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Remote Desktop Keyboard Malfunction Solution

by @ 2:58 pm
Filed under: microsoft — Tags:

I connect to the office often via Remote Desktop (RDP) from my Windows 7 machine at home. Most of the time this works fine but sometimes the keyboard goes insane when on the remote machine. A few keys work, some don't work at all, others cause strange behavior like closing windows or randomly opening new ones.

windows keyIn past only a reboot seemed to fix the problem, but today I learned that hitting the 'Windows' key while on the remote host resets the keyboard and all goes to normal.

The credit goes to 'dshreve' answer on the Super User forum and of course Google for pointing me there. Wish I could upvote the answer but don't have enough points there for that. Thanks for saving my sanity 🙂

Windows 10 Disappearing Start Menu Mystery

by @ 12:34 pm
Filed under: microsoft — Tags:

I have Windows 10 Pro Technical Review installed on a virtual machine at work and all was going swimmingly until the updates came along a while back and pushed it to Build 9926.

windows 10

That was the end of the Start menu, it just vanished. I made a bunch settings and config changes as advised by various forum posts, including some from Microsoft employees, and rebooted countless times but no dice. Clicking on the Start menu was as useless as doing so on Windows 8.

Eventually I decided to run Windows Update manually (wuapp.exe) to see if any new updates would fix the issue, but every time I ran the command I was greeted with the dreaded error message: This app can't be activated by the built-in administrator. Yes, I log in as the Administrator on that machine, and why the almighty account can't run an application is beyond me.

Thankfully this article saved the day. After enabling the policy, User Account Control: Admin Approval Mode for the Built-in Administrator Account and a reboot, I was able to run Windows Update.

But as a side effect, the Start menu suddenly began working. Had this policy change fixed the problem or was it just a coincidence? Maybe if you have the same issue, you can try the same action and report back if it fixes the problem. Right now I'm too elated to have the Start menu back to undo the change and test the theory.

Klaatu-Barada-Nikto, The Original Ctrl-Alt-Del

by @ 2:58 pm
Filed under: computers,microsoft,space

The Day the Earth Stood StillI was watching the classic 1951 movie, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and found it amusing that the command Klaatu-Barada-Nikto given to the robot Gort by actress Patricia Neal, almost had the same effect as Ctrl-Alt-Del has on many computers today.

In that scene, the robot was on the verge of rampaging and destroying Earth when the actress was able to reset it by giving it the voice command, Klaatu-Barada-Nikto.

Wonder if Microsoft guys had seen that movie when they came up with the Ctrl-Alt-Del keyboard combination to reboot a computer.

Strangely, I had never heard of this movie nor the voice command which seems to have a high degree of cult fame, nor the actress Patricia Neal whom I found to be particularly beautiful.


Microsoft Wants 20,000 More But 18,000 Less

by @ 9:07 pm
Filed under: microsoft

windows-logoCan anyone speculate what Microsoft is doing these days? Never mind the lack of focus that is so obvious in their products and strategies, but apparently dementia has hit the core of the company as well.

It wasn't even 2 years ago that  Microsoft was throwing fits like a child to raise the H1B visa limits because it so desperately needed 20,000 more people. Fast-forward a few months and boat-loads of people are getting summarily fired because, well, they have 18,000 too many employees.

So which is it Microsoft, 20,000 vacant positions or 18,000 surplus positions? It's the new fuzzy logic by the company that has brought you the <sarcasm>amazing</sarcasm> Windows 8.

Outlook is Private - Really!

by @ 12:12 pm
Filed under: email,google,microsoft — Tags: ,

Logging into my Hotmail/Outlook account this morning I was greeted with this message touting the benefits of Outlook. They saved the best for last, claiming that "Outlook is private". Talk about false advertising.

outlook is private?


It was barely a week ago when news leaked that Microsoft had snooped on an employee's Hotmail account while investigating a hacking incident. And before that there were news of Hotmail snooping on inboxes on behalf of the NSA.

If you are going to make a false statement, at least wait for a period of time for the negative news to fade. Taking veiled pot-shots at Google for showing related advertising on Gmail is easy enough. But I'd much rather have a computer algorithm display related ads while reading emails, than have a forensic team at Microsoft read and analyze my emails or send them to some government agency to be collected and mined unconstitutionally. And then to have the gall to make the phony privacy-abiding statement in the face of their blatant disregard for privacy?

Windows Blue

by @ 10:23 am
Filed under: microsoft — Tags:

Speculation is running rampant that Windows Blue, the successor to the much hated Windows 8 will see the return of the Start button, as well as other improvements.

I'm still a happy XP user at home and at work I use Windows 7 which I equally like. Having seen the strangeness of Windows 8, I decided to skip it as I did with Vista when it was released.

