Fixes


I didn’t know that anything was broken until I was getting ready for “This Week in Ontario Edublogs” and had logged into Zencastr. Out of the blue, it reported that there was a problem with the sampling rate of my microphone.

Now, you have to realize that I have two monitors, five blog posts in tabs, my shared notes in another tab, Zencastr in another one and then a few other tabs that are always open.

But, in my mind, I knew just where to find that setting in the Control Panel. While I’ve used Windows 10 on that computer for a while now, I’m still more comfortable there than in the new-fangled settings. So, I did what I normally do and use the search to search for and launch Control Panel.

This is what I got.

A whole lot of nothing. Sure, there was a text entry area and I could type but there were no results.

Fortunately, my learning from years and years ago had been effective. I had a shortcut to the Control Panel on my desktop. So, I minimized everything to get in there where I found that, according to my computer, all was right with the world and my microphone.

For that moment, I switched to another microphone which gave the same error message but we were able to complete the show.

Then, I started to do a bit of digging and the lack of a search is a “known issue”. See a typical story here.

Windows 10 Warning: Anger At Microsoft Rises With Serious New Failure

I guess it’s kind of comforting to know that I’m not the only person doing a screen capture of nothing. I did what a normal person should do and asked Windows to check for updates.

Nada. Nothing.

At least from the article above and from other reading, I’m not the only one with this issue.

But, I look at Microsoft on this one. This isn’t some obscure little thing buried in the operating system. That magnifying glass is right on my taskbar. It’s pretty crucial. Fortunately, I kind of know my way around a computer and I do have a well organized storage scheme. (at least in my mind and that’s all that counts) But, if I was using a search to find something, I can’t help but think I’d be more frustrated than just being a bit upset.

It’s not just Microsoft. Regular readers will know that my Macintosh had an issue and I had to wait a while for Apple to release a patch for it. Now, “patch” in the Apple world means Gigs of information. I compare that to Linux where a patch is a small bit of code and turned out very shortly by the community after being identified. In other worlds, often you have to wait a while for a fix.

So, I will have to wait for an update from Microsoft on this one.

If I was in a hurry, there are a number of fixes for this one that involve going into the registry and tweaking things. Somehow Bing is at the heart of this from what I’m reading. At this point, I can live with knowing that something is broken so I’m hesitant to break things even further.

But, there’s got to be a department called “Don’t fix it if it ain’t broken”. That appears to be what happened in this case.

Windows on Android


A day of freedom for me was having to turn in my iPhone to my employer.  Like the Blackberry before it, the thing was functional.  It made phone calls, connected to the internet, and let you install and ran applications.  You know, the stuff that you have one for.

And, it was customizable.  You could put a desktop image on the background.

Those of you who know me and/or my blog wouldn’t be surprised when I said that I felt handcuffed.  I got my first Android smartphone and realized that there was a whole different world out there.  Part of my frustration before was flipping through screen after screen looking for an application.  (Yeah, I install a lot.  That’s what memory is for.)

One of the nice features about Android is that you can change the Launcher.  This is the application that makes access to your other applications possible.  And, there’s a LOT of them.

Now, a big of a caveat here … I haven’t tried them all.  It’s just that when I read a review of yet another one, I read about a neat feature that I have to try out.  So, while I haven’t tried them all, I’ll confess to having tried a bunch of them!  And, surprisingly to me, I’m intrigued by launchers that try to work like Windows!  It actually shouldn’t be that big a surprise – Windows 8 was designed for touch and so is your smartphone.

Here are a few that I’ve poked around with, and quite frankly, enjoy the Windows experience with

Launcher 8 WP Style Themes

Screenshot 2019-04-02 at 10.15.19

Computer Launcher for Win 10

Screenshot 2019-04-02 at 10.18.32

and the one that is currently installed comes from Microsoft itself.

Microsoft Launcher

Screenshot 2019-04-02 at 10.21.16

The new wallpaper every day plus the access to all the apps versus a scrolling page has caught my fancy – at least at this point in time.  No advertising is nice as well.

But, ever fickle, I caught a glance at a Windows XP launcher theme.  You know, back when computers were computers…

This post originally appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

Please don’t read it anywhere else.

 

What a Difference an OS Makes


Nerdy post upcoming – you’ve been warned.  But, it just might be worth the read for you anyway…

A good friend of mine had the power supply go on her ancient PC so it wouldn’t boot.  She needed some files from her hard drive and asked for my assistance.  No problem, I says, bring your CPU over.  That was actually step 1.  Step 2 as described below happens a day later.

Now, a little background here at dougpete labs.  I have a Sony VPCF1 with an i7 processor that came loaded with Windows 7 and that was my main operating system for about a week.  At the end of the week, I partitioned the hard drive and installed an instance of Ubuntu and the computer boots there by default and remains there for the most part.  Every now and again I’ll have the urge to program using Visual Basic or Visual F# and I’ll reboot into Windows for that.  I have an on again / off again relationship with Wine.

Back to the problem at hand.  I actually had a similar problem with an old PC of my own and had ordered a Sabrent USB 2.0 to SATA/IDE Hard Drive Adapter from Tiger Connect.  With a wide variety of connectors, it’s just a matter of finding the one that works to connect the PC’s hard drive to the adapter that feeds into a USB 2.0 connection which attaches to the computer.  In my previous case, it had mounted the drive under Windows and I was able to get what I needed.

