December 31, 2001

OK the current status of the MMJB saga is that I reinstalled MMJB 6.0 over version 7.0 and the good news is that the software detected that it was going to install over a newer version and warned me but the bad news is that when I installed it anyway, it overwrote the newer driver file for MxlW2k.sys with an older one :p I had a copy of the newer driver file though and I copied into the Windows System directory and MMJB 6.0 worked fine with the file and I had no more problems with lockups at shutdown but MMJB still would not detect a CD change and I have to close MMJB each time after I’ve done a rip and then insert a new CD so that MMJB would automatically start up and get the CDDB info for the new CD :-( Ah well … maybe MMJB tech support will have a solution for me today but I’m almost done with my CD’s and I have this feeling that I’ll get a solution from tech support just after I complete ripping my last CD <vbg> … Just inserted my last CD into the CD drive … so any moment now :p

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Posted by Fahim at 10:16 am  |  1 Comment

December 29, 2001

Most of my time on my computer the last couple of days has been spent in trying to fix an interesting problem. I have a notebook computer and I have Windows XP running on it and a few days ago I decided to install MusicMatch Jukebox on it since I needed to rip my collection into MP3’s for the sake of portability since I can fit about ten of my music CD’s into one CD-R of MP3’s. I’ve used MusicMatch Jukebox (MMJB) before and I’ve liked it and so I decided to register since the installer I had on my machine was for a fairly old 6.0 version whereas their site said that version 7.0 was out. Of course, I’d installed 6.0 by this time and I’d upgraded the 6.0 installation by this time with the key I received for registering. Everything was working fine so far. I then proceeded to use their software update option from inside MMJB and upgraded to 7.0 and when I ran the app for the first time, wham! Crash!

I’ve been trying various combinations since then. I’ve uninstalled MMJB completely, downloaded their 7.0 installer and tried that – crash! I’ve installed 6.0 and installed 7.0 over that – crash! Some people would say that since 6.0 works fine that I should leave well enough alone … but the problem is that 6.0 works but only up to a point <vbg> What I mean is that 6.0 works fine normally but it doesn’t detect that I’ve changed a CD after ripping it – so I need to close MMJB and restart it again each time I change the CD. In addition to that, somewhere along the way this seems to have messed up my Windows setup as well since now I can’t shutdown my machine completely – somewhere along the shutdown process it just locks up and I have to power off manually.

I wrote to MusicMatch tech support since their main option of tech support seems to be from inside MMJB itself and I can’t use that option with 7.0 and that’s where my problems were. Since I registered on Christmas day and all these problems started then, obviously there was no response that day except for a canned message. There was no response the next day or the next day either. I finally heard from them yesterday and they wanted me to send them certain log files from the MMJB installation and describe the problem to them in detail. I’d gone back to 6.0 for the moment since I really needed to get those CD rips done and so I installed 7.0 over that and sent them the info and then went back to 6.0 but the problems still keep bugging me.

I did some further checks last night and suddenly noticed that my CD-RW drive had some new drivers – in addition to the signed XP drivers, there were a few unsigned files as well. A few of them were from Adaptec EasyCD (which I also use) but there was one from MusicMatch named MxlW2k.sys. I was immediately suspicious of that and did a search on Google for the file name and came up with one entry where somebody mentioned that their machine locked up because that file got corrupted. I deleted the file and rebooted and I had no CD-ROM drive because that file had inserted itself into the driver chain and was now missing but my lockups on shutdown problem had disappeared – so MxlW2k.sys must be the culprit! I installed MMJB 7.0 so that I would get the latest MxlW2k.sys file and I got my CD-ROM drive back and the lockups on shutdown were gone as well but still no working MMJB! Today I’m gonna try installing 6.0 over the existing 7.0 and see if that will retain the updated MxlW2k.sys file and let me work with MMJB 6.0 without the CD change detection problems … Ah the joys of software :p

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Posted by Fahim at 9:05 am  |  2 Comments

December 27, 2001

Interesting, I read today that Blogger was hacked over Christmas and that they are asking all Blogger users to change their FTP passwords – I guess the main reason that I started coding Blog in the first place (other than for the fact that I can’t mirror the same journal to more than one site <g>) has been proven right. I hate having my passwords on a public server and then finding that it has been compromised! Ah well – I guess such is the age we live in. Then again, who is to say that even my machine is secure since we have so many worms, trojans etc. floating around?