Seems like Microsoft is getting it right (or wrong) with every other Windows release. If some of the classic and useful interfaces like Windows 7 are returned, Windows Blue may just be the platform for my next upgrade.

Google Powered by ASP.NET

by @ 10:01 am
Filed under: google,microsoft — Tags: ,

Ok, it's not goggle.com or one of the more well-known google sites but the site survey.googleratings.com is powered by Microsoft's IIS running ASP.NET. I only noticed this after I received an Adsense survey invitation with a link ending in .aspx. I wouldn't be surprised if the survey results are stored in an SQL Server database.

Google is the actual owner of googleratings.com, so one must assume the site is managed by a third party company, keeping the survey operations away from googleplex. I'm pretty certain any google developer who'd even consider using Microsoft products will be severely humiliated by his peers 🙂

Patents attack Android

by @ 2:29 pm
Filed under: financial,google,law,microsoft,technology — Tags: ,

I'm not naive to the point of believing that Google is all good and no evil, but in this case I side with Google.

What the big patent trolls like Oracle and Apple and Microsoft are doing by burying Android in lawsuits and threats is stifling innovation and taking away choice from consumers.

I'm all for protecting new ideas, but patents are no longer used in the way they were envisioned. They no longer protect ideas and innovation, but are used as weapons against anyone who can be leeched for money. And the leeches are typically not the original patent holders either, but sleazy patent trolls and patent mills.

Official Google Blog: When patents attack Android

Internet Explorer IQ

by @ 10:19 am
Filed under: google,microsoft,social,web — Tags:

Tying browser usage to intelligence makes as much sense as linking hair color to sleeping habits. No doubt someone will come up with that study at some point too.

So going by this study, a few years back 90% of the world was stupid and suddenly most people smartened up by switching away from IE.

And no, I'm not switching to Opera just because its users were shown to have higher IQ. I'll continue using Chrome and remain stupid.

Are Internet Explorer users dumb?

Microsoft's Fate and DEC

by @ 2:42 pm
Filed under: business,computers,microsoft — Tags: , , ,

In this thought-provoking article titled, "Will Microsoft Learn DEC's Lesson?", the author makes a great comparison between the current state of affairs at Microsoft and the once mighty DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) headed by the late Ken Olsen.

I don't know how old the author is and if he remembers the glory days of DEC, but I do. Fresh out of UCONN's Engineering school, I was hired by an industrial division of General Electric as a VAX/VMS programmer. My memory is sketchy, but I think the machine at the time was a VAX 8810. It was so big and complex that it needed another computer, a PDP-11 I believe, just to boot it. So many things could go wrong that a reboot was an exercise in anxiety and patience.

I was so enamored by this minibus-sized contraption that I went beyond my programming duties and learned quite a bit of system management skills on it. So when the VAX sysadmin left for another job, I was ready to slide into his position. Looking back, as a 24 year-old, I was a bit young for the task but I did alright. I kept the systems running pretty smoothly, meanwhile undertaking a few major upgrades. Before I finished my tenure, I had the giant VAX replaced with a smaller, more modern VAX (model 4000, I believe). Through it all I remember the big budgets and the large sums of money we spent with DEC. The company was a money-making machine back then.

I certainly owe a debt of gratitude to DEC for "booting" my professional career. I may not remember any VMS commands now, but my VAX/VMS years were the stepping stones in a long career that continues today.

DEC's demise came fast, pretty much starting with Compaq's acquisition. By then, despite Compaq's statements of support, VAX/VMS was becoming irrelevant, and therefore DEC was irrelevant. Altavista.com had been DEC's last attempt at innovation outside VAX/VMS. As ingenious as it was and as popular as it became for a short span of time, the likes of Yahoo, Lycos and Infospace quickly crowded and stifled it.

Unlike DEC which was tied to only one product (VAX/VMS), Microsoft operates varying businesses and is not afraid of trying new fields. The problem is that Microsoft is too tentative and unfocused. For example, I like their .NET platform, but any developer can see that it's fragmented into many different technologies and initiatives. It's impossible to keep up with them.

They promote C# for a while, then swing to VB, then come around to C++, and then off to F# and IronRuby and IronPython. And this is just for coding languages, never mind the scattered frameworks, technologies, and platforms. I have, more than one time, considered switching my company's web infrastructure from WISA (Windows/IIS/SQL Server/ASP.NET) to LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP), and I'm a big C#/CLR fan.

Anyways, if Microsoft does fall, it certainly won't be quick like DEC and it probably won't be only because of its fanatical devotion to Windows and MS Office. Challenges abound, but Microsoft is still relevant and can prevail. But first it may need to clear house, clear its head and then get back whatever it was it once had and then lost.

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