Arman Gungor's Blog Litigation Support and Technology

13Nov/090

Blu-ray Playback Skipping on Playstation 3

Playstation3I have been watching blu-ray movies on my Playstation 3 for quite some time. With the last firmware update, blu-ray discs started skipping during playback. The movie would start and play normally for a while and then pause briefly as if the PS3 was having a hard time reading from the disc and skip ahead a few minutes. At first I thought it was due to scratched discs from Netflix. However, after running into this a few times in a row and not being able to spot a single scratch on the discs, I concluded that the problem was with my PS3.

I did some research but couldn't find a definitive answer as to why this was happening. The first thing I tried, which was also the easiest, was to format the hard drive. Surprisingly it worked like a charm and my PS3 doesn't skip anymore. While I don't really understand what the firmware update did to the hard drive to cause this odd problem, I'm happy that it is over.

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13Nov/090

How to Disable Windows Update Restart Prompt

Windows-UpdateAfter performing automatic Windows updates, Windows starts nagging for a restart. In some cases, it even restarts your computer unless you respond to the notification and postpone the restart on time. This can obviously get very annoying if you are doing something important (for example, while performing an e-Discovery export!). I found out recently that the restart can be avoided by stopping the Windows service called "Automatic Updates" in Windows XP or "Windows Update" in Vista. You can go to the services snap-in by executing services.msc and stop the service or type the command net stop "windows update" for Windows Vista or sc stop wuauserv for Windows XP. The service will start back up next time you reboot your computer.

If you are looking for a more permanent solution, the notification schedule can be changed or it can be disabled altogether via Group Policy.

1. Click Start\Run and open the Run Window.

2. Type “gpedit.msc” to open the Group Policy

3. Click Local Computer Policy\Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Update and open “Re-prompt for restart with scheduled installations”

Here you can choose to disable the notification or change its schedule to a longer period such as 24 hours.

13Oct/091

Sprint’s Simply Everything Plan and Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES)

As you may have already seen in the media, Sprint is now offering an unlimited voice, text and data plan for $99/mo called "Simply Everything". Along with the Palm Pre that they offer exclusively (at least for the time being), the plan looks like a very good bargain.

Sprint Logo

What their sales representatives conveniently neglect to mention is that this plan comes with a catch. If you are a Blackberry user, you can use your Blackberry with the Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) but not with a Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES). Most corporations require their employees to use their BES for security reasons. Moreover, BES offers several features such as full contact, task and calendar synchronization and true push e-mail that BIS is lacking. If you need BES, you need to pay an additional $20/mo. Another crucial feature that is missing is tethering. Even though you get unlimited data, you cannot (officially) use your phone as a tethered modem. This will either cost you an additional $15/mo or you will have to find a workaround such as TetherBerry for the Blackberry or My Tether for the Palm Pre.

UPDATE: A few more features that seem to be missing from Sprint's Simply Everything plan:

  • Call forwarding  (You need to pay $.20/min for call forwarding)
  • Sprint TV Xtra  (Premier TV and Premier Radio are included, $10/mo additional charge for Sprint TV Xtra)
  • Any paid material that can be purchased via "Sprint Digital Lounge" (I expected this to be the case)
Filed under: Life 1 Comment
1Oct/090

IPRO eCapture TZVersion Errors

You may run into a Daylight Saving Time (DST) patch error in eCapture along the lines of:

System.Exception: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Time Zones\TZVersion value of X does not match the ConfigurationProperties.ConfiguredTZVersion value of Y.

DST is the practice of advancing clocks by one hour in spring and adjusting them back in autumn in a way that afternoons have more day light and mornings have less. The start and end dates of DST have changed several times in the past. Recently, the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005 introduced changes to the start and end dates of DST starting in 2007.

Unless certain updates are applied to your computer, the time zone settings for your system clock may be incorrect. Additionally, inconsistent DST settings between the eCapture workers may cause inaccurate results during ESI processing. eCapture requires that all workers have the same DST patch and that it is the same version as that of the controller.

The most current DST patch available from Microsoft as of this writing is update 970653: August 2009 cumulative time zone update for Microsoft Windows operating systems and is available via http://support.microsoft.com/kb/970653

The correct way of fixing the problem above is making sure both the eCapture controller and all workers have the latest DST patch installed. The value set by the patch can be checked using a registry editor (i.e. regedit.exe) and navigating to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Time Zones\TZVersion. The August 2009 update should set the TZVersion binary key to the decimal value "590080" (0x00090100 hex). Manually editing the TZVersion binary key to work around this issue is NOT recommended.

