# Saturday, November 05, 2011

Now, before you get too excited if you came in here following a search query. I have a very specific scenario that I’m trying to solve. And the solution isn’t as simple as getting Live Mesh to directly work with a folder in removable storage.

The situation is this, on my main machine for mobile use. My sweet Fujitsu T580 I don’t store any of my user documents on the hard drive. Instead as mentioned in this previous post when I was using the Asus T101MT, I choose to store the files in a BitLocker’ed SD Card. In part due for security purposes, and also because I only got a 32GB SSD for the T580, so the SD Card offloads some of the storage duties from the SSD.

So after a while I decided I wanted to use Live Mesh to keep some files synced between the T580 and my main work laptop. Then of course the problem arised namely.

Windows Live Mesh doesn’t support synching a folder on a removable device.

So I thought cheat the system like what I did with OneNote and use MKLINK to redirect a folder on C to the SD card. But Live Mesh was going to have none of that and complained about it.

I didn’t want to sync the data to the SSD since I didn’t want to break the nice little setup I had on the T580 where my main user files were all on the SD card. So I didn’t think too much of it until I suddenly had an inspired idea yesterday.

What if I synched a folder within a Virtual Disk File (VHD) that’s sitting in the SD card?

One little problem with the setup is that Live Mesh fails spectacularly when the VHD isn’t mounted when you start the program, but other than that little caveat… I DID manage to sync files on a USB drive to Live Mesh, albeit I did it in a very indirect manner.

I’m not posting the actual steps here because

  1. I don’t think anyone else has the same usage scenario as I do
  2. If they did, they should know about how to create and mount a VHD file

If anyone actually wants the steps to get this going, drop a note in the comment area then.


Saturday, November 05, 2011 9:50:19 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Friday, October 28, 2011

If you use Internet Explorer, lately around the web you might have been receiving a LOT of "Only secured content is displayed"  messages such as the one below.

image

After you get such a message, the site might not work properly, or you might not be able to interact with certain features on the site.

Why is this happening? Well, the culprits include, but are not limited to...

image

Yes.. the simple LIKE type buttons.

In order to better protect the privacy of their users, the scripts for these buttons are now being retrieved via HTTPS instead of deciding which to use depending on the protocol the source page is using.  This means there's now a mixed scheme content scenario that's occuring.

I'll try to explain it in simple terms. If you visit a website using the url of

http://www.marauderzstuff.com

And that page chooses to draw in content from another source using HTTPS such as

https://plus.google.com/plus.js

The page now contains content from a secured location as well as an insecured location. And IE treats that as a potential privacy concern, and hence pops up the message you see at the top of this article.

The Solution

There'll be people who argue that it's GOOD that IE decides to warn users about such mixed mode content, and there'll also be people who argue that IE is BAD for not allowing it since the other browsers have no such problems (I'll get to them later) But... if you want to get rid of these warnings (which might be a good or bad thing) here's what you do.

Go to Internet Options (Under the GEAR menu for IE9, Under Tools menu for older versions)

image

Select the Security tab, then hit the Custom Level button.

image

In the giant list that appears find Display mixed content and change it from Prompt to Enable

image

Click on the OK button to accept the changes and you'll be rid of the mixed mode warnings.

What about the other browsers?

Now... what about the other browsers how do they handle mixed mode content?

Google Chrome takes a more conservative approach to it's warnings in the sense that if your main page is viewed using HTTP and then gets something from a more secured HTTPS connection, it won't complain about anything since the extra content is MORE secure than the original content. But... if you're on a HTTPS page, which then calls for something from a HTTP source such as images, plugins, widgets, etc. etc. you get the warning below.

image

(Site identity removed because I'm not implying that the site isn't secure and I don't want people to get that idea) Clicking on the broken lock presents a non intrusive indicator (crossed out https) to show that everything the site is showing isn't fully encrypted. Even comes out with a explanation of the current mixed mode situation. Of course a normal user probably couldn't care less about how much of the page they're viewing is encrypted. And thus we come to Firefox's method of handling mixed scheme content.

It's what I'd like to call the "Users don't give a damn about this stuff anyway!" method.

image

First of all there's NO indication on the address bar that anything is amiss with the page at all when a HTTPS page contains mixed mode content from a less secured source. Clicking on the help indicator would give you some information, but as there's no broken HTTPS indicator like in Chrome, a user would have no incentive to click it and find out if anything's amiss

Ok... So there is one DIFFERENCE between a mixed content page, and a fully secured page

image

A fully secured page show's it's domain name in the address bar, but how many users would know that if it wasn't pointed out to them?

Of all the 3 browsers and how they deal with mixed scheme content. I must say I personally prefer Google Chrome's non intrusive method of telling users about mixed scheme content. Though the crossed out HTTPS icon might scare users into thinking the page is not secured.


Friday, October 28, 2011 4:55:55 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, October 24, 2011

I was preparing my Silverlight XNA hybrid application in Windows Phone 7.5 Mango presentation demo project for TechInsights 2011 (Sign up now!) When I hit a problem, The ContentManager  threw an exception whenever it was time to load an asset. Specifically it was a KeyNotFoundException.

After some digging around it seems like there's a problem with the project template itself. (!) The gist of it is, in the App.xaml.vb file. Under the InitializeXNAApplication function. You'll find the line below :-

If obj Is GetType(IGraphicsDeviceService) Then

This line is supposed to find an obj that implements IGraphicsDevicesService and add it into a list of services. But the code is wrong, this line needs to be changed to:-

If TypeOf obj Is IGraphicsDeviceService Then

In order to work properly. This ONLY affects the Visual Basic Windows Phone Silverlight And XNA Application project template.

