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05/14/09 @ 11:17 by mccmikey
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Vista can ping but cannot browse

(Also Can Ping but no internet, can ping but cannot access websites, connected but cannot access websites, etc.)

My experience roughly mirrors the one at

That is, a laptop came in for repair that could ping, could get it's windows updates, etc, but IE and Firefox would not work - going immediately to connection refused, etc.

While there wasn't any clear evidence of Symantec services on this machine, it turned out that the solution was to run the Norton Removal Tool. (This was a Compaq laptop that probably came with Norton pre-loaded.)

Norton Removal Tool is free from - pick any recent Norton program, as the tool is the same for all of the ones in the list.

Bloody Symantec.

English (US)
04/26/09 @ 13:24 by mccmikey
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Assorted News 20 - Some Antivirus Options :)

n this edition:

Generic News

AVG requesting people to update to 8.5 and other Antivirus options :)

AVG requesting people update to 8.5

In the last week or so, those of you using AVG Free Edition have been getting popup messages requesting that you download version 8.5.

It doesn't seem that long ago that they were asking us to upgrade from 7.5 to 8.0; and back then the upgrade made some sense because it gave some additional capability in the form of anti-spyware coverage. However, the change from 8.0 to 8.5 has virtually no new features that I can see, and is probably more of a marketing move hoping to trick you into buying a more capable but unnecessary version...

And Other Antivirus Info...

So, we're at a point again where we need to decide if AVG is still the way to go. I'm beginning to waver on this point, as increasingly I'm hearing reports on assorted podcasts that the other well known free one, Avast, is outperforming AVG.

If you'd like to stick with AVG, you can update it by clicking here:

* Download size is approximately 60MB - OK for broadband users but about 6-8 hours on dialup.
* (If for some reason that page doesn't work, try instead)

If you'd like to try Avast instead, you can download it here:

* Download size is approximately 32MB - OK for broadband users, about 3-4 hours on dialup.
* If you're getting Avast, remember to uninstall AVG before installing Avast - having two at once is like having two cats in one room - sometimes they'll get on, but other times they'll ... well you know...

And if you want to buy one instead...

If you feel like spending money on a virus scanner, the best one at the moment appears to be "MalwareBytes' Anti Malware" as it outperforms both AVG and Avast. Fortunately they have a free version too, but it only scans when you tell it to unlike the others above which scan continuously. You can download it and run it now and then just to check if your freebie's really doing it's job :) It's cheap too, and a tiny download - $37.

It's available from - Approx. 3 MB - 30 minutes on Dialup.

(Nod32 is another popular good choice too.)

Please don't buy Trend, Norton or ZoneAlarm if possible. Here's a list of the problems I've had with these three products just in this month:

Norton: Allowed a number of viruses and worms through that AVG later detected and removed. (Happens too often these days.)
Trend: Appears to have broken file sharing in an XP Home system, Slowed a PC to a crawl by using 400+ MB RAM
ZoneAlarm: Slowed systems to a crawl by using 400+ MB RAM, broke printing from Office programs to HP Printer, Broke DHCP (wireless networking).

They've all caused other problems in the past as well. For those of you with older computers, do you remember how they suddenly became slower when you added or updated one of these monstrosities? :)

All of the above three feature a firewall as well as antivirus. This is virtually unnecessary for the average person because Windows already has a firewall; plus for those of you on ADSL Broadband or Recent Satellite connections (Non-USB) your modem is also a firewall.

Cheers, Mike

Old Editions
You can find old editions of this newsletter on the CCC Blog.

You can also subscribe or unsubscribe at

English (US)
04/20/09 @ 12:05 by mccmikey
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How to crop live TV to 4:3 on GBPVR.

If your home theatre PC is using older parts, you might have a 4:3 monitor attached. If you use GBPVR to watch digital tv, you'll probably find there are some shows that are quite small in the centre of the screen.

You can partly resolve this by pressing F7 on the keyboard; but it doesn't natively have a suitable 'crop' option to restore this 4:3 content trenamitted at 16:9 by the station back to 4:3.

To add this capability to your copy of GBPVR, open the config.xml with whatever editor you can find - even notepad should work, then find this line:

AspectRatioModes shape="4x3"

When you find this line, add the following line somewhere below it.

{AspectRatioMode name="Zoom" ratio="-0.125,0,1.125,1" /}

(Replace { and } with greater than and less than signs - my silly blog doesn't like those symbols :( )

Restart GBPVR and press F7 until you get to this setting :)

This information is from

English (US)
04/20/09 @ 08:35 by mccmikey
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FireFTP cannot Choose an account

Also "FireFTP cannot enter a profile, FireFTP cannot create a profile."

OK my webhost blocked me for using FileZilla claiming it causes port scanning like activity; and recommended FireFTP.

It won't work on my Firefox. It looks OK but won't let you select to add a new profile.

Google has no answers to this question at the moment, and the author doesn't have a forum so I guess it's just broken in 1.0.4 with some other extension - possibly NoScript, Tree Style Tab, or something else.

Aah well - will put up with DreamWeaver's FTP for now.

Edit: 2/10/09: You can create a second profile in Firefox and use it just for FireFTP if you have this problem :)

English (US)
04/15/09 @ 12:43 by mccmikey
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GBPVR stops recording

Also GBPVR freezes recording, GBPVR doesn't record

Just a simple one possibly. Have you checked if the hard disk is full? GBPVR doesn't warn you :)

English (US)
04/12/09 @ 13:22 by mccmikey
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Assorted News 19 - Music and Movie Special :)

In this edition:

This one contains the long-promised guide to internet music and movies, plus some other small bits and pieces.

Generic News
How to watch and download music and movies on the Internet, safely.
Fibre to the Home?
Online Accounting.
A new technology that could change computing.

A way to get rid of Junk Mail.
Drunk or Drugged?
Get back deleted photos and files with Recuva.

Still in the Nissan.
Life as usual...
Freeview Update?
My New Green Tele :)

How to watch and download music and movies from the Internet, safely.

A few times lately I have promised some of you that I would be providing a comprehensive guide onto how to download music and movies from the Internet, safely. This has become more important recently as more customers have been moving to Wireless Broadband, because if you don't pay attention to what you're doing, it's not hard to run up a bill of $100 or more.

This article has many images, so to be fair to all of you; rather than emailing the article to everyone, I have posted the article on the blog.

Even if you're not planning on ever downloading music and movies, you might still find it interesting.

You can get it here:

It covers a broad spectrum of programs from 100% legal to those that are often used illegally, and includes the following programs and sites:

* BigPond Music
* BigPond Movies
* iTunes Music
* iTunes Movies
* YouTube
* ABC Podcasts
* LimeWire
* TVU Player
* Mininova
* uTorrent

Fibre to the Home?

