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Software - XP
Aug 11, 2008

Excessive Memory Usage with Firefox 3

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Problem: Memory usage by the browser seems to be excessive.
Most opinion seems to suggest that the problem largely lies with inefficient
add-ons but my feeling is that the browser itself isn't entirely blameless.

This wee tip certainly helps a bit -
Go into about:config and create a parameter called config.trim_on_minimize and set the value to true

After setting this I got the following result - (seen with Task Manager)

FF open - c. 139K
FF minimized - c. 4k
FF minimized - usage grew quickly to 60k and stabilized

Dev - VB
Dec 20, 2007

VB2005 Express - List box Drag and Drop

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Odd stuff encountered whilst using VB 2005 Express.

Simple solution for drag and dropping a single item within the same listbox.
This was found at posted by a chap called Rykler. MSDN and elsewhere have more complex variations but this works fine for the simple requirement within a listbox. Initially it didn't work for me - the item would drag with the appropriate mouse effect but the DragDrop wasn't occurring when the DragOver was ended. Of course it turned out to be a silly error by myself - the old DragDrop Sub was renamed but I didn't rename the handle so the DragOver was ending and using the old DragDrop handle to go into hyperspace!


Private Sub listbox1Renamed_DragDrop(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.Windows.Forms.DragEventArgs) Handles listbox1.DragDrop

Should have been - Handles listbox1Renamed.DragDrop

Good Code -

Click mouse to select item -

Private Sub listbox1_MouseDown(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.Windows.Forms.MouseEventArgs) Handles listbox1.MouseDown

listbox1.DoDragDrop(listbox1.Text, DragDropEffects.All)

End Sub

Drag item holding mouse down -

Private Sub listbox1_DragOver(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.Windows.Forms.DragEventArgs) Handles listbox1.DragOver

e.Effect = DragDropEffects.Move

End Sub

Release mouse button to drop -

Private Sub listbox1_DragDrop(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.Windows.Forms.DragEventArgs) Handles listbox1.DragDrop

' Drops before item that pointer is over
listbox1.Items.Insert(listbox1.IndexFromPoint(listbox1.PointToCli ent(New Point(e.X, e.Y))), e.Data.GetData(DataFormats.Text))
listbox1.Refresh() ' not strictly required

End Sub

Jul 12, 2007

Internet Connectivity issue with Windows 2003 network

Close ...
The basic setup involved c. 12 client PC's using a 100BaseT switch connected to a LAN NIC on a dual-homed HP Proliant server running Advanced Server 2003. The WAN NIC of the server was connected to Broadband ADSL via a 4 port router.
Problem: The PC clients lost connectivity with internet supposedly after the server was re-powered. It was thought that updates had recently been applied before the reset occurred.

The original settings -
ADSL/ISP Static IP: 217.74.XX.58
Router IP:
DHCP enabled

Server running Server 2003 EE as DC with Active Directory installed
NIC 1 - Static IP: (external broadband route - using EN5861 BT router)
Default Gateway (DGW):
NIC 2 - Static IP: (internal network - c. 12 XP Pro SP2 clients via 24 port switch)
DGW: blank
DHCP enabled (0.200 ~ 0.254)
Routing & Remote Access (RRAS) not configured
IP routing not enabled
Windows Firewall enabled
DNS Forwarder:
No static or persistent routes in place (Route Print)

Initial testing showed -
Client pings OK OK Fail (Request Time Out)


Initially tried to set IP routing with a registry hack but no good.

Check -
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesTcpipParame ters
DWORD IPEnableRouter set to 1 (This was later found to be reset to 0 and remained so even after RRAS was configured)

Not having dealt with Windows 2003 before and after much swotting I found -

1 - Internet Connection Sharing/Internet Connection Firewall (ICS/ICF) should not be used on Server 2003, RRAS with NAT/Basic FW is preferable
2 - The server should be used for DNS and any further queries can be routed by the Forwarder to the internet
3 - IP routing can be enabled without RRAS or ICS being enabled
4 - The default IP for the external NIC (WAN) when ICS is used happens to be
5 - NetBIOS over TCPIP and WINS is only required for legacy OS machines (9X, NT, etc)
6 - The external NIC should only have TCPIP enabled (not File and Print Sharing or Microsoft Client)
7 - Active Directory relies on DNS
8 - DNS needs to be setup well
9 - DNS Reverse lookup zones are required for utilities such as NSLookup

I tried to disable the ICS/ICF via the Services and Registry with mixed results. I was able to configure RRAS but when I later disabled RRAS for troubleshooting I found I couldn't re-configure it because ICS/ICF was in use.

