Autodesk licensing issues?

Are you having problems with your 3ds Max or other Autodesk license?  Need to change your serial number to a new one?  Does the program keep giving you a license error when you try to activate?
To reset your serial number so that the program asks you for a new one, start up regedit.  Look in HKLM\SOFWARE\Autodesk\[program name]\[version number] and you’ll see two keys, an “h_register” and l_register.”  If you delete both and restart your program, it will ask you for a new serial number.
If it still fails, look in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Autodesk\Software Licenses, and the *.dat file inside is your license file.  If you delete it or rename it to something safe (I would just add an underscore to the end), the program will restart the registration process without any erroneous information.  You might have to try this a couple times.

Dual-booting Windows and Leopard with Kalyway

(not for public use)

Here’s my plan:

  1. Windows partition (NTFS), about 40 GB or more
  2. Mac partition (HFS+), about 20 GB or more
  3. Data partition (preferably FAT32), the rest of the drive

The data partition is for all the documents and music and stuff, so it can be shared by both operating systems. The reason for using FAT32 is that Mac can read, but not write to NTFS partitions (unless you install MacFUSE with the NTFS-3G driver, remount your drives, and remember to always dismount your drives before you shutdown).

Alternatively, if you don’t want three partitions:

  1. Windows partition (NTFS) the rest of the drive
  2. Mac partition, about 20 GB or more

This is for one drive. If you have another hard drive that you can wipe and dedicate to Mac, you can completely skip partitioning and save some work.

  1. First, boot to the Ubuntu disc. When it starts, go to System → Administration → Disk Partition tool (or run gparted from a console).
  2. Decide on your plan of action. What the computer probably has right now is one large NTFS partition. Choose one of the plans listed above, or create your own if you want to boot more operating systems. Remember that you can only create four “primary” partitions. If you need more, you would have to create a “logical” partition (which counts as one primary partition) that can be further divided into smaller partitions. It is recommended that you always put operating systems on primary partitions.
  3. Partition the drive.
    1. Shrink the NTFS partition to make room for the other partitions. You must have plenty of free space on your hard drive for this.
    2. Depending on your plan, create one or more new partitions to take up the freed space. However, GParted cannot create HFS+ partitions that Mac uses. So, for the Mac partition, just create a partition that’s the right size and format it as FAT32 or anything else. Don’t try creating an HFS partition.
    3. Commit your changes.
    4. Exit GParted.
    5. (Optional. I think you can do without, but this is how I did it.) Start cfdisk. Go to Programs → Accessories → Terminal and run “cfdisk.” If cfdisk is not installed, run “sudo apt-get install cfdisk.”
    6. Cfdisk is a text-based program. The left and right arrow keys choose the actions at the bottom, and the up and down keys choose the listed partitions. What you want to do is manually set the identifier for the partition you made for Mac to “AF.”
  4. Reboot into the Mac DVD.
  5. This is Kalyway’s Leopard install DVD for great justice.
  6. Before you follow the wizard, start Disk Utility. Reformat the partition you made for Mac into an HFS+ partition. Don’t touch anything else.
  7. Now you can follow the wizard. Make sure that on the last screen, you click the “Customize…” button. Choose only the drivers that you need. The most important one is NVInject for your video card, and the standard one should work. Only choose other drivers if they match your motherboard’s stuff. In the KOOLSTUFF list, I recommend downloading Adium and things like that after you install Leopard.
  8. Install.
  9. Enjoy???
  10. When you boot your computer, it should now boot into the Darwin bootloader, which should let you choose which OS to boot to. Don’t ever use the partitioner in Windows again. It will change your boot so that it only boots to Windows. Making a backup of your MBR is not a bad idea.
  11. Download important things like Adium, VLC, and Firefox.
  12. In iTunes, if you’re sharing music, it might be a good idea to tell iTunes not to copy everything to your Music folder. Alternatively, you can get Songbird.
  13. If your video resolution is still bad (1024×768 or worse) and you can’t set it higher, that probably means you don’t have the right video drivers. This can be confirmed by looking in the System Profiler. Get the latest NVInject and install it.
  14. If you have no sound (e.g. music won’t play in iTunes), you might need the AppleHDA patcher and the corresponding Linux codec dump (there is a link to some on the AppleHDA patcher page).
  15. When stuck, look on the OSXProject Wiki’s Hardware Compatibility List for your motherboard.

Alternative instructions.

  1. Buy a Mac.
  2. Enjoy???

4 Ways to Disable Autoplay in Windows XP

Autoplay can helpfully automatically do things when you insert a disc, but it can get your computer rootkitted or just be plain annoying. If you want to turn it off, there are several ways of doing it.