Well, the latest bit of news in the Internet world is the idea of Fibre to the Home. At the moment, I'm a bit pessimistic about it; but in years to come it could be just like the Sydney Harbour Bridge - an investment in the future. In short, this is what has happened as I understand it.

1 - The original Optus Elders plan fell through / was canceled
2 - The government put out a request for tender to build a "national broadband network"
3 - Telstra's bid appeared / was declared invalid as it didn't answer all the requirements of the Tender process.
4 - The government determined that all the other bids were not capable of achieving what they wanted - only Telstra could do that.
5 - The government could no longer trust Telstra either, so were in a no-win situation.
6 - The government decided to go it alone independently and build a new wholesale network.

The good things in this proposal are that being a wholesale network means that existing providers can offer services on it, so it won't kill off existing businesses (except perhaps Telstra if they can't differentiate themselves enough on the level playing field) and of course the speed will be much better and finally obsolete the failing (rusting) copper network that currently exists. Fibreoptic cable doesn't rust, and has theoretically no speed limit so it is relatively futureproof.

While I would like to see continued investment in wireless Internet because it's so much more economical than digging up everyone's road and footpath; I can also support that having faster internet will enable new services to exist that don't exist currently. The 1000 person minimum town limit sounds reasonable to me too.

Online Accounting?

While casually reading on the Internet (which is what I do to relax) I read a Whirlpool thread where a number of people were arguing about which was better - QuickBooks or MYOB. See but be warned it gets a bit techy at times. One of the interesting things they talked about was the concept of 'online accounting' where you don't actually buy an accounting program for your computer, and instead do it all online. Some sites that might be worth checking out are and

A New Technology that could change computing?

Well the world of computing is still changing... Increasingly more things are done on the Internet and less on a standard computer; making it increasingly possible to have a basic computer or even a high end mobile phone and still be able to do most of you daily work on it. It is not far from the point where it won't matter whether you have Windows, Mac, Linux, Ubuntu or something else as long as it can get on the 'net and run Firefox, etc. (Which is a bit of a worry for Microsoft.)

A recent podcast I listened to (while mowing the lawn) mentioned that there is a new service coming out in the US where you can play some of the latest games through your TV with just a tiny iPod-sized box. To play these games at home would normally require a computer with special parts that would cost more than $2,000. Instead, the company offering the service owns the high tech expensive computer(s) and does all the work for you, sending you the picture to your TV and receiving the signal from whatever the controller is that you're mashing.

Why is this a big thing? Well it means that rather than having to buy your own expensive computer or games console and having to buy the games as well taking the risk that they might be crap, you could buy a cheap little box (or use a basic computer) and as long as you have fast internet you're ready to go!

Gaming is one of the hardest things for a computer to do - so in theory with this kind of service you can do just about anything computer-based without having to have your own high powered computer. It's also a good example of how the Fibre to the Home scheme would be beneficial, as this sort of service needs at least 1Mbps and up to 5Mbps - possible now with ADSL but only just.

Getting Rid of Junk Mail?

Now that 95% of email is Junk Mail, it's more important than ever to be able to get rid of it. To date I've still only found one free method that works really well, and the good news is that it can work with most email addresses provided your ISP lets you forward email. (This includes BigPond email addresses.)

The simple solution is to get yourself a free email address on Google - that is an address at; and then tell your current email provider to forward your email to this new address.

The reason it works so well is because Google is huge. They can see the junk mail as it arrives to multiple places at once and remove it automatically. They also have a 'report spam' feature so if someone gets a junk message and reports it; it'll get rid of it for you, and also for anyone else who gets a similar one.

Another advantage in adopting this new address is that it then frees you to choose a new internet company in the future without being tied to your current company's address - a common problem for those stuck in a big pond or a chariot with broken wheels. (In other words, you'll always have the google address no matter what internet company you move to.)

You can access Gmail from Outlook Express and other email programs just as you do now; so the change, once set up, is effectively transparent.

(This tip assumes that Google won't suddenly die - but so far they're pretty reliable.)

As an example of how to do this, go to and register for a new account - might take a few guesses because the downside of having billions of users is that there's likely to already be someone with your name on there - who of course you can email later if you want to meet your alter ego?

Next step is to go to your current internet company and ask them to forward your mail to the new address - you can do this yourself if you're on BigPond, but the process varies for other providers.

It can be a bit tricky getting Gmail working in Outlook Express / Outlook / Incredimail but it can be done - you know who you can call if you need help ;-)

By the way, your junk mail won't get delivered to your computer, but you can access it from the website so in the rare case that it could bit something important, you can still get it.

Drunk or Drugged?

If there is one thing that is guaranteed to annoy me, it's ringing me while drunk or drugged. Repeat offenders are added to my voice call management systems as 'do no answer'. If it takes more than ten minutes to get you to find type something into the Google box and left-click the search button... I may just hang up :)

Get back deleted photos and files with Recuva

Have you ever accidentally deleted a file that you wanted to get back? Up until recently you had to buy special software to get it back. Now, there's a free program called Recuva which does quite a good job of retrieving lost stuff. The key with this sort of mistake is to stop as soon as you've accidentally nuked something because when you nuke a file, all that happens is that the space where it lived on the drive or memory card is marked as free to be overwritten. It works for cameras, memory sticks, hard drives, etc. Free from

Still in the Nissan...

Well, I'm still in the Nissan. It's still doing just under 9 litres per 100KM which is surprising for it's age. However it's quite anonymous at the moment so I'm doing one or two things to help here. One is to get some new signage on the rear window similar to what's on the Kingswood - although I'm thinking of going upmarket this time and getting a transparent type. The other idea is to take advantage of the dead paint on the bonnet and use the entire bonnet for signage. (It spent 6 years in a shed in Mildura under that laserlite roofing - baked the paint off the bonnet.)

The Kingswood is going in for overdue repairs next week and will be back on the road soon. Some of you have missed it. Some are happier with the boxy Nissan. I must admit I'm spoilt by the Auto transmission in the Nissan - went to start the Kingswood after a two month break last week and forgot it was a manual! (Crunched a cardboard box against the wall with the starter motor, no harm done.)

Life as usual...

So far the GFC hasn't really affected me that much. Work is still pretty busy :)

FreeView Update?

Want to know more about what's happening with FreeView? You can find out here: - note, a little bad language.

