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Video Conferencing and Screen Sharing – easy and seamless September 20, 2017

Posted by Steven in In-Media.
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I’ve recently had the opportunity to meet some talented developers from the distinguished city of Nuremberg. It was inspiring to learn how they specialized on certain skills and how distributed teams work together seamlessly.

I generally observe that freelance developers and smaller companies can tap into new and innovative tools much quicker than large companies (partly of course due to regulatory reasons applied to large institutions).

Appearin Illustration Banner

For easy stand-up-meetings and to pull distributed teams together they used “appear.in“.

Their tag-line says it quite well: appear.in  –  one click video conversations. But it can do even more. It can share your screen and it works nicely on an Android device or on an iPhone. I tried it out and I was surprised how easy, hassle free and quick it is.

Essentially you:

  • go to their site: https://appear.in
  • pick a name for your room (any kind of name – I know there may be Security concerns for confidential meetings but for quick team huddles it is really nice)
  • and a second later you’re in your meeting room (which seems to use a nice web standard front-end / no flash or plugins needed)
  • you can invite others and start chatting
  • there is easy text chat and screen sharing capabilities as well
  • and as far as I can see: it’s free!

 

And to cater just a little bit for the fine print: they seem to be based on Norway and their terms of service states that they don’t store any transcripts or call content on their servers. Also they have a nice blog and seem to be a cool bunch of people :) go say hi.

go try it out and let me know what you think in comments.

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Tame Gatekeeper in OS X 10.9 – macOS Mavericks December 27, 2016

Posted by Steven in Software.
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Apple set up Gatekeeper as one of the prime methods to protect users from malicious software. It’s basically a security system integrated into macOS which checks executable software against a list of malicious stuff.

I recently noticed that in Apple’s latest desktop OS “Mavericks” (10.9) there is no Gatekeeper setting for allowing any kind of software to run on your Mac. You can find Gatekeeper settings in the “Preference” App under option “Security” in the “General”-Tab. There you are now limited to allow App-Downloads (just) from the Apple App Store; or from the Apple App Store and from verified Developers.

Previously there was a setting for ‘allow from – “Anywhere” ‘. This was useful to me in certain situations – basically during troubleshooting certain Apps.

Here is how you get this “Anywhere” Option back under Mavericks:

Open Terminal and enter this command (confirm with Admin Password):

sudo spctl --master-disable

And that’s it. The formerly available Option returns to your “Preferences” App.

Domain Name Server settings for times of need November 28, 2016

Posted by Steven in In-Media.
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Recently a large German telecom provider suffered some technical issues in its network. Several publications traced the issue back to an outage of the company’s DNS Servers. So in cases of need please find some information below how to configure your devices to use an alternative DNS Server.

The most commonly known alternative to the legacy telco servers is the google DNS server:

  • 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4
  • beware of privacy issues though

Secondly I came across the Chaos Computer Club which provides some information regarding open and privacy safe DNS Servers:

 

Mac: Use dropbox to sync documents and desktop folders September 23, 2016

Posted by Steven in Apps.
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With regards to yesterday’s post briefly touching on symlinks used to backup an iPhone to an external harddrive – I would like to provide another exciting use case for handy symbilic links on a Mac.

This article caught my eye:

http://www.zdnet.com/article/beyond-icloud-syncing-your-desktop-and-documents-between-macs-using-dropbox/

I really like dropbox. For me it is a quick and reliable way to synchronize  files between a Mac a PC and a smartphone. The general way how dropbox works on computers:

  • you download an app from dropbox.com
  • it sets up a folder “dropbox” and keeps the contents of this folder in sync with other machines and with  the cloud side of dropbox

For more fancy use cases it would be nice if you could pick several important folders outside of the dropbox folder to keep these files backed up or in sync as well.

Well using symbolic links you can do that! As the article neatly describes: The basic way is: create a symbolic link for example for your desktop  or documents folder. Then rename the original folder and go on syncing. However if more than one  Mac should sync the  documents folder for example it is important that in the first round of “Rippling the change across computers” one must  manually take care of the different files from different Macs all ending  up in one dropbox. The article describes all the details.

