Audio fades in and out on games in Windows 8.1, Fix

Hey All,

Steam is doing some great sales on games at the moment, and as I am on the road a lot and like to unwind with games, I decided to grab Batman Arkham City game of the year edition from Steam for 7 Euro. I have not played some of the additional content on my Xbox, so this price was a steal. Take note Xbox live Games on “Demand”. 70 Euro for Need for Speed electronic download, I think not.

Anyway, I digress.

I started playing on my laptop and the most annoying thing happened.

The sound fades in and out. Some background sounds only become audible when you move through the menus, or you are listening to dialog.

I thought it was the drivers, so I updated the Conexant driver, check this out for an installer, remind you of anything :)

aaa what

The 1990’s called, they want their installer software back.

This however did not solve the problem. So I decided to do the following.

1. Playback devices

In the system tray, right click the little speaker, and Select Playback devices.

On your playback setup of choice, in my case select the Simple to recognise “Speakers”. Click “Configure Speakers”.

2. Configure speakers

Click Next.

3. Click Next

Now, the next part might be different for people, depending on whether you have a 2 speaker and Subwoofer setup, or just twin speakers like me, you might have to fiddle a bit. I just selected front and left. Again, your mileage may vary. If you have 2 speakers, or 2 speakers and a subwoofer, make sure you have Surround sound not selected.

4. click front left and right

Click Next, and finish.

5. click finish

I fired up Batman: Arkham City and immediately the problem had vanished.

Back to business.

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You CAN Take pictures on Windows Phone 8 using the Instagram Beta App

A beta app for Instagram, a photo sharing service that I honestly have no interest in, was launched today. Also we got some more apps, whatever. As usual, the “Tech Press”, instead of downloading the app and checking it out, stumbled over themselves for the privilege of “FIRST”.

So then, over an hour on twitter, it was in the store, it was not in the store, who was doing the press release, and then the best one’s:

  • You cannot take pictures with the App, only select from Camera Roll.
  • No video uploading.

etc…. I wont point to the articles or the individuals here, I would not give them the traffic. You can surmise who they are. 

So here are a few hints from me to the tech press/pundits.

Practice better attention to detail. Please.

And here is my hint of the week, and, the solution to the problem.

Go to this link http://www.windowsphone.com/en-ie/store/app/instagram-beta/3222a126-7f20-4273-ab4a-161120b21aea and install the Instagram Beta app for Windows Phone 8.

Let it install. Then Swipe right from the Home Screen and find it
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Hold down your finger on this and select Pin to start. That way you will find it easier to get to.  
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As I don’t have an account , this will be a good test of the App to see how long it takes to set up and If I get any errors.

Create Username. Pick a picture that best describes me.
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Choose to not annoy my facebook friends. Choose to be sure not to annoy my facebook friends.
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Choose to not annoy my contacts. Choose to be sure not to annoy my contacts.
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Ignore every Follow button. Ignore finding my facebook friends, again.
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Ok, in all fairness to the App, that was a pretty clear and straightforward process, right, took me ~15 mins and that was even including the time it took to pull down the app over my crappy broadband connection.

Also I made a cup of tea, and made this comment on twitter.

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Poor @joebelfiore, he has a good day and everyone rains on his parade.

Lets take a look around at this UI and then get to the taking pictures bit shall we.

Photos of cats and shoes, fine. I have not liked any photos of cats and shoes. Fine.
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Its my profile, all looks right there. And hitting search brings up the search interface so I can find cats and shoes. Fine.
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So now, lets contribute something great to the stream that is instagram. I will upload a picture of my winner of the “Gaudiest present you can bring back to your wife from England” award as my first post to Instagram.

 

this button

Obvious what to press, cool, because we will be doing this a few times.

Pick the Duck. And follow the instructions.
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Filters More filters Yawn Caption and we are done.
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Now lets take a picture, with the camera, on my phone.

Remember when we selected our pictures, well now we just press the Camera button.

look a camera button

Take a lovely picture. Mangle it. Upload it.
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So there we go. We signed up and proved that we can actually upload pictures from the Camera on the phone to Instagram, something that I am pretty sure we were always able to do, on 3rd party apps, but did not care.

Any, I am now TheMasterPrawn on Instagram. (*sigh*), the things I do for you.

