TO-Tech Blog Todd Ogasawara’s Tech Blog


Tumblr Needs a Fail Whale

First things first. I think Tumblr is great... Especially for the price (free!). I moved over an old dormant domain (TechOnABudget) to it from a self-hosted WordPress site and am using it for a new domain (ComicsViews).

However, like Twitter, Tumblr goes over capacity now and then. You get the fail message seen in the screenshot here. The problem is that the error message has no personality. Since this is going to happen from time to time, I think Tumblr needs a fail whale type mascot for its over capacity message. Recommendations???

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Windows Live Essentials 2011 Service Agreement Expired Aug. 31, 2010

WindowsLive2011_expiredWhile checking to see which Windows Live Essentials components were installed on my new notebook, I noticed that the Microsoft Service Agreement for it expired on August 31, 2010. Does this mean that we are no longer bound by the agreement? Smile


Uninstalling EasyBits & Other Add-ons in Skype

skype_1Blog Technical has an item about removing an unasked for and unwanted Skype add-on named EasyBits.

[Update] Skype installs EasyBits Go CrapWare on your systems without users’ prior knowledge

My recollection is that there are a bunch of add-ons that can be declined when installing Skype. However, that aside, the Blog Technical articles goes on to provide instructions for removing this particularly sticky add-on. The first step is to remove it from Skype itself. I had to scan the Skype for Windows window for a minute or so before I finally saw the link in small type at the bottom of the window. You can see it in the screenshot to the the left.


I did not see EasyBits in the add-ons list for Skype on my PC. However, if you do, it would be somewhere in the list of software that has access to Skype’s API Access Control. You can see what my list looks like in the second screenshot here.

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SanDisk U3 Launchpad Removal Tool (URL changed again)

SanDisk makes great flash storage products. But, I really hate the U3 flash drive app software they install on every thumb drive. It has the malware-like behavior of installing itself with asking permission. I even noticed it had installed something called U3agent on my Mac that was chewing up processor resources. I must have missed removing U3 from a SanDisk thumb drive some time in the past. Here's the direct link to the:

U3 Launchpad Removal Tool

It is made available by SanDisk itself. The tool only runs under Microsoft Windows. SanDisk has changed the URL for this tool several times in the last few years. So, it may change again in the future.

Filed under: Hardware 1 Comment

Blast from the Past: Hauppauge WinTV 401 (1998)

I find something interesting (and usually old) everytime I decide to clean my work area. I found this Hauppauge WinTV (model 401) board in its original box this time. It could process cable TV and FM signals. It could even serve as a video conferencing system when combined with a video camera and Microsoft NetMeeting (remember that!?).


Finally Fixed my WordPress Theme Update Problem: Here’s What I Did

I've had a WordPress theme update problem for perhaps a year. However, I've been too lazy to fix it until now. Here's what the problem looked like:

- I tried to update my theme from the WordPress Dashboard in a self-hosted installation
- The error message I saw after any automated update attempt was: Incompatible archive: PCLZIP_ERR_BAD_FORMAT (-10) : Unable to find End of Central Dir Record signature

I searched around and found a couple of purported fixes including:
- Modify a setting in the php.ini file
- Asking the hosting service to increase the disk quota

I don't have access to to the php.ini file in the /etc directory and my disk quota is claimed to be "unlimited" (yes, I know this is not really true). So, those suggestions would not work for me. Here's what I ended up doing. I should note that my blog is on a Linux based system and that I have access to a shell via scp.

- Download the latest version of the theme I'm using on that blog (barthelme in my case)
- scp the file to my blog hosting service
- unpack the theme into its own folder at my home directory level
- changed current directory to the WordPress themes directory in {myblog}/wp-content/themes
- backed up the current theme into a compressed tarball in my home directory (secondary backup)
- moved current theme directory (renamed it). For example, mv thistheme thistheme.OLD
- moved unpacked current theme from home directory to WordPress theme directory: For example, mv ~/newtheme . (note the space between newtheme and the period "." which points to the current directory)
- The original directory name in my case was Barthelme with a capital "B". The downloaded zip file unpacked to a directory named with a lower case "b". So, I renamed (moved) the directory: Example in my specific case: mv barthelme Barthelme

I pointed my browser at my blog to verify it had worked.

Note that this process is provided for informational purposes. It is not guaranteed to fix your WordPress theme update issue even if you see the same error message I saw. Proceed with caution anytime. Get help if you are not comfortable with the commands and process described here.

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Microsoft Fuse Labs Social Gadget: Why Does Justin Bieber Show Up in an H1N1 Topic Search?

I'm taking a look at Microsoft Fuse Labs' SocialGadget which provides a way to visually explore Twitter topics. I used the search term "H1N1." You can see the result in the screenshot to the left. It turned out that "Justin Bieber" and "H1N1" were tweeted together 19 times in the past 3 days. That was enough for that name to show up in the tag cloud. Go figure.

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Windows 7: Hibernate vs. Hybrid Sleep

I've been running Windows 7 on my home PCs for a long time (since early beta releases). But, I finally got around to getting my office PC updated from Windows XP to 7 this week (new-ish PC with old OS). I noticed that hibernate was not available as a shutdown option on the upgraded PC. It turned out that "Hybrid Sleep" was turned on. Turning it off enabled the ability to choose Hibernate.

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Kindle for the Web (beta)

I've been reading a bit more than usual thanks to my relatively new WiFi-only Kindle. I've found it even easier to read than using the Kindle app on my iPad, iPhone or Android phone (which I thought was excellent before getting my Kindle and still consider very good after using the Kindle). Now, there's a way to share a book chapter from my favorite books. This is great since I haven't been discussing ebooks and Audible audiobooks here as frequently as I originally planned way back when.

Kindle for the Web (beta)

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How To: Install Adobe AIR & Seesmic for AIR on Ubuntu Netbook Remix 10.04LTS

I've been running Ubuntu Netbook Remix 10.04LTS on my Acer Aspire One for a couple of weeks now. It still doesn't auto-connect to known WiFi access points after booting or awakening from sleep. But, other than that it has been running reasonably well. So, I decided to try to install Adobe AIR and Seesmic for AIR to get a Twitter client on the netbook. The process was pretty simple:

1. Download Adobe AIR for Linux in bin format from Adobe
2. As root made the file executable: chmod +x *.bin
3. Run the executable: ./longname.bin (where "longname" == the AIR file name)
4. Download Seesmic for AIR installation file
5. Use UNR GUI file explorer and double click on the Seesmic AIR installer file. It will be recognized as an AIR file and let AIR install it.

Unfortunately, Seesmic for AIR is extremely slow and a huge memory hog on my netbook which only has 512MB RAM. It consumed to much processor time that I had to hold the power button to force a shutdown. So, I need to find a good lightweight Twitter client (AIR or native) to use with UNR On my netbook

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