Saturday, September 29, 2007

upgrade to Windows Vista

Because of problems, Stan is considering upgrading his computer to Windows Vista, and is concerned about compatibility issues...

Keep in mind that it is possible to migrate problems with an upgrade. You can consider installing a new, clean version of your current operating system.

Before upgrading to Vista, use The Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor

Windows Media Center and playlists

"marbleslinger" had asked about using a playlist with Windows Media Center for music videos and music...


I found some information at "Windows Help and How-to":
To add music to the queue
To view and edit the queue
To save the queue as a playlist


Smart Computing had some info...


PowerToys...are not supported by Microsoft...but it does have The Media Center Playlist Editor...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

cheap movies (beginning tomorrow?)

There are news reports that Hollywood Video is closing “under-performing and unprofitable” shops...

Liquidation sales will be held at the targeted locations...The stores will close sometime after that...with final dates varying by location.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Notepad++ text editor

If you have ever opened multiple files in Notepad, and wished its interface were more like a word processor, try this...

It's described as a generic source code editor.

I LOVE that:
I can open multiple documents and have tabs to switch between files...
...and there's an "explorer" available to make it easy to get to files, and then open them.

The version I use, Notepad++ Portable (there's nothing to install), is available at

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


...30 new categories for Websites, Interactive Advertising, Online Film & Video and Mobile...

Nominees for The 12th Annual Webby Awards will be announced in April 2008, and winners will be honored at a gala ceremony in New York City in June 2008.


Monday, September 17, 2007

What Do Women Want? Less Pink, More Tech

Bring on the tech gear, but don't make it girly: That's what women want, according to a survey released today.

Just 9 percent of the fair sex want products that "look feminine," like a pink Playstation or Hello Kitty keyboards. The remaining 91 percent seek something sleek and sophisticated, more boardroom than teenage bedroom. The data comes from a study, done by the advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi, of 750 British women age 24 to 45.

The agency says its study indicates it's time for tech companies to go beyond the pink ghetto.

"There are clearly some smart, forward-thinking marketers in the industry, but for some reason, when it comes to targeting women, things haven't moved on," said Belinda Parmar, planning director at Saatchi. "Most women feel cheated when they walk into stores or see ads with baby-pink, diamante-encrusted products."

But that doesn't discourage "lady geeks," as the study dubbed them, from getting the gear. These "empowered" women, 37 percent of the total, owned an average of six devices, including a digital camera, desktop or laptop, multimedia mobile phone, MP3 player, digital TV and handheld game console. Overall, U.K. women own only slightly fewer tech items (11 percent) than men.

"What's fascinating to me about this research is the index of just how much technology women own," said Dr. Genevieve Bell, resident anthropologist at Intel. "Yet we still have these ideas about women and technology that are clearly out of step with the realities of the marketplace."

Bell, for whom women are arguably the "original early adopters" thanks to domestic tech, said these results echo data she and researchers in Intel's digital-home team collected, which showed that women adopt technologies -- such as Wi-Fi -- at a faster clip than men.

That doesn't mean, however, that today's consumer electronics stores are tech-friendly to chicks: More than half the women in the study reported leaving a tech store without buying because they couldn't find what they wanted.

Software engineer and London's Geek Girl Dinner founder Sarah Blow knows a few women like the ones in Saatchi's "daunted" category -- the 28 percent of the total who feel intimidated by technology.

"The main ways that I've helped women become more tech-savvy is to explain the technologies in simple and easy-to-understand terms," Blow said. "It's about understanding what the user needs and how they intend to use the product, not what a product is capable of doing."

More often than not, tech stores assume females are uninformed and oblivious to technology, Blow says. The result? Women buy less tech. The survey says "daunted" women spend 35 percent less than their tech-savvy counterparts, resulting in a 600-million pound (or $1.2-billion) spending gap yearly. Jupiter analysts who worked on the study consider that figure conservative.

The study's authors, as well as other researchers, agree on the key to upgrading women tech users from cowed to confident: Simplify, simplify, simplify. "Demands on women's time tend to be greater," said Sydney-born Bell. "If you wanted to design technology that would appeal to women, it needs to work flawlessly the first time out of the box and every time thereafter. They don't have time to faff around."


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Friday, September 14, 2007

IE "freezing"

Dean called and said his computer is running windows 2000, and at times Internet Explorer "freezes"...when he right-clicks, he sees and error message relating to (what we believe to be) shdocvw.dll

My "down and dirty" recommendation is to uninstall as many versions of Internet Explorer as possible ("How to Uninstall Internet Explorer 6")...and (try to) install a new copy of Internet Explorer 6...

(Internet Explorer 7 is not available for Windows 2000.)


Windows Media Encoder

Joe from Pittsburgh called about how to get audio into Windows Media Encoder...

(Windows Media Encoder is tool for content producers who want to capture audio and video content.)

Because of all of the variables that need to be considered, this is one of those (many) situations where we need to be able to be there physically to possibly provide any reasonable assistance...but here's what I found that might help...


For a list of supported audio and video capture cards, see Windows Media Hardware Product Vendors....

Joe said he was using a Realtek device: they are not supported...


