February 2011 Archives

When I reported on 2010-05-03 that my Blogger blogs were all dormant, I remarked that the only blogs left standing were this first new one under Movable Type and the neglected but still-standing Orcmid’s Live Hideout.  Although my 2010-06-14 intention was to retire Orcmid’s Live Hideout at my leisure, I subsequently learned that Microsoft is abandoning Windows Live Spaces and I am forced to retire, convert, or otherwise preserve Orcmid’s Live Hideout elsewhere.  In preparing to migrate the blog, I learned that the option to download the blog is inadequate for Orcmid’s Live Hideout.

In case your Windows Live Spaces blog has not yet been closed or moved, here is some information about what you get by downloading the blog before you do anything else.

Downloading the Blog

The zipped-up download of the blog provides a single-page complete index that is valuable as a reference and a checklist.The downloaded blog arrives as a Zip file that can be expanded into a directory structure and navigated with a browser on your computer, much like the original blog on the web.

Although the downloaded blog does not preserve the Windows Live appearance, it is a workable static web of the blog content and can be the basis for producing a replica or simply keeping in backup.  If this is interesting you, consult the Download Details section, below, for how it is done.

I recommend downloading the blog because it preserves the textual content in case there is any subsequent misadventure.  It may also reveal some situations that, if they apply in your blog, will need to be addressed in a successful migration.

Finally, if you are going to attempt a selective migration as I will, there is a valuable result in the download: A single index.html file that provides a chronological index of the entire blog (left).

Limitations of the Download

Examining the download of Orcmid’s Live Hideout, I concluded that the download is inadequate on two counts: spam glut and missing images.

  1. There is an incredible amount of spam in the comments preserved in the download.  I hadn’t noticed these, but in the download they are seriously in your face:
       
    The downloaded blog articles contain all of the comment spam that was not so noticeable on the site itself.   
      
  2. Not all images are preserved.  Although there is a directory of images, not all of them are preserved.  I’m not sure why this is.  It may be because I uploaded the images to my Live Spaces separately and then included them in the blog post by reference.  Whatever the reason, images are missing for some of the posts:
       
    LiveHideout-2011-02-14-1530  

As part of any retention or migration, the spam will need to be cleaned away and the missing images will have to be found and preserved.

What Was Lost

Here’s the post as it appears on Orcmid’s Live Hideout where it is still online until March 2011 unless I delete it or convert it to WordPress before then:

LiveHideout-2011-02-14-1538

Download Details

The offer for a download is straightforward:

The upgrade offer appears on the blogs until closed or migrated to WordPress.  You can download now and take the other options any time before the blogs are automatically closed in March 2011.

Before the download is started, information about what is downloaded and what remains in Windows Live, along with later options to migrate, are explained.

The blog is packaged into a single Zip file and offered as a download to your computer:

F10xy62-2010-10-05-1539-LiveHideOutDownload

You will need to choose a place to store the file.  It’s useful to choose a more-descriptive name for the file while it is being saved locally.  For a recent Windows system, the Zip file will appear as a special sort of folder, LiveHideOut-space.zip in my case (showing after already having been saved once):

The downloaded space.zip package is recognized as a special folder on Windows.

The names of files for the blog pages and for the images (in their own folder) are inscrutable.   That is no problem if we extract the entire Zip into a regular folder using the right-click option menu:

F10xy64-2010-10-05-1723-LiveHideOutExtract

The Extraction request brings up a wizard for specifying what you want:

The Compressed Folder Extraction Wizard will provide the options necessary to make the blog work in a folder where you saved the Zip.

Specify a folder where you want the material to be extracted.  There will be many oddly-named files and an image folder, so it is best to name an empty or not-yet-created folder in a convenient location.  I chose a folder named LiveHideout in the same location (that is, next to) the downloaded Zip file:

Choose a fresh folder in a special location where you can review the individual files and also explore the blog on your computer using a browser.

At the end of the extraction, you can ask to view the folder with the extracted content:

Although you can examine the folder of extracted material using Windows Explorer, using the Extraction option to show the extracted files provides an interesting view.

