Sunday, August 23, 2009

Using Vista Webcam Drivers in Windows 7

Back when Windows 7 came out in BETA I was quick to download and install it. I was not at all surprised when my webcam didn't work with it as I remember this being a problem with Vista. I think I ran Vista for about 1 month at home and work before giving up on and going back to XP. But now Windows 7 is right around the corner as a "real" operating system. So why would they still not have a driver for my webcam?

Ah, the wonders of capitalism. Could they create a driver for my old webcam that would work with Vista? Sure they could. But they would have to pay someone to sit down and develop that code. And that money would be a waste, because we expect our drivers to be free. Since this is a device that I all ready own and have owned for a while, there is no sense in spending money on new driver development. But whatever happened to customer service?

Today I decided to give this webcam driver issue another try. I went out to Creative Labs web site and downloaded their "Windows Vista" driver for my webcam. When I ran it, the installer did an OS check and said "we don't support this version of Windows". So then I opened the .exe file with WinRAR and extracted the files into a directory. From there I was able to right click on the setup.exe file and run it in "troubleshooting mode". This mode in Windows 7 allows you to try and run things as if you are using an older operating system. In my case I faked like I was running Windows Vista. The install completed, and the driver seems to work. I immediately fired up Skype and was told "you have working video".

A big thanks to the developers of Windows 7. And a big "up yours" to Creative Labs. Looks like it will be another couple of years before you get any more of my money. ;-)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Great Health Care Debate!

This whole battle for health care reform might be a little easier if folks would sit down and read the house bill that congress has suggested. I have always been one of those guys who would rather read "the straight dope" than take a fools word for it. So I wonder why so many fools are crowding into town halls and attempting to thwart this latest house bill. For that matter, people are making some really, really, really ignorant comments just about every where. Like Facebook!

Why do we need a nation wide health care system. Why not leave it to the states?

How is your state doing financially? You have an 8 in 50 chance of them not being over budget as of today. Are they going to invest anything into fixing health care? No.

Why not try medical savings accounts like in Singapore?
We have those plans here. Unfortunately small businesses end up having to use these. Go to your bank and tell them you want a "Health Savings Account". They will gladly give you one. This plan should be called "pay for everything yourself" - with tiny contributions from your employer". Good luck trying to pay for cancer treatments without any financial help. I recently had 5 stitches on my hand and it cost me $1,000.

Sounds like Acorn, doesn't it?
Does it? Let me spend 30 seconds researching this. Here's what I have: "ACORN is the nation’s largest grassroots community organization of low- and moderate-income people with over 400,000 member families organized into more than 1,200 neighborhood chapters in 110 cities across the country." Health care reform sounds like ACORN? No. Stop watching Fox News, idiot.

Politicians hold town meetings to have a "dialogue" with the people in their communities, but when people in their communities disagree with them the politicians just want them to just shut up.
Maybe you should be watching the entire clips, and not just the ones that your particular news outlet is showing you. The politicians are being drowned out, booed, and intimidated by protesters. These town-hall meetings were assembled with the idea that people might be civil and respectful to each other. I have yet to see a politician tell anyone to "shut up". Unless you count the case of the idiot who stood up and spoke out of line. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that the un-named politician replied that "everyone present just witnessed real democracy".

let's all take a deep breath, take some time to read the bill, yes, actually read the bill. Insist that the legislators we hire actually read it too. Those who said they would vote for it without reading it should be voted out next election.
This came from someone who is opposed to the bill. I applaud his educated decision. Although, this coming after some rather ludicrous comments about "looking like ACORN".

we have the most expensive health care system in the world, folks. we rank 37th in mortality rates.
Woops. Facts are emerging. Stop that!

cuban healthcare is free - but the cuban doctors are buying boats and escaping to the good ole USA. of course michael moore is quite enarmored with the cuban system
What is it that they say on 4chan? Obvious troll is obvious.

And just think, this was all from a single thread. Seriously folks, if you want to have a say in this discussion you should start by reading the actual house bill. Then perhaps you can show up to a discussion with your local representatives (without a sign or an insulting t-shirt) and address your questions in an orderly manner.

Although, if you want to play the roll of "stupid fucking facebook troll", jobs are available. Speaking of jobs ... what the hell do these assholes do for a living? I have to take a day off to find time to Blog shit like this!

The No-Nonsense Guide to XBOX 360 Backups

Long, long, ago I wrote a how-to guide for installing Windows SharePoint Services. I was teaching a class at the time on the subject and there didn't seem to be any good resources on how to install things correctly. The guide served two purposes. One was that I could promote myself as an instructor who brought his own supplemental material to the class as a fill-in for where Microsoft went wrong with their training materials. Secondly, I hoped to sell the book online to make up for some of the time it took to put the guide together. To my surprise the book went on to sell many copies grossing almost $200 in sales. This may seem marginal, but I figure that it at least paid for the short amount of time I spent writing the guide.

Last week I decided to write a new guide. I have spent a lot of time lately backing up XBOX games for my son. In the beginning, I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out the process. Part of the problem is that the so-called "experts" on the subjects are younger folks that write in incomplete sentences and often leave out important details of the process. Some guides that I read were just plain terrible.

With that, I have written a new guide on how to backup your XBOX 360 games. It's on sale at for the low, low cost of $6.25 (that's $5 profit for me). I no longer have to wonder if I will sell any copies, because my first copy sold a day after it was posted. And the buyer gave me a full 6 out of 6 stars in a review. And that buyer was NOT my mother!

If you would like a preview of the book I have extracted a few pages as a sample.

If this is something you need, please buy a copy and support

Support independent publishing: Buy this multimedia on Lulu.

If I can find the time, I will also be writing a "No-Nonsense" guide on how to modify your XBOX 360 (to play the games you create). This guide is probably needed more than the one I just wrote, but I know it will take considerably longer to do - and will require frequent updates.