrassing translations (Nurse is translated as Nuisance).

Hope they do better…


I tried to translate another web site and got this interesting result:


The name of the reporter, Michal Henig, was translated as Linda Smith! I'm sure she would be happy.

Montana is on the map

Finally, Montana is on the map!


After years of being MIA, I had two visits from Montana, one on June 18th, and the other on July 6th. Now I’m satisfied!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder

Oh my god, what a cool feature! Just read about a very useful Windows 7 feature in How-To-Geek. Problem Steps Recorder (activate by Start->Run->psr.exe) records whatever you are doing into a zipped MHT file. The MHT contains screenshots of every step you have taken, with descriptions. Here are a few examples (without the screenshots):

Problem Step 1: (06/07/2009 20:20:02) User left click on "Minimize (push button)" in "Google Reader (334) - Windows Internet Explorer"

Problem Step 2: (06/07/2009 20:20:04) User left click in "Calculator"

Problem Step 3: (06/07/2009 20:20:05) User left click on "9 (push button)" in "Calculator"

There is also additional information for each step. Here is an example for Step 2:

Problem Step 2: User left click in "Calculator"
Program: Windows Calculator, 6.1.7100.0 (winmain_win7rc.090421-1700), Microsoft Corporation, CALC.EXE, CALC.EXE
UI Elements: #32770, CalcFrame, Calculator, CalcFrame

Now, why am I so excited about it? Well, as part of my job I sometimes have to troubleshoot issues that other people have. The best way to do this is to remote connect to their computer, but that’s not always possible. Seeing screenshots is the next best thing, but they don’t always know how to do this. With PSR, all I have to do is instruct them to run the program, and click on the big red record button, stop recording, and send a zip file. That’s a big help. Wonder if it can be ported out of Windows 7.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Lost Season 2 Finale Rewatch

Saw it yesterday, and it was less intensive then I remember. My wife, who watches Lost for the first time, also said it’s not as intensive as the Season 1 finale.

However, no doubt that the number one statement (or rather understatement) of Lost belongs to these episodes:

John to Eko: “I was wrong”.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

How To Share QuickTime Movies

Sorry, no answers here, only frustration. I’ve recently switched my stills camera from Canon to Panasonic. I’m very happy with the the Panasonic (FZ28) when it comes to pictures, but less impressed with the video feature.

The main issue is the video format. Canon saves videos as AVIs, and it is really easy to edit them with Movie Maker to create a WMV files. WMV files are usually small enough to share, and can be viewed on any machine with Windows.

Panasonic however save the movie as MOV (QuickTime). First problem, the videos are very large. Even when saving as a MP4, they are still large. Second problem, they require QuickTime.

I’ve tried various methods to convert the MP4 to WMV, but the best that I was able to produce was twice the size of the MP4, which is already big.

So, I thought I can share on an online video site and embed on my site. However, I would like to keep them private. YouTube offers private videos, but you have to explicitly share them with people, and that’s no good. MSN Videos however enables to share as Hidden, which is good (they won’t come up in search results, but you can link directly to them), but my MP4 files are uploaded in a second, thus not really uploaded at all, and I have no idea why.

So, I’m frustrated now…

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Microsoft Word Crash on Startup

A relative of mine had this problem a couple of times, so I thought I’d better document it.

When he’s starting MS Word, he gets this message:

"Buffer overrun detected! 
A buffer overrun has been detected which has corrupted the program's internal state."

Word crashes afterwards.

The solution is simple. It appears the custom dictionary is corrupted. Renaming it solves the problem.

The file is located here:

C:\Document and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Microsoft\proof\

Rename custom.dic to custom.old, and the problem will be solved (hopefully).