So, in this case, I figured that I would just replicate the procedure.

I rebooted the laptop to run Windows 7 and immediately was reminded of one of the reasons why it doesn’t stay running Windows for the most part.  The fan roars and you can feel the heat being ejected from the left of the computer.  Sigh.  I’ve tried upgrading the BIOS and I think I’ve read every FAQ about CPU heating / fan combinations on the web.  The best answer was a flippant “you’ve got an i7 processor.  It’s a workhorse and designed to run hot.”  I don’t know if that’s the ultimate answer but it was rationale enough for me.  I mount the hard drive and go to Computer and there the drive is sitting there as Drive Q:  Double click to open and I get the message that I don’t have enough permissions to do that.  Of course; it must be password protected.

I’m sitting here heating the room, listening to the fan, and staring at the error message.  I’m resigned to waiting for her to show up.

Then, I thought, what if I went back to Ubuntu?  I needed to check my email anyway and the fan is really annoying.

Within a minute, I’m looking at my friendly Gnome desktop.  Quietly too.  Hand over the heat vent reveals a little warm and the fan gently sending the heat out.  And, on the desktop is the now connected Windows hard drive.  A double click reveals the contents.  Hmmm.  Conscience kicks in so I leave the setup until she comes over and then we copy the desired files to a memory key and she’s a happy camper.  I’m a happy Ubuntu camper.  The computer is quietly doing its thing and saved the day.

There’s a lesson to be learned here though.  Getting to the hard drive was just a little bit too easy.  Lifehacker has a really good article for reading dealing with all of this.  It’s called “How to Break Into a Windows PC (and Prevent It from Happening to You)“.  It’s definitely a good read and offers some good suggestions.  If you’re concerned, make a point to read the article this morning.

 

Still Relevant


Part of my regular Saturday routines involves maintenance to my computers.  On this machine, it’s the one day that I reliably boot into Windows.  That lets me grab any/all of the updates from Microsoft from the past week; run a defragging utility; I update my anti-virus; and I scan the computer.  Thankfully, all goes well and I move on.  Last week, instead of rebooting into Ubuntu, I put it to sleep in Windows 7.  Later on, I awoke the computer and gave a “oh no” as I watched the computer struggle to awake.  Just like a boot into Windows, the ol’ hard drive is going like crazy awaking everything that was either sleeping or hybernating.  It took quite a while and was a reminder why the computer spends most of its time in Ubuntu.  When I wake it from sleeping, it’s almost instant on.

I’m still not at the point where I would move it to Ubuntu fulltime and forget about Windows.  There is software on the Windows side that I paid for, there’s software that I’ve spent half a lifetime learning and mastering, I play around with C# there, and I just like to keep my hand in it when I get asked a question.

But life in Ubuntu has spoiled me.  I’ll confess that I do most everything on the web now so really I just need a good acting web browser.  Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox get workouts regularly.  I’m a fan of both products.

As it happens, I read an article recently “Never been convinced by Linux? Here is a challenge for you.

I shared it with Twitter which is my place to share interesting articles with others and a temporary holding place for me so that I can go back and read the article thoroughly when I have the time.

Later that day, I did in fact re-read the article.  It was one that had me nodding my head in agreement.  I recall when I first tried to work wtih Ubuntu – it was just a curiosity that took up some time in a summer.  However, the more I used it, the more I liked it.  I wished that I had taken the advice from this article sooner.  I think I would have become a regular Ubuntu user much sooner than I did.

I chuckled as I read some of the replies to the post.  Some talked about Vista and Windows XP doing just a fine job for them.  Again, I chuckled.  I wondered – why aren’t they talking Windows 7 or 8?

Then, this dummy confesses, I looked at the date on the article.  It was December 23, 2007.  I guess that Zite had just picked it up because of a recent revision or something.  I was just dumbfounded.

I think that the advice in the article is even more relevant today than it was in 2007.   Actually, it’s probably more relevant.  Ubuntu and Windows have certainly both become better products since then.  If you’re using the web for your work, browsers absolutely have become so much better.

Reading and experiencing the article is time well spent.  Reading the replies (170 pages of them) can take a while but there’s a world of education in the replies.  Of course, as one would expect, there’s your share of Windows-bashing or Linux-bashing but in between some very good reading.

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Learn Computer Security in a Week!


That’s the claim from Gust Mees who has devoted a great deal of effort putting together an online course for those desiring to know more about what they can do to keep their computer safe and their online browsing experiences happy.

On his blog, Gust has put together a week’s worth of activities that will take you to the secure side of computing.  Each day has a number of activities pointing you to some of the best of the web in terms of security.  If your computer is not sporting best of breed software, then you need to take a run through his activities.

Gust has selected great Windows and Macintosh software titles as part of is course.  Even if you’re using another product, it’s worth the time to check out the opposition; the more you read and understand about computer security, the better off you’ll be.

Gust is also a curator of related resources.  Check the top of his page for security stories in both English and French.  He’s always tucking away the best of what he reads.

If that’s not enough, check out his Scoopit! resources for collections dealing with security and education.  He curates nice collections there.  In fact, we’ve been known to share each others’ scoops at times!

You can follow Gust on Twitter at @knolinfos

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