How to see a call stack of a 32 bit executable in a 64 bit kernel debug session

Most of you aren’t going to care about this post, you can safely ignore it, but I need a semi-permanent place to store such vital information so that I’ve got it available in future.  Sorry people ;)

In the 64 bit kernel debugging session, issue the command:

!load wow64exts.dll

Then, to switch between the 32 bit and 64 bit contexts, issue:




ADSL2+ has been enabled on my phone line (last night, interrupting a chat with a friend on MSN, grrrrr) so I’m now looking at 13.5Mbit/S download and 1.8Mbit/S upload.  For no extra cost, in fact it works out cheaper as my peak time allowance has been raised by a gigabyte.

I’m a Happy Bunny.

EDIT: The line has now stabilised at 21Mbit/S down.  And I’d misread the “up” figure before.  It’s actually 992Kbit/S.

Handy camera gadget

For those of you with older cameras, although the affliction seems to be limited to Canon DSLRs, you may be finding the price and size of CF cards to be a bit, well, inflated.  The final nail in the coffin was that my new laptop has got an integrated SD card reader in it, and whilst I have a USB CF card reader, it’s a pain in the neck to use properly.

So, enter the CF to SD adapter.  It’s the size of a Type II CF card (the big one, with the step on the top; you know, the slot type used by the IBM microdrives), and it has a slot in the side that takes an SD card.

Twenty quid from Maplins, part number A47FF

And in the camera (Canon EOS 40D) I’ve got, it works with an 8GB  SD-HC card, despite what the staff answer to a question said.

Tomtom GO 720 not finding mp3 files?

Couldn’t find this on any forum on t’internet, so thought I’d post it here just in case it helps someone.

If your tomtom go 720 won’t find MP3 files after having copied them onto either the onboard flash disk, or an SD card (IMHO the most sensible thing to do), then there’s every chance you’ve been stuffed by the new ID3 tag formatting.  The new format just simply isn’t recognised.

The solution?  Download mp3tag and use it to remove the new ID3 tag, leaving behind a version of ID3 tag no more than version 2.3; this is the version of ID3 tag that I’ve currently got, and all MP3s are recognised by the tomtom.  It’s a bit of a pain in the neck, but at least there is a solution.

Why Yahoo! Answers is broken.

The lunatics are in charge of the asylum, that’s why.

Someone asked a question wanting to know which codec they needed to import a music file into their application – they were getting an error “unknown codec”.

So; the choice of answers given:

1) A generic answer which would solve the problem for all people having this error, explaining what a codec was, and how to find out which codec would be needed for any file.

2) An answer that included the lucky guess “Ogg Vorbis”.

Guess which answer was given the “Best Answer”?  Number 2.  Huh???

It’s not an isolated incident, either.  There’s more examples of this kind of lunacy.  That’s not to say that I don’t understand why the answer got rated higher, it afterall solved the questioners problem in a quick and easy manner.  It just didn’t add anything to the value of the site; it’s meant to be a repository of questions and good answers.  Hey Ho.

Oh, and the quality of the questions leaves something to be decided, too.  Half the questioners don’t have a clue about the subject they’re asking about, yet they claim to need a desperately technical answer.  My personal favourite is:

Question Title: Should I use the uniprocessor HAL with a Quad Core (Q6600)?
Question content: Is there an easy way to switch HALs?

Erm. Where to begin? Is there an easy way to switch HALs? Why, yes, there is. It’s dead simple once you’ve read and understood the Windows DDK. Of course once you’ve done that, you’ll not be wanting to swap HALs; there’s absolutely no point, beyond wanting to artificially limit the number of cores that windows will use on the chip. That can be done so much easier with the /onecpu setting in BOOT.INI

But of course, if you put that in an answer, you’re wasting your time, even though it’s actually a pretty good answer to a dumb question.  I suspect that the best answer would be given to someone who answers with:

LOLZ, dude.  K3wln3ss for has changing HALs.  HAL FTW!!!11!!

And the number of people wanting their homework done is utterly outstanding.  I’ve seen a number of multiple choice questions up on there.  How can that not be homework?

