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Software - OSX
Feb 03, 2009

Parallels Desktop for Mac Upgrade from 2.5 to 4.0

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P2.5 had been upgraded from Build 3188 on OSX 10.4.5 to Build 3214 (last build on Tiger) on OSX 10.4.5
OSX then upgraded to 10.4.11
P3.0 Build 5160 installed (last build).
P4.0 Build 3810 installed (latest hotfix build).

Amazingly things went rather well. Tried for quite a while to rename folders etc so I could run P2.5 with the old VM's if necessary but couldn't get it to go so just made copies of the Parallels folder containing the VM's and then started the install.

Was running P2.5 as parrotware and purchased a copy of P3.0 which never got installed (a moral correction for the parrotware). Since purchased an upgrade to P4.0 and decided to have a go (very scary if you read the Parallels forums regarding version 4.0).

Installed P3.0 with no problems (New serial number worked OK) and then installed P4.0 again with no problems (U/G serial number worked OK).

P4.0 listed all the old VM's plus my copied backups and when each one was started a conversion was done again with no issues. The first two were basic Linux VM's (Mandrive One and Kubuntu) of c. 2G size.

Now for the "real one" - XP of c. 31G size.
Prior to converting the XP VM from within XP I disabled all auto startups except Parallels and vital Windows stuff and in the Services also disabled startups for non-essential services (Firewalls, virus apps, etc).
With the XP VM I did the backup option before conversion and both processes worked fine albeit much longer (c. 1 hour or so). Remarkably the newly converted VM started OK with no hardware install issues and no input of the XP serial required.
P4.0 defaults to starting up in Coherence mode so I changed that to Windowed and also adjusted the mapping of Windows files to Windows and Mac to Mac so avoiding the MACOSXP soup at the moment - I like to keep each OS relatively separate but will play with the sharing of apps later maybe.

The Network Adapter in XP had been changed to DHCP and when I tried to change it back to Static with the old IP I got a warning message that the IP was already allocated to another Parallel's adapter. I used the old IP anyway since I think the 'other' network adapter is now unused and hidden in the registry.
In the XP Device Manager viewing hidden devices showed two entries -
Direct Parallel
Parallels Ethernet Adapter #2

In the XP Network Connections the ethernet adaptor was shown as - Local Area Connection #4 using Parallels Ethernet Adapter #2.
The registry did indeed show an entry for Local Area Connection (which was not in Network Connections) used by Parallels so I suspect Parallels simply did not use this but created a new entry.

Things to note:

The P4.0 VM shell now has the control bar horizontally across the top (rather than down the side) and is 2 to 3 times wider than P2.5 which is a big hassle on a MacBook which is vertically challenged in the screen aspect ratio department. However it is adjustable with a small icons option but the thinnest option is Text Only for the toolbar buttons. It would be nice to be able to relocate it to the side though!
Multi-core CPU: The converted XP VM was still using only one CPU/core according to the Task Manager but fortunately this can be adjusted without a complete re-install of XP. It will be remembered that when installing XP Professional (Dual core capable) the HAL is set up for the particular machine. If the machine changes the HAL will need reconfiguring by the installer. With P4.0 (the VM must be stopped) the number of CPUs can be altered. The VM is then started and the Task Manager will still show one CPU but after a wee while a restart message will appear and then after the restart the Task Manager will show multi-core CPU. The restart was obviously needed to enable the HAL change done from within XP by Parallels.
A new Network Adapter seemed to be setup by Parallels leaving the old one in the XP registry and so causing IP conflict possibilities. It is possible that un-installing the network adaptor and cleaning the registry entries would solve this but it should only be a problem if both connections were in use anyway.
When opening a .rtf file with Office 2000 a message asking if I wanted to register happened - I just said no and it appears to be OK.
The Command/E key combo which I use frequently still appears to work OK in XP (opens Explorer) - I had fears that this had been altered in P4.0, although I do use a key mapping app to adjust for the MacBook keyboard so BAU!


