Author Archives: daniel

Sonos memory capacity

There’s an excellent chart on Reddit (and a slightly different one on Sonos’s forum) plotting the amount of memory each Sonos device has built into it. This has increased over the years.

I thought I’d do a table with this info, but also with the year of release, and the new crop of devices just released.

And I’ve also added a column noting if each device supports voice commands (which take more memory) and is compatible with the new Sonos operating system S2, or whether users of these are stuck on S1.

(There are a few gaps which hopefully I’ll fill over time. And I’ve deliberately excluded non-playing accessories such as the Bridge and Controllers. For now I also haven’t included the Sub, which is not a standalone player.)

DeviceYears soldStorageMemoryVoice S2Replaced by
ZonePlayer 1002005-08??NoNoZonePlayer 120
ZonePlayer 802006-08??NoNoZonePlayer 90
ZonePlayer 120
aka Connect:AMP
2008-153232NoNoConnect:AMP (gen 2)
ZonePlayer 90
aka Connect
2008-153232NoNoConnect (gen 2)
Play:52009-153232NoNoPlay:5 (gen 2)
Play:32011-20186464NoYes
Playbar2013-2020128128NoYesArc
Play:12013-201764128NoYesOne
Play:5 (gen 2)2015-2020256256NoYesFive
Playbase2017-2020256256NoYesArc
Connect (gen 2)2015-2019256256NoYesPort
Connect:AMP (Gen 2)2015-2019??NoYesAmp
One2017-201910241024YesYesOne (gen 2) / One SL
Beam2018-10241024YesYes
Amp2019-10241024NoYes
One (gen 2)2019-10241024YesYes
Symfonisk Lamp2019-256512NoYes
Symfonisk Bookshelf2019-256512NoYes
Port2019-512512NoYes
Move2019-10241024YesYes
One SL2019-512512NoYes
Arc2020-40961024YesYes
Five2020-512512NoYes

There’s certainly a pattern there.

Devices with at least 64Mb storage and 64Mb memory can support S2, but others can’t.

Voice command support appears to require at least 1024 Mb of storage and the same of memory.

S2 was the first big move in the 15 years since the first devices were released that they left behind some legacy devices on an older version. (Though in 2018 they did do an update which dropped support for their CR100 controller, sold from 2005-09, and long replaced for most users by iPads and smartphones.)

S1 will continue to get security and bug fixes – but not new features. And those users can get a 30% voucher for upgrades (and still use the older devices if they want – initially Sonos’s unwise idea was to brick them, but they changed that scheme).

S2 has only been out for a few weeks, so it’s unclear how quickly new features will be added. And from a software development perspective, under the hood there may have been a great culling of legacy code, which might be good for performance and stability (not that either have been a big issue in my use of Sonos).

Hopefully it’s another decade or more before they decide to exclude more older devices from the latest and greatest.

Micro Men

For those with nostalgia for the early 80s microcomputer scene, “Micro Men”, a dramatisation of the competitive environment around Cambridge between Acorn and Spectrum is terrific.

Turns out this was broadcast more than ten years ago now!

Sadly I don’t think it was ever broadcast outside the UK, and it never made it onto home video.

The Centre For Computing History marked this anniversary by getting some of the real people into a room to watch the program and comment on it:

You can also listen to a recent podcast with the screenwriter, Tony Saint – this was very enjoyable.

And another one with Steve Furber, who worked for Acorn at the time and was one of the designers of the BBC Micro. He talks about the project, with a fair bit of technical detail, and touches on the realism of the dramatisation.

Upgrading Win7 to Win10 with a non-standard Profiles location

Windows 7 has come out of mainstream support, so it’s definitely time to upgrade.

I’d held off because I like Windows Media Center, which isn’t available on Win10, though there is an unofficial method. More about that later.

The machine in question is an old Mac Pro 2008 that I got some years ago.

Apparently some Macs this old have problems with Boot Camp not allowing versions of Windows later than 7. This didn’t affect me (and others have had no issues), but it can be worked around by changing the Boot Camp config file.

