Monday, December 28, 2009

ATT 3G not working today in Houston: I either get NO SIGNAL, or a Strong signal that won't make phone calls, or allow data transmission. Turning off 3G on my iPhone allows functioning on the 2007 Technology Edge Network.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

DOS software in Windows 7: Windows 7 has dropped support for DOS programs. Luckily there is Freeware called DosBox that allows one to create a DOS Window to run such software, even games. Better yet, one can create a "Dosbox.conf" file, and edit it so your DosBox is full screen. Works great in Windows 7 / 64 bit.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

HP SUPPORT is Abysmal: Hewlett Packard moved much of their consumer support to India, and its worse than any stereo type of bad support from India. Questions are answered with Boilerplate, whether or not the answer fits, and whoever sends the email reply, signs their name as "Craig". The Grammar is so awful its obviously not coming from the states. After 30 plus emails back and forth I gave up, they flat don't have a fully functional set of Drivers and Software for a C309a printer to work with Windows 7 either 64 or 32 bit.
Then their phone support is equally bad. Even if you lie and say your Hardware is used for Business, you get connected to equally bad support people in Ontario, Canada.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Super Bloat from Microsoft: Microsoft has now made available to the "public" a beta copy of MS Office 2010. I was very annoyed to find I couldn't install the 64 bit version as it promised my MS FrontPage 2003 wouldn't work anymore. SO I went back and downloaded the 32 bit version, and despite leaving out the corporate components, the Install was promised to take over 2 Gigabytes of disk space. Must be all those former Vista programmers and and disjointed development procedures of Vista that caused that. Office 2010 = The revenge of Vista ! It's that kind of nonsense why I still use Office 2003, and have removed a FREE copy of Office 2007 Microsoft once gave me for attending one of their dog and pony shows. Likely will do the some with 2010 version. Why do Preferences and Settings have to be hidden so deeply in a non-intuitive place ?

TIME (20 minutes later) to Uninstall Office 2010 beta. Despite a configuration during Install to leave all previous Office programs, It only left Excel 2003, and deleted Word, Outlook, Powerpoint and Publisher. I really don't appreciate having to reinstall those after Uninstalling this Bloatware 2010, which has the same ugly Interface as Office 2007, only more crowded with nonsense.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Whither HP - I had some documents that needed to be faxed, and I have no FAX, so I planned to scan them into a MS Word Document, email the Word document to someone who could/would FAX them for me. Too bad my scanner didn't want to work under Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit.
I hadn't installed the HP software as Windows 7 knew about the printer. So I go download 311 Meg of 64 bit drivers and software from HP, and as I go to Install: It crashes, giving me obscure error messages. Calling HP support is useless as it puts you on hold for 30 minutes before you get to a new hire in India that knows nothing. Using my own instincts, I unplugged the USB cable from the printer, and temporarily turned off my Norton AntiVirus, and then the Install worked (although I had to drill down two layers to make sure it didn't secretly install Yahoo Toolbar). So the scanning function of my printer now works under Windows 7. Meanwhile the associated program "HP Photosmart Essentials version 3.5" flat doesn't work in Windows 7 - 64 bit. If you email HP support, the fools there just tell you to try and reinstall.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Death of Geocities Time Magazine this week has a good story
on the demise of Yahoo/Geocities. Read it here.
Yahoo's lame explanation is here.


Monday, November 09, 2009

Recipe 2 (see Nov 8)

Macaroni & Cheese

In 2 quart sauce pot on low heat, mix
3 cups Whole Milk
6 Tbs Flour, added slowly while stirring
6 Tbs Butter
2 10 oz Sticks of Kraft Extra Sharp Cracker Barrel, shredded. Many substitutes don't work.

While Cheese sauce in pot heats and ingrediants melt together,
Bring large pot of salted water to racing boil, and
cook 16 oz Macaroni - (Muellers Large Elbows work best), slightly under cook
about 2 minutes less than package says.

In Large Glass or Corningware Bowl pour about 1/4 of cheese sauce on bottom,
then add extra-well drained Macaroni; followed by rest of cheese sauce, and gently stir it
all together.

Bake for 30 minutes in 350 degree oven, covered the first 20 minutes.

Serves 6.

Leftovers the next day are exquisite in Tomato Soup.
Tomato Soup (my receipe) : In Medium pot over low heat, mix

1 Can Campbells Condensed Tomato Soup
6 oz Milk
2 Tbs Tomato Paste
1/4 tsp Onion salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper

Soup or Macaroni good topped with some KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese Cheese Topping.
UPC code 21000 61505
Hard to find may- be shelved with Parmesan Cheese in Pasta Aisle in
3 oz Blue Cannister

Sunday, November 08, 2009

In Memory of my Mother: Just under a year ago that she passed at age 94. She had two recipes that her family loved. Let me post one today, and one tomorrow.

