# Sunday, 22 January 2012

There I was trying to setup a Dell Latitude ST Slate (more on this later) for use as a OneNote note taking PC. The idea was to have it sync to a OneNote notebook that was sitting up in the cloud on SkyDrive. Everything was working out until I actually opened the OneNote notebook on Skydrive. The Windows Live Login popped up and I was greeted with this.


A totally black screen instead of the typical Windows Live login window. Using the ever so useful ProcessMonitor I was able to figure out that the Windows Live login window was running using the .Net WPF runtime. WPF is a neat set of technologies, but relied on the fact that your video drivers are doing what they’re supposed to be doing properly.

Search on the Internet enough and you’ll realize that Intel DOESN’T exactly do what you call a good job in the video driver aspect.

I first tried the obvious approach which was to install the latest video drivers for the GMA 600 on the Latitude ST, but I was ALREADY running on the latest video drivers.

So I tried to disable WPF’s use of hardware acceleration but turning it off in the registry as mentioned here.  But that still didn’t work. Again using ProcessMonitor to look into how the program was accessing the registry I could see that the program wasn’t even LOOKING at the disable hardware acceleration setting!

I was about to throw in the towel over this issue when I decided to switch ProcessMonitor to see what "WindowsLive" related items where being opened by the program. And then I saw IT! The Windows Live login window tried to look for a very interestingly named registry key.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Live\UX\LayerManagerSoftwareRendering

Software rendering? OH YES PLEASE!! I quickly edited/inserted the value into the registry to the most sensible value of 1


And then finally..


So much work because of a farked up driver… BAD INTEL, BAD!

If you're facing the same problems and don't know how to edit the registry, here's a link to the exported registry key. Just download and open it to merge it with your registry.

Registry File To Enable Software Rendering For Window Live Client

Sunday, 22 January 2012 17:26:05 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Wednesday, 04 January 2012

When I wrote the article chronicling the evolution of toy lightsabers, I would have never guessed that one year later today I'll be writing another article about what I think is.. the ULTIMATE lightsaber toy... this is IT!


Savy readers would have already know that this is Luke Skywalkers lightsaber from Return Of The Jedi, you can clearly see that this is nothing more than the hilt of a plastic toy with it's seams and everything. Let's pull the camera back a bit.


Look at that blade, it's a solid one piece tube... in fact it looks just like the blades they have on those cool nifty replica lightsabers...


ZOMFG!! The collectors in you would say Hey... that looks just like the FX replica lightsabers! Well... that's because IT IS the same basic design technology that powers the FX lightsabers! Hasbro got the license to make them super expensive replica lightsabers, and in true profit oriented form, they reapplied the tech into an cheaper, affordable package, retaining the BEST factors of a replica lightsaber: The glowing blade, the awesome motion based effects. And then giving it a lightweight plastic body, along with a PRETTY sturdy blade, and you have the ULTIMATE LIGHTSABER TOY!!

Why is this the ULTIMATE LIGHTSABER TOY? What.. glowing blade not good enough for you? Have another look!


The price of this Ultimate FX Lightsaber is a fraction of a Replica Lightsaber at RM159. Since it's plastic, it's also very light. These 2 factors combined means you will have no reservations trying to practice twirling the thing around, if you drop it while you're playing with it, you'll just pick it up from the floor instead of going "Oh my god!!! I scratched my limited edition hilt!! Oh my god!!! I cracked my tiles!! Oh my god!!! My wife is going to kill me!!"

If you ever wanted to buy a replica lightsaber JUST for the cool blade effect, get this instead, it has the same effect AND you can actually play with it! How about a commercial to boil the blood a bit more?

It's tons of fun!


Wednesday, 04 January 2012 23:02:45 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Wednesday, 14 December 2011

So here’s the scenario, you have 2 links below. In Internet Explorer 8 and above right click on both of them and check out the difference in behavior.

Link One

What you should see is that for Link One you’re able to see the options you expect to see when right clicking on a link, which is the usual Open In New Window, New Tab, etc. etc. options. But for Link Two you don’t see such options.

This bothered me for quite a while wondering what was causing this problem. Finally after some poking around I figured it out. The HTML for Link One looks like this.

<a href=”http://www.windowsphone.com”>Link One</a>

Nothing out of the ordinary there. Now let’s look at Link Two.

<a href=”http://www.windowsphone.com”><div>Link Two</div></a>

Notice that there’s a DIV tag enclosed in the A tag. And it seems like this causes IE to decide not to show the typical right click on link options. Any element that has a CSS display attribute of BLOCK or INLINE-BLOCK contained in an A tag will cause IE to NOT display the typical link context menus on right click.

Definetly a bug. Doesn’t seem to be anyway around it. So… just remember this behavior and not use BLOCK tags inside A tags. The only other fix for your page is to force compatibility mode I guess, since pressing the compatibility mode button in IE8 fixes the problem. But that just introduces other problems.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011 01:30:41 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Saturday, 05 November 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, 05 November 2011 21:50:19 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Friday, 28 October 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.


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...


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


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


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)


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


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


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.


(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.


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


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, 28 October 2011 16:55:55 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  |