My New Green Tele :)

Well as you've probably heard, they're planning on hiking our power bills by 20%. Now, my bills are usually around $500 a quarter as it is so it's not an attractive proposition. As a result - and this partly explains why this newsletter's late - I've gone on a power saving binge around the house. (Plus we have a new tropical fish tank which of course is not a green choice.) The changes made:

One computer - previously used as a TV - permanently decomissioned.
Another computer - previously used as an answering machine and remote access - now only on 5% of the time. (Wakes up, syncs with another system, hibernates.)
One always on set top box decomissioned.
Three video sender / receiver units decomissioned
One VGA to Composite unit decommissioned.
Multiple idle wall warts removed
Office rewired for switched circuitry for charging, etc.
Countdown timer added to bedroom heater (runs for 10 mins, then cuts out)
Sensor light replaced for Garage - weatherproofed this time.
Sensorlight fitted to front door - energy saving bulb always on, 100W spot only runs on motion
Negative: Built a heated dog bed, maintains 19 degrees when no dog present, can monitor from the Internet.
Decommissioned one full time VCR, TV standby circuit, radio standby circuit.

Time will tell how much I have saved, but it should be a little. At the moment, the sensor light units are only $6 each at Sams Warehouse so most rooms in the house now light up as you enter them :)

The most time consuming process was building the new TV computer - it has two digital tuners, one analogue tuner and an FM radio built in. Dual flat screens, and a new $30 remote control. It's great :) Here's why:

It automatically loads the TV guide from the digital television signal.
You can search the guide alphabetically and mark off the shows you want to watch (including entire seasons)
You can watch live TV or recorded shows from any other computer in the house. (Only need one antenna.)
This computer is also the answering machine - links in to my home made accounting system so it can read out the names of who's calling.
It displays random photos on the second screen every few minutes using "John's Background Switcher"

Because of Microsoft Virtual PC, this machine also runs the Auzzie Dialup Accounting System, remote backups and a few other network monitoring processes, making optimal use of the dual-core hardware.

It's not hard to build such a computer using free programs. The key program in this case is gb-pvr which is free from

I can give you a demo on the laptop if you track me down :)

Anyway, that's it for this newsletter - took ages to write so hope you enjoy it :)

Cheers, Mike

Old Editions
You can find old editions of this newsletter on the CCC Blog.

You can also subscribe or unsubscribe at

English (US)
04/12/09 @ 10:07 by mccmikey
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Categories: Assorted

How to download Music and Movies from the Internet

Legal or not, many of my customers ask how to download music and movies from the Internet. So, here is a guide on how to do these things safely.

I'll cover the legal methods first, then head in to murkier waters later. But first, before doing anything be sure to know how much you can download with your internet company - because in the absolute worst case figures you could end up costing yourself around $1,200 for one 4000 MB movie.


Legal Music Downloads


The most common way to legally download music is to use the iTunes program. This does require a credit card to use. Songs are typically 99 US cents each. You can get iTunes free here.

You can also use the iTunes program to copy these songs onto a CD by dragging the songs to the bottom left of the screen to create a playlist, and then right-clicking this playlist and choosing "burn to CD."

Bigpond Music

Well, as most of you know BigPond is one of the most overpriced internet companies out there; but they do have a reasonably priced legitimate music store. Songs are typically $1.65 each.

MP3 Sparks /

AllOfMP3 is a Russian website which sells music much cheaper than the other two - causing some debate about whether or not the site is in fact legal. Most songs sell for about 20-50 cents, or whole albums for around $4. You can find MP3sparks here.

Debatable legality

In the last ten years there have been many Peer to Peer programs for downloading music from other people for free. The first one, Napster, caused quite a stir and was eventually sued out of existence. Kazaa was the next one to become well known - not only for downloading music but also for buggering up people's computers! (And that hasn't changed.) Bearshare is another fairly well known one; but the safest and most common one at the moment appears to be ...


LimeWire is a Peer to Peer sharing program. What this means is that when you start it and type in the name of a song or artist; it searches all the other people's computers to see who else has the same songs and it copies them to your computer.

Generally it's safe to use, provided you stick to MP3s only. Should you deviate to anything other than MP3s, you run a big risk of getting a virus. (See where it displays type as MP3 in the results.)

Note also how the songs have a number next to their name? This indicates how many other people have that song at the moment. The higher this number, the faster you'll get the song.

Downloading music that is still in copyright is of course probably illegal, so you take your chances when you do this. The probability of being caught is low because there are so many people using it, and because most of the lawsuits take place in America.

Warning: LimeWire likes to run in the background when you close it. This means that it might be sharing the songs you downloaded when you finished using it. If you're on wireless broadband on a limited download account; be sure to close it completely from the icon near the clock when done.

Also, LimeWire tends to have times when it simply will not connect. You can't do much about this other than just leave it running until it connects. (Green bars shown bottom left.)

Legal Movie and TV Show Downloads


As above, you can use iTunes to download some movies and TV shows. Some shows may not be available in Australia due to rights restrictions.

ABC iView

ABC has an Internet-based TV site here. You can watch some missed shows and internet-only shows here.


Well, everyone knows YouTube surely :)

Of course, most videos average around 10 megabytes each so be careful if you're on wireless broadband or a limited download plan.

As a side note, if you'd like to keep a copy of any YouTube movie, you can do this by doing the following:

1 - Install Firefox if you don't already have it.

2 - Click here to install Video DownloadHelper.

BigPond Movies

In a pleasant surprise whilst researching for this article, I realised that BigPond actually has downloadable movies. (I knew they did scratched DVDs to the door...) The prices look reasonable. You can access them from here.

Note that DRM restrictions apply to BigPond Movies, so you only have 48 hours to watch the movie in before it commits seppuku.

"Free Pay TV?"

TVU Player

OK now here's a strange category for you. The TVU Player lets you watch live streams of tv channels all over the world; but it's a bit of a chaotic mess if you're trying to find a specific show.

I doubt that some of the channels here are here with the permission of the content creators. Some channels however, like Christian TV, etc, are probably grateful of the publicity.

Like any shady website, be careful what you click on! The system itself seems safe, but since it's advertisement-funded and not censored; who knows what'll show up on it. You can get it from here. Oh, and like Limewire it likes to keep running in the background - make sure you close it from near the clock when done.

Movie and Music Torrent Downloads - Illegal if you get copyrighted material.


BitTorrent is a way for people to share large files on the Internet without having to pay for a large central server. This is because as you download a file, your computer is also automatically sharing the bits you downloaded to others.

This system can be used legally or otherwise. For example, if you set up a band and recorded a video; you could share it via BitTorrent and not have to pay distribution costs. (Of course, you could use YouTube too but the 10 minute limit can be an issue.)

To find movies, music, etc; you need to visit a website that keeps track of them all. You also need a BitTorrent program. Read on for more...

Step 1 - Mininova

Although the Swedish "The Pirate Bay" website is probably the best known pirate downloads site, Mininova tends to offer more intelligent, searchable results.