Earthquake aftermath

The email wags are at it already.  The best jokey email I’ve received so far is reproduced below for your enjoyment:


At 00:54 on Wednesday the 27th February, an earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale hit the UK, causing untold disruption and distress – Many were woken well before their Giro arrived. Several priceless collections of mementos from the Balearics and Spanish Costas were damaged. Thousands are confused and bewildered, trying to come to terms with the fact that something interesting has happened in the UK.
One resident, Donna-Marie Dutton, a 17 year old mother-of-seven said: “It was such a shock, little Chantal-Nice Blonde came running into my bedroom crying. My youngest two, Tyler-Morgan and Megan-Storm slept through it. I was still shaking when I was watching Jeremy Kyle the next morning.” Apparently though, begging, thieving, and grovelling has carried on as normal.
The British Red Cross have so far managed to import 4000 crates of Sunny Delight, to help the stricken masses. Rescue workers are still searching through the rubble and have found large quantities of personal belongings including benefit books and jewellery from Elizabeth Duke at Argos.


£2 buys chips, scraps and blue pop for a family of four. £10 can take a family to Stockport for the day, where children can play on an unspoiled canal bank among the national collection of stinging nettles. 22p buys a Biro for filling in a spurious compensation claim.


Simply email us by return with your credit card details and we’ll do the rest! Don’t worry, we bank with a reputable UK bank (Northern Rock) so you know your money is in safe hands. If you prefer to donate cash, there are collection points available at your local branches of Argos, Iceland and Clinton Cards



That was impressive.

At about 12:55am this morning, I was rudely awakened by a massive shaking of the house.  Itonly went on for less than 30 seconds, but was quite scary.  The top floor (I have a loft conversion where I sleep) was moving a good inch or so, probably because the transmission through the house is bound to shake a third floor more than the ground floor.

Anyway, I’ve had a look round, and it appears that there’s no damage been done, which is a bit of a relief.

Doubt I’ll sleep for the rest of the night, though.  Funnily enough, I’m absolutely wide awake now…

This site is not bad for your computer’s health part 2

Well, the site’s now clean (and has been for a number of hours now).
Google has done a sweep, and is telling me that not only is the site clean (bottom of picture) but that the site is still linked to badware (top of picture).
My challenge to google is tell me which one is correct, and if it’s the bottom statement, unblock my site. This is getting beyond a joke.

How not to design a user interface

This site is not bad for your computer’s health

… despite Google telling you that it is.
Google’s not always right, it seems.

Google’s assertion that this site is hosting “badware” (warning – made up word) is at best misleading, and at worst an out-and-out untruth.

My reasoning:

  1. Misleading: The version of WordPress I use to power this blog had a security vulnerability in it, which meant people could maliciously edit posts I’d made and inject content. In all of these cases, the additional material injected was a link to another website.
  2. Untruth: As above, the link on my site was just that – a link to another website. My website had absolutely no “badware” on it at any time. It’s a small distinction to make, but if my business was using wordpress, and the world at large was presented with a page from google saying my site could not be trusted and that it was trying to hack their computers, I think I, like many other business owners, would be upset at the loss of business (short term) and reputation (long term) that this causes.

Things that – in my opinion – Google needs to fix.

  • Correct the warning that users see after clicking on a link. The warning page – as pointed out above – is wrong. It should simply state that Google’s automated tool for protecting the internet community has detected that a link on this site has been found to point to a “badware” distribution site. Even changing the sense of the sentence “Warning – visiting this web site may harm your computer!” into a more passive form, so that the implication that “this web site” is actively trying to do something bad is removed.
  • Provide people who’s websites get infected with at least a count of distinct issues that have been found on their website. At the moment, the Google warning email just says that the website is serving up “badware”. This website actually suffered from two seperate problems, after finding the first, I resubmitted for testing, and they came back with the same – unhelpful – statement; that my website was still hosting “badware”. If I had been told that there were 2 (or however many are found) instances of the problem, I wouldn’t have stopped after finding the first.
    The sheer number of people requesting help on the ‘Stop “badware”‘ group pages is indicative that something is seriously wrong with the reporting mechanism.
  • Speed up their review process. If they are making wild accusations that a website is actively hosting “badware”, then they should be as quick to unblock a site as they are to block it. If an online company gets blocked – as has happened (sorry, can’t find the link to the page that I found before) – then Google will hold their website in the blocked state until a retest is done. This can take a long time, during which time, people cannot access the site from google’s search results, and due to the nature of the wording of the warning, harm is done to the business’ reputation
  • Before the browsers start using this “badware” security alert mechanism to block websites in the browser, the process needs to be streamlined, so that an automatic check can not only condemn a website, but also give it a clean bill of health. The process of freeing a website from purgatory should be near real-time. I do not believe that an automatic check of the website cannot be done within a period of half an hour – Google has a famously large number of servers and bandwidth available to it. If it cannot be done in this realtime manner, I think it is too flawed to be useful.