Notice that there is an img subfolder, an index.html, and a style.css that is used for formatting.  If you double-click on the index.html file your browser will launch and present the folder as a little web site.

F10xy69-2010-10-05-1731-LiveHideOutExtract

It is necessary to have an extracted folder for the browser to be able to access and navigate the downloaded blog.  When you don’t need to view the blog, you can delete the folder that you used for the extracted files.  It can always be extracted again from the more-compact downloaded Zip file.

Tip: Using the browser and the index.html will help you match up the blog page as you know it to the cryptically-named file that carries its content.

[Aside: You might notice that I have used both Windows XP and Windows 7 to prepare these screen shots.  The newer ones are from Astraendo, now operating in stealth mode until I complete my backlog on the retirement of Scampo.]

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Advances in telephony seemed, to me, to lag the advances in wired networking.  At least at first, and particularly in our household experience. 

Cellular Pre-History

I recall land-line party lines, along with rotary dials of various kinds, ending with the Princess night-stand model and, for a time, the exotic rotary-dialing mispronounced “Erika phone” that worked on my landline until services went to mixed-rotary/pulse dialing or some other incompatibility intervened.

Push-button phones were more revolutionary for the telephone system than for the user, who had to deal with switch to all-numeric numbers and then the gross distortion of that concept, telephone numbers that were published as words that required a dial or a labeled touch-pad to figure out.

In this era, long distance service was also not usually flat-rate and there was a lot of reluctance to run up the telephone bill.  So I had not become what you would call a telephone person.  I harken back to the days when a long-distance call was cause for worried anticipation, almost as much as receiving a telegram had been in earlier times.

This is odd, in one sense, since when I was a freshman at Caltech in 1957, one of the students (who had a summer job with some part of the Bell System) knew about the coming of Electronic Switching Service (ESS) and how in-band control tones were used to access long-distance routing.  So while others were building what became known as Blue Boxes (or learning to whistle the proper frequencies into pay telephones with out-of-pattern numbers), I did not overcome my own risk-averse nature. 

1990 Era Just a (Cellular) Telephone

While I was still on dial-up, single-computer dial-up modem service (using the original form of MSN), I obtained my first cellular phone for a reason that now escapes me.  I had the idea that it would be useful for receiving (and perhaps making) emergency calls, but I didn’t think of it as satisfying any yearn for 24/7 connectivity.

It was just a phone.  The carrier was GTE and the bill was from some sort of green eyeshade era.  I usually had the phone turned off and I left it places.  My worst misadventure with the phone was when I left it in my car while it was in the shop and I couldn’t pick up the car until after returning from some business travel.  Somehow, my bill suddenly had lots of long-distance minutes to numbers in Mexico.  Fortunately, I was able to arrange removal of those charges from my bill.  I don’t know if the phone itself was missing (I think it was), but I closed the account and that ended my first adventures with cellular services.

2000 Era Nokia Communicators

75px-9000[1]My limited analysis of the cellular communications approach in the US led to believing in Europe’s GSM as the proper approach.  My interest turned, in 1999, to the Nokia Communicator 9000i.  When I retired from Xerox in December 1998, my colleagues collected a cash gift with the idea that I could buy two wireless walky-talkies.  I used it toward the purchase of a contract-free Nokia Communicator for developer purposes.  It had no SIM card, but was considerably less expensive than the over-$800 contract price from PacBell. 

In August 1999, the day we arrived ahead of the movers to begin our semi-retired life in the Puget Sound country of Washington State, our first stop was at the VoiceStream store in the Tukwila, Washington, Southcenter Mall.  I initiated a VoiceStream (now part of T-Mobile) contract and obtained a SIM card for the Communicator.  We obtained a Nokia 8290 for Vicki at the same time.  Of course, VoiceStream/T-Mobile did not provide their Internet connectivity in a way that was usable with the 9000.

The 9000i had a low-power Intel processor with GeoWorks, the DOS version of which I had used on my Heath-Zenith PC/XT clone ten years before.  I had found using early Windows versions as a shell and desktop for launching DOS applications far more convenient than GeoWorks and lost interest in it.  I was interested enough to download the Communicator software development kit and tools, but I didn’t go beyond that.