Warning: Both Mininova and ThePirateBay are covered in dubious advertisements. Be careful not to click on them. Of course, if you're smart and have FireFox and AdBlock Plus you'd never see 'em.

Now, Mininova is what is known as a 'torrent tracker'. The site lets you download a torrent file.

In this example, I've searched for the TV show "The Amazing Race". It says there are 262 possible matching results. Here's how to work out which is which: (Note: I don't know if it is illegal to download this show or not. It is shown on free to air.)

Learning the Lingo...

Series and Episodes

Firstly, you might notice things like S14E05 - this means Series 14, Episode 5.

Seeds and Leeches

Seeds are the number of people who have the whole show on their computer. The higher this number, the faster your show would download. If there are no seeds, your download won't complete - in which case it will stall and wait for a seed to come along.

Leeches are the number of people downloading the show right now - if there are many more leeches than seeds, this might mean a slow download.

Other Terms

There are other terms like DVDRip which means someone copied a DVD. XVID or DIVX are compressed videos to save space. You might even see SCR, which usually means some silly bugger snuck a video camera into a cinema and filmed the movie - usually with lacklustre and occasionally amusing results like a chair blocking the view, out of focus, etc..

The 'Brands'

There are also certain 'brands' of file sharers which can informally be a sign of quality. For example, 'EZTV' is a brand that usually means the file is good quality.

The Comments

It's possible that someone might list a fake show here. The comments / thanks section will alert you to this, so they are worth checking.

Once you have found a file you want, you would click on "download this file" and it should then open up in a BitTorrent program... If you haven't got one, the best one at the moment is ...


uTorrent is a program that takes care of reading the torrent file and getting whatever it is you want to download. (You can get it here.) In the above example, here's the intereting bits to know: (Click the picture to see it larger)

1 - Size. 174MB in this case. Quite small compared to some shows which can be up to around 4000MB (or 4GB) As usual, be careful if you have limited downloads, or if you're on a service that charges for uploads as well as downloads.

2 - Progress. (How far through the download you are.)

3 - Seeds, Peers. (Talked about those before)

4 - Down and Up Speed. In this case downloading at 400KB per second, which is the same as 4000Kb per second - or if you like half of the maximum 8Mb that my line can do. (You don't want to do maximum upload or download because then everything else slows down.)

5 - ETA. How long before the file finishes arriving.

6 - Peers. Here you can see who else is downloading and uploading the file. As you can see there are many countries represented here! And this also makes it clear how easy it would be to identify who's downloading. At present, the only two methods for preventing this are to use a VPN product such as the soon to be released ipredator program, or to try to hide using PeerGuardian.

7 - The Green Tick means that uTorrent can get through your firewall OK. This is important for speed - as without it your speed will be about 20% of normal. If you can't make this tick go green, you'll either need help from an IT-aware person, or can try your luck at

Other things that can happen...

As you can probably guess, this is a 'geek's world'. As a result, some of them do some geeky things which can occasionally cause problems for the rest of us. (Or the rest of you? Am I a geek?)

Most video files are AVI files. Most of these play automatically, but if not try VLC Media Player.

Sometimes you might end up with a .iso file - which is a copy of a CD or DVD. You can probably burn this with a program on your computer; or if you have XP you can skip this step and 'mount' it with MagicDisc. (This might work on Vista too, but not sure. Last time I tried, it killed Vista but that was ages ago.)

The same will also work for UIF files, and NRG files.

You might hit a weird one that has tens of files numbered something.rar, something.001, something.002, etc. For this you'll need the freeware 7-Zip - simply open the one that ends in rar with it, and click Extract.

Finally, you might hit a really annoying one called .daa - for which you'll probably need the daa to ISO converter. (Not sure what they do that for.)

Watch and Record TV

So there you go. Overloaded yet? Well, there's one other way you can get shows for free of course - watch TV! As mentioned in a previous Blog Post, you can now buy for about $70 a USB TV tuner, and add it to your computer using either it's included software or the free GB-PVR program. You can then mark on the TV guide which shows you like and it'll automatically record them for you. Once set up, even a non-technical person can use it with ease, complete with a $30 remote control if needed.

Most modern TVs will take a connection from a computer to use it as a screen.

Don't want to do that? Well you can buy hard disk recorders from electronics shops to do the same sort of thing.


The other things you might want to check out are Podcasts and Vodcasts. Examples are:

ABC Podcasts
The Moth Podcast
.. and more. (I'm getting tired now :) )

English (US)
04/11/09 @ 05:39 by mccmikey
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Categories: Assorted

How to launch programs with HID

(Alternative descriptions for Google: How to launch applications with HID, How to start programs with HID, How to start applications with HID, cannot start program with HID, cannot focus explorer.exe HID)

Short answer: Don't bother, try this instead.

While HID seems quite a capable program, it fails to do one basic thing easily - launch an application based on a key stroke or button press.

It says it's capable of doing it using the 'system-wide keys' on the 'alternate input' tab, but this tab may be unavailable if you use keyboard control option. (You can try generic HID instead.)

I could not get this feature to work reliably; and ended up giving up on this application and moving to a nice freeware program called AutoHotKey from

To make it work, you need to add a few lines to a text file such as these:

^a::run "E:\Program Files\WinFast\WFDTV\WFFM.exe"
!#enter::run "C:\Program Files\Devnz\GBPVR\PVRX2.exe" -noframe
^+t::run "E:\Program Files\WinFast\WFDTV\DVBTAP.exe"
^g::run "C:\Program Files\Devnz\GBPVR\PVRX2.exe" -direct "TV Guide"
^+z::send p
^e::run "F:\Recorded Shows"
^i::run "G:\Internet Shows"
^m::run "C:\Program Files\foobar2000\foobar2000.exe"

For example, pressing the "Radio" button on my generic MCE remote sends Ctrl A as a standard keyboard stroke. The first line above will start WFFM.exe when I press this Radio button.

One of the programs, WinFast DTV, responds to the letter P to enable Pan&Scan; but the remote's aspect button sends Ctrl Shift Z, so the line above that has ^+z catches this and instead sends the letter P.

The program can be set up with lots of scripting etc, but I haven't needed to get that far into it yet. It lacks a nice programming interface so it's a little fiddly copying and pasting application paths from their icons; but it works :) (It looks like it obsoletes Iolo Macro Magic, my previous tool of choice.)

To find out what keys your remote sends, there is a handy 'recording' program included with it that shows you the actions you've performed.

Have fun!

English (US)
04/02/09 @ 09:21 by mccmikey
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Categories: Assorted

Windows losing focus every 30 seconds or minute XP

There are a few possible programs that can cause this behaviour. In today's instance it was a combination of a bluetooth software application and possibly some Ericsson software. Try disabling bluetooth to see if it's the cause.

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03/24/09 @ 14:49 by mccmikey
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APN for TPG Mobile

Just a quick note, that the APN for TPG mobile customers appears to be quite simply the word 'internet'

This information is not on the FAQs.

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03/06/09 @ 10:26 by mccmikey
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Has gone bust?

Has shut down? is (or was) a system for people wanting to share their internet to the public via a system of vouchers, etc. It uses a boot CD to turn a PC into a smart gateway that would then interface with PublicIP's servers to handle user authentication, etc.

Unfortunately, a week or more ago, their SSL certificate expired; meaning that people creating vouchers had to accept the expired certificate to proceed.

Today, their server gives the error "SSL received a record that exceeded the maximum permissible length."

This is either good news (they are trying to fix it but don't quite know how) or bad news.

I don't know of any other easy to use free working systems that don't rely on Windows' Internet Sharing. (Windows sharing is easily overloaded by too many P2P users.)

Time will tell. Of course, with more and more people buying their own wireless internet services; the ability to provide public wireless access at a cost is likely to diminish. Indeed, McDonalds has already given up and now provides their access free.

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03/06/09 @ 03:21 by mccmikey
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WireShark or WinPCap cause intermittent FTP problems in Windows XP

G'day :)

Just a quick post. I was experiencing intermittent problems with FTP connections. The connections would intermittently terminate immediately after "Connected, waiting for response."

This was eventually resolved by uninstalling WireShark and WinPCap.

This problem is probably unique to my software configuration as the problem occurred with both traditional wireless and HSPA connections; and probably ethernet too. The system is also running TrueCrypt, Skype, Miranda, Firefox, Thunderbird, Microsoft Virtual PC, etc.

As I don't need WireShark on this PC, I have not bothered searching for a solution.

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02/26/09 @ 04:19 by mccmikey
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Logitech S5500 webcam micrphone not working

I've had one job recently that I took on with the proviso that if I couldn't fix it I wouldn't charge for it.

In this case it was a Logitech S5500 webcam with built in Mic, but the mic component would not install properly - with various errors in Device Manager such as Not configured Code 1, etc; but occasionally with the appearance that it was working fine yet it would not show up in Multimedia Control Panel.

I wasn't able to fix it within an hour so gave up as it wasn't worth my time.

The customer said initially they had tried a Toshiba USB cam with mic and it too wouldn't work; so perhaps the Toshiba broke the system first, or perhaps there was a pre-existing problem.

Some websites made reference to a core file LVsomething.sys which was apparently a lower filter driver, and that it can also cause the pitch of some sound cards to change, esp. Realtek 97 cards.

So, sorry I don't have an answer for this particular problem, and am only posting here so others with the same problem know that they're not alone.

The camera works fine on other computers. Logitech Tech Support also could not fix it.

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02/23/09 @ 07:20 by mccmikey
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Assorted News 18 - A Mobile Game-changer :)

In this edition:

Just a short one...

Generic News
Mobile Game Changer: $20 for approx 5 hours mobile plan.

Australian Broadband Guarantee vs Wireless Internet.

Almost new printer for sale.
$80 to pronounce it dead?

A Mobile Phone Game Changer

Well, after all that effort last newsletter explaining about how to use VoIP on a mobile, it has suddenly become more or less irrelevant.

As you probably know, I mostly represent Exetel for Internet stuff because they usually have the best pricing and reliability. However, their nearest competitor, TPG, (which I have no relationship with by the way) has come up with a new mobile phone offering that blows Exetel; and all other mobile phone plans that I know of, out of the water!

They have a plan that roughly equates to 5 hours on the mobile, spread over multiple calls for just $20 a month

Of course, there has to be a trick; and that trick is that if you exceed this 5 hours, it's about $55 an hour thereafter; so you need to keep an eye on your phone's "All Calls" timer each billing cycle, or watch your usage on the website. (Example of online usage account at )

The technical details are $20 a month for $300 worth of calls at the rate of 40 cents per 30 seconds and 35c connection fee. It's the usual 'Monopoly Money' rubbish, and like Monopoly it's a game; but easier to win :)

It's provided by the 15+ year old company TPG. They provide it via their purchase of Soul, who in turn resell the Optus mobile phone network.

Now, of course, this is Optus we're talking about, and just like Vodafone their coverage is not as comprehensive as Telsta's. So if you really need to be contactable (like me!) then I recommend you carry two mobiles - the Telstra one for incoming calls and your other one for outgoing. (You can get a $10 per month NextG plan for this purpose.) The one caveat is Telstra's messagebank fees so if you really need MessageBank too, it might still be worth getting a mobile with an answering machine built in as per last newsletter.

I have ordered and received a TPG SIM card for my old LG phone, and it is working well.

You can find out more about this plan at

Really, with something like this (or the next plan up) it is becoming quite feasible to dump your landline. Oh, and if you're an out-of-towner like me who normally gets no coverage, the same antenna used for Wireless Broadband may also help you get mobile coverage at home provided your handset supports it. (See my example here: and the coverage at

Australian Broadband Guarantee & Wireless Internet.

I've had some good success stories lately with Wireless broadband. I've been able to get it to work in places that would appear to have no coverage using various outdoor antennae.

Wireless broadband is so much better than Satellite - faster, cheaper, and normally more reliable. However one the customers I trialled about 30km from a tower rang me up after I'd set up the trial to ask if she was covered by the Australian Broadband Guarantee. (The ABG allows you to get your internet installed for free if you have no alternatives faster than satellite.) I didn't know the answer at first, but further research shows that since she was able to get a city-equivalent broadband connection via wireless and lives in an Optus coverage area; she's not eligable. (Interestingly this doesn't apply to Telstra wireless internet customers because their prices are too high to qualify as an affordable solution under the ABG.)

If you're on dialup at the moment, and are looking to get broadband, you may need to check first to see if you're shown as being in a coverage area. If not, you can apply for satellite. If you are, but you can't get it to work I might be able to help.

For more information about wireless internet in an easy to read format try here:

For more information about the ABG, click here:

Cheap Second Hand Laser Printer for sale.

I purchased this printer for a customer who had two networked computers; but because of the unique setup of their network - a modified XP machine that allows three simultaneous users - the printer software couldn't cope well. I solved the problem by installing a Samsung instead; leaving me with a two month old, but rarely used HP laser printer. Purchased new from DSE for around $90, hoping to get $60 for it.

For more information about this printer. click here:

$80 to pronounce it dead?

A customer advised the other day that she had a problem with her modem, and another family member took it to a competing computer store. They were apparently charged $80 to report the modem as dead. I guess they have to charge these kinds of rates to keep up with their advertising budget, staff and vehicle expenses; but it still grates with me a bit - especially as it appears their diagnosis was wrong too. It seems most IT stores charge you just to look at things. Something modest like $10 or $15 might be fair.

