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Messages - mikiem [ switch to compact view ]

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General Software Discussion / Re: Windows 10 Announced
« on: October 26, 2014, 01:13 PM »
I tried it with the 32-bit ISO and it warned me about needing to enable PAE, so I enabled it and got to the setup screen. Then I mounted the 64-bit ISO and rebooted my VM and it worked. So maybe I needed to enable PAE to get it to work?

From what I've read that is a requirement -- the only change from win7's requirements AFAIK.

Heh.  The Admin on W9 Forums had to scramble to change everything to Windows 10.

From what I've read win9 was how it was referred to internally. I've read polished PR type statements on why 10, but what makes sense to me is a rumored leaked statement that said with the 9 in there lots of software recognized it as 98.

Interesting to note that Google (perhaps a competitor MS should keep an eye on) goes out of its way to stress that it has no intention of forcing the merging of its desktop and mobile operating systems:
Don't Expect Android and Chrome to Merge Soon, Says Google Exec

But under the hood aren't they moving more in that exact direction?

Well, I don't plan to mess with pre-release versions, but I'll exactly be trying a dual boot (with lots of help!) on the final version of Win 10 next year.

If you're in 7 you can put it on a VHD & boot to it to give a look, check compatibility etc. I mentioned in my other post that I liked to capture the partition image before setup reboots for the 1st time. I created/mounted a VHD, restored that backup to that VHD, ran EasyBCD to add it to the boot menu -- couldn't have been easier. Restarted the PC, selected the win10 TP, & setup finished just fine.

Then came the bad news as it wouldn't let me update builds with win10 installed to a VHD, though it should work to get your feet wet & make sure everything worked OK for you. If it doesn't you just need to delete the VHD file & reset your boot menu, as opposed to creating a new partition & all. When I found out it wouldn't update builds I did another partition image backup, restoring it to a partition on a HDD, adjusting the menu in EasyBCD & it booted as if nothing had changed. IOW if you try it on a VHD, & like it, your work is not wasted at all.

General Software Discussion / Re: Windows 10 Announced
« on: October 26, 2014, 12:51 PM »
Microsoft's primary responsibility is to its investors -- considering how many stock options they've handed out over the years, & that exec pay & longevity are tied to stock prices, there's a lot of self-serving interest there too. Don't know that we'll ever know if Ballmer & co. really thought that they could emulate Apple, or were conning Wall St., but win10 is the attempt to better define the boarders that MS can get away with & still maintain + grow customer revenues while keeping Wall St. appeased, or better yet, happy. As such, I think you'll find a lot about win10 that's not clearly defined -- it'll be a continual process over the tech & then customer previews.

That said, setup files for the 2nd released build follow somewhat the move from 8 -> 8.1 -- lots of the tools developed for that seem to work with 10 as well. One oddity is that you can't perform the update with win10 installed & booting from VHD -- there's an error message that it's not permitted.

Another oddity some of the devs might be interested in was that Bitdefender would only install via the command line with the silent flag. Same app that downloads the bits & performs the install, but it stalls with nothing displayed on screen without the silent flag. Not sure what's different there but something that'll hit some other software too I imagine.

Far as the ISOs & such, & purely FWIW, what I've been doing for a few years is capturing the partition image before setup's 1st re-boot -- kill the VM, mount the VHD & go from there. Restoring a backup as raw data is faster than expanding & then writing files/folders in my experience. After the update install there's a $Windows.~BT folder with the install.esd -- I'm working on/with that at the moment. Otherwise note that setup leaves several GB of trash behind [several just for the logs], that you'll want to get rid of via disk cleanup. If you've done the update in a VM with an expanding VHD you'll also want to compact your VHD -- mine doubled, then shrank to ~1/2.

I never liked win8's boot setup because it didn't work as well with XP Pro [I need it], so I reverted to win7's via EasyBCD. This also worked in some new installs when/where I left off the system reserved partition intentionally. Win10 is a bit different in that respect. The initial preview release worked well with 8.1's c:\ bootmgr -- this 2nd release requires it's own, yet broke win7's that had been installed & working fine, so I had to repair it with EasyBCD [works in win10 TP 64 BTW].

Really, REALLY FWIW, found win10's optional theme, & wallpaper image of a shipwreck underwater, to be surprisingly appropriate at times. :)

Right from the start it needed new brakes, and one of the brake lines got changed at that time because I had to cut the line to get the caliper hose off. But for the most part the only time I even look at the underside of it is when I think there is something odd happening, and having the brake lines rot out and pop like this happens every couple years.