So far so good - I must say P2.5 was rock solid and perfectly OK (I wasn't doing games at all).

Speed, well hard to tell, P4.0 seems about the same as P2.5 but then I am using quite an old install of XP and as folk know newer installs are far more snappy with Windows. I wanted to try P4.0 for the multi-core ability and also the graphics (I might try and finish off Syberia that I left in limbo in 2003!)

OS usage ratio is probably c. OSX - 2% and XP - 98% so P4.0 will get a good test. For games it might be an idea to have a dedicated VM to avoid performance hits from the dross that Windows collects over time.

Feb 03, 2009

BT Vision installation

Close ...
Powerline ethernet units worked OK.
Plugged in the router end first and lights showed -

Router endTV end
Status ::GreenGreen
Ethernet ::Green (flickers)Green (flickers)
AP ::AmberOff

Fired up BT Vision box and power light was flashing and harddrive "hunting" for a long time after initial screen.

Clearly not working. After waiting quite a while and a few resets later I got the following -

NR01 Experiencing difficulties screen (ring 0845 600 7030)

Then after a while -

BE01 Error has occurred screen (ring 0845 600 7030)

Being the frugal type (0845 calls cost money) a bit of thought was required.

The fix was to enable DHCP in the HomeHub and things progressed a lot better.

Recommended procedure:

Ensure Hub has DHCP enabled and ethernet port 1 is available.

Plug in Powerline ethernet adaptors and connect router end first (becomes AP on adaptor - Access Point)

Ethernet through to TV end should be OK.

Fire up BT Vision box. It may start at the NR01 screen but just wait and it will pick up the IP address and do a whole lot of stuff (possibly downloading again from BT servers), eventually it will recover and give a screen with two cogs and a progress bar).

The next screen will give Connecting to Registration server.

If registration is OK then will ask "Press Select" which kicks off the channel scanning etc.


Once the DHCP is enabled two devices should appear against Ethernet 1 in the hub status. I got -

Unknown-00:13:96:12:2C:5D Powerline ethernet device

RM4100 Philips BT Vision box

F/W of the Hub was 6.2.6C

Software - Apps
Feb 03, 2009

More Web Editor stuff

Close ...
The macro facility in EWD can be used to provide XHTML validation in a similar manner to that described for FP at Michael Suodenjoki's site -
Here is a wee bit of a comparison between web editors I have used -

FrontPage 2003 Cost: Pricey

A good all round editor but quality of code handling could be a bit dire at times.

GREAT thing: Ability to re-factor hyperlinks between pages when renaming pages.
GOOD thing: Macro allowed use of pluginl XHTML validator tool to help things.
BAD thing: Avoid FP bots, etc to keep clean code.
BAD thing: XHTML 1.0 Strict validation/error checking average
BAD thing: Would alter code layout arbitrarily.

BEST feature: Hyperlink refactoring.

Expression Web Cost: Pricey

This improved on FP2003 hugely in the code handling department and was pretty good but I was finding that the DESIGN mode usefulness was diminishing especially when using tricky CSS.

GREAT thing: Still has hyperlink refactoring when pages renamed.
GOOD thing: Global Find & Replace.
GOOD thing: Still able to use XHTML validator macro.
GOOD thing: Doesn't mess up code layout.
BAD thing: Inserts BOM when page saved - no good for PHP.
BAD thing: DESIGN view of limited usefulness with exotic CSS - layout broken

BEST feature: Hyperlink refactoring.

Expression Web 2 Cost: Pricey c. £216

Moved onto Expression Web 2 but find it a disappointment. The DESIGN mode is further degraded since MS "corrected" the display relating to overflow attribute in CSS.
This can cause pages (or part of) not to display if 'overflow: auto;' is used. This seems ridiculous to me since the pages will display correctly in Mozilla/Opera, IE6 and 7. It seems that EW2 still uses the IE6 engine to render the DESIGN view and although there wasn't a problem in EW1 the tweak has broken EW2. MS feels this corrects an issue but since the pages will display OK in IE6 itself it is now another minus against EW2. It is a shame that EW2 doesn't render as per IE7 since IE7 is capable of using common CSS with Mozilla, etc.

