Wednesday, 9 March 2011

How to download files from www.adobe.com without using Akamai download manager

Yesterday I tried to download a theme pack for Adobe Premiere Elements only to be greeted with this window:

 

This happens in all browsers that I tested (Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer). You can find many posts complaining about the same problem.
But I found out how to download files without that cursed manager. You simply need to edit the download link this way. Lets say this is the link you are after:

http://esd.adobe.com/dlm.html?files=http://esd.adobe.com/AdobeProducts/PRE/9/win32/PremiereElements_9_Content_HD3_LS15.exe|http://esd.adobe.com/AdobeProducts/PRE/9/win32/PremiereElements_9_Content_HD3_LS15.7z&windowfeatures=height=500,width=550

There are two links hidden in the link. First one is:
http://esd.adobe.com/AdobeProducts/PRE/9/win32/PremiereElements_9_Content_HD3_LS15.exe
and the second one is:
http://esd.adobe.com/AdobeProducts/PRE/9/win32/PremiereElements_9_Content_HD3_LS15.7z


Just download those two files and run the .exe file afterwards. And that's it. No download managers, no hassle. I still don't understand why do they use download managers at all.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Ubuntu Linux 10.10 Annoyances and Solutions

I'm seriously testing Ubuntu 10.10 on my MSI Wind U100 and I came with some solutions to the obvious annoyances which a lot of users would come by.

1. Can't connect to shared internet connection with wifi which has WEP password. I have my Mac Mini serving as a wireless hotspot. The only problem with it is that it uses WEP password. I know that the WEP and password shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence, but that is the best I can get. And as the coverage is almost non-existent outside the house that is a non-problem.

But the real problem is that I couldn't connect with Ubuntu on it. But the solution is to go to Network Connections -> Wireless tab -> Edit your wifi connection -> Wireless Security tab -> Authentication -> Shared Key (instead of Open system)



2. You are trying to extract a file from usb flash drive (4GB+) and the extracting program tells you the following message: "Need PK compat." -something.

Solution: Open terminal (Ctrl+alt+t) and write this:
sudo apt-get install p7zip-full

This article will be updated as soon as I find more problems and solutions.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

There are only three types of people who want Adobe Flash on the iPhone’s browser

As you probably know there are people who always cry about Adobe Flash technology on the iPhone. As you can probably guess I hate flash. Not that I don’t have it installed on my computer browsers but I just don’t see a reason for anyone to bother implementing flash on the iPhone.   

Three types of people who want flash on the iPhone:
1. group: reviewers on sites overpopulated with flash ads.
2. group: children who think that “half of the internet is on flash”
3. group: first group’s fanbois and those one who like to measure phone’s feature list heights.

Explanation:
Members of the the first group have explicit (conflict of) interest in users seeing their site’s flash adds. There are examples everywhere, reviewers from gizmodo, engadget etc all complain about lack of flash on the iphone. Visit any of those sites without adblock and get ready to be visually assaulted and raped.

Second group consists of children who think that internet consists of facebook, sites with flash games (oops, I’m repeating myself) and youtube (and sometimes justinbeibermusic.com. For those uninformed, youtube videos work flawlessly on the iPhone).

No unnecessary words should be spend on the third, mixed group. In any case, those are kind of persons who walk around with a brick with the longest feature list, and at the same time buy prepaid phone cards of lowest value and occasionally throw a call or a text message. They scowl when they see an iphone, they are prone to generalizations, ad hominems, quick phrases like “yes but you can’t send a file using bluetooth on the iphone”), they are judgmental, self-righteous, like to point out that their Nokia N95/N97 was “cheap” (even though they mostly bought them in cash etc.) even though here in my country, those mobile phones were much more expensive than an iPhone etc. 

Have any other group to add? Feel free to contribute and/or spread the word.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Solution to the missing TWAIN driver on your scanner

Yesterday I had a big problem with my Canon CanoScan 8800F scanner. I just couldn’t start TWAIN driver in Photoshop or any other program (I tested Paint, and you can obviously see the false inductive conclusion I made). Photoshop/Paint would just start the WIA driver and that was it. I installed all versions of all drivers but without success. But after couple of hours of fruitless agony (I just can’t stand when I can’t fix things) I found the solution on some page (and believe me, I did my homework on google.com).