What you need to consider is total age & condition plus the possibility of contaminants. If one PC case fan goes out, myself I'll replace all the others that are the same age rather than assume it was a fluke. If one rubber brake line rotted, assume all are the same age & replace them. BTW, heat + penetrating oil + a crows foot type fitting socket connected to a small impact help loosen rusted fittings. The impact can be key because of the rapid impacts -- not raw horsepower.

I mentioned contaminants... ANYTHING but pure brake fluid [of the correct type for your car/truck] can trigger chemical reactions that will swell &/or eat rubber seals & lines. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Rubber lines rarely go bad -- I can't remember replacing one in years running dealer service. It could be a combination of age & environment, e.g. in the Detroit area winter road salt wrecks havoc, but if you're repeatedly having problems with rubber lines consider the possibility that water or something else has gotten into the brake fluid, &/or that the wrong type of fluid has been added. I have seen where that led to ONE of the brakes locking on -- at high speed! Imagine what happens when a wheel stops turning!

My current car has an automatic transmission, and not only have I heard it performing engine braking on its own while in cruise control, but I was successfully able to perform it using the manual override this morning to keep my speeds down and compensate for the loss of braking power.

Automatic transmissions use a torque converter -- oversimplified imagine two propellers in a liquid, one powered, & the other connected to the transmission. A locking torque converter [which most vehicles have nowadays] tries to do just that, lock at higher speeds. A manual transmission uses a clutch, where a disc with a material similar to brake lining on both sides is squeezed by spring tension between the engine's flywheel & the transmission's input shaft. When you step on the clutch pedal you release that spring tension -- the more you press down the more spring tension is reduced.

So... you should be able to see or imagine why a torque converter might be less ideal for downshifting &/or braking. Will it work? Yes, but it's better suited to limiting the gear to a lower range, limiting speed going downhill in the mountains.

We've already had much discussion about ABS being able to stop a vehicle faster ... but the problem is - from a truly holistic defensive driving stand point - that's irrelevant. Because the real reason that ABS was originally explored as an option for cars, was to resolve an issue with steering control during hard breaking. Once the wheels lock due to excessive braking the ability the steer the vehicle is completely lost.

ABS attempts to stop a skid -- sometimes, in some conditions, releasing & reapplying the brakes *may* help, by essentially giving the tires a 2nd, 3rd etc. chance to grab. For it to work traction must already be lost. Skids can be intentional, sometimes directed, sometimes controlled, and skids to some extend can often be countered. Control is not always completely lost, though it requires the driver not panic, & it obviously helps of they've prepared themselves beforehand, e.g. by practicing to know their vehicle's characteristics & limits.

I do agree about defensive driving, but wanted to mention personal responsibility as well -- it is the driver's responsibility to make sure the vehicle they're driving is operating optimally & is well maintained. People skimp on brake work, & they skimp on tires, & most don't research either the same way they might research say a video card.

Due to weight bias under breaking, the front wheels provide 70% of a vehicles stopping power

Basic physics really -- the best example I can think of is when you lock front & rear brakes on a bicycle, & if you were going fast enough the rear tire will come off the ground. Momentum carries the total mass forwards, while the stopping point is where the tires meet the road or ground -- that's where the center of gravity comes in, the lower the better. The suspension, when there is one, matters too -- the more the nose can dive because of suspension travel, the more the nose will dive, the more the problem is pronounced.

Regardless the front wheels have always been where the majority of the stopping power is, with the rear brakes almost entire purpose keeping you stopping in a straight line -- that's why so many cars & trucks have front discs but rear drum brakes. [BTW, many rear drum brakes are Only adjusted when you use the parking or hand brake. And yes, drum brakes Have to be adjusted.]

Florida law says that if you rear-end someone, then the accident is automatically your fault.

Ahh, but did you know FL traffic laws also favor direction, as in North or South? I got broadsided at a 4-way stop. Traditional common sense would say that they idiot who hit me was at fault, but in FL, Not So. That everyone was at a complete stop was never in dispute -- that I got there 1st was never in dispute. But because I was traveling East->West [as far as I can remember] the idiot who hit me had the right of way!

And as for engine-braking, I recall him saying that it was to be avoided at all costs, as, not only could it make for really jerky driving and risk hurting passengers' necks, but also, with constant use, it would destroy the transmission as you were making it do something it was not designed to do (it was designed to transfer the engine's energy to push the car forwards, not slow it down).