Bread Pudding: For Breakfast or dessert.
In Large mixing bowl mix:
12 oz of Apples and Apricot Sauce. One can always pulverize canned apricots in food processor
and mix 50/50 with commercial Apple Sauce.
2 eggs
4 Tbs Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
2/3 tsp Cinnamon
4 Tbs of melted butter - Melt butter in baking dish

Crumble in and mix well with ~10 slices stale white bread. End slices work well.
Mixture should be well moistened but not soggy, add more bread if needed.
Transfer to baking dish.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees in Glass or Corningware dish.
Depending on oven, Set for Broil last 3 minutes for crispy top.

Let cool 10 minutes before serving.


Saturday, November 07, 2009

Aero Snap - This new feature of Windows 7 which Microsoft even brags about in a commercial is one I detest. Luckily it's not too hard, but hardly intuitive to be able to turn it off. Instructions are here for turning it off. Aero Snap allows user to drag a window to the top of the screen to maximize the window automatically, or to the left or right side of the screen to resize the window to fill and take up half of the screen real estate on the moved side automatically.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Windows 7 - So right on time, October 22, 2009 UPS delivers from Amazon my copy of Windows 7, that I had signed up for in June at 60% off. Amazon didn't bill me till it shipped, so that was nice.

Apple claims that it will be later this year before they have a new version of BootCamp allowing for Windows 7 installation on Intel based Macintoshs, and in any event they won't support my 2006 MacPro. Perhaps because I have upgraded to a Radeon 4870 graphics card in such a MacPro, I was able to install Windows 7 on its own hard drive and run BootCamp 3.0 ( found on the OS X 10.6 Install DVD) to install 64 bit drivers for the Apple Keyboard, Bluetooth, sound etc. I got the latest video drivers straight from the manufacturer.

I didn't find Windows 7 to be running so fast like Microsoft claimed, but at least I didn't have to telephone Microsoft support in India because I was reinstalling Office 2003 with an already used Activation code; my existing code activated it over the net.

If Windows 7 is so much better and easier to use, why are there dozens and dozens of books on how to use it ? ? ? The book that might be best "Windows 7 - The Missing Manual" is itself missing, not to be published until January.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Free AntiVirus: Microsoft has now released a Free AntiVirus program. Waiting on reviews. Likely not as all-encompassing as a Norton, Kaspersky or McAfee.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Norton AntiVirus - This week Norton started selling the 2010 versions of its AntiVirus and "Internet Security" programs. I typically buy them at Frys when they're sold with big rebates, and save them for when my current installation has expired. It was last April when I installed 2009 Norton on my Windows Systems (Windows XP Pro, Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows 7 Ultimate Release Candidate). Frys had some versions on sale with rebate, so I went to buy the 2010 Norton Internet Security, and they tried to trick me into buying the 2009 Version, as they hadn't received the 2010 yet, but didn't initially tell me that.
Kaspersky always has their newest software available for download, and you can upgrade to the newest version using a "last years" activation code. Norton apparently doesn't do that.
Luckily after surfing around the Symantec (owners of Norton) web site, I stumbled across where they do in fact currently have all such available. Norton refers to the activation code as "Product Key" there, and one should have their key/code available on the envelope of the original install disk of their 2009 product, and I did. I downloaded and upgraded, and it was a slow process, taking about 40 minutes total, but when through I had the newest 2010 software installed with 183 days left on their clock.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Nasty email: Ignore any email purporting to be from the IRS.

Read here and here

Friday, September 25, 2009

MMS comes to my iPhone:
ATT did it smart. Rumors had the network crashing from everyone starting to
send pictures with their txt messages at once. Rather than push MMS capability
to everyone, you have to Pull it down.
Just Sync your iPhone with iTunes, and click on "Check for Updates"
at which time a "Carrier Update" is offered, click
accept; it all takes less than a minute to download and install. You
then have to cycle power on your iPhone, after which to the left of
the text entry window in Messages, there is a tiny Camera icon, which
allows you to take a picture or browse for a picture to attach.

By requiring the end user to manually pull down MMS capability,
such added functionality will be spread out over a few days.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Deception by Tropicana:

I'm glad someone beat me to complaining about Trop50, a "Juice Drink" that Tropicana tricks people into thinking is low Sugar Orange Juice, when its really a mixture of only 42% Orange Juice and water. Now why wouldn't everyone want to pay Orange Juice Prices for water? And shouldn't it be called Trop42?

The evidence is here

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Spam from Apple: So I get an email today from Apple touting
the new iPod Nano, and say to my self:

"Self, what can the Nano do that my iPhone can't?" "Isn't the iPhone much better?"

Only shortcoming I could identify is the Nano has a built in Pedometer. So I go to download a Pedometer program for my iPhone from the "App" store, and am confronted with dozens. How to choose??

So I Google, and read the reviews.

The one that appears to be best is "iTreadmill", which I'm about to buy.
Wish me luck.