The main question I'd like to ask is how the heck did this error make it out to the release SDK? Since I do remember everything working during the CTP. Also, even Microsoft's own VB code samples for this project type uses the correct method call.


Monday, October 24, 2011 10:09:00 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, September 11, 2011

I picked up the Microsoft Touch Mouse today. And first thing to comment about it the packaging, on the outside it looks like a normal box.

DSC00887

But even in retail display mode, the top of the box is actually a flip lid which you can raise to check out the mouse during display.

DSC00888

Then, when you buy it back home, all you have to do is remove 2 extremely sticky pieces of tape to be able to separate the top off the box from the bottom which holds the mouse

DSC00890

The mouse is attached to a plastic base which secures itself to the mouse via it’s battery compartment.

DSC00891

very ingenious design I must say, I had no trouble at all getting to the mouse. Except for ONE part, if you looked at the picture above it tells you to remove the mouse by tilting it off the plastic base. Problem is that the final small hook that latches on to the mouse was a bit tight and made a scary noise (you don’t want the owner of a new gadget to hear plastic snapping noises when they remove the item from the packaging) when I finally peeled it off the base.

Other than that, the packaging was a win in my books.

So, the packaging looks and works great, but how does the mouse work?

DSC00894

Based on looks, it’s your usual sleek, ambidextrous capable mouse. It feels more hefty than other wireless mouse I’ve been using, probably because of the extra electronics to support the capacitive touch functionality and also because the thing uses TWO AA batteries instead of the now common one AA battery.

You can find many reviews about how the touch surface on the Microsoft Touch Mouse work elsewhere on the Internet. But here, I’m gonna tell you what every other review I’ve seen failed to mention.

Why I WON’T Be Recommending The Microsoft Touch Mouse To My Peers

I was extremely reserved about the Microsoft Touch Mouse when it was first announced, my main fear was that I was afraid that there wouldn’t be any physical switches on the mouse and thus clicking the mouse buttons would be a very weird experience. But then after reading reviews and they mentioned that the mouse actually clicks with a physical action I was a bit relieved, it was also a nice plus that you can use your thumbs to swipe the side of the mouse for navigate back/forward in your browser. So the ONLY real problem for me would me dealing with the lost of the middle mouse button.

Or so I thought.

Remember how I mentioned that the mouse physically clicks? Yes, there is a physical button underneath the mouse. BUT… there’s only ONE BUTTON there! The Touch mouse detects right click via a little cheat, basically it’s a right click if there’s no finger contact on the LEFT HALF of the mouse and the button is clicked! I’ll emphasize this

YOU CAN’T REST A FINGER ON THE LEFT HALF OF THE MOUSE WHEN YOU CLICK IT IF YOU WANT A RIGHT CLICK!

I don’t know about you, but when I right click I rest my finger on the left half. So unless I’m in the minority group of how people use mice, it boggles my mind why the hardware engineer thought it was such a good idea to detect right clicks as such instead of using a rocking top shell with actual physical left and right switches? Maybe it was because a rocking shell would have made the capacitive area prone to breakdown?

This also means of course that you CAN’T PRESS BOTH BUTTONS DOWN AT THE SAME TIME!

Definitely a question I would like to ask the hardware engineer if possible. Here’s a video explaining the problem.

Because of this little caveat though, there’s on way I’m going to flat out recommend the Microsoft Touch Mouse to anyone. I mentioned the technical to my wife and she’s the type of person who leaves her finger on the left mouse when she right clicks, she also agreed that that’s a STUPID DECISION INDEED!

So… the Microsoft Touch Mouse FAILED THE WIFE ACCEPTANCE FACTOR!!!

I didn’t know that it was possible for a mouse to fail WAF other than because of it’s physical design!


Sunday, September 11, 2011 9:47:35 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Saturday, September 03, 2011

This post collects all the important Windows 7 Tablet PC posts I have posted on my blog for easy referencing.

The Windows 7 Tablet PC Optimization Guide
If you have a Windows 7 Tablet PC and you want to know how to use it more effectively, this is where you want to go.

A Touch Optimized Windows 7 Theme
Have no time to go through the guide above, just download this theme and make your Windows 7 Tablet PC more touch friendly in a snap. Still not an excuse to skip the guide above!

Why Doesn't Windows Show Me What Keys I Pressed During Password Entry
A solution to a quirk/feature of how the Windows Virtual Keyboard behaves when you're entering passwords.

Browsing Effectively With IE9 via Touch
Some tricks you should know when browsing the net with IE9 using only your fingers.

The Windows 7 Tablet PC Experience
Don't have a Windows 7 Tablet PC yet, and wondering how the experience is? Check out this post for videos on both the good AND bad experiences of a Windows 7 Tablet PC

Why A Windows 7 Tablet PC Will Never Be 'Better' Than An Apple iPad
A post discussing the topic above.

Why Desktop Browsers Don't Smooth Zoom Like Mobile/Tablet Browsers
Points out why a desktop browser running on Windows DOES NOT smooth zoom like on things like an Apple iPad, why this is the case and why smooth zoom in a browser is not a performance measurement.


Saturday, September 03, 2011 1:20:51 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  |