"You can install Windows Media Encoder 9 Series on a computer running Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003. (For Windows 2000, you must also install Microsoft DirectX® 9.0)...The recommended configuration varies, depending on the encoding task, as described in the following paragraphs...

(These next three questions seemed to be the closest thing to what Joe had described to us...)

6.6 Why can't I configure a particular device from the encoder?
Only the devices that are used in the current session are displayed in the Configure Devices dialog box.
To select a different device, do the following:
1. On the Session menu, click Properties.
2. Click the desired source, and then click Change.
3. Select a different device from the Video or Audio drop-down lists, and then click Configure.
If you still are unable to configure the device, the device might not be supported.
The encoder works with most capture devices that have Video for Windows or Windows Driver Model (WDM) drivers. If your device has Video for Windows or WDM drivers, check that you are using the most current drivers. See the documentation that comes with your device. To see a list of the capture devices that have been tested to work with Windows Media Encoder 9 Series, see the Microsoft Web site.

6.7 Can I use multiple capture cards on a single computer?
Yes. Having multiple capture cards installed on a single computer enables you to encode from multiple sources simultaneously.

6.9 What capture driver version should I be using?
In general, use the latest driver from the hardware vendor. Drivers can usually be found on the vendor's Web site. For a list of the capture devices that have been tested to work with Windows Media Encoder 9 Series, see the Microsoft Web site.


System Requirements for Windows Media Encoder 9 Series

The Knowledge Center...the extensive collection of books, articles, videos, and technical documents...

downloadable Help Documentation...

Media Advice Archive


"helpcenter" BSOD

Jane called the show: she gets the "blue screen of death" when she boots her (Dell) Windows XP desktop computer, and a message regarding "helpcenter"...

Without more specific details (error messages, behavior, etcetera) my best recommendation is to look at (an article written for Windows Millennium)...

IMPORTANT: This article contains information about modifying the registry. Before you modify the registry, make sure to back it up...

"Error Message When You Start Windows Me Help: The File Helpctr.exe Is Not Found"

runtime errors

Brendan called in about "runtime" error messages...based on my research...


A Runtime Error is an error that occurs during the execution of a program...they indicate possible bugs in the program or problems that the designers had anticipated but could do nothing about (running out of memory can cause a runtime error).


Reasons runtime errors can occur:

operator error...

bugs in the original program...
the web page author made some programming error....
can be caused by other add-ons, plug-ins, or other extra software that has been installed onto the computer and is associated with the program generating the error. If you have any extra software installed that is associated with the program generating the error make sure there are no available updates for the programs and/or try uninstalling each of them to verify they're not the cause of your issue. are running a pop-up killer that closes pop-up windows so fast that the script on the web page fails. might have some adware or spyware installed on your computer that opens the script error pop-ups.


resource exhaustion...

Robert, a programmer, called into the show and suggested that there may be a memory problem...based on everything I've read: he's right. It could be "software interfering with hardware", or there may be a problem with hardware.


To troubleshoot a runtime error you will need additional information, such as:
* An error number
* Where you were in the program with the error occurred
* What you did just before the error occurred
* What you say just before and just after the error occured
* The state of the machine when the error occurred (memory, disk, and cpu usage)


I found a listing of runtime error codes at


"A Runtime Error has occurred" error message when you view Web pages (in Internet Explorer after you install Office 2003)


To configure Internet Explorer to ignore script and runtime errors:
1. Open Internet Explorer.
2. Click on Tools, then on Internet Options.
3. Click on the Advanced tab.
4. Look for the "Disable script debugging" line and put a check mark in the box.
5. Now look for the "Display a notification about every script error" line and remove the check mark in the box.


Also consider:

How to troubleshoot by using the System Configuration utility in Windows XP


How to configure Windows XP to start in a "clean boot" state

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Windows Update updates itself...

Per Nate Clinton, Program Manager, Windows Update:
"...WU does not automatically update itself when Automatic Updates is turned off..."

Monday, September 10, 2007

computer design competition

"Take Action. Make Art." - ...create graphics for a special edition HP notebook PC.

Contestants can submit a design along with a brief explanation at
...through Oct. 17...

The winner of the competition will be invited to attend the MTV Europe Music Awards in Munich, Germany, in November...The winner also will be invited to visit several HP sites, including Tokyo and Houston...

Thursday, September 6, 2007

iPhone credit

"...we have decided to offer every iPhone customer who purchased an iPhone from either Apple or AT&T, and who is not receiving a rebate or any other consideration, a $100 store credit towards the purchase of any product at an Apple Retail Store or the Apple Online Store. Details are still being worked out and will be posted on Apple's website next week..."

Steve Jobs
Apple CEO

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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

the Foleo folds

I just received this e-mail message...


"...I have decided to cancel the Foleo mobile companion product in its current configuration and focus all our energies on delivering our next generation platform and the first smartphones that will bring this platform to market...

"...Our own evaluation and early market feedback were telling us that we still have a number of improvements to make...

"...We’re not going to speculate now on timing for a next Foleo...

"...This decision is in the best interest of our customers, our team, our products and our shareholders..."

Ed Colligan
President & CEO
Palm, Inc. 950 W. Maude Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94085-2801


I'm disappointed in the delay, but still want this thing.