20Sep/090

Adding Windows Vista to Windows 7 Boot Manager

I have been running an evaluation version of Windows 7 on a virtual machine for a while. This weekend, I decided to do a clean install of Windows 7 x64 RTM on an empty partition and make the switch from Windows Vista Business x86 to Windows 7 Professional x64. I chose to format the partition that contained an old Windows XP installation (dual boot with Vista) and install Windows 7 there. As expected, when the installation finished and the computer rebooted, it did not find the existing Windows Vista installation and booted straight into Windows 7. Having a few 32-bit only programs that I need for work,  I still need my Vista partition every now end then.

Windows 7

Here is what I did to bring it back:

* Determined which partition my Vista installation was at. In my case, Windows 7 and Vista are installed onto the same physical disk. The Windows 7 partition is assigned C: and Windows Vista partition is assigned F: drive letters (because of other physical disks, partitions etc.).

* Launched a command prompt with Administrator privileges.

* Ran the following commands (note that /d is to specify a description. It has nothing to do with drive letters etc.)

C:>bcdedit /copy {current} /d "Windows Vista"
The entry was successfully copied to {xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx}.
C:>bcdedit /set {xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxx} device partition=F:
The operation completed successfully.
C:>bcdedit /set {xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxx} osdevice partition=F:
The operation completed successfully.

The {xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxx} part changes from system to system. You need to copy it from the acknowledgment to the first command and re-use it for the subsequent two commands.

Filed under: Software No Comments
9Aug/090

Solution to Cisco VPN Client Error 442 on Windows Vista

I have been having issues with Cisco VPN client since I installed Windows Vista. When I attempted to establish a VPN connection, I used to get an error 442 that read:

"VPN Client: Secure VPN Connection terminated locally by the Client.
Reason 442: Failed to enable Virtual Adapter. Connection terminated
on: MM DD YYYY HH:MM:SS Duration: 0 day(s), 00:00.00"

Cisco

These seemingly random connection problems caused quite a bit of frustration and even loss of productivity. Even though I am moving on to Windows 7, I finally managed to solve the problem. Here is the solution:

Perform all the steps below using admin credentials and at your own risk

* Uninstall current Cisco VPN client installation
* Restart (even if you are not required to)
* Manually remove remnants of Cisco VPN client
- Remove the key at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE >  Cisco Systems > VPN Client.
- Remove the keys at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Deterministic Networks.
- Remove the keys at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > RunOnce > CISCOREBOOTFLAG.
- Delete these directories if the Cisco VPN Client is installed in the default directories of the Windows machine:
+ C:\Program Files\Cisco Systems\VPN Client
+ C:\Program Files\Common Files\Deterministic Networks
- Delete all the old Deterministic NDIS Extender (DNE) files:
+ dne2000.sys from %SystemRoot%\system32\drivers
+ dne2000m.inf and dne2000m.pnf from %SystemRoot%\inf
- Delete the cvpndrv.sys or cvpndrva.sys file from %SystemRoot%\system32\drivers.
- Find the CSGina.dll file in the system32 folder and rename it CSGina.old
* Restart
* Install the latest Deterministic Network Enhancer ( http://www.citrix.com/lang/English/lp/lp_1680845.asp )
* Restart
* Install Cisco VPN Client version 5.0.04.0300 (remeber to run the installer as an administrator)
* Restart

Your Cisco VPN client should now work without any problems. If you continue to have issues, try setting both cvpnd.exe and vpngui.exe to run in XP SP2 Compadibility mode and as "Administrator".

Filed under: Software No Comments
14Jul/090

Gogo Inflight Internet Review

I am flying to DC at the moment and have internet access using Gogo Inflight Internet from Virgin America. This is the second time I have used Gogo and wanted to write a post about it since I am very happy with the service so far.

Using Gogo in the air is very similar to using wireless internet at an airport or in a hotel. All you need to do is to search for available wireless networks, connect to the one named "gogoinflight" and attempt to connect to any website. You are taken to a landing page where you create an account and make a payment to activate the service. Cost of the service varies between $5.95 - $12.95 depending on the duration of the flight and whether or not it is a red-eye. A 30-day unlimited pass is also available for $49.95.

Gogo Logo

I performed 3 different speed tests using different servers to get a rough idea as to what kind of bandwidth Gogo is offering. My average connection speed was 2,034 Kbps / 261 Kbps for download and upload respectively. Gogo also allows VPN passthrough. I've had no problems connecting to my computer at work via RDP over VPN and doing some work. All in all, I think being able to check your e-mail, do some work, listen to streaming music, make a phone call or send and receive SMS via Google Voice is worth the price.