A simple symlinc command would be:

 

sudo rm -rf ~/Documents

ln -s ~/Dropbox/Documents ~/Documents

eventually the second command has to be “sudo”ed as well:
sudo ln -s ~/Dropbox/Documents ~/Documents

 

And please read the article:

http://www.zdnet.com/article/beyond-icloud-syncing-your-desktop-and-documents-between-macs-using-dropbox/

 

Update 1 / September: 

  • I’ve just tried the above method in order to sync the “Desktop” and “Documents” folder of a MacBook Pro Retina March 2015 model and a late 2013 iMac. The MacBook running OS X El Capitan (10.11) and the iMac running Yosemite (10.10)
  • The effort ultimately succeeded but I must admit it was a little more difficult than I originally expected
  • Here is what I have done in detail
    • First we had to set up an approriate dropbox account – we had to log into dropbox using the browser and then download dropbox for Mac
    • We ran the installer and confirmed the login in the dropbox software
    • After that I opened “Terminal” and typed in the commands – starting with the linking for the  “Documents” folder
      • So I ran the rm then had to type the admin password then ran the ln (also I repeated with sudo ln)
      • Visually in the finder I tried to inspect the results of these commands
      • I opened a new Finder window and jumped to the user’s folder. Then there was a Documents folder. But it was blue’ish with the icon (so it looked unchanged from a vanilla OS X installation) when I opened the documents folder I saw just one Link there which pointed to the correct folder in the Dropbox.
      • So that  was not what I wanted: It looked like the standard “Documents” folder (which the rm command tried to remove) was still there and there was a link inside of it. Strange because ln …. with  the target “~/Documents” should have created something in ~/ not below Documents
    • On the 10.11 MacBook it seemed to help if I did the following
      • make sure  you are in the user’s main user directory (that is usually the case when you open Terminal). Otherwise you can check using ls and cd commands
      • Then I repeated the commands but  given  I was already in the main user direcctory I modified them slightly:
      • sudo rm -rf Documents
        sudo ln -s ~/Dropbox/Documents Documents
      • That seemed to work (I checked after the first command and for the first time the documents folder on the mac really was completely gone)
    • I can’t fully describe it but the 10.10 iMac seemed to behave slightly different.
      • I tried to run the ‘slightly modified’ commands straight away in the iMac
      • But initially it would not work (I saw a documents link in  the documents folder again)
      • Then I used the original commands and then the new commands and it worked
      • hard to explain / maybe it was just a visual glitch (I checked too quickly in finder etc.) but my impression was, that I had to run the commands multiple times and then it would work
  • Closing remarks:   Phew in the end it worked and that was good!  (I read somewhere, that you could approach a syncing effort from the dropbox side: Go to your dropbox folder and place links to your Desktop inside your Dropbox) – this worked briefly but it’s more a backup solution. For keeping two Macs in sync this method is not so practical.
    So in the end I had a user on two Macs and the default Documents and Desktop folders were removed and replaced with symlinks to Dropbox-counterparts. The dropbox software was running and keept things really nicely up to date on both machines! I will keep a close eye on this and I hope it will enable a smooth and safe workflow for the user.

How to Back Up an iPhone or iOS device to an External Hard Drive via iTunes? September 21, 2016

Posted by Steven in Apple.
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The amount of data on my iPhone keeps growing and growing (I regularly use a 128GB model) – while my trusted old MacBook Air from 2011 keeps loosing and loosing free SSD storage space. Also in terms of strategies to backup an iPhone, for the general public there are two strategies:

  • You could either go with Apple’s iCloud service. The name is the game – it is a cloud based service which gives you all kinds of stuff, for example space for syncing your photos across your i-devices. And it also gives you a wireless, cloud based backup service.
    Basically the app user data and phone settings will be backed up to Apple’s servers. Apple gives you 5GB of free storage space and offers additional paid plans. Recently a new pricing was announced – and there is now a new top tier plan which provides 2TB of storage for $19.99 per month ($239,88 per year).
  • Or you could go with the traditional iTunes backup. Meaning you would hook up your iPhone with your PC or Mac (either via lightning cable or via Wi-Fi) and backup using the iTunes software. There are a couple of things to keep in mind when considering this method. Basically the backups will be stored locally on the respective PC or Mac (in kind-of the user library folder of iTunes – more details on folders later on). So you have to make sure there is enough space on the computer and if the computer breaks your backup is gone as well. One thing I regularly ran into: Your computer’s iTunes software has to be fairly up to date. Usually with iOS updates come updated versions of iTunes. So quickly powering up an old PC with lots of TB storage space usually involves downloading and installing iTunes updates.

I personally believe for my use case iCloud is to expensive (and in some scenaries too dependant on my internet speed at home). So my backup method of choice used to be the iTunes variant – until that time that my MacBook is running out of space.