May sound logical to someone without mechanical knowledge, but say that to a decent mechanic to make him/her laugh. Did he know how unnecessarily hard it would be to manufacture gears that had only one face of the teeth hardened?

From an old mechanic/street racer perspective...

Cars are designed purely so people will buy them, with the over-riding principle of cost savings to the manufacturer. Many times when you read about [or heaven forbid experience] some rather drastic problem with a car or truck, it's because someone decided to save $, sometimes as little as a penny, maybe even less.

Understanding that is important in two main ways or aspects... Features like you're discussing, ABS etc., are not designed to work optimally, but rather so that the people making up the target market for whatever car/truck like it. Automotive engineers have come up with countless improvements over the decades, some of which really could have made a very big difference in safety &/or performance, but they never saw production because the target market didn't approve. AND when features are included, 90+% of the time they are not as effective or reliable as they could be.

The performance & reliability of ABS, stability & traction control depends on the vehicle -- it's usefulness further depends on the driver -- how to best utilize any of the 3 depends on the vehicle, driving conditions, & the driver. All 3 are there because tires will lose traction with the road, and most all cars [& all trucks] are Not designed for handling, or put another way, are Not designed to maintain traction. And most people have better things to do or are not inclined to try to become race car drivers. :)

Give up ground clearance & a soft ride, pay the cash for better tires, if you can find one get a car with 4 wheel steering [e.g. Honda's simple system that wouldn't sell in the US], & have/use the modern equivalent to the old positraction. Then spend time playing in an empty parking lot or similar & find your car's limits, & how best to handle them. A *good* ABS system might be worthwhile, but the other 2 would be pretty much senseless. They're band-aids for less practical design & well, frankly a result of the car or truck you chose to buy.

I'm not saying don't buy a SUV for example -- I'm trying to put it in perspective, saying that attempting to compensate for less than optimal design [& perhaps driving skills] is going to have limits & will never be the absolute best answer. I'd prefer the idiots we all encounter on the road had all 3, out of a sense of self preservation. With the exception of a *good* ABS setup, I don't believe automated systems can ever do as well as a highly skilled human -- that's what I have against the Google cars -- because the possibilities that can be encountered are almost infinite, while forethought designing this stuff & writing code are definitely finite. :)

Living Room / Re: 58 Cognitive Biases That Screw Up Everything We Do
« on: October 26, 2014, 09:45 AM »
Cute... I wind up wondering if the authors left their own biases in - rather than editing them out - for illustration?

This stuff can get scary when you realize that it's so often used to manipulate people in marketing & politics, but realizing that can also help when/if you're tempted to question your kids' sanity. :)

Whatever... Google "see the world through our own perceptions" without quotes -- or something similar -- & you'll see enough discussion & info on the topic to believe it's inevitable. Behavioral science is less favored when it puts us in a less flattering light, comparing hard-wired characteristics with our primate ancestors, but it can be interesting if you can get past that common bias of human superiority.

I do like what you wrote, mouser:
Without biases you would be a terribly ineffecient computational device -- slow to react and learn.

At the heart of the matter is the very real fact that people do what works for them, whether some disapprove or not, whether science has bothered to figure out a theory of why it works or not.


If you don't have the Windows install disc, joiwind, I'd suggest getting one. I'd also suggest using something like the Nirsoft utility to get the Windows key for (re)install, & storing it with the disc you'd burn from the Windows setup ISO. With older hardware the latest version of backup software rescue discs may not work. I'm a believer in making disk/partition image backups -- If you feel the same way, you might do a bit of testing to make sure you have a rescue disc that works with the laptop, or go through older versions of backup software to find one. I'm assuming you wouldn't want to take up disk space with a full backup app.

I'd think an external drive for some or most of your software would also come in very handy. You might have or want to buy a card to interface with the drive [I don't know what your laptop has]. External drive housings &/or docks can be found pretty cheap on-line -- for a drive to put in it, I've seen smaller remans pretty cheap as well.

Recording audio is fairly simple -- the difference between the old Windows Sound Recorder & couple hundred dollar software isn't the part where audio's written to disk. SO just about any audio recording app will do -- I like wavosaur for it's plugin support etc., but there are loads of simpler, easier to use apps without any editing functions.

THE problem is that the drivers for audio hardware [motherboard audio chipset or card or USB device] frequently don't allow you to record speaker out -- what creative labs products label What You Hear. If/when that the case, Google. Sometimes there's another driver that will work, say from another manufacturer using the same components. Sometimes it just takes a simple registry edit.