I suspected that ICS/ICF functionality may have been implemented at some stage (especially since had been used ) but there was no ICS tickbox available to disable the ICS, possibly it may have been hidden by an update prior to the reset.
So to the process that improved the situation -

Applied KB897616 - this is a hotfix to restore the ICS tickbox to the Advanced tab of the NIC properties which is removed after particular MS updates are applied, probably because ICS is not meant to be used on Server 2003

This indeed showed that ICS was enabled against the NIC and so was unchecked. This removed the TCP/IP settings of the internal network NIC (

Note: I suspect the server setup was a bit dodgy all along because the ICS should have at least been set against the external NIC and having on the external NIC of a home PC would be quite normal but not necessarily so with a Server 2003 setup.

Both the server NIC's were checked and reconfigured as necessary.

The Services was checked to ensure the ICS and Windows Firewall services were off and disabled.

The RRAS could now be configured using NAT with Basic Firewall.

Note: When I checked this I found the NAT had been placed against the internal NIC - it was either a typo during the setup or the IP was automatically detected for the NAT. I expect that with a correct fresh install these issues wouldn't occur but if I was designing the setup again I would avoid using as the internal network.

The NAT settings in RRAS were readjusted to place NAT against the external NIC (

Check -
DWORD ConfigurationFlags set to 1 (Found that this key is set to 1 when the RRAS is configured)

Check -
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesTcpipParame ters
DWORD IPEnableRouter set to 0 (RRAS didn't set this at all)

Initially the setup still didn't work but the next day I found it to be working - I suspect that the DNS setup was not perfect and it took a scheduled auto update to occur to correct the situation.

Final working setup:

BT Broadband ADSL
Static IP: 217.74.XX.58
Router IP:
DHCP enabled

Server running Server 2003 EE as DC with Active Directory installed
NIC 1 - Static IP: (external broadband route - using EN5861 BT router)
NIC 2 - Static IP: (internal network - c. 12 XP Pro SP2 clients via 24 port switch)
DGW: blank
DHCP enabled (0.200 ~ 0.254)
RRAS configured with NAT/Basic Firewall against NIC1
IP routing not enabled
ICS disabled Windows Firewall disabled
DNS Forwarder: 217.74.XX.58 (current static IP from ISP - should really be the ISP's DNS servers)
No static or persistent routes in place (Route Print)

Note: If DGW of NIC1 was set to then clients could ping router but server couldn't.
If DNS Forwarder set to then clients couldn't HTTP to internet (no DNS).

It took a while to find this one but easy in the end. Basically the old arrangement must have had ICS enabled with conflicting and the updates applied themselves with the reset of the server so turning the internet connection into a cabbage.

As a side issue I was finding that Internet Explorer was getting Page not Found on some accounts - this appeared to be some settings in IE for Proxy Server rather than Auto-detect.

Jul 09, 2007

Expression Web BOM problem with PHP pages

Close ...
Editing a .php page within EWD introduced a BOM when the file was saved -

eg: <?php

 is ef bb bf in binary and signifies UTF8 character set.

There is no "Save without BOM" option in EWD

Software - XP
Jul 09, 2007

Bibble Pro will not show main image in XP

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The trial version of this photo processing app installs OK on XP but when run I found that the main image window was truncated to the extent that only the lowest part of the window (about the height of the status bar) would show. This of course renders the app completely useless.

The fix for this is quite easy once known - Right-click on shortcut to bibblepro.exe file and select Properties>Compatibility>Display Settings.

Check the box for Disable Visual Themes.