From there it should have been like any other Windows 7 machine – use the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool and choose “Upgrade this computer”. (Despite the free upgrade offer having finished years ago, just about everyone finds this still works and the resultant upgrade is fully licenced – assuming the old version of Windows had a proper licence.)

But there was a hiccup. It failed midway through with an error:

0x80070011 – 0x2000D
The installation failed in the SAFE_OS phase with an error during MIGRATE_DATA operation

If you Google around, you’ll find lots of generic advice on forums suggesting to scan your drives, turn off your virus scanner, even try it again in Safe Mode (which doesn’t work – you can’t start an upgrade in Safe Mode).

Only this tip seemed relevant to me:

0x80070011 indicates that the system was trying to move data to another disk drive

0x2000D indicates that there was a problem during the data migration.

It would seem that you have data on another disk drive that the system is trying to migrate and it fails. With your current Win 7 have you moved data about and changed the location of system folders such as programs, users, etc. If so, you should try and get everything back to default locations and try the upgrade again.

Thank you to that person who actually looked into what the error means!

This rang alarm bells for me because some years ago I moved Windows to an SSD (drive C) and put the user directories onto drive D, using SYSPREP so Windows would figure out what was meant to be where.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I now realise Microsoft warns this is not supported for Windows upgrades. Damn.

In my case, the SSD is too small to hold all the users’ documents/photos/videos, but should be okay with most other files.

How to fix it

I’ve worked through this (it took several attempts).

Here is my solution, assuming that like me, your user and ProgramData directories are on D: drive and Windows needs to be convinced they’re on C: drive:

  1. If you’re short of disk space, you might want to clean up each user’s D:\users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Temp directory – eg delete everything older than today.
    (Be warned, this could cause some minor issues with some applications, so if in doubt, don’t delete.)
  2. Disk Cleanup to remove all the unused temp files and empty all the Recycle Bins and free up any other possible space on C:
  3. Copy all the D:\users\USERNAME directories (except the ones that are likely to be big, and can still be located on D: drive: Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music, Downloads) to c:\users
  4. The tricky bit: we need empty Pictures, Videos, Music, Downloads directories, as these don’t get created automatically once the user profile is moved in step 5. I found it was easiest to start copying these one by one, but cancel, then remove all the files in the c: copy, so each was empty – for step 7. We’re using Copy instead of just creating them new to hopefully avoid any permissions problems.
  5. Edit the Registry: Under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList change each user’s ProfileImagePath to the new drive
  6. Log on as each user and check everything looks okay. If it refuses to log you in, you know something’s gone wrong with the C: drive directories or their permissions.
  7. As each user, open Windows Explorer or the Start Menu and browse to My Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music, Downloads, for each of these go into Properties and Move the location back to D:\Users\USERNAME\Whatever. When asked if you want to move files, choose No (since at step 3 you didn’t copy them). (You can do this after upgrading to Win10 if you prefer)
  8. You can then delete the directories you DID copy in step 3 from d:\users\USERNAME – since these are no longer used
  9. Also the ProgramData directory needs to be on C: if it isn’t already. There’s probably no need to copy it back, as applications should re-create what they need. Check and change if required the ProgramData setting in the Registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList to point to C: drive or %SystemDrive%
  10. Verify Win7 is still working okay for each user, then do another Disk Cleanup to clear out the Recycle Bins again. (Clearing old Windows Update files is also possible, but takes ages.)

After all that I found it was okay to go install the Win10 upgrade.

After the upgrade, Public Documents/Pictures/Videos also didn’t show up by default for the users, but these can be added by browsing to the old D:\Users\Public directory and right-clicking each one and choosing Pin To Quick Access.

Other stuff

  • To my surprise, Microsoft Security Essentials wasn’t removed by the Win10 upgrade, at least not the time it worked. The normal MSE uninstall is buggy – you have to jump through some hoops. Running its SETUP.EXE worked for me, but note you have to set the compatibility for ALL users if your normal user it not an Administrator.
  • I briefly tried the claimed method of installing Windows Media Center, which didn’t work for me. I tried Kodi, which needs NextPVR to watch and record broadcast TV… then I discovered that NextPVR can do that on its own – so I removed Kodi again, since I don’t need it!
  • NextPVR did need the LAV decoders, but other than that, it seems to have worked fine with my old EyeTV Diversity USB tuner.

