Thursday, September 29, 2011

Install Visual Studio / .Net Framework (ERROR: 0x80070643)

tl;dr solution is at the bottom of the post

One of the classes I'm currently taking is Assembly, and since we are using IA-32, the professor requires Microsoft Visual Studio C++ Express Edition 2010. I installed it in my dual boot of W7, but I got frustrated having to switch to Windows, especially when another class of mine requires the GCC compiler, so I decided to try to install it on my VirtualBox Windows XP that I use for Netflix inside my Linux Mint.

I really wanted to just make the Visual Studio folder a Virtualbox Shared Folder and run off that, but Microsoft products hate trying to be run without first being installed, so it threw up several random errors. Then I tried to download and install legitimately, only to find that it returned another error "Setup could not install the following component: .NET Framework 4". Well what the hell. It doesn't really give me any explanation as to why it failed, only that it did. I know it probably created a log SOMEwhere, but I really didn't want to have to search around and figure out where.

Then I try to install the .NET 4 on its own, and it fails yet again with a "Fatal Error", only this time it gives me a link to a log, placed in a temp folder somewhere, where it had the error code: 0x80070643. This was a pretty ambiguous error code (as most of MS's codes are), in that Microsoft said that I probably had something wrong with the MSI service.

After verifying all of that, I saw that the log linked to yet another log (a log within a log, nice Microsoft) filled with a crap ton of stuff, and sifting through that, I finally found the golden ticket:

Product: Microsoft .NET Framework 4 Client Profile -- You must install the 32-bit Windows Imaging Component (WIC) before you run Setup. Please visit to install WIC, and then rerun Setup.

I don't understand how an Imaging Component has to do with a Framework, or why they couldn't just SAY that it was a prerequisite beforehand, but after downloading and installing the WIC, the .NET framework installed perfectly, and then Visual Studio installed as well.

tl;dr: If you are a googler ducker who came here, looking for why you can't install Visual Studio and/or the .NET framework, try installing the Windows Imaging Component first.


PS - After installing Visual Studio, it presented me with a dialog about needing to restart my computer, only the "Restart Later" box was greyed out. What the fuck, Microsoft.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

xkcd sucks

I originally wanted to write this post literally since this blog started, but I kept putting it off because I didn't think I could write it without absolutely raging against this guy. But if you haven't heard, xkcd has a hater. Not just a hater, the king of all haters. He decided that he hated it so much, he wanted -no, needed to create an entire blog around it, called xkcd sucks. I actually wrote out an e-mail to the guy several years ago, but never finished nor sent it. Here it is.

I've found your blog, and to be honest, it really kind of pissed me off. Now before you start shouting obscenities out me or post this e-mail as some kind of example on your blog, hear me out.

All growing up, I loved the Garfield comic strip. I have the first 20 or so books packed up in my closet, as well as the first three seasons of "Garfield and Friends" on DVD. But then a few years ago, I found several places that said that Jim Davis was a sellout. I was shocked. For a kid, comic strips are essentially the ultimate good, and I didn't want to believe that my most favorite cartoon character was just a way for the author to make money. But as time went on, I discovered that it was actually true. There's so much Garfield merchandise out there, I could create a house where every little item, from coffee mugs to lamp shades to slippers, had some form of Garfield on it. That didn't used to bug me, but then I saw an extremely rapid decline in the quality of Garfield comic strips, even in the colored Sunday strips. Nowadays, I cringe to read a Garfield strip just because of how shoddy and overdone it is. Most strips are actually regurgitated from a decade or so ago (I would know, I've read 20 years worth of strips at least 5 times), lazily thought out, and the dialogue is getting to the point where Jim (or whoever writes those strips nowadays) doesn't even include one word in a weeks worth of strips. Needless to say, my adoration for Garfield has fizzled out.

Why do I share that long, boring story? I dunno. Maybe because I'm tired, maybe because I'm hoping it will prove that I'm attempting to be rationale and not an xkcd zealot, maybe I'm just crazy. I prefer to hope it's the second option. The point I'm trying to say is, I know what it's like to see a comic sell out, especially one that you follow (possibly religiously) and have high regards for.

