Category Archives: Windows

PC HDMI TV

Once again it is confirmed that my Acer Aspire 8730G laptop sucks ass. I have just moved into a furnished apartment that comes with a Konka LCD-TV, and I figured it would be pretty nice to watch movies on it instead of on the laptop monitor; so I went and bought a standard 5 metre HDMI cable and plugged it into the TV and laptop. Imagine my fury when the TV refused to detect the signal from the laptop. The laptop detected the TV just fine but the TV refused to display anything. I googled, I followed advice, I changed drivers, but to no avail. The TV did not display shit.

In the end I accidentally changed monitor settings to “show desktop only on 2″, where 2 was the TV and 1 was the laptop. Seeing as the TV did not get the signal from the pc (laptop), both the TV AND my laptop monitor now showed black when the HDMI cable was connected and changing drivers did not rollback this setting. At this stage I was totally rabid. And to make things worse, my girlfriend refused to give me the login to her laptop when I texted her about it so I could not try the HDMI cable with hers. I spitted and growled but little did it help.

When she finally came home from work she logged in for me and I tried the cable. And guess what, it worked. Her laptop belongs to the Asus K52J series and it seems a hell of a lot better than mine. What actually happened was that her laptop automatically changed resolution to the native resolution of the TV (1280×720), which appears to be the only resolution the TV could detect as a valid signal.

My laptop has no such automatic resolution feature despite having the most recent NVIDIA drivers installed. I had to change the resolution manually on my laptop to 1280×720, then plug in the HDMI cable and navigate across the TV screen 5 metres away to change the setting back to “extend desktop” so that both laptop and TV would display.

So this is the take home message: when the TV does not detect the HDMI signal from the pc, it is most likely a resolution issue, not a driver issue. Still make sure you have the latest drivers, go to the NVIDIA control panel or Catalyst Control Centre (depending on whether your video card is from NVIDA or ATI) and change resolution on the detected TV to its native resolution. That should sort it.

And if you have problems getting the HDMI audio to work on the TV, it is likely a resolution issue as well. I got the image working on the TV once without the audio functioning and what happened was that I had a 720p movie (which happen to be the TVs native resolution) running on the laptop before turning on the TV and once I turned it on the movie helped the TV detect the video signal but the audio failed to connect. Nevertheless, the audio should work just fine once you set the correct resolution for the TV in the NVIDIA control panel.

Image Scaling Windows 7

If you are into retro-gaming and have a widescreen monitor, you will find Windows 7 to be a pain in the ass. By default, all resolutions in Windows 7 have a fixed aspect ratio so any resolution smaller than the native one ends up filling only a portion of the screen. It does not scale. To work around this with a NVidia card you need to install the latest drivers and then go to the Nvidia Control Panel. Under Monitor, select “Adjust the size and position of the desktop” and then select the first option: “Use NVidia scaling”. The solution is pretty much the same with an ATI-card, you just need to access the ATI Catalyst Control Center instead of the Nvidia Control Panel.

Programs for Windows

Introduction

Alright, Windows 7 was installed. Now it was time to setup the programs. These are the programs I deem mandatory for Windows as I use it:

Firefox
Chrome
PDF reader
Flash Player
F.lux
Keepass
Open Office
Windows Messenger
Skype
Flashfxp
Photoshop
Media Player Classic & K-Lite Codec Pack
Winamp
Daemon Tools
uTorrent

Firefox, Flash Player and PDF reader

Installing Firefox was no problem. The allow prompt has transfered over from Vista to 7 but I can live with it. It was after installation that the problems reared their ugly heads.

1. I am not sure in what Firefox version the ever active spell checking was implemented but the shit was, without mistake, on in version 3.6.12. Red and annoying wavy lines under 75% of my words in any text fields I graced with my writing. This is not because I am iliterate. Its because I am multilingual and installed Firefox in swedish. To get rid of this shit I had to as follows:

  • Type in About:config in the firefox address bar and confirm that I know what I am doing when prompted.
  • Right clicking in the listed config window and selecting New and then Integer
  • Entering ui.SpellCheckerUnderlineStyle and then integer value 0

2. The next problem was and still is that ctr+f no longer triggers the search prompt at every attempt. It is probably related to what kind of page I am browsing but I never noticed this problem before.

3. Installing Adobe flash player and adobe reader. OMFG. First I have to install Adobe download manager and at the same time uncheck the fucking checkboxes for installing Google toolbar and Mcafee virus scan (depending on how I entered get.adobe.com). Before I could install it I must deactivate my antivirus. Upon completion of that senseless task, Firefox had to be restarted and upon restart the Flash player and Reader would still not install! They installed just fine in Internet Explorer though. I think this is the symptom of the ongoing war between the software giants. Somehow I magically managed to install the flash player when being prompted for the module at a third party website. Staying the hell away from get.adobe.com seems to help. Still no luck with the Reader though. Adobe has become something akin to the evil old Real Player. I am gonna go for an open source pdf reader from now on.

F.lux

F.lux must be one of the best softwares to come out in recent years. Everyone should have it. In the evening, it changes the color of the screen to a pinker and warmer one, and this truly helps you sleep. Instead of staring into an intense blue light that tells the brain its day and no time for sleeping, you stare into an evening sky and the body shifts over to relaxation mode and gets ready for sleep. No more insomnia from too much time spent infront of computer. Awesome program based on a technology that apparantly is in the process of getting patented.

Keepass

An open source software that lets you store your passwords and other sensitive information in an encrypted and password protected database. I am not gonna let my logins get compromised again so this will come in handy. Everyone should have it.

