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Archive for June, 2008

Tomb of the Dragon EmperorJust happened to stumble upon the details of the upcoming movie named “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” in IMDB. And I saw there he was: Jet Li. It’s always been a pleasure to watch Jet Li glide through martial-art-motions in the movies – so exquisite are his moves that they leave you wondering how much of those are trick-shooting and how mcuh of are really real. And all the time I felt that he was so unparallel in what he did, the “opponent” in the movies often “had no chance”. I wondered how it would be to see him alongwith other superstars like Jackie Chan in the same movie.

And finally the day came when The Forbidden Kingdom [see IMDB] was released. It was Jackie and Jet together. Forbidden KingdomEven a fight sequence between them – which was a bonus (even though both turned out to be on the same side – the ‘good’ side) – was there for the sore eyes of the audience. I personally feel it makes movies quite rich when superstars work together – but we seldom get to see such instances. Perhaps ego of stardom or perhaps budget of the moviemakers – I don’t know why it does not happen very often. But when it does, it’s really a collectible for fans.

Hope The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor will be as good as we all want it to be – with Brendan and Jet in it together. The trailer looks nice – very nice. Michelle Yeoh and Jet’s one flight-scene that is shown in the trailer looks enthrilling. Eagerly waiting now…

[Image courtesies: www.imdb.com]

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I know that the title is a little far fetched – but thanks to the freeware called ObjectDock, I have now transformed the desktop of my Windows Vista almost to a desktop of a Mac machine. You can see the screen-shot below:

desktop

It’s a very lightweight software, and runs fantastically in Vista. Even though I am getting some “windows explorer stopped responding” messages, but I am yet to attribute the issue to this software. And even if it is the cause of those errors, I am sure sooner or later a patch will come off Microsoft that will fix it up. For the time being let me just enjoy the nice software.

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** SNEAK PEEK ** For final state of the problem and its solution, please check comment #6 for this post. Also check this comment.

Let me share a story with you about the most baffling and irritating problem I ever experienced with my laptop. It’s the same machine which, earlier, played tricks like “class not registered” and “hibernation option disappeared” on me (which I have discussed in earlier posts in this blog). The latest one that it threw at me rendered me completely witless. The machine simply stopped the wireless connectivity – and I was stuck with my laptop in one single place of the room where the ethernet cable was hooked up!

I use a HP Pavilion tx1000 Notebook, which they also called an “entertainment PC”. It’s really a nice one, even though a little less powerful than equivalent Intel Core 2 Duo machines (this one runs on AMD Turion 64×2 [dual core] processor), but really a value for money with packed up good features and softwares from HP.

The wireless on it was running excellently well since the day I had bought it, which would be more than a year by now. The machine was reset back to its factory settings in April this year, as I was trying to get the Vista SP1 installed cleanly. And it worked fine for about a month as well, since that was done.

And then one fine day last week, the wireless was simply gone! The Device Manager was not showing the wifi device, reinstalling the WLAN driver wasn’t causing any change, flashing the BIOS and installing the latest one from HP’s website wasn’t curing anything!

As you can understand, I went through a series of attempts in order to resolve the problem, as I was getting various opinions from the forums across the internet:

  • System restore to a point before the problem – Solved it once and got wireless back. After a reboot problem came back again.
  • Complete factory restore (yes, I did it again!) – Solved it once. After reboot problem came back again.
  • Did a complete factory restore once more and checked through “safe mode with networking” – The wireless worked once and then disappeared from safe mode as well after a reboot.

A completely flabbergasted me tried chatting with an HP support agent online. She advised (and as was advised by a particular thread in the internet as well) to remove and reseat the wireless card in the machine. Now I would have tried that out, but the screw was so small that I was lacking a right tool to do it. Thinking of that as the last option (well, the last one in reality will be to go to a machanic and get it fixed by paying for it!), I was willing to wait till I could find a tool, meanwhile my machine was connected to the net via ethernet cable.

