This week @ TCG..

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Production machine maintenance:

The X Port on the CM690 gave up on me, so now the best feature of the case, and the reason for buying the case, will cost more than $50 to fix. This is because the offending circuit board in the top of the case has given out and CoolerMaster only supply the entire top, not just the 20c board.

Overall, the case has been ok, BUT it has had three new tops already in a bid to cure bad grounding in the case’s electronics which used to cause sudden shutdowns on a regular basis. I thought that I had all of that behind me and that the case would be ok. I was wrong. My next case will not come from the CoolerMaster stable. Sorry guys.. Sad smile

While looking into the above issue, I gave it a thorough cleaning out and replaced an 80mm fan which had been supplying airflow to the fanless graphics card for a 140mm fan. Has it made a difference? Hardly, but it was a nice fan, removed from a broken power supply, and I felt that I needed to use it.. Smile 

MS Office 2016 Preview:

It looks a lot like Office 2013 which was a round edged version of Office 2010. Is there more to Office 2016 or am I missing something here?

The Netbook:

For a mediocre Netbook of it’s time, performance running Windows 10 is remarkable. it’s cute enough to be a poster child for Windows 10 free upgrades. I still have the Windows 7 drive intact and ready to be used for the final upgrade.. Smile

Fire Age???

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It’s all about ‘Game of War’, ya know. You’re square if you don’t have this life giving app in your arsenal.

So quick down to the App Store and sign up to be Kate Upton’s hero. Yo, it’s true. See for yourself.. 

It’s FREE to play and there are hints on YouTube regarding staying alive in the game without having to part with REAL LIVE CASH.

PLAN QUICKLY –  This is the free bit..

BUILD QUICKLY – You can do this for free but don’t expect to go unnoticed..

OR BE DESTROYED QUICKLY – I did warn you about not paying. The incumbent warlords will smash you to pieces in a bid to make you pay to be able to survive longer than 10 minutes..

This is the state of computing today. Sad, isn’t it..

Money for old rope, extracted from people who have a tendency towards OCD. It isn’t business, it is PREYING, and I will not be buying to Fire AGE or anything like it anytime soon.

Windows 10 preview 10122..

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is up and running on the NB250.

To be honest. I don’t care what else happens. This is just about an aging Toshiba Netbook and getting more life out of it. It gives hope to other machines of 2010 vintage, low-powered like the Toshiba or better stuff like my production machine and others.

Obviously, or maybe not, some makes get better support than others, especially in the areas of Wi-fi, sound and NICs where the manufacturer is for example Realtek.

My main machine is an aging Gigabyte GA880 GM, but all of the devices on it are very well supported, none of the C-Media sound card junk that I have seen on OEM machines particularly. It pays to pick and choose.. Smile

Windows 10.. the next build..

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What I would like in the next build:

  1. Responsive power plan settings. Regardless of how I set it up, Windows 10 does as it likes.
  2. Apps and programs that pin to the Start menu, NOT the task bar.
  3. An end to the ridiculous Windows Update process where presently it is impossible to hide updates that will almost certainly upset the system
  4. A home page button in Microsoft Edge..

Too much to ask? I don’t think so..


Wireless printers..

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Q1. Why do they go offline?

Answer:  Because they can..

Q2.. Is it worth running the printer trouble shooter?

Answer:   Not really because the computer will not find the printer because the printer has gone offline.

Q3.. How do I get the computer to see the printer again?

Answer:   Go through the Wi-Fi setup from the printer’s own panel. Use the reset function to clear the SSID and password and then restart the printer. It should automatically take you to the Wi-Fi set up. Let it find your SSID and then re-enter the password.

Yes, it’s annoying but far more productive than running the printer trouble shooter, especially as you will get use of the printer again..


Opting out of hardware updates..

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When you are trying your best to keep a computer up and running, it is annoying when the system does it’s best to thwart you.

Such is the issue with the Windows 10 Preview. I have all of my computers set to ignore hardware updates and it works except for 10 on the Netbook.

It’s this easy..

Control Panel > Devices and Printers > the computer > Right click and select ‘Device Installation settings > Set to ignore Windows Update hardware updates..

Windows 10 Preview is determined to undermine the above, and today installed a ‘Synaptics’ update whether I wanted it or not.

The Windows Update feature originally in Control Panel gave the choice of accepting or hiding these updates, but Windows 10 Update does NOT.

Fortunately, the update upset nothing, but it could easily have done so and did originally with a Qualcomm Wi-Fi adapter where the Netbook would do nothing other than Blue Screen.