Although I took advantage of the Communicator’s synchronization with Microsoft Outlook, I found that my main interest was in simply sharing my contacts.  There were difficulties in maintaining synchronization and I did not go farther with the Communicator as a software or application platform.

One important characteristic of the 9000i was the infra-red adapter by which I could employ the Nokia Communicator as a modem for my 1998 Dell Inspiron 7000 (aka Compagno).  This became very handy at an AIIM Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, when my hotel’s telephone system went out of service.  I was able to access the Internet and e-mail via MSN dial-up service through the Communicator and the laptop infra-red port.

My second Nokia Communicator was an Italian-language Nokia 9110.  When in Italy for six weeks in 2000, I purchased the phone in Florence and used it the entire time we were in Livorno.  The use of prepaid additions to the Spazio Omnitel SIM was challenging because the operator instructions for adding Lire to the account were in Italian.  I had to hear the recording several times before I could figure out the keyboard sequence required for recharging the phone allowance.

The availability of the 9110 as a modem was also critical during that visit to Italy.  Internet connectivity via the carrier was terrible, but I could use the 9110 as a modem.  Fortunately, calling within the EU was inexpensive enough that I could call into a London dial-up connection to MSN and the Internet.  This allowed me to deal with a small crisis that required rapid analysis and reporting on a bug attributed to the ODMA Connection Manager that I supported.

The 9110 was not adapted to the GSM service used in North America, so the phone was reserved for visits to Italy.  It fell into disuse after Italy converted to the Euro.  I didn’t bother to see how to convert the SIM or whether the phone would continue to operate.

The Nokia 9210 Communicator was my third and last one, replacing the 9000i.  I bought it at a good price as the phone was being obsoleted by the pricey 9300.  The Outlook synchronization was better for a time, but I didn’t keep at it.  The 9210 was my standard phone on our family plan, using the original SIM that I acquired for the 9000i.  I lost the phone at some point in my 2008 attendance at the Microsoft Office Developer Conference in San Jose, California.  Fortunately, I tended to keep the phone turned off and both the phone and the SIM were password protected. 

Intermezzo: Mobile PC Feature Phone

Having lost the 9210, I needed a quick replacement.  I had the idea that a Windows Mobile phone would serve my need for Outlook synchronization more reliably and I obtained a T-Mobile Dash feature phone.  I held onto the Dash long past the contract requirement, expecting that smartphones would become more available and competitive.  I was waiting for something that appealed enough to overcome my reluctance to go for either an iPhone or an Android-based phone, especially at T-Mobile limited availability.

My happiness over synchronization of the Dash with Outlook was also brief.  An preparation for a trip to London, I had moved my Outlook 2003 data from my desktop PC to Outlook 2007 on my Tablet PC.   On bringing the data files back to Outlook 2003 on my desktop system, I discovered that the profile was no longer recognized by ActiveSync.  Unfortunately, I could not break the connection from the Dash side of the arrangement, because synchronization was required to eliminate the synchronization.  Stuck in that impasse, I waited for the day in which (1) I would end up repaving the phone anyhow as part of an OS upgrade or (2) I abandoned the Dash for a better solution.

2010 Phones as Ecosystem Appliances

In November 2010, I abandoned my record as a late-adopter stance and pre-ordered a Windows Phone 7 as my first smartphone.  I paid cash, which may have been a waste of money: I added a second Windows Phone 7 under two-year contract for Vicki, so I am basically contracted on the family plan service for the same period and I doubt that I will want to replace my HTC HD7 before that.

Meanwhile, as part of the Nokia-Microsoft agreement on Windows Phone 7, we are now told that the competitive battle is not among devices but ecosystems.  We’ll see how that goes.  I am more heartened by the situation than many of the commentaries I have been reading.

 

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The late decline of Scampo, my deteriorating desktop PC, was marked by a succession of near-death experiences.  These events all occurred at either start-up or shut-down.  Somehow, I was able to extend the operation of the machine well beyond good judgment allowed, operating it as a balky, exhaust-spewing clunker up to the last.  This is not my sense of how digital computers operate and I marvel that I got away with it.