Good luck!

YahooGroups sails into the sunset – export your data now

YahooGroups is mostly shutting down.

This official notice tries to describe what’s being removed and what isn’t, but succeeds in being a bit confusing: emails to groups will keep working, but “Conversations” and “Email updates” won’t.

My reading is you’ll still be able to send emails and they’ll be distributed – but nothing else will work.

But I’d also assume this is not a business they want to be in anymore, so even emails will probably be discontinued before too long.

There’s an option to download all your data: it’s accessible via this link: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/getmydata

It took a week for it to be ready.

Then it took 5 goes for the download to actually work. It repeatedly conked out part way through.

When it finally worked, the result (for me) is a 1.6 Gb zip file with everything from (it appears) every group I’m in, including messages, files and everything else.

Inside the subdirectories for each group is:

  • files.zip
  • links.zip
  • medias.json – this seems to be metadata for the photos and attachments, below
  • messages.zip – looks to be mbox files with the entire archive of messages
  • photos_and_attachments.zip

I can’t see some of the more esoteric data from YG, such as Databases, Polls and Events. Export of those might have to be a manual process.

If you’re interested in getting your data, I’d get onto it now. It’s all scheduled to be wiped in mid-December, and the process may become even slower than a week.

2020-01-16: The deadline was extended to the end of January 2020.

Comment numbering on WordPress

One thing I find quite handy on my blog is comment numbering.

I had it for a little while ages ago, and people liked to be able to say they were responding to Comment Number Whatever.

Alas, whatever mechanism I had been using stopped working.

If you Google for it, you’ll find any number of hints and tips pages from about 2013 which refer you to Greg’s Threaded Comment Numbering plug-in… which is no longer maintained, and no longer works with new versions of WordPress.

Thankfully I found a way that works – and it’s actually simpler.

The new ability to add custom CSS into Themes means you can add this:

li.depth-1 {
    list-style-type: decimal;
}

There are further tweaks you can do if you’re using threaded comments, but the above works for me.

One catch: On some templates, a comment by the blog author is highlighted. This may suppress the numbering for that comment (so it misses out). It’s doing that on my personal blog template, but not here on geekrant. I’ll look for a fix for that.

How to block notification requests in Chrome

Oh the irony.

Anyway, the steps:

  1. Go to Chrome Preferences
  2. Advanced
  3. Site settings (or “Content settings”)
  4. Notifications
  5. Click the “Ask before sending (recommended)” switch off. It should then say “Blocked”

Yeah it’s a counter-intuitive caption on that button. It implies that switching it off will just drown you in a sea of unwanted notifications without asking you.

But it seems to work.

If you use Firefox or Safari, this How To Geek article covers those. The article notes that Edge doesn’t currently have an option to turn them off for good.

New used laptop: Thinkpad T430

I meant to post this ages ago: I got my first Thinkpad – an old T430. Very nice.

I had been looking for my first Thinkpad; an upgrade off a slow Lenovo (non-Thinkpad) laptop, and I thought I might splash out on a new one.

But then I discovered my sister had an ex-work T430 she didn’t want. Sold it to me for what she got it for: AUD $100.

Specs: i5-3320M (2.6 GHz), 4 Gb RAM, 1600 x 900 display, SSD. With a dock (that I’m not sure I’ll ever use)

Some scuffing on the case, but overall it’s in very nice condition.

And I found I could still upgrade it from Win7 to Win10 for free, using the Media Creation Tool.

I added another 4 Gb of RAM.

The keyboard is lovely, but I never did get used to the Fn/Ctrl key locations being backwards from most layouts, so I ended up swapping them in the BIOS.

Problems

One oddity after upgrading to Win10: Microsoft Edge was extremely slow to respond to clicks. The solution was a clean Win10 install – via the “reset your PC” feature.

