Sony Vaio VGN-AR41S Motion Eye Driver for Windows 7 64bit

This is the latest post for you guys who like me own a Sony Vaio VGN-AR41S and want to upgrade to Win 7. Its taken me a while, but quite by chance I’ve managed to find a driver that will work with the built in web cam – Sony call it a Motion Eye, but its really a Ricoh device.

I got this driver from the Sony Vaio VGN-AR51S driver pack, but I’ve put it up here for you to download. I’ve only tested this with 64Bit, but as far as I know it should work with 32bit well enough.

here is the link: http://cid-d53719d869fb8243.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Public/Camera%20Driver%20^5Ricoh^6%206^2209G%20-%206.1005.209.0^_logo.rar

What was wrong with Vista?

Windows 7 will be released any day now, so its a good time to reflect on exactly why Windows Vista was such a huge failure in the market place. I believe the following points pretty much some it up.

  1. The main reason why Vista failed was because it was the first OS by Microsoft to integrate hardware acceleration into the user interface. Typically running Vista meant having to upgrade hardware, the corporate world were simply not willing to roll out new hardware for no perceived value other than a flashy user interface. The actual visual effects were not typically usable, more of a novelty (need I mention the winkey tab effect). Win 7 however allows some level of interaction with the direct 3d interface, giving it purpose. Lets not forget that its nearly defacto for hardware to now have direct 3d processing capabilities, and the overall price of this capability has dropped considerably.
  2. Windows Vista added very little new value to the world of computing. Windows XP can do anything Windows Vista can. Some argue that Windows Vista is more secure, however Microsoft had at the time released XP Service Pack 3, which really evened out the scales. Win 7 might not do a whole lot more, but what it has done is added better support for multi core computing, added some useful user interface features, and really polished things up under the hood.
  3. Hardware manufacturers were slow to deliver drivers for Vista. For the first year of operation Vista was not widely supported, and mostly XP drivers did not work with Vista. Windows 7 in contrast does support Vista drivers.
  4. Vista got a terrible name quickly, and home users and gamers ran a mile. Microsoft marketed Windows Vista all over the place, they spent an enormous amount on bill board and tv campaigns and everyone was excited to rush out and get it. However the excitement quickly turned into frustration and anger. Gamers found their games ran slower (sometimes by as much as 30%) than on XP.  No matter how you look at it, What ever XP did, Vista took longer to do it. Most people felt cheated.
  5. Vista was the first OS to support DX10 gaming, however neither DX10 gaming was really advanced, nor the hardware to run DX10 games, meaning most people just ended up blaming Vista for this.
  6. Finally Vista just ended up becoming an embarrassment, even after service pack 1 was released, and hardware support improved, Vista never dropped the stigma attached with the name Vista. Microsoft ultimately took a word with no meaning to anyone “Vista” and turned it into one of those words that when you hear makes you feel sick in your stomach.

Windows 7 Dooms day posts and Win XP

This is just a short message to those of you compelled enough to write articles on why it’s a good idea to avoid Windows 7. Example

I’ll start off by saying the longer you’ve been in this game the less you see : Linux vs Windows vs Mac, and the more you start accepting that its likely all 3 will be around and each OS has its individual strengths and weaknesses. There should be enough Linux vs Windows vs Mac posts on the internet to full a public library, so I don’t see how contributing yet another page on the subject will help anyone. Our attention should be focused on getting these systems to talk to each other in a standardized way. I would say its even more crucial that we even more clearly define web standards, so web apps work without propriety technologies like Active-x.

So should Win 7 be avoided? From a technical point of view it would make sense to use the OS that is best for the job you need it for. If you’re happy with XP and it does everything you want it to do, then by all means continue using XP. If you, like me want to get the most out of my computer, and are not scared to try new things, and are excited about new technology then I don’t see any compelling reason why anyone would want to avoid Win 7, unless perhaps you’re running old hardware.

Windows 7 IS a better operating system than XP, and why wouldn’t it be. I won’t talk here about visual effects and crap, lets skip straight to the core. Win 7 loads devices and drivers in parallel. Windows 7 is optimized for multi core systems. Windows 7’s explorer.exe process has been revamped, and its coded better than anything Microsoft has ever released. I’ll also mention networking and file sharing has got a lot better. Loading drivers for devices in Win 7 is also a heck of a lot easier, if you’ve got compatible hardware, you’ll never have to fumble for the installation disk.