My question is this: do you really think that xkcd is bad enough (not as a webcomic, just bad enough) that it needs its own hate website? I only ask because I really don't see the harm in a webcomic that fails to meet every single person's expectations. You might say that it is like Garfield, but I really don't see it as the same thing. You might see it differently, and that's fine.

I suppose the point I'm dancing around is this: do you really think it's necessary to be so harsh on Randall? Again, I'm not an xkcd nerd, fanboy, or any of the like. To me, xkcd is just another one of the webcomics I get in my daily feedreader. I open it up, go down the list, and if xkcd has a new comic, I read it. And to be honest, it's funny. It is. xkcd has made me laugh numerous times. But I'm getting off topic.

The point is, to me, it's a comic. That's it. If it makes you laugh, great, read it. But if it doesn't does it really call for scrutiny? And intense scrutiny, at that? I'm not going to even pretend to claim that I've read every one of xkcd sucks' posts, mostly because (and I hope I can say that, since I haven't been outright offense yet in this letter, at least yet) the posts are always soaked with such hatred. I just have trouble finding that much hatred for a webcomic, to pick it apart to pieces.

I mean, really..

It's about as insightful or humorous as pointing out that Jewish children don't get to open a pile of presents today. Hey, what about TWINS born on Christmas Day? They must get double-shafted since they're sharing their birthday with Jesus AND their freakish sibling! Oh my God, I almost pissed myself from all the hilarity.

It's a comic.....comics aren't supposed to be this brilliant flow of words, logic, and "insight". It's supposed to make people chuckle. And if it doesn't, so what?

I really should not say more, but I will squeeze in a few biased statements. First, to the author, stop trying  so hard. It's obvious in every post that you write that you are digging through the comic, often pulling up red herrings and general slander to dramatize your views of the comic. I am honestly hoping that you are just a level 99 troll, otherwise, I would facepalm so hard, it would break through my skull and damage my brain. Secondly, to the readers, realize that this guy is a troll. He deliberately attacks Randall, as if by reading a comic strip that he happens to dislike, he obtains the ability to judge his character.

I could say so much more because there is just so much more with this blog that is stupid and retarded -not because I like xkcd, just that makes no sense and is merely there to try to shock whoever reads it. Almost every single argument he makes is flawed and/or incoherent, to the point that I could maybe a blog mocking every single blog post of his. But then I'm not going to spend my time and effort to make a hate blog for something as trivial as this; I'm just going to turn my back and walk away, because it isn't even worth my time. (You could learn a lesson, "Carl".)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fix Netflix "Error N8156-6013" in Virtualbox

Until Netflix decides to move away from retarded old Silverlight, we have to deal with their cryptic errors. One I've experienced a lot was "N8156-6013", which says something about the System Date and Time. But if you know for a fact that the date and time are right, there's a very, very easy fix over at Curiositatis Captivus.

Click through there, but for the sake of documentation (i.e., if the blog mentioned happened to go down), the fix is deleting this file:

C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\PlayReady\mspr.hds

That is all.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New headphones?

I am on the hunt for new headphones! I'm really not picky at all as long as they are (a) comfortable and (b) WORK. I prefer the standard 1/4" over USB and noise canceling is a huge plus, but other than that, I really don't care that much.

The only other thing that has come to my attention is that my headphones always tend to crack at the plastic on the sides. I think this might be because I often sit with one ear on, one ear off, so they get twisted a little bit, but I'd like to have some headphones that can take that minor abuse. Both my TekNMotion AND my Hesh have kind of reached their end of life cycle due to that very problem.

If I had more free time, I would do some shopping around, but alas, school is a harsh mistress.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Darksiders for $5!

I know I haven't been posting a lot recently, but I've had a lot going on recently....most of it has been college. But I am still subscribed to a [very awesome Reddit...uh thing] (Subreddit? do not know exactly how Reddit works) that lets me know when there's a Steam sale on a game. And today, that game is Darksiders.

I actually started a very lengthy blog post "review" about this game but have been unable to finish it (again, school), but if you want my short answer to if I like Darksiders: YES. Resounding yes. It's not the most original or thrilling game out there, but it is fun as hell. (Ha, pun.) And $5 is a steal.

If you don't have it already, I recommend getting it right now because it's a great game, and that way you can be ready, since Darksiders 2 is slated to come out soon...ish.

