tinyapps.org / blog


Ad Muncher #

Great story from developer Murray Hurps: Ad Muncher's 15 Year History. Here are a few excerpts:
"I loved low-level code, doing a lot of x86 assembly coding on a 386DX-40. When Windows 95 came along, I stayed at the low level and loved finding ways to do novel things on the new platform ... Our first installer was 29kb in size, which included the filter list ... Popups started to become more common around this time (X10's popunder ads were a notable source of complaints from users, wonder why?), so I implemented a rudimentary JavaScript processor, which traced script execution paths and tried to determine which paths to popup functions were automatic (bad popups) and which needed user input (good ones). Ad Muncher was still 100% x86 assembly at this point."

After 15 years as shareware, Murray is generously releasing Ad Muncher for free.

/windows | Oct 19, 2014

Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter adds P2V support #

Microsoft® Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC) 3.0 is a Microsoft-supported, stand-alone solution for the information technology (IT) pro or solution provider who wants to convert virtual machines and disks from VMware hosts to Hyper-V® hosts and Windows Azure™ or alternatively convert a physical computer running Windows Server 2008 or above server operating systems or Windows Vista or above client operating systems to a virtual machine running on Hyper-V host.

(via The Deployment Bunny)

/windows | Oct 15, 2014

Blocking BadUSB #

USB KEYBOARD GUARD from G DATA attempts to block BadUSB attacks by requiring users to approve newly-detected USB keyboards.

(via Robert Penz, who also points to Christian Vogel's Linux instructions for blocking BadUSB)

UPDATE: Claus Valca has more information on BadUSB and USB KEYBOARD GUARD.

/windows | Oct 12, 2014

VirtualObjectives #

offers a number of free utilities, including:

/windows | Oct 05, 2014

Windows 10 Technical Preview #

Windows 10 Technical Preview ISOs are out. A few thoughts (billg: I carp because I care):
  1. Setup screens during install are the same as those from Windows 8
  2. Same annoying "Sign in to your Microsoft account" after install with no apparent way to bypass. As before, disconnecting from the network, clicking the back arrow, then clicking next allows creation of a local account instead. Microsoft: Please fix this - give users an obvious way to avoid having to setup or sign in to yet another online account (as OS X does).
  3. Strange popup (for feedback, I suppose): "How hard was it to use Start?" Dear Microsoft, How hard was it to add Start?
  4. The power button ("Power Options") is now at the top of the Start menu - please put it back at the bottom where it belongs.
  5. Put all of the "Windows Store apps" in a folder instead of having to scroll endlessly through them. And while you're at it, please re-add the ability to easily create, delete, and rename folders on the Start menu (the only options from the context menu are "Expand" or "Collapse").

So far, as near as I can tell, Windows 10 is basically Windows 8.1 with a garish Start menu; calling it 8.2 or even 8.1.1 would seem closer to the truth.

Updates:

/windows | Oct 01, 2014

TrueCrypt and exFAT #

These steps outline how to encrypt an entire external USB hard drive with TrueCrypt 7.1a and setup the filesystem as exFAT (for large file and read/write support under modern versions of Windows, OS X, and Linux). ANY EXISTING DATA ON THE USB DRIVE WILL BE DELETED!! Use at your own risk (and joy). Tested under Windows 8.1.
  1. Run diskmgmt.msc
  2. Delete any volumes on the USB drive so that the entire disk is shown as "Unallocated"
  3. TrueCrypt > Tools > Volume Creation Wizard > Encrypt a non-system partition/drive > follow the wizard through setting up desired password/keyfile
  4. Set Filesystem to none
  5. Click Format (after moving the mouse as instructed to increase entropy)
  6. Read warning and click Yes if you agree
  7. Wait for the encryption process to complete
  8. Mount the device in TrueCrypt (Select Device... > click on your encrypted drive > OK > click desired drive letter > click Mount > enter credentials > OK)
  9. From an elevated command prompt, run: format <drive letter>: /fs:exfat /q

Thanks to Rowan's blog post and Cal's attached comment.

