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Living Room / Re: Stumped - can anyone help? Laptop drive issue
« on: June 26, 2017, 01:53 PM »
Question: What make is the laptop and how old is it?

The fact that the drive can be accessed when in the laptop but not through another computer makes me wonder if there is a BIOS security lock set.  ThinkPads (and probably other laptops) allow you to set a password in the BIOS that locks the hard drive so that it cannot be accessed if removed from the original computer.  If that's the case, the only solution I know of is to unlock the drive through the laptop BIOS before removing it.

If the lock was set intentionally, you will probably need to know the password to unlock the drive, and quite possibly a password to unlock the BIOS as well.

I suspect the USB problem is something else, but it might indicate a hardware problem (best case) or that the BIOS itself is hosed (worst case).

Whatever you do, I would certainly not try  to flash the BIOS before you have this problem worked out.

If you can't unlock the drive, since you have Paragon HDM and it can read the drive in the laptop when you boot from a CD, I would try imaging the drive to optical media and moving the image to another computer, then restoring it to another disk. That will probably take a while to do, but it should at least give you an un-encrypted backup image to work from.

If your problem is with music software, I gather you are talking about the cover art embedded in your music files as metadata, rather than booklets and backs, which you would be viewing in a file viewer.  You just need one file per album for embedding, usually named "folder.jpg" by some unfathomable convention, but if you are like me, you need many more for documentation. 

I too have thousands of ripped CDs accumulated over several decades (and thousands more yet to be ripped), along with vast amounts of album art and documentation. Whenever possible, I buy music as CDs and rip them myself, in which case I sometimes scan the cover and some of the other material myself. But much of the artwork and documentation I have comes from a variety of sources like publishers, online stores, etc.

The ripping software I use (EZ CD Audio Converter) automatically obtains metadata from various online databases and will download cover art for most CDs  I rip, but I almost never keep those images, which are usually inferior to what I can obtain on my own.

To create the cover art file to be embedded in the metadata, whether I scan it myself or convert an existing file, I use Paint.NET, a free photo editing program that is extremely easy to use but gives me all the flexibility I need.

Artwork obtained from other sources can sometimes be unreasonably large, particularly if it is meant for printing.  I'm only interested in being able to read the information, so if the files take up too much disk space, I convert them to .jpg if need be and resize them using Irfanview, which has a batch conversion and resizing tool with many advanced options.

For adding, extracting and removing cover art from music files, as well as for nearly all my metadata editing, I use mp3tag.

Living Room / Re: [Breaking News] Cyber Attack cripples UK NHS.
« on: May 14, 2017, 06:52 PM »
If I was a non-US large organisation such as the NHS, I would think twice about continuing to invest into MS products and would start very quickly to consider alternatives (such as the French police that went with Linux). There are also national security issues for a non-US country to have such a total reliance on the product of a single US corporation:
Europe's reliance on Microsoft has governments under a worrying digital 'killswitch'
This is not a US vs. the world issue.  It is just as much of an issue for US institutions.  In particular, it affects poorer individuals and organizations like non-profits more than anyone else, since those are the ones who must stretch their technology funds to the greatest extent.

More important, it jeopardizes even those who are up-to-date on their security patches because they rely on the same network as those who aren't, and any network is only as secure as its weakest links.  These hackers were looking for a quick buck, but someone else could exploit this kind of vulnerability to obtain information that would allow them to penetrate other, nominally more secure, systems.  This is a major method used by state organizations, who are not in it for monetary gain, for hacking their opponents.

I am using the only cable I had that would fit the eh.. fitting, and it took me a long time (several days) to realize it merely is a so-called VGA cable, instead of a proper DVI cable. VGA doesn't do high definition, DVI will at least do the necessary 1920x1080.

VGA does do 1920x1080 and will do it on your monitor according to the Packard Bell manual, which you can get here.

The monitor is not plug & play and will not provide the proper information to Windows on its own, so you need to install a driver (.INF file) that tells Windows the capabilities of the monitor.  You can download the driver from Packard Bell's GB web site here.

That said, you will get a more stable picture using the DVI cable, which transmits a digital signal (VGA is analog), but you should still install the driver to identify the monitor to Windows.

Take a look at NoteCase Pro - a tree outline information manager in the vein of many others available for Windows, but cross-platform on desktop PCs, with a separate and compatible version for Android.

NoteCase Pro has some rough edges, but also a number of features that might fit your needs, including a "flat" view of databases that might approximate what you get from your PC text editor.

Sony has announced new digital paper device called DPT-RP1 to replace the DPT-S1.  Basically the same tablet with a higher resolution screen, faster processor, and bluetooth in addition to WiFi. Also still PDF only.

It's supposed to go on sale in Japan in June for ~$700.  No availability announced yet for other countries.

You need an .INF file to identify your monitor's properties to the video driver.

This information from Intel explains the problem and what to do about it.

