Miscellaneous, Acer Drivers Extracting, WGA, Flock Blog Editor, Firefox Beta, Gimp, Jefferson County Wiki, Snow and the “Billy Bob Contractor”

Miscellaneous

Ummmm! We decided it was time to break out the home-made applesauce from last summer! Nothing quite like it.

A little tweaking on the blog template. I’ve got it to expand to fill your browser screen, no matter what size it is – though if you’re using 800X600 it may be a bit squashed. Some of the graphic background need re-sizing or re-positioning, but the one that overlaps this text is kinda cool where it is, I think.

Acer Drivers Extracting, WGA

I continue to get feedback from people wanting help installing drivers for their Acer 5520-5334. Remember – if the install program for the driver doesn’t work (like if it says it’s for Vista and won’t run) you can sometimes load up your trusty Winzip (or clone) and drag’n’drop the driver install program right into Winzip. If it’s a compressed install file (I believe the ones I listed in previous blog entries are; the video one is for sure) you will see all of the raw parts of the drivers. So if nothing else works do the above, then extract all the files to a temporary directory, after that go into your Device Manager and DELETE or UNINSTALL the devices in error. Then click ACTION on Device Manager and “Scan for Hardware Changes”. When a Windows’ dialog box pops up click “Install from a list or specific location” and browse to where you extracted the files from the installer.

You might have to go through this process a couple of times until you find the right errored device but likely it will work if you can’t install it any other way.

We got it good though (relatively), compared to some of the cheaper models of Acer laptop. No having to mess with BIOS or harddrive settings.

If you’re looking for a good fan/CPU temp monitoring program check out Notebook Hardware Control. It works pretty good, and I like it better than Speedfan and some others I’ve tried, I think. Shows remaining battery, lets you do power management better than the E-power program from Acer. Very configurable. Check it out.

And, of course, occasionally you may have problems with Windows Genuine Advantage and it’s gang of programs – even if you have a legitimate copy. MuBlinder is the answer in that case, or if you just don’t want all those WGA programs and quasi-spyware running.

Number one problem with installing MuBlinder on a brand new legitimate copy of XP? Not having .Net framework installed; at least version 2.0. (link here)

There seems to be some problems with the newer versions even with even with the .Net 2.0 installed. Sometimes it can be solved be using the .Net install program’s repair function, sometimes you need to uninstall it completely and re-install it, sometimes you need to delete MuBlinder and its corresponding KRX directory in \Documents and Settings\[username]\Local Settings\Application Data to get it to work. Or you may need to do a re-install of Windows even (usually it repairs whatever is wrong by just re-installing XP over top of your old installation, thus negating you having to set everything up again).
Flock Blog Editor, Firefox Beta, GIMP 2.4.4 Install Problem

I really like this blog editor built into the Flock browser. The browser itself doesn’t overmuch thrill me (being just Firefox in a wrapper), though if you’re looking for a social networking-oriented browser it’s probably for you. But the editor is nice, lets you save drafts even when offline, and uses the spell-checking of the browser. I think I like it better then the ScribeFire addon for Firefox.

“Share the wealth.” Well, when it comes to my money I’m not sharing it with anyone; especially the crooked government. But I will share this with you – the new Firefox V3 Beta is looking pretty good. When I say “looking”, well, it’s not like MS’s bells and whistles when a new browser or piece of software comes out. It’s more under the hood. The Mozilla guys have really done some good stuff with resource- and leak-management, it seems. And comparing it to resources that V2 uses on the same computer gives you a real good idea of some of the changes they’ve made. Though a few of the options slowed it down, like the automatic scanning of your bookmarks when entering a website URL.

Sure, there’s going to be some people disappointed when the new Firefox doesn’t look like a Ipod or something, but those who use it everyday are going to notice a difference.

I have to say I didn’t do any extensive testing, just some preliminary tests. I did hack some of the addons that wouldn’t work with the newest Beta version .

But if you are playing around with V3 betas then you can try making the extension work, like I did. I won’t go into it here as there are many sites on the Internet to tell you how to do it. Basically, you need to extract the XPI file and crank up the highest version number the RDF file will tell the addon it can run on (but that’s not any guarantee that the addon will work past that point, of course. Tab Mix Plus didn’t work at all, even though it installed).

Weird problem with the new version of GIMP. (need link). After installing the newest version (2.4.4) I found that a bunch of the stock plugins and scripts as well as some I installed and modded didn’t show up. Lots of installing, un-installing, and hacking around in the registry didn’t help. A few quick checks online and I was starting to get an idea of the problem – apparently some of the earlier installs kept things in the GIMP sub-dir in Program Files while later ones kept them in an entry under Documents and Settings. I tried a few different ways; like doing a fresh install, installing an older one then a newer one, and going into GIMP and changing the preference settings that points to the scrip and plugins directory (they were correct but still wouldn’t work right). So I moved the scripts and plugins to the location in Documents and Settings and out of their location in the GIMP dir in Program Files.

This doesn’t seem to happen with very many people, but if you have this problem this is the solution that worked for me. At least until they fix this particular not-very-common bug.

If you need a nice (but slightly complex) graphics editor this is the one for you. Don’t support Photoshop and it’s evil familial spawns. 😉
Jefferson County Wiki

The Jefferson County Wiki is back up ! Yea, crappy, crappy server that we tried it on originally – cost me many weeks of (unpaid) work – fortunately I’m good at multi-tasking other things at the same time. But we went back to Wikispaces.com, and I found a bunch of hacks and codes for sprucing it up a lot. Looks quite nice. But I miss the Tikiwiki software. Gradually pages are being added to the wiki and we’re all doing a little publicizing here and there. I also set up a photo album on the server to cover some of the features we lost by having to go to a hosted wiki. Oh well.

We still have a lot of hope that this will become THE resource for Jefferson County. A lot of people have been working on it, but we hope many more will get involved.
Snow and the “Billy Bob Contractor”

I’m a weather spotter for NOAA weather (no, not one of those geeks that go out and stick their finger in the snow for the local radio stations – I take it a bit more serious than that).

The last few months we’ve actually gotten a bit more snow then the last few Global Warming years. Remember – with Global Warming weather’s going to be pretty random, as most of us probably know by now.

Anyway, I was out checking the snow and looking at the roofs. It’s interesting how the wind patterns affect how much snow builds up. We live on top of a hill with lots of wind, almost always, blowing across the valley and open fields around us.

Your local “Billy Bob Contractor” is probably going to tell you that you need a certain pitch of roof for this area and while that’s the case for most conditions; for people like us a flatter slope is much, much better. In fact, it’s pretty easy to see how the snow usually builds up more against the roofs that have a higher pitch then our addition that has a much lower one. The wind sweeps it right off the lower pitch but packs it up, over, and on top of the roof with a more conventional pitch that’s common for this area.

Just goes to show – it doesn’t matter how much of a professional someone tells you they are, or how much they have told you they have done or learned or how much experience they may brag about – it doesn’t mean they know everything there is about a particular field, especially when it comes to your own stuff.

Kinda like what I mentioned previously; there’s always someone who thinks they’re more of an “expert” on your pets, kids, house, finances, etc and you-name-it; then you are yourself.

No substitute for using your own head, even when someone who thinks they’re “in the know” or is an “Expert” tells you the complete opposite. More people should live by this.

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