Although I had managed to ensure that essential material was backed up, I was still endeavoring to systematically review everything on the system and have everything I needed for re-establishment on the new system at my pleasure.

The Black Screen of Death

[F110404] The most-frequent incident was this failure at start-up.  I also witnessed the shutdown ounterpart

After the first few times, I became comfortable with this dramatic announcement that a start-up had failed.  Near the end, this message might occur more than once.  Sometimes the system would simply restart without even getting to this point.  This is the black screen of death.  The system didn’t get far enough to blue-screen!

Other times, Windows start-up would freeze somewhere beyond this point and I would have to force the computer shut-down and manually restart.  This or other messages might recur, but typically, each subsequent restart attempt would go farther until I was completely operating in my logon account.

Or, How About a Blue Screen of Death?

[F110501] The only blue-screen that was seen while Scampo was in Intensive Care

This blue-screen shutdown came up once and was not seen again.  This may have been at the point my E-MU audio-dock was disconnected from the PC, although the adapter was still installed in the PC itself.  I would have removed the board and the associated drivers if this recurred, but it didn’t. 

And if That’s Not Serious Enough …

[F11xx11] The typical stumble immediately after successful login

Although retries would eventually achieve login, sometimes there would be an immediate relapse.  Usually, the result of sending an error report lead to no feedback or a generic feedback which listed the usual suspects.  Once there was advice about checking memory and my hard drive.  None considered that the symptoms might have been related to power management and the power supply, although I suspected those too.

Let Me Advise You

[F11xx13] Error Report for Suspected Memory Problem

I had seen this particular recommendation on one occasion when Scampo was new, so I have a version of the Windows Memory Diagnostic already.  I did not run it in this case, suspecting that this was yet-another morning-sickness near-death experience.  This particular problem did not recur.

The Never-Ending Pattern

Although the particular failure might be different, the pattern was always the same:

  1. First, power-up would not start, even if I leaned on the power button with my thumb.  The hard-drive indicator light near the power button would also be weak.  After a few tries, the power-up process would catch and the drive light would flicker brightly.
      
  2. Then there might be an immediate restart and I would see the start-up screen sequence repeating. 
      
  3. But before Windows startup could get me to the logon display, I might see a shutdown with the black screen of death (first image, above).
     
  4. Only once did (3) repeat in the same startup.  If anything happened logon, it was either a freeze or logon would proceed and then there could be a freeze or the one-time blue screen of death (also above).
      
  5. Ultimately, I would have a good logon into my Windows XP SP3 account and I could operate with the computer all day.  At this point, of course, my operations involved off-loading essential applications and then reviewing the system and securing the rest.  At any point after I had moved essential data to the Windows Home Server and essential operation to my Tablet PC, I could survive a catastrophic failure. 
      
  6. A few days over the course of this vigil, I worked for several hours cleaning up the computer and establishing alternative operations only to have shutdown not operate.  I had to resort to forcing shutdown with the power button a few times, and I was left wondering what the morning would bring.  The PC always came up again.
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This morning, it struck me how complacent I am that I have high-bandwidth broadband access almost everywhere I go, from the wired LAN in this Small-Office/Home-Office (SOHO) household, through the ADSL high-speed internet connection, over Wi-Fi and 3G, and in hotspot, transport, and hotel connectivity.  It is disturbing when the 3G can’t deliver or I find a terribly-sluggish Wi-Fi connection in a supermarket!

It wasn’t that long ago that connectivity was slow, hard to come by, and sometimes rather expensive.

1970 Stone-Age Beginnings

At the beginning of the home microcomputer era, now over 30 years ago, 300 baud modems with acoustic couplers were the norm.  (The baud designation related to the nature of the analog signal and was the same as the bit rate only at the beginning.)

