Cannot connect to Steam Server

Well, well, well, Steam really corrupted things this time. This week they added a survey that detected the software installed on a user’s system, and I can only guess that their changes caused the trouble. I could not connect to the Steam server for several days in a row, and I did not see any new posts from other users with the same problem. Thus the problem had to be on my system.

From an old newsgroup I found this handy tidbit: Rename the file ClientRegistry.blob.

I did as told, and Steam then updated itself, and connected successfully.

Here is a reference article on Steam’s web site:

Good Luck!

Two features Microsoft should add or leverage better in Windows 7 Ultimate

According to a Bloomberg report, Microsoft is looking for greater technology knowledge in its executive ranks. It is hard to imagine that one of the most successful software companies in all of history needs such. I submit that, irrespective of technical leadership needs, Microsoft needs creativity more than anything else. Microsoft’s name and products are ubiquitous, and the company surely does not need some grand slam new technology to compete with anyone. They need to leverage their existing products to the greatest extent possible. Here are some developments Microsoft could make to greatly increase profitability.

Number one, Microsoft should leverage the language switching capability of Windows 7 Ultimate. It is a terrible shame that Microsoft’s top operating system is always considered a joke. Reading the newsgroup postings that discuss whether Ultimate is worth the money, I usually discover that people see absolutely no value in it. Ultimate does have a great hammer and screwdriver, but they need to assemble the small house, and then sell the entire solution. The language switching feature should be promoted for schools to teach students foreign languages. Microsoft can even develop a suggested curriculum, with the help of teachers, and offer it for free on their web site. As an example of how such a program would work, teachers would instruct students to switch the language of their classroom laptops to the foreign language. Students would then type letters to their in-class pen pals. They would be required to ask a certain number of questions, and provide some information about themselves. Their “pen pals” would then write back in an appropriate manner. The instructor would have administrative access to the entire letter archive, project letters on a screen, and critically analyze the grammar. By writing in the foreign language constantly, students would learn it much more thoroughly and faster than by merely reading, doing rote problems for homework, and taking tests. Microsoft may have to create some tools for the teacher, or the classroom could use Sharepoint or even carbon copy the teacher on all correspondence, to get the information flowing between teacher and student. With a curriculum established, Microsoft would push Windows 7 Ultimate for all students. With the student purchase costs being fairly low, even if Microsoft charges students an extra ten dollars for Ultimate, that would be ten dollars they never would have made. The new standard in the schools would be the premium operating system, and the perpetual revenue increase would be a great boon to the company.

Suggestion number two for Microsoft is to add generational data groups (GDGs) also called generational data sets, to the premium Windows operating system. Long a staple of mainframes, a GDG is a historical collection of a particular file. Each time the file is updated it is saved as a new version, and a set number of previous versions are kept as well. The oldest version is purged when a new file is added, and the total number of versions that are kept is set by the user.

On PCs we all struggle at times updating files and saving backups of them. If Microsoft built in generational datasets into Windows, the user would be able to save any file, and Windows would automatically save the previous version as well as the new one. When the user makes a mistake and loses information in the file, they can easily go to the historical version of the file.  Microsoft should build a thread view of GDG’s into Windows Explorer. A file appears with a plus sign perhaps, indicating that several versions of the file are available. Explorer can show an expanded view of all versions, or a collapsed view showing the most recent file date. Additional columns can be added such as the number of generations that are saved for each file. Microsoft Office may take special advantage of GDG capability, but Windows should seamlessly allow any application to save a file, while the OS automatically turns it into a GDG. Requirements for application conformance with the new standard of course are up to Microsoft, but I suggest making it a built in function that can be turned on per individual file, file type, or global. With GDG capability I would strongly reconsider moving up to Windows 7 Ultimate. How about you?

You want the car to start, or just the wiper switch replaced?