Lets be frank though Microsoft did release a dud operating system, called Windows Vista, and this has caused people to distrust MS. But lets get back to business and get on with things. Win 7 is worth any money you’ll spend on it, and its time to move on with the times.

How to enable hardware virtualization for a Sony Vaio VGN-AR41S?

I’ve written this post for those of you, who like Me, own a Sony Vaio VGN-AR41S, and want run Windows XP Mode in Windows 7, or want to enable the Hyper-V profile in Windows 2008 Server.

The problem:

Sony (who at this stage you might want to throttle) sell Sony Vaio Notebooks that have only the most basic of BIOS options. In the BIOS user interface there is NOTHING about hardware virtualization, and  when you buy the notebook its turned off. Although the hardware you’ve bought does support hardware assisted virtualization, Sony decided they would turn it off for you, and not give you an easy way to turn back on.

The good news:

You can manually edit the BIOS yourself to fix this issue. I did this today, after hours of crawling the web, I decided to write this post to save you the time.

The not so good news:

I’ll tell you exactly what to do step by step, but you’re going to need a bit of a strong stomach to pull this off. If you aren’t 100% sure on what to do, ask a friend who is more tech savvy than you to assist in this process.

So without further delay here you go:

STEP 1 – The plan

Here is a basic outline of the plan.

  1. Create a bootable Windows 98 USB stick
  2. Boot from this disk
  3. Run a program to extract the BIOS settings into a TXT file (with .sav extension)
  4. change 1 value in this text file ( I’ll tell you which)
  5. Run a program to save values in TXT file back to BIOS
  6. Reboot

Disclaimer: I will not be held liable for your actions should you decide to update your system using this method. I did my research, and eventually found a way that works. I present this info to you, and I suggest you read everything carefully before starting the process. Be aware that you stand a chance of not having a bootable computer should anything go wrong.

Step 2 – The boot disk (USB Stick)

This is perhaps the most difficult part of the whole process, but don’t worry here is a step by step guide. You will need a USB Stick (Flash)

  1. Click this link http://files.extremeoverclocking.com/file.php?f=197 and download and install HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool
  2. Get the Windows 98 system boot here http://files.extremeoverclocking.com/file.php?f=196
  3. Extract the Windows 98 System files to a local folder of your choice  [c language=”:win98sysfiles”][/c][/c]
  4. Start the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool and follow these instructions here: http://www.bay-wolf.com/usbmemstick.htm
  5. Once that’s done congrats, now we’re going to download this app : ftp://ftp.supermicro.com/utility/Phoenix_bios_utility/SYMCMOS.EXE
  6. Copy it to the USB Stick
  7. You need to also know your BIOS version, you can get this in the BIOS on the main page (just hit f2 when the system is booting). Either your BIOS version will be 1 of these : R0030J8 or R0032J8 depending on if you installed this update here from Sony.
  8. Reboot into Windows 98. If you need to, you might have to go into the BIOS using F2, and check if your boot sequence is correct, make sure you’re booting from the USB stick.
  9. Run this command: symcmos -v2 -lcmos.sav (You’ll see some quick writing on the screen)
  10. Unplug the USB Device and reboot back into Windows.
  11. In Windows – open up the file in notepad called CMOS.sav – it is located on the removable drive.
  12. Modify the register from 0000 to 0001 on the following place (dependent of the BIOS version)

R0030J8 =  register 027F
R0032J8 =  register 0282

13. Save the CMOS.sav file

14. Reboot back into Windows 98

15 execute this command:  symcmos -v2 -ucmos.sav

16.Cold Reboot the systeem and virtualization should be on.

More info can be found here: http://blog.steelooper.com/2009/07/enabling-virtualization-on-sony-vaio.html

PDA vs Netbook vs Smart Phone vs Laptop

This post is from my own personal experience, I don’t have unlimited funding for PC equipment, and I was investigating a solution that is practical for work outside of the typical office environment.

My need was simple: “I need a mobile computer, something I can carry around, take to a few meetings, and take some notes using MS Word, Excel. Have access to web while on the move. A nice to have would be the ability to take photos of board meeting notes.

