Fun with Routers

Now that I had my cool Nexus 7 tablet, I noticed that streaming video from my Windows 7 HTPC was a bit slow. ¬†I had a Linksys¬†WRT54GL running DD-WRT that’s been working great for the past 4 years. ¬†Unfortunately, it only does B and G bands, so I decided to get a Asus RT-N66U with N band support. ¬†It was the big antennas¬†that sold me on it including a “Kickass Award” from Maximum PC. ¬†Unfortunately, upon receiving the router, I could not get anything to connect above 54 Mbps. ¬†The interface was miserable as well with broken English here and there and DDNS just wouldn’t work. ¬†Back to Amazon it went. ¬†After doing more researching, I decided on the Netgear¬†WNDR3700. ¬†It comes with 128MB of flash memory and it has very good DD-WRT support (the WNDR3400, however, does not). ¬†Flashing it to DD-WRT firmware was a breeze. ¬†After getting everything setup, I checked the Nexus 7 only to find it was connected at 65 Mbps. ¬†More research lead to me the fact that 65 Mbps is the top speed for this thing as it only has a single channel wireless card.

The PC in the spare bedroom with a USB Medalink wireless stick faired better at 135 Mbps and my laptop does 72 Mbps.  So much for the 300 Mpbs speed listed on the box :(.

– Soli Deo Gloria

Fight Club: Me Vs Computer

Luck certainly hasn’t been on my side lately when it comes to computer problems. ¬†I use an old computer as a backup server. ¬†I tried turning it on and NOTHING: no lights, no fans, not even a single sound! ¬†I proceeded to clear the CMOS with the clear CMOS switch, take out out CMOS battery, check all the connections and I still get nothing. ¬†However, there are lights turned on on the motherboard. I also have a little LCD screen connected to it (it’s an Asus Striker II Extreme motherboard) and on it was blinking the message “CPU INIT”. ¬†Doing some Internet searching, some people claimed it was a dead CMOS battery. ¬†This could be a possibility since I lost all power to the house just a few days before. I went to Walgreens the next day and got a fresh battery and: nothing.

I started yanking things out of the power supply and removing memory modules just to barebones the darn thing and still: nothing. ¬†I was ready to throw this PC out, but then I tried one more thing: I removed the USB cable to my KVM switch and the network cable: BINGO! ¬†The motherboard screeched to life…and then died. ¬†I hooked everything back up and then…she booted! I plugged the USB cable back to my KVM and now the PC is behaving. ¬†It was some weird interaction between the KVM switch and the computer.

I then decided to install Virtualbox and a XP VM for testing on the same PC. ¬†Upon trying to run Windows update within the VM, SVCHOST.EXE would go to 99% of the CPU and that was it. ¬†I used WSUSOffline to download all of the XP updates on another computer and then I ran them within the VM. ¬†And then…SVCHOST.EXE went back to 99% CPU. ¬†ARGH! ¬†If you try to change the interrupt priority, Windows will tell you “ACCESS DENIED” even when you are logged in as an Administrator. ¬†This is because SVCHOST.EXE is being run as SYSTEM which has higher privileges than administrator. ¬†Simply run¬†psexec -s -i cmd.ex. ¬†Actually, that should have an extra e at the end, but WordPress has a bug in it and won’t let me save the post without giving a 403 error (I’m submitted the bug to them).

– Soli Deo Gloria

 

Windows 8.1 is Out

Windows 8.1 is out. ¬†Big flipping deal! ¬†I decided to be risky and updated to 8.1 from 8.0 on Saturday on my home PC. ¬†You have to pull the update from Microsoft’s App Store. ¬†During the setup process, Microsoft now forces you to create an online Microsoft account and associate it with your local Windows profile: how rude! ¬†Of course, when the setup was done, I went to the Users Accounts applet in the Control Panel to disconnect it and convert it back to a local account. ¬†I know Microsoft really, really, really wants me to put everything in the cloud, but I choose not to. And they really, really, really want me to use their app store for loading applications, but the only app I’ve loaded is the 8.1 update and that is under duress.

The update torched all VPN software I had loaded requiring an uninstall and reinstall of said software. ¬†The update also messed up HyperV…I have two NICs and it appears to have bound the virtual switch to the one not plugged in (took me a good hour to nail that problem down!) Then I was getting a LogiLDA.DLL error message on bootup, so I had to go through to the registry and delete all keys relating to this file…something about a Logitech Download Assistant? ¬†Classic Shell was borked as well, so I had to load version 4.0 and then I was able to once again not have to look at that evil Metro/Modern UI startup page. ¬†I did switch over to Metro to change my login screen wallpaper and then this stupid tip “Switch between apps” kept coming up and blocking part of my screen. ¬†It kept telling me to swipe the edge of the screen to dismiss the tip…but I DO NOT HAVE A TOUCHSCREEN MICROSOFT! ¬†ARGH! ¬†Off to Google to find a fix and this seems to be a common issue: you have to put your mouse is the very left corner of the screen and then the annoying tip screen goes away.

Still not impressed by Windows 8. ¬†Please redeem yourself Microsoft! ¬†If it wasn’t for HyperV, I would be very tempted in going back to Windows 7. ¬†Here’s another tip: create a shortcut to chrome.exe. ¬†Add “–force-desktop” (without quotes) to the end of it. ¬†Now Chrome won’t randomly go into Metro mode on Windows 8.

– Soli Deo Gloria

No Sound in Windows Media Center

This was a puzzler and happened to me at home! ¬†When I would boot up Windows Media Center, I no longer was getting any sound in the program (sound in Windows was working fine however). No sound in live TV or recorded TV. ¬†However, if I opened up a regular video in the Video Library from within WMC, I would get sound! ¬†Very odd. ¬†Tried a System Restore, but it kept telling me it couldn’t restore files from the C: drive. ¬†I re-setup the speakers in WMC and re-setup the tuner and still: no sound. ¬†I then removed the sound driver and TV tuner driver and let Windows re-detect them and viola: sound was working again!

I love Windows (not).

– Soli Deo Gloria

VBScript to Replace Text in File

Here is simple and elegant VBScript code to replace plain text in a file with one word with another (poached from http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1975321/find-and-replace-string-in-my-text-with-vbscript):

If WScript.Arguments.Count <> 3 then

WScript.Echo "usage: Find_And_replace.vbs filename word_to_find replace_with "
WScript.Quit
end If

FindAndReplace WScript.Arguments.Item(0), WScript.Arguments.Item(1), WScript.Arguments.Item(2)
WScript.Echo "Operation Complete"

function FindAndReplace(strFilename, strFind, strReplace)
Set inputFile = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject").OpenTextFile(strFilename, 1)
strInputFile = inputFile.ReadAll
inputFile.Close
Set inputFile = Nothing
Set outputFile = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject").OpenTextFile(strFilename,2,true)
outputFile.Write Replace(strInputFile, strFind, strReplace)
outputFile.Close
Set outputFile = Nothing
end function

– Soli Deo Gloria