If you can't get the correct .INF file from the maker of your monitor, there are a number of generic ones easily found online, or you can write your own. 

Non-Windows Software / Re: Android book reader (thinking Moon+)
« on: February 11, 2017, 01:11 PM »
I have Moon+ Pro on both tablet and phone now.  I have the shelf loaded.  But I still don't see the setting to sync bookmarks across devices.
I don't believe Moon+ Pro can sync anything other than the current location in a book.  The only way provided to move highlights, notes and bookmarks between devices is to export settings on one device and import the export save file on the second device.  See their FAQ for details.

I use Moon+ Pro for hard-to-read epub books because it easily handles large or poorly structured epubs that other readers choke on, but my regular epub reader on Android is Bookari Premium, which has better navigation, bookmarking and annotation capabilities.  Bookari is also my pdf reader of choice on Android.

Bookari has subscription plans that allow users to sync between multiple devices through their own servers.  A free account will only sync current location in a book between two devices, but their paid plans, which start at $10/year, allow you to sync everything between multiple devices, export notes, and more. 

Some years ago, when Bookari was called Mantano Reader, I tried their online service briefly but it didn't offer enough at the time that I wanted to subscribe. It looks like they have greatly improved it since then, and I'm considering trying it again.

As an aside, the method used by Moon+ Pro for loading epubs in chunks is great for reading on a phone because it allows for continuous scrolling through a chapter, but less useful on a tablet, where I do most of my reading. It also makes it hard to find your place in a book if you switch devices or readers, because it does not display epub page numbers (NOT the same as print book page numbers).

General Software Discussion / Re: C Users Journal Nostalgia
« on: February 04, 2017, 02:03 PM »
Cleaning out some shelves and found C/C++ Users Journal CD8,  covering January 1990 through December 2004.  Your articles are there, as is the source code for them. I'd be happy to send it to you, if you'd like it.

I also found that I had years ago ripped an ISO image of an even earlier CUG CD, and that, in turn, led to my finding this web site.  I'm amazed that it is still online and (more or less) live.


Living Room / Re: Looking for smartphone
« on: January 28, 2017, 07:30 AM »
An old saying: A GPS will show you the shortest distance between your location and your destination, a map will show you how to get there without going through a crocodile infested swamp and over a cliff.

That is no doubt still true when you are traveling in the wild.

It is no longer the case in heavily traveled areas and particularly in urban areas, at least in the U.S., where coordinates from a GPS get augmented by a large amount of information about local conditions from a variety of sources, most notably other users in your immediate area.

I still rely on maps for planning, but now I nearly always use a GPS when I'm driving, to get up-to-the-minute information about traffic and road conditions around me, as well as reasonably accurate estimates of ETA.  That doesn't mean I blindly follow the GPS advice, particularly when I know an area reasonably well, but I do pay attention and take any additional information it provides into consideration.

Living Room / Re: Looking for smartphone
« on: January 11, 2017, 06:59 AM »
For call logs, I recommend SMS Backup & Restore (free).

For everything else, I use X-plore File Manager, which is free but you need to make a donation to unlock the ability to work across a network.  If you use more than one Android device, X-plore's WiFi-share server is particularly useful and also lets you manage files on your Android devices from a PC web browser.

37 is a service that provides streaming video broadcasts of live classical music concerts from a number of major concert halls around the world, as well as on-demand replays of many of them for several months.

Their Classic+ annual subscription, which provides unlimited access in HD on all devices, is 40% off at $113.40 instead of $189. Other subscriptions are $20-30% off.

Anyone with expereince of P2V:
would I be able to create an image of my current install (Windows 7) and add it as a virtual machine to another machine, say when I move to a new one, say with Windows 10?
I did just that this past summer, when an intermittent motherboard problem forced me to replace my primary desktop system before I had planned to. Win7 Pro 64-bit to a VMware virtual machine. The whole process was point & click simple and worked the first time without a hitch.  I didn't even have to reactivate Windows in the VM, although that could be a fluke. My only complaint is that it didn't have an option for a split file VM, which I prefer for portability.

This is not the first time I have done a P2V with Paragon HDM Pro -- a few years ago, I converted my last working XP system to a VM, which I still use occasionally for some older software, but I was still surprised at how easy the whole process has become in the current version of HDM Pro.

A few years ago, Paragon changed their backup file format to a proprietary compressible virtual machine, which HDM PRo can convert to any of the virtual machine formats they support. That means that, if you regularly back up your system by imaging the system partition with Paragon software and save the backup files, you can, in theory, always resurrect a dead system or a previous version to a working VM in any of those virtualization environments.  I haven't tried the other VM formats, but I know from personal experience that this works very well with VMware Workstation.

Paragon Hard Disk Manager Pro is 50% off ($49.97) on BDJ today.

Paragon HDM Pro includes the functionality of nearly all of the various Paragon utilities in a single package - Backup/restore, cloning, OS migration, virtualization, disk & partition management, recovery media creation, etc...

