Solutions Through IT

March 22, 2017

“Demoticating” Outlook aka Stopping Outlook from changing text to Emoticons

Filed under: Outlook, Outlook 2016, Rants — solutionsthroughit @ 12:34

Sick of Outlook changing your 🙂 into Smile?  Want to stop the smiley faces from looking like you’re on a chat program instead of Outlook?

Whilst a smiley in an email isn’t as professional, swapping out text for image is less professional IMO, so I’d like to stop doing it!

The procedure to do this is (sort of) simple.  Hover your mouse over your recently Frankensteined smiley image.  See that blue line?  Hover over that.

You’ll now get a drop down menu image.  Click on that.

Now, you’ll have to select  Stop Automatically Correcting image and it will stop correcting for that particular smiley type.  You’ll have to rinse and repeat for all the permutations of the smileys that you use.

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May 27, 2013

Dell Fingerprint Security!?!

Filed under: Dell, Hardware, Rants, Security — solutionsthroughit @ 15:45

Holy Freaking Security Debarkle, Batman.  Just experienced one of THE MOST FRUSTRATING experiences with hardware that I’ve had for a long time.

First up: Finding the files to install.  Despite issuing the website with my service tag and OS, the support site didn’t want to give me the fingerprint software / firmware.  After trying to build a DOS based USB boot disk, to attempt to boot the DOS based (yes, it’s 2013, and you apparently can’t run a GUI installer to update the firmware for the BIOS), we actually find the GUI application that updates the BIOS.  After installing the Dell ControlVault Firmware, then we have to re-install the Dell Data Protection Access.  After this, we can finally install the Dell ControlVault Driver. 

After we’d sorted out the issues, configuring the Dell FIPS software for this notebook (mine no less!) took two IT guys well over two hours to fuddle their way into getting this working.  Dell, I shouldn’t be wasting MY time to fix YOUR lack of documentation. 

Some of the “fun” errors we had were “The original 6503 could not be located in the dynamic link library.” 

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We couldn’t enable the fingerprint reader when there was a Microsoft Live account present.

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We also couldn’t setup the biometric – because the system administrator had set policies that disallow biometrics.

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Resolution:

Open control panel, and search for biometric.  Click on Change Biometric Settings.

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Tick “Allow users to log on to a domain using their fingerprints”, and then Save Changes.

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December 17, 2012

Test post

Filed under: Ramblings, Rants — solutionsthroughit @ 19:26

Test. Ing.

September 7, 2012

Good Ol’ Fashioned Service–It still exists!

Filed under: Ramblings, Rants — solutionsthroughit @ 11:00

Harvey Norman your customer service ROCKS! 

We purchased a fridge and washer from you on Tuesday, and brought home the washer.  We organised for the fridge to be delivered on or before Saturday. Just in case, I made a call yesterday to confirm we were still going to receive our fridge on time.  Turns out there was an issue with ordering the fridge (internally) and I wasn’t going to get it on time. 

I went in today, after a bit of investigation, I’m now getting a similar fridge (larger) at the same price.  AWESOME service.  This is also the reason that I prefer the “bricks and mortar” stores.  I also ended up getting the fridge for LESS than the best price online.  Surprisingly – even if I’d have paid the sticker price for the newer fridge, it was less than 10% more expensive than the online ones.

Yes, I had to waste some time to resolve this, yes, they got it wrong.  HOWEVER – I’m now getting MORE than what I wanted and paid for, ON TIME.

I’ll be back!

Harvey Norman

May 16, 2012

3D Movies are Rubbish.

Filed under: Ramblings, Rants — solutionsthroughit @ 08:36

This Gizmodo article states that “Someone in Hollywood Finally Gets That 3D Movies Are Rubbish”.  Essentially, he’s saying that going to the movies to focus on something smaller than the screen (in your face if you will) detracts from the viewing experience.  It’s no longer “larger than life”.  I disagree with this. 

3D sucks for another reason.

