Squaking First Bird

A new problem from the people at RM. When loading up Talking First Word, one of the laptops barfed with save file dialog boxes constantly popping up. This would happen straight away and not stop until you’d pressed ‘cancel’ a great deal of times.

After ‘repairing’ (I’m still convinced that it does nothing) Office XP, I was still getting no joy. I removed the ntuser.dat file but that killed some of the important (to RM) user settings.

However, this was only happening on one user (Pupil) on one laptop and I’d never seen it before, so on a hunch I trawled into the user profile, Application Settings\Talking First Word. Lo and behold, there was a .tmp file sitting there. One swift click of the ‘delete’ key, and the error didn’t appear again.

I’m guessing that the temporary file had some crap in it which was throwing RM Talking First Word’s silicon toys out of it’s virtual pram.

Ping Pong Pains

A strange error occurred on a machine today after I used AdAware to remove some spyware. On reboot, the Win98 machine which had the offending spyware suddenly started barfing errors. There was no DNS resolution in IE and when trying to run winipcfg to attempt to see what was going on a dialog box would appear:

Failed to initialize winsock

Quite a serious problem now. NetOp had already been disabled to prevent too many messages appearing. After a quick Google, I came across this message board which suggested it was indeed AdAware (I’m going right off that now). I tried the appropriate LavaSoft winsock fix but it didn’t spot any problems. I tried restoring various winsock files. Running the System File Checker. Reinstalling Windows 98 over the top (which was not a happy bunny in itself – I had to reboot 3 times at various points). I removed all the network devices and rebuilt them. And it still wasn’t working!

After banging my head against the monitor (I took the idea from a kid sitting next to me), I scoured the Internet finding various half-baked ideas until I grabbed “Error Message: Unable to Initialize Windows Sockets Interface” and “How To Remove and Reinstall Dial-up Networking and TCP/IP Files“. It took bloody ages to follow the steps through, and for some reason Windows 98 was missing wsock32n.dll in the cab files (which makes me wonder why it’s not there), but after reinstalling the nic (again), along with Dial-up Networking, everything seemed to relax into a state of calm once more.

Well, as close as it will get.

Now, to get rid of that spyware…

EIS – a pain in the eis

So the chap from EIS came into Ellington on Monday. Now around three quarters of the machines will no longer log on. The servers are all on their old IP address that were handed out by RM IfL and to cap it all off – the webmin on the vCDserver is not accessible via the browser, so it had to be pulled down from its home. ARGH!

So a simple job (it’s never simple), has suddenly become a mammoth undertaking trying to get the network back on-line in one afternoon. Russell’s miffed as he said everything was finally settling down after the upgrade to the network.

We’ve come to realise that the procedure for getting this machines going is boot from floppy disk – modify the msdos.sys file to support keys and safe mode with networking – reboot the machine – log in and access the Windows directory by double-clicking on a start menu folder and navigating to poledit – modifying the local settings to allow access to control panel – restart Windows Explorer – go to control panel – change the DNS settings – change the gateway – and check the ip address. Finally reboot the machine and check that it works.

So what’s the problem?

Viva Espania

One of my new projects at the moment is a Spanish Holiday website. I’ve been looking up domains, and think I might have found one (and damned if I’m publishing it here yet).

The site design has been quite fun. Fireworks’ ability to export slices is a feature that I had been meaning to try – and it does seem that the design of a website should initially be favoured in an application like Fireworks as opposed to jumping into HTML

The fun part is that it hadn’t got a ‘corporate’ edge that the last sites I have made. This one has bright colours and a script font. “Of course I want to go on holiday,” People will say. The trick is to get the wanting a holiday on my site.

So red, orange, black and white in abundance. Not only are they holiday colours, but also the Spanish flag which is a great bonus. It looks pretty. I think there’ll still be some basic PHPing to do in it. Well, I say basic. A simple task in PHP usually ends up being a mammoth project in my case.

I have a meeting with DB Barber to discuss holiday homes and the like, and hopefully as long as it isn’t overly complicated – I should have a reasonable working site.

With Salmestone, my homepage, this blog, and St. Joseph’s under my belt recently, I think that I should manage to impress as well as create a pretty solid site. Here’s hoping.

As an added bonus this week (amid the quagmire of tendering), Derek has been on the blower to tell me that he has set up the Heart/Toybox PHP database and it’s looking good. They’re playing around with the dummy data – so hopefully once it’s all running, I’ll have some happy customers and money for the b – a – b – y. I’m sure that Claire will find uses for it before I get the chance to spend it!

Assault of the dumbfounded

So here I am back at CCJ and everything is normal. There was a log in the technician book asking for a form to add Internet links to the school’s intranet. So I reinstalled Dreamweaver on the development machine (a loose term – it’s an Intel 500mhz with 64MB RAM).

Anyway, I sat down and completed my work eventually. It turns out and Dreamweaver MX 2004 and Windows 98 don’t like each other that much, so I had to reinstall MX v.6. I cursed writing the thing in ASP and was grateful that I had converted the new version to PHP. That still didn’t make it easier for me. I’ve avoided any ASP scripting this year, and only used VBScript for server-side administration on domains. For some reason, the insert record wizard doesn’t like to make it too easy to modify the action once it’s created. Once I had finished the form and discovered that I had missed a field out (I accidentally removed it), I had to start the page over for simplicity.

And what do I get when I say the work is done?
“So they can add links when they want to? That isn’t what I wanted.”


So I’ve had to jiggle to code. They can still add links, but there’s a stamp in the computer name list of the user, time and date that the link was added. At least then it can be traced.

They’ll have to like to like it or lump it for the time being.

Symantec AV

I played with Symantec AntiVirus, as the ex-employee from Symantec said that the commercial version of AV (Dr. Norton’s) had a cruder version of the AV engine compared to the corporate version.

All I will say about it so far is UNINSTALL NORTON FIRST! After a botched install, and some services playing up, I finally managed to uninstall Norton, reboot, and reinstall SAV.

Well, that’s another one for the learning pot.