So I was looking for a decent way to back up my iPhone 6s Plus to an external hard drive.

For Macs running iTunes there seems to be an elegant solution (I am not so familiar with symbolic links on Windows – however it seems that a similar solution  could work on Windows: Guide at TechinOurLife.)

My internet search surfaced this very useful guide: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3421834?tstart=0

  1. Pick an external hard drive and make sure there is enough space. Create a folder named “Backup” on your external drive. This can be done via Terminal with this command:
    1. "mkdir /Volumes/<ExternalDriveName>/Backup"
  2. Rename the local / standard iTunes backup folder on your Mac. Again the Terminal command:
    1. "mv ~/Library/Application\ 
      Support/MobileSync/Backup
       ~/Library/Application\ Support/MobileSync/Backup2"
    2. (this will keep the old local backups around – so make sure to clean this folder up if you need space / if you no longer need older backups)
  3. Create a symbolic link (these work well on OS X – I use them for a swift dropbox integration). This will look like the local iTunes Backup directory but it will point the computer to the external folder drive (specifically the folder we created in 1.). Again the Terminal command:
    1. "ln -s /Volumes/<EternalDriveName>/Backup 
      ~/Library/Application\ Support/MobileSync/"
  4. Launch iTunes and initiate the backup
  5. done

Please note: when the external disk is not connected the iTunes backup process will result in an error.

Playstation Vita Error C2-12828-1 Help April 2, 2016

Posted by Steven in Freetime, gadgets, The-Web.
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Always on the road I really enjoy a casual mobile gaming experience. Of course a tablet and a smartphone is great for gaming. But I do use a Nintendo 3ds and a Playstation Vita every now and then.

Recently though I ran into a strange issue while playing ‘Uncharted Golden Abyss’ on my Playstation Vita.

While using the game and occasionally while booting up the game I received a tough error and the game would crash.

The Error Code: C2-12828-1

Time to find a solution.

Unfortunately the official Playstation Support Site is not of much help. Really misleading it describes a NAT / networking / demilitarised zone issue: http://community.eu.playstation.com/t5/PS-Vita/Fixing-the-Error-c2-12828-1-issue-on-your-Vita/td-p/15328217
But I don’t believe this C2-12828-1 is a networking issue at all.

From my experience with the issue (very random occurrence, usually involving large chunks of data being loaded, game-brraking) I do not believe it is networking related at all.

I would rather side with the other sources I’ve found on gamefaqs and reddit and the like. There you read a lot of warnings that this bug might get worse over time and it might destroy download data and save data. As in my experience game crashes are mentioned and worse: random shutdowns of the whole system. From all these reports this seems to be a nasty memory/file system error. The Vita uses a proprietary file-system plus heavy encryption. Something along side of heavy use, constant Vita-standby-mode and quick switching between big games may case defects in memory which worsen over time due to read/write activity. Ultimately the whole partition gets damaged and a Vita showing this bug should not be used but rather should be ‘fixed’ quickly. So how could this bug be fixed?

Fix

Based on: http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/656455-madden-nfl-13/64026055
In short the only known fix is to backup the data of your Vita and then thoroughly wiping and rebuilding the console’s memory and then restoring.

Prerequisites for the fix:

  • Vita System and Data Cable
  • Sony Content Manager Assistant software for Windows or Mac
  • Free space on your PC/Mac (if you have a 16GB memory card the. At least 16GB free)
  • time and patience

 

Steps to fix C2-12828-1 :

  • Delete all games and apps you no longer need
  • Sync trophies / save-data with PSN server and do a full backup of your Vita using Content Manager Assistant. Basically hook up the Vita with a PC running Content Manager Assistant and copy over everything.
  • Remove any game card from the system.
  • Turn Vita off completely -> turn Vita on in SAFE MODE -> using Power button, PS button + R trigger to start it up.
  • At SAFE MODE screen select option (3) to Format Memory Card
  • Afterwards turn Vita on in SAFE MODE again, and select option (4) to Restore PS Vita System
  • Once again, get your Vita back to SAFE MODE and select option (2) to Rebuild Database
  • Turn your Vita on regularly and it should look fresh again. Icons everywhere. Don’t bother with changing any settings as the backup has it all; though you will have to re-arrange icons. At this point, go into Settings -> Format -> Format Memory Card (one last time).
  • Then get back to Settings and connect the Vita to your usual internet connection and sign in to your PSN so that it is authenticated.
  • Open Content Manager application on the Vita and Restore From Backup – connect to where your backup is stored.
  • After all is done, the icons are shufffled so get them re-arranged, make sure your time is set right using the internet

For some games the data was apparently so corrupted so it could not be restored. This happened for round about 5 out 30 games. I re-downloaded these games and downloaded save-data from PSN.