Regarding the following article:

Mechanics Seek Out ‘Right to Repair’

I am not surprised that the automakers continue to make car parts proprietary. This article talks about a Saab windshield-wiper switch that requires initialization before it can be installed. If it is not initialized, the car will not start. Now that is pretty extreme, but the automakers claim they do this to protect their trade secrets. It seems like a lot of effort to go through when designing a superior part that the cheap parts knockoff companies could not match would be the best protection for car parts sales. Independent mechanics are subsequently pushing for legislation that forces automakers to share their cars’ onboard computer data. I feel for independent mechanics, but if such a bill passed, could not the precedent be applied to all technology companies, and force them all, for similar reasons, to share their code? We shall see where this leads, but the cost for independent mechanics to collect all of the proprietary equipment to fix all makes of cars will probably never go down.

Radeon 5750 crashes

It has either been a very long time, or this has never happened to me with of all things, a video card. I installed a XFX Radeon 5750 and when XP (SP3) showed that new hardware was detected, the system rebooted. Hardware contention for a PCI-E video card installation? A Google of this issue shows that users of XP, 7, and Vista have had this problem. This should indicate to us that the issue is not the BIOS, motherboard, or OS patch like all of the guesses on the web reference. Continue reading

eBook Lending – my rant

The reason I buy dead trees is because I cannot loan eBooks out. Amazon has begun a baby step in the right direction (with the publishers dragged kicking and screaming) but the standard, sub-standard explanation can be found here. (That’s a reference to the original Tron movie which was great and glorious)

The question is: Once the loaned book is placed back in my library, can I loan it out again? That point is unclear Continue reading

Flash on the iPlatform

Yeah yeah yeah, yet another “why Flash isn’t on the iPlatform” article points out some of the spurious points. The author points out “The facts remain, however, that the iPad will run HTML5 video inline today (and iPhone OS 4 this summer) without even getting warm to the touch while our laptops and multicore desktops turn into noisy miniature blast furnaces Continue reading

Appfuse – width of web page

Ok this took a ton of time to figure out.
Problem: I don’t like 800×600 pages. I have widescreen LCDs and many other people do too. I will check the stats which is a developer type site, and here which is more general and based on 32,000+ sites.

Edit the files:
./tree/src/main/webapp/styles/simplicity/layout-1col.css and change line 8 to 924 (1024 – 100 which is what it was set to initially). This will set the login.jsp menu to this width. Continue reading

Appfuse – Test failure

Sometimes the tests will fail because you have generated your classes in an order that does not support the tests.
For example, I have a Base class that is included as an attribute of another class. However, I had made a change in the base class and regenerated the code. This causes the file in ./tree/src/test/resources/sample-data.xml to generate the data in the wrong order. So what happens is that there are zero base class records in the table when the other class runs its test. This second class is, due to me regenerating the base class, now first in the sample data and first to be tested.

The fix:
To fix this, just move the data around in the sample-data.xml file. Poof no more Constraint problem.

Example pseduocode: Continue reading

Appfuse – Extending your classes

I had extended my Event class to include references to other objects. I also created @OneToOne annotations of them.
All of a sudden the tests wouldn’t run.
Well the problem lay in the sample data that is loaded into the table during the tests. I was referencing the appfuse User class. During the autogeneration of my Event class, it autogenerates three records into ./tree/src/test/resources/sample-data.xml . However, the original Appfuse where you did the quickstart from the main site, only outputs two User records.
So I added a third User record and everything fell into place and started working again.

Peace out.

Appfuse – quick start guide for newbies.


Add classes to initial project creation



You have done the QuickStart to see if you can get everything to work. This article assumes you DID indeed get the initial project working. You’re excited and want to “add something” to that project and begin working on your own. You need to read through this with a clear head because there is a gotcha once you get past adding ONE java class file. Not sure why but there is a fix.

Ok here’s the scoop.

Use the videos for the tutorial. They’re up to date. The other tutorials never worked for me.

Continue reading

Pasting text sends e-mail in Outlook

This happened to me using TPX remoting into an IBM 3390 mainframe and MS Outlook 2000.  I was usng in the green screen session and pasting into an e-mail in Outlook 2000.  The process must have capture additional keystrokes from the TPX session.  When I selected to paste in an e-mail, the e-mail was sent.  So, how to handle this?