  1. To disable autorun just temporarily, hold down the Shift key as you insert a CD.
  2. Go into Device Manager (Control Panel→System→Hardware→Device Manager), select your disc drive, go into its properties, and uncheck “Auto Insert Notification.”
  3. If the last step doesn’t work (you don’t see such a checkbox), try downloading Tweak UI, a useful tool from Microsoft for manipulating many Windows settings. In the disc drive settings (My Computer→Autoplay→Drives), uncheck the letters for which you do not want Autoplay on.
  4. If you don’t wish to download and install Tweak UI, you can use the Group Policy Editor on Windows XP Pro (this tool is slightly dangerous if used incorrectly).  Run “gpedit.msc” and navigate to the System templates folder (Computer Configuration→Administrative Templates→System) and open up the “Turn off Autoplay” template.  Change it from “Not Configured” to “Enabled,” which should turn off AutoPlay.

Playing ASS/SSA with Fontconfig in MPlayer on Windows

MPlayer has support for many file formats, most importantly Matroska (.mkv) containers which are common for watching anime. Often, subbers will use custom, nice-looking fonts that they embed into the Matroska containers. However, to use these fonts, MPlayer relies on Fontconfig. Without Fontconfig, MPlayer can’t use custom fonts.

First of all, you don’t have Fontconfig on your Windows system. You’ll need the Cygwin version of Fontconfig, that you can get through Cygwin’s installer. (I will omit the details in this write-up.)

The configuration files that come with Cygwin Fontconfig don’t work. You’ll have to edit /etc/fonts/font.conf and manually add your Windows font directory to the list.

Second of all, most MPlayer builds for Windows are not compiled with Fontconfig support. Short of compiling it yourself, you can find fresh builds that do have Fontconfig support at this binary build website.

Again, you might have to edit the fonts.conf in your mplayer/mplayer directory. You might have to run MPlayer from the directory that it’s in for it to work. If Fontconfig has a problem, MPlayer will only say something like “MPlayer interrupted by signal 11 in module: filter_video.” To confirm that Fontconfig is the problem, run MPlayer with Fontconfig off and see if it works.

Edit: The easiest way to get nice subtitle support is to use the actively developed CCCP Alternative MPlayer Build, that requires only a couple external DLLs (included).

HP dv6605 dv6000 XP drivers

I got a new HP dv6605 Pavilion laptop, but it came with Vista. I reimaged it with XP MCE from an older Pavilion onto it, only to find out that none of my drivers worked.

HP doesn’t provide XP drivers for this laptop – only Vista drivers. There are three main things that need drivers: the video card (nVidia GeForce Go 7150M), the chipset (nForce 650M), and wireless adapter (Broadcom something-or-other). I’ve got all but the wireless working so far (I’ll try that next).
For the video card, theoretically any new ForceWare driver release should work because nVidia uses a unified driver architecture (UDA), but the ForceWare installers are picky about which cards they’ll install for. I used the 156.65 drivers from laptopvideo2go.com. Newer drivers will probably work if you get modified INFs.

Edit:  Newer video card drivers don’t work, at least for me.  I tried a couple drivers from the 16x.xx series and it only made Windows unbootable.
The nForce chipset, which includes Ethernet and stuff, was trickier. Somebody reported limited success with using Vista drivers from HP in XP, but Ethernet didn’t work. I found out that nForce drivers from Acer worked for my HP laptop, including ethernet.

For sound, the Conexant HD Audio is the same as HP’s other models. I was able to go into Device Manager and install the driver by choosing to select for a list. The Conexant HD Audio driver was under “Sound … controllers,” “Conexant,” “Conexant HD Audio.” It was in the list probably because it was leftover from my last laptop. You can also try downloading the driver from HP’s website – try searching for the “dv6110us” model and getting drivers from there. The audio instantly worked after installing the driver.
When I tackle the Broadcom wireless, I’ll update this.

Edit: I got my wi-fi working using the Broadcom drivers from the Acer website mentioned above (link again). They’ll be named “Broadcom Wireless LAN Driver 4.100.15.7_Negative_Foxconn” when you install it. There’s an interesting side effect to these drivers: the light by the wi-fi switch will be orange when it is off, slowly blink blue and orange when it’s on but not connected, and rapidly blink when data is transmitted.

Explorer Thumbnails in the Registry

Windows Explorer will show thumbnails for certain file types when browsing a folder. The information for which file types to show a thumbnail for and what DLL to use is stored in the registry.

HKCR\ – shows a list of file extensions.  Underneath each file extension’s key may be another key called ShellEx that contains thumbnail information, although this is not always true.  For example, .png contains no ShellEx key, but still shows thumbnails in Explorer.
Underneath the ShellEx key should be another key named “{BB2E617C-0920-11d1-9A0B-00C04FC2D6C1}”, whose default value is another class ID (the long string of numbers surrounded by curly brackets).  That class ID points to something in HKCR\CLSID\{whatever}.  That key will contain a reference to the DLL used for thumbnails for that file type.

Alongside “{BB2E617C-0920-11d1-9A0B-00C04FC2D6C1}” may be another key called “{FFB699E0-306A-11d3-8BD1-00104B6F7516}”, which for me seems to be an nVidia key for something-or-another.

Fixing fork and sshd in cygwin

I decided to go crazy and arm my computer with all I needed to access everything from any Internet-connected computer, including stuff like VNC.  Naturally, I wanted this to be secure, both to prevent unauthorized access and to maintain my privacy.

I figured the best way to do it would be to set up a SSH server on my computer.  This way, I could not only login remotely but also tunnel ports securely through the Internet.  Because my computer runs Windows, I had installed Cygwin so I had have a Unix environment at my disposal.  (My Mac already has the Unix stuff on there, and it’s somewhat analagous to Cygwin).  I followed the easy instructions on how to setup sshd on Cygwin.

However, when I tried to login with “ssh localhost”, it kept giving me the error:

ssh_exchange_identification: Connection closed by remote host

A Google search showed me that several people had the same error, but they didn’t have the same problem as I did.

I looked in /var/log/sshd.log and saw stuff like:

sshd 3844 fork: child -1 – died waiting for longjmp before initialization, retry 0, exit code 0xC0000022, errno 11

for every time that I tried to connect.  Apparently, sshd couldn’t fork new processes.  This pointed to some internal errors.

Rebaseall didn’t help.  Neither did disabling Windows Firewall.  Nor did downgrading openssh.

However, cygcheck showed me the problem.

Running “cygcheck -s | less”, it gave me a warning about having multiple cygwin1.dll’s in my PATHs.

Google Desktop showed me I had no less than 4 copies cygwin1.dll on my computer that were all different versions and were in my PATH (where the system looks for executibles).  Bad, bad, bad.  I either deleted or replaced the other cygwin1.dlls.

Fixed.  Just make sure you only have one cygwin1.dll.

Windows Vista vs. Google Desktop

You want the cool sidebar and instant search features of Windows Vista, but you don’t want to put your computer through surgery to upgrade the OS?

Just install Google Desktop.  It’s that easy.  Google Desktop has its own sidebar that closely resembles Vista’s sidebar, and will index your files and do find-as-you-type searching.

I installed Google Desktop (GDS) on my desktop computer, and upgraded my laptop to Windows Vista.  The conclusion?  Windows Vista isn’t worth paying money for.

Searching

Desktop search is a hot feature.  The ability to instantly find what you were thinking for is a huge convenience.  Both Vista and GDS let me start a program just by typing the first few letters.  If I wanted to run Audacity, I could hit the Start Button (or Double-Ctrl in GDS) and type “AUD” and it would show Audacity.

Google Desktop is very extendable, with many plugins to index filetypes ranging from OpenDocument to Autodesk CAD files.  Microsoft’s search technology is extended in the same way by iFilters (even XP’s indexing service).

Sidebar

Both GDS and Vista have similar looking sidebars and cool alpha-transparency.  Here, I tend to find that Google has better gadgets than Vista, especially first-party gadgets.  The Google gadgets seemed more useful and had more options.  Since I use Google Calendar and GMail, those gadgets came in handy.  However, I had some problems with Google’s RSS reader, while Vista’s worked fine (although it requires you to set it up in IE7).

Bug – Compatibility issue with Internet Explorer and Autodesk VIZ 2007 registration

This bug affects Autodesk VIZ 2007 (and possibly its older-sibling 3ds max 8 ) during registration when Internet Explorer 7 Beta is installed on the system. After Autodesk VIZ 2007 installs, the first time the user runs it it will complain that it cannot find a file in C:\Documents and Settings\User\Local Settings\Temp\~RT65.tmp\. The file in question was RTEaseReAuthBeginReg.html, or possibly a similar file. This file exists in C:\Program Files\Autodesk\VIZ2007\WebDepot. After copying the file to the ~RT65.tmp directory, VIZ will have IE7 open the file repeatedly. Every time, the Information Bar appears about potentially unsafe ActiveX content. Opening the file repeatedly causes more and more tabs to open.

The best potential fix is to remove IE7, and use IE6 instead.