Chris Pietschmann

husband, father, hacker, entrepreneur, futurist, innovator, autodidact

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Virtual Router Project – Turn any Windows 7 PC into a Wireless Access Point / Hot Spot

Over the last week some of you may have heard about Connectify. It’s an app that unleashes the “Virtual WiFi” and Wireless Hosted Network features of Windows 7 to turn a PC into a Wireless Access Point or Hot Spot. Well, I looked into what it would take to build such an app, and it really wasn’t that difficult since Windows 7 has all the API’s built in to do it. After some time of looking things up and referencing the “Wireless Hosted Network” C++ sample... [More]

Windows 7 RTM is on MSDN & TechNet – Here’s the AKAMAI links!

I first started downloading Windows 7 Ultimate off MSDN using the old File Transfer Manager and it was taking FOREVER to download. The download started out good, then it dropped off to about 40KB/sec and said it would take about 14 hours to finish! Man, I was hoping I’d be able to get it downloaded quick so I can start updating my machines today/tonight. Then I saw a Twitter post by @Rickster_CDN mentioning a link to a page with the AKAMAI links for TechNet to download Windows 7 WAY FASTER! Act... [More]

Windows 7 Beta: Change the Logon UI Background Image

Apparently, Windows 7 will "officially" support Logon UI Background Customization. The previous link describes what needs to be in place (a registry key and image file) for you to be able to have Windows 7 use any image you want as the Logon UI Background. What the previous link doesn't specify is if this works with the Windows 7 Beta (build 7000). Actually, I just test and confirmed that it does work perfectly in the Windows 7 Beta. Good news for us of whom can't (or don't want to) run a newer ... [More]

C#: Flash Window in Taskbar via Win32 FlashWindowEx

The Windows API (Win32) has the FlashWindowEx method within the User32 library; this method allows you (the developer) to Flash a Window, signifying to the user that some major event occurred within the application that requires their attention. The most common use of this is to flash the window until the user returns focus to the application. However, you can also flash the window a specified number of times, or just keep flashing it until you decide when to stop. The use of the FlashWindowEx m... [More]

Windows 7 Beta - Media Player 12 - Bigger Focus On Playing Media/Content

A couple days ago I posted some of my thoughts on the Good and Bad Parts of the Windows 7 Beta, but it was a somewhat incomplete list. So, I've decided to expand upon that list in an additional post. Why? Well, because there are some rather nice improvements worth mentioning that I didn't mention in the previous post. Windows Media Player 12   Bigger Focus on the Playing Media The most noticable (IMO) change to Media Player in v12 is the bigger focus on the media cont... [More]

Windows 7 Beta Has Good and Bad Points - A Short Review

I've been using the Windows 7 Beta (build 7000) for a few days now, and I've starting to form opinions on some of the new changes that have been made. There are good and bad things about this next version of Windows; so I thought I'd share some of my thoughts with anyone interested. Windows 7 Beta Good Points I thought I'd start with the Good Points first, this way you wont just read the bad first and stop reading the article thinking Windows 7 sucks. There are actually some good improvements ... [More]

Vista Sidebar Gadget for Pandora Radio

I see that Pandora has released a Windows Sidebar Gadget themselves. You can find it here: http://www.pandora.com/on-windowsgadget I found the Pandora Sidebar Gadget. This gadget lets Pandora live within the Vista Sidebar, thus not taking up (waisting) any valuable taskbar space. This gadget is simple and it just works. Awesome job Brad! You can download it here: http://www.bgreco.net/gadgets/pandora/

Develop Software for the Microsoft Windows Platform for FREE

I've been lucky enough to get 2 free MSDN subscriptions over the last few years, so I've never needed to purchase Visual Studio, Office or SQL Server. The first MSDN subscription I won in a blogging contest back in 2006, and the second I got when I won the Microsoft MVP award earlier this year (2008). Before you start to think that I'm braging; just let me point out that I am very greatful for this. Below is a list/guide that I would follow if I wasn't so fortunate, and I'm not talking about sof... [More]