You can also try to recover your custom dictionary by opening it in Notepad, and removing whatever garbage you find at the end of the file.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Windows 7 – No Rear Microphone Input Detected

Still trying to figure out the last issues I have with Windows 7. The most urgent issue is that the audio driver doesn’t recognize the rear microphone input, where my microphone is plugged. Obviously, this is a driver issue. I have an Intel board with IDT audio, so I tried checking Intel’s website. There is no audio driver for Windows 7, so I tried the one for Vista. The installation hanged for 10 minutes, and then I got a message that the installation failed. However, I could finally see the rear microphone input in the Recording Devices tab! Hurray! But wait a minute… No sound is coming out… No sound is coming in. Had to roll back to undo the IDT driver installation. Good thing there was a System Restore point close enough.

So now I’ve subscribed to my board’s RSS feed on the Intel website, waiting for an updated audio driver. For now I’ll have to plug the microphone in the front.

Update: The solution is here.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

No Images in Gmail in IE8

I’ve been facing an annoying situation for quite some time. When checking Gmail on Internet Explorer 8 and clicking an email with images, I get this warning message:

Security Warning 11062009 214359

As a positive person I automatically click on Yes, and when I try to display the images, they are not shown. So finally I’ve had some time to check this out, and it appears that it may be worth the while to actually read the message rather than automatically click on Yes.

I’m using an HTTPS connection to Gmail. This message actually says that the webpage has content that isn’t available via HTTPS (the linked images), and if you click Yes, that content won’t be delivered.

So if you want to see these images, better click on No.

Thanks for HTTPWatch.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Google Street View zoom feature

Just found out a real cool new zoom feature in Google Street View. One in Street View, you get a kind of “zoom box” which enables you to zoom to specific spots, and there are multiple zoom levels, unlike the usual two levels. It also enables you to jump quickly to areas which are more far than the current location. If I recall correctly, previously you were able only to jump to the next picture, using the arrows on the road.

Update: just found out it’s called “Pancake”.

Google Street View Zoom

Friday, May 29, 2009

Windows 7 low memory footprint + Windows Live Writer bug

Here is my memory usage now:


With Vista I was at 50% without doing anything.

And here is something I’ve noticed in the newly installed Windows Live Writer:


I do have an idea about why it happens…

Google Analytics doesn't like Montana?

I'm using Google Analytics to monitor the "vast traffic" I'm getting to this blog. True, I'm not getting too much traffic, but I do get visitors from all sorts of places in the world.

The odd thing I've noticed, was that according to GA since the first day of the blog around November 2007, until today I had visits from every state in the US, except for Montana. Here are the cold facts:
It doesn’t make much sense to me. Is GA filtering out traffic from Montana, or is this just a coincidence that no one from Montana visited this blog?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Java slows down tab opening in IE8

Working on IE8 in Windows 7 RC, I've suddenly noticed today that when opening new tabs, it took IE8 a few seconds to display the tab. Needless to day, I was annoyed. I remembered I installed Java today for another program, so I've quickly disabled Java in IE8 Tools -> Internet Options -> Programs -> Manage Add-ons, and the problem went away. So if you notice the same issue, try doing the same!

Playing MKV or DivX using FFDShow in Windows 7

One of the main issues that I had with Windows 7, was playing MKV files. I've installed Haali Media Splitter and FFDshow. I've started playing an MKV file and noticed that they playback was choppy a bit. After further investigation I've noticed that the FFDShow video decoder doesn't appear in the tray, so I understood that FFDshow isn't used. I've searched for a solution for a couple of days. I've quickly learned that the problem is that Windows 7 comes with it's own codec for MKV, and even for DivX, and it doesn't let FFDShow take over, but it took me another day to get to the following solution.

A word of warning: The solution is involves renaming files in the Windows\System32 folder. It isn't an ideal solution, and can cause certain things not to work right. I assume that TV recordings using Media Center won't work, and DVD playback also wouldn't work. It may break other things as well, so I take no responsibility for this solution.