Speaking of Blog, I’ve been thinking of putting my unfinished work on Scope on hold again so that I can get Blog 5.0 released once and for all. I do have lots of ideas for Blog but not enough motivation for Scope :p I have a feature-request list as long as my arm for Scope though :-) What I want to do for Blog 5.0 is to add a search feature and then make that the final release, then I want to start working on Blog 6.0 which will have remote-automation features such as the ability to monitor an e-mail account and automatically make posts based on e-mails received. I also want to add automatic dial-out capabilities (if possible) for 6.0 so that you can have some sort of scheduling ability in Blog and so can set it to dial-out at a specific time daily (or at given time intervals …) to check your mail and then do the automated publishing. This will basically give you the ability to make entries from anywhere in the world without the need for a central server – plus of course the ability for multiple users to make posts to one journal. Ah so much to do and so little time – especially right now … but hopefully it will all get done sooner or later :-)

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Posted by Fahim at 8:15 am  |  1 Comment

December 26, 2001

The weekend was long but extremely busy :p I had movies to watch on TV, stuff that I needed to pack and set up and mail off etc. and on top of it all, I had “Final Fantasy X” to play! Actually, I didn’t play as much as I would have liked to … I played the game once and was very impressed by it – the graphics are reminiscent of “Final Fantasy VIII” but I like the story better because it’s magic oriented instead of tech-oriented. I wanted to play the game at my leisure instead of hurrying through it and so decided to set it aside for a while since I really had a lot of other stuff to do over the weekend.

Speaking of doing stuff and time management, I can tell you what the biggest waste of my time this weekend was – Charter Communications and their non-appearing techs! The tech people from Charter were supposed to pay me a visit on Friday since I was told by them that I had broadband access in my area finally (and as I probably mentioned earlier, they’d come over a while back and set up the modem and stuff only to discover that I had no access in my area :p) but of course, I personally had no access. I talked to their tech support on Thursday, they did some checking and said that they didn’t know what was wrong and that some of their techs would get over to my place on Friday – sometime in the afternoon. I stayed home on Friday and guess what? Nobody turns up! I was mad as hell and called Charter up in the evening and was told that they’d have somebody over the next day (Saturday) but wouldn’t tell me what time and so of course I had to stay home the whole day and surprise, surprise nobody turns up again!! I was really mad by this time and called Charter up and told them what to do with their broadband access but that means that I’ll have to continue with dial-up … Ah well …

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Posted by Fahim at 8:34 am  |  2 Comments

December 21, 2001

All good things must come to an end :p I’ve had my e-maill address at email.com for many, many years now (I forget how long but I believe it is at least four years …) and now they are going semi-commercial and have made their forwarding service a premium one – darn, now I need to find another forwarding e-mail address that is secure, reliable and is free. I’ve been looking around and would you believe it, there seem to be none that fit all the criteria at the moment :-( I guess if I keep on looking, I’ll find one somewhere but for the moment, I’m stumped and I do need to get cracking soon since I believe I’ll lose my e-mail.com service pretty soon … Ah well … such is life …

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Posted by Fahim at 11:22 am  |  4 Comments

December 20, 2001

We got hit by the Gokar worm at work yesterday because somebody in one of our European offices decided to click on the nice attachment :p We got about 25 e-mails out of that yesterday and they shut down the mail server for a while but soon things were back to normal and I had thought that was it since nobody would be stupid enough to click on the attachment again after all the commotion that was caused yesterday – guess I underestimate the power of human stupidity <vbg> Today there were 54 copies of the mail in my inbox! I guess people never learn and never will …

