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Jun
26
2007
22:10

Windows Update

Anyone knows how to do that?

I'm having a bad time.  No, I'm having fun.  But I really do want to upgrade—because of this.

When I boot the Windows machine, it asks me in a hateful baloon: “updates are ready for your computer / click here to download them”.  OK, I click there.  I wait.  Then it says (of course, in a baloon) “updates are ready for your computer / click here to install them”.  I click there.  I chose default (“typical”) setup.  I wait.  I'm being asked if I want to reboot.  I click reboot.  The machine shuts down, and comes back up.  I login.  I get the usual (I fucking hate it!!) baloon: “updates are ready for your computer / click here to download them”.  OK, I click there.  I wait.  Then it says (again, in a baloon) “updates are ready for your computer / click here to install them”.  I click there.  I chose default (“typical”) setup.  I wait.  I'm being asked if I want to reboot.  I click reboot.  The machine shuts down, and comes back up.  I login.  I get the usual (fuck!) baloon: “updates are ready for your computer / click here to download them”.  OK, I click there.  I wait.  Then it says (guess where..) “updates are ready for your computer / click here to install them”.  I click there.  I chose typical setup.  I wait.  I'm being asked if I want to reboot.  I click reboot.  The machine shuts down, and comes back up.  I login.  I get the usual (fuuuu-hu-hu-huuuck) baloon: “updates are ready for your computer / click here to download them”.  OK, I click there.  I wait.  Then it says (grrrrr) “updates are ready for your computer / click here to install them”.  I click there.  I chose default setup.  I wait.  I'm being asked if I want to reboot.  I click reboot.  The machine shuts down, and comes back up.

After several useless reboots, I get something weird.  The Logitech Update Manager.  Because one Update Manager is never enough.

2007-06-26-215828_640x476_scrot.png

Boy it looks so ugly!  This is definitely the last Logitech product I ever buy.  First off because the last Logitech Mouse I bought sucks (despite its incredibly huge price), and secondly—but more important—because they can't write software for Windows, let alone Linux and derivatives.  Yes they don't have a Mac OS-X driver for this shitty camera—because, after all, this camera sucks—so it doesn't even deserve a driver for OS-X.  Yes they suck.  (Microsoft sucks too, but they do produce great mice.)

After a few more clicks, I get this:

logitech-software.png

I have friends that use Windows.  How can they?  Is there any black magic I could do so I can use Windows without going mad?

Thanks guys.  I'm happy with my Linux box.

Jun
12
2007
17:40

Apple Safari for Windows

So, Apple released a few days ago Safari 3.0 Beta, which is available both for Windows and Mac OS X.  They say the Windows requirements are “Windows XP or Vista”, but a friend of mine has it running on Windows 2000 with no problems.

First impressions: crash, crash, crash

I installed it on my Windows XP machine, which has IE7 and it's pretty much up-to-date, because, well, it's a genuine Windows, and since I paid for it—against my will, I only wanted the laptop—I run M$ software update from time to time.

Safari installation went fine, though it asked me one bizarre question: “Do you want to install Bonjour...?”.  The description of this thing looked cool, so I let it on, but I'm still wondering why do they have to distribute this with a browser.  Anyway.  I start Safari.  By default it goes to apple.com/startpage, or something.  It loads it fine.  I then enter “mihai.bazon.net/blog” in the URL bar and press ENTER to see an instant crash.  Tried a few more websites with the same result.  It was that point when I thought that this beta is only good so we see the new texture of the Apple UI, because they seem to change it every month or so.

Well, talked to my friend again, and he told me that he didn't install Bonjour.  So I uninstall Safari and reinstall it again, this time without selecting Bonjour and Apple Software Update.  Same results.

System requirements

Isn't it strange that they distribute Safari for Windows and it works even on Windows 2000, and in the same time it seems to require the very latest Mac OS X version for running on their own system?

I have a Mac, but it's running Panther.  There's no way I'm gonna have Safari there, because they want me to purchase Tiger.  I don't.

Another strange thing is, they basically took the KHTML rendering engine from Konqueror (which is a decision I won't, ever, understand), called it WebKit, then wrapped their cool interface around it, and called the result “Safari”.  Though Konqueror was initially developed in Linux, WebKit doesn't even compile there (ok, last time I tried, compilation was finally successfull, after reading howto-s for half a day, but the binary instantly crashes).

Final thoughts

I managed to have it working by installing it on a different machine and deselecting Bonjour and Apple Software Updates from the start.  It runs fine there.  The UI is very cool too, but I think it's nothing they couldn't have done (probably with even less work) by wrapping around Gecko, rather than KHTML.

The rendering engine is good, probably as good as Gecko was 3 years ago.  I care less about speed (but yes in fact I do think Firefox is faster) — but I just wish they would have used Gecko from the start...  Everything sucks compared to it.

Feb
02
2007
19:01

Disable Win Key in Windows

I find it most convenient to use Windows by connecting to it from my Linux box using rdesktop. BTW, Microsoft (or whoever invented it) has done a great job with RDP. It's orders of magnitude faster than VNC.

In Linux (I run Sawfish as my window manager) I'm using Win+TAB to switch to the previously visited workspace. This is very handy if you want to temporarily go to some workspace, do something quick then return to where you were.

(This feature, by the way, is not present by default in Sawfish, but it was quite easy to code it in Lisp. I just love all this power.)

And now the intrigue: when I use Win+TAB to switch back to a workspace holding my Windows remote desktop, Windows would popup the Start Menu, stealing the focus from what was currently running (usually IE). I can't say how annoying this was.

So I decided to fix it. Found an Wikipedia page about it that points to the official solution on the Microsoft website. The proposed solution looks verrrry simple:

  1. Click Start, click Run, type regedt32, and then click OK.
  2. On the Windows menu, click HKEY_LOCAL_ MACHINE on Local Machine.
  3. Click the System\CurrentControlSet\Control folder, and then double-click the Keyboard Layout folder.
  4. On the Edit menu, click Add Value, type in Scancode Map, click REG_BINARY as the Data Type, and then click OK.
  5. Type 00000000000000000300000000005BE000005CE000000000 in the Data field, and then click OK.
  6. Close the Registry Editor and restart the computer.

Nice. Let's hack it in, I thought. So I proceed to open the registry editor, lookup the folder, create the new key. Since it's binary, you can't edit it in place—it opens a popup dialog allowing you to type the binary data. Got that? TYPE, not PASTE. Paste doesn't work in that crappy editor.

Ohh, all this user friendliness! Isn't Windows cool?

After thinking for 2 seconds, I decided not to type those digits manually and look for something else. And I found it. It's a software called "WinKey" that helps you do that in 2 clicks, no restart needed.

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