From monthly archives: November 2007

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The Mystery of the Windows Mobile Pass-Through Internet DNS Failure (Vista/WMDC)

I ran into a strange problem tonight.  I have a Cinulgar 8125 Windows Mobile (WM5) phone.  When I connected it via USB to my laptop (running Vista Ultimate), I couldn't get DNS to work on the phone.  I was able to connect to any site by IP address, but DNS resolution failed.  Of course, Exchange sync would fail too since it's accessed by DNS as well.

I was able do PC sync, copy files, install programs, and, again, passthrough internet worked, just not DNS resolution.

I searched on the google and I tried every possible thing I could find as far as settings are concerned, but nothing worked.  One thing I kept coming back to, but kept blowing off, was this KB I found at Microsoft's site, but that dealt mainly with ActiveSync and the symptoms said that passthrough internet completely failed (it did not mention that only DNS failure might also be caused by this).

Silly me, it turns out that WAS the cause!  Just an undocumented symptom.  Here's the KB.

The only possible interfering LSP I can think that might be installed on my computer would probably come from Microsoft Forefront because I don't have anything like parental controls or third party firewalls installed.

So I have no idea what actual LSP is causing the problem, but strange DNS failures like this CAN be caused by one.  So if you are suffering from the same problem, give this a try.

Mystery solved!

I hope MS can find a better solution to fix this problem in the future since disabling features (and possibly security if a particular LSP is enabled for security purposes) is never the ideal solution.


The Mystery of the Broken Large File Downloads on WM5

I have Cingular (now AT&T Wireless, again) as my cell phone provider.  I get the unlimited internet because I'm a geek and must have email wherever I go, for some reason.

Today I was attempting to download a large file to my phone (approximately 25 MB) and I kept getting the very uninformative "The page cannot be displayed" error every time.  Small files downloaded fine.  Anything over a few MB would crap out (after hanging for a few minutes).

Was it Pocket IE?  I mean I know it's not the best browser on the planet, but why would it restrict download size if your device has a couple gigs of storage available?  So I tried other browsers, such as Opera Mini.  Opera Mini defers to IE for downloads since it uses a proxy server to display content quickly.  The last thing they want to do is proxy a large file download.  I tried Minimo, but it wouldn't even install.  And I heard they aren't developing it anymore (thanks, Mozilla).  All the others cost money, which I don't want to spend to download only one single file.

Then I remembered that AT&T configures you to go through their own proxy server so they can feed you the completely useless MediaNET content by typing in normally non-existent top level domains (ends in .cingular, if i recall).  So I went into the connection properties, advanced, then onto proxy settings for the MediaNET connection.  I cleared "use a proxy for this connection" and voila!  I could download large files now!  And, strangely enough, the ping time seemed to be much better.  I figured the proxy server would be higher performance (since Edge is technically only marginally better than 56k modems) because they might be caching requests and reducing image sizes and everything else proxies can do, but I guess not.  I guess it was only for the completely useless Media.Net.  Without the proxy, my speed definitely is better than it was before.

P.S. If you like Media.NET, I apologize.  I find the service completely useless, as you can tell.  :-)


Freeware Method of Recording Internet Radio Shows That Don't Podcast!

Cool article here on how to use a bunch of freeware to record internet radio for those wonderful shows you can't listen to live and don't offer a downloadable form.  Think of it as a "DVR" for your internet radio!

Few notes: 

- The tool "close" isn't really necessary because Windows' built-in taskkill.exe should signal a normal close unless you specify the /F flag which forcefullly terminates.

- If you have RD Tabs installed, you don't need "wait.exe" either.  The "sleep.exe" included in the RD Tabs installation for scripting purposes does the same thing, only it sleeps for miliseconds, not seconds, so note that in your calculations in the script.

- Mplayer playlists can be in a wide variety of formats.  If your favorite show isn't a "m3u" as in the example - no worries.  Just make sure the output file is the right format for the playlist because mplayer isn't smart enough to do automatic extensions it seems.  I'm recording an "ASX" (window media) stream for lunch-time enjoyment right now.


XP SP2 Setup BSoD (0x0000007B) on New SATA Systems

We still run Windows XP SP2 as our primary workstation OS at work.  It's mainly a cost decision as Vista's feature set is absolutely drooled over by everybody here.  Anyway, We just got a brand spanking new Optiplex with Vista pre-loaded.  Using the retrograde licensing provisions, we buy Vista systems, but install XP, to save on the upgrade cost later.

While attempting to install XP SP2 on this system I kept getting a BSoD right at the point where it says "Setup is starting Windows."  It would give the bad hard drive error (Stop code 0000007B).  It turns out that this happens because the SATA mode is set to AHCI instead of standard SATA (or even IDE) mode.  Fixing this on the Optiplex is easy.  You go into F2 BIOS setup, go down to SATA options and change the mode from AHCI to SATA.  That's it!

Of course you get better performance in AHCI.  To change to AHCI after Windows is installed, you first need to preload all the AHCI drivers from Dell's website, THEN change the mode to AHCI.  If you just change the mode ahead of time, you'll get that pesky BSoD again and risk corrupting the installation.

Now if you got a new Optiplex with an XP SP2 disk, it will probably have the correct AHCI driver included, but I didn't have one.

I'm sure this information is applicable to many other vendors, just replace the words "Dell" and "Optiplex" with your vendor's names.  :-)


Dish Network's DVR External Hard Drive Feature ROCKS!

My Dish Network VIP622 was dying slowly (kept rebooting multiple times per day) and occassionally would squeel and buzz and make very loud annoying noises while crashing (poor thing).  Luckily, Dish had finally started their external hard drive feature for the receiver where you can archive recordings to an external USB 2.0 hard drive.  I was worried at first that the recordings were married to the receiver and I'd lose everything if I replaced my receiver.  It just seems like the way DRM is going these days, that's the route they'd take.  (Sort of like how Sirius' "DVR" Stiletto 100 player doesn't contain the ability to notify you of when artists are on (the Stiletto 10 can) because the benevolent music biz decided that would encourage piracy.)

Anyway, Dish Network pleasantly surprised me again.  I plugged my replacement receiver in, plugged the hard drive in and it told me "This hard drive was used on another Dish DVR, would you like to convert its contents to work on this DVR?"  I hit yes and now I lost absolutely NO archived shows!

Thanks, Dish!

Now the question is with the wording there, can you convert it back?  How many times can you convert from one receiver to another?  Can you only convert between receivers you own?  I would guess the answers would be (in this order): yes, some limited amount, and yes.  They can't give away the farm here.  The movie and TV industries would blow a gasket whether or not "trading hard drives" ever could possibly become a piracy problem (that's even MORE complicated than trading VHS back in the day).  I mean it's not like you want to just go give away your $100 hard drive to people.  And the data on the drive is encrypted and who knows if even the mighty Norton Ghost (I refuse to call it Symantec Ghost) could image it successfully.  And lastly, when you copy a show to your receiver, it's removed from the hard drive, necessitating recording it again for the original owner, which makes piracy even more difficult (but is also not very intrusive to the legitimate user -- good balance).

Anybody got any answers?  I'm curious...

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