My biggest issue with 3D, is that it doesn’t “feel” right.  My head is constantly telling me that something is wrong, because every object is in focus, at all times, or an object that I may want to focus on, is not focusable.  We see ONLY see in focus what the director wants us to see in focus.  We can’t see some objects, because this director person decided we didn’t need to focus on them.  This means that if I am looking at two objects, with different “viewing” distances, I can see that they are both in focus, when my head is telling me I shouldn’t be able to do that, if they were really distant.  Same goes for if  I want to focus on an object that is out of focus (unimportant or blurred out for a reason), my head also alerts to a problem where focus no longer functions.

The reason that Avatar and Tron were so “good” is that there was little “in your face” 3D – it was utilised to give additional depth to the movies, rather than throwing something off the screen purely for the “ooooh” factor, that they’ve used 3D.  The “depth” or background CAN be all at the one level of focus, because it’s supporting the foreground action.  Alternatively, if the background distance shot is the primary focus, because it is so “far” it is always all in focus anyway.

Then there’s this cracked article that is nicely summarised with “But most movies rely on suspension of disbelief, expecting you to feel for a couple of hours like the world on that screen is real, and the people in it matter, and giant body parts coming at you just ruins that (unless you’re watching porn). The majority of the time, you don’t want 3D to come into your world.  You want it to pull you into their world.

It’s really not that much of a new technology, I guess it’s just more affordable now.  We’re going to get the “star wipe” over-use directors, who have to show us that shiny object right up in our faces.  I guess we’ve just got to show them that their 3D movie is rubbish, by going and seeing the 2D one instead.  Hopefully the people funding the movies understand this better than the directors, and cut funding for 3D when required!

April 29, 2012

Samsung TV talking to DNLA streaming service (aka SERViiO is a lot better than TVersity!)

Filed under: Ramblings, Rants, Tools and Utilities — Tags: , , — solutionsthroughit @ 10:33

My last post described the effort that I had to put in, to get TVersity to talk to my TV, and still not function for mkv content (when converting the kids DVD’s, they look MUCH better now that we’ve got a larger screen).  So, I gave SERViiO a go.  The instructions went something like this:

  1. Install Java
  2. Install SERViiO
  3. Configure media location
  4. ????
  5. Profit (by watching your media

Turns out that even though I installed it, I apparently installed the wrong java, so the application did it for me (after asking).  It installed.  I ran the application.  Told it to go look “over there” (UNC path).  It said sure.  I was watching media in about 5 minutes.  Actually there was ONE step that I had to do in addition to specifying where the media library was – I had to tell SERViiO what device the TV was.  From a drop down box.  Without having to change any settings, or spend four hours researching the problem and cobbling together my own hack.

For some strange reason, I’m not going to post about TVersity for the next while, because I don’t want the bother of using it again!

April 26, 2012

Samsung “SmartTV” talking to TVersity fun and games. SUCCESS! RESOLVED!

Filed under: Ramblings, Rants — Tags: , , — solutionsthroughit @ 19:51

 

Feel free to disregard this article – check here for a much better alternative to TVersity – SERViiO.  Better features, easier to configure and setup.  Not going through the stress of below again!

That was a fun few hours.  After spending an ahttps://solutionsthroughit.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/samsung-tv-talking-to-dnla-streaming-service-aka-serviio-is-a-lot-better-than-tversity/wful amount of time, I established how to configure my TV.  Problem: the solution required a fixed IP address on the TV.  This lead me down the path of trying to figure out what my inUASubstr value for my Samsung TV.  It’s actually harder to do this than I’d anticipated, and was also a royal PAIN to do.  If anyone changes the TV’s name, it’s going to break this solution.

The following code segment is what I used to get this to work.  I’m sure that it can be tweaked a little further, but for now, this works PERFECTLY if at least one of the two following items have been set.  Either the IP address (below) or the inUASubStr has to be populated.  In the <HTTPHeader /> tag below, on of the elements is “inUASubStr”.  In the example below, my string is SEC_HHP_[TV] DADS TV/1.0.  This is likely related to the fact that I’ve called my TV “Dads TV” :).

