Category: IT

FIX: Windows 7, 8 & 10 Support & Drivers for Sony ICD-PX720 Voice Recorder / Dictaphone

For those of you who are looking to get your Sony ICD-PX720 voice recorder working under Windows 7 or above, no doubt you have probably stumbled upon this post.

I’m glad to report that I have found success when faced with this issue myself.

The problem: Sony have replaced the original software that came with these devices with an newer software program, however, the new software neither works with the recorder, nor does it contain the drivers necessary to use the device on Window 7, 8 or 10.

The solution: After several hours of searching, I came across this post on the Microsoft forums from another frustrated owner. A responder to that post links to a installer for the original software which both supports the device AND includes the all-important drivers. As the download is still hosted on the Sony servers, there’s a good chance that the link may not work forever, and will eventually be taken down given that Sony do not want to support the older software any more. For this reason, I have mirrored the download here. Just download and install as you would any other program, and then plug in your device. If you find that it does not automatically install the driver, you can manually browse to it’s location in the folder:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Sony\ICD-PX Series Driver\

Feel free to comment if you need any further guidance getting this working. I have successfully tested it on Windows 7 Pro x64 and Windows 10 Pro x64.

FIX: Peugeot Planet 2000 WINCAD Error on a Virtual Machine

Hi all, another quick fix. Credit goes to crazycarl over at Peugeot Forums and I am reposting here just to ensure it remains available for the forseeable future.

When running PP2000 inside a virtual machine, as many users do nowadays, you may see the following error on certain computers, depending on the processor that they use:

WINCAD caused a general protection fault in module WIN87EM.DLL at 0001:02C9

In my case, I am using VirtualBox to run my VM, I don’t know if this fix applies to VMWare, or even whether this error occurs on VMWare.

The fix that seems to work for me is:

1. Download “Winfloat.exe” to your VM.
2. Double-click on “Winfloat.exe” to extract files to C: drive.
3. Copy “HIDE87.com” to the c:\windows\system32 directory.
4. Open the “autoexec.nt” file (c:\windows\system32\autoexec.nt) with a text editor like Wordpad.
5. Add “lh c:\windows\system32\HIDE87.com” to the “autoexec.nt” file.
6. Save the file, and exit.
7. Reboot the Virtual Machine.
8. Done!

 

WordPress Help – How to display WP-Toolset Multiple Image Field in a Lightbox Gallery

Here’s a quick one. On recently needing to design a website for a client which utilises custom post types and fields from the WP-Toolset plugin, I needed a way to display multiple images with lightbox functionality.

Here is how I achieved this:

First install the Foobox Image Lightbox plugin from the WordPress directory. I chose this one because it is fast, responsive, simple, and the free version offered all the features I needed.

Then go to your Content Templates section within Toolset and open the template that you need. We will now make use of the following code to take each image from a multiple image field and display it with a clickable lightbox link.

[wpv-for-each field="wpcf-photo"]
<a href="[types field='photo' output="raw"][/types]" class="foobox" rel="gallery">
<img class="object-fit" src="[types field='photo' output="raw"][/types]"></a>
[/wpv-for-each]

To explain the above code a little, if you need it. The class="foobox" is required to invoke the lightbox plugin and tell it to act upon the following image. The rel="gallery" value tells Foobox to group all of the images into a gallery wwith previous/next buttons rather than requiring you to click each photo in turn. The output="raw" tells Toolset to output the URL to the image, rather than the image itself, obviously we require the URL to make this work. In this case, I have applied a simple style using class="object-fit" to output the image in a fixed-size square with the image centered and cropped to fit. If it is of any use or interest, the CSS for this property is:

img.object-fit {
margin: 5px;
width: 300px;
height: 300px;
border-radius: 15px;
object-fit: cover;
border: 1px solid;
}

Hopefully this will help someone who was in the same boat as me, me not being a professional designer it did take me a while to figure it out and piece together code from various sources. If you need further help, hit me up in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.

[Update] Gmail Account Suspended After Adding POP3 Imported Account

Just a quick update on my previous post with this problem.

I eventually managed to get all of the accounts setup fine, however, every damn one of them got suspended in the process. I found a way around that though.

As long as you setup the POP3 import and leave the box UNCHECKED for “leave a copy of retrieved messages on the server”, you will then receive a email on your previous email system indicating that the account is suspended, and most importantly, some directions to appeal this decision.

After having a human at Gmail manually unsuspend the first two problem accounts for me (roughly 8 hours after submitting the appeal), the other 4 accounts were automatically unsuspended as soon as I submitted the appeal request which allowed me to continue setting up the accounts.

So from what I have learned here, the reason for suspension is completely unknown but is NOT for breach of terms and conditions (which I have thoroughly read every single word to make sure), And if this is happening to several different accounts, once the first couple are reviewed by staff at Google, I guess they whitelist your IP address or similar to have the others automatically resolved when you appeal it.