The solution is simple: there are no problems with the drivers, you only need to install Photoshop Optional Plugins. That solved my problem in Photoshop (Paint can use WIA only as I found out). I probably missed optional plugins check box when installing Photoshop. Or maybe I even unchecked it. I just couldn’t believe that you have option not to install TWAIN support for Photoshop. Adobe installer installs everything and the kitchen sink but this crucial module for 80% of users is left out. image

In any case I now know that I won’t have problem installing TWAIN drivers next time round.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Mac mouse acceleration and other curiosities

Couple of months ago I bought a mac mini (the previous, non-aluminium version) and I was a happy man, right until the point I connected all the peripherals and tried to setup my mouse speed and acceleration. The mouse was Logitech M705 Marathon Mouse. I immediately noticed that I couldn’t adjust the speed and acceleration to my liking using the OS X 10.6. My own preferences in Windows are very simple: no acceleration and somewhat high cursor speed. I did manage to get speed somewhat right but I still couldn’t adjust the acceleration which was horrible frankly. At medium/low speeds the cursor would hardly move, and when you move the mouse faster the cursor would just fly away. 

I was quite intrigued and I went to download and install Logitech own Mouse Control Center which only slightly solved the problem. But then again, I was quite cross at the time because I just can’t stand mouse cursor which doesn’t move with pixel perfect accuracy. You don’t see much doctors using ancient tools to operate do you? In any case, I was looking for some other solution, because, surely there must me some solution to the problem in the computer world because usually, there is one. But I was quite astonished to find out that there wasn’t. Well, there is one solution and that is to buy Microsoft’s mouse and use their drivers which have flat acceleration curve and as users say, it works perfectly. As I had my new Logitech I didn’t want to buy a new mouse.

I installed and uninstalled Steermouse, some additional mouse preferences, terminal hacks, USB Overdrive and some other stuff, but *none* gave me the simplicity and usability of no mouse acceleration. Eventually I returned to Logitech Mouse Control Center, which for me gives the least worst results. 

But I’m writing this because I accidentally found a way how to somewhat solve the problem and get exactly the same mouse acceleration and speed settings as you may have in Windows. Yes, you read that right, somewhat ;)

First you have to enable VNC on Mac and and then you have to connect with a VNC program (I use RealVNC). Then you get absolutely identical mouse cursor settings on a Mac, and at the same time you don’t need to use extra keyboard or mouse.

- “But hey Prosperous Poverty, we all know that doing anything remotely is slower that doing it locally. “

That is true but if you look at the screen of your mac, you will see that there is absolutely no slowdown caused by the remote control from the “remote” computer. But here comes the good part, if you connect mac to your windows monitor you can switch desktops with a press of a button (switch different source) and gain normal acceleration curve and a bigger pixel count on your mac (if your primary monitor was larger than mac one). Another thing you gain is that you can always control your Mac with VNC and that works quite well by itself.

Of course you can see the hole the size of a supertanker and that is the need for another computer for control and there is some unwieldiness with the monitor. By latter I mean that you must switch inputs on your main monitor or you can use the mac’s monitor which is probably a bit dislocated to your main computer’s keyboard + mouse.

In any case, I’m quite disappointed with the whole mouse acceleration issue on the mac, and I’m just hoping (probably in vain) for the problem to be solved. Trouble is, very few mac users consider it a problem, and that is because majority of new users probably have mac laptops (trackpads have ok curves) and the other users just don’t complain enough, or “they get used to it”. Yes, you can get used to take someone’s tooth out using a sledgehammer, but that’s not the point. If I ever knew about this problem I probably wouldn’t buy a trackpad-less mac.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Probably the best feature of Firefox 4.0 beta

Resizable text boxes. You don’t notice it until you really need it. Thanks FF developers for finally making notepad and copy/paste obsolete.


Screen shot 2010-08-07 at 12.33.19 PM

Monday, 12 July 2010

Unconventional ideas are unconventional

In our office we have a multifunctional fax machine which is there for years. And of course the same machine has the same number since the dawn of time. One day the boss was gesturing around during a phone call for the n-th for someone to tell him the fax number so he can pass it on to somebody else at the another side of the line.

I can understand that; the number is somewhat hard to memorize, and many times you can’t recall something when you really need to and vice versa. After that call I made a modest suggestion: put a sticker (or whatever) on the fax so anybody can just look at the machine and read the number when needed. That would make sense because the fax is visible from all parts of the office so some nice big numbers would help a lot.

Something like this:

 

printer

It doesn’t even had to be a sticker, a felt tip marker would do great. But no, the guy just smiled and continued with his work.

This is what happens when you are so much involved in your usual stuff that you discard everything which doesn’t fit in someone’s habit, workflow or whatever. I can bet that if the guy thought about this idea for just 3 seconds it would make at least some sense. But anyways the loss is at his end unfortunately.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

One pixel of horror in Windows Explorer

I’ve probably never seen a more glaring bug introduced in a Windows OS version. The bug was noticeable since the beta and (of course) it was introduced to RTM version as well.