If there's no cure apparent when you Google with your make/model system, some people hot wire the connections, running a jumper between speaker/headphone out to mic/line-in. You can also use a headphone splitter with volume control to try & tailor levels. There are also virtual sound card drivers -- most of the one's I've seen are bundled with audio apps, usually out of China, but those are just what I've seen, not necessarily a reflection of what's out there. There are also ASIO drivers, sometimes hardware specific, or if those are unavailable, ASIO4ALL -- however the software that will use ASIO is more limited.

Living Room / Re: ImgBurn - full of OpenCandy and other crap
« on: May 20, 2014, 09:59 AM »
I use 7-Zip to expand the SetupImgBurn_2.5.8.0.exe [or whatever version number], then move the file, ImgBurn.exe, to the ImgBurn folder -- update completed. Universal Extractor, original & mod versions, works too.

General Software Discussion / Re: XP to Windows 7 advice
« on: May 20, 2014, 09:46 AM »
Purely FWIW...

RE: Thunderbird... I'm a big fan of Firefox, but fear for its longevity -- things aren't going extremely well in Mozilla land. IF that sort of thing bothers you it *might* tip your decision towards Microsoft's Live.

RE: Performance... I still have XP Pro on this rig, along with 7 & 8.1. Running the same software, 8.1 can be marginally faster, I assume because of better memory handling but could of course be wrong. XP Pro is every bit as fast as 7 as long as the task doesn't need the full 8GB of RAM.

General Software Discussion / Re: Continuing with XP
« on: May 20, 2014, 09:33 AM »
Shades is right. You can fairly easily turn an existing copy of XP, including software, into a VM -- Paragon & Microsoft both have tools -- but to say it can be sluggish as a VM would be a gross understatement. Installing XP fresh is only a bit better. Running the modified version of XP that Microsoft uses for win7's XP mode helps a lot, but it's still way underpowered from the real thing. On that netbook I doubt it would even run well enough to consider it useable.

cranioscopical is also right -- move directly to 8.1. Why? Microsoft is trying to get 8.1 to run on just about anything more powerful than a calculator. You can for example run off a wim rather than have the full, expanded file setup -- that was developed just because of situation's like your wife's netbook with little storage. 8.1 also has better memory use/handling than win7, which you're going to need.

That said, perhaps the best solution would be none at all -- XP will still work without the monthly patches. Second to that, rumor has it that in the future Microsoft will have their own version of the Chromebook -- basically low powered hardware that runs software on a server.

Regardless the tool(set) you choose to use, test it -- make sure restoration works on your hardware setup & you know how to use it. Sounds simple enough but I've read lots of complaints where folks lost everything because they couldn't fully restore a backup using the software they had been using for however long. Also test external drives if you use one to store your backups. If it won't work well outside Windows, e.g. using a boot disc, obviously that's a problem. If USB, doesn't hurt to check sustained data transfer either -- I've seen USB drives that seemed fine otherwise, but failed during backup restoration because of that sustained transfer. If you put the rescue disc ISO on a USB stick, test that on all your systems, &/or use CD/DVD -- mileage varies depending on USB stick & PC/laptop hardware.

Admittedly I just did a quick skim of the original article, but suspect the results are inaccurate in a couple or more cases... Why? Well Paragon for example includes disk integrity checks by default, as well as an option to protect your data in the event of power loss. Others such as Aomei do not. To get a valid speed comparison with Paragon the author needed to go into preferences & turn off those 2 features, but I didn't see any mention of that, though as I said I just skimmed the article & could have missed it.

Finally I have to question the whole concept of incremental backups with a disk/partition imaging app. Imaging works because you're moving raw data -- taking the time to look at that data as files/folders, & thus determine what needs to be backed up, increases the time it takes to backup, often by quite a lot. It also makes mounting backups [when possible] & restoration less efficient.

Purely FWIW, the hype & release of the win8 dev prev. is a marketing push to try & avoid another hugely expensive game of Catch Up like MS is going through with Bing. They want into the cell & tablet market. It's not like it's going to cannibalize their Windows or Ofc sales, and with Microsoft's history of just abandoning projects & perceptions that they may not be the best company for devs to work with, they need a big marketing push.

Metro is a cell phone/tablet interface -- perhaps the main advantage of having it available on PCs/laptops is as part of that marketing push... publish in their store & you get access not just to cell & tablet owners, but every machine running win8. It *may* also help less PC literate folks use Windows, but there IMHO the jury's still out. It *may* help corp IT when/where they need/use touch screens like on the factory floor. It's not for everyday, normal PC use -- for that you have the normal Windows interface...