Monday, August 17, 2009

GPS applications for iPhone

2 1/2 years ago, I bought a Garmin Nuvi 360 instead of an iPhone, choosing to wait till the iPhone had the features I wanted. I was glad to make that decision

I bought an iPhone 3GS 2 months ago, and still love it. Great to have email,Google and some wonderful apps in my pocket

Two major GPS apps are now available for the iPhone, both have major negatives based on reviews I have read.

1. Navagon - $69.99 till August 31. Then $99.99
- Won't do text to speech - ie doesn't name streets
- Voice is too low in volume for many reviewers.
- Street names are in hard to read font.
- May have trouble maintaining satellite contact
- Does not have "Apple" like interface
- Not well integrated with CONTACTS

2. Tom Tom
- Won't do text to speech
- POI database seems out of date.
- Heavy battery drain
- Announces turns to make too late for some

3. ATT Navigator
Universally hated because
- Very slow - dependent on ATT Network to pull data for maps
- Monthly $10 fee.

4 Months ago I sold my Garmin 360 on Ebay, and between what that brought in and the savings not having to buy a new map, I got a Garmin Nuvi 760 from Amazon effectively free.

Advantages of Garmin 760 ($200)over iPhone apps.

- Identifies street names - has excellent text to speech
- Has a larger screen (4.5 inches)
- Can play music (built in MP3 player), handle phone calls
(blue tooth), and keep navigating.
- Known update policy - Both Navigon and Tom Tom are vague about
availability, timing and pricing of updates . Thats major for me.
i.e. When and at what price will Text to Speech be available?
- ie "Make right turn in 200 feet" or
"make right turn on Telge Rd in 200 feet".
- in iphone GPS reviews, folks who have used stand-alone GPS units
complain iPhone GPS apps aren't there yet. Folks who have not used
GPS units before generally like the iPhone apps.

Already 50 reviews posted in the App store after TomTom only
being for sale for 12 hours.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New iPhone 3GS.
I had grief with my iPhone 3GS its first week. Apps wouldn't launch, icons dimmed out, the phone turned itself off during a conversation, and the iPhone locked up while using email. The lockup was solved with a reboot (, but the other continuing issues led Telephone support to offer to schedule a replacement at my local Apple store. I was almost ready to return it to ATT for a refund.
I offered to do a full Restore (, and the phone rep. patiently and professionally walked me through it; and now the 2nd week was been without incident; better yet, the Bluetooth now syncs with my Garmin GPS, which it couldn't find before the Restore. I presume the OS got glitched somewhere before I received it, but all appears good now, and Apple phone support remains the best in the business.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Movies on iPhone. My Nero 9 "Recode" converts video files for MPG4 for use on an iPhone, just perfectly, thank you.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

iPhone 3G S - I love this device. I was lucky enough to be the first one to order one at my local ATT store on June 8, at about 4 PM. On June 19, the roll out date, the store was to open at 7 AM only to deliver pre-ordered iPhones, so I got there at 6:15 AM with a folding chair, and was the first in line. Only 15 folks were there by the time the store opened, and they had 7 employees in early, one each at a terminal to sell and activate iPhone(s) to customers.
Since then I Googled enough to learn how to easily make custom ringtones, so I needn't pay for them.

1. Take any MP3 file, MP3 ringtone or midi file you have converted. For midi files
import to Itunes, then in Advanced tab select "Create AAC version" which makes an M4a file
which Audacity can use to make a 30 second long version.
2. Use a freeware program name AUDACITY. It is available as either
a Macintosh or Windows program. I used newest beta version with nary a problem.
You'll also have to download and install Library files for Lame (do Lame first) and FFMPeg .
Then using Audacity, Convert your mp3 file to a m4a file of
30 seconds or less length. Rename the xtension to m4r.
3. Copy the m4r sound file into iTunes - Library - Ringtones
4. Sync with your iPhone
5. You can then pick one of your custom ringtones as your default ringtone.
6. On my old Sony cell phone, I could set a ringtone to be used as a contact ringtone;
while on the iPhone you go into the contact, select edit, and can pick a different ringtone
for each contact, from either the original Apple supplied ringtones, or a custom ringtone
that has been added.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

$521 Bundle of Macintosh software for under $50 !!

- TechTool Pro 5 ($98.00) - comprehensive Mac tool to check the health of your RAM, hard drives, repair problems and optimize performance
- Parallels Desktop 4 ($79.99) - virtualization for the Mac that allows you to run Windows alongside Mac OS X.
- Circus Ponies Notebook 3 ($49.95)- an organizer to take notes with audio annotations, track tasks, collate ideas, clippings, photos
- NetBarrier X5 ($49.95)- firewall and intrusion detection software
- DVDRemaster Pro 5 ($49.99)- backup DVDs, convert DVD movies for use on the iPod, iPhone and AppleTV
- Multiplex ($35.00) - DVD management and playback system
- RipIt ($18.99)- Copy DVDs to your hard drive
- MoneyWell ($49.99) - Finance management software with direct connect banking, envelope budgeting, transaction and cash flow management
- Paperless ($44.95) - manage your receipts and document collections
- Posterino ($24.95)- Use your photos to create posters, postcards, photo frames, greeting cards and more.
- BetterZip ($19.95) - better .zip compression management

