Jun 30 2009


Category: Internet,ReviewsTeknovis @ 17:25

I came across a new search engine today called Searchme. I tried a few known searches on it, and I think that the results are not as good as the results on Google :o However, I really like the interface! It is very useful to see the rendered target page, and it is very easy to transition between results. However, perhaps this is just a novelty, and it might be too slow in reality.

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Jun 29 2009

Removing Windows Media Player Icons

Category: WindowsTeknovis @ 19:21

I spent a lot of time over the weekend trying to resolve some very small, but very annoying, issues with my home computers. After many hours I resolved my issues, so I will document them here!

First let my briefly describe my setup. I have a Windows 2000 Server that I also log into locally to use as a workstation. I also have several Windows 2000 Workstations (some are desktops and some are laptops). All of these computers are setup identically, and I use roaming profiles to minimise my administration! It all works very well!

However, something that really annoyed me was that if I logged in and out of a workstation, and I subsequently logged in locally to the server, I would have Windows Media Player icons added to my desktop and my start menu. So what was causing these icons to constantly reappear?

The first thing I checked was the Add/Remove Programs setting in the Control Panel of each computer. These were not configured to show any icons on my desktops.

Next I checked to see if there was something in my Startup folder. Specifically, I checked the following two locations:

  • C:\Documents and Settings\Teknovis\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
  • C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

There was nothing unusual there, so next I checked the Registry. Usual disclaimer: Do not manipulate the Registry unless you are certain of what you are doing! In this case the following locations need to be checked:

  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Runonce
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Runonce

There was nothing unusual in these either :(

In fairness, all of that was the easy part, and I did not expect it to yield any useful results. I thought it must be significant that the icons only reappeared when I logged in locally to the server. I searched the Internet extensively, but I could not find any solutions :(

So next I started searching for information about other Registry locations that cause applications to be executed when a user logs in to the computer. I found two such locations:

  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components

Windows compares the contents of both of these to determine if it needs to install any additional software when a user logs in. This is described in detail in Active Setup and how to implement it and Active Setup and how to implement it. I then looked for references to Windows Media Player. The location HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components\>{22d6f312-b0f6-11d0-94ab-0080c74c7e95} caught my attention!

On my workstation it contained the following keys and values:

  • ComponentID="Windows Media Player"
  • Locale="*"
  • DontAsk=dword:00000002
  • Version="9,0,0,2980"
  • IsInstalled=dword:00000001
  • Stubpath="C:\WINNT\inf\unregmp2.exe /HideWMP"

On my server it contained the following keys and values:

  • DontAsk=dword:00000002
  • Version="9,0,0,2980"
  • IsInstalled=dword:00000000
  • Stubpath="C:\WINNT\inf\unregmp2.exe /ShowWMP"

So it was the last key and value that were causing my icons to reappear! I finally found the cause of the problem!

There are numerous solutions to resolve this, and some of these are described in the documents referenced above. However, the option I chose was to change the value of the IsInstalled key to dword:00000001. I can confirm that this solution works :)


Jun 26 2009

Notepad++ Missing Toolbar

Category: WindowsTeknovis @ 17:11

I read a claim recently that most people’s favourite text editor is the first one that they ever used. In my case this is certainly not true, and I have tried several. My favourite Windows text editor for the past few years has been Notepad++.

I upgraded my old and outdated version to the latest versions (5.4.3) today. I am very happy with the improvements that I have noticed, but I also found one big bug – the main toolbar is missing! I have tried changing the preferences, and I tried installing customised tool bar icons (as described in Change Theme HOWTO). Neither of these had any effect :(

I have since discovered that this is a known issue, as described in Missing Toolbar in 5.4.3. It will be fixed in the next version, but until then I am going to use version 5.4.2.


Jun 25 2009

OpenOffice One Month Later

Category: Reviews,Software,Windows MobileTeknovis @ 13:06

It has been exactly one month since I installed OpenOffice, as described in OpenOffice First Impressions. Since then I have been using Writer for all of my word processing requirements. I had a few occasions to create new spreadsheets using Calc, but I did not need to use any of the other applications. The documents that I was working with were all relatively simple, and I was using both the Windows version and the Linux version equally.

I am very happy with using it to date. I have not had a single problem, or found any features lacking. I am also pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to transition to using it :o

I am using the OpenDocument format to save all of my files. The only downside to this is that I cannot open these files on my Windows Mobile PDA :( Furthermore, I cannot find any OpenDocument readers for Windows Mobile. I did not originally envisage this problem!