I originally thought – “Great, I know what I need a PDA”. Yeah, till I saw the prices. PDA might be a great idea, but “Why should I pay through the nose for it!!!” After all its a smaller device than a laptop. PDA’s are not a new concept, surely the manufacturing costs should be cheap-ish. Why could I not find a really cheap budget PDA?

I then decided – “I know I’ll find a cheap netbook”. Netbooks are better priced than PDAs in terms of value for money / functionality. I did manage to find a few decent little netbooks, but I still was left wondering if perhaps the laptop / notebook wasn’t still better overall value for money.

Laptops were just a little bit more expensive, but they did provide the richest computing experience and even the cheaper laptops are starting to come out with 3GB’s of RAM, a semi decent display card, and ample HDD space.

So in the end I was left wondering if these bespoke little gadgets (PDAs and Netbooks) are perhaps not really a great solution for the average man on a budget. I weighed up all the pros and cons, and I’m now decided that a laptop is still the best overall solution to mobile computing.

Password Manager for Google Chrome.

Sorry to disappoint you if you clicked on this post, expecting to find a solution. It seems there just isn’t a really good password manager for Google Chrome, neither a free solution or a commercial option.

I really like Chrome its fast and light weight. But how could anyone seriously use it for day to day browsing? Google Chrome is similar to a fast sports bike. Great for Sunday drives around the track, but its not road worthy, and miserable in the rain. You’re going to miss a boot, and a hood.

Firefox is just a much more mature browser. It has a built in spell check, loads of skins and addons. Chrome might start up faster, might be able to run outrageous JS and AJAX, but at the end of the day I need more out of a browser than pure speed.

Google in all their brilliance might have revolutionized the browsing engine, but they’ve also failed critically to provide a truly usable product. With all their talk about open source, I wonder why they failed to release a developers SDK for Chrome? How are add-on vendors supposed to support this browser?

How to get SharePoint 2007 to run under Windows 7?

Ever wanted to know How to get SharePoint 2007 to run under Windows 7?, Well you’ve come to the right place.

This solution should work with both 32Bit and 64Bit versions, but you’ll be pleased to know its fully tested to work with Windows 7 64bit RTM.

Ok let’s get started.

You’ll need:

  • Your Original SharePoint 2007 with SP1 Install media. If you’ve got an MSDN subscription download the ISO and mount it.
  • SharePoint 2007 SP2 (either 32bit or 64Bit), can be found here (from Microsoft)
  • A setup helper application , located here
  • A database (I would go with SQL Server 2008, or get an express 64bit edition)
  • IIS Running

Overview:

To get SharePoint running on Windows 7 is not that difficult. We need to slipstream the original installation media with SP2 (because Win 7 won’t install prior versions). Then we’ll fire up the setup helper app, browse to the slipstreamed setup, select the setup.exe and it will now bypass the OS check. Once this is done we can install MOSS. After MOSS is installed, we will install a database. After this, we will run the SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard, provide the database instance, and MOSS should install nicely.

Step 1 : Mount your install media, or insert the DVD (remember this is MOSS with SP1) or for example (en_office_sharepoint_server_2007_standard_and_enterprise_edition_with_service_pack_1_x86_x64_dvd_x14-40187.iso)

Step 2: Copy the setup folder on the disk either the 32bit or 64bit folder to a local drive on your PC (for example: c:\MOSS2007)

Step 3: Download SharePoint 2007 SP2 can be found here (from Microsoft)

Step 4: Extract SP2 – and place extracted files in the updates folder of the copied original install media (for example c:\moss2007\updates)

This can be done… by doing this… (here is a 64bit example)

officeserver2007sp2-kb953334-x64-fullfile-en-us.exe /extract:c:\moss007\updates

or

officeserver2007sp2-kb953334-x64-fullfile-en-us.exe /extract

If you don’t provide a path, you’ll get prompted to browse for one.

Step 5: Turn windows features on, make sure you have all of the following enabled:

Capture

Step 6: Install SQL Server 2008 You decide on a version.

Step 7: Now the fun part… install MOSS using the setup helper application and it should go through without any problems at all….

Good luck – and have fun…..

And if you need more help just ask 🙂