After all that was done, I was able to use my Playstation Vita as expected. The whole procedure especially re-downloading some larger games was cumbersome but in the end I seem to have a stable system now.

Titanium Backup – enable write access to external SD Card March 6, 2016

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Recently I’ve been trying a couple of Android devices. I used to focus on iOS but I become a little bit bored with it lately. The deep customisation options on (rooted) Android devices began to fascinate me again.

When I played around with a recent and quite good Samsung tablet I ran into a couple of issues with Titanium Backup and an external 128GB SD Card. By the way rooting of said Samsung tablet is easy and straight forward.

Namely when trying to back up a couple of applications to that external SD Card, Titanium Backup showed: “readonly” / “this folder is not writable”. That seemed strange as I had even formatted the SD Card in the freshly set up tablet.

Well after a quick google search here is the solution (you will need root access, a file manager and a text editor – I used http://www.estrongs.com/?lang=en )

  • navigate to : / system /etc/ permissions/platform.xml
  • finde the section “WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE”
  • inside that section add the following line:  <group gid=”media_rw” />

After a reboot of the device read and write SD Card access from within Titanium Backup worked fine.

Upgraded to OS X 10.10 Yosemite: Notification settings not being saved April 26, 2015

Posted by Steven in Apple, The-Web.
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Judging from several threads in various forums: quite a few people seem to have this issue.

I use various MacBooks. All of them had several iterations of OS X installed. Now I upgraded all of them to OS X 10.10 Yosemite.

Several people noticed: On the new system you can set preferences for notifications for example (i.e. not seeing banners for every Facebook notification). However these settings are not being retained when the machine is being rebooted.

Here are some reports of the issue:

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/6605975

https://discussions.apple.com/message/26851563#26851563

https://discussions.apple.com/message/26857242#26857242

https://discussions.apple.com/message/26863504#26863504

Fortunately very clever people found a solution for the issue. I am referring the wonderful site:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1803815

So here is the step by step solution for the issue:

  1. Open the Library folder in your Home folder.
  2. In the Library folder, open the Application Support folder.
  3. Locate the folder named NotificationCenter. Drag this folder to the desktop.
  4. Next, open the Terminal application.

    Copy and paste each line of these commands into the Terminal window, in order. Press return after each line:

    cd `getconf DARWIN_USER_DIR`
    rm -rf com.apple.notificationcenter
    killall usernoted; killall NotificationCenter

  5. Close the Terminal app.
  6. Restart your computer.
  7. The notification preference changes won’t stick until you restart a 2nd time after this.

This should be fixing the issue. Check for yourself if your Mac exhibits the issue and then let me know if the fix helps.

FYI: Free Service to review your ip Address for various services January 19, 2014

Posted by Steven in The-Web.
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Recently I reviewed a couple of VPN services. I must say those services – now in 2014 – seem mainly reasonably priced and improved dramatically in performance.

Also with tunnelblick (OS X, Linux) and OpenVPN (Windows) there are decent well supported front-ends for switching the VPN on and off.

Once you play around with VPN services you would like to know how you’re identified on the internet (hopefully it’s with the outbound servers of the VPN services). One interesting method to test this for the bit torrent part of the internet is this site:

http://www.checkmytorrentip.com/#

It pushes a test download file to you and after a few seconds it will show you the ip address the service found. It’s quite handy, free and elegantly done.

Gallery App from the CyanogenMod Team now available for Testing “GalleryNext” January 16, 2014

Posted by Steven in gadgets, Software.
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Gallery-Plus-Cyano-Icon01

Google is on an interesting path with its latest release of the Android operating system 4.4 “KitKat”. For example on the Nexus 5 Google went so far as to make the search app the default launcher. So Google’s closed source search is the part that defines how your icons look on a Nexus 5. Also Google+ is being pushed more and more. Not too long ago Google added a special little App to Android which offers dedicated access to the Google+ Gallery. It also seems that step by step this new app shall replace the default Android Gallery.