Buy it all at
Before June 10, 2009


Saturday, May 23, 2009

WHOOPS : When I changed the Name Server for my web site to its new host, it destroyed the forwarding for email using that Domain. So for 9 days, I got no SPAM to those email addresses. Today I went to the location where my web site is now hosted and set up individual email forwards, and all is well.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bye Bye GeoCities: As part of my ATT/Yahoo dsl account, I got to have free hosting of a personal website by Yahoo Geocities. But now, Yahoo has announced it's shutting down GeoCities, and with it the FREE Web Hosting I use for my web site. AT&T as my ISP could care less, and offers no replacement. So I needed a new place for to be out there. Luckily one can Google and find listings of free web hosting sites like HERE. Hosting companies have limits of storage space and allowed bandwidth for free accounts, so one needs to compare. I decided upon which provides Free Web Hosting for minimalist web sites like, and it's all there now. I apparently snuck in just in time, as Free Web Hosting Accounts are unavailable until May 26, when they change Servers and when they again will accept new Free Hosting Accounts.
It was easy to go to my domain registrar:, login and change the NameServer associated with, it took a little longer (less than 24 hours total) for atbhost to get their stars alligned, so I could ftp my web site files over, but all is good now.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Money: One thing that hurts some folks in current economy is low interest rates paid on savings. Luckily most of my retirement savings is in CDs, some paying as much as 4.2%. My after tax money was split between E-Trade and Emigrant Direct Savings. Emigrant Direct is down to 1.65%, a far cry from the 5% they paid 2 years ago. E-Trade was down to 1.25% so I started moving money to the higher interest account. This morning I note E-Trade is no longer displaying the interest rate on its web site, and I found out why. After doing a bunch of searching on their web site I found out they are now only paying 0.95% Interest in a Savings Account, so my account there is on its way to being closed out.

Check HERE for current Interest Rates around the country. Don't believe E-Trades' lies that their rates are competitive or the tops in the Industry.

? Bugs ? with Firefox 3.0.10 : In the Macintosh version I have to reInstall it every 2 weeks as it loses its ability to display GMAIL in HTML. The Windows version in Windows 7/64 has to be closed with a File / Quit, or it loses its ability to remember your tabs, if you quit from the "X" in the upper right hand corner.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Windows 64 bit Freeware: I found this link of one mans' list of best free software for your 64 bit System. I would expect 99+% of Vista 64 bit software to run in Windows 7/64.
Drivers for Windows 7/64 bit Version: When Windows XP first appeared in a 64 bit version, and later to a lesser extent with the 64 bit Version of Windows Vista/64 Drivers for Video cards, printers, etc were sometimes hard to find or buggy as all get out. I am happy to report that Microsoft already has Beta Windows 7/64 drivers for their Keyboards and Mice, and for other devices, so far many Vista 64 bit drivers have worked well. Certainly all the Apple supplied Drivers for Vista/64 seem to function normally with Windows 7/64. The HP Vista/64 driver for their C5200 Photosmart Printers report they are unable to establish two way communication with the printer, so they can't report ink levels, which may be just as good as HP will suggest replacing an ink cartridge L O N G before its needed. Also the scan function doesn't work as apparently with the Vista/64 drivers, HP included a 32 bit scan program, maybe by6 months after Windows 7 is officially released, HP will get its act in gear. Folks here are not optimistic, but confirm my findings of no 64 bit working driver. The file downloads to an X86 directory, so its obviously 32 bit software that HP hopes works on a 64 bit system, rather than a recompile. After installing it a second time over the first, it seems to be working now.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Good News on Windows 7 : I now have successfully installed Windows 7 RC1 64-bit Version on a separate Hard drive on my MacPro. I get all my Nvidia's speed doing it this way, rather than losing all the video speed by installing under Parallels.

The Install was hardly straightforward. I had to HACK both the Windows Install DVD, and the BootCamp drivers to get either to run.

These instructions did not work for me.

To Create a usable Install DVD HERE are instructions for using oscdimg.exe, otherwise a normal burn of the ISO from Microsoft will not work on an Apple MacPro.

A post HERE at explains how to install 64 bit drivers under Windows 7 on a Macintosh using the freeware Orca.msi, because otherwise the 64 bit Vista Bootcamp Drivers exe file you're told to use won't run.

Then once Windows 7 is up and running, turn off third party cookies in Internet Explorer (Under Tools - Internet Options - Privacy - Advanced) and turn off Windows' User Account Control Settings, so you don't get all the Vista-like nag warnings (found under Control Panel - Action Center - User Account Control Settings).