As it happens the app has problems with anything other than the standard XP themes (I use Black Mesa, a custom theme) and this setting allows the app to function without having to continually switch back to a standard theme for the desktop

Jul 09, 2007

MacBook - setup network printer hosted on XP PC

Close ...
Macbook should be placed into the required workgroup ( let's say it is HOMELAN)
Mac HD>Applications>Utilities>Directory Access>select SMB/CIFS then configure> alter workgroup

Install the Samsung GDI drivers for OSX.

Mac HD>Apps>Utils>Printer Setup Utility>Printer List(add)>Default Browser(more printers)>
then Windows Printing>Browse to workgroup - specify name eg: SamsungM

Using the same printer from an XP VM on OSX:
Ensure the workgroup is set correctly - Control Panel>System Properties>Computer Name>Change>


CP>Printers and Faxes>Add Printer Wizard>Network>Browse for printer> . Printer share should show in wizard.

XP usually has a driver available for most common printers but in some cases may need one installing.

Software - OSX
Jul 09, 2007

Migrating XP SP2 from ThinkPad to MacBook VM using Parallels Transporter

Close ...
Tried creating an image on ThinkPad R51 and although Transporter Agent ran OK the Transporter app itself (on the ThinkPad) produced an error -

"An error occurred while Parallels Transporter was collecting the information about this computer. Make sure Parallels Transporter Agent runs on this computer and not involved in other migration process."

The selections were Express(recommended) and From this Computer.

Fix: ZoneAlarm re-enabled on PC and worked fine so even though firewall was disabled it wasn't 100% off.

Tried again to make image on PC using an external USB drive but the migration failed at c. the 7% mark.

Linked the Thinkpad PC to the MacBook via 1000BaseT ethernet (using a fully crossed gigabit cable) and continuity was fine both ways. I had tried this earlier but was unable to ping from the MB to the PC although the ping from an XP VM to the PC was OK. The issue would have been the ZA issue that I found earlier.

The PC volume migrated successfully and took c. 50 mins for 38GB.
Things to note:
ZoneAlarm needed to be enabled on the PC since if disabled for some reason there seemed to be a "fragment" still present that messed up the ol' layer 1 connectivity.
The IP address of the MB needed to be a trusted zone in the firewall.
Both the PC and MB should be in the same workgroup.
I used a fully crossed ethernet cable for the 1000BaseT connection.

1000BaseT cable require all 4 pairs to be crossed whereas 100BaseT does not require 4+5, 7+8 to be crossed so -


The VM booted OK and of course the activation message appeared. This works fine with a valid serial but what a hassle.

Of course normally I'd expect the hardware manager to get upset because the Thinkpad R51 Pentium M image was now running on a Core 2 Duo MB but overall the hassles were few.

Typical changes:

VM network adaptor set to Bridged - Default (ethernet)
It seems the MB can only use ethernet OR wireless at one time so after using the gigabit the MB network needed to be re-enabled for airport working.

Some IBM and Intel stuff was uninstalled from the VM image (such as 2200 wireless drivers, Trackpoint driver, IBM Software Installer, etc) because they would only be required on the Thinkpad. Some of the uninstalls caused BSOD's but surprisingly these were not as fatal as usual. The biggest hassle appeared with the attempted removal of the IBM Rescue & Restore app and Safe Mode was required. I used Safe Mode to remove some other IBM stuff and after a few restarts of the VM it seemed to come right so the Parallels OS seems to be quite robust. The big criticism is that when a BSOD occurs the VM flips out of the screen view and it can't be seen again so no chance of figuring out what the BSOD was other than "what did I do last?".

With hindsight if migrating from a Thinkpad or similar I would remove obvious devices that the new machine doesn't use but be a bit wary about low level stuff such as Rescue & Recover, Hard disk Active Protection, etc. The biggest hassle was the activation bit since without it you can't logon and of course at one point in the activation online the network connectivity was not there so a message to check the network settings was issued - great if you can't log on!!!

Overall Parallels Transporter is fairly impressive and it seems a bit unreal to have a Thinkpad XP install running OK in a VM on a MacBook.

