Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Force Windows Media Player to remain maximized after closing in Windows 7 (Work around)

If you were used to WMP retaining your preference to stay maximized in Windows XP, and were disappointed when WMP in Windows 7 did not keep this setting, but rather auto adjusted the window size to the resolution of the video, here is something that may help.

The only reason I prefer WMP over VLC or any other player is because of the way it displays/docks the playlist.  I like the playlist to be part of the video window, so it cannot block any of the video or disappear behind windows.  Additionally I liked that WMP would always remain maximized even after I had closed it.  To get around this stupid change that Microsoft has made, I found some VBS code that can assist.

Simply save this code in a file with the extension "vbs" (ie. wmpmax.vbs) and place it in your startup folder.  This will launch every time you log into Windows and will set the appropriate registry key to the value to have WMP maximized.  This will run every 2 seconds (2000 milliseconds).  You can change that value to whatever you want.  Just remember, it's in milliseconds so however long you want it to wait in seconds, times that by 1000.

 Set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")  
 Do Until x = 1  
 WshShell.RegWrite "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Preferences\Maximized", 1 ,"REG_SZ"  
 Wscript.Sleep 2000  

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How to disable your data connection in Android

There are tons of resources available to provide the steps that I am about to provide.  I just wanted to share this as well and my story as to why I needed to do this.

Here are the steps that can be performed to disable your data connection on your Android based phone.  This only disabled your mobile data connection such as 3g/4g/etc.  It does not interfere with your WiFi connection/adapter.

Open dialer.
Dial *#*#4636#*#* to open “Testing” screen.
Tap on Phone Information.
Press the Menu key or button.
Tap on More.
Tap on Disable data connection to disconnect and make inactive any
data connection immediately.
Tap on Disable data on boot to disable data connection on next boot up.

**The same steps can be performed to Enable the data connection.

I have a limited data plan for my phone.  I did not sign up for the truly unlimited plan prior to talks of AT&T purchasing T-Mobile (when their unlimited plan became 2GB).  I opted for the lower tiered plan of 200MB.

Yesterday at 4:59PM EST, I received a text message from T-Mobile saying that I had used 90% of my monthly bandwidth (180MB/200MB).  I checked My Account and verified I had 19MB remaining.  This was fine since I had 3 days until my next billing cycle began and I generally use WiFi vs 3G so I don't accidentally go over my predetermined bandwidth.  I was shocked that I even used this much.

About 20 minutes later, I receive another notification that I have exhausted my entire 200MB.  At this point, I don't know what is going down.  I used my Android Advanced Task Killer app to make kill everything was open.  I called T-Mobile to try and see if there was anything they could see on their end and if there was the possibility of suspending my data connection either from their end or if there was something I could do on my phone to stop it.

After the representative verified that I have used all 200MB of my bandwidth, and that I've gone over approximately 1.65MB (10 cents per MB overage charge, rounded up of course), she informed me that they could not temporarily turn off my data connection.  In fact, she offered to upgrade my plan to the next tier (which is the 2GB ""unlimited"" plan) so that I would not be charged for any overages.  And I could call back after my billing cycle reset to downgrade back to what I had (you didn't think they'd call ME back to downgrade my service did you?).

I explained that my whole point is that I don't want to pay extra for anything.  I'm not planning on using it, I just want to preemptively stop the connection so I don't use it until the next cycle.  She placed me on hold to see if there was anything that could be done from the phone.

After a few minutes of potential data raping charges she came back with a code I could punch in on my dial pad.  #763#  She said this would disable my 3G connection and I could dial  #766# to enable the connection once my cycle reset.  Excellent news! I was very excited about this.  I immediately hung up the phone and dialed #763#.

I was on the highway heading to a friends house.  I decided to wait until I arrived before verifying the success of this code.  When I got out of my car, I brought up my browser and was disappointed to find that I still had Internet access.  I dialed the code again and then read the message box, "Your Intl Data Roaming is turned off."  Great... let's call T-Mobile back shall we...