After the 3 hours all that took (not to mention myriad hours till I gave up using Bootcamp for the X86 32 bit version - see earlier posts) a properly tweaked Windows 7 is much nicer than Vista.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Windows 7 - So now I'm trying to use Apple's BootCamp to Install Windows 7 RC 1 Build 7100; on an Intel MacPro and despite using instructions from folks who say they've done it it successfully, I can't get it to work. Next I'm going to try to Install Microsoft Windows Vista on a separate Hard Drive, and then upgrade it to Windows 7, which Microsoft says works. After successfully installing Vista, Windows 7 says it can't upgrade because it needs Vista SP1. So I go back to install Vista SP 1, but it needs 79 Windows Vista Security upgrades first.

FOLLOWUP: Unable to upgrade, reports back that Windows 7 is incompatible, and it rolls the System back to Vista. Why should I be surprised that Microsoft mispoke.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

More Windows 7 Grief: The Release Candidate now has all the obnoxious nag warnings of Vista. Is this the update put in the Release Candidate? BLECH !! You can set programs to run in Windows XP compatibility mode, but they still report being incompatible and throw off NAG warnings. Symantic Antivirus 2009, a 6 month old program reports incompatibilities.
However running AntiVirus, it did identify 2 dozen tracking cookies for deletion, apparently all placed by the default Internet Explorer home website of; something else for me to change. Shame on Microsoft for all that Spyware !!! Then to turn off all 3rd party cookies.

Windows 7 = Windows Vista ME

I think anyone writing a review about how great Windows 7 Release Candidate is, was either using an earlier version, or didn't put Windows 7 through any paces, or is just a Microsoft stooge.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Windows 7: So I'm working with the Release Candidate of Windows 7 (Build 7100), and Microsoft arrogance shows up immediately. I have a minor issue, find a PDF support file, but unlike Mac OS X, Windows does not come with a PDF reader, and that is not acceptable as Adobe Reader 7.09 (which I had to download) won't run, as its "incompatible with this version of Windows", even if run as Windows XP compatible. It's not obvious Windows XP compatibility mode does anything.
So which rube let all that happen?
Another example of what Microsoft doesn't tell you about in their commercials showing how you can buy a PC cheaper than a Mac ( if you skew your wants list for the computer ) if you ignore all the missing features and software of the cheaper PC; and likely added crapware.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Symantec support is worse than useless: Horror stories here:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Garmin GPS - I love my Garmin Nuvi 360 GPS, and went to Amazon to see whether a map upgrade was available. Come to see the larger screen Garmin Nuvi 760 was on sale for $224.29, a good deal since Office Depot is charging $427.95. So between the Amazon credits I have, what I can sell my current GPS for on eBay and what I'd save on new map software, the Garmin 760 is a free upgrade. At this new lower price points, it now makes sense to annually do the same thing. Don't buy a map upgrade, get it free in a new GPS, and sell your old GPS on eBay.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Norton Internet Security 2009 bug continues: Even though I have every feature turned on the software reports me at risk. I hit FIX and it says it can't fix Advanced Protection with my chat agent keeps calling Advace Protection. He claims a virus can cause that. But both Norton 2009 and Malwarebytes complete scan find nothing. So the Norton rube says: "
For help diagnosing and removing viruses or
malware infections from your computer, we have a fee based virus removal service.
Would you like me to transfer you across to this team?

So I ask to ESCALATE
, and am kept waiting, and its not obvious I'm getting anything
other than another rube in the next cubicle.
This is a known issue, but was incorrectly listed
as fixed by version
; After 10 minutes of waiting, I complained about the wait time and asked them
to email me the solution. Like that will happen.

Sure enough they did not escalate nor email me. Just another
worthless rep named Sankardeep who also referred to Advace Protection, but had no help.

Conclusion, time to go back to Kaspersky.

Friday, April 10, 2009

HP Color LaserJet 3800n - FIXED ! - By USPS my "new" $39 615N JetDirect Plug in Ethernet adapter model 615N arrived. Turns out not to be new as it had a configuration of a domain name of I turned off the LaserJet, removed the motherboard, removed the plate covering the EIO plugin socket, plugged in the 615N, re-inserted motherboard, turned on LaserJet, went through onboard Menu system, where a new EIO device showed up in addition to the embedded, and I turned on TCP/IP. and gave it an IP number, and entered the Gateway number, changed the setup in Windows, and voila, I have working 10/100 Ethernet again for my LaserJet. I upgraded the firmware from version 15 to version 57.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Buggy Norton Internet Security 2009 ( - Doesn't know how to turn on "Advanced Protection", Automatic "FIX" fails, as does One CLick checkup. If I turn that feature off it seems OK, and does scan faster than NIS 2008; also it no longers bombs out on a "too long" path name. But update a NIS 2008 with 4 days left on subscription, and you lose those 4 days, and your new 2009 says you have 366 days left on your subscription. BUG !!
The program has been for sale retail for 6 or more months but they're still attacking bugs by the carload. This weeks' slipstreamed version attacks (allegedly) many, many bugs:
see here at bottom of page.