The main solution is posted here. However, besides renaming the following files:

The ones above are needed to enable DivX to be decoded with FFDShow. I had to rename one more file to get FFDShow to play MKV files, and that's: msmpeg2vdec.dll

That's it, now MKVs play well, with FFDShow. Hope this post saves people some time finding the solution.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lost Rewatch - Season 1 - Pilot Parts 1 and 2

Now that we are waiting for the last season of Lost, I've decided to re watch the 5 seasons, and not just that, but to do watch it with my wife, who has never seen any episodes. I hope she doesn't give up anytime soon...
So, what do I say about the Pilot? It's nothing like the rest of the series. My wife saw it as some kind of a horror story (you know, pilots being snatched from a window, and their bloody body thrown on a tree). It's less character, and more "show", so it makes the characters seem a little bit one-dimensional. It makes sense, as the purpose of the Pilot is to sell the show. The second part was better, and my wife was completely surprised when it was revealed that Kate was the prisoner. She also wondered why Michael knew saw little about his son, though this was revealed later. Basically, she enjoyed the 2nd part better. Hope it only improves over time.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Windows 7 RC

I have been busy at work lately, so had no time to write (or read my RSS feeds, or do other things I like to do), but I did hava a chance to return to Windows 7, and this time I had a separate hard disk, so I avoided the issues I had with the Beta. Overall, I'm very pleased with Windows 7. I did however have a few issues, and still have some other issues, and here they are:

Resolved issues
  • Anti virus: At first I installed AVG, but I felt it gave me no real security, so last night I installed Trend Micro. However, it seemed stuck, even after restart, and only showed as "Loading". Today I tried to uninstall it, and it didn't succeed. I had to use a restore point, to remove it. I now have Kaspersky 8 beta for Windows 7.

  • Creative Webcam: I have an older version. Windows didn't install a driver for it, and according to the Action Center (which is great BTW), Creative don't have a driver for it, but you can try installing the old driver in Compatibility Mode. I tried it last night, and it worked.

  • Playing MKVs: Windows 7 has it's own codec for MKV (H264). It's pretty bad. I had to rename a few DLLs to be able to disable the Windows codec, and use ffdshow instead (more about this, perhaps later).

Unresolved issues

  • Rear Microphone input: For some reason, the rear microphone input is not recognized, so my microphone is not recognized. I tried to check for an updated driver for Windows 7 for my Intel motherboard, but they don't have Windows 7 drivers yet.

I think this is it for now...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Safari 4 – my new default

After I wrote my last post in Windows Live Writer and published it, it opened up in Safari 4 Beta. Yep, it is now my default browser, so bye bye FF for now.

Lost 5x07-08 Thoughts

I’ve just watched both episodes back to back. Wow, so many thoughts. And spoilers ahead, so watch out below!




Lock is back on the Island. So are the O5, and so is Ben. But they are in two separate timelines. This is great stuff! Michelle from 24 is also there, as well as new survivors from the plane crash. Oh, and Ben killed Lock. That whole seen was plain awesome. I probably missed some important pieces of information, so I’m going to read about these two episodes soon.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Safari 4 Beta experience

First, an apology to my faithful reader for not writing for so long. I’m under a lot of pressure at work, and have hardly any time for anything fun :-(.

As you may have gathered, I like betas, and I particularly enjoy Apple’s new Safari 4 Beta. As other reviews have stated, it’s a very fast browser (IMHO, faster than FF3), and the Top Pages, and Cover Flow features are pretty cool. So far I haven’t had a single crash (now they will begin probably), so it appears quite stable. As I wrote above, I don’t have much free time, so my experience with it wasn’t very long. I’ll be sure to keep you updated!

Friday, February 6, 2009

24 7x07 Thoughts

Spoilers ahead…


A nice episode. The IP device is destroyed, so I wonder what will happen next. Dubaku is going to get the First Husband. Who cares… Jack, Bill, and Chloe are going to surface back again. Oh, and the plant manager dies. What a surprise… NOT…

Lost 5x04 Thoughts

Spoilers ahead…


What an episode! I’m starting to like the time jumps. Highlights:

  • Who were those mysterious people with the boat?
  • Seeing Kate deliver Clair’s baby.
  • Ben is the one threatening to take Aaron (well, not really… he just want her to return to the island).
  • Almost everybody left on the Island is bleeding from the nose.
  • Rousseau is back (in the past).
  • Jin is back!