I sincerely hope that the final release complies with ‘NO hardware updates PLEASE’ ..


Build 10074.. Updated

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The disclaimer..

The newest build, 10074, is now available. This build is named Windows 10 Insider Preview (instead of Technical Preview). We’ve made some UI improvements in this build, and fixed some issues:

  • You can now launch Win32 (desktop) apps from the Start menu again.
  • Music can be downloaded in the Xbox Music and Music Preview apps.
  • When you minimize an app that is playing audio, the audio will continue to play now.

This is a preview version, so there are some known issues. The following issues are already fixed in update KB 3061161:

  • The Start menu and Cortana do not open on Windows 10 Insider Preview after upgrading from Windows 10 Technical Preview
  • Updated versions of preinstalled apps might not install with error 0x8004264A after upgrading to Windows 10 Insider Preview
  • Qualcomm Atheros Bluetooth radio controllers might not function and indicate a Code 43 error in Device Manager
  • This update enables the Dolby Digital Plus codec

Some other known issues we are investigating:

We hope you enjoy the new build. Please do provide feedback on it through the Windows Feedback app.

All cool stuff eh..

One would expect each build to be better than the last, but that is not how it works. The initial preview worked well on my Netbook but, since then, I have had issues mainly related to bad driver updates.

I would love to get a good explanation from Microsoft re the pushing of hardware updates which traditionally have been BAD. I’m sorry, but making a whining noise about wanting to have a one stop update shop doesn’t cut it.

The new build is now almost halfway to installing and I have no idea what is going to happen next.. Waiting..


OK, I have build 10074..

.. and from that, you can gather that the Netbook rebooted to the desktop.. Smile

I don’t have the first three possible faults as above, and I don’t play games in any sized screen, BUT I dowireless-icon have a very nice Wi-Fi icon on the taskbar which looks like this but without the snazzy blue colour..

Note that while this icon may be new to Microsoft and Windows 10, it has been around a lot longer. Consider it a ‘retro’ feature..

Apps that I entertain work apart from Maps, and the Camera app takes the place of the Toshiba webcam utility.

I have reset the machine to ignore ANY hardware updates again, and feel lucky that there were no hardware updates included which might have sent build 10074 back to 100061 or worse still, a black screen and flashing cursor.

There is still not enough working properly to make this build a candidate for a production machine, and I strongly advise against trying it out on that basis. Other than that, it is ok.



This build really gives the CPU a work-out, and the only way to stop it is to pretty much disable everything in Start-up. So now I have only the Synaptics 32-bit Enhancements running. Anything to do with Skype, Lan Messenger, the Logitech mouse and Realtek HD sound has been disabled.


Build 10061..

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It’s ok. I guess that I should write a little more, eh. Smile

Bearing in mind that the test machine, my NB250, is not used for much at all, the general interface is ok, and I don’t mind the ‘Metro’ tiles. BUT..

The notification area:

It needs something to remind the user that it is updating the operating system because the system becomes tragically slow while updating with no obvious reason until a reboot is instituted.

Project Spartan:

Where is the ‘Homepage’ button?

The start menu:

Ok for general surfing, email etc, but completely useless if the machine is used as the central command for a home network full of users, or for technical work. I am trialling Stardock’s Start10 presently. This is the start menu that I shall use on my main production machine, but for the NB250, the Windows 10 default menu will be fine.

Classic applications:

No WordPad? Are you kidding me? A fast-to-open, useful word editor that can display HTML and it is nowhere to be seen? Not good, guys, not good..

Windows 10 Preview – 10061 is running on the Toshiba NB250..

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I am back in business re the Windows 10 preview, It took some effort though.

Windows 10 would NOT install as long as the original Wi-fi adapter was installed because the Windows Update supplied Qualcomm driver DOESN’T WORK. So, I had to swap it out for something that Windows 10 did like, and then replace the original after the OS installed.

Please somebody explain why Windows 10 can live with a Wi-fi adapter yet not install without throwing up blue screens. Microsoft have no right to push updates which traditionally have caused issues for so many computer users.


Sound, Wi-Fi, card reader, webcam.. and to ensure that it continues to work, I have disabled hardware updates via Windows Update, something that should be done on ALL Windows computers.

Project Spartan:

So it’s a browser. What else can be said about it? The settings panel is vague by any standards, but as long as it enables me to get to my usual pages, I don’t care what Microsoft calls it. Do you?

In conclusion:

It’s good to have the preview running on the NB250 again. The poor old thing has no useful life as a Windows 7 machine, and probably won’t last too much longer anyway as it is five years old. One thing is for sure, I will never replace the screen or any other major cost part of it because it simply isn’t easy enough to use on a daily basis.

