Hauppauge and Vista

June 18th, 2007

I’ve been going around and around trying to install my WinTV HVR 1100 on Vista and it just won’t work! 

I’ve mentioned this previously but I came to the conclusion that it was defective hardware at fault.  When I eventually received a new card I had exactly the same problem.  I was pleased then when Hauppauge brought out a page and a download for installing the PVR but … unfortunately that didn’t work either. 

2007-06-18_hauppaugeI’m seeing the error “Drivers have NOT been updated. INF File Open Failed.”


At least some people are getting this error because they have not extracted the installation files to the correct location.  But I’m still seeing the problem even though the files are indeed in the right place…

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Vista can’t drag onto taskbar

June 15th, 2007

Is it me or can you not drag items onto the taskbar in Vista? 

Sure in XP you couldn’t drop items directly onto the taskbar (if you did you got the “You cannot drop an item onto a button on the taskbar…” message) but if you hovered over the taskbar button and waited for the application to restore you could then drag the item into it. 

In Vista this seems buggy at best.  You can hover forever and the application will not restore.  Sometimes it just starts flashing orange but doesn’t restore. And very occasionally it will restore the application and you can drag your item it. 

But what makes the difference? Who knows … perhaps it is the position of the stars???

How to squish 8 Gigs! Or not.

June 5th, 2007

Squishing a Corsair Flash Voyager GT - Destructive TestingHad some unexpected fun recently squishing a 8 GB USB key. Not that I realized it was 8 Gigs at the time. Or that it would still work afterwards!

Destructive testing is always fun.  Especially when I get to use heavy vehicles in the test!  I couldn’t believe it when Adrian told me it was an eight gigs I had just squished though.  Gah! Why couldn’t he have got destructive on a two-giger!!! Anyway surprisingly all turned out fine (you can read the results here) and what’s more he gave me the drive afterwards.  

I am now the proud owner of a – slightly dented, frozen, boiled – Corsair Flash Voyager GT.

Turn off IE7’s own RSS Feed Page View

June 1st, 2007

I received an email today from a Vex Visitor who informed me that Yahoo! doesn’t like my Feedburner link and won’t allow him to add my feed to his MyYahoo! content page.  I’ve found various solutions for this one of which involves clicking on the MyYahoo! chicklet on Feedburner’s RSS page.

Chicklets in Feedburner

However, if you use IE7 RSS Feed pages are displayed in IE7’s own style (see screenshot below).  So Feedburner’s list of other RSS tools and the other chicklets (including the MY Yahoo! button) are mysteriously missing.

IE7 RSS Page

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Vista Casualties – Software

May 30th, 2007

Software – Just like hardware manufacturers, software houses love a new OS because it’s a good opportunity to introduce a whole new version of their software.  And unlike more minor upgrades it’s also a good excuse to take a fresh look at their products.  This often means that functions will be altered or moved around and some features may even be removed completely (an increasingly familiar trend).  This isn’t always a good thing, because it puts the existing user’s nose out of joint especially if it’s software that you use regularly and are familiar with.  Never is this felt so deeply as when you’re upgrading because of a new OS.  Ordinarily, if you don’t like a new version of a program  you just don’t bother and stick with the old one, but a new OS means you’re forced to accept change and let’s face it, that can be hard to do. 

Here’s my main list of software changes (so far) from the upgrade. 

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Vista Casualties – Hardware

May 30th, 2007

Hardware is a big issue for me.  I like my hardware to last and I don’t like to let it go when I’m used to it, so throwing out good kit just because I’ve moved to Vista really goes against the grain! It’s environmentally unfriendly and expensive.  Of course the manufacturers love nothing better than a new OS for just this reason. They want everyone to go out and get all new kit, so they’re not too keen to produce drivers for [tag]hardware[/tag] over a certain age and let’s face it they have the advantage.  They know you’ll probably get a new PC in the next couple of years and it will most likely have Vista on it. 