- Fixed an issue where you may not be able to access shared folders on a computer connected to your home network.
- Fixed an issue where the Quick Scan Open Security History expansion was not working on first click.
- Fixed an issue in Home Networking Map - not warning the user that another user is viewing the map.
- Fixed an issue in Home Networking – removing a remotely monitored device does not persist.
- Fixed unnecessary UAC warnings during install/configuration.
- Fixed a crash in Home Networking Map User Interface.
- Fixed a crash in the AntiVirus Scan User Interface.
- Fixed a contributing issue for Error 3040,10001
- Improved Home Networking remote monitoring Antivirus item formatting
- Added option to allow Pulse Updates to run when laptop is on battery power (Settings/Miscellaneous Settings)
- Added SONAR support for Vista 64-bit
- Allow Context Scanning (Right-Click file scanning) for Vista 64-bit
- Added Norton Product Tamper Protection support for Vista 64-bit
- Added UMPC support (install UI fits now, auto panning for small screens)
- Added Norton Safe Web integration (watch out for more details in a separate thread)

(the following issues were also fixed in the 16.2 patch)
- Changes to allow future LiveUpdates better handle error conditions.
- Fixed an issue with 64-bit LiveUpdate patches.
- Fixed several Winqual reported errors.
- Fixed a compatibility issue with Microsoft Outlook Connector after installation of Norton Add-On Pack.
- Fixed an issue where the product would sometimes interfere with its own ability to match IDS signatures properly.

(the following issues were also fixed in the 16.1 patch)
- Fixed issue where Protection updates download but date does not change.
- Fixed issue where in some cases, if you looked at the details of which updates succeeded and which failed, it would show all updates failed even though only one update failed.
- Fixed issue where Virus Definitions were considered non-valid in certain scenarios.
- Fixed instance where Advanced Protection will fail to start.
- Fixed issue where LiveUpdate fails to download and apply Web Protection definitions.
- Fixed issue with Identity Safe showing garbled characters in a few areas of the User Interface.
- Fixed multiple instances of ccSvcHst.exe crashes caused by components.
- Fixed issue with ccSvcHst failing to shutdown on a reboot (End Task dialog displayed indefinitely).

Monday, April 06, 2009

My HP Color LaserJet 3800n - Like it celebrated being 2 years old by having its built in Ethernet go on the fritz. Only works by rebooting between print jobs. Not good. And its Ethernet is on its motherboard, so its not easily repairable. In fact would cost more to repair the motherboard than it did to buy the printer in the first place.
But I got lucky in two ways. First it works fine via USB2 cable. Except then its not on the home network. However it has a slot for plug in boards, so I've ordered a HP Print Server Jet Direct 615N to plug in, which after disabling the built in Ethernet in the setup, should work (I hope).

I had placed an order for a HP 615N at; and then discovered it was way overpriced for the "refurbished" unit that they are selling; and they gave me serious grief before they agreed 6 hours later to cancel the order, (and they hadn't shipped it yet, so it should have been trivial to do so) so I could buy a claimed new unit for less money at Won't ever be shopping at again !!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

New Goodie from DirecTv: With one of their newer HR2x MPEG4 HD DVRs, and a free piece of software, available here, (DIRECTV2PC), one can Stream content from their "DirecTv Plus HD DVR" to their PC on their home network. If you have a wide screen 1900 x 1200 24" Monitor, its gorgeous. Since one can pull over any recording, one can record whats on now, to allow it to be streamed over and watched. You do need a newer model PC to have the horsepower for this to work smoothly.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

CapitalOne Bank: I use a CapitalOne Visa Card when I go overseas, as perhaps uniquely among credit cards, it doesn't charge a 3% currency conversion fee. Calling them to talk about a future trip resulted in my discovering that they now have most of their VISA call centers in India. One day soon that fact that may do as much for them as paying bonuses did for AIG. Luckily they have a (formerly) secret number that only reaches stateside VISA call center(s) 800-819-2222; and if you need to call from outside the United States the unadvertised number for that is 800-847-2911

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

ATT / DirecTv combined billing: Allegedly one gets a monthly credit if one allows ATT to bill them for their DirecTv.

Seems like the biggest scam going. AT&T just wants to get customers on the phone to try and upsell them to a Wireless Unity Plan, or a Wireline Long Distance Plan, or even U-Verse.

Then they'll find some reason why you don't qualify for a combined billing discount, which a quick Google of ATT Combined Billing shows can cause more grief than you can imagine, as the combined billing makes it near impossible to correct billing errors in the individual ATT components as what ever rep you talk to wont have access to whatever database you need them to connect to.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

DirecTv screws up: The night of March 21, 2009, it "told" DVRs that it was July 14, 2009, which of course screwed scheduled recordings. First news report here.

Waiting now to see what compensation they give out for that. So far nothing.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Whither Q-Tips - Unilever sells Q-Tips in the refillable plastic Vanity Pack - .

