Posts

  • Focus on one domain

  • Why you should be focusing on one domain name for one site

    Often you will find yourself buying a domain for your project (eg: example.com), however these days to secure the brand you have to buy all the associated domains (eg: example.net, example.org, example.co.uk, example.info, etc).

    I then find that visitors will end up entering the sites at different points from different domains, depending on how they find it, or what they have been told.

    Read More »

  • DVD decoders and other codecs

  • Possibly one of the most annoying and confusing issues on windows is dealing with and understanding which codecs you need to do what.

    There are a number of solutions to ensure all of your music, videos and other media will play on your version of windows.

    I’ve recently experienced a problem where Windows Media Center returns a decoder error.

    This was stopping me from setting up the audio within the wizard, so the plan of action was to locate an all in one codec pack which then meant I didn’t have to worry about which codecs I need to do what, it just includes them all, or so I thought.

    Okay, so the codec pack got the sound working, great. However when I come to play DVD’s there’s a decoder error yet again, which means I require DVD decoder software.

    There are a few options with this…

    • Purchase the software [<p class="lead"> Possibly one of the most annoying and confusing issues on windows is dealing with and understanding which codecs you need to do what.

    </p>

    There are a number of solutions to ensure all of your music, videos and other media will play on your version of windows.

    I’ve recently experienced a problem where Windows Media Center returns a decoder error.

    This was stopping me from setting up the audio within the wizard, so the plan of action was to locate an all in one codec pack which then meant I didn’t have to worry about which codecs I need to do what, it just includes them all, or so I thought.

    Okay, so the codec pack got the sound working, great. However when I come to play DVD’s there’s a decoder error yet again, which means I require DVD decoder software.

    There are a few options with this…

    • Purchase the software](http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/mp10/getmore/plugins.aspx#DVDDecoder)
    • Purchase or download and try for 30 days the nVidia PureVideo Decoder – it would match the chipset
    • Purchase InterVideo DVD XPack for $14.95
    • Purchase or download and try for 30 days CyberLink PowerDVD SE or v7.0 – i’ve used this in the past
    • Purchase the Roxio solution which is CinePlayer for $14.95 – never used it, don’t like roxio
    • Download a free or open source DVD decoder – near impossible or does not exist

    Not to worry though I can use the Microsoft Windows XP Video Decoder Checkup Utility to make sure any I do choose is compatible.

    To be fair although it should be a crime to have to pay to watch DVDs on your computer considering you have purchased a piece of hardware that is essentially a DVD reader, you do still need a DVD player, and $14.95 (just over £8) is not a bad price for a legit piece of DVD playing software, and its a damn sight cheaper than purchasing a separate DVD player unit to do the same job.

    However, more often than not, if you purchase your PC from a large retailer, or you purchase a retail optical drive, you will receive a copy of one of the Microsoft approved DVD decoders listed above, so it might be worth considering that before you make your next purchase.

    Yet with all that in mind, I’m still looking for that free or open source DVD decoder that will work with Windows Media Center or approved by Microsoft. We can all dream can’t we?

    You may ALSO require DivX, QuickTime and Real Player (or their alternatives) to name a few to play certain types of videos, and I would also suggest taking a look at Winamp if you haven’t got it already as its a brilliant piece of software for playing music and video clips.

    Additional Notes: Recently I have been looking at both VideoLan’s VLC and Media Player Classic which are either free or open source alternatives. I’ve yet to test their ability to play DVDs, how compatible they are with different video types or how other software (such as browsers and other media players) utilise their codecs.

  • I forgot my Windows logon password!

  • What should I do? Reinstall? NO!

    So how do you recover it? You can’t, BUT you can reset it…

    There’s a nifty utility called Offline NT Password & Registry Editor (aka ntpasswd) that will reset Windows NT/2K/XP passwords. It runs from self-booting diskette or CD. Please note that it will not recover AD passwords, and may render EFS encrypted files permanently unreadable.

    To save wasting CD’s with small applications you can actually find this utility and a whole range of other useful recovery tools together on the Ultimate Boot CD (aka UBCD).

