Category Archives: tech

Android email is working again!

Several weeks ago Sprint updated my Nexus S 4G to Jelly Bean, and my Exchange email/calendar/contacts have been dead since.  I didn’t realize how much I depended on having my calendar in my pocket!

I finally found this thread, and tried the simple steps in comment #78: enable autosync and recreate the account with the default setting of “push” until things start working.

Success!  Email and calendar are working!  (Still verifying contacts).

“Windows Media Center stopped working”

Netflix WMC

After a power outage, Windows Media Center (on Windows 7) started crashing whenever we would launch the Netflix plugin.

After trying many things, the answer turned out to be simply deleting the temporary Internet files in Internet Explorer.


Using the Dell Recovery Partition on an Inspiron 1520

when “Repair System” doesn’t show up on the advanced boot options menu

Vista repair

I was asked to put an Inspiron 1520 back to factory condition for resale, and there was a catch: no OS disk was available, and XP had been installed over the original Vista Home Premium, so there was no way to access the Recovery partition.  The good news was that the Recovery partition was there.

Big thanks to Dan Goodell and his instructions at !  By borrowing a Vista install DVD and following his careful instructions, I was able to access the Recovery Partition and expand the system image found there.

For my purposes, I had to add two extra steps:

  1. The imagex step writes all the necessary files to the main partition, but it doesn’t remove any personal data from that partition.  You need to use other utilities to wipe the partition first.
  2. After the rebuild, the machine wouldn’t boot to Vista.  But that just required booting with the Vista DVD again and letting it do a repair.


Getting wireless working on Dell D600 with Ubuntu

I was pleased at how easily Ubuntu 11.4 installed on my old Dell Latitude D600, but the wireless didn’t work immediately.

Thankfully, I just had to search for “firmware-b43-installer” in the Ubuntu Software Center, and that did it!  By the way, I had to reinstall it after letting the software upgrade tool upgrade me to 11.10.  The upgrade generated a bunch of errors, but it appears that they were all related to the wireless.


Adjusting screen brightness on Vostro 2510 with Windows 7

Upgrading our Vostro 2510 to Windows 7 was surprisingly painless.  It seemed to have good video, networking, and audio drivers from the start.

However, I couldn’t adjust the screen brightness with the special keys.  I tried looking for Dell Quickset for this hardware and OS combo, but no luck.

It turns out that installing the Vista video driver from Dell did the trick.  Now the screen brightness keys work!

Dropped calls behind Cisco 871

I’m testing a Polycom IP 321 with, and the calls kept dropping.  It was probably a consistent call duration, somewhere around a minute or 90 seconds.  We’re behind a Cisco 871 router.

I was about to start timing the calls and packet sniffing when I found this thread that suggests the command

no ip nat service sip udp port 5060

which apparently turns off some of the special NAT treatment for SIP traffic.  No more dropped calls!

Fix for “system icons grayed out in Windows 7”

A week ago, my power, network, and volume icons disappeared from the tray area of Windows 7.  When I chose “Customize notification icons” and then “Turn system icons on or off”, the choices were grayed out like the image to the left.

I tried the Group Policy and registry solutions that I found online, but with no success.

Here’s how I finally fixed it:

  1. Run a Command Prompt as administrator, then “sfc /scannow”
  2. Find the sfc log file at C:\Windows\Logs\CBS\CBS.log and search it for “cannot repair”.

I discovered that 6 .dll files from C:\Windows\system32 were messed up.  I found a nice explanation here as to how to extract the files from the Windows 7 installation DVD using 7-Zip, which I already like for other zipping and unzipping tasks.

Unfortunately, you can’t just copy the files into C:\Windows\system32.  Here’s what I had to do to replace the .dll files:

  1. Extract the files from the installation DVD into a local folder, such as c:\extracted-files
  2. Boot the installation DVD, choose to repair Windows, and get to a Command Prompt
  3. Use the command line to copy the .dll files from c:\extracted-files to c:\windows\system32
  4. Reboot

That did it!  I don’t know how the files were corrupted, but replacing them got the system icons back.

Error hosting facebook app on 1and1

facebook error

I was creating a facebook app and trying to host the canvas URL on my 1and1 hosting account.  Even though I could browse directly to the index.html and it would render fine, I would get an error when trying to browse to it via

“Method Not Allowed.  The requested method POST is not allowed for the URL …”

Although I have not encountered this problem on other web hosts, it appears that 1and1’s web server is set up a little differently.  When you browse to the canvas page via, facebook sends some POST variables to your site.  1and1 doesn’t allow an html file to render when POST variables are sent.

A simple workaround is to rename your index.html to index.php. That makes 1and1 think that the POST variables are expected.

Media Center Ordeal (part 2)

Zap2ItOr, “When Zap2It Disappoints”.

I’ve been frustrated by Windows 7 Media Center not finding listings for the broadcast stations in my zip code.  I have an antenna and Comcast cable, and would like to be able to record from both.  When I program Media Center with my zip code, the broadcast listings show 3 channels (out of approximately 40).

A friend told me that he switched over to Indianapolis’ zip code and was able to get broadcast listings.  I tried that, but then my cable company wasn’t offered.  And it takes at least 10 minutes to switch zip codes and see what happens.

I finally realized that I could go to (the provider of TV listings to Microsoft), try different zip codes, and try to find one that has broadcast and Comcast listings.  I found the zip code map at and tried 46060 first.  It works!  I finally have listings for all of the channels that I care about.

DotNetNuke Active Directory Login Error

DotNetNukeThanks to some people on the DNN Forums, I discovered that the Windows login error “Login Failed. Please remember that passwords are case sensitive” can also mean “you typed your Windows password correctly, but it’s shorter than the DNN default minimum password length of 7”.

The situation was confusing, because some people could log in with their Windows credentials, but others couldn’t.

Either ask your user to change their password to something at least 7 characters long (which is obviously the right way to go), or change the default minimum password length in web.config.  The parameter there is “minRequiredPasswordLength”.