To find this value, I had to configure TVersity so that debug logging was turned on.  (Short answer: edit MediaServer.log4cxx.properties in the installation folder (C:\ProgramData\TVersity for my Windows7).  Change FATAL to DEBUG (first line, remember where/how to change it back).  Restart TVersity, and get the Samsung to “talk” to the player.  It will help a LOT if you don’t have any other uPNP media devices / computers on at the time, this includes the TVersity console. 

Now you can search TVersityMediaServer.log (windows\system32 folder or \windows\sysWOW64 for x64).   Search for the string USER-AGENT.  I found USER-AGENT: SEC_HHP_[TV] DADS TV/1.0 in the middle of my log, so simply chopped the “USER-AGENT:” portion off, and added it as the element value as per below.

<profile id="d49c5473-d274-044b-b6e4-dcbfe05d6fda"><!-- SamsungTV -->

    <friendlyName>Samsung TV</friendlyName>

    <manufacturerName>Samsung</manufacturerName>

    <modelName>UA46D6003</modelName>

    <icon>/images/device_icon_dtv.png</icon>

 

    <!--

    To be set manually by users

    -->

    <HTTPHeader outServerUA="Samsung HTTP streaming server
contentFeatures.dlna.org: DLNA.ORG_PN=MP3;DLNA.ORG_OP=01;DLNA.ORG_CI=0;DLNA.ORG_FLAGS=01500000000000000000000000000000
" inUASubstr="SEC_HHP_[TV] DADS TV/1.0"/>

 

    <!-- The Name of the media serverdevice description file that should be used in conjunction with a player that

    corresponds to this profile -->

    <deviceDescription name="UPNP_AV_MediaServer_1.0.allservices.xml"/>

 

    <!-- The container identifier media players of this profile expect

    -->

    <contentDirectory shortUrl="true" friendlyFilename="false"/>

 

    <!-- When transcoding is needed to which format should we transcode -->

    <transcodeTarget audio="audio/mp3" video="video/mpeg2" photo="image/jpeg"

    onlineAudio="audio/mp3" onlineVideo="video/mpeg2" onlinePhoto="image/jpeg" />

 

    <maxVideoInfo width="1920" height="1080" bitrate="20000000" fps="60000/1001"></maxVideoInfo>

    <minVideoInfo width="0" height="0" bitrate="0" fps="15"></minVideoInfo>

 

    <maxImageInfo width="1920" height="1080"></maxImageInfo>

    <minImageInfo width="0" height="0"></minImageInfo>

 

    <maxAudioInfo sampleRate="48000" bitsperSample="16" nchannels="6" bitrate="1536000"></maxAudioInfo>

    <minAudioInfo sampleRate="44100" bitsperSample="8" nchannels="1" bitrate="20000"></minAudioInfo>

 

    <fileInfo maxSize="9223372036854775807"/>

 

    <mimetypeList>

    <mimetype value="audio/L16"/><!--PCM audio format-->

    <mimetype value="audio/wav"/><!-- WAV audio format-->

    <mimetype value="audio/x-wav" rename="audio/wav"/><!-- Another mume type used for WAV audio format-->

    <mimetype value="audio/wave" rename="audio/wav"/><!-- Another mume type used for WAV audio format-->

    <mimetype value="audio/x-pn-wav" rename="audio/wav"/><!-- Another mume type used for WAV audio format-->

 

    <mimetype value="audio/mpeg"/><!-- MP3 audio format-->

    <mimetype value="audio/x-mpeg" rename="audio/mpeg"/><!-- MP3 audio format-->

    <mimetype value="audio/mp3" rename="audio/mpeg"/><!-- MP3 audio format-->

    <mimetype value="audio/x-mp3" rename="audio/mpeg"/><!-- MP3 audio format-->

    <mimetype value="audio/mpeg3" rename="audio/mpeg"/><!-- MP3 audio format-->

    <mimetype value="audio/x-mpeg3" rename="audio/mpeg"/><!-- MP3 audio format-->

    <mimetype value="audio/mpg" rename="audio/mpeg"/><!-- MP3 audio format-->

    <mimetype value="audio/x-mpg" rename="audio/mpeg"/><!-- MP3 audio format-->

    <mimetype value="audio/x-mpegaudio" rename="audio/mpeg"/><!-- MP3 audio format-->