I called back and spoke to another person.  I explained the situation as briefly and effectively as I could.  She too verified the overage (which hadn't gone up from the 1.65MB) and proceeded to recommend upgrading my plan.  It would only be $5 more a month to bump my phone up.  I actually started to bite until she then said my monthly total would go up $15 more.  This was because I would have to upgrade my base plan, which is some old plan that's been grandfathered in, and I would have less features then I do now.  Once again, she was of no help.  My only solution was to place my phone in Flight Mode until I needed to make a phone call.

When I awoke this morning, I fired up my iPad and searched a variance of this article title and found the steps outlined above.  *#*#4636#*#* This brought me into the "testing" menu where I was able to disable my data connection.  After disabling, I verified I was no longer able to access the Internet unless I connected to WiFi.  Problem solved.

For anyone wondering what may have attributed to my data usage, I believe it was 2 apps that my daughter had been playing the night before.  I didn't check to see if they were running, and they have advertisements that I think kept cycling all night long.  That and any "data mining" that was being performed probably contributed.  And the conspiracy of my phone using 19MB within about 20 minutes... I think T-Mobiles notification system or whatever checks your usage is behind awhile and it just took that long to let me know.  In any case, I hope this helps someone else out there.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

FreeNAS 8 RC5 - Shutdown fixed for Acer H340!

The FreeNAS developers have begun providing release candidates for version 8 of their highly acclaimed embedded NAS operating system.

One thing I did not include with my original articles (Parts 1, 2, 3) regarding FreeNAS and the Acer H340 was the shutdown command/process not actually shutting the machine down.  If you were to hit the power button on the device, you would hear the shutdown initialization *beep* as it began the shutdown process.  After a few seconds, the network light on the front would go out but the power remained on.  It was safe to hold the power button down to finish shutting the hardware off but who wants to do that?

Additionally, attempting to shut the machine down through the web interface would result in the same state - OS has unloaded but the server remains on.

I am happy to report that with the latest release candidate of FreeNAS 8, you can completely shutdown your box from the web interface or from hitting the power button!

Unfortunately the NIC issue still appears to be a problem.  I attempted to transfer files over gigabit using the onboard NIC and it locked up.  Since I had purchased a PCI-E add-on NIC, and it still works just as fast, I am fine for now.  Though it would be nice to see the drivers for the onboard realtek NIC to be fixed, so you could have options like failover, load balancing, or just use it as your only NIC and install a nice Sans Digital TowerRAID solution with PCI-E eSATA card.

My next article regarding FreeNAS 8 will be a complete rewrite of my original articles as the installation, interface, and configuration is different.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Keep a handle on your hard drive storage with TreeSize Free

UPDATE:  Since this post was published, I have since moved away from TreeSize Free and started using WinDirStat.  Faster and more up to date.  Check it out.

You would think with todays hard drive capacities you would not need to worry about wasted space.  Think again.  If you ever want to know what all of your hard drive storage is being eaten by, check out TreeSize Free by Jam Software.  This tool has been around for years and it still comes in handy.

The reason I wanted to post about this, is because in my new computer, I only have an 80GB hard drive.  When I went to install a new game which required a lot of space, my drive was nearly full.  I was able to pinpoint problem areas with TreeSize and clear up 23GB.

Fire it up, choose your drive, then watch as the truth unfolds.  This even supports network path/share scanning or a mapped network drive.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Mounting a Windows User Hive in Regedit

Ever need information from a user registry hive but could not successfully boot up the computer?  Here is a quick tip that you may not know about.  You can mount a single users registry hive (commonly seen as HKEY_CURRENT_USER when they're logged in and you launch regedit) outside of that users profile.

A few things you will need before you can mount the hive:

-Access to the NTUSER.dat file in question

-Windows Explorer must be set to "Show hidden files, folders, and drives"

-Windows Explorer must be set to NOT "Hide protected operating system files"

Open regedit (start > run > regedit), select either HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE or HKEY_USERS, then hit File > Load Hive.  When it asks you to browse to a file, be sure you select All Files as the file type (or *.*), and browse to the users directory (commonly C:\Documents and Settings\username\ in XP or C:\users\username\ in 7) and choose the NTUSER.DAT file.  You can enter whatever name you want for the Key name - that will not save anywhere in the hive.

Once loaded, you can now browse the hive for any data you may need, such as mapped printers or network drives.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011