One minor issue. They have stopped making and selling the refill packs. So is it false advertising and a deceptive trade practice to still call it refillable?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I don't have this kind of trouble on a Macintosh : Went to scan a 60 year old letter to a PDF while in Windows XP, and my HP 5280 wouldn't let me, saying it needed the missing scan.msi file. So I searched my Hard Drive in both the XP Install and Vista Install with no luck, so I had to uninstall all the HP software for the 5280, and reinstall it (making sure to use the "Advanced/Manual" setting so it didn't install Bloatware of Yahoo Toolbar or HP Store), about an hour's task to get everything working as it should. I should mention that HP will send you a replacement of the 2007 version of the Install CD for free, but doesn't have an Install CD with the most current drivers. That I went and created myself last year.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bye - bye eBay and Paypal - I was selling my old laptop, an Apple Powerbook Pismo, that I had blogged about upgrading almost exactly a year ago (my February 26, 2008 Post). Someone won the bidding, and instantly shot me a payment via Paypal. Paypal put a 21 day hold on the funds "to protect the buyer?", more likely so they can earn interest on the float IMHO. For a $3000 computer from a new seller, a hold might make sense, but for an under $300 computer sold by a seller with a 100% eBay record with 63 feedbacks over 9 years??? I objected, Paypal was arrogant, so I refunded the buyers' money and quit Paypal and eBay. Paypal already charges a service fee for handling one's money, and makes no effort to pay you back the Interest they earn while holding your money.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Norton misses one: I must have been to a bad web site, as my computer's Windows XP got infected, and Norton Internet Security 2008 never saw it. Even their online database still today doesn't contain svchostw.exe. Luckily, using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware the problem was found. It reported:

Registry Data Items Infected:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Shell (Hijack.Shell) -> Bad: (Explorer.exe svchostw.exe) Good: (Explorer.exe) -> Quarantined and deleted successfully.

The Registry was fixed, and the offending file (svchostw.exe) deleted. Then I had to reapply Windows XP Service Pack 3 to my Windows XP to get Windows to start the Desktop on Bootup (rather than my manually starting it every time from the Task Manager (C:\Windows\explorer.exe)). Then a couple of Windows Security patches from Microsoft update to apply as SP3 had apparently undone them. All seems well now?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

MS Windows Vista : Service Pack 2 Release Candidate is available for download now. HERE

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Solving Windows Grief: I like the Intel CPU in the current generation of Macintosh computers as it allows one to also run Windows on those devices. I was having grief with Windows XP in one such scenario. It wasn't allowing Windows Security updates to download and install. I vaguely recall reading someone suggesting it had to do with installing Windows Service Pack 3 before allowing some other updates to occur to a Windows XP SP2 installation. In any event I finally tracked down instructions for fixing the problem here: Not exactly easy or intuitive, but it solved the problem, and now I don't have to manually install every patch one at a time from Microsoft, when sometimes even knowing you wanted the patch for KB951847 wasn't good enough to find the download.

Monday, March 09, 2009

MacBook: I am now the proud owner of a "2009 White MacBook", which I love. I've already upgraded the memory and hard disk in it; and it's running Mac OS 10.5.6, as well as Windows XP SP3, and Windows 7 RC1 under Parallels.

Friday, February 27, 2009

More recording space on an DirecTv HD DVR.

If anyone wants more recording time available on their HR2x, just add an external SATA drive, connected by a shielded eSATA cable.

It's easy: the DirecTv unit is powered off, the SATA drive is plugged into the DVR and turned on, and the DirecTv unit is powered up. Upon powerup the DVR will "discover" the external drive, and format it if necessary. Thereafter the HR2x unit will only record on the external drive, and all "Season Pass" type settings have to be redone.

Any recordings or "season pass" type settings on the OEM internal drive, can again be accessed by powering down the DirecTv unit, powering down the external drive and unplugging it from the DVR, and repowering the DirecTv unit.
Still don't understand why a firmware update months ago started recordings on my external HD to be problematic , (perhaps DirecTv removed some error checking during recording?) but I tried a fix recommended elsewhere in a discussion group.

I switched to a quality Shielded eSATA cable. (SIIG, purchased at, part # 202321891 :
~$12 with shipping). SIIG's part # CB-SA0111-S1. I could not find an eSATA cable at Frys or Micro Center, lots of SATA cables, not one eSATA.

And now my 1 Terabyte Seagate SATA drive in an external NexStar3 Case, purchased at Frys, records 2 HD programs simultaneously without glitches or audio synch problems. The NexStar3 supplied unshielded eSATA cable has been discarded.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fox's u-bet Chocolate Syrup is the product you want if you desire a genuine New York City Egg Cream soda. Now I discover Fox's u-bet Sugar Free Chocolate Syrup; and best of all its sweetened with Splenda, not Sugar Alcohols (Sorbitol or Malitol) that may cause gastric distress.
It was found in the "Kosher for Passover" section of only one local supermarket. No reference to it yet through Google.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cheeburger Cheeburger ; Discovered there is a franchise in Houston now. Not close to me, but I drove 30+ miles there (northwest of Houston) Friday evening and had a very good cheeseburger, and excellent fries, excellent onion rings, and excellent service.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Seagate Barracuda Sata Drives: They recently reported a glitch on some of their drives which required me to update the firmware on two 1 Terabyte Drives I have. One houses Windows XP SP3, and the other is an external drive for my DirecTv HR21. Story on glitch here.