Onward, to Steam!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Switching from Dropbox

Goodbye Dropbox.
It's almost been a year since that fateful day I almost lost all my data. I quickly upgraded to Dropbox's 50GB plan after I recovered everything and have been wanting to change off of Dropbox for a good.....9 months? Here's the real reasons why:
  1. Hate the "one folder" thing.
    Because anyone who thinks that all of the data I want to back up can be contained within one folder is an idiot. I disliked it on Windows and I hate it on Linux.
  2. Dropbox is a major resource hog.
    Consistently, when I check my System Monitor, Dropbox will be eating up ~%30 of my CPU....for nothing. It's not uploading or downloading, I don't know what it's doing; add to that that it's always sitting at around 150MB of RAM. I don't know if any others will be any better.
  3. Dropbox's security and TOS are sketchy.
    Back then, I didn't know, but now -mostly thanks to TechSnap- I've learned that Dropbox's security design is flawed, and in a way that cannot simply be fixed; client-side encryption is a must.
  4. Dropbox is effing expensive.
    I paid $100 for $50. Of all the competitors I've looked at, that is the most expensive.

  • What Dropbox has
    • Linux, preferrably Windows as well
    • Constant syncing (i.e., not manual/scheduled)
    • Public Sharing
    • Reasonable maximum file size; > 10GB 
    • Functional Android app
  • Client-side encryption
  • Revision history, or at least undelete
  • Selective Sync (not "one folder")
  • Reasonable price

The Candidates.
I tried to look into every possibility (within reason) for a good sync and backup service that runs on Linux. From what I could find, here are some of the candidate, and what I saw was lacking, in order of most lacking to least.

(These are either from AlternativeTo or this Wiki article)
  • Pogoplug
    I don't know why AlternativeTo even listed this. Yeah, it technically is, but it's actually hardware, not software. If it's not software I can download and run on a desktop OS, it's not an alternative.
  • Sparkleshare
    • Terrible Documentation: I couldn't even find a solid list of features. But then it is an open-sourced Linux app, so I guess I'm not the target market. *coughNeckbeardscough*
  • Tonido
    • No Server-side: While this looks like a truly awesome service, it was missing a server-side backup, which is critical for me. I definitely love the idea and might end out using it in a different situation, just not ideal for this.
  • iFolder
    • No Server?: The documentation for this is pretty terrible. It's there, but it's just a bunch of PDFs that tell what it does. Well that's great if you've already decided you're going to use iFolder, but what if I'm not sure? Is there or is there not a server involved?
  • Minus
    • No paid: As far as I can tell, this is just a free service. Which is awesome, but I kind of need more than 10 gigs. Maybe I'll use this as a bonus?
  • TeamDrive
    • Price: Even though their website is a clusterfuck of different plans and products, it looks like increasing the storage to 50GB would cost around 425 USD. I guess this is more for businesses.
  • ZumoDrive
    • Bad encryption: According to the wiki, it has relative to Dropbox; i.e., no client-side.
    • No Auto-detect: I didn't look into it cause reason #1 was enough to forfeit its chance, but this is annoying to miss.
    • No Versioning: At least the square was blank anyway. Again: reason #1 was bad enough.
So that takes care of every service I took a look at. Mind you, this information could be downright wrong because I didn't take an in-depth look at all of them. As much as I want the best option, I don't have the time to analyze and DuckDuckGo 10 different sites. In this case, the websites mattered tremendously. Many of the ones lower on the list are there because the website/documentation are just horrendous.

The Bronze and Silver.
There were really only 3 that I ever considered. I separate them from the others because of what a definitive line there is between them and these 3 when it comes to what I'm looking for / what is comparable to Dropbox. Plus, I feel they need a bit more discussion on what I found fault with.

Ubuntu One
($89.97 for 60GB = $1.50/GB)

Ah, yes, the big-daddy of Linux's little baby.

The best part about this service, is that it fulfills a majority of my needs and is fairly cheap, yet modular. If I need to add 20GB, I can, and it only costs $30 more, always. Plus, I can addon things like Music Streaming if I find that I love it.