Quite often with me it's free if I can't fix it; or if it requires me to learn about something new then I don't charge for that time.

Aah well that's the end of another short newsletter. The Kingswood is still resting. In the interim I am experimenting to see what economy I can get from the bluebird. At best I've had 12.7K per litre. (8 Litres for 100km) If I can regularly get this sort of economy it might be wiser to use the Bluebird as the primary vehicle. If I do this, I'd like to find someone who does the type of pixelated see-through signage you see on city bus windows rather than just the plain lettering type. If you can recommend anyone let me know - as far as I know the Armidale businesses are not capable of this type of printing.

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02/22/09 @ 11:37 by mccmikey
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How to convert FLV files to AVI / MPEG

While there are a number of converters out there, both free and non-free; there's an easy way.

Simply use VLC Media Player.

Click the Media menu, then Save / Convert

Choose the file you want to convert, then choose the format you want as the output, either using the preset option or by setting your own values.

Too easy :)

English (US)
02/22/09 @ 03:57 by mccmikey
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How to Capture ABC iView content

Also How to record ABC iView content or How to save ABC iView content.

EDIT: 8/4/2011: has the latest iViewnNapper.

There are two ways I know work that you can do this.

1 - Using a Video Recorder / DVD Recorder

If you have a laptop, you can probably connect it to your DVD recorder or VCR using an SVIDEO cable plus a headphone to two RCA plug cable.

You then need to configure your laptop to output through the SVIDEO connector which varies from laptop to laptop.

This uses what is known these days as the 'analogue' hole which generally can be expressed as 'if you can see it you can copy it, if you can hear it you can copy it.'

This is one step up from plonking a video camera in front of your laptop :)

The analogue hole is very slowly being eroded with new technology but it will always be with us one way or another - in the worst case with a video camera in front of a TV and the audio captured from a headphone socket. (For best results set white balance and exposure manually.)

2 - Replay Media Catcher.

This second option does not always work, but it works most of the time. The important thing with this is that you don't start playback before you've set Replay Media Catcher to record, because otherwise you won't be able to capture the show (unless you open a different browser or nuke cookies or something.) Try first using a cartoon or something interesting like Media Watch before going for the show you're after.

RMC is not free sadly, but you can try it out. Note also that it seems to be a bit temperamental in virtual machines. You can trial it however but it will only capture the first 75% of the show in trial mode.

I've tried a few other applications but have not had any success. For example, applications that capture Flash URLs don't work with iView as it either obscures the URLs with script, or perhaps just doesn't work that way.

Setting the option "Web Stream Dumper" may help, but I haven't really tested this as this entire write-up happened because I had two different PVR applications fail at the same time on a show I wanted. (One, GB-PVR just didn't bother to record at all; and the other WinFast PVR didn't capture the audio.)

Oh, and remember that many of the shows are available for podcast download anyway; but there are some shows that they don't put out that way for whatever reasons the producer of the content dreams up. Naturally, the best shows like Spicks and Specks don't appear online anywhere except for the occasional torrent site when someone is brave or smart enough to upload it without getting done like a dinner. Sadly it's not popular enough to turn up on such sites regularly so if you miss it, you're prolly stuffed.

Applian also have another video recording product I have not tried, but which may also work.

Good Luck!

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02/08/09 @ 07:18 by mccmikey
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Assorted News 17 :)

In this edition:

Just a short one...

Generic News
Resting Kingswood
More Sticky Stuff.

Web Of Trust
TV Magic.

The Mechanic's Dilemma.

Resting Kingswood.

Last week, the Kingswood started to generate another new sound - a squeaky scratchy sound when accelerating or decelerating whilst in gear; which usually means a universal joint is about to retire. Since their sudden retirement can cause some spectacular driving problems, such as a car trying to take up pole vaulting, I've taken it off the road for now. In it's place I am using the metallic gold '86 Bluebird which has had it's own small set of issues, but is less likely to try to wrap me around a tree in the near future.

Other issues that also exist with the Kingswood are a tight wheel bearing and maybe a broken spring; so once I'm over the January income slump I'll get all those issues sorted :)

More Sticky Stuff.

Wireless Internet Sticks, that is. I've now installed a few more in problem sites. One site near Armidale had no mobile coverage at all, but adding a $160 Dish antenna to the roof solved that problem and now she has three bars. It's a weird one since it's only 4 ks out of Armidale but in a valley, and for years Telstra has refused to fix the phone lines so they could get ordinary broadband.

I will be doing another similar installation hopefully later this week, about 20km NE of Armidale, so will let you know how that goes, along with one in a valley out near Old Armidale Road. The more people I can get off slow dialup and satellite, and onto wireless broadband the better! I am still offering trial sticks for people who want to try it out, with about three in the queue now and 5 still out on trial.

As a reminder, the pricing is $5 a month, $1.50 per 100MB (up to 1GB), or for heavy users $37.50 for 5GB. I can now get the sticks for $150.

The Web Of Trust.

This is a handy tip for any of you that do a fair amount of searching for information on the Internet. Quite often the sites that you find when searching turn out to be advertising pages and link farms - pages that don't really have any useful content but instead exist merely to get the author money from Google for linking to sites that might have information of use. This can be quite frustrating.

Say for example you are thinking of buying a new 'thing' and want to find reviews about that thing on the Internet. You might google 'thing review' and get a few pages that have what you want, along with a heap of pages that don't make any sense. Here's where "Web Of Trust" comes in.

It's basically an add-on which you can add to Firefox and whenever there's a link shown on a webpage (such as a Google search result, etc) there is also a small coloured circle next to it which indicates how trustworthy and safe other visitors have deemed that page to be. Green is good, Orange is 'meh' and Red is "Danger Will Robinson." Grey means they don't know - so you can tell them if you want to.

It's free to get from

And just in case you don't have Firefox, you can get that too from

TV Magic

Last newsletter I commented on how useless this "Freeview" scheme was since it hasn't resulted in the promised 15 channels - that is unless you count having three channels showing the same thing at once... However, on a happier note this week I'll introduce you to something else.

For a long time it has been possible to buy a little gadget to plug into your laptop or desktop computer which turns it in to a nice TV set. Computer screens are much higher detail than standard TV sets, so by getting one of these gadgets you automatically have a nice High Definition TV.

One of the challenges with TV is being around at the right time to watch the shows you want to watch, and quite often if you miss the show then too bad, it's not available online legally or otherwise. This then might entice you to try to tape stuff, but what a nightmare that can be too having to work out how to program the video machine. Very few people do that.