Open Office

No problems with installation. I have had two issues with Open Office before.

1. Locating the side scroll bar in the spread sheet environment. I think it was hidden/compressed by default in an older version of Open Office but as of version 3.2.0 the side scroll bar seem to be visible by default.

2. Saving a spread sheet as tab denominated .csv file and using it for PayPal masspay. I failed once again with this upon my initial try. It seemed to merge two cells with eachother. Upon saving a second time in the exact same manner, the cells were kept intact though. And PayPal managed to read the file. Problem solved?

Windows Messenger and Outlook Express

Turns out its Windows Live Mail and Live Messenger that you are supposed to use these days. They come integrated. I had a few problems with them though.

1. It is not intuitive how to change your status in Live Messenger. The old standard, which Microsoft has deviated from, was to right click the activity and change status. You can no longer do this. Now you must hoover over the activity and change status. I don’t mind the new option, I just don’t see why they removed the old one that is universal in all chatting software.

2. Finding the toolbar in Live Mail was nearly impossible. There is no text menu available for it. The Live Mail interface is remniscient of the “new” Microsoft Office interface. You can off the bat find hundreds of menus and functions you never use but not not a single one that you do use. It is so retarded that I won’t waste any more words on it. Finally I found what I was looking for by clicking the icon accompanied by the down arrow in the top left corner of the screen and then selecting Alternatives.

3. Windows Live Mail bakes together emails with the same subject and although useful at times, I would like to see an easily accessible icon for toggling back to the old school style. There might be one, it just is not accessible and I sure as hell have not found it yet.

Skype

Installation went fine. It just pisses me off that I have to login to skype.com before I can download it. One problem with the actual program though. With my initial Realtek High Definition Audio drivers running, Skype found two microphones and chose the wrong one so it had to be changed manually. Unfortunately the microphone was turned off in the sound card settings and upon turning it on a lot of noise came out of the speakers. To work around this I updated the Acer drivers to the Vista Windows 7 R253 drivers. That, in turn, required the locating and downloaded of a zipped driver file because the standard .exe just would not install due to supposed compatibility issues. After that the noise disappeared and the microphone seemed to work. However, the sound level in Skype was and is still way to low if any other application using sound is running at the same time or has been running while Skype was on. To work around this the other application must be closed and Skype must be restarted.

Flashfxp

Arguably the best ftp-program there is. I was not gonna take any chances this time around though so I downloaded it from the official site and installed as trial. I will probably buy it once the trial expires. Heck, it’s only 30 bucks.

Photoshop

Without photoshop you are seriously handicapped so this had to be sorted. I installed the CS5 version 12 edition as trial and as for the rest – well, let’s just say I am not gonna dish out 1500 dollars for a program that I am not using professionally.

Media Player Classic & K-Lite Codec Pack

These two come in one package. I downloaded the standard version this time around. I think it’s awesome. Pretty much all movie format works. No problems whatsoever.

Winamp

An old classic. I have a lot of music that does not contain enough information or are in too weird formats for them to be accessible in interfaces like iTunes and thus I still prefer manually browsing for music in explorer. And this is where Winamp comes in handy. On top of that it is easy to use and plugins for .mpc, .ape and various other music formats are easily installed.

Daemon Tools

I remember the days when this was a simple and effective little program that anyone could download and use indefinitely. Well, no more. Now you have to download some overfeatured shit from the official site and start paying for it after the trial period has run out. I am quite sure that the Daemon Tools installation installed Tages Protection as well which fortunately is incompatible with Windows 7. However, this could be the doing of some old games I installed, namely Witcher and Sybiera. Hard to tell at this point.

uTorrent

Best torrent client there is. In Windows Vista I had some serious problems updating it to newer versions using the integrated update function but it seems to work just fine in Windows 7. The only issue I have had with uTorrent in Windows 7 is the interference caused by Kaspersky Internet Security. Until I deactivated Kaspersky, my downloads kept getting interupted with the following error message:

The requested operation cannot be performed on a file with a user-mapped section open

Of course the message was in spanish and uTorrent does not let me copy error messages (wtf?) so I had to eye-copy it letter by letter before I could translate it. Antway, to fix the problem, I first unchecked the “allow Windows to index” option for the folder where the torrents are stored – a recommended fix posted on the uTorrent forums – but I don’t think it made any difference because it did not start working until I disabled Kaspersky.

Web Money Keeper Light

I like the Web Money system and I am an ardent supporter of virtual currencies and fast/cheap international money transfer systems. Nothing is more effective when it comes to taking power away from the state and returning it to the individual than a currency and payment system that the state does not regulate. The Web Money Keeper Light client stores your login credentials in an encrypted and password protected file. Good stuff. I wish PayPal could be like this. A nice and secure client with no bullshit instead of a shitty web interface and constant freezing of accounts due to access from ip-addresses other than the original one. We are living in the 21st century, not the 10th century. People move around and Internet is accessible worldwide! PayPal just does not get it. PayPal is a system made for morons that can’t do anything on their computers except start Internet Explorer and login to Hotmail/Messenger/Facebook. Web Money, on the other hand, owns. Just wish there were more agents selling Web Money.

What about anti-virus?

Fuck anti-virus. It just bogs down the computer and interferes too much with whatever you are doing. If you are sitting on a wired network behind a modern password protected router with updated firmware, and you keep your operative system up to date, and refrain from opening virus containing emails or downloading your software from Piratebay and the like, while at the same time not giving out any logins you may have to your friends, you will be perfectly fine.