September 23, 2011

Help? Unwanted popup

Can anyone tell me how to make Win7 stop doing this?


These damned popups keep showing up. I can make them go away by sweeping the mouse pointer over them, but most of the time when I do that, they pop up again, or a different one does. They eventually go away on their own, but it takes something like 30 seconds.

I have never needed them. I have never wanted them. If this feature could be deactivated somehow, I would be very happy. Does anyone know how to do it?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 09:55 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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September 11, 2011

uTorrent 3.0

This evening I tried upgrading from uTorrent 2.2.1 to uTorrent 3.0. After a few hours I switched back again.

I have a dedicated torrent computer which runs 24/7. I'm seeding about 200 torrents, of which maybe 20 are active at any given moment. (And that is how I've gotten my BakaBT exchange rate up to 10.7.)

When I first started doing this, I let uTorrent use as much upstream as it wanted, and Comcast capped me at 240 kbytes per second. So I set uTorrent to limit at 200 kb/s and it's been like that ever since.

With all the versions of uTorrent I've used up to 2.2.1, it's always saturated the uplink, if it possibly could. There are occasional events which can cause my uplink to falter a bit, but the vast majority of the time it's right at the rail. But with 3.0 it only averaged maybe half that.

And nearly all of what it was using was on the one-and-only download I've got running right now. I'm trying to get the 1080p raw for "Sacred Blacksmith", which has been a bit painful because there isn't a reliable seed for it. It comes and goes, but over the course of a couple of days I've managed to reach 92%. I've also done a fair amount of uploading on that torrent, and right now my ratio is 1.09.

Under 3.0, that was pretty much the only torrent I was doing any significant uploading on. There were a bunch of others where I was running maybe 2K/s, and I was running anything from 50K to 150K on this one. The rest of my bandwidth went to waste. In the few hours I tried 3.0, I don't think it ever saturated the line.

They've completely rewritten the strategy code which allocates bandwidth, somehow. I looked all the way through the configuration frames and I couldn't find anything that would make it work the way I want it to. Which is to say, to work the way 2.2.1 does, which divides the upstream evenly among every leech irrespective of the torrent they're on.

It looks like 3.0 prioritizes torrents where your exchange rate is low. And once your exchange rate tops a certain threshold, it says "To hell with those guys; what have they done for me lately" and chokes them.

So I retreated back to 2.2.1 and I'll be staying with it.

UPDATE: Actually, I did find what I think was controlling that. There was a field which defaulted to "150%" which seemed to indicate that when it reached that upload threshold (which either means 1.5:1 or 2.5:1) then it would crank back. But the documentation also said that changing that field in the setup frame would only affect new torrents. I would have needed to change all the existing ones individually -- and I have 161 running. (I used to have 220, but a couple of weeks ago I trimmed it back quite a lot.)

Manually changing the settings on 161 torrents is not my idea of a good time. That's why I retreated.

When new versions appear, if they do, I'll be watching the change history closely to see if they did something about it. But for the time being there doesn't seem to be any good reason to upgrade. It didn't look like it really offered me anything I don't already have with 2.2.1. why did I upgrade? Well, the one seed on that torrent that I seemed able to connect to wasn't ever giving me any bytes. It was also running uTorrent 3.0. I wondered if they might have done something strange, and maybe if I was running 3.0 then that seed would start feeding me.

Answer: no. So there wasn't any reason to stay with it, and I retreated to 2.2.1.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 07:26 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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August 24, 2011

Saten's keyboard

The USB keyboard just got delivered, and I'm posting this from Saten.

And now to see if I can install SimLife on it.

UPDATE: And, both SimEarth and SimLife work fine on Saten, which is running Win7 Pro 32. So if I want to run them on Alcyone, I'll have to install the XP simulator, which I'm told isn't all that hard.

Now to give it a try.

UPDATE: I've got XP mode installed, but how do I use it?

UPDATE: I created a shortcut on my desktop to the install.exe file, and used the "compatibility" tab to set it to run as "XP SP 2", but it still pops up the error about not being able to run it.

Will I have to install VirtualPC and use that?

UPDATE: I need to learn how to read manuals. "To install applications in Windows XP Mode, you start by selecting Windows XP Mode from the Windows 7 Start Menu."

UPDATE: SimEarth is working. Now for SimLife.

The installation is a bit of a pain. Virtual XP mode shows an A drive, but it isn't actually the USB floppy. That looks like a networked drive, but the Maxis installer doesn't know about those. So I had to copy each of the installation floppies onto the virtual C drive.

Alcyone has a quad core. When SimEarth is running full out, the CPU usage runs about 35%. I assume that means one core is completely dedicated to running the XP environment, and a second core is partially busy doing all the virtualization.

Of course, when you look at the Task Manager, the load is distributed among all the cores. The multitasking system distributes the load that way to avoid heating any one core up, for instance if they were physically separate chips.

UPDATE: Speaking of Windows Updates... "78 high priority updates waiting". Yeesh. I think that's only the beginning; I don't think it has any of the SPs, either.

UPDATE: Since this really is a virtualized XP machine, it means I should be able to install "Cosplay Fetish Academy" on it without having to fear that SecuRom will kill my Win7 system. I'll have to give that a try later.

A lot later. I figure I'll be spending the next two hours doing updates. I wonder what it's like when I am told I have to reboot?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 11:10 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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August 23, 2011

I can still do it...