Windows vNext (Windows 7?) Feature Ideas

Here are some of my thoughts on the Windows operating system and how thing could be improved in the "next" version after Vista. Also, the ideas aren't in any particular order of importance, they are just in the order I typed them in. 1) Make the Desktop version of Windows more Modular, like Windows Server 2008 Windows Server 2008 is more modular, you can install Server Core that doesn't even have a graphical interface, or you can install Windows Server 2008 with just the features you want/need... [More]

Why wait for Windows 7? Dell XT has Multi-Touch already

Really the only feature that Microsoft has promised for the next version of Windows after Windows Vista, is Multi-Touch. We're all becoming familiar with the idea of multi-touch displays thanks to the iPhone and iPod Touch, but it's about time for this capability to come to the PC (or rather Laptop / Tablet). I haven't owned a Table PC yet, but I've had my sights on getting one for a while. I just found out that the Dell XT (Dell's version of the convertable laptop / tablet) ... [More]

Free Vista SP1 Support through March 18, 2009

Microsoft is offering Free technical support for Windows Vista SP1. Free, unlimited installation and compatibility support is now available for all worldwide customers using Windows Vista SP1. Telephone support is available worldwide. Some countries also offer Chat and Email support. This is effective from now until March 18, 2009. Find out more information and access the service here: http://support.microsoft.com/common/international.aspx?rdpath=1&prid=11274&gprid=500921 ... [More]

Mount ISO Images in Vista x64

In Windows XP I used the Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel Utility from Microsoft to mount ISO images to virtual drive letters, but surely Microsoft has built this functionality into Windows Vista, right? Wrong. It would be nice, but they haven't built this into the OS yet. I hope they do in the next release. Well, this utility doesn't work under Windows Vista. I thought I was out of luck, but a quick search revealed a new option to try. The new utility I found to mount ISO images under Windows Vist... [More]

Hyper-V Compatibility Check Tool for AMD Processors

I just found that AMD has a tool titled "AMD-V Technology and Microsoft Hyper-V System Compatibility Check Utility". You can run this tool on Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 (make sure you run it with elevated privileges) to see if your hardware combination of AMD Processor and Motherboard support Hyper-V. I guess this would have saved me from the trouble of installing Win 2008 with Hyper-V just to figure out that my AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ supports Hyper-V, but my motherboard doesn't. I r... [More]

Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V RC0 and Athlon 64 X2 4200+

I used virtualization through VirtualPC 2007 on this computer, an Athlon 64 X2 4200+ with a Gigabyte GA-M55SLI-S4 motherboard, and it worked perfectly. The Athlon 64 X2 even support Hardware-Assisted Virtualization, so things actually run pretty smooth. Now I've upgraded to Windows Server 2008 so I can run virtual machines with the new Hyper-V (RC0), but when I try to start any virtual machine it gives me an error saying "The virtual machine could not be starte... [More]

Safari 3 for Windows: Enable JavaScript Debugging

As you probably know, Safari 3 doesn't allow you to turn on the debug menu within any settings dialogs. It also doesn't come with a JavaScript Debugger either. This makes it almost impossible to do any JavaScript development for Safari. Luckily you can turn on the debug menu, and there is a debugger you can download. Turn on the Debug menu Step 1: Open up the Preferences.plist file in notepad. In Windows XP:C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Application Data\Apple Computer\Safari\Preferences.... [More]

Dec. '07: Are the latest Vista updates full of error? Or is it just me?