Long story short, fingers are fat, sometimes clumsy things that are best suited to holding & using tools. Ignoring biometrics for a moment, you don't sign your name or write notes dipping your fingertip in ink. Fingers/thumbs work on a cell/tablet because 1) you're not doing something terribly precise, & 2) carrying/using a stylus can be a PITA. And then there's this: desktop monitors are not normally placed in your face, but sit towards the back of your desk, so among other things you can see the entire screen at a glance. Would you rather stretch your arm out or keep it comfortably at your side? IMHO that's why touch just doesn't work on/for most desktop users. And if you don't use touch, you don't need huge buttons/icons. That said & to be fair, Metro might be useful for moving some of the stuff you do on-line to your desktop, if/when/where that makes sense -- you can write a Metro app using JavaScript for example.

SO what else does the win7 SE have to offer? Any tech improvements they can manage to get ready by the time it's RTM. Better support for VMs, a more capable Windows' Explorer, the capability to run on less powerful hardware, *Maybe* Windows to Go [my guess is that it might be restricted to corp, and bring with it heavier DRM], along with other assorted bells & whistles like being able to open ISOs. Nothing more than a guess, I *think* that MS might be focusing more on special cases or situations they can sell to IT dept.s that have already moved to win7 -- convincing them to move the complete enterprise might be too much of a hard sell [Gartner seems to think so anyway].

PCs started as a hobbyist device [toy?], slowly moved into business use, & today are a large part of many, many everyday lives. PCs have also [& always] been very much Jacks of all Trades -- that's where things are changing nowadays... if all you want to do is watch movies &/or browse the web you simply don't want or need all those other capabilities, & certainly don't want to pay for them [in money, effort, or inconvenience]. Specialized PCs as appliances aren't just here, now, but they're being bought far more often than desktops. Cell phones, tablets, cable boxes, DVRs, TVs, eBook readers, hand-held players, cars, anything that can benefit from more intelligence is either becoming a PC or contains one. The general use PC isn't dead or dying -- it is being outnumbered. And if you can have a piece of every one of those sales, that's HUGE -- it may turn out that no one company can manage that, but it won't stop Microsoft, Google, Apple etc. from trying.

Living Room / Re: 10 Steps To Make A Sale
« on: September 25, 2011, 11:06 AM »
FWIW... there are IMHO 2 kinds of sales: 1) to fill a want/need, & 2) because the buyer wants to do something for the seller... if you want to get into psychology you could argue that number 2 is just a subset of number 1, since feeling good about yourself is a psychological need, but I split it to get away from complicated gray areas like the person who buys because they expect some quid pro quo.

THE Most Important Rule is to avoid all negatives, & yes, that includes the salesperson. What type of person is negative? Obviously there are images that come to mind's eye about unkempt, rude smelling people, but beyond that no one has any real idea, because no one can know every like or dislike of every buyer. The best salespeople then tend to average in appearance, chameleon-like in demeanor, & excellent in projection -- whatever personality is called for, they project it. To do that effectively learn to profile or qualify everyone, always being prepared to alter your approach & personality as you read the prospective buyer. Remember, when buying to fulfill a need, the buyer would often rather not have to buy anything, and may well wind up not buying the best solution in favor of the least painful, least negative choice. Listening to a salesperson rattle off a long list of positives may be a BIG negative, whereas the one who says: "This much $ - problem gone" gets the sale, so again I stress learn to read people. If you can't, &/or if you can't control your tongue, Hire someone. Tech people tend to make the worse sales people in the world, because their mind is so full of tech details that they can't control their tongue!

On a side note, fulfilling a *Real* need makes for much harder sales. Apple's proof of how successful you can be creating a need that you alone can satisfy -- I haven't read of anyone trying to sell their virginity to pay for a Windows cell phone. And yes, you can sell to a real need based on a manufactured one -- focus on some more imaginary benefit, e.g. "Wouldn't you like to have all this time & freedom? Well buy from me & you'll have it because these other problems will go away". Better yet, if you're successful with or in that approach, at least a portion of their problems will go away &/or stay away, so every time they have another problem or concern you're the 1st person they'll call, begging you to do it again.