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Jun 24 2009

Choosing my TLD

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 17:43

I have been asked a few times why I chose the .eu TLD for this blog. Originally I considered a range of different TLDs, and the domain names that I was interested in were wildly available. Ultimately, my choice came down to the following factors (in no particular order):

  • Cost: Everybody loves a bargain, and .eu domains are excellent value, as can be seen on Blacknight’s domain pricing web page.
  • Simplicity: I love the fact that I can buy a .eu domain online in under 3 minutes.
  • Privacy: I love my privacy! The only publicly available information about a person who owns a .eu domain is a contact email address and a contact language preference, as described in Can you remove my contact information from the WHOIS database?. It is really important to me that I remain anonymous, so that I do not get into difficulties with my employer! Also, I would not like somebody to be able to link my domains together due to the fact that they are all registered to me! The privacy policy of the .eu TLD is substantially better than any of the other domains that I considered using.
  • Significance: I like what the EU represents, and this blog has an EU focus, so it makes sense to use a .eu domain.

Overall, the .ie ccTLD seems to be the worst TLD that I considered. It is very expensive, and I do not see any return for this extra cost. They are very regulated, and hence they are awkward to register. Yet this does not seem to prevent the registration of almost any domain. For example, and individual cannot register his/her first name (see IE Personal Domain Names) yet many first name domains exist because they were registered as sole traders!

I would be very interested in knowing what reasons other people consider important or unimportant when choosing TLDs for personal domains!


Jun 23 2009

Annoying Adobe Acrobat Toolbar

Category: WindowsTeknovis @ 19:24

This great tip describes how to remove the really annoying Adobe Acrobat toolbar from Microsoft Office: Removing and Reinstalling Acrobat PDFMaker (6.0 for Office 2000 or XP).

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Jun 23 2009

Firefox Printing to Adobe PDF Writer

Category: WindowsTeknovis @ 18:52

I noticed recently that any time I tried to create a PDF file from Firefox using my Adobe Acrobat PDF Writer the resulting PDF file was unreadable because the fonts were illegible :(

I had some time this evening to look into this problem, it it seems that it is a known issue with older versions of Adobe PDF Writer: Font glyphs incorrectly displayed with certain printer drivers.

Maybe I should look into an alternative PDF Printer, because I hate the way that Acrobat embeds itself so much into my operating system!

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Jun 21 2009

tinyurl.ie to Shutdown

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 20:15

I noticed during the week that tinyurl.ie will soon cease to exist! I find this a bit surprising because it cannot have cost much to operate. Also, there is probably greater demand now for URL shortening services than ever before!

Strange :|


Jun 20 2009

Initial Galileo Contracts

Category: HardwareTeknovis @ 11:29

I was delighted to read that the first Galileo contracts were awarded during the week in Contracts give impetus to Galileo. There should be plenty of business opportunities for companies working in this area as the work progresses and sub-contractors are required.

However, I think that the most significant business opportunities will arise when the system is operational. In my opinion there are two significant benefits of Galileo compared to GPS:

  • Galileo will be under civilian control, and the system operators will be able to provide guaranteed levels of service. This contrasts with the GPS system being under the control of the US military, and therefore it has no guaranteed levels of service.
  • Galileo will provide more detailed location information, and its signals are more resilient.

It certainly should be an interesting space in which to work in the near future!

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Jun 19 2009

Stolen Laptops

Category: SecurityTeknovis @ 12:36

There seem to be a lot of laptops being stolen this week in Ireland! See Inquiry after HSE laptops are stolen and Bord Gáis customer details on stolen laptops for details and video reports. The greatest concern in both of these cases is the sensitive data that might now be used maliciously. Hopefully, they were all stolen for the value of the hardware, and nothing more will come of this!

However, it does make me wonder how many more incidents like this will need to happen before companies decide to encrypt all data on all laptops! Apparently, I am not the only person wondering this! The main opposition political party in Ireland now wants to make encryption mandatory according to Mandatory encryption for laptops needed. In practice I do not think that this is very practical. For example, how strong must the encryption be? How must the keys be stored? Will the legislation try to cover these details?

Politicians trying to legislate technology :|

I also wonder if all of this data really needs to be stored locally on laptops!

I do not have any sensitive data on my laptop, and hence I do not use any encryption software. However, I have heard good things about TrueCrypt. It is open source, and available for all major operating systems.

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