When you click the picture below you will get an animated gif (gasp!) which will demonstrate what the bug. Just watch the placement of icons on the right side and the height of “organize” bar (or whatever it’s name is).

 

preview_1pixel

Monday, 17 May 2010

Good morning

Hi, good day, hello…

These are usually the most common subject lines I get in my email account. I just can’t stand them. Ever wanted to quickly glance through your mail and get to the message you wanted just by looking at the subject field? No can’t do.

Subject lines were invented for a sender to put a subject in the line, not a bloody greeting! So if your are writing a mail about a meeting tomorrow, don’t put “hello” in the subject line. The subject is “meeting tomorrow” for christ’s sake. If you can’t think of a passable subject line, then your message doesn’t have a subject at all so don’t bother sending it.

That is all.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Tip: Gmail not opening mail links?

Can’t open e-mail links inside Gmail using Firefox? Not to worry, I found the culprit: it is Tabs Open Relative (modified).

Disable that add-on and you won’t have any more problems.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Don’t panic!

I’m just trying out new blogger templates. The old one was booooring.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Starcraft 2 closed beta

Yes, I was invited to Starcraft II closed beta.

 

sc2-20100218-2321072

I won’t bore you with stuff you can read on other websites but here are some observations of mine.

Battle.net

The battle.net system of screens/windows is a mess. Navigating them is awkward and sometimes you don’t know the difference between buttons and some design elements. You can only find out if something is a button (or what the button does) if you hover over it. Next, the colors are very shallow so you can see gradient bands all over the place which looks very ugly. Then the layout (with regards to resolution) just doesn’t feel right at all. Elements are just thrown all over the place. The only good thing I saw was integrated chat and an easy way to add players/AI when creating a game.

Gameplay

It has a real Starcraft 1 feel. It is fast and mostly responsive. Everything is very similar but this time you can select as many units as you wish;)

But there are some serious downsides too. There is just too much of micromanagement. There are a lot of units which have use/spell mechanic and none of those can be selected for autocasting. Just terran’s medivac can heal other units automatically. Then some relatively simple actions require too much clicking and/or targeting. It is just clicking hell. Build trees are a mess too. 

There are a lot of units. It is a rock-scissors-paper2-rock2-scissors2-paper2-… game. So you have unit x which is better than enemies unit y etc. In other words you have to spy all the time what the enemy is doing and building counter units. This was always the way with starcraft 1 but now it is even more slanted in that direction. My general complaint is that there are too many of those units like “can only attack other ground units” or “can only attack air units” etc.

Graphics and sound

Graphics are quite good and unit animations are excellent. Explosions are excellent and everything has superbly fluid feel. Of course that there are some bugs here and there, but I’m confident they will be solved later. One substantial criticism is that the game has about the same scale as the original game. That means you have about the same view of the playing field, the UI is about the same size etc. Just the resolution is much better. I would have hoped for smaller UI and larger playing field though.

If something really disappointed me, that must be music and voice acting. Music is a rehash of original starcraft music, but that wouldn’t be bad in itself (as sc1 music was absolutely fantastic and memorable), but this version was done badly. I’m no music expert but I can recognize good music from bad one. The title music is bad, the terran music is some country music without vocals (original music was just fantastic), and I just forgot what protoss and zerg have. Yes, it was that memorable. Voice acting is, well, bad. A lot of voices just sound awkward and are rotated around the units when comparing them to sc1 so at least now they sound a little out of place. Sound effects are good as you might expect.

Closing remarks

The thing that is bothering me is that you can’t play offline (aside from missing LAN mode). I mean, even if you play against AI players, if you get disconnected from the internet, you will be kicked from your game too. That is DRM at its worst. Of course, if you get disconnected in the middle of any other type of game you will get kicked too.

I’m confident that the game will sell in droves but when looking into the future I’m not quite certain what will expansions bring. Of course they will bring more units and more single player content, but even with this count of units and absolute horror that is micromanagement now the gap between a causal and a pro player is absolutely huge. I just hope that the matchmaking system will be better than SC or W3 had (they were completely broken). I’ll post some screenshots and videos as soon as I get some good ones.

 sc2-20100227-2231438

sc2-20100227-2216010

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Windows Phone 7 Series

Aside from completely ridiculous name and completely unnecessary long screen transitions (which you can’t turn off), just take a look at this picture.

windows_7_phone_ui

Why have a giant high resolution display if you can’t use it? That wasted space is just too noticeable as you can clearly see that the home screen is offset to the left and bottom.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Real estate agency:

IMG_0107

Just a quick explanation: Dr. House is a Croatian translation for the House M.D. TV series.