GREAT thing: Still has hyperlink refactoring when pages renamed.
GOOD thing: Still able to use XHTML validator macro.
GOOD thing: Global Find and Replace.
GOOD thing: Doesn't mess up code layout.
GOOD thing: Can now omit BOM when page saved.
BAD thing: DESIGN view of limited usefulness with exotic CSS - layout broken even more with design tweak - still uses IE6 rendering engine.

BEST feature: Hyperlink refactoring.

Aptana Studio CE Cost: Free

Quite impressed with this app since it is free and the quick PREVIEW tabs are accurate.

GREAT thing: PREVIEW tabs for both IE6 and Mozilla(FF).
GOOD thing: XHTML validation works well but not perfect.
GOOD thing: Doesn't mess up code layout.
GOOD thing: Save without BOM possible.
BAD thing: No split CODE/DESIGN mode.
MAJOR BAD thing: Hyperlink refactoring not possible when pages renamed.
MAJOR BAD thing: HTML pages with Java applets on them can't be previewed -
FF PREVIEW tab: Aptana IDE will CRASH and BURN with a Java bridge problem
IE PREVIEW tab: Page will indicate that Java NOT INSTALLED.

BEST feature: PREVIEW tabs for both IE6 and Mozilla(FF). * plus FREE of course

WebBuilder 2008 Cost: Reasonable c. £35

GREAT thing: PREVIEW tabs for both IE6 and Mozilla(FF).
GOOD thing: XHTML validation works OK.
GOOD thing: Doesn't mess up code layout.
GOOD thing: Save without BOM possible.
GOOD thing: Split CODE/PREVIEW mode possible.
MAJOR BAD thing: Hyperlink refactoring not possible when pages renamed.

BEST feature: PREVIEW tabs for both IE6 and Mozilla(FF).

End result:

I tend to use Aptana for general editing simply because of the quick internal preview tabs and good validation.

The problem with the Java bridge error on pages with applets is a huge one and although I just avoid those pages if thay were to charge money for the app I would want it fixed. Some folk are blaming the Mozilla XUL engine but since the pages will work fine in all the later Mozilla and IE browsers and editors I think that Aptana is having a problem with starting Java from within the app!

I still use EW for hyperlink refactoring and for XHTML cross checking but really for the money EW 2 is losing its appeal unless you qualify for academic pricing.

WebBuilder 2008 looks good and has the great PREVIEW tabs for Mozilla and IE with an added advantage of split CODE/PREVIEW mode. It doesn't have any problems with applet pages but of course costs money compared with Aptana but not as much as EW.

And of course Notepad++ I find extremely useful for all my text editing which includes HTML/XHTML/CSS/JS as well.

Web Expression SuperPreview

Tried the Beta out and looks OK but not really a decent browser testing replacement.
The idea is to provide a Preview app for web pages that emulates the browsers (IE initially and others when app is introduced with EW 3).
Unfortunately for me unless it is available for free I probably won't bother since the emulation only provides a static DESIGN page snapshot view. Javascript or CSS hover will not run so I would still need the real browsers to fully test any dynamic pages (eg: my pages use a JS scrolling method and plenty of CSS hover stuff).
The page rendering is however very good and in my view the sort of result that the normal DESIGN view tab within the editor should provide. The functional preview provided by Aptana, WebBuilder or IETester is still far more useful for me.

IETester 0.3.1

This wee app allows browser emulation of all the modern IE versions from 5.5 onwards and works dynamically as per the real browsers. Mine was installed on XP SP3 with IE8 installed. I found that using the IE6 preview initially gave me a debug crash but seemed to work OK after IE8 and IE7 previews were used (some dependencies in there somewhere?). This is a proper browser PREVIEW as against WE SuperPreview which appears to be halfway between a WYSIWYG DESIGN view and a browser PREVIEW.

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.

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