I still like Seagate drives, as lately they've been reliable for me, and now come with a 5 year warranty. I just bought a 1.5 Terabyte (1.34 Terabyte formatted) Seagate drive that was on sale at Frys. It's very fast (its 32 Meg Cache helps there), and quiet. It now hosts Macintosh OS X 10.5.6

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Happy 25th Birthday Macintosh:

Apple's 1984 Commercial

Especially fun to watch is Steve Jobs introducing Macintosh
to the world. HERE.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How Hamas generates civilian casualties They go and build a Headquarters in the middle of a development of Apartment Mid Rises. The IDF manages a pinpoint airstrike to take out that HQ and not scratch a brick on the surrounding buildings.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Prius gas mileage. If one is gassing up at 6 AM on a Sunday morning, and the roads are basically empty, and one can do some driving at under 20 mph to ensure its mostly done only on electric power, gas mileage in a Prius is better than the rated 48 mpg city. I had to take a picture to prove it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Windows 7 fun: I now have Windows 7 running nicely on a "Virtual Drive" using Parallels Desktop v.4 Microsoft made a major booboo by releasing it when zero antivirus software was available for it. Windows pointed you to a webpage recommending such, and listing available sources for AV software. Monday there were zero listed. By Tuesday beta versions of Norton, AVG or Kaspersky were linked to.

Symantec has Norton 360 v.3 beta, which works with Windows 7. It warned that it was a beta, expiring March 27. Then one installs it and is told the software expires in 15 days. NOT GOOD.

Next I'll try a 64 bit version of Windows 7

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Windows 7: I was unable to get Windows 7 beta 1 installed on my MacPro, either as a clean install or an upgrade to Windows Vista. Hopefully Apple will tweak Bootcamp soon to allow such.

Followup: Jan. 12 = Windows 7 now running on my MacPro under Parallels 4.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Easy Update to Open Office 3 on Ubuntu, My Ubuntu 8.1 comes with Open Office 2.4, but it's easy to update it to Open Office 3.0; Just add Open Office to Software Sources, and uBuntu will just about automatically update it to 3.0 using its Update Manager. Instructions here. I'm start to fall in love with Ubuntu again.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Personal Finance under Linux. Next recommended program: GnuCash and GnuCash is a freebie.

Simple Install Instructions here. One simple Command line instruction does it all:

sudo apt-get install gnucash

More to follow

Saturday, January 03, 2009

ubuntu :I finally got around to installing ubuntu 8.04 that came free with a copy of "Linux Format" magazine I bought last summer. Couldn't have been easier. Then it allowed me to install 615 updates. This posting is done using Firefox 3.05, on my ubuntu 8.04 Then I found how to upgrade to ubuntu 8.10 here
Ubuntu figured out what monitor I have, which neither Windoze or Mac OS could.

All in all a marvelously easy task, and free. Best of all is how snappy and fast ubuntu seems, much faster than Windows XP or Windows Vista on my MacPro. Not sure if its a better OS and/or better Ethernet Drivers, but I love it. HP even had pointers to Linux drivers for my LJ 3800n. Now if only there's a MS Money type of program for Linux.

FOLLOWUP So a recommnded home finance program is "Moneydance" which comes in trial versions for most platforms including Linux. Problem is:

1. Ubuntu never setup a root password to allow installing of many apps.
2. After Installing Moneydance, it won't run.
3. Need to install Java. Need to mkdir java directory. Tried version 6u11 of Java
4. Need to Install RPM installer to get Java installed
5. Ubuntu wont download rpm installer.
6. rebooted, got RPM installer, failed Java install due to dependencies.
7. Downloaded bin version of Java.
8, Bin download required a chmod A+X
9. Got Java installed.
10. Moneydance runs....but:

I now have Moneydance running, why so many hoops to jump through? Not a Professional Installer! And the trial is too limited to allow a real world test. Only allows 100 transactions. Why not a 30 day trial of a FULL VERSION ??

So I have a lower opinion of Ubuntu now. If apps aren't easily installable, whats the point. Don't think I'll get a copy of Moneydance. I don't feel like an unpaid Alpha tester today. At least with Java installed, Moneydance's Uninstaller worked nicely (i think).

Thursday, January 01, 2009

End of Zune time: Microsoft will have a hard time selling Zune MP3 players to compete with iPods, after what happened on December 31, 2008.

All 30 Meg Zunes stopped working! Turns out Zunes didn't "know" that 2008 was a Leap Year.

Fix: After 4 AM PST on Jan. 1, unplug your Zune, let your battery drain to zero. Recharge your Zune, then power on. Microsoft says it will then work.

Story here.