Hardware - Mac
Jul 09, 2007

MacBook - 1st impressions

Close ...
These are pretty good machines with the bonus that Windows XP can be run within a Virtual Machine using Parallels Technology software.

Parallels also produce a free app called Parallels Transporter which allows the copying of an XP computer into a VM image which can then be run on the OSX Intel based machines.


LCD display is extremely sharp with good clarity.

Parallels virtualisation software runs very well (haven't tried it on a very cpu intensive app but ordinary stuff is very snappy).

XP boots faster and restarts/resets faster in a VM.

Relatively seamless working (drag & drop) between OSX and XP.


The rectangular aspect ratio of the screen gives 1280 x 800 in OSX mode but when using XP within a Parallels windowed VM 1024 x 768 isn't possible - the height usually maxes out at 732. This is a problem when installing/using some graphics processing apps. eg: Adobe Photoshop CS2 requires 1024 x 768 minimum to install and Canon's Digital Photo Professional app will install but not run. Using Coherence Mode/Full Screen Mode will avoid the problem but can be tricky. If CS2 is installed and run in Coherence Mode should it be run in the windowed view the activation will fail as it picks up the display size as being insufficient.

Trackpad tedious to use (IBM Trackpoint was great) - using a Logitech bluetooth rodent with scrollwheel makes things a lot easier.

Used Parallels Desktop for Mac to create VM's to run XP and Linux in. Install straight forward although the boot device needs to be set for CD image first or VM install will fail.

No single Delete key ( can use fn + backspace )
No # key ( at least on a UK MacBook - again use a remapper )

The keyboard on the MB works fine as a UK region under OSX but with the XP VM the mapping wasn't right on a few keys. The ~, #, |,\, , `,£ chrs were in the wrong places.

The fix was to use a wee program called Keyboard Layout Manager Lite ( The app installs into the CP and lets you create a new layout which then installs itself after a reset of the VM.
The new layout should then be visible under installed services -
CP>Regional and Languages Options>Languages>Details

Random Techo
Apr 12, 2007

Telefunken TV with no sound in the UK

Close ...
Recent experience whilst trying to resurrect an old Telefunken P150C colour TV.

Basically when I moved from NZ to Scotland I took my old 14" TV set with me ( I hate chucking good stuff out) however when it was switched on I got good picture but no sound.

It seems that NZ uses PAL B/G with VHF and UHF whereas the UK uses PAL I with UHF so the sound issue is a typical problem (the sound carrier frequency differs slightly - 6.0 MHz v 5.5 MHz). Luckily I have found that the TV will work fine when used with a Freeview decoder unit (DVB-T) - brilliant!

The old Telefunken remote was a bit worn so I've replaced it with a One for All 4 Universal Remote Control unit (URC7740).

The manual has a list of all the manufacturer remote codes and a later listing is available on the web site also.

Telefunken P150C TV 0109 worked
Digilogic Freeview Sat 1284 worked

Note: There was no listing for the Digilogic unit (DSTB 1000) but the code for Logik worked fine.

All in all I'm quite happy with a set obtained in the 1980's and gives a better picture than all the rubbish LCD and Plasma stuff sold today. Just have to wait for HD TV to arrive.

Dec 16, 2006

BT Home Hub Wireless ADSL Router

Close ...
The BTHomeHub is largely pre-configured by BT to work for the mass market and the web interface is not as open with the settings, etc that most ADSL routers are.

However with a bit of digging around it turns out to relatively OK.

Firstly the Advanced Configuration Help page gives a fairly comprehensive picture of all the details/settings.

Secondly when the Backup option is used a user.ini file can be saved to the hard disk. This contains all the configuration of the router and can of course be restored.

What this means is that it is possible to determine more detail of how the router is set up and (with great care) of course the user.ini can be modified then restored.

In general the hub as supplied has WEP security but only 64 bit and other settings such as SSID broadcast and open access for MAC addresses are a bit loose for good security.

When trying to tighten up some of the settings I got mixed results some of which I will try to explain as I find them.