I would like to point out that this last point, about browsers using the Google “badware” database as a check is, in principle a very good idea; afterall, protecting people from “badware” is something that would make the internet a much nicer place to play.
However, with the caveats listed above, the database becomes even more insidious – without turning the whole security mechanism off, I cannot access my own website, even though it is clean (I know it is, I’ve just finished cleaning it, and upgraded the software so it won’t happen again).
It is this real-time checking of the “badware” database by browsers that is the painful part when the database is too slow to de-list websites.

And don’t think that browsers aren’t going to do this. Firefox 3 Beta 3 has the feature turned on by default.

EDIT: Someone else has had the same problem, and has the same problems with the process:

Sony support nonsense.

I have Windows XP installed on my sony laptop. Unfortunately (for me) it’s not the XP that came with the machine, as I replaced the Hard Disk, and have used an XP install disk, rather than the system recovery disk – the laptop is well over 4 years old, and the system recovery disk is lost in the mists of time.
Anyway, the install wasn’t performed with the system recovery disk, and one of the programs that Sony provide an install package for on their website won’t work, having installed from that package.

So, I contact sony support, and it turns out that because the bits on my hard disk weren’t placed there by the recovery disk, they won’t support that version of XP; even though it’s a vanilla XP installation.

This raises the question:
My laptop was bought before Windows XP SP2 was released, and given that SP2 fundamentally changed how Windows works (at least in user mode – there were small kernel mode changes), would I get support for a windows install (from their recovery disk) with SP2 applied? The question has been asked. I’ll keep you updated.

Kids, eh?

Our ISP (Andrews and Arnold), are fairly generous about the amount of bandwidth they let us use; it’s unlimited outside office hours, which run from 8am to 6pm, and we’re allowed 5Gb of usage per month between 8am and 6pm. We’ve been going somewhat over this limit for a few months now, and I’ve just started getting interested in why.

Claire suspected that it was her PC that was banging the traffic up and I wasn’t absolutely sure that it wasn’t mine (I use remote desktop to home from work sometimes).

I put some logging rules in our router yesterday, to monitor all traffic from our respective PCs (and the server, just in case that was doing mad things). Guess who used most traffic today? Yep. Small Person. 349Mb of metered traffic today.

We suspect (although I need to make further investigations to confirm) that it’s actually the IMVU chat program that she uses.

Kids. Who’d have them ;)

Firefox2.0 RC2

I’ve been having some serious problems with Firefox crashing, and generally misbehaving over the last couple of weeks, so decided that I’d give 2.0 RC2 a go just to see if it fixed any/all of the problems I’ve experienced.

Good News! It’s cured them completely. Well, the fact that it disabled all my extensions did it; installing the Nightly Tester Tools and forcing the firefox version check to always allow extensions to load made firefox start crashing again.

I narrowed it down to SessionSaver, and absolute must in Firefox 1.5.x

The good part about this is that Firefox 2 has the session saver built-in – look in the options for what firefox should do on startup. Undo close tab is also built-in; so any misclicks to select a tab, catching the X button is easily undone.

The only thing I miss is a middle-click on the tab bar to open a new tab. But I can cope with that, I think.

Eating out again!

For the third time this week! How extravagant can you get ;) We have spent a pleasant evening with other half’s dad, as we went to fetch OH’s widescreen TV from its storage in said dad’s spare room.

We thought we would take Ian out for a meal so trolled off to the village pub. I wasn’t impressed at all. According to OH and Ian, the pub used to have iconic status: John Peel did live radio shows from there, U2 have played there. It was, by all accounts, a happening pub. So what the hell happened!!! They have tried to turn it into some cool trendy town centre pub (in the middle of a village :roll: ) with fancy food that was extortionately expensive. We stayed for one drink and moved on.

A nice chinese takeaway was had by all instead. So ner to the pub owners :mrgreen: