Fix for Missing Version Tab in Microsoft eMbedded Visual C++

June 4th, 2014

Having to work in the dark ages is never fun. My new .exe in Microsoft eMbedded Visual C++ 4.00.1610.0 was providing that experience when I couldn’t get to the Version tab when I invoked the file properties of my .exe in Windows Explorer. The Version tab just wasn’t there. Looking at working projects provided no clue. Turns out in my very thin .exe, when the resources were being compiled, it wasn’t picking up the define for VS_VERSION_INFO. Instead of complaining it happy converted it to a string: “VS_VERSION_INFO”. To get this to work I had to add “#include <windows.h>” to the resource.h file. After a full recompile the Version tab now shows up.

Fixing an iPhoto Beach Ball

January 4th, 2012

I had a frustrating experience with iPhoto 9.2.1 under Mac OS X 10.6.8. iPhoto got into a state where it would beach ball shortly after launching regardless of the state of the OS (fresh boot, fresh image, etc.). Turns out the problem involved movies from a Canon SD870 IS camera. Here’s what to do if this problem befalls you.

  1. In the Finder, move the photos off the memory stick and into the movies directory. Delete the *.thm files.
  2. Force Quit iPhoto
  3. In your ~\Library directory search for iPhoto in the “Library” directory (not “This Mac”) in the “Filename” (not the “Contents”). Delete iPhoto from the caches directory and the 1 or 2 plist files in the Preferences directory.
  4. Empty the trash
  5. Reboot. The reboot is important. Something remains in memory otherwise, it’s not clear what. You can tell the difference by what happens when you launch iPhoto after step 3. If you don’t see iPhoto first-run activity (welcome to iPhoto) then you know something didn’t get removed. I consistently saw first-run activity after a reboot.

App Store Purchases Don’t Work When Running From Another Mac’s Backup

November 30th, 2011

My two year old MacBook Pro’s hard drive failed and I took it in to the Apple Store to get it fixed. I’m now running off a backup of my MacBook Pro on the family’s new MacBook Air. All is working as you would expect. But applications purchased from the App Store do not work.

When I attempt to launch an App Store purchase, I am presented with the dialog, “Sign in to use this application on this computer”. Nothing further happens after entering my credentials. Now, every time I click on an App Store purchased app on the dock I get a single bounce and then nothing.

I spoke with Apple support and was escalated one level to no avail. It would seem this is an unsupported configuration although I tend to doubt it’s a driver issue support was hinting at. I stopped them when they wanted to migrate the image to the MacBook Air. This is temporary situation until my production computer is fixed and that exceeds the amount of work I wanted to put into resolving this issue.

Interestingly, App Store purchases downloaded to the MacBook Air’s drive work when launched while booted from my external MacBook Pro drive. Presumably Apple is tattooing the applications with an identifier (Serial Number? Hardware UUID?) from the physical computer that allows me to run the “MacBook Air installed Apps” on my booted MacBook Pro image running the MacBook Air. In the end, not sure if this is a feature or a bug. Support clearly doesn’t understand the mechanics involved. I suspect only an App Store engineer does.

Minutia: Mac OS X Lion 10.7.2 (11C74). When this MacBook Air is booted normally it is attached to the same Apple ID and purchases work.

Copy/Paste Bug With VMware Fusion

November 10th, 2011
  1. In Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac connect to a PC (I tried Win7 and Win Server 2003 R2).
  2. In RDC’s OS, open Notepad.exe and type a phrase; select your phrase; and copy it.
  3. Switch to VMware Fusion and paste your phrase. This will not work.
  4. Go to Apple Mail on the Mac and paste your phrase in a new email. This works.
  5. Workaround: After pasting the phrase into Apple Mail, select the phrase and copy it again. You can now paste it successfully into VMware Fusion.


  • Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac Version 2.1.0 (100825)
  • VMware Fusion Version 4.0.2 (491587)
  • VMware Tools for Windows Version 8.8.0, build-465068
  • Guest OS: Windows XP Professional Version 2002 Service Pack 3

Podcast Playing at 2x Plays at 1x After Call

November 4th, 2011

On my iPhone 4 (iOS 5.0 (9A334)), after interrupting a podcast I was listening to at 2x speed to take a call, the podcast speed changes to 1x when the call ends.

Try it yourself:

  1. Start a podcast at 2x speed
  2. Make a call (via Voice Control) or receive a call
  3. When the call completes the podcast starts playing again automatically at 1x

Normally, the podcast resumes at 2x speed.  As a work around, I pause the podcast with my wired handset, then press play and it resumes at 2x speed.  If you’re having the same issue, report it as a duplicate of Bug ID# 10399008.

Steve Wozniak Yearbook Photos

August 10th, 2010

Dennis’s dad, Joe, worked at Homestead High School in Cupertino, California in the 1960′s.  Steve Wozniak attended Homestead in the 60′s too and graduated from there in 1968.  Joe has the yearbook from 1968 and I found a couple of pages with Steve Wozniak on them.  The first one is his senior photo.  In the second scan, Steve appears in both the Math Club and Electronics Club photos.  The text mentions he’s the Electronics Club president.

Self Checkout: Now Serving a Bad UX

July 8th, 2010

Self checkout systems at supermarkets and hardware stores are becoming ubiquitous.  They all deliver a horrible user experience.  I was in Lucky recently and after swiping my credit card I was prompted “Credit 6.98 OK?”.  It took me three three tries to get it right (I know – I’m slow).  But here’s what went through my mind:

  1. The Debit button’s arrow it pointing toward the “OK?” on the screen.  I’ll press the Debit button.  Fail.
  2. Are they asking me, “Debit or Credit?”.  I press the Credit button.  Fail.
  3. I press the green Enter button.  Success!