 

    <mimetype value="image/jpeg"/><!-- jpeg image format-->

    <mimetype value="image/jp2"/><!--JPEG2000 image format-->

    <mimetype value="image/bmp"/><!-- BMP image format-->

    <mimetype value="image/png"/><!-- PNG image format-->

    <mimetype value="image/gif"/><!-- GIF image format-->

 

    <mimetype value="video/mpeg"/><!-- MPEG (1 or 2 program or transport stream) video format-->

    <mimetype value="video/mpeg2" rename="video/mpeg"/><!-- MPEG2 (program or transport stream) video format-->

    <mimetype value="video/mp2p" rename="video/mpeg"/><!-- MPEG2 program stream (VOB) video format-->

    <mimetype value="video/dvd" rename="video/mpeg"/><!-- MPEG2 program stream (VOB) video format-->

    <mimetype value="video/mp2t"/><!-- MPEG2 transport stream video format-->

 

    <mimetype value="audio/aac"/><!--MPEG4 audio format-->

    <mimetype value="audio/x-aac" rename="audio/aac"/><!--MPEG4 audio format-->

    <mimetype value="audio/x-mpg" rename="audio/mpeg"/><!-- MP3 audio format-->

    <mimetype value="audio/x-mpegaudio" rename="audio/mpeg"/><!-- MP3 audio format-->

 

    <mimetype value="video/avi"><!-- AVI video format-->

    <codec name="MPEG4"/><!-- XVID, h263, DIVX version 4/5 and any mpeg4 ASP (layer 5) compliant stream (H264, AKA MPEG4 layer 10, is not included here)-->

    <codec name="MSMPEG4V3"/><!-- MSMPEG4v3 which is also DIVX version 3 (fourcc DIV3)and AngelPotion (fourcc AP41)-->

    <codec name="H264"/><!-- H264, AKA MPEG4 AVC or MPEG4 layer 10 or MPEG4.10 -->

    <codec name="MP2" maxBitrate="320000"/><!-- MPEG2 Audio--><!-- never tested in AVI-->

    <codec name="PCM_S16LE"/><!-- Uncompressed PCM Audio-->

    <codec name="PCM_S16BE"/><!-- Uncompressed DVD PCM Audio--><!-- never tested-->

    <codec name="MP3" maxBitrate="320000"/><!-- MPEG1 Layer 3 Audio-->

    <codec name="AC3"/><!-- Dolby Digital AC3 Audio-->

    </mimetype>

    <mimetype value="video/x-msvideo" rename="video/avi"/>

    <mimetype value="video/x-divx" rename="video/avi"/>

 

    <mimetype value="video/MP4V-ES"><!-- MPEG4 video format-->

    <codec name="MPEG4"/><!-- XVID, h263, DIVX version 4/5 and any mpeg4 ASP (layer 5) compliant stream (H264, AKA MPEG4 AVC or MPEG4 layer 10 or MPEG4.10, is not included here)-->

    <codec name="H263"/><!-- h263-->

    <codec name="H264"/><!-- H264, AKA MPEG4 AVC or MPEG4 layer 10 or MPEG4.10 -->

    <codec name="MP2" maxBitrate="320000"/><!-- MPEG2 Audio--><!-- never tested-->

    <codec name="PCM_S16LE"/><!-- Uncompressed PCM Audio-->

    <codec name="PCM_S16BE"/><!-- Uncompressed DVD PCM Audio--><!-- never tested-->

    <codec name="AC3"/><!-- Dolby Digital AC3 Audio-->

    <codec name="MP3" maxBitrate="320000"/><!-- MPEG1 Layer 3 Audio-->

    </mimetype>

    <mimetype value="video/mp4v" rename="video/MP4V-ES"/>

    <mimetype value="video/mp4" rename="video/MP4V-ES"/><!-- MPEG4 video format-->

    <mimetype value="video/h264" rename="video/avi"/><!-- MPEG4 video format-->

    <!-- mimetype value="video/x-matroska"/ -->

 