What it is now possible to do is to connect one of these small gadgets to your computer (typically starting from $70) and then use a program to view the week's TV guide either by time or by program name, and simply click record next to each show you want, choosing only whether to record just the one or to record them each time they come up. You can then just forget about it and let the computer do it's job for you.

The reason for bringing this up now is that I recently revisited a program I checked out years ago called GB-PVR. It's a free program that works with most of these gadgets (even the cheapest ones I can find) and will do all this for you. It's designed so you can operate all the features from recording, playing back, watching live TV, viewing the guide, listening to music and radio, all from the lounge chair. (Admittedly you might need to shell out around $50 for a compatible remote control if you don't want to use the keyboard!) It's free to download from

(Note that some people have WIndows Media Centre on their computers already which can do the same thing - but it's not common.)

One of the biggest challenges for most people then is 'how do I connect the computer to the TV' and fortunately with most new flat screen TVs the connection is already right there waiting. (And if it's not I can help you get it there one way or another.)

The Mechanic's Dilemma

OK and now to end off with another bit of trivia. One question I can never quite answer is 'how do you pick a mechanic'. Pretty much all mechanics are flat out. This means that approaching them often feels like an imposition - they have too much work so why would they want any more? This is especially true if you think it's going to be a big job, and also begs the question how do you know they'll do a good job if they're always rushed. I guess I'm lucky in that I can do most of the basics myself, but when it comes to more significant problems like those above it's a question I can't decisively answer. Fortunately now that the Bluebird's registered and most of it's bugs from being idle for 8 years have been ironed out, I do have the luxury of time - that is I'm not relying on the one car 24/7.

English (US)
01/18/09 @ 07:17 by mccmikey
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Assorted News 16 - Tassie Trip and Mobile Magic :)

In this edition:

Generic News
Back from Tassie, with pics :)

Mobile Magic
How to make 10c untimed(ish) landline calls from a mobile.
How to check email on your phone cheaply.
How to send SMS for 5c from your phone.
How to turn your phone into an answering machine.

Post-it notes for your screen.
Windows 7 - looking good :)
Freeview? Bollocks!
Best Wishes for 2009.

Back from Tassie, with pics :)

As some of you know, I went to Tassie for two weeks around Christmas time. Since many of you have probably never been to Tasmania or might just be curious what it was like, I've taken about 5 hours out of my life to make you all a website describing the trip. There are photos, a few short video clips, and if you're really bored there's some cruise commentary too.

You can check it out by clicking here -->

Mobile Magic

During the holiday, I had plenty of time to muck around with the mobile phone and work out how to really get the best out of it for the least amount of money. Many people I've spoken to since have been quite curious about how I've been able to do it, so much of this newsletter is devoted to that process. I'll try to make it as easy as possible.

How to make 10c untimed(ish) calls to landlines from your mobile.

By now, many of you are familiar with VoIP phones which allow you to ring landlines for 10c untimed anywhere in Australia. They were certainly a hot item for 2008. You may have received a phone call from a local friend where the number showed up on your phone as 02 8090 1234 or something like that - which usually means they're using a VoIP phone. So... the next question is how to make it work 'on the road.' Here are three ways.

As I'm sure this will be confusing to some of you, feel free to ask questions either online or in person if you can catch me :) The one certainty is you need reasonable coverage for it to work - at least one, preferably two bars plus.

I'll also preface all of this by mentioning that some of the phone companies are a bit panicked about this new technology as it threatens their revenues somewhat. Normal Mobile calls use the same sort of technology anyway - they're just charging much more for the 'first class' version. It is possible that they may try to prevent this type of service in the future; but the cat's already out of the bag so it will probably be a losing battle.

Additionally, the technology of mobile phones is moving so fast that it's quite likely new phones will be out soon that will make this sort of thing easier - particularly from the more open likes of Google (with the Android phones) and Palm (with their new WebOS phone) It's hard to keep up!

Method 1 - Use a VoIP-Ready Mobile Phone.

Some Nokia mid-range mobile phones have a VoIP feature built in. I don't know of any definitive list of such phones, but popular models such as E51, E61, E65, N80ie, N82, etc usually do. These phones are what are called "Symbian" phones. (Symbian being another branding, a bit like how there's Apple, there's Windows, etc.) Unfortunately some similar models such as N80, N96, N78, 6120c, 6121c have this feature deliberately disabled so it's a bit hit and miss at this stage - method 2 works around this. (Another possible list is at )

Next step is to find out how much Internet access on the phone costs, and whether it's fast enough. Here are some examples:

* NextG phone: $10 a month (for data) gets 150MB of fast internet, enough for about 6 hours of VoIP to use anywhere.
* Optus phone: Website broken at time of writing, supposed to be at - Speed might be a problem depending on handset and area.
* Exetel mobile on Vodafone network : Untested, but probably too slow in the New England.
* Exetel mobile on Optus network: $7.50 (for data) gets 150MB of fast internet, enough for about 6 hours of VoIP. Depending on handset, it might work in all places or only bigger towns.

If this is to be your main mobile phone and you're in the New England, you're probably best with a NextG phone on a $10 or $20 casual plan plus $10 Browsing Pack. Optus and Vodafone's coverage is generally not as strong as Telstra's in this area, and for VoIP to work this is a serious issue to consider. See and - assuming you want your phone to work in Coles or other concrete buildings :)

The next step is to choose a VoIP provider.

* If you have broadband with Exetel, you're already set. ( )
* If not, you might want to try MyNetFone's WhirlpoolSaver plan ( using code NC1753) , or ask me to set one up for you on my Exetel account as a trial, or possibly to keep in the future depending on further testing.
* There are other providers too, these are just the ones I am most familiar with.

Once that's done, then comes the fiddly bit - typing all the details into the phone and possibly installing extra software on it. You might want my help with this as it can take about 15-30 minutes of button pressing to program some handsets! Alternatively, check the instructions at: for Exetel or for MyNetFone.

Method 2 - Use Fring?

There's a program available Called Fring which you can load onto your mobile phone and then access VoIP, Skype, MSN, etc while on the road. The problem here is that Fring is a US based service and so this introduces a significant delay. Exetel is working on writing their own Australian version according to so perhaps method 2B is to 'sit and wait' :)

Fring will work on many moderately capable phones including some Nokia, Windows Mobile and Apple phones.

Before making any significant use of Fring, you need to also deal with the bits in green and probably the orange above.

Method 3 - Use your laptop.

OK perhaps all that above sounds too hard. Fair enough. Here's another method. All you need is some form of broadband access on your laptop. This could be Exetel's HSPA @ $5 per month plus usage, or it could be NextG, or it could be borrowing someone else's internet connection while visiting them. You then just need a VoIP client such as x-lite and account as per the orange writing above; or use Skype.