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10Jul/090

Printing from Lotus Notes and Collapsed Sections

Last week we ran into an interesting Lotus Notes conversion project. We were trying out eCapture 4 from IPRO (this version processes Notes items directly from Lotus Notes) and noticed that it wasn't automatically expanding collapsed sections in documents (see below).

Sections

This is an important issue since, according to the picture above, contents of the collapsed "Standard Procedures" section would be missing on the images. Actually, not only the images but the extracted text as well since eCapture uses text extracted via BlackICE during a processing job. The problem can be solved using some LotusScript. From Lotus Domino Designer 8.5 help:

    Sub Postopen(Source As Notesuidocument)
    
         Call source.ExpandAllSections
    
    End Sub

When processing manually, all sections can be auto-expanded using the "Shift"+"+" key combination. Another point worth mentioning is that some forms were designed in a way that they automatically collapsed at print time. In other words, even though we were force-expanding them prior to printing, they were being collapsed as soon as the document was being printed. A quick workaround is to export RTF and print from there. Even though the formatting is not great, the RTF export doesn't get affected by the auto-collapsing sections.

29Jun/090

IPRO eCapture 4 Upgrade Issues

We use IPRO eCapture along with a few other tools and our proprietary e-Discovery software at my current company. Today we decided to upgrade to version 4 from 3.3.6. I think sharing this experience might be useful for others as the upgrade didn't go very smoothly. A few things you should know:

  • If you received an additional (temporary) dongle from IPRO for the upgrade, this is just an empty dongle for you to be able to continue to use version 3 on the side as eCapture version 3 and 4 are not compatible with each other. IPRO support was a little bit confused today and indicated that eCapture 4 should not work with our v3 dongle. This is not true. If you are certain that you will not go back to v3, you can continue to use the same dongle and upgrade your eCapture Controller to version 4.
  • As I mentioned earlier, version 3 and 4 are not compatible with each other. Version 4 requires a clean, new environment (new SQL database) and v3 and v4 cannot be run on the same computer as they require different versions of certain third party components. If you may have to revisit older v3 projects (which is very likely), it is recommended that you use your temporary dongle and install a copy of the v3 Controller on a different server. You will also need a few v3 workers to be able to work with the v3 controller. If you have a usage based license, IPRO is able to transfer clicks between the dongles. You can transfer some of your clicks from the original dongle to the temporary dongle to finish up any version 3.x projects during the transition.
  • There seems to be a GUI problem with the eCapture 4 Controller. As seen in the screenshot below, instead of correclty reporting the license, it is displaying an "Error Verifying Dongle" message.

Scr

This appears to be purely a GUI error and the dongle can be read using the "IPROTech View KEYLOCK Dongle" utility in your Controller installation directory (vwndngl.exe). We have also been able to test eCapture 4 with a few version 4 workers in spite of the error message. IPRO claims that they will have a migration utility for migrating 3.x projects to version 4 soon. IPRO technical support was very friendly and helpful even though they don't seem to be very well versed in eCapture 4 issues yet.

27Jun/090

Finding Embedded OLE Objects in a Microsoft Powerpoint Presentation

It is possible to embed OLE objects to Powerpoint documents (Adobe Acrobat PDFs and Microsoft Office documents are frequently found embedded in other Office documents). I recently had to examine a Powerpoint presentation and find any embedded objects.

EmbededPDF

Here is what I came up with:

Dim ppApp As MsPPT.Application
ppApp = CreateObject("Powerpoint.Application")
Dim ppSlide As MsPPT.Slide
ppApp.Visible = False
ppApp.Presentations.Open(txtFilePath.Text)
txtResults.Text = "Presentation Name " & ppApp.ActivePresentation.Name
Dim i, p, t As Integer = 0
For i = 1 To ppApp.ActivePresentation.Slides.Count
ppSlide = ppApp.ActivePresentation.Slides(i)
txtResults.Text += vbCrLf + "Number of shapes: " & ppSlide.Shapes.Count.ToString
t = ppSlide.Shapes.Count
For p = 1 To t
txtResults.Text += vbCrLf + ppSlide.Shapes(p).Type.ToString
Next
Next

This gives you a list of all shapes in each Powerpoint slide. Some of the shapes are regular Powerpoint elements such as images, text boxes etc. (msoPlaceholder) while others are embedded objects (msoEmbeddedOLEObject). It is also possible to extract the embedded objects and save them as individual files if needed.

Another quick tip: I've run into quite a few Powerpoint Presentations where some of the elements are hidden behind others, making them invisible to the end user. An easy way to open such embedded objects is to click on an empty area on the slide and use <tab> to cyle through the shapes.