General Software Discussion / Re: C Users Journal Nostalgia
« on: December 02, 2016, 11:51 AM »
I had a subscription to C/C++ Users Journal and thought I had a CD-ROM with all the code from it.  I looked for it after reading your post and couldn't find it, but if it turns up, I'll let you know.

Found Deals and Discounts / Re: Black Friday deals 2016
« on: November 26, 2016, 07:28 PM »
XYplorer Lifetime License Pro 50% off, $39.95 instead of $79.95, through November 28 2016.
Expandrive 40% of on all licenses November 28 only.

Found Deals and Discounts / MailWasher Pro 25% off
« on: November 22, 2016, 06:42 AM »
To celebrate the 15th anniversary of MailWasher, Firetrust is offering a 25% discount on MailWasher Pro licenses.

Note that WailWasher Pro is licensed on a subscription model, with discounted renewals.  They offer further discounts on multi-year renewals, including a lifetime license.

Found Deals and Discounts / WinPatrol Lifetime Licenses
« on: November 18, 2016, 09:00 PM »
WinPatrol is selling lifetime licenses to all their products as a Black Friday sale.  I guess that means the sale runs through Black Friday (a week from today.

Revo Uninstaller Pro Portable is on BDJ today for $17.95.

Microsoft Microsoft has a 5-year $400 million sponsorship deal with the National Football League to provide Surface tablets to all teams for coaches to use on the sidelines during games, along with supporting IT infrastructure.

Yesterday, Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots, the most successful coach in the league for the past two decades, demoted the tablets to the bench, saying they were not reliable enough to use during games.

For many years my program of choice has been Paragon Hard Disk Manager Pro. Not cheap ($100 and usually $50 upgrades every 2-3 years when new versions come out), but it does everything in one tool: Imaging, cloning, OS migration, partition management, wiping, backup media creation, virtualization, mounting  images as drives, etc.

I keep my OS and critical data (financial, working data files, etc.) on C and most other program data on D. On my desktop system, I also have E for long term archiving of data files, backups, etc. On my desktop system, C and D are on a single SSD and E on an HDD.

I image C at least once a month. Other partitions are never imaged but everything on them is duplicated on two or more external drives.  Images of C are created on E and copied as needed, which is much faster than imaging to external media.  I keep USB sticks formatted as Paragon recovery media for emergencies. If I travel, I copy the latest backup image to one of those USB sticks to take with me.

My sequence in setting up a new system is to image the entire drive as received from the manufacturer before the first initialization, then image again after the system is initialized and before any of my own software is installed, then again after I have the essential backups installed.  That gives me three critical restore points in case I ever decide to go back to the beginnings.  I don’t usually bother keeping a restore partition or Windows restore points after that.

Actually, since manufacturers typically gouge for larger drives, I buy systems with the smallest drive offered and get a larger one elsewhere. That lets me clone what I want from the original drive on to the bigger one and stash the original away so that I can put it back system if I need to return the computer for service or replace it.

General Software Discussion / Re: The Hostile Email Landscape
« on: September 23, 2016, 10:33 AM »
OK so if you don't have the ability to run your own server, or weed through the problems of the BigCorporateFreeMailSystem, what's the suggestion for the rest of us to be as "safe" and "complete" as possible?  Thanks

For starters, don't use Yahoo!

General Software Discussion / Re: Windows 10 Announced
« on: September 22, 2016, 09:20 AM »
Anyone here still using Win 7?

I had to replace my primary work PC (i7, 32GB RAM) last month because of an intermittent fault on the motherboard. A major consideration in my choice of a replacement was that I could get a system with similar specs on up-to-date hardware with Windows 7 Pro pre-installed instead of Windows 10.
I simply don’t have the time now to spend working around Microsoft’s debugging process for Win 10. When Microsoft gets their act together and things stabilize, I will consider upgrading the OS, but not before.

Many, if not most, large enterprises seem to be taking the same route, which is why the PC makers who sell to them (Lenovo, Dell, HP) all provide the option to get Windows 7 Pro pre-iinstalled on most new business computers through “downgrade rights “ on a Windows 10 Pro license.

Softpedia and FileHippo both show it as Firefox 49.0 stable.  No changelog though:

I have a lot of articles that I've written that I want to assemble into one or more ebooks.

I can easily format each as a PDF file, but I don't know what software to use to merge them all, in the correct order, and at the same time create a table of contents that updates every time I add a new file.

Can anyone help me?
Take a look at PDF EX-Change Pro. It's extremely powerful, although its user interface is not always intuitive. Many features are hard to find and the documentation dense and not that easy to navigate.

PDF EXchange Editor provides an option to automatically create a top level bookmark pointing to each new document inserted into an existing document, as well as a bookmark editor and macro facility that should be enough to do what you want. The Pro version costs nearly twice as much, but adds tools that would allow you to more fully automate the process.

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