Since the machine was rebuilt now back to factory settings, I was installing softwares back one after another. In the process of that, I uninstalled Norton Internet Security that came with the machine with a 60 days trial period (now this is funny – every time I took my machine back through the time machine called “reset to factory settings”, my 60 day period renewed!).

The moment it was done, my wireless came back! And it stayed on even after subsequent reboots.

It reminded me of a particular thread in one of the forums I visited – that another person had the same problem and killing some of the Norton processes running did the trick for him. However, his case was that wireless was working in safe mode (w/ networking) and wasn’t in normal mode – and he could do a process-by-process-comparison between the 2 states of the machine.

Anyway, I now use AVG Free Antivirus, Windows Firewall, Windows Defender, and Norton Security Scan (that came with Google pack). And I use my wireless. Bye bye, Norton Internet Security!

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This is definitely one of the experiences I will remember for quite sometime. I shared here earlier about the problem I had with windows vista’s explorer and “class not registered” error, for which no easy solution was in hand. I was hoping for so many days that the “mythical vista service pack 1” will get rid of the problem. When the first set of discussions started appearing in vista-blog (hosted by Microsoft) and then around the net, my hopes were shrinking as I was reading through the set of “issues” the guys at Microsoft tried to fix with the service pack. My issue wasn’t listed! But still, you know, hopes die hard!

And when it died, there were blood all over the floor!

Service pack 1 got released and I downloaded it from Microsoft’s download zone. I double clicked the exe. It started.

After first set of installs while windows was running, it said more things will be done as I shut down my computer. I was a good boy and I listened to its plea and clicked on “shut down”.

[State A] Up came the blue screen (not of death, but the nice one with green threads of light that’s the treadmark of Vista [well, to be more accurate, of Visa Home Premium]) – and up came the words “Installing service pack – stage 1 of 3”.

[State B] It ran for an hour before saying “could not install service pack – reverting back changes – will try again during start up”.

[State C] While starting up, it was again “installing… stage 1 of 3” for 10 mins, then “could not install service pack – reverting changes”.

[State D] I could use the computer, but since this no further updates from Microsoft were being accepted, as it said “something is pending in the update queue [yeah, your bloody service pack, you idiot!] – so please clear it and then try me again”.

And loop infinite from State A -> D and back to A.

And that was my life for about a month (I even stopped shutting down the bloody laptop – always kept it on hibernate), before I got fed up to no end, and just restored the laptop back to factory settings (i.e., cleared the accumulated dirt of one year off it) – installed my needful softwares one after another – and, of yes, installed Service Pack 1 clean and smooth.

And yeah, my problem of “class not registered” went away!

During that month of dread I searched virtually every forum that talked about service pack 1 and its problems – problems people faced during installation – and their rational solutions. I even saw a site that said “we fix PCs – we remove vista and give you xp”. But it seemed no one was suffering from the infinite loop of installations and reversals that I enjoyed riding in. Lucky lot!

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(Something that I wrote some months back, but publishing now)

Sharing one of the biggest problem and its “temporary” resolution that I experienced with my Windows Vista machine in recent past:

The Problem

One fine day, the windows explorer stopped opening through “windows-key+E” hotkey for me. It started throwing an error popup saying “class not registered”. The similar error was coming in various places, like opening “pictures”, “documents”, “games” from start menu, right clicking on desktop and opening “personalise” etc.

Feeble Attempts

Trying out few of the recent windows system restores did not work, perhaps because I was too late to realise the severity of the problem, and too late in attempting to find the right restore point before it got pushed out of the quota set for SVM (system volume information).

Finally A Way That Worked

After checking what seemed like a million websites, I found a temporary resolution which I since followed – every time I boot computer, I do the following first:

1. Open task manager
2. Kill “explorer.exe” from process list
3. Go to file > new task > launch “explorer.exe”

The “class not registered” error goes away.

But you have do this every time you reboot computer.

Hopefully the mythical “vista service pack 1” will come with a resolution!

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