OK, so you want to make a sale, think you have at least the beginnings of this stuff nailed down, how do you do it -- what do you say? The best approach is a one-two combo -- know that you've made the sale before you started, & never give a prospective buyer a choice that includes the word: "No". Believing in yourself &/or your product is one thing, but unless you believe you've already made the sale, the buyer Will pick up on your doubt, & if you doubt it, shouldn't they? Saying No closes doors -- consider it irreversible. To get someone to change their mind you have to convince them that they're wrong -- not an easy thing by any means, & it's filled with negatives. Always create 2 or more choices, but never include a No [BTW I've even seen this spelled out in Dilbert, so your prospective customer probably doesn't expect you to give this option either]. At any rate, if you combine the two you never actually have to ask for the sale -- you *know* they'll buy -- so it's just a matter of now or later, and you do your best to incentivize the now.

If you don't get the sale, Don't try to make the same, exact sale again to the same people. Invent reasons to keep them aware of you. Learn about their biz & when you can propose another solution, propose it. Offer something else free or low cost that helps out with something else, even if it's just donuts for the crew. You'll most likely never know all the reasons you didn't make a sale -- the buyer's boss may have a guy, or the wife insists on giving the biz to her brother's friend, but things change, & perseverance is respected if not admired, as long as you don't become a PITA. You want to project that you're both a pro & a nice person that only wants to help them -- it was never about banking their cash, because while you're as hungry & aggressive as the next person, you're already successful at what you do. If you'd rather go after sympathy sales [just starting or down on your luck], or greed [I have to sell this so I'll take bottom dollar], that stuff can work too -- just don't plan on being respected & watch out for offers of repeat business where the buyer only intends to screw you as an easy mark.

If you can't do the basics above, seriously consider hiring the job out or taking classes. If you doubt it, read/research or even watch the adverts on TV with a critical eye, seeing just what it is they're selling & how -- most of the time it's not their actual product. If you think best products/service win, it's actually those whom are perceived as having best products/services wins biggest. If you don't do that stuff & your biz has customers now, that means competition with better sales hasn't gone after them yet -- maybe in the future they will, maybe they won't, or maybe they're not as valuable as the customers/clients you could have?

In the cases I have seen there seems to be a convincingly odd correlation between the ink used and the head failures - some within warranty period (which I have never seen on Canon printers using genuine ink).
-Carol Haynes (May 10, 2011, 03:58 AM)

Unfortunately I have, Carol -- very last printer I ever bought for >$150... no more!

My current logic is to pay as little as possible for what I consider a disposable commodity.  If I want really, *Really* nice prints I'll order them online for less than the ink & paper will cost me.

With apologies for barging in late in a thread that might not have a lot of remaining interest, & purely FWIW of course...

Over the last 15 years or so I've found that OEM ink cartridges, besides being vastly over-priced, tend to have something added [glycol?] to keep them & the heads from drying out as rapidly as non-OEM inks. Aftermarket inks may also come very close but not exactly match OEM colors -- something more noticeable with 6 color printers.

Generally refilling is better quality than buying so-called re-man cartridges -- re-man often being more to get around legal fine points than actually meaning reman or refurbished... cartridges with the head [e.g. some Canon] may be an exception, but as the Canon cartridges at least only recently appeared at significant savings over OEM, I haven't had a chance to try them. The reason I say refilling is better is non-OEM casings may leak, may not fit properly, & you have no control or way to judge the amount of ink they hold -- I have gotten some that probably were at best 1/2 full. Epson is a special case because of the electronic version of DRM added -- if you print enough to justify it there are aftermarket cartridges designed to be both resettable & refillable, but the initial investment can run as much as a new set of OEM ink at some place like Sams Club [often cheapest].

The main limitation of refilling is the old ink dried on the sponges inside, reducing capacity unless you clean them out. With cartridge/head combos like many Canon's you can also get clogged heads from sitting [empty or full] prior to (re)use, which can take a day or three to dissolve -- I usually run a couple of cleaning cycles, let it sit, print a test in notepad to reset, then run a couple more, with a 12 hour or overnight rest to soak... running the 3rd cleaning cycle without a real print job in between often triggers a Super cleaning cycle that wastes a lot of ink, makes a mess inside the printer etc.

Personally my problem is no one prints enough so heads clog, OEM ink or not, & family members have been un-willing to use a printer in another room over the network, so I've got 3 to deal with. My solution is to buy cheap refurb printers on sale -- I've bought 1 Epson & 6 Canon AIOs over the past 3 or 4 years, paying between $15 & $35 each, which in all cases was less than the new OEM cartridges that came with them -- I generally prefer the Canons using 2 cartridges that each include the heads in case one gets thoroughly clogged... permanent heads can both clog & do things like leak, which I have seen in the past from Canon. When a cartridge needs replaced I'll pull the top of the old one, soak everything to clean it, then put it back together, sticking it on the shelf until needed, when I'll refill it. Working that way I can use each cartridge 3 or 4 times usually.