You would then probably want either a headset or handset to plug into your laptop. Your laptop then becomes a rather large mobile telephone :) Some laptops have a built in microphone, so in a pinch you can talk directly at your laptop; but this gives an echo to the other person. It also looks funny :)

So there you go. If it works for you it can be a big saving. If you want a demo of any of these let me know. I use VoIP for almost all landline calls now, but also have an Exetel mobile for 15c/min calls to other mobiles as this is more convenient. I also have $25 VoIP adapter boxes for people with ordinary broadband who want to try VoIP using an ordinary home phone.

How to check your email on your mobile phone cheaply!

The majority of phones are capable of running small programs. There is a free one from Google that allows you to check your email from your mobile phone quite cheaply. For this to work you need to get yourself a free email address, and then ask your existing provider to forward a copy of your email to that new address as well which is usually free to do.

The mobile phone version of gmail is very data conscious and allows you to check your mail safely using very few downloads - quite possibly not even affecting your phone bill as many plans include a small amount of downloads per month. On some phones you can even leave it running in the background and it will alert you with a buzz if new mail arrives. And since it's gmail, you don't need to worry about spam; since gmail will filter it out of your mail even if you are forwarding it from another address.

To try it out or read about it, go to

How to send SMS messages from your mobile for 5c

OK sorry, this is another one of those Exetel-only services, but I don't know of anyone else offering it publicly. If you have any Exetel service, and you have a suitable phone, you can install the ExeSMS program on your phone and use it to send SMS messages with the usual 20 free a month then 5c each after.

For Windows Mobile phones:
For Nokia Symbian phones, log in to the Exetel website, then look on the left for SMS; send sms via mobile.

If you know of any other providers offering a similar service let me know and I'll pass it on. It may be possible to buy an Exetel SIM card to establish an account and then just use your existing setup for sending SMSes or using VoIP - this workaround is currently untested.

Turning your phone into an answering machine.

This was actually covered in the last newsletter. The main reason you'd want to do this is to avoid paying MessageBank deposit and retrieval fees. I previously mentioned a program called Advanced Call Manager which will run on most Nokia Symbian mobile phones. However, I decided to shell out a little more for "Interactive Voice Call Manager" because it had scheduling functions and also the option of having 'To do this press 1 to do that press 2' type stuff; which may potentially come in handy if I decide to set up an afterhours chargeable support line, etc.

It's been working brilliantly for me - dropping the last phone bill to $30 from the $70 one before it, and being much more convenient than having to hurriedly scribble down the messages since they're saved on the phone ready for playback at any time.

There's also a free one for some Nokias at which might be all you need :) (I haven't tested the free one since I don't want to break the one I already have!) I'm pretty sure there are similar programs for hi tech phones like iPhones, Windows Mobiles, etc; but since I don't have one I haven't yet gone looking...

Post-it notes for your screen.

Some people claim that the Paperless Office is a myth. I disagree. It just took 30 years to get there. A years worth of filing for my business takes about the space of a phone book. I pay everything electronically where possible, and almost all my suppliers issue electronic invoices so my paper trail is almost completely electronic. But I digress... has a nice little free program that allows you to put virtual sticky notes on your screen. This is handy for those short term things you need to remember. You can make them stick on top of everything else by clicking the arrow on the note. Quite handy for little stuff.

Windows 7 - Looking Good :)

Windows 7 is not far away now, and is available as a free beta download if you want to try it out. (Beta means that it's still being tested for possible glitches.) It's a big improvement over Vista in performance which is great news. I think we'll find Vista was a bit like Windows Millenium edition - a temperamental experimental transitional version of Windows. Windows ME was the crossover from 98 to NT/XP, and Windows Vista will probably be the crossover from XP to Windows 7.

Freeview? Bollocks.

OK, so we've all seen the ads. 15 channels. 2009. Well, according to what I heard on ABC radio the other night, all the channels are now allowed to be doing their extra broadcasts, but none have bothered.

Those of you with digital TVs or set top boxes have probably noticed that when you installed them, there were multiple channels with the same stuff on - like ABC, ABC1, ABC2, ABC3, ABC HD, Prime Tamworth, Prime View 1, etc.

Each of these stations is now allowed to broadcast multiple shows at the same time using these extra channels, but they aren't. Either they can't be bothered, or they're scared that by having more shows on at the same time they'll lessen their ratings for individual shows. So, don't hold your breath or rush out to buy a digital tele just yet. So far, only Channel 10 (TCN) has made noises about having a 24 hour sports channel.

This leaves me puzzled as to why they're paying for ads, and who's paying for them!

Best wishes for 2009

Anyway, that's the end of another newsletter for now. There's bound to be things I meant to write about but forgot to include in this one. Slowly getting back into 'work mode' :)

The GFC (Global Financial Crisis) appears to be having a small impact on the prices of some items - laptops are back up around the $700+ mark and the wireless routers I was getting wholesale for $45 are now $52; but otherwise it's life as normal here. I guess a true metric of problems is the numbers of closed shops so perhaps it's time to start counting 'em.

Oh, and I wonder if there is really truth to the rumour I overheard that Bunnings is on it's way to Armidale? :)

I guess there's good and bad in that - you know 'shop locally' and all that. I guess it means more employment for a while at least irrespective of their eventual impact on the established stores.

Cheers, Mike

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12/14/08 @ 02:02 by mccmikey
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Hamachi slow / hamachi servers are too busy.

Well, Hamachi was great when it was first made, but since getting taken over by LogMeIn the mediation process has become rather slow and painful. Frequently (almost daily) I receive the message "Hamachi servers are too busy" or similar and have to wait.

The good news is that Steve Gibson is planning to make an alternative called CryptoLink that should have the same features plus many more. Not sure if it will be freeware or not.

Unfortunately this product is vaporware at time of writing - see for updates.

For the braver among you there's also OpenVPN :)

English (US)
12/13/08 @ 04:04 by mccmikey
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Quickbooks 2008-09 error 80004005 MAPI email windows mail outlook express vista

I spent a long time today trying to work out if Quickbooks 2008-09 would use Windows Mail, Outlook Express, Thunderbird etc for sending emails, and it appears the answer is no.

I finally found a post on;msg172#msg172 after searching a Google cache'd listing, and it states:

does QBi intergrate with Outlook express or thunderbird email? (currently get MAPI error code 80004005(15389))
After speaking to technical support and being I was told no despite the fact that my previous 07-08 software ran perfectly with outlook express 6 on my network.

Seems to match my experience. Unfortunately this question is asked number of times on the intuit forums, but there are no answers.

Personally, unless you really need a high powered accounting program, you might as well just use the free e-record program from the ATO. It'll do your BAS for you.

Interestingly the previous versions of QuickBooks were OK, so this upgrade is actually a downgrade.

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