On the whole however the router appears to be quite good (it apparently is based on a Thomson SpeedTouch unit) and so far all my clients work with it. One thing I am not entirely comfortable with is the fact that the firmware is automatically updated by BT with no option to accept or be able to go back. If this happens it can take up to 10 minutes and the five lights on the hub will be flashing so power must remain on during the process - it can happen at any time so I hope it doesn't occur while I am doing online banking or a convoluted tax form. My hub arrived with 6.1.1.M installed and about 2 days later it went to 6.1.1.R so the moral is always backup a copy of the current configuration in case BT surprises you.


Problem: The mac access control using the web doesn't work correctly. (applies to 6.1.1.R firmware)

Answer: Basically some parts of the config file (user.ini) are not written correctly by the web interface so using the registration or not allowed options will result in the access control not working.

Within user.ini file -
[ wireless.ini ]

Standard setup access control applied (Allow new stations set to not allowed via web)
macacl config control=lock
macacl add hwaddr=00:0e:35:bd:43:bf permission=allow name=Unknown-00-0e-35-bd-

note: above line was the only data output in the user.ini and it happens that the line is 80 chrs (the magic number!). What seems to occur is the web interface truncates the first entry in the access list (as shown in the above line) and although the other wireless devices are set for allow they are not written into the config file.
It is worth noting that with the above example because the first device mac was known by the hub already access was allowed however after a modified user.ini was restored any lines longer than 80 chrs were truncated and not accepted.

Sample of failed restore of user.ini (modified)
Lines restored -
macacl config control=lock
macacl add hwaddr=00:0e:35:bd:43:bf permission=allow name=Unknown-00-0e-35-bd-
macacl add hwaddr=00:0d:93:94:6b:8b permission=allow name=g4-00-0d-93-94-6b-8b
macacl add hwaddr=00:0c:41:72:f4:80 permission=allow name=p3-00-0c-41-72-f4-80
When the hub reset the first device was not allowed access but the next 2 were OK because the name data was intact.

The following lines were written in the config when backed up.
Lines backed up -
macacl config control=lock
macacl add hwaddr=00:0d:93:94:6b:8b permission=allow name=g4-00-0d-93-94-6b-8b
macacl add hwaddr=00:0c:41:72:f4:80 permission=allow name=p3-00-0c-41-72-f4-80

Modified setup

As it happens the user.ini config file can be edited and then restored to allow the full access list however the length of each add line must not exceed 80 chrs.
I set my hub up with the modified user.ini file (this will reset the time up stats, etc) however if the name for the device had been altered via the web to give a result no longer than 80 chrs in the config file then it should work OK using the web (this would leave the stats intact also).

macacl config control=lock
macacl add hwaddr=00:0e:35:bd:43:bf permission=allow name=tp-00-0e-35-bd-43-bf
macacl add hwaddr=00:0d:93:94:6b:8b permission=allow name=g4-00-0d-93-94-6b-8b
macacl add hwaddr=00:0c:41:72:f4:80 permission=allow name=p3-00-0c-41-72-f4-80

Note: As of firmware version saving/restoring of the config is no longer possible - let's hope the web interface works better!

So far the BTHH has been good but a shame that some of the functionality is being screwed down in later versions. I was hoping to try a USB memory stick in the USB port as a poorman's version of a NAS server. It would also be nice if the web server code inside could accommodate WebDav features as it would be good to have a network available calendar since the hub is always on - could be a challenge for security though!

::::::::::::::::::: Update :::::::::::::::::

With a view to using the HomeHub as a poorman's version of NAS I tried an old 64Mb flash drive in the USB A port and it worked just fine without the hub even needing a reset.
It appears that the hub acts as a Samba server and the drive is mounted as a Samba share.
Workgroup - BT
Machine/Device - Thomson
SMB/CIFS Shared Volume - BT_7G

From OSX client: Share was visible straight away (OSX likes Samba)

From XP client PC: Initially not seeing the share in Network Neighbourhood. Fix: Wireless NIC required NetBIOS over TCPIP enabled. Showed as BT_7G on Samba Server (Thomson).