I was able to buy the Epson cheap because it was a problem model [RX 595], & I originally intended to get rid of it when the cartridges emptied... instead I held onto it because it prints DVDs. It has a habit of rejecting/not recognizing cartridges (OEM or not), the aftermarket ones from meritline are the only ones I've had luck with, & frankly I would have been better off to buy an OEM set at Sams Club had I known how much I'd spend buying 2 sets that didn't work, &/or that the sets that do work from Meritline last just a bit over 1/3 as long as the originals.

Finally, again FWIW, folks that do a LOT of printing AFAIK usually add an ink tank setup, with tubes running from the much larger ink tanks to special cartridges.

No offense, but seems like a long way around @ 1st glance... Haven't ever had something blocked like that,  but then never used UAC either 'till 7 made it endurable. 1st thought is why wouldn't app compatibility work easier/better? Does provide a different sort of solution though, that might come in handy sometime.

FWIW I've always had better luck using Microsoft Maps off the msn page. Fair # of options including printing, which I usually do to PDF & copy, but saving images & screen cap works too.

General Software Discussion / Re: Photo Scanner Software
« on: May 29, 2009, 05:48 PM »
When looking for a scanner, if you're thinking about the <$100 range, & if you're not after a slide / negative adapter, you can find the best deals by buying an All-In-One refurb, model closeout, or clearance. I've picked up 6 of them now -- the cheapest <$20 & the most expensive ~$35, all shipped prices BTW. In fact every year after the 1st I go on the lookout... I think of it as buying new ink cartridges that come bundled with a printer.

Yes I know it'd be cheaper to refill, & I've got the ink, but if you don't print often enough the heads clog, & that's been a constant problem with the printers here, & sharing printers hasn't worked out too well either.  >:(

General Software Discussion / Re: Photo Scanner Software
« on: May 29, 2009, 05:35 PM »
Especially if you have the negatives, this solution might save a lot of nerves:     embarassed

For lazy people.

If you want to pay for the software, there really is an awful lot that can be done (near) automatically, so this sort of service can offer great results for a fair price. If you have the right software & hardware all you need 90% + of the time is someone to load & unload the negatives / prints. That's the basis for all those photo kiosks in everything from the grocers to the pharmacy.  The downside is if you've got negatives, there is a huge leeway on what the result can look like & still be technically very good...

If you've got the time & inclination to play with the results after negative scanning, you might get something truly remarkable. The web site linked to provides the endorsement of a prize winning photog, & for his work it probably is the best way to go [though today I'd find it hard to imagine a pro going non-digital]. On the other side of the fence there are photographers that focus more on their art, often using more everyday subjects, instead of trying to capture those once in a lifetime moments. You're not going to get those sorts of results only trying to make the picture technically good.

General Software Discussion / Re: Photo Scanner Software
« on: May 29, 2009, 05:17 PM »
Generally you're left to whatever drivers your scanner manufacturer develops -- the software provided, & it's level of expertise, is a selling point when you get into the upper mid-range. Better software might have something like GEM code built-in, while pricier scanners might have it in the electronics. Normally whatever GUI other software might provide, you're still using the scanner's drivers underneath it all.

That said, what you want to focus on is getting the truest picture, no matter how close or far it is from ideal. If you capture all the data, software can handle the rest after the fact. One problem area is grain, where you either buy a plugin or try one of the free graystoration alternatives -- or struggle with whatever your image editor provides.   :( 

Spot / dust removal software is also useful & popular, and you might want or need some sort of color adjusting -- Corel for example has long had ICM profiling of your own scanner.

Scanning negatives vs. prints is a minefield of a topic, depending a LOT on the condition of what you've got to scan -- few people ever store negatives as they should. And the picture you'll get from negatives will often bear no resemblance to the print -- the automated process at the developers is actually quite involved, & now you have to mimic it manually. You'll also have to deal with more prominent grain issues. A print however might have discolored, and depending on the processing & paper, might not offer great resolution. I've had better luck with a dedicated slide scanner than an adapter for a flatbed, but those adapters are usable if you must... be careful though as the adapters themselves &/or negative holders are usually rather flimsy.

