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…