[ONGOING] Gmail Account Suspended After Adding POP3 Imported Account

I was recently tasked with setting up a handful of Gmail accounts for a company, creating the accounts worked fine as expected, but when trying to add their business email address as a POP3 import/send as address I have been facing some issues where the accounts are becoming suspended and at risk of deletion. Gmail’s reasoning for this? Apparently “Terms of Service Violation”. I have thoroughly read through the several pages of their Terms of Service, and there is not one rule within that, that we are breaking here.

To make matters even worse, I chose not to leave a copy of imported messages on the server (to free up mailbox space on the POP3 server) which means that all emails from the company address have been sucked up into Gmail and are being held at ransom, if I can’t get Gmail to unsuspend those accounts, the thousands of business emails will be gone for good.

My findings so far:

  • I am able to setup a account import from a POP3 account easily, it imports the messages fine, no problems at all there.
  • However, when setting up “send mail as” for this address, as soon as Gmail sends out the verification email to the address it is causing the Gmail account to immediately logout and state that it has been suspended. This is reflected by a email from Google sent to the recovery email address for the account stating that one can appeal the decision and wait for a response from their staff.

Of course this is very inconvenient and nerve wracking to think that crucial business emails are at risk of deletion, not to mention the downtime that it is causing for the users in question who are unable to deal with their emails in the meantime. I’m unsure what could be triggering this but presumably this is some sort of anti-spam measure. However, this is not a suitable way for Gmail to deal with the problem. Ideally, they should show a captcha or similar instead in a situation like this.

The Gmail accounts have been phone verified already, but for the first two accounts I was able to successfully appeal to Google, thankfully were reinstated after waiting about 10 hours for them to review the issue. I was then prompted to re-verify the phone number again when logging into the account again.

I have reached out to @gmail on Twitter to find out more, I won’t hold my breath but hopefully they will come back with some suitable answers and maybe even a change in their procedures to prevent this from happening again.

[FIX] Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook, Linux Mint 18 / Ubuntu Xenial Not Refreshing Wireless Networks After Resume

After recently installing Linux Mint 18 on my Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook, I noticed that after a system standby/resume, my wireless network list was not refreshing or connecting to networks if in a new location (for example, suspending the system at home, then resuming when at work it would not find new networks).

The following fix was found to work fine for me, credit goes to Ubuntu Forums here.

Apparently this is common for Broadcom wireless cards, mine however was a Atheros 93xx card:

rob@chromebook ~ $ lspci | grep -i wireless
01:00.0 Network controller: Qualcomm Atheros AR93xx Wireless Network Adapter (rev 01)

The fix was to create a new file:

sudo nano /etc/pm/sleep.d/10_restart-networkmanager

Paste the following into it:
#!/bin/sh
case "$1" in
resume|thaw)
service network-manager restart
;;
suspend|hibernate)
# Do nothing
;;
esac

Make sure root is the owner of the file:
sudo chown root /etc/pm/sleep.d/10_restart-networkmanager

And make the file executable:
sudo chmod +x /etc/pm/sleep.d/10_restart-networkmanager

Once done, reboot the laptop and you should then be able to suspend and resume the system without problems, upon resume, it will restart network-manager to work around the issue.

[Fix] Fallout 4 PC – Keyboard & Mouse Not Working – Logitech

Yesterday I started playing the Fallout 4 PC game. I was confronted with an issue right at the beginning of the game on the screen that says “Press any key to start” where no keys were detected so I couldn’t begin the game.

After some extensive searching, almost all answers were related to having a game pad or controller plugged into the computer, and the fix was to unplug it before starting the game or use the controller to go into the game settings and disable it. For me, this was not the case, I do not have a game pad or controller on my PC.

Eventually I figured out that it was the software for my Logitech G19 keyboard that was being falsely detected by the game as a controller. Unplugging the keyboard did not make a difference, but if I completely exit the Logitech Gaming Software before starting the game it worked flawlessly. I could then begin the game, and go into the game option screen to disable controller support. Once that has been done, you can run the Logitech Gaming Software again without it interfering with the game. You can still use the macros and hotkeys of your Logitech device after this.

As I couldn’t find any mention of this being the cause of the error, I thought I’d publish this post to help others.

Fix for Sony Smart Band SWR10 Not Tracking Sleep/Activity Data

I’ve had my Sony SWR10 Smart Band for some time now and it’s been great and so useful, especially the ‘Smart Wake Up’ alarm feature which I use all the time.

A couple of times I have run into an issue where the smart band stops tracking activity data including when asleep, which prevents the smart alarm feature from working.

I did contact Sony about this some time ago and arranged to return it for repair/replacement but I never got round to sending it off, a few weeks back I found it again and thought I would give it another go and surprisingly I found that it was working fine again so I started using it.