    </mimetypeList>

    </profile>

Alternatively, if you can’t be bothered (or can’t figure the above out) then hard set your TV’s IP address.  You can then add the following code below the <icon> tag and above the <!—To be set

<devicesIP value="[the IP address of your TV]"/>

This will get you grooving your TV, without any other requirements!

If anyone has any further success (especially with ff/rr), please comment / ping-back below.  If this helps you, please don’t forget let us know how it helped!

April 16, 2012

Stickers are great–sometimes!

Filed under: Dell, Ramblings, Rants — solutionsthroughit @ 18:04

Had to have a look at a machine with a failed HDD.  Apart from a fairly hot CPU, I was bemused by the bottom stickers (I’m too lazy to split these two stickers and put them on each individual RAM module) and concerned by the top sticker – IN BETWEEN THE CPU AND HEAT SINK!.  To Dell’s credit, this was probably put together by someone either new on the job (or just about to be retired) as this is the first one that I’ve EVER seen like this.  Same for the Dell tech and his bemused manager.  They also organised to ship out a new CPU, new heat sink in addition to the failed hard drive.  Kudos to Dell Pro support!

image

Yup, you’re not supposed to insulate CPU’s from the heat sink!

1

February 1, 2011

XBOX 360 & Kinect Warning: Get your tinfoil hat out (or not)

Filed under: Conspiracy, Kinect, Rants, XBox 360 — solutionsthroughit @ 13:36

Saw this statement on friendface today in reference to watching Foxtel on your XBox 360 – “I wouldn’t do it because the xbox records everything you do in front of it. It can also be hacked and reverse engineered so third parties can watch what you’re doing without you even knowing. Being microsoft it’s easily hacked into, one reason not to connect it to the internet as well.

There are some key concerns that I have with a statement like this. 

  1. You’re just not that interesting.

    An exploit like this will take a LOT of effort.  Many hours of work to get this done.  And for what result?  Watching some random people, sit on a couch, watch TV, drink a beverage and possibly scratch an inappropriate location?  Wow – if you’re a celebrity who people (for some unknown reason) demand to see silly shots like this, fine – I can see a potential reason for doing this.  If you’re Joe Schmoe, unlikely to be up to any shenanigans that are worthy (or even worthwhile) of watching, can’t see this happening.

  2. This is VERY unlikely.  Hacks these days require too much hands on.

    The XBox 360 can run unsigned code.  However, you need specific games, hacked DVD firmwares, chips or other pre-existing hacks to begin with.  If you’ve got an off the shelf Xbox, on Live, with all updates etc running.  This won’t [1] happen.  Have a read of some of the links in the first sentence.  Not going to happen without you noticing someone doing stuff on your XBox!

  3. Storage?  I don’t think so!

    Again, we’re in Australia.  Thanks to shoddy Telco’s and governments we’ve got 2nd world internet access.  Slow upload speeds.  This means that if the Kinect is going to “record everything” then all that video/still and audio data has to go somewhere.  That’s either uploaded to the ‘net or stored on your XBox and then uploaded to the ‘net.  If this was the case, they’d either not be getting quality data, or your ‘net connection is going to be unusable – although they could implement rate limiting on the send speed – why not, they’ve hacked an incredibly hard piece of hardware remotely, to spy on you, they can throw in some rate limiting functionality.

Stupid #$%^#$%ing Windows Live Writer

Filed under: Rants — solutionsthroughit @ 13:15

Crashed after spending a good 20 minutes on a well prepared rant about silly comments.  *sighs*

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