Cutover Migration error ADCDisabledMail – Office 365

I normally post non work related things here, as this blog is my own and not the thoughts or musing of my company, Unity Technology Solutions here in Ireland. But as we are proud of getting Microsoft Ireland Cloud Partner of the Year in Enterprise I want to share some of the findings from the field on Office 365 Migrations. Some stuff you can miss when you are doing migrations.

If you are doing a cutover migration from Exchange 2003/2007 for under 1000 users there are a few things you need to check first.

All users that need to be migrated over need to be visible in the GAL. All users. I had a scare recently on a site when I checked Exchange and AD against windows azure AD on the Office 365 portal. Not all the users I expected to be there in the batch were there, so I had to make sure they were not hidden in the Global Address List (GAL).

However I had a few accounts that were failing to sync still. So here are some thoughts to help you with the horrible error.

"ProvisioningFailedException: Couldn’t find object ADCDisabIedMaiI. Please make sure that it was spelled correctly or specify a different object".

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One fix for this is related to the following technet article, which gives a good description as to why this can happen.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa997413(EXCHG.80).aspx

So with that bit of knowledge, there are a number of things you want to watch out for if this is in error. Either a delegate on the Mailbox is disabled , hidden from the GAL or has the mailbox deleted, or there is a forwarding address to a contact that is Hidden from the GAL.

Go to "Active Directory Users and Computers" and find the account in error.

Right Click the Account and select "Properties".

Click "Exchange General".

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Then Click on "Delivery Options".

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Note the users on the "Grant this Permission to:" section and check to see if they are Disabled, Deleted or hidden from the GAL. Remember, if a user is hidden from the GAL the cutover migration cannot "see" it, and this can cause errors during the migration process.

Don’t leave this screen yet. Note that there is a forward to address on this mailbox as well. Well you might think, that is ok, they want their message forwarded. But you need to check the mailbox or contact of the forwarding address, even if it is forwarded externally. Why? Well again, if that object is hidden from the GAL…. I think you get the picture !

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In this case the user has set up a forwarder to their phone and it is placed as a contact in exchange. So, look for that contact in "Active Directory Users and Computers".

Click on "Exchange Advanced".

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A-ha. We have found another culprit that will cause us sync problems. The contact will not be synced so Office 365 will have a problem resolving it. Un check "Hide from Exchange Address lists" and click "OK".

So in Summary, before Cutover Migration from Exchange, make sure all users you want to be cutover are visible in the GAL. Make sure there are no mailbox delegates that are hidden from the GAL or deleted. And perform the same effort on Contacts to make sure any forwarding rules do not create an error. If you do this before cutover things should go smoothly.

Other references:

Cut-Cover Migration: Couldn’t find object "ADCDisabledMail" for some users

http://community.office365.com/en-us/forums/158/p/46022/270882.aspx

ADCDisabledMail error when doing a cutover migration

http://community.office365.com/en-us/forums/158/t/46157.aspx

game.co.uk cancels Bioshock Infinite pre-orders

I write this here because I think its time to stop spending money with companies that have no respect for the consumer. Here is my tale.

I bought Bioshock in 2007, I got the special edition that came with an astonishingly detailed Big Daddy figure. Its fantastic quality, made from metal and is an excellent centrepiece.

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Fast forward to today, where Bioshock Infinite: Songbird edition was announced. http://bioshock.wikia.com/wiki/Songbird?file=BIUSSongbirdStatue1.png

So, my wonderful wife, a few months ago pre-ordered this from game.co.uk for my Birthday. She ordered it on the 07th of November, 2012. So queue a 4 ish month wait. Soooo exciting.

Then on the 21st of Feb 2013 the day of RTM (release to manufacturer), game.co.uk emailed her, and also some friends of mine, to tell them that the order was cancelled, and then charged her credit card 0.01 cent for the privilege. One of my friends followed up and told me it was because they cannot ship 1kg packages outside the UK.

I cannot understand how they did not know this in advance. Surely their system knows to check the weight of the intended package.

Im still looking forward to the game, but this experience has left a bad taste. I think that Irish customers need to stop giving this company their money. I spent a lot with them while they had brick and mortar stores in Ireland, but now I wont support their company in any way.

No point trying to get to them via social media, as its heavily curated.

Spread the word, this practice sucks, so be careful.

Game.co.uk sucks , I have withheld my actual thoughts on this, as the keyboard is a great way of censoring some of my stronger words.