So to sum things up: rather generic features on an Android device (Launcher, Gallery) are slowly being replaced with “enhanced” Google services (Google Search, Google+ Photos). So if we follow Google’s arguments we get exciting new features and interesting cloud stuff at the expense of being 100% tied into the Google ecosystem. I am sure there is more to come and other features will be tied into Google’s services as well.

So for people who like the flexibility and openness of Android it may be time to look around for viable alternatives to the “Google way”. For example if you do not want to keep your pictures on Google+ and you are a big fan of yahoo’s flickr then other gallery apps may be better.

Recently I checked out CyanogenMod’s GalleryNext. A sleek little gallery app coming from the people bringing beautiful Android versions to older devices. I must say I like it. It’s lightweight, it integrates Facebook-, Flickr- and Dropbox-pictures (as well as the usual Picasa albums) and it basically has a similar look and feel as the former default Android gallery app.

If you would like to give the app a try – it is currently in a testing stage, so backup your stuff an follow these steps (outlined here https://plus.google.com/110558071969009568835/posts/KFiGREqst3P) :

Silverlight / AMD Catalyst Issue – Graphics device’s driver certificate is invalid 6036 January 4, 2014

Posted by Steven in Freetime, In-Media.
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Silverlight-Issues

Once again a story of woe. With regards to my secondary PC/entertainment setup I outlined here, that I had basically two important needs: I need to have a fitting picture for my Toshiba HDTV = needing a graphics driver to set underscanning / scaling to 0 and I need a perfect software/driver setup so I can instantly watch DVB-T television. Okay with my very specific setup between the “right” AMD Catalyst Driver and all the other software I have achieved these two needs.

Now slowly a third need emerged. Not quite as high priority but well. I recently tried out watchever.de and now I am trying lovefilm.de. Both are Video on Demand services extremely similar to netflix or hulu plus. Both services use a Silverlight player with heavy DRM measures.

And the basic issue now is: Something is wrong in the setup between Silverlight, my PC, the graphics driver or any other component that has a part in playing a video.

I have tried all the suggested steps to fixing faulty silverlight playback. A lot of websites are mentioning something like this:

Well none of these common techniques helped in my case. I must also mention in Watchever there was no specific error message. But fortunately in Lovefilm something was shown. It reads:

Title not available. System Exception: 6036 An Error has occurred.

Well that is at least something. If you read up on it.. Microsoft is clearly saying something is wrong on the DRM side. In fact the specific description of 6036 on Microsofts Dev Net reads:

Graphics device’s Driver Certificate is invalid.

Oh man. Other people say that the encrypted (HDCP) path between graphics card and Screen/HDTV is not valid or there is something wrong in that line of encryption. I quickly verified that my system is generally fully HDCP compliant by using the Cyberlink BD 3D Advisor. It’s a handy utility which checks pretty much everything related to Blu-Ray playback on your PC (and HDCP and driver stuff is an important part of it). Well no issue here on my PC.

So graphics driver.. I use the AMD Catalyst Package 12.10 for my Radeon HD 6800. Should be okay. Quick web search: I am not the only one having this issue. It really seems some messy dirty corner between the AMD driver and Silverlight. Somehow causing the Silverlight DRM stuff to thing there is something wrong and playback should not start. Absolutely horrible. I poked around tried some stuff (i.e. reinstalling Playready components and reinstalling Windows Media Player none of which helped!).

So for now the only Solution I found: uninstall the Catalyst Drivers for example with the build in installer or with the AMD Cleanup Utility. Once completely uninstalled restart your system and then open Lovefilm Netflix or whatever. Voila the Video plays with no issue. But: of course with no proper AMD driver (maybe Windows picked some generic driver or you are just seeing some sort of 800x resolution). Just for fun I tried a lot of Driver combinations Catalyst 11.5 – 13.3 but none of these would work for me.

So summary: If you have the 6036 issue – All the web seems to know right now is that it’s an issue. If you’re really desperate you can uninstall the driver and the Silverlight DRM videos will play. But with no proper graphics drivers this is not a permanent solution rather a quick fix.

Graphics Driver Woes January 2, 2014

Posted by Steven in Freetime, gadgets.
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I want to properly record my classic “PC” experiences over the last couple of hours.

I have a rather special entertainment setup in my other small city apartment. I use VLC and Windows Media Center on a mid-range Windows 7 PC hooked up to a good Bose soundsystem and a big simple HDTV. So quite coincidentally I was given an even bigger simple HDTV from my family. It happened to be a nice Toshiba -40inch L2 series screen.

This little upgrade meant, that for the first time I was able to hook everything up to the TV using HDMI connections.