Looking forward to the next one!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bye bye Windows 7

I’ve added a second hard drive, and instead of using the opportunity to install Windows 7 on a larger partition, I’ve decided to get rid of it altogether. I just didn’t feel safe to leave it on my main machine.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Montana not on the internet?

I like to keep tabs (using Google Analytics) on where I get visits from, and what do the visitors read. Since this blog has started, during November 2007, and up until today, I had over 4000 visits (I know, not a lot…). Anyway, from the US alone I’ve had 1309 visits from all states, except for Montana. Why is this? Does Google Analytics not like Montana? Do the Montanans don’t like to visit my site? If you know the answer, please do let me know.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Windows 7 – IE 8 – Google Toolbar: Bad idea?

As I wrote before, Internet Explorer 8 on Windows 7 started hanging more than usual, and I had to forcefully shut it down too many times. Today, I’ve decided to disable the Google Toolbar. Since then, no crashes. Let’s see how it goes.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Google: The internet may harm your computer

In what looks like a bug, Google is now warning that every site may harm your computer. Here is what I see, when I search for “news”:


Notice that every site has “This site may harm your computer” link, and when you click on any link you get a warning page.

Windows 7 – Internet Explorer instability

After being so satisfied with Windows 7, I’m now experiencing instability in Internet Explorer 8. IE8 crashes quite often, and not as nice as it should. The crashes are usually not limited to specific tabs. The entire application freezes, and I need to forcefully shut it down. A few errors are linked specifically to Google Toolbar 5.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lost 5x03 - Thoughts

Finally, a good episode! Only one time jump, gave us some time to enjoy one steady time-line. A few interesting things:

  • Charlotte collapsing – so predictable. Said it would happen right before it did.
  • Young Charles Widmore – I’ve read people guessed it last episode, but still, it surprised me, as I didn’t think it was true. I like seeing the Others in the beginning. Perhaps we will understand what’s the issue between Ben and Widmore.
  • Faraday’s mom is probably Mrs. Hawking. Again, last episode I thought it wasn’t true, as she was in the US, while the mother should have been in the UK.
  • The meeting between Richard and Lock was great! Also explains why Richard came to Lock when Lock was born, and when he was young.

Looking forward to the next one.

24 7x06 - Thoughts

A nice episode. A few unrealistic scenes (well, it is 24 after all), such as the president’s husband killing that Secret Service agent, but other than that, a pretty solid episode. However, I think it was the first episode of 24 that has a large number of casualties, but doesn’t move me at all. Somehow they messed things up with the aircraft collision. Just a far away explosion that looked pretty fake.

Minesweeper in Windows 7

Even Minesweeper was changed. You can now play with flowers instead of mines, using the Change Appearance command under the Game menu.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

IE8 add-on needs IE8. In IE8

I’m using Internet Explorer 8 on Windows 7. I tried to install an add-on using the “Get More Add-ons” Window. IE8 insisted that I should download IE8 first. Don’t believe me? See for yourself:


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Battlestar Galactica 4x12 - Thoughts

I’m not happy about this one. Somehow, all of the latest and greatest episodes of my favorite shows are not what they used to be.

So, what do we have here? Mutiny on the way? Civil war? Who is the father of the child? The prophet speaking again? A love story between the commander and the president? OK. That’s it.There was no one scene which caught my attention in any way (suspense,tension, anything…). Not good…

402 unread items in Reader!

That's too much...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Windows 7 Action Center not connecting

Having the same problem as noted below:

Action Center not connecting - Windows 7 Forums

Action Center is finding a solution to a crash, I get the message "Contacting Autobug Web Service", and then "cannot display the webpage". Not too much information on Google about it.

Still using Windows 7

I’m very happy with it. It’s becoming my number one OS, although, because of disk space limits on that partition, I cannot install most of my software there. Still, it’s enough for internet, and media center.