[EDIT]

One of my friends makes an excellent point, Irrational games, the makers of Bioshock are as much to blame as well , as they pointed Irish customers to Game.co.uk as for the pre-orders. Lets see if this post makes any traction, If anyone cares about their customers and the internet is the great enabler that we were led to believe, we would like to see something come of this.

 

Waiting.

OOSN (out of social network) message

This is my out of social network message.from openclipart.org

 
Lent is upon us, and as part of a number of things I do for this time of year I am giving my intent to leave facebook, twitter and google+ for the duration of the season. Its not a religious thing for me, but part of a regime that is good for me and I choose this time of year to do it. 
 
It will be more challenging this year as I have so many things with inter connected accounts, PC’s, Tablets, and Words with Friends. I hope to be blogging about my experiences being out of social and in meatspace so you can catch my rants and updates here. 
 
I will keep using LinkedIn, for what its worth as I often get actual business through it. 
 
I have done this the last 2 years and its been a very worthwhile thing to do. Recently I have put myself on an information diet, killing nonsense feeds that are mostly tech journalist kiddies who think they are writing “news”, but are actually giving the corporations free advertising that they do not deserve. CES was an example of this, and I think that most of this writing just sucks, but actually sucks, but sucks your time. Its like we are living on an information diet of desserts and no main course, so I have culled all that noise back. 
 
As part of this I am leaving the social networks as part of the cull. Facebook is the hardest as I have friends here, but they can still reach me. Recently I feel facebook has the same compelling allure as email, but I am using it the same way, as I cannot see a link that interests me that I cannot impulsively share, and I need to keep checking to see if someone reads it. This needs to change as its self destructive, and so I am making my annual pilgrimage back into meatspace, with all the withdrawal symptoms that it brings. 

facebooks new search engine, change is coming

Friends, lend me your ears. Today Facebook has finally launched their search capability, over a few months it will appear available to you, all my valued friends.

https://www.facebook.com/about/graphsearch

Take a look and familiarise yourself with this concept. This is a great change as it makes it easier to look back into memories, and connect with people.

I work in computer security, and get a lot of questions from friends and family, colleagues and customers, I am part of a generation of people who grew up with the internet when i first went to college in the 90′s, I understand how the internet works, and now I help people secure their digital souls. I was on MySpace, then Bebo, now here. But many grew up being a child of the social network, and you need to take pause and have a think about how connected we are, and how we interact with the technologies around us, and how these technologies present or digital souls to the outside world.

For all of you, especially those younger than me, take a few precautions. Make sure your default share is friends, and not friends of friends. Be aware that when you tag yourself with someone else, that that picture appears to their friends. I had someone on Twitter complain that someone they did not know commented on their photo because they were not aware of this.

Also your profile picture is used when you comment on a competition, a page you liked, make sure its a picture that you are comfortable with, something with just you, or you and someone close, but not others, not your children , because Google trawls those pages as they are not private and keeps the images and names. Try and image search for yourself sometime and see if you can find you.

If you have been “fraped” (check urban dictionary) delete the offending post. Make sure when you leave your computer you lock it, keep a pin lock on your smartphone. The deletion can take a lot of time to be fully taken by Facebook, because in a large computing system this size, a data delete is a massive operation for the developer of the system, no matter how powerful this is.

Please use common sense, learn how the internet works. The best thing to do is to assume that anything you ever post on the internet is public, for all to see, and with the likes of the rise of a proper search technology like this one, that it can be used for good or evil, and it is up to you to present yourself as the best person you can be. Some day this will change, and Zuckberg will leave, his replacement might not be so kind with the essence of your digital soul and want to sell it to insurance companies, your future employer, or someone else entirely.

So take care out there, all of you have given me much fun from your connection with me, and I hope to continue interacting here. I hope this gives you some food for thought and gives you a time to reflect on the impact of technology on our lives, now and into the future.

Remember, Facebook is free, but if something you use is free then you are the product.

Age of Donkeys

As part of my college course we were required to play a online RTS with the class and write about the experience. For me this did not work out well.

Survival of the fittest, I believe is the phrase uttered by Darwin in the Origin of the Species. Darwin never played video games, indeed the species were probably living off board games at this time. I am sure that he turned, nae, spun in his grave at my epic (cough) attempt at Age of Empires.

