New tech Book by a Former Dayton Native and Friend

Windows Performance Analysis Field Guide is available on Amazon for pre-order right now.

Root your Asus HD7 Now

I couldn't find complete, straight-forward instructions for rooting my new Asus tablet, so I wrote this article.

Excellent Instructions for Using a Raspberry Pi as a Web Kiosk

I wrote this article as a result of not being able to find clear instructions on who to lock down a web kiosk I built with a Raspberry Pi computer. Learn from my Experience.

ICVerify: All your Woes Easily Solved

This is an explaination of how I cured myself of the ICVerify blues.

10 Must Know Topics for Using PowerPoint as Digital Signage

Learn from my years of usng PowerPoint as Inexpensive Digital Signage. Must Know Topics!

ICVerify “Cannot Start Program” error and Set File

Tutorial on fixing Cannot Start Program Error in ICVerify 4.

5/4/11

Autorun.inf is useless in Windows XP, Vista, and 7

This is a note to USB Developers: It appears that the autorun.inf file is useless in computers running Win XP SP3 or higher. Recent Microsoft updates have kept the autoplay feature, but disabled the autorun feature in XP SP3 and Vista. It is also set this way by default in Windows 7.

If the user is motivated to do so, there are work-arounds. However, promotional USB developers must keep this in mind as a statistically large portion of users will no longer be able to use their USB drives as effectively.

I am putting this here so that it may save you time trying to find a solution when this happens to you.

I will also update this blog if I find a valid solution other than ensuring the root directory of your USB only contains a file that say CLICKME.

Hope this helps.

If you aren’t reading this at Priceless Geek, you should be.

 

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ICVerify and Windows 7

I had intended to put this topic on my previous ICVerify post, but I felt it needed its own entry.

Getting ICVerify (I was using v4) to work on Windows 7 is pretty simple.

When I first installed it, the program would fatal error when the program called the receipt printer.

However, the solution is NOT reinstalling.

  • Just go into the folder where ICverify.exe resides and Right click on ICVerify.exe.
  • Go to properties
  • Go to the Compatibility tab
  • Check “Run this program compatibility mode for:” Windows XP SP3
  • Also, check “Run this program as administrator.”

From there everything should cooperate.

 

Another user is already logged on Error 

If ICVerify crashes and you cannot log back in because you get an error message stating that the user name you are loggin in as is already loged in, don’t panic. This is also an easy, quick fix.

  • Open the ICVerify User Manager. Log in.
  • Go to the Log On Tab
  • Select the option that is not User manager from the drop down box.
  • You should see your user ID showing as logged in.
  • Select that line, then click the log out button.

You should now be able to log back in.

Hope that helps. Do you have any tips or tricks for this program you would like to share? Please comment if so.

If you aren’t reading this at Priceless Geek, you should be.

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5/3/11

ICVerify “Cannot Start Program” error & Set File

I had the pleasure of working with ICVerify 4 again the other day.  This time I had a machine on which I was getting an error that went Something like “Cannot start program to due to an error.”

If you have dealt with this program, then you know it is easier to uninstall and reinstall than to try and troubleshoot it. That is the path on which I journeyed. It failed to take me home.

After some frustrating time spent on it, I discovered the uninstall features did not remove the hook into the SQL database. Once I deleted the reference on the SQL Server, I was able to run the program without incident.

Also, if you did not know this, you can export the ICVERIFY.SET file from a working installation and copy it over to your new installation. You just have to open the ICVerify setup program and export it from there. It takes two seconds and can save you some time if you are manually setting up your configuration.

What are some of your experiences and/or tips with this program?

If you aren’t reading this at Priceless Geek you should be.

 

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4/21/11

Inexpensive Digital Signage with PowerPoint 2010

Note: After reading this article, you may want to also read the follow-up article here.

Have you wanted to setup fancy digital signage like that in banks, airports and hotels, but don’t have the budget?
Well, you aren’t out of luck. If you have a slim LCD (or LED) TV with a HDMI port and a computer with PowerPoint 2010 you can setup some decent digital signage.
Step 1: The Hardware:
  • Slim LCD TV (I prefer 1080p models)
  • A PC with a bare minimum of
    • a 2.0Ghz processor
    • 2GB Memory (More is Better)
    • I’m a Microsoft guy so I prefer Windows, but the premise is the same with an Apple
    • PowerPoint 2010 (or Apple Keynote)
  • A VGA to HDMI Upconverter
  • and a HDMI over Cat5 Extender (if TV will be located away from TV)
The setup is pretty simple your slide show software goes on your PC. The VGA output from the computer goes to the VGA to HDMI Upconverter. The HDMI port on the Upconverter goes to the HDMI port of the Cat5 extender. The other box of the Cat5 Extender has an HDMI port that goes to the back of the TV. Run two Cat 5 Cables from your computer location to where your TV is located. Make sure you mark the cables. Port 1 on the host unit must go to port 1 on the receiving unit. Plug in the Cat5 cables to the the Cat5 extender ports respectively.
You can setup the TV as your primary monitor or an extended desktop. I recommend an extended desktop (means you’ll need an extra monitor), since you will not be able to see what you are doing on the computer with the TV located far away. If you don’t want to bother with an extra monitor, make sure you dial in all your PowerPoint settings before you install everything.
You should now have a display on your TV from your computer. Make sure you crank up the screen resolution to 1080x1920 to get the maximum screen real estate. Now, on to the presentation.
The Slideshow:
Be creative. Just remember to set your page settings to 16:9 ratio an to loop your slideshow endlessly.
If you are using PowerPoint, I recommend the following plugins to maximize your presentation capabilities:
  • LiveWeb – Updates embedded websites every time the slideshow loops.
  • LiveImage – Updates linked images every time the slideshow loops.
  • Update Links – Updates linked items every time the slideshow loops.
  • Find more at skp.mvps.org.
I also found that MPEG4 in PowerPoint seem to have a memory leak that will crash your presentation after a day or so.
Conclusion:
That is really it. It only costs approximately 300 dollars if you already have PowerPoint, a compatible TV, and the computer. I had to get the TV and PowerPoint for my project, but it still only cost about $2000. That is a big change from say TightRope which would be about $6000 for a single display installation.
I did get to demo TightRope. The setup we just discussed above is no replacement for TightRope. It is an excellent professional product with extremely more features and functions than PowerPoint.
I also looked at SCALA, but it seems overly complex for what I wanted to do. It is extremely versatile and would be excellent for complex multimedia displays. I am intending to just give a small business the opportunity to display digital signage at a reasonable cost.
PowerPoint will run for months without issue as long as you configure the computer properly (aka disable anything unnecessary). 
Consumer grade TV’s will also work fine as long as you don’t go super cheap and turn it off during non-business hours. I used a 60 inch Sharp Aquos LCD TV for my installation $1300 at Best Buy).
These are pictures on the display recessed into a wall. For perspectives sake, the wall is about 9 feet wide and 10 feet high. So it is a big, bright display. Here it is showing a hi-def picture that doesn’t identify the installation location.
2011-01-20 17.42.28
2011-01-21 22.21.29
Good luck with your efforts. Please comment or ask questions. I’ll be happy to answer.