I began looking at various Java IDE’s again for work and was giving the Oracle JDeveloper another look and while it was feature packed and was available as a free download, I found it to be extremely slow and a huge resource hog – especially the release candidate for the new JDeveloper 9i. Since JDeveloper is based on Borland’s JBuilder, I decided to give that a look as well and while I was pretty unimpressed by the free personal edition, I did find the features for the Entereprise edition pretty interesting! Some of the components there gave me a couple of ideas that I’d like to try out but first of course, I’ll need to persuade somebody here to get the trial edition of the Enterprise version on CD :p Guess I’ll let you know if I do get the trial and if my ideas can actually be implemented … :-)

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Posted by Fahim at 8:32 am  |  1 Comment

December 18, 2001

I went through the list of sites using Blog on my Blog page yesterday and realized how outdated parts of the list was :p Some of the sites no longer existed, some of the URLs had changed slightly and some of the sites didn’t use Blog anymore. So I completely updated the list and moved sites that hadn’t been updated in ages to the bottom of the list. Not that it makes much of a difference but that was about the only thing I did yesterday related to any of my apps :-) I still haven’t done any coding and as things stand at the moment, I’m not sure that I will for a while since I am still trying to work out what I want to do and where I want to be. I am greatly tempted to just go back to Sri Lanka right now for many different reasons but I’m also aware that a little time to get things together would help as well. The promised review at work still has not materialized BTW but I’m almost certain that the promises made by my bosses aren’t worth the air used to utter them anyway and have basically made up my mind about that part – I’ll stay here till I get everything together and then leave … Of course, being a very impatient person, I want to leave now instead of waiting :p Ah well …

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Posted by Fahim at 8:24 am  |  1 Comment

December 17, 2001

Scratch what I wrote a while back about XBox action games being easier :p I’ve been playing “Azurik: Rise of Perathia” most of the weekend and it has gotten progressively harder. Fortunately, I was able to find a very valuable cheat which offsets some of the game’s difficulty – the ability to save anywhere :-) I love those hidden cheats! Of course this takes me way back to the time when I first became aware of hidden cheats in games – it was with Doom where you could use IDDKFA etc. Ah those were the days :-) Well, enough of nostalgia <g> Of course, since I spent most of the week playing Azurik and the rest of the time either reading Terry Pratchett’s “The Last Continent” or watching TV, I didn’t get any coding done at all – well, except for fixing a couple of minor bugs in Blog that is :p Yeah, I know I need to either get Scope done or get to work on Blog so that you can have all the neat features that I’ve been promising <vbg> but unfortunately, things are really chaotic for me at the moment and I just can’t seem to concentrate enough on coding. However, I will definitely get back to both projects in time …

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Posted by Fahim at 7:55 am  |  1 Comment

December 14, 2001

Before I forget (I had a lot to write about yesterday and so forgot :p), I did solve the problem with capturing screenshots with alpha-transparent images :-) After I made my

One of my users has mentioned the fact that my e-mail address on this page is not correct, several times on various forums. Today I received an e-mail which justifies me not having a valid e-mail address and making people work to send me an e-mail :p I get this e-mail from something calling itself the LinkExchange saying that they saw my Clint Eastwood tribute page and that if I added a link to their site and let them know, that they’ll add a link to mine – yeah, right! If you follow the link, you’ll notice that it is just one of my older posts where I simply mention Clint Eastwood with regards to a movie that I’d seen. So these people were obviously using some sort of a trawling app to look for all pages with the words Clint Eastwood on them and then simply filtered anything that looked like an e-mail on that page and sent mail to all those people – I hate that!! Of course, I thought I was safe since my e-mail address is coded with AT and DOT but now I went back and took a look and realized that I’d missed my address in one place, drat! So now I’ve fixed that as well … so there :p