    As if that isn’t enough Winternals (the same people who make Sysinternals Freeware) offer a peice of software called Administrator’s Pak which you can purchase from them. This software creates a bootable CD called ERD Commander which contains a utility called Locksmith which allows you to reset lost passwords.

  • Parts inside your printer are at the end of their service life

  • Today I had the joy of fixing an Epson Stylus C46 UX printer.

    It had the following error: “Parts inside your printer are at the end of their service life. See your printer documentation.”

    After a little searching I discovered that most people were saying that “It is simply not worth repairing”, however, I took that as a challange, and decided that if I was going to throw it away anyway I might as well try to fix it first.

    Before long I located a page on fixyourownprinter.com‘s forum, which had plenty of details about similar issues.

    This is the process I used after reading details on that page:

    1. Unplug the power and USB cables from the printer.
    2. Prepare your work area by putting scrap paper down. Have some spare, just incase. You may also require tissue paper. It is also recommended you use protective gloves as the ink will stain your skin for quite some time.
    3. Unscrew the screw at the back of the printer.
    4. There are two or three tabs at the back and two at the front. Gently push them in, and then using a bit of force pry apart the cover.
    5. At the back of the unit you need to locate some white pads, or sponge type things, initially they will seem fine, but they will infact be full of ink. You need to grab a pair of pliers and pull them out one by one, there should be four, put them on your scrap paper.
    6. Take the scrap paper with the pads on to your sink, turn on the hot tap and hold each one under the tap using the pliers until the water runs clear. If you have protective gloves on it may be worth squeezing the water out also.
    7. It is recommended that once you have done this, you let them dry.
    8. Now return the pads back into the printer.
    9. Put the printer back together, (mind out for the paper alignment, and give it some force), not forgetting the screw at the back.
    10. Plug in the USB and power cable and turned it ON. (Yes the lights will still flash)
    11. Download and install the SSC Service Utility for Epson Stylus Printers.
    12. Select your printer and model number (There is no Stylus C42 UX, so select Stylus C4x), then close the window.
    13. If it asks if you replaced with the pads; say “YES”. Then close the window.
    14. You will see a SSC Service Utilitiy icon (it looks like a printer) in the system tray (next to your click), and LEFT click.
    15. A menu will appear, from here you can click on “Protection counter” (its a red cross), then “reset protection counter”.
    16. Turn the printer power OFF, wait 10 seconds and then turn it back ON.

    Done!

    Additional troubleshooting…

    If you have problems with paper feed, take it apart again, check everything is in place correctly, push things together tightly, and put it together again.

    If you have trouble with print quality, open the lid, clean any ink residue, use the SSC Service Utilitiy to clean the heads.

  • Safely Remove Hardware Icon

  • Here's a quick guide on what to do if your “Safely remove hardware” icon has disappeared from your system tray.

    This is a troublesome issue as it means that you cannot stop your USB devices therefore meaning you could cause corruption on your USB device.

    **How to always bring up the dialog (without the icon)

    **

    1. Go to Start -> Run,
    2. Enter: %windir%\system32\RUNDLL32 shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL hotplug.dll
    3. The “Safely remove hardware” dialog windows should appear.

    **How to control the “Safley remove hardware” icon behavior

    **

    1. Right-Click on the Task Bar
    2. Select Properties
    3. Under the taskbar tab, click the Customize button
    4. Select the program you wish to hide
    5. Under the drop down box, select Always Hide, Always Show, or Hide when inactive.
    6. Click OK

    How to restore the icon to your system tray

    1. Open “My Computer”
    2. Right click on a drive and click Properties
    3. Click on the Hardware tab
    4. Select the removable drive from the list
    5. Click the “Properties” button
    6. Click on the Policies tab
    7. Change it from “Optimize for quick removal” to “Optimize for performance”

    Note: If you don’t plan on hot-swapping your USB device very often, and you will ALWAYS make sure you use the “Safely remove hardware” dialog to remove your hardware, then use “Optimize for performance”, otherwise in most cases it is best to use “Optimize for quick removal”, this will allow you to unplug your USB device without worrying about corruption.

    Further details are mentioned here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/828012

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