Mostly about my amusement

Tag: Microsoft (page 1 of 1)

(Was) Microsoft Touch Mouse

For years I’ve been using the Logitech MX Revolution mouse and it’s gotten long in the tooth. The pointer would stutter, the mouse buttons wouldn’t click, the click would release at the worst time, etc.

I could read the signs and it was time for it to go.

I was leaning towards getting the Performance Mouse MX but I figured I’d give Microsoft a shot and picked up the Touch Mouse. Naturally I got the “artistic” version. Both versions are expensive.

The Touch Mouse is supposed to be the Microsoft version of the Magic Mouse. The materials are nowhere near Apple standards but it’s a good plastic attempt. The ergonomics are acceptable and it’s comfortable to use. I prefer to be able to rest my hand on the mouse and it’s just the right size.

There is just one little drawback. It really only has one physical button so mouse button combinations are not doable. When you want to right mouse click you need to lift your finger off of the left side and there is no middle button. This is not really a problem and I’ve been using the Apple Magic Mouse like this for a long time. By installing AutoHotkey I’ve already started making macros for Apple like mouse-keyboard combinations.

I’m bringing this up for one reason. In FPS games, I frequently press and hold down the right mouse button to zoom into my target while pressing the left button to fire. This is a good strategy while hiding behind cover.

. . .

Okay, that will take some getting used to. I’ve already mapped the right mouse button to the left control in one game and with a little practice I’ll be back to normal. It’s a good thing I haven’t purchased MW3 yet.

Update the very next day: I returned the Microsoft Touch Mouse to Best Buy and picked up the Performance Mouse MX. It’s on sale and the price now matches the Touch Mouse. It was the buttons or lack of buttons that made me do it; this is not a mouse for anyone who plays games.

SSL certs for free and not self signed?

I may have been under a rock lately. I saw on Reddit that Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 supported StartSSL certificates. So as a goof I signed up at and applied for a free server certificate.

I generated via their web page a certificate for, installed it on my apache server and started using it. Firefox complained that I’m not certified as I have not validated who I am. That’s reasonable and very X.509v3 of them.

Internet Explorer 8 used the SSL cert for my server without a single hiccup. Other than my WordPress mixes http and https on the same page, there were no complaints. Internet Explorer just used the SSL cert without any problems.

I use SSL certs for privacy and not for identity, so self-signed SSL  certs that I have generated are no big deal for me. But having a Microsoft browser not complain about my SSL web site is surreal.

Edit: Oh. Turns out you also need to follow these instructions too. I added SSLCertificateChainFile to my conf and on my other laptop Firefox does not complain at all now. Chrome works like a charm too.

How did I find out about my misconfiguration? Because I recieved this e-mail from StartSSL this morning:

This mail is intended for the person who owns a digital certificate issued by the StartSSL™ Certification Authority (

It seems, that the installation of your server certificate with serial number 45568 for is not complete! You should add the intermediate CA certificate to your installation. This is important, because most browsers will issue an error if this is not properly done. Please consult the installation instructions at on how to do that. The missing certificate can be obtained from

Best Regards

StartCom Ltd.
StartSSL™ Certification Authority

So after I applied for a cert, they reached out to check if I installed it correctly. For Free. How cool is that?

Installed Windows 7 RC

My Dell XPS720 has been locking up and staying dead for hours. The only thing that would bring it back was unplugging the PC from the power and wait till it forgave whatever offense I committed.

This week I backed up all the data on my PC onto my 1TB My Book and today I wiped out the PC and installed Windows 7 RC.

Just wiping and installing the OS from the burnt ISO image did not work. The Wndows 7 install DVD wanted to find a valid Microsoft OS on the PC before installing.

I had done this dance before so I did the following.

  1. Removed one bank of RAM to make my PC 2GB
  2. Began to install Windows XP MCE (it came with my PC)
  3. Aborted the installation during the file copy portion
  4. Booted up the Windows 7 DVD and installed a fresh copy
  5. Put back the 2nd bank of RAM to go back to 4 GB

What a pain in the ass. My next PC will come with Vista SP1 and a free Windows 7 when it’s released. Hopefully I will not have to go through so many hoops then.