I must confess to never having played this, RTS (real time strategies) never being my forte, and they do say, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Who are they? You know, them. So I was pleasantly surprised when I started the game, logged onto a local server, and found an intuitive and self-explanatory control system waiting there for me. And lo and behold, my Stone Age land lay before me. I dub thee “Donkeyland”. My own land, finally I can realise my dream of a beautiful Eden, filled with well fed and housed people, living in awe of me, their kind and generous King. With magical all knowing donkeys roaming everywhere searching for edible paper Airplanes. Or something like that. Maybe without the last bit about the Donkeys.

So I send out a man to tend for food, my food gatherer if you will, and let him hunt creatures to feed my soon to be sprawling population. With wood as a resource I create a few villagers and make a lovely Stone Age town center. Soon they had houses and a storage place. Then I explored and all was well, with a growing population I was ready to get an upgrade to the next age, and maybe a few magic donkeys. All was well and my people looked happy. Food was a problem, but exploration would soon sort that.

15 Minutes later, Donkeyland is an ever growing pile of ash, with flames and terror, citizens milling around in confusion like shoppers in the January sales, but the January sales with flames and death. Something my food gatherer had disagreed with ate him. Food was non-existent and the population was rapidly dying in a rain of arrows. So what was the problem you may ask, where did this god like smiting come from on a land that was at peace, and wanted donkeys. Well I never counted on my neighbors. You may have guessed this already, but a rain of arrows is not really a common meteorological event. Indeed a rain of anything that kills is very uncommon. Unless you are made of salt or something very unfortunate like that, then normal rain will kill, and even then a rain of arrows is not good for your long term health. So to summarise, a neighbouring country passed my borders, and without so much as a “how’s it going lad” started a systematic smiting of my people. Very upsetting, with no food to spawn villagers and no villagers to build, I left the server and the dreams of a Utopian society behind.

There are 2 strong points that can be made from this. Firstly, Age of Empires is closer to real life than you think. Survival of the fittest often favours the species that had a very good head start. If you have a lot of resources you will advance to higher levels and can survive, if you have problems getting food or housing material, it is likely you will move elsewhere or watch as your neighbours thrive as you shrivel into oblivion. Because you have a small amount of resources and are showing promise, it is very likely that neighbours will take advantage of this. If they are advancing technologically and need more resources to progress this is especially true. Nations like this have little need to integrate the more unfortunate into their progression and nurture them to the same level. Why, ethically, would a nation with arrows kill a nation with nothing more than rocks and not even one donkey? That my friend, I will leave to you to ponder. But know this, the scenario above is happening in this world today, I don’t need to go through a history of the world here to point this out. All you need to do is watch the news.

The second point is also pointed at online games, or any type of multiplayer. More so in the RTS online bullying is very common. Those who log into a server game, capture all strongholds, hoard all resources, and crush all newbies (noob’s in web speak) who come into the online world to flex their muscles against human opponents. With ample practice you can hold your own, but I read many articles about unbalance in RTS (Real time Strategies) when played online. Even in games like Quake, on certain servers I have had the experience of being slaughtered by everyone logged into the server, as they did not know me and so ganged up on me to get rid of me. This is in essence bullying as well. I have even read articles about people sing MMORPGS (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games, phew) being “ripped off” for goods and equipment by experienced players who figure out they are new. This is appalling to me, as it seems the school ground bully’s have found another place to hang out.

Online gaming in this country is only in its infancy. With many more broadband connections being installed every day the online gaming world is becoming more and more accessible to the Irish gamer. So lets use some ethics here people. Never say anything to anyone on a game server that you would not say to persons face. Always treat the new players with respect, don’t gang up on them in a game. And if they admit to being new in any other game, give them a hand, never know, later you may have a gaming clan and they may be a valuable player in your team. Let’s kill bullying once and for all. Also let’s have more games with magic Donkeys, Peace out, respect and all that. Except to the person who crushed Donkeyland owned by “Master_Shake’. You know who you are. I hope you feel remorse for your evil ways. I shall defeat you soon.

PS: From this article, if you are made of Salt I meant no offence. Also if you are made of salt and your friend who is not falls in a ditch full of thorny briars, resist the sadistic temptation to pull him/her out.

PPS: Kill bullying, but a little taunting never goes amiss J