I finally got my wifi router reconfigured for the 192.168 IP block. I had to dig out the documentation to see just how you reset it. (You use a jeweler's screwdriver and hold the "reset" button down until the "test" light starts to blink. Then you wait until it stops blinking.)

This time I wrote down all the things I did to set it up, and I've got copies of that file stashed in a bunch of places.

So now my whole LAN is back in synch. Only... Uiharu, the iPaq, still can't connect to the wifi. I have no idea why.

It isn't important, but it's annoying.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 10:20 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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August 22, 2011

Backward incompatibility

I ordered a USB 3.5" floppy drive, which just got delivered. I found my copies of SimLife and SimEarth and wanted to see if I could install them.

Answer? No. They are Win16 programs, and Win7 no longer supports them. The installer for SimLife won't run, even when I tell it to use Win95 compatibility mode.

It occurred to me that it might be a DOS program, so I tried running it with DOSBOX. It told me the installer was a "Windows" program, which of course means Win16.

So bummer. Those two were the Sim games I most enjoyed, and I wanted to see how they ran on a really powerful computer (i.e. something better than the 486DX/50 I used to run them on. But looks like I'm SOL.

They're the kind of games I keep hoping that GOG will pick up, but it hasn't. Someone else has the rights and won't let go.

UPDATE: I also found my copy of XCOM, which is a DOS game and which I probably can run under DOSBOX. Maybe sometime I'll get motivated and try to install it.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 11:15 AM | Comments (23) | Add Comment
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June 03, 2011

Indiscretionary spending

I just put in an order with Newegg for a 2TB hard drive.

Deneb, my Windows Home Server, has 2 1-TB drives and 2 2-TB drives. It's also about 3 quarters full. It shows 1.6 TB free.

Which isn't as much as it looks, because most of what I put on it gets stored twice. That's effectively 800 GB.

So if I'm going to add storage, I pretty much have to do it now. One of the 1TB drives can't be removed because it has the OS on it. The other one can, though. I can use the control panel to tell WHS to move off that drive, which would probably take hours. Once it's unused, though, I can pop it and put the new 2TB drive in that bay, for an increment of 1 TB.

That will be enough free space to make me feel comfortable again.

It's got USB ports, and I could attach external USB drives to it for additional space, but I've had bad luck with lifespans of USB drives, and I don't want to use that solution unless there is no other choice. (And, please note that this post is not a request for suggestions or advice.)

I placed the order last night, and this morning I was informed that it shipped, via 3-day ground, from Baldwin CA.

UPS's tracking system doesn't show an estimated delivery, but it will probably be Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 06:02 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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May 12, 2011

IE9 -- first reaction

The main thing that's immediately obvious is that Microsoft has done everything they can think of to maximize the central viewing area.

IE8 used an unconscionable amount of vertical space with big icons, entry fields, menu pull-downs, and permanent report areas. The new layout in IE9 manages to regain at least 30 vertical pixels, and that's a huge win.

The ridiculous amount of space used for overhead and graphics cruft was my biggest complaint about IE8, but it was something I was forced to live with. It's nice that Microsoft was aware of the problem, and has done something about it.

UPDATE: Well, that's interesting. None of the buttons on the text entry box work. I think I know what I have to do about that.

UPDATE: Nope, my idea was wrong.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 09:21 AM | Comments (12) | Add Comment
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May 09, 2011

Poser Pro 2010


The user interface has been substantially revamped, and I like it much better. This is the same renderer that Poser 7 used, but they seem to have upgraded it. And it does use all four cores. The system CPU usage spikes at 100% during a render.

Which goes blitz fast. It's impressive to watch.

I'm not so thrilled by that mesh. The face seems wrong. It doesn't look like a woman to me. For one thing, the mouth is too big. For another, the chin is much too prominent. And I think the cheeks are too fat.

The face designer has a bazillion controls to allow you to adjust stuff like that, and I only just started messing with that a bit.

But I'll load Miki, the Japanese figure I purchased a couple of years ago, into it later. She looked a lot better.

The delivery guy said that the label last Friday gave the street address for the building but not the apartment number. And there was a new label pasted on the package today.



The "Miki 2" mesh looks a lot better IMHO. It looks like a girl, for one thing.

UPDATE: So far, the good: you can resize windows from any edge or corner (the windows standard). In Poser 7 you could only resize using the lower right corner (the mac standard).

The middling: when it goes CPU bound, you can actually minimize it.

At least, most of the way. I just tried using the "clothify" function on a high-res square, and right now it's completely locked up. I was able to minimize the main screen, but the "clothify" popup didn't go with it. So I used the "show desktop" function, and the "clothify" popup repainted itself.

Seems like they still don't totally understand this "multitasking" concept.

UPDATE: Whatever that was doing, it wasn't responding to mouse clicks and it wasn't using any CPU, so I gave up and killed it.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 12:22 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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May 08, 2011


Microsoft has rolled IE9 out on Windows Update. Will I regret the upgrade if I take it?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 10:26 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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May 06, 2011

Backups -- snore

I think it's been like a year since the last time I created an archive of all my fansubs off of Deneb. So I unwrapped the last 3TB USB drive I was keeping around and plugged it in this morning.

I had nightmares all last night about system crashes. That's what brought this all to mind.

Turns out the easiest way to do this is to have the new drive plugged into Alcyone, and to do manual copying of the files I want to archive. But we're talking something like a terabyte and a half, so it ain't gonna be fast. Probably take the whole weekend to get it done, but then I'll feel much more secure.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 09:52 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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