I played “Azurik: Rise of Perathia” some more yesterday and while I still like the game, I have a few complaints as well :p OK, make it one complaint – I really hate the lack of a save-anywhere facility! There are certain points in the game where you can’t find a save point at all and have to back-track a really long way to get to one and since the particular point that I’m talking about also has a really difficult area to get through, it sucks if you get through the area, don’t have the game saved and then get killed – as happened to me! Oh yeah, another thing I hate is monster behaviour – again in the same area, there is this particularly high ledge where a monster is and where the monster is when you climb a ladder to get to the ledge seems to be random but if the monster is close to the point where you climb up, it will never move away even if you climb down – it will remain close to the ladder and knock you down as soon as you try to climb up again. Hate that :p Other than that, the game is interesting and lots of fun :-)

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Posted by Fahim at 7:08 am  |  No Comments

December 13, 2001

Ok, the latest in the resignation saga? :p I’ve been told that my review was sent to HR (Human Resources :p) some time last week and that I should get it within a week and that my boss’s boss will ensure that this does not happen in the future and that reviews for everybody will be done in a timely manner. We came out of the meeting with the agreement that I would stay but now I realize that it is basically back to the same old thing :p I have to wait for the review and of course, a week can turn into two and two to four and so on and everybody has a perfect excuse – it’s the holiday season <g> So I’ve decided to wait out my two week’s period of notice and see how things go and if I do receive my review, I also want to see how much it is for and then make a final decision as to what I’m going to do … Don’t you hate it when you have to make decisions and live in indecision? :p

I’m working from home again today since my car is in the body shop and they tell me that they are waiting for parts! They are the ones who wanted me to bring my car in and I would think that they’d get the necessary parts before they asked me to come in but no, that’s not the way it works! Of course, I did get a rental (this was on Monday BTW) but when I call my insurance company about the rental coverage, they tell me that they will be paying only $10 (whereas the rental costs $25) per day and that they will not pay out if it was for an unduly long time period – meaning that if it took more than the estimated two days. Since the car has already been in the body shop for three days, I’ve decided to return the rental car and save myself some money. Of course, people tell me that the insurance company is “obligated” to pay for 30 days of rental coverage but I’ll still end up paying more 3/5 of the cost and if the insurance company refuses to pay, what the heck am I going to do? Take them to court? Such is life …

Speaking of life and the general frustration with service organizations, I was waiting for quite a long time for my copy of “Azurik: Rise of Perathia” from Amazon.com but finally gave up :p I wrote to them day before yesterday and at least their customer service is good because I heard back from them within a couple of hours – they said that they were sorry that I hadn’t received my order yet and that they would refund me the money and that I could let them know if I did ever receive the order. I waited another day till yesterday and since there was still no game, I went to the local KMart and bought a copy. I played the game last evening and it was pretty good! It’s not really up to the standard of “Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee” but the graphics are OK (though not superlative like in Munch :p) and the gameplay so far has been interesting. One thing I find irritating though is the fact that you cannot save anywhere in the game and the fact that you can have only one save game – so you can’t have several save games at different points in case you want to start a bit further back in the game. I guess it makes sense given that you can go back and forth all over the world in the game and so there might not be anything you might miss and can’t get back to – at least I haven’t had a situation like that so far.

One thing that I do notice however is that the XBox games seem considerably easier than console games – I’ve never been into action games because I just don’t have the skill and coordination necessary. Either I have improved vastly in the last few years (which I don’t think is possible <g>) or the games are easier on the XBox – and I like that! I’ve played first Munch’s Oddysee and now Azurik and both of them are basically action games but I’ve enjoyed both pretty much, whereas I played “Dark Cloud” on the PS2, found it to be an action adventure and hated it because it just was too hard. I guess die-hard gamers might disagree with me about easy games being good but my vote is (once again :p) for the XBox!

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Posted by Fahim at 6:13 am  |  No Comments

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