Thoughts on Lost season 5

It’s really a thought, not thoughts. I don’t like where it’s going. I didn’t like the season 4 episode “Constant”, and this season seems like it’s going to be one big “Constant”. This time travel business makes it easy to make a mess of things story-wise, so I hope this won’t be another Heroes, which I abandoned mid-season.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

No bike ride today

I’m forced to call it off. There is too much sand in the air! It would be difficult to breath in this weather.

Windows Solution Center

I just had a message that “Distributed Link Tracking Client” caused an error. I chose to send the error information to Microsoft. Surprisingly, a few minutes after, I got a message back with a possible solution. Alas, I couldn’t see the solution because “The program cannot display the webpage”. Well, it’s the thought that counts…

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lost Season 5 Episode 1 is MIA

Some rumors about how ABC screened the first episode. The x264 version isn’t out yet. Me sad :-(

Update: 7am here, and episode 1 is finally available, although I won’t see it before Saturday, or even Sunday. Bummer.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Short day at work

Son not feeling well. Had to leave early. Worked from home. Stayed with son.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Windows 7 Media Center

Had a quick look at the Media Center. Looks kind of cool. I think I’ll start using it more, instead of the Vista one. It has nice Sports features, where you can get results of games, and track sport stars. It doesn’t interest me that much, but it looks kind of cool.

24 7x05

Spoilers ahead!!!



Let me think, Jack Bauer forced to shoot a female coworker, and has to fake her death… hmm… sounds familiar.

Other than that, a fairly average episode, with a few inconsistencies.

BTW, don’t worry about Walker. I’m sure she took a deep breath.

Busy busy busy!!!

A long meeting, new people, lots of email. Too much!!!!!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Battlestar Galactica 4x11

Spoilers ahead!


What a dark episode. First Dualla, then Thrace, and finally, the fifth!

New week

Thought of taking the bike to work, but it's too wet outside. Maybe tomorrow. Lots of email in my Inbox this morning.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

AVG doesn’t like Windows 7 games

I’ve noticed that when I search for games on the Start menu, the machine almost freezes. Further investigations have shown that both CPU cores reach 100%, and even more investigations showed that the problem is with avgrsx.exe, AVG Resident Shield service. Now I need to find a solution.

Update: It appears this is not a Windows 7 issue, but rather a general AVG issue. I’ve installed Avira Antivir instead.

Bike ride this morning

1.5 hours. Great weather for it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

IE8: The killer browser in Windows 7?

I'm a Firefox user. In last couple of years I have always thought that the various Internet Explorers were rather slow and heavy, and Internet Explorer 8 was no different. Today, I installed Firefox on Windows 7, and as usual, I've set Firefox as my default browser. However, after a few minutes I understood that one of the main features of Windows 7 isn't working with Firefox, and I set Internet Explorer 8 as my default browser.

If you've read anything about Windows 7, you probably know about the "Aero peek", the feature that enables you to easily browse between open windows of the same application. With Internet Explorer 8, each tab is treated is a separate Window, and so, it is easy to browse between tabs. This feature is not available with Firefox.


The second feature, which is a great addition, is the download progress. When you download files, you see a progress bar on the IE icon in the task bar. That way, you don’t have to check the download window each time.


A third feature is that when a tab crashes, it doesn’t bring down the entire IE session. Only the tab crashes, and then restarts in the same location!

So, IE is now my default browser. The only thing I really miss is the spell checker.

My experience with Windows 7 so far

So, I've installed Windows 7 last night. I had to repartition my machine, so that I could dual boot with Vista. I repartitioned using Vista's Disk Management, which was quite easy.
The installation itself took about 20 minutes, which was very fast! My experience so far is very positive. I have played with it at work, but even with a few minutes of experience in day to day stuff, I already found out one cute UI improvement. When you download a file using IE, the IE icon on the new task bar turns partly green, to show the progress of the download. That way you don't have to check the download window to see how the download progresses. Here is how it looks like:


Anyway, I'll keep updating on my experience. Hope it will be positive all the way!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I've installed Windows 7!

Partitioned my HD and installed Windows 7 side by side with Vista. Hope it goes well!

Me want to sleep

Told you I was going to be tired. Also, no Miami SWAT today.