However, I own it and feel some duty to it to keep it going. Windows 10 is at least exciting to some degree which is more than can be said for anything running Windows 7. Back in 2009, Windows 7 was a breath of fresh air, but not anymore. It is boring and dull as all …..


April Updates and other animals..

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All done without a hitch? Not exactly..

KB3038314, a cumulative update for IE11, is a source of negative amusement, installing on machines which have been running for a while but not being accepted on freshly installed machines. Why? I have no idea. Any solutions? None that I can find.

Apart from that, I have not noticed anything untoward other than errors in Event Viewer. More about that later.

The mouse..

What I saved buying the Logitech M705 may have to go towards a ‘mouse pad to give it the precision of movement for which the mouse is capable. My keyboard tray surface is not really the best surface for a mouse, and I am using a fairly cheap mouse pad with some non-slip matting underneath it because it slips around without it.

The trouble with good gaming mouse pads is that they are not particularly cheap and some can lose their surface quite quickly. For now, I will stick with my ‘snowman’ pad.

Event Viewer..

It has been throwing up errors just recently, this one appearing most..

The Windows Update service terminated unexpectedly.  It has done this 1 time(s).  The following corrective action will be taken in 60000 milliseconds: Restart the service.

Overall performance does not appear to be affected, so I will leave it be for now.

Windows 10..

I still have no computer on which I can reasonably run the preview. Realtek not having released any audio drivers which work for Windows 10, the Netbook is still out of bounds for 10. Annoying in the extreme, especially as that is the ONLY driver which does not play ball. I will not put Windows 10 back onto it until it ALL works. Having a low performance Netbook is bad enough, but having half a Netbook doesn’t cut it at all..


The Logitech Marathon M705 mouse..

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It arrived around lunchtime and it didn’t take me too long to insert batteries and get it going.

Zut Alors:

The mouse pointer was everywhere, and adjusting in SetPoint was not working well at all. Looking into the problem, it fast became obvious why. Unlike the MS Wireless 5000 mouse, this Logitech mouse does NOT have Blu-Track capabilities, and the mouse pad I had been using, a finely dimpled, highly patterned glass table mat was sending the mouse scatty.

It has been overcome by using a Vista mouse mat that I received with the original Wow Vista Intro package back in 2006. I will look for something similar to what I have been using because it has worked so well.

The M705 mouse:

It is a good shape, slightly smaller than what I am used to using, very well defined indents for left and right click finger placement, and a good thumb area and opposing squared off vertical surface which makes it easy to control laterally.

On the left side are the almost obligatory extra buttons, two of them which I have yet to set for my preferred function.

It is topped with a scroll wheel, a button which toggles mechanical click-scroll or freewheel, and a battery indicator light which glows green initially but fades to nothing.

Were it not for the fact that it doesn’t like the mouse pad which, incidentally, the M600 had absolutely no issue with, I would say that this mouse is probably as good as it gets.


The control panel for the mouse is not as sophisticated as Microsoft produces. The image of the mouse shows the simplest Logitech mouse, not the one in use, so button reference is a little vague..


Windows Media Center..

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It first appeared as XP Media Center Edition on high end computers in 2005. At that time, the computer was seen as becoming the central focus of home entertainment, but that was then.

I haven’t seen a computer with a ‘tuner’ adapter fitted for some while, and it was that piece of hardware which differentiated Windows Media Center from Windows Media Player and similar, enabling playback and recording of TV shows.

It’s final act was as an addition to Windows 8 Pro, but for Windows 10, there will be no more Windows Media Center.

Don’t be too surprised. Why would you want to watch stuff on a relatively small computer screen when you have a 54” TV connected to a Digital Video Recorder? OK, so maybe you don’t have 54” of TV, but you will almost certainly have at least 32”, substantially larger than the average computer monitor.

I never had a computer good enough or well specified enough to have Media Center Editions, and it wasn’t until Vista Ultimate that I knew much about it. I was really pleased to have the Rolls-Royce of media players but I never used it. Windows 7 main editions had it too, but I still never used it. There was just too much there, a confusing interface most of which didn’t do anything because I didn’t have a TV Tuner. Even when first installing Windows 8 Pro, I had to have it, and still no TV Tuner.

People now are happy to play YouTube stuff on 7” screens, and I play them on a 19” widescreen. Windows Media Center has no place anymore, and hasn’t for some while. Other technologies have by-passed it, and soon it will be gone forever.

No tears, please.. Smile

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