I installed the 64-bit version of Vista Ultimate shortly after it RTM'd back in November 2006. Everything was going perfectly fine with it until a couple weeks ago. It started Blue Screening (BSOD) and giving me some other strange issues. Here's a list of some of the issues I've been having: Blue Screens (BSOD) - It shows a different error message each time, so there isn't just one thing wrong. CD/DVD Burner says it can't be accessed, but then I try again a second later and it works fi... [More]

LunchTimeCoder.ServiceMonitor v1.1 Released

I just posted up the latest release (v1.1) of my windows service monitor app. Download LunchTimeCoder.ServiceMonitor v1.1 This is a small utility that monitors windows services running on the local machine or any maching on the local network. And notifies you via an icon in the system tray and a balloon popup telling you which services aren't running. You can also Start and Stop services from this utility. New Features in this version: Added ability to monitor services on any computer... [More]

Vista Experience Update: Disk Defragmenter Revisited

About 5 months ago, way back when Vista RTM'd, I posted about how Vista now automatically defragments your hard drives. This is a really neat feature, especially since I would never remember to defrag until my system started to get noticably slow. So, I thought I would revisit this to just see how well is it working. But, How well does the automatically scheduled defrag work? I was wonder this, so I decided to check the defrag stats available from within the Disk Defragmenter tool. And to my d... [More]

Can you run Mac OS X within Virtual PC 2007 on Windows?

Does anyone know if Mac OS X can be run within Virtual PC 2007 under Windows? I've searched and can't find any evidence of this being possible. I am thinking about possibly doing this because I would like to do some software testing on Mac OS X, and I would rather spend less for just the OS than buy a Mac Mini. Mac OS X - $129.00Mac Mini - $599.00 If anyone has any clues please let me know. Update 5/22/2007:The day I originally posted this, I also contacted Ben Armstrong, through his blog (V... [More]

Windows Vista Device Drivers for Belkin F5D7000 Wireless Network Card

Update 2009-08-08: Belkin has since released a new device driver for this network card that supports Windows Vista x32 and x64. You'll want to try their driver first before continueing on to my "work around" solution below. I did try this new Belkin driver with Windows 7 and it didn't work, so now I'm back to my work around... You can find the driver here: Belkin: Support: F5D7000 Driver Support Page Or, alternatively you can download the driver from the following direct link: Belkin F5D7000... [More]

Cheap PC - Build a Vista Premium Ready system for under $500 including the OS

People keep talking about how Vista (w/ Aero enabled) will only run on high-end systems, and that everyone will have to buy a new computer in order to run Vista. Well, I have a laptop thats 3 years old (2.4Ghz Celeron, 512MB Ram) and it runs Vista ok without Aero glass enabled (because it doesn't have a capable video card). Based on that, pretty much any system that is 2 years old should run Vista (w/ Aero enabled) just fine as long as it has 1GB Ram and a video card that support DirectX 9. ... [More]

Setting Up Ubuntu with virtualization on Vista x64

I've decided to make the leap into Ubuntu; well sorta. I'm going to run it in a Virtual Machine for now. I'll set it up in a multi boot on my main pc once I'm more familiar with Linux and related stuff, but then again I may keep it running in a virtual machine if virtualization works out well enough. Below are the steps I took to get things setup. Step 1: Install Virtual Server 2005 R2Since I have Vista x64 installed on my pc; I am forced to use Virtual Server 2005 R2 instead of Virtual P... [More]

Vista Experience Update: Vista Sidebar Gadgets

There 11 Sidebar Gadgets that come baked into Vista. Some basic ones like a photo  Slide Show, Calendar, Clock, CPU Meter, RSS Feed Headlines, Weather and a couple more. But, what if I want to create one that offers different functionality? How can I create a custom Sidebar Gadget? It's actually rather easy to do. As long as you are comfortable with HTML, JavaScript and CSS with splash of XML. The Gadget Development Overview article in the MSDN library explains how easy it is t... [More]

Vista Experience Update: Windows Vista x64 runs 32-bit Internet Explorer by Default

The Internet Explorer shortcut in the Quick Launch toolbar and in the Start menu of Vista x64 will run the 32-bit version of Internet Explorer by default. Why run the 32-bit version if IE on the 64-bit version of Vista? There are actually two shortcuts for Internet Explorer in the "All Programs" menu. Why two and what's the difference? Here's the title of each and the exe's they run: Internet Explorer"C:\Program Files (x86)\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe" Internet Explorer (64-bit)"C:\Progra... [More]