Morning at work

Restless night, cold morning, long day ahead. Miami SWAT tonight? We'll see… In any case I need to prepare my hard-disk for next week's TV shows…

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

24 7x03-04

Well, I have seen the two episodes today, after all. What can I say… It’s nice, nothing less, nothing more. Episode highlights:

1) The "battle” between Chloe and Janis. Chloe won!

2) Agent Walker pulling a “Bauer” on Tanner.

3) Tony is really a good guy (not really a surprise though…).

What’s next? Well, I guess Hillinger’s move is going to cost his wife’s life. Probably, as they are next to land, they are going to be a good target.

Sitting outside

On a very cold day.

24 7x01-02

Spoilers ahead!

Yesterday evening I saw the first two episodes of 27, season 7. Well, I’d never thought I’d say it, but after a year I’ve missed Jack.

What has happened to Jack over this missing year? Well, he’s become more mellow.
What happened to CTU? Disbanded. But the FBI also has moles, so it’s OK.
What happened to to Chloe? She became Janeane Garofalo. Speaking of Janeane, it’s funny to see her here, so serious, and the comment about understanding sarcasm, was quite hilarious.

So, Tony is back. This is no surprise to anyone seeing the promos from last year. The plot isn’t surprising also to anyone who has seen Die Hard (key plot points taken from two Die Hard movies). However, bonus point for not taking down two planes.

Bottom line? Nice action, although sometimes boring in the White House scenes.

I’ll probably see the next two sometime this week (not today though).

Monday, January 12, 2009

Rode the bike to work again

Has been quite nice, without a coat, and in a new route, which was nicer.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Long game of CW last night

It's getting too much. Had troubles sleeping. Saw the enemy in front of my eyes.

This morning I've started downloading Windows 7 at home.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tried to get Windows 7

Couldn’t. I got a direct download link, but it only downloaded 1.4GB out of the 2.4GB ISO, so I’ve got nothing. Not to mention that I don’t have a product key either.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Another Friday

More Crysis Warhead. Getting pretty good at it. Too bad it keeps crashing because of the display driver issues. Also had a short bike ride today.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


What a day. No time to breath!

Busy day at work

I have several urgent issues. Hope I can get everything done today.

Back To You

Yesterday I saw the last three episodes. Too bad the show was canceled. Although I didn’t fall for it at first, it kind of grew into me, so too bad.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Another busy day at the barn

I find that if I ignore my incoming mail for a while, I can get more done. Other than that, I'm fairly tired today.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


One hour to go. Must… get… some… progress… done…

Lots of work

Really busy today. Lots of things to complete. Looks like it's going to be a long day.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The ride back home

Was hard, with all the people on the sidewalk.

One mustn't get annoyed

Take a deep breath. You did OK. They just think you made a mistake. It's nothing personal. You can take your time to show them that they are wrong.



… I hate it when I receive emails claiming that I'm wrong, when I know I'm not. It usually gets me very annoyed. I should probably take a deep breath.

Guess how I got to work today

Yes, you guessed right! With the bikes. One thing that I've learned is that next time I will do it without a coat on…

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Cold, tired, still need to get ready for a new work week.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

From home to work

Tried it this morning on the bikes. 30 minutes each way. Will try it next week.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Cannot fall asleep

Also, son with ear ache. Gave him ear drops before. Hope they help.

Now I hope the Internet will help me fall asleep.

Lost a downloaded MP3 album

I tried purchasing an album today online, and found out that I already purchased it two years ago. I cannot find it anywhere. I’ve tried emailing the site, asking to download again. Hope they agree.

I don’t have any idea how I lost that album!


Update: Found it on my computer at work!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Cold, cold morning

Yesterday evening I chose to read a book (Asimov) than to play CW. It was an interesting choice. This morning I awoke to a very cold one. Probably 11°C, but with the wind chill it was probably closer to 7 or even 5°C.

I'm starting to think seriously to come to work on the bikes twice a week. In need to check if it's allowed to bring bikes inside the building.