After about two weeks the same happened again and it stopped tracking activity data. After various troubleshooting methods I have worked out that the battery within it needs to be totally discharged to force it to turn off completely, then once recharged, it will work again just fine. There’s no easy way to discharge the battery sadly and it’s very much a waiting game, I tend to leave it for a week without using or charging it which in my case is usually enough to resolve the issue. It’s very much an inconvenience being stuck without it for such a long time when this happens but it’s the only way I know of.

This may not work in all situations but for me, it has worked perfectly 3 times now to resolve the issue of not tracking activity data.

pfSense 2.2.6 Compatibility/Installation of ASRock Q1900-ITX Motherboard

I was expecting this to be a walk in the park but alas it wasn’t as simple as I’d hoped.

I originally intended to install pfSense to a mPCIe-based SSD as the motherboard has got a slot, but sadly this motherboard only supports wifi/cellular cards in this port so presumably the motherboard only has the USB pins on the slot connected and not the PCIe/mSATA pins. Save yourself the effort here and go for a SATA hard drive or SSD instead, it wasn’t worth troubleshooting or fighting with it for me.

My specs:

  • ASRock Q1900-ITX (for what it’s worth, I believe the Q1900DC-ITX is identical apart from having a built in DC PSU instead of the usual ATX).
  • Integral Value 2x 2GB DDR3-1600 RAM
  • Broadcom 10/100/1000 NIC (unknown model, I’ll try and add details later).
  • OCZ Agility 3 60GB SSD
  • 80W DC-DC PicoPSU with 12V 5A power brick

I tried to install pfSense 2.2.6 to this motherboard originally using default settings, with BIOS version 1.6.0 from ASRock. This failed with AHCI Timeout errors when trying to format my SSD.

After finding this post for a very similar motherboard made by Gigabyte, I started playing around more in BIOS.

I then went through the BIOS and disabled any devices that won’t be required for this installation, such as serial/parallel ports, HDMI audio, PXE boot, onboard audio, WAN radio (wifi/cellular card if you’re not using them). I also made some other minor changes such as setting the default graphics card to onboard instead of the default PCIe. SATA controllers are set to AHCI mode, Secure Boot and Fast Boot is disabled, S.M.A.R.T is enabled. Everything under ACPI Configuration is disabled apart from HPET, disabled everything under CSM (Compatibility Support Module).

After making these changes, it installed fine. Interestingly, I did try reverting back to the default BIOS values to try and work out which setting was causing the problem, I believe it is related to Intel C-States but I cannot be sure without getting another clean hard drive to test it on. It seems, that once the BSD boot loader has already been written to the drive, subsequent reinstallations go through fine without any errors at all.

If you’re using an SSD, it’s worthwhile enabling TRIM to prolong the life of it, I used this guide which worked perfectly.

After all of this, I’ve successfully got pfSense 2.2.6 full install up and running on the ASRock Q1900-ITX motherboard.

 

Fix for Windows 10 Start Menu and Settings/Wifi/Volume Screens Not Working

Recently I encountered an issue where the Start menu, along with the wifi, volume and control panel screens would not open on Windows 10.

After a lot of searching I discovered the following four fixes which may resolve the problem.

1. Microsoft troubleshooter

Microsoft is aware of an issue relating to the start menu and settings screens, they have created a troubleshooter and fix for this issue, however in my case it did not detect the problem but it’s worth a try anyway, you can download it here.

2. Reset/re-register some control panel files

This will attempt to repair some settings and files related to the control panel.

Press Win + X on your keyboard to bring up the menu, click “Command Prompt (Admin)” and copy/paste the following:

powershell -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $Env:SystemRoot\ImmersiveControlPanel\AppxManifest.xml "

Press Enter and wait, it doesn’t seem to specifically tell you how far it has progressed or when it has finished but I would suggest waiting 20 minutes.

3. Reinstall default windows apps

This will attempt to reinstall all the standard Windows apps like the Store, Windows update, Control panel etc.

Press Win + X on your keyboard to bring up the menu, click “Command Prompt (Admin)” and copy/paste the following:

powershell Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}

Press Enter and wait. Like the above fix it does not tell you how far it has progressed or when it has completed but as it needs to do a lot of work I would suggest leaving it running for about an hour.

4. System File Checker

Out of all the fixes this one takes the longest so I have listed it last so you can try some of the quicker ones above first. This will check each and every Windows system file to make sure it is present and not corrupted. It will repair/replace any files which are causing problems.

Press Win + X on your keyboard to bring up the menu, click “Command Prompt (Admin)” and copy/paste the following:

sfc /scannow

Press Enter and let it do it’s thing. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour in some cases but it will show the progress and tell you when it has finished.

 

After you have tried each fix above, restart your computer (press Win + X to bring up the menu which shows the shutdown/restart buttons if your start menu is not working) and hopefully one of these will have resolved your problem. Let me know in the comments if it worked for you and if you still have problems afterwards I’ll do my best to help.