Method for accessing configuration (on

Log in to advanced options and select Remote Assistance under System. On this page you can enable the Remote Access for 20mins.

Next you use a browser to go to the URL given (eg: ) and click through all the certificates. The User is always tech but the password will change. Once through the login add /cgi/b/bandr/ to the URL and this will be the old save/restore page.

::::::::::::::::::: Update :::::::::::::::::

As of 6.2.6C the Remote Assistance has been disabled on the BT HomeHub.

As is the way with the Big Man in control the update was less than flawless.
Basically the Thinkpad would no longer connect with WPA2 and for that matter it wouldn't even connect with no security.
After the big call to a BT 0845 number (customer is charged) there was no conclusion other than to factory reset the hub. This was done and all the devices could again connect to the hub.
Until the 6.2.6C update reliability of the hub had been excellent - just a shame the user can't backup and restore the config and also that I can't charge BT for the inconvenience caused.

Interesting that during the talk with BT they suggested that the BTHH was a consumer service (not business) and why did I not have DHCP enabled and was using static IP's.

Just as a matter of record the BTHH works fine for me with -

Channel 4 specified (apparently CH 1 is preferred if problems occur)
DHCP disabled (static IP's used)
SSID Broadcast disabled (I know for a true hacker this is pointless)
WPA2-PSK used (encryption type is AES-CCMP inherently from the HH)
MAC blocking not used since moving to WPA2
USB Flash Drive
PC XP clients OK on WPA2
OSX clients OK on WPA2 (require full 64bit hex key to connect)

Again the only problems seem to occur when BT do an upgrade in which I would say it's worth just doing a factory reset if there is an issue and save a phone bill!

Just a shame there isn't a configuration dump/print feature to make things a bit quicker.

::::::::::::::::::: Update :::::::::::::::::

Well, spent a bit of time with the HH using 6.2.6E firmware which generally ran OK but the Thinkpad again wouldn't connect to the hub. When on 6.2.6C the Thinkpad also broke and I needed to Factory Reset the HH and then get the Thinkpad to connect however when updated to 6.2.6E it broke again and I couldn't be bothered doing the big Kahuna again. Recently the 6.2.6H load of firmware has been installed which amazingly has fixed the Thinkpad connection problem. Initially using the Intel Troubleshooting tools which allow a directed test of all the steps in connecting I was getting an Authentication failure (formerly the tests would fail on the previous Association step) and the utility said the security key appeared incorrect. Sure enough when the correct key was inserted it worked fine.
The 6.2.6H release was mainly to fix FON issues (which is why non-FON subscribers are slow getting the update) but also upon reading the release notes on the BT site there were also fixes for issues concerning Intel Wireless/Pro 2200BG adapters which is exactly the type the Thinkpad uses. Going by the Intel troubleshooter there must have been an issue affecting the Association process even though the Authentication key was always correct.
The 2200BG driver used in my Thinkpad R51 is version I noticed a few days before the firmware change that the hub Connection time was actually counting down for some reason - I put this down to the fact that the broadband always seems to have periods when 'soft' resets seem to occur and these randomly affect the IP or Volume stats. I suspect that if a customer has a problem then the DSLAM's no doubt get a bump as part of the troubleshooting and this will probably affect other HH's that are accommodated on the unit.
::::::::::::::::::: Update :::::::::::::::::

Firmware version 6.2.6H did indeed solve the Thinkpad issue with the 2200BG fixes. Usefully a track of usage volumes and other stats can be done using a widget (YWE in my case).
Latterly the hub has been replaced with an 802.11N model 2.0 and it appears to work fine. Backup/Restore of the configuration is possible (uses encrypted .bin files) but no WDS is possible. The web management layout is different but seems to have most stuff and I had no problems connecting up the mixed network of clients (so far - sound of wood being hammered in the background!). The only real hassle I have had is that I can't get my statistics widget to grab the data since the required login is a bit more intensive ( it does MD5 summing of the inputs and uses cookies).
Firmware version of the version 2.0 hub is 8.1.F.4

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