The worst part about this service is that it utterly fails at 3 of my "Want" list, the first 2 of which are extremely important:

  • Client-side encryption (No encryption, from what I can tell.)
  • Revision history, or at least undelete (Nope. It's an "upcoming feature" since January '11.)
  • Reasonable maximum file size; > 10GB  (It's only 5GB, which isn't terrible, but I'd like more wiggle room than that.)
One of the main safeties I have with Dropbox is knowing that -not only is my data safe in case of a computer crash- it's also safe in case I delete something on accident. That, mixed with the fact that there is no encryption, leads me to stay away from Ubuntu One, at least until they get that all sorted out. (Plus, I couldn't log in with their mobile app, so there's that too.)

($100 for 100GB = $1/GB)

I'd have to say this is the second biggest name when it comes to Linux syncing services.

The best part about this service is that feature set and reputation sounded good and from the list of the services, this one actually hit every nail on the head with nothing bad. Plus an outstanding deal! It's literally twice as cheap as Dropbox!

The worst part about this service is the god-awful client. Let me describe the problems I had:
  1. As I finish trying to create the account, a "server error" occurs and crashes the program. I don't know if my account is active or not, so I try to login, both on the client and on the website. No luck.
  2. I try to create my account again, only this time it says "Computer name already in use!" and crashes again. Well, I entered my Computer name after my password & hint, so I figured that it must have that too. I try to retrieve my password hint: it is not set.
  3. After attempting to login yet again on both the website and client, I try to create my account using another computer name. This time it works.
  4. Upon launching the SpiderOak client, I go to the "Backup" tab and try to select "Advanced". The client crashes.
  5. Repeat problem #4.
  6. I mess with some preferences, then try "Advanced" again, and this time it works. Only everything in the list is greyed out. It doesn't tell me why everything is greyed out. I don't know, I've used the program, so I have no clue what the hell is going on.
  7. After failing to find the source of the problem I check my e-mail, and see that I have to validate my account. Is that part of the solution, or what? If it is, why didn't they tell me?
    Anyway, I finally notice the "Network Health" bar is at low. I don't know why, Wuala was doing just fine. Maybe Wuala was using up too much bandwidth (even though I only had upload set to either 100kbps or 300kbps), but web browsing was doing just fine, so.......
  8. Now, as I'm writing this, I start SpiderOak and it starts scanning and starts immediately uploading crap that I never told it to. Apparently, I had "Documents" selected, even though the checkbox was unchecked. I had to switch to Basic to uncheck it.
  9. Even though I unchecked it, it's still syncing....SOMEthing, I don't know what. And everything is still greyed out. Apparently I cannot cancel, nor can I sync any folder I want.
  10. After reinstalling the client, it still says it's uploading something, god knows what.
  11. The web client at first showed that nothing was there, then that 2GB of stuff was there.
It's just....UGH. It's not even that SpiderOak is ugly or unintuitive (which it is, both), it just does not work. From account creation to actually running, I've already spent several hours just trying to get it set up. And they expect me to trust my data with this thing? No. Way. The features may be there, but not the implementation. (The mobile app is decent, even though there's no way to upload files from what I can tell.)

($79 for 50GB = $1.58/GB)
Well there's a new face to the party.

The best part about this service is that on top of having all of the features I want, I can trade local storage for more web storage. Since my computer is on alot and I receive 11% of whatever I give, I figure I can get a good 5 gigs or so, if I move my .wuala folder to my 1TB drive.
Oh, also, signup and setup was a breeze, the client is absolutely beautiful to deal with look at. I was so shocked. It even auto-detected the best settings for my upload/download caps.

The worst part about this service is that it runs off Java. One of the reasons I was moving away from Dropbox was that it was a resource hog, but a Java app isn't going to be much better. Like right now, running Wuala and Dropbox side by side, Wuala 20MB more memory.

The web interface is a little weird, in that it doesn't exist. Instead of viewing it in-browser, you just launch a Java app that is the client and you browser your files from there. It's an awesome idea, but it requires Java.

That's about it. To me, the choice is clear: Wuala. It's the only one that hits all the important features and does not perform like a piece of shit.

The only problem is that I can't really access my files from any computer because it needs Java. That is not a good thing. I'll think about it, since I have a month before my Dropbox expires.