1980 Bronze-Age Artifacts

The great 1980s advances for me were to 1200 and 2400 baud modems with Hayes command sets and direct connections to the household telephone circuit.  That provided regular connectivity by the time my main computers were Heathkit H89s and I had my first hard drive (5MB in a chassis that weighed 70 pounds).  What made that so tolerable, and exciting, was the abandonment of requirements for special telephone protective devices, the use of ordinary telephone circuits, and the fact that all communication was basically text and downloads/uploads were small.  This arrangement continued when I threw in my CP/M 80 towel and acquired a 1985-model Heath-Zenith PC/XT clone running MS-DOS and, ultimately, Windows 1.03 to 3.1, all on 8-bit hardware.

1990 Age of Iron and Steam

I’m unsure about the actual span of the 1990s move to integrated or PC-card modems that brought the phone line right to the computer.  I tended to be a late adopter of more-expensive connectivity arrangements.  But the prospect of 56k bps through various compression, handshake, and cooperative telco arrangements became the norm.  My first Intel Pentium systems all had built-in or add-in dial-up adapters.  There was a little confusion before dial-up adapters all converged on the common standard for that speed.  On reflection, that seems to have happened easier than the current situation with cellular phones and emergency communication systems.  Meanwhile, it was still all dial-up for me and the household.  We managed on-line time by having a second phone line that also served as a fax number.  I remember having to commit minor surgery at the pre-wired phone jacks in my Sunnyvale, California, townhome to have the single outlets provide dual-line connectivity everywhere.

I had acquired an Ethernet hub while still using dial-up connectivity to the Internet.  This was used simply to connect two desktop systems that I had, allowing sharing of a SCSI chain of Iomega drives, including an amazing 1GB Jaz drive.  (I’ve long since lost the ability to operate the Jaz drive.  I wonder if the Astraendo Windows 7 system might be able to use that old SCSI adapter?  What a thought.)

2000 Proto-Information Age Connectivity

Although low-end workgroup computing is almost synonymous with the introduction of Windows 3.1 in the early 90s, I did not entertain setting up a SOHO LAN until I was offered broad-band ADSL in a call from Qwest.

In 2001 we had moved into a home in West Seattle that was about 1.5 short city blocks from the local switching office. Not only was I offered broadband, but I was told that the best-qualified circuit to use was the old solid-copper POTS line into the house, not the late-addition second-line circuit that was also present. Smiling, I went for it.

There were three computers to connect in order to share the ADSL connection. That inspired the move to a wired LAN hubbed on a residential router/gateway to DSL. Thus began the official Centrale SOHO LAN.

As a side note, Wi-Fi was just being promoted as an alternative to wired LAN in households. I was having none of it at that time. All of the equipment being operated was pre-2000 vintage and there were no native Wi-Fi devices in the household.

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I had it in mind that when I am ready to bring up Astraendo after preserving everything I can off of Scampo, the first things I will do include:

  1. Taking photographs of screens that come up before I can do screen captures
  2. Following Windows 7 initial setup,
    • Complete Internet connection setup to work with my Workgroup LAN and residential router/gateway to the Internet
    • Connect to Windows Home Server and establish the WHS Connector (critical)
    • Install a HyperSnap-DX Screen Capture version appropriate for Windows 7 64-bit so I can do captures of additional configuration, software installations, and setup procedures.

I tend to think that the next essential utility is WinZip, installed in a way where the built-in support for Zip files as Windows Explorer folders is not defeated.  I just can’t remember why I give it such priority, even though it is one of my stock utilities.

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My illustrations comparable to tear-downs are not about hardware.  They are mainly about the installation of software and the discovery of idiosyncrasies and pit-falls that I have fallen into and that others can avoid.

The Bill Detwiler Tandy 100 Tear-Down lovingly presented on Tech Republic (registration possibly required) struck me as a demonstration of great product photography.  Not enough that I want to give a piece of hardware that much love, but enough that I would like similar efforts of mine to come reasonably close.

What’s marvelous for me is the cleanliness of the Tandy 100 at a time when everything was an experiment.  This product became a standard journalist carry-all that can claim its descendants in digital tablets, laptop computers, feature phones (including my personal series of Nokia Communicator phones) and smart phones.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2011 is the previous archive.

March 2011 is the next archive.

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