/windows | Sep 29, 2014

Batch download and embed album cover art #

If you have a huge MP3 collection and just want to batch download and embed cover art without verifying each cover individually (and iTunes' "Get Album Artwork" is insufficient*):
  1. Download and install Mp3tag
  2. Download DisCoverArt and unzip contents to the Mp3tag program directory (e.g., C:\Program Files (x86)\Mp3tag)
  3. Open an elevated command prompt and cd to the Mp3tag program directory
  4. Run regsvr32 custommsgbox.dll and click OK when the success dialog appears
  5. Open Mp3tag
  6. File > Add directory... > navigate to your music folder > Select Folder
  7. Create a new tool:
    1. Tools > Options > Tools
    2. Click the New (yellow star) button
    3. Name: DisCoverArt Google 300x300 Artist+Title NoQuotes
    4. Path: Browse to the Mp3tag program directory and select DisCoverArt.exe
    5. Parameter: "%artist%" "%title%" -discomusic.com 0 1 300 300 jpg 1 1
    6. Check "for all selected files" > OK > OK
  8. Create a new action:
    1. Actions > Actions (you need to select at least one song in the main interface for this menu item to be available)
    2. Click the New (yellow star) button
    3. Name of action group: Save Coverart
    4. Click OK > click the New button again
    5. Select action type: Import Cover From File > OK
    6. Format string for image filename: %artist% - %title%.jpg
    7. Import cover as: Front Cover
    8. Check "Delete existing cover art" > OK > OK > Close
  9. Right click on column header > Customize columns... > check "Cover" > click "Move up" until it is at or near the top of the list
  10. Click the Cover column to sort
  11. Select all files without an entry in the Cover column (the author recommends selecting no more than 300 at a time to avoid problems)
  12. Right click on highlighted files and click Tools > DisCoverArt Google 300x300 Artist+Title NoQuotes
  13. Wait for all console windows to close
  14. Actions > Actions (Quick) > "Import cover from file" > OK
  15. Format string for image filename: %artist% - %title%.jpg
  16. Import cover as: Front Cover
  17. Check "Delete existing cover art" > OK > OK
  18. File > Save tag > OK
  19. Close Mp3tag
  20. Getting the artwork to show up in iTunes:
    1. Open iTunes and click "Albums"
    2. Edit > Select All > Right click > click "Uncheck Selection" (album covers will appear)
    3. Edit > Select All > Right click > "Check Selection"
Another option is to download cover art with Album Art Downloader and embed with Mp3tag:
  1. Download and run Album Art Downloader
  2. File > New > File Browser...
  3. Enter path to music directory under "Search for audio files in:"
  4. Click Search
  5. Click Options...
  6. Click "Automatically download and save the first result that meets set criteria"
  7. Click "Select all albums with missing artwork"
  8. Click "Get Artwork for Selection..."
  9. Click "Download and save results automatically"
  10. If desired, change minimum required image size to 300 px and allowed cover types to Front
  11. Click Start
  12. When the process is complete, embed the album art with Mp3tag by starting with step 14 above. The only change is in step 15, where you'll need to use Folder.jpg as the format string.

* On a related note, cover art obtained through iTunes' "Get Album Artwork" is not embedded within files by default. To quickly embed all such artwork, the fastest and simplest tool I've found is the $5 iCoverArt (via the "Embed Downloaded Artwork" function). The free and open source iTSfv looked promising, but kept crashing in a clean Windows 7 32 bit virtual machine, even after installing the required .Net Framework.

/windows | Sep 10, 2014

Mount floppy images as drive A: #

with ImDisk Virtual Disk Driver (thanks again for the tip four years ago, Claus!). Even if A: is assigned to another device, ImDisk VDD can force reassignment (no need for the aforementioned ReMount).

(Virtual Floppy Drive 2.1 looked promising, but even with ReMount I was unable to force the drive letter assignment ("Source volume mount point 'letter' is invalid - abort").)

/windows | Sep 07, 2014

Create an image file from floppy disk #

or write an image file to floppy disk with RawWrite: * dd can of course be used instead of RawWrite for creating and writing floppy images (among other tasks); here are a few examples from the author's site:

/windows | Sep 07, 2014

Map a USB floppy drive to A: in Windows XP Mode #

  1. Connect USB floppy drive to Windows 7 host
  2. In XP Mode, click "USB" in toolbar at top and then click the entry for your USB floppy drive. It will be connected as B: by default.
  3. Download and run Uwe Sieber's ReMount from the command line:
    C:\>ReMount.exe -s b: a:
  4. Your USB floppy drive is now assigned to A:. This assignment appears to be permanent (unless changed with ReMount)
See also:

/windows | Sep 07, 2014


RSS | Twitter | Archives