But I have to ask myself:

  • Why is “OK?” the approval phrase?  The button they want me to press is labeled Enter AND Yes.  Why didn’t they use either of those words?
  • In addition to allowing the Enter button to be a valid input, is there any reason not to have Debit and/or Credit be a valid button too?
  • And they couldn’t be bothered to add a dollar sign to the display?  To wit “Credit $6.98″

iOS4 Multitasking: Friend or Foe?

June 27th, 2010

I was using the TomTom app on my iPhone 4 yesterday and was wondering when I was done using it, “is it still running?”  With iOS4′s new multitasking feature was the iOS4 ready TomTom app still depleting the battery by tracking GPS satellites?  Turns out the answer is yes.

Using iStat to view the running processes on my phone I saw indeed TomTom’s “US – Canada” was still running.  I was also under the mistaken impression that there could only be 4 running apps in the background.  Instead I kept launching apps and found 7 apps still running.

I’m not sure I like this behavior.  Prior to iOS4 I had a high confidence I knew what apps were running on my phone. The app I was using was consuming resources and when I pressed the home button I knew it exited (with the exception of select Apple apps).  Now, under iOS4, I see that I don’t know when an app has quit or wether it’s still running.  And more importantly, which apps are consuming battery draining resources? Apps that rely on Location Services (GPS) or music streaming are likely candidates.

I laughed at my Android friends who had to download task killers to put a stop to battery draining applications.  Please don’t tell me that day has arrived for Apple.  Also, will this introduce the notion of Quit to the iPhone lexicon?  I hope not.

iOS4 apps compiled for state saving aren’t an issue.  Their state is cached for quick re-entry and if the phone needs the resources they’ll get shutdown then.  But it would be helpful for Apple to better inform the user which apps are consuming more battery intensive resources.  In the case of Location Services an arrow icon will appear in the status bar. (Is there a similar indication for an app streaming data in the background?) But that will leaving you wondering, “which app is it?”  An app icon overlay would be helpful when you double-click the Home button and the multitasking user interface appears to better pin-point who’s currently using Location Services.

Tip: Quit an app by removing it from the multitasking user interface.  Hold your finger on the app icon until it begins to shake.  Then click the “-” in the upper left hand corner. Note, just because an app appears in the multitasking UI doesn’t mean it’s running. You will need an app like iStat to know for sure whether an app is running.

Use VLC to Open Files with QCP File Extension

June 2nd, 2010

Occasionally you’ll have a technical problem and a Google search fails to provide you a fix.  In this case a lot of the information was too old.

I was forwarded a voice mail from a Driod Incredible (a .qcp file).  I needed to play it in Mac OS X.  My google search offered:

  • Windows Media Player will play it natively (No in 9 and No in 11)
  • Quicktime (No)
  • Qualcomm has a player (it has been pulled from their site for legal reasons)
  • Various downloads to try on my PC but none panned out (should have done this testing in a VM so I could have easily rolled back the changes).

In the end, I tried it in VLC (Version 1.0.5 Goldeneye (Intel 32bit)) on the Mac and it worked.  I wasn’t able to drag and drop the file but was able to use the Open dialog.  Worked in VLC on the PC too.  Is this a harbinger of things to come?  Having to work with qcp files?

iPhone App Too Large To Update

April 1st, 2010

I downloaded the updated TomTom U.S. & Canada v1.3 app from the iTunes store and expected it to be updated on my iPhone 3G v3.1.3  - just like every application before it.  But it didn’t work.  I was presented with a dialog “The application “US – Canada” was not installed on the iPhone “iPhone” because not enough free space was available.”  Huh?  It’s already on the phone. How could there not be enough space for it?  Is the new version that much bigger than the prior version?

Then I realized what iTunes 9.1 is doing.  It’s copying the new app to the iPhone; verifying the copy was successful; then deleting the old app and putting the updated app in its place.  Most apps are small so you’ve probably never noticed this before.  But because the TomTom app is so large (1.55GB) this didn’t work (although I’m not sure why, my iPhone is reporting 2.2GB free).

Clicking on the “More Information” link on the dialog takes you to an Apple web page with a laundry list of things that could be wrong.  While the most salient thing to do is under the section titled “Reinstall the application” this has you do more than you really need to.  Here are my instructions if you find yourself in this situation.

First, download the updated application into iTunes. (You’ve probably already done this. That is why you’re here, right?)

To remove the application from your iPhone:

  1. Touch and hold any application icon on the Home screen until the icons start to wiggle.
  2. Tap the “x” in the corner of the application you want to delete.
  3. Tap Delete to remove the application and all of its data from your iPhone or iPod touch. (This is what makes this process a bug. What if I didn’t want to loose my data? If you have user data associated with your app, contact the app seller to find out how to archive your data.)
  4. Press the Home button to save your arrangement.

To re-add the application to your iPhone:

  1. In iTunes, select your iPhone under devices on the left side bar
  2. Click on the Apps tab and re-select the app you want to add back in.
  3. Use the iPhone pane on the right to put the app back where the original was.
  4. Click the “Sync” button in the lower right-hand corner.

iTunes should solve this problem by alerting the user that it will need to perform a critical update and to not disconnect the phone until done (similar to the warning you get when trying to install software updates on battery power).  Otherwise, the process I’ve outlined will cause all the app’s data to be deleted.  In my case it didn’t matter.  But if it matters in your situation, you would need a way to do an in-place update when space is at a premium on your iPhone.