1) Do not put in an e-mail address until you are ready to send.

2) Copy text from the problem application(s) and try pasting in notepad first, then copying and pasting again into Outlook.

3) Try using any available built-in copy function in the problem application, in my case it was TPX.  TPX has a “COPY” function that captures pure text, versus which does more of a screen capture from TPX.

Our business has since migrated to a different e-mail client.  I am not sure but it does not seem to be sensitive to this problem.

the server did not provide a certificate during the session e-mail error

This is written for a user of The Bat! Adjust accordingly if your e-mail client is stating that your provider is not providing a certificate.

1) Go to the SSL link at your Internet Provider. If you are using secure e-mail, this is the POP3/SMTP link in your e-mail configuration.

2) Click on the “lock” icon in the web browser, or choose SAFETY/SECURITY REPORT, or figure it out for your browser. Continue reading

Rhapsody stops playing in XP

[This article refers to Rhapsody software for Windows version 4.0 Build 5.209]

I have the latest Rhapsody software and Windows XP. Periodically Rhapsody stops playing music. I click on the song, and no indicator appears to indicate it is attempting to play. I think this is triggered by Windows XP going into standby mode, but I am not positive.

I wrote Real support and the brainless wonder response I got was to shut off all XP power saving features. I lambasted them but have not heard back, and do not think I will hear back in this lifetime.

I found a temporary fix:

2) Shut down the process RHAPHPLR.EXE
3) Restart Rhapsody

At least it brings back the music pretty easily.

UPDATE: May 23, 2010

Presuming that your software is set to download the files for off-line listening, like mine, try this: Delete all of the downloaded songs. I suspect that when the computer is authorized, it ties the downloads to that particular authorization instance. When you upgrade the software, or Rhapsody on its own decides to re-authorize the computer (have you seen the authorization dialog and wondered why it popped up randomly?) it decides it cannot play files that were saved from the previous authorization event.

After deleting all of my downloaded songs, I listed the library by play count, and started playing the first song. I walked away knowing that it was re-downloading all of my favorite songs.

I closed Rhapsody twice, re-opened, and it played music. It did not do this before without killing the RHAPHPLR.EXE service once or twice.

Let us know how you fare!

UPDATE: June 26, 2010

Well those bozos at Rhapsody decided to re-authorize my computer. So, back to deleted two gigabytes of local files, and the system will have to re-download everything at least once. BAH!

Add a custom symbol to a field in Excel

I came across this method when attempting to add a percent (%) sign to my data without Excel multiplying all of the numbers by one hundred, as it does when formatting as a percent. I could find no way to just append a symbol to my data, except, for some reason only Bill Gates knows, there is a feature to add a custom currency sign to Excel. So these instructions add a custom dollar sign to the sheet, as though you are entering currency numbers from a country that does not use the dollar sign. However, the symbol can be any symbol you choose. Again, I will add a percent sign, because that was my mission for my customer.

I am working in Excel 2000. Hey, why upgrade? Any feedback on the options in later versions of Excel is certainly welcome.


1) Right click the field(s)


3) Select CUSTOM.

4) In the TYPE field, type this: ##.#[$%]

* Use your symbol of choice in place of the percent sign.

The pound signs represent the numbers in your data, so adjust the number of them before or after the decimal as necessary. The period is a decimal, of course. The bracketed expression is telling Excel that “In this country, we use a percent sign rather than a dollar sign.”

Now you can enter data, or paste number values (PASTE/SPECIAL/VALUES) from another sheet into these newly formatted cells, and
this:                          3.19
will appear like this:  3.19%

The Matrix for the rest of us – Virtualization for the masses

Ok I got one of those stinkin locked down Corporate PCs. Yep one of dem.
I wanted to put CentOS and my other Linux PC’s image (The one I used until the Corporate Execs caught me. Jack booted thugs).
Anyway I thought (stupidly of course) let’s give Microsoft’s Virtual PC a try. Nope. Choked and then spit it out. Not what a geek wants from his trusted minion.
Next up let’s try Sun Microsystems’ Virtual Box. Ahhhh bliss. A free solution to the “You’ll run what WE want whether you like it or not you cubitized pond scum”. LOL I now run Linux “underneath” the corporate package. Network is connected, I’m even sending to the corporate printers. Way cool. I thumb my nose at those dweebs.
Props for VMWare. I use it at home and it is truly seamless. I don’t run it on the corp PCs so that the suits won’t have even more cause to, umm, flush me. You can see by an other post that they work us hard. Some of us need not work as hard because we’re 10 times more productive than the other 100 mediocre programmers. So we skate and the manager’s lick our boots and think we ARE gods! Mwhwhahahaahahahaaaaaa

How to backup your WordPress Blog

I post this, not because there are not a million other web sites that tell how to do this, but because they all tell me to go to “manage” and I do not see a “manage” function in WordPress. Here is how to backup your WordPress content:

1) Go to the ADMIN Panel – Continue reading going bye-bye?

BusinessWeek wrote about’s competition and loss of business:

Recruiting: Enough to Make a Monster Tremble

A clear sign that a formerly super-successful dot com with a spectacular profit margin has turned into a typical Fortune 500 Company run by a myopic big city businessman: The CEO eliminated paper cups in the break rooms.

Newsflash:  Just like replaced the newspaper, Monster better think completely out of the box in order to gain some new, currently unknown, advantage over its online competitors.

As I have worked for major corporations that have gone the same route, here is some advice Mr. Iannuzzi: Put the paper cups back. Not only is your business revenue hurting badly, but you just made all of your employees resentful.  These are the people whom you will rely on for innovation and superior service.

Mr. Iannuzzi, I have an idea for you to steal a very cool niche in recruiting. Contact us if you are interested.


Internet Pricing Exposed – Time for a personal domain?

Yet another sour deal:  In 2007 I was offered high speed DSL from AT&T Yahoo! for $24.99. At the time I said, “That is too low, they are going to raise the price in a year.” I was a little bit off. Almost two years later, and sure enough they raised the price five dollars. Of course I am not sure about the price because the phone company consolidates all costs (hides them) in one grand total on the bill. They must have gotten that idea from congress.

Just after seeing the price increase I was notified that AT&T will be dropping Usenet. Tom said this is a decision made solely to gain bandwidth. He is right (only because he is always right…just ask him.)

I feel like I am back in 1999 with Internet companies raising prices and dropping services.  (At least the constant, unexplained communication outages are not still a problem for me.)  Anticipating AT&T pulling another stunt in two or four days, I must look at my options. The only big problem with switching providers is changing my e-mail address. Whoop! Time to register a personal domain, select a permanent e-mail address, and update all of my contacts for the final time. I wonder if “tomslesserbusinesspartner” is taken? In any case, a personal domain can stay with a person forever. This is something I should have done ten years ago.

Registering a domain name is in the ten dollar range. Additionally, if one is already hosting a web site ( for example), they may be able to use the same hosting service for the new domain ( That means the additonal domain’s yearly cost is limisted to the registration fee, which is quite a bargain.

If you are not tech savvy, you should be warned that there is more effort associated with managing your own domain.  This is only moderately difficult, but if I can do it, you can do it faster and better.

Now  I am seriously considering the personal domain option.  Once I have an e-mail address established on my own registered domain, I can switch to any Internet provider, at any time, without having to worry about updating all of my contacts (hi mom!)

Just a thought for the day for the millions of you who just got jacked by AT&T.

Time to surf for a good responsive newsgroup server before AT&T cuts off Usenet on July 15th.  Ideas?


How to Edit Your WordPress Blog with Adobe Contribute

As usual, this should be a process that a newbie could execute. In other words, open Contribute, point to your web site, type your login, and go. Of course, Contribute returns generic errors stating that it cannot connect, and so you (I) try every password in your password file. Well, here is the skinny on setting this up, and let me know if I missed anything.

This setup assumes you are hosting your own WordPress blog, which does support xml-rpc. Edit the url or settings appropriately if you are using or another protocol.

1) Turn on XML-RPC in WordPress Continue reading