I’m currently importing my 18,000+ photos into a fresh installation of PSE 7. I’ve installed Far Cry2 and the 1.03 patch (no DVD check!). Running Far Cry 2 lately cause my PC to crash and get become frozen for a couple of hours.

I’ll see if  Windows 7 on my PC is as unstable as my old Vista install was.

Vista is consumer crap

So I booted my PC today when I got home today. I had intended to check e-mail before running out.

The damn thing won’t boot.  I’m typing this on the kitchen laptop.  It says the registry file is corrupted and I should boot off of my Vista DVD and select the repair option.  Except my PC has 4 GB of RAM in it, and the DVD I have won’t boot. That particular image will only boot with 2 GB of RAM or less.

Tomorrow I’ll pop out the RAM, pop in the old 2 GB that I have laying around and fix my PC.  How could Microsoft release such a unsupportable mess?  This is why I need to have a dual boot option and install Ubuntu Linux.  If I had an issue with Linux, I could fix it in no time at all.


“James Bond never had to put up with this Vista sh&^”

My Vista 64 bit OS has been acting a little flaky for a long time.  The latest symptom was my DHCP client not working.  When Dell did the free motherboard swap upgrade, I was supposed to re-install the OS then.  But I procrastinated and just waited till the pain got bad.

My XPS 700720 came with Windows XP Media Center Edition. When the upgrade came out, I purchased it from Best Buy.  I sent in the $19 and received the Vista 64 bit version DVD in the mail. For months I’ve been using the Vista 64 bit version.

My plan was to do the following:

  1. Using vlite I slipstreamed a copy of Vista SP1 onto my upgrade.  That was time consuming but worked.
  2. Backup all my data onto my WD Mybook.  I’m going to regret saying this but 1 TB is HUGE and my data fit with no problems.
  3. Wipe out my existing drive.  My registry was foobar so that was a good idea.  I did not want to upgrade from one mess to another.
  4. Clean install off the Upgrade DVD.  Worked last time, all you have to do is remember to not install the product key.
  5. Upgrade the clean install.  Redundant, but my version is an upgrade.  If I did not do this then my Vista would not activate.

That was the plan. Except the DVD would not install software, no way no how.

The bootable DVD HATED my 4 GB of high performance RAM.  I kept getting the BSOD before I could install anything.  Now Vista running has no problem with my RAM upgrade.  But the installer on the upgrade DVD refused to do anything except BSOD.  Lucky I kept the old slow speed 2 GB or RAM so I was able to get past that problem.

The upgraded DVD did not like my drives.  It’s not exactly a clean install that it does.  The target drive has to be formatted and a WINDOWS directory, or something in the WINDOWS directory, needs to exist.  If it’s not then the installer will refuse to copy files onto your disk.

I had to insert step 3.5 into my plan. I was able to get around this by booting off of my Windows XP install DVD that came with my PC and began to install the old version onto my system.  I did not have to complete the install.  Once files started to be copied I rebooted with my Vista SP1 upgrade.  Then I was able to proceed as planned.

The one piece of unexpected good news is that the fresh upgrade install activated online successfully.  I  was sure I’d have to do the 1-800-NOT-EXTORTION-EXACTLY call to Microsoft just to activate my software.

This is just crazy

Microsoft might be good with apps (debatable) but their OS’s always requires a rebuild after a period of time.  It’s just how it is since the registry just collects garbage from adding and removing hardware and software.

If my PC came with Vista then in theory I should have had an easier time of it.  Just pop in the vendor supplied rebuild DVD and off you go.  In the past that’s always what I did.  With this Vista upgrade, I should be able to install cleanly without the tricks.

The fact that I have to install an upgrade on top of a clean install that I just did is bizarre.   It shows that either the clean install was a mistake on their part or they put it in because they knew this scenario would exist.

They should include and support this for their upgrade too. A little online documentation would have been helpful.

Installed Vista SP1

Vista SP1

This morning the 120 MB download for Vista Sp1 was available. The download was fast but the scary part is that the update eventually happened while my screen was totally off in power saving mode. That took more than 10 minutes.

That’ll cause some people to power off their boxes and cause no end of horror. I wonder if this breaks anything? So far for all of 10 minutes it’s working.