And here the trouble started. When I simply plugged the HDMI cable into PC and HDTV I saw an image. So far so good. The PC set the correct resolution but on the HDTV the image did not fill the whole panel. About 2cm on each side of the panel were left black. This also resulted in text being muddy (I guess when the PC generated image is lets say 1920 pixel wide and somehow on the LCD Screen it gets shown only on like 1400 pixels wide things must get muddy).

I was really not satisfied with that and in good old Windows 3.1 manner I poked around and during that poking found out my graphics driver was not up to date. So I updated the AMD Catalyst driver package to the then latest version (13.9). The pure update itself however did not resolve the issue.

I googled around and I found this nice tipp. There it is mentioned that the Catalyst Control Center has dedicated Flat Screen options where you can scale the image and specify desired over / underscan. Indeed I was able to locate this setting and when set to 0% overscan and using the TV’s setting “picture size – native” (not movie or wide screen) then the picture seemed perfect!

HDTV Image scaling / AMD overscan problem solved. But it left me still wondering: who’s fault was it? Is it a strange setting embedded in AMDs graphics cards? Or set by AMDs software i.e. Catalyst Control Center? Or is it the Toshiba TV that somehow reports some strange data and the image gets somehow scaled? Mhh who knows but given my next experience I suspect AMD Software to be the culprit.

So with the one problem solved and with super new drivers installed all should have been well – but I noticed another very strange issue. Again a bit of back-story: In the PC I use a TV card for occasional TV viewing pleasure in Windows Media Center. The model I employ is a Terratec Cinergy PCIe Dual DVB-T Card. Up to now it always worked nicely and Terratec provides simple 32 and 64 bit drivers for Windows 7. In terms of other software I really just use Windows Media Center. It’s decent for quickly jumping into a TV show (with EPG data provided) and to record a movie etc.  So enough back-story. With this setup usually working flawlessly I now noticed, that each time when I open Windows Media Center and turn on live TV then the sound would come on (from the TV show) but there was no image. After about 30 seconds of Audio-Only Playback, the playback would stop completely. The ad-hoc “fix” for this strange issue is even stranger: I just needed to change the channel and then back for example and then there was image and sound for my TV programming. Given that this mid-range entertainment setup really doesn’t have to do much (boot up play a h.264 file, play a tv show, browse the web, shut down) I was disappointed but these new glitches.

I googled around again. Interestingly I found reports that people experience similar issues while just being upgraded to a super new NVIDIA graphics driver. So wait a minute.. didn’t I just update my AMD Catalyst driver? Oh man. So I quickly tried out the driver roll-back Device Manager function on my AMD Radeon HD 6800. And voila the Media Center TV stuff worked again flawlessly. But guess what happened: Windows rolled back to a Microsoft driver and there was no Catalyst Control Center anymore. Meaning: Toshiba’s LCD in combination with the Radeon card would do that nasty underscan thing again and my PC image is not filling the LCD properly again.

Not good.

So I spare you the next 2 hours of poking around. So what I basically needed was: some version of AMDs drivers and Catalyst Control Center where I could set the underscan / scaling to 0 – but the driver must not be so new that it shows the Media Center issue (or TV card driver combination what-not-issue).

My technique to achieve that in short was:

  • making sure that all new / old bits of AMDs software = AMDs CCC were removed from my PC
  • I used AMDs Cleanup Utility – which unlike the regular uninstallers and Windows functions I tried – seemed to fully remove AMDs stuff from my system. Sadly this tool seems no longer actively being supported by MAD. Oh well.
  • Then I installed version 12.10 of AMDs Catalyst package
  • And voila now I was able to disable underscan and I can comfortably watch TV again – weeehhhh what a hassle it’s been

So in short: just plugging in my AMD driven PC into my Toshiba LCD results in a stupid looking image. One needs to flip switches in AMDs software to make it work. However new AMD software breaks features along with my TV card / Windows Media Center. All this causes trouble and long long research sessions jumping from Windows resources to AMD resources to Terratec resources and so on. All that in the light of my really simple consumer goals (watch a bit of TV and use a bigger LCD). Horrible. And an absolute stellar example why I am really moving more towards Apple. This PC and driver stuff is so endlessly complex and even for simple tasks there are so many points where things can go wrong. Drivers, connections, updates and so many different manufacturers. Really bad. I like my Windows stuff but please dear AMD,,, dear PC industry get it together and put functioning well working parts that function as a whole out there!

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