Still, brand loyalty counts for a lot, so asking about drivers for older products is always a good idea because it lets them know you like their products … and it’s hard to guage the demand for a driver if they haven’t heard from the consumers who want it.

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Vista Yo-yo Part 2

May 30th, 2007

Well I think I’m finally done yo-yoing between Vista and XP.  I’ve finally upgraded permanently after three (or was it four?) previous attempts.  It has been incredibly frustrating and not without its casualties (eg software and hardware that will have to be replaced because there are never likely to be any drivers/upgrades that work on Vista).

As an aside I feel compelled to add that at several points in the overall upgrade process I felt so frustrated with Vista that I got dangerously close to switching to Linux, that is at least before I read some of the comments, blogs and emails after Adrian’s comments on ZDNet about the Linux community’s lack of understanding about what Joe (and Jane) Public want from their computer.  They’re a scary bunch and although I have a Ubuntu setup I won’t be switching to Linux for my main rig anytime soon largely because every time I look for a little support, I don’t want to have to deal with such angry zealots.

So I am back on Vista and the balance of the love/hate relationship is gradually turning to love.  I’m still waiting for the Wow though …

Audible in Vista

May 24th, 2007

Question: I have a question. I’m using Audible in Windows Vista and I’m tryig to get the icon out of my system tray but it just won’t go.  I get a message telling me to use administrator rights but it doesn’t work.  Am I stuck with this program running all the time when I don’t need it?  Thanks

No you’re not stuck with it.  In Vista you’ll find that you need to elevate your rights to do certain things, one of which is stopping many programs from running at startup.  The Audible Manager gives this message. 

audible - run as administrator

AudibleBefore you can run the program as an administrator however you need to close it first.  To do that right click on the icon in the system tray and choose Exit.

Then locate the Audible shortcut in your Start Menu and right click on it and choose Run as Administrator.  That will enable you to set the option not to launch Audible at startup.






Question: Task Manager buttons are gone!

May 14th, 2007

Question:  “All my buttons and tabs have disappeared in Task Manager! I can’t change tabs and there is no red X to close it. Is there any way I can fix this without reinstalling Windows?”

Vexentricity - Windows Task Manager in Tiny Footprint Mode

Vexentricity - Task Manager Tiny Performance monitor“First off don’t panic! You’re just in Tiny Footprint Mode! “ There is nothing wrong with your install of Windows to cause this – you have just accidentally put Task Manager into ‘Tiny Footprint Mode’ which hides all the buttons and tabs.

This one foxes a lot of people who think they’ve done something disastrous to their computer!    It’s actually a handy built-in monitor put there for anyone who wants to be able to track their computer’s performance eg. while playing a game, without the buttons and tabs.  However, for anyone who does this accidentally it can be very disturbing and because it’s Task Manager they automatically think something must be wrong with [tag]Windows[/tag]!

The way to switch to Tiny Footprint Mode is to double click anywhere below the Menu bar eg. on the plain background.  This is  probably what you did to accidentally get into this mode!

Vexentricity - put Windows Task Manager into Tiny Footprint Mode
 (click for larger image)

To get out of Tiny Footprint Mode double-click anywhere on the plain background and your buttons and tabs will reappear.

Vexentricity Task Manager getting buttons back in tiny footprint mode

(FYI – Tiny Footprint Mode is the same in Vista too.)

Demon Webhosting? Stay Away!

April 20th, 2007

Connectivity supplied by Demon InternetI’ve worked with a lot of web hosting companies, large and small, over the years, but I’ve got to say my worst ever experiences have been with Demon Internet.  And the very worst part is that it’s still ongoing!

Last year Demon’s hosting platform went down for a couple of weeks.  Now there’s not a webhost out there whose servers don’t go down at some point – but for two weeks?!  Then it came back up briefly and it looked promising – well that and the promise of the compensation for not meeting their uptime guarantee.  But the compensation was never forthcoming and what’s more the platform went down again almost straight away, this time with the added ‘bonus’ that all the data was gone.  No websites. 

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