As always, if you want to buy hardware google 1st... There's some real junk out there, & not reading semi-pro or even pro reviews first could find you struggling to fix problem photos that are un-fixable & due to your hardware.

General Software Discussion / Re: What the hell is OpenCandy?
« on: May 29, 2009, 04:51 PM »
Hi Dr. Apps,

I don't disagree with you or OC at all... really. But going from here I read a few Google hits and read what seems to be the same sort of upset user response. From a purely Marketing & Customer Service / Satisfaction standpoint, where a lot of my work was focused for a couple decades, there's a perception problem, & those won't just go away by presenting logic or even facts.  :P 

Saying another product does worse, or has more dangerous potential [mouser / wraith808 etc], only heightens an already suspicious customer's suspicions, & goes over less well if there's any sense of competition -- it's then seen as a "grasping at straws" sort of desperate defense when you can't or won't fix the customer's problem. [It does however work apparently with potential customers when a clear A/B choice is presented (for example MS Shopper ads).]

That all said, myself I'm rather neutral... my sole attempt at being useful was to post another point of view -- that of some % of any coder's clientele or customers. While not Obsessive - Compulsive like Monk (at least I hope not), personally I like to keep additions to my hdds to a minimum, & be aware of every addition made. Media Coder, which was already on my "Questionable" list is gone -- it only offered an in-case alternative to other apps, the author stopped providing a zipped, no-install d/l, & now it results in a few extra folders & entries to get rid of, which tipped the scale. Media Info I use daily, & it stays, though I'll still remove any extra folders / reg entries, & take another look at uniextract-ing it. The same criteria applies & will apply to programs I pay / paid for... a simple cost benefit analysis that includes the unwanted stuff I have to either ignore or remove. I would like to say I'm average, but I think I'm to the moderate side of center -- I've seen several GOTD visitors make negative comments because the developer included an innocuous ad for their pay-for upgrade in the GUI!

General Software Discussion / Re: What the hell is OpenCandy?
« on: May 29, 2009, 03:49 PM »
In other words -- I really think its misdirected energy to be complaining about the abstract concept of using a DLL in an installer -- there is just nothing to complain about regarding such a trivial everyday thing.  And I don't see why anyone should care if an installer makes an opt-in recommendation to a user about another program that the author wants to recommend.

FWIW there are folders & reg entries created without the user's awareness / permission, even if you ask politely as with the StarBurn example I mentioned. People don't watch because they don't feel that they should have to. I'm not saying that's right or wrong -- just that it is. If it bugs some % of customers & potential customers, it's still the developer's decision -- I think they should approach it with their eyes open. Users are after all more than occasionally fickle, & telling someone that logically they shouldn't be upset is kinda like throwing gasoline on an open flame.

General Software Discussion / Re: What the hell is OpenCandy?
« on: May 29, 2009, 03:32 PM »

You make a very good point about installer software & it's often abusive nature. It's a solid endorsement of uniextract, when it'll work, along with Regshot & maybe even installwatch pro when it won't. In my personal experience easily 90% of the registry entries made by most installation software is not needed, nor are the redundant, hdd stored install files they sometimes provide helpful or wanted. Just like OC, IMHO they should be avoided if at all possible, and usually circumvented when not. In fact, bypassing the install often tackles OC from what little I can tell scanning my drives & registry very quickly.

General Software Discussion / Re: What the hell is OpenCandy?
« on: May 29, 2009, 03:19 PM »
OK -- here's the deal...

If you're familiar with the GOTD site (, today (5/29) they're offering a copy of StarBurn. StarBurn offers in an very upfront, opt-in/out way to add a toolbar etc -- check out the high % of negative comments & comment ratings, mainly because the add-on's even offered. Take that to mean whatever you want... myself, I think it's an expression of the indignation many users feel when they find developers even approaching anything beyond the normal expectations of their app. Personally I think a full statement & notice should be presented as the 1st step in the install, & NOT in the EULA.

I think any developers, marketers etc reading this should take note -- people do get upset. They should also note the loyalty & respect so many users give to whatever anti-spyware apps they favor, & they do go wild over that sort of software. I'm NOT saying Open Candy is spyware, but rather that people are rather paranoid & distrusting of this sort of thing.

That said, I feel it reasonable that developers include Open Candy if they wish, & I will act accordingly, now that I'm (embarrassingly late) aware of it. If it's an app I can do without, I will. If it's an app I don't wish to abandon, I'll do my best to remove / disable Open Candy, & will make others aware of it as possible &/or reasonably convenient.

Thanks Much, kartal, for bringing OC up!

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