I also found that under Win10, the trackpad would sometimes freeze up for a few seconds, particularly after two-finger scrolling:

  • This turns out to be an issue with the Lenovo trackpad “palm check” feature. Set this to the minimum setting (or turn it off) and it seems to go away. The same problem occurs for some other Lenovo laptops.
  • This can also occur if Trackpad Tapping is disabled – I’d prefer it was disabled to avoid false positive clicks when I’m just trying to move the pointer, but oh well.

Modding

More reading for myself when I get the chance: Modding guide

But I hope this old laptop will keep me going for a while for my on-the-go computing needs.

If your XBox One game disc is faulty, you can install the game from the network

I was going to blog about this some time ago, but it slipped my mind. Better late than never.

I bought an XBox One, and some games. Then I looked for secondhand games, and bought one or two, mostly stuff you can’t buy new anymore, like Halo remastered and Star Wars – Battlefront.

The Star Wars disc turned out to be faulty. The shop would happily take it back, but didn’t have a replacement they could give me.

It turns out that, provided it can be at least partially read, you can use the disc to prove to the XBox that you own the game, then install it off the network.

It’s easy: pop the disc in, cancel out of the installation, then go to the XBox store and find the same game. It’ll give you an install option, which will download it from the servers.

Unlike a game bought online, you’ll still need the disc in the console to play the game.

Neato.

(Source: This Reddit tip)

I tried Firefox again

I used Firefox when it was initially released about 15 years ago, but migrated to Chrome a few years later.

This story made me think it was worth trying FF again: NYT: ‘Firefox Is Back. It’s Time to Give It a Try.’

A couple of weeks ago, I tried Firefox over a few days. Here’s what I found.

Tuesday

Once-off import of everything (including passwords) is easy: Switching from Chrome to Firefox

I’m trying out Firefox now on desktop and Android. Will see how I go.

So far I haven’t found a way of continuous synching of Firefox and Chrome without plugins.

Wednesday

On my desktops at home (Win7) and work (Win10), Firefox feels about as fast as Chrome, except for Gmail, but I think I’m seeing the effects of the new Gmail interface, which I switched to a day before switching browsers – this seemed slower than the old interface in Chrome as well.

Bringing bookmarks, passwords, etc over from Chrome was easy. Have synced most of them via a Firefox account (but not bookmarks, as I want the bookmarks toolbar to be different between home and work – I rarely use non-toolbar bookmarks)

It seems to run fine on my Android phone. Again, was able to sync via the Firefox account. Easy to set Android to open FF by default.

Possibly a bug in FF – on my work desktop, if I maximise the browser window on one of my monitors, the navigation all disappears. It works on the other monitor, and at home. — This is not a FF bug – Chrome, IE and Edge are all doing it. Probably be a graphics driver issue.

…at some stage a Windows Update came through and seemed to fix this.

Friday

One issue I’m seeing with Firefox: looking at Youtube, the options to embed a video have disappeared. Instead, the Share option will only let you send a Youtube message to somebody with the video link.

Tried Edge/Chrome on the same video, and they’re appearing. (It’s one of my own videos, so the option to allow sharing is definitely on).

So it seems Firefox appears to be doing something funny. I wonder if it’s trying to render a simplified (mobile-like) rendering of the page, though I can’t see an option for turning that off.

Eventually I found the Embed option. The navigation to it is totally different from within Chrome and Edge, making it difficult to find.

(Responsive Design Mode is off – looks like a handy option to have, actually)

Then I started to see similar issues on carsales.com.au… hmmm.

Tuesday

Well, I’m going back to Chrome, because:

  • Some quirks like the Youtube issue, and a few other local sites (perhaps the fault of the web designers, not the browser)
  • On my fast work PC, Firefox is good, but on my old desktop machine it seems a little bit sluggish compared to Chrome
  • I’ll keep FF on the work PC for my own development, but won’t use it as my usual browser.

For those sticking to Chrome but unhappy with the privacy defaults, there are a few tweaks that can be made, though who knows how effective they really are.

Happy browsing!

(I’m finally posting this just as news comes through of the big EU fine against Google. Interesting.)

Windows Update on Windows 7 repeatedly installs KB4103718

Surely I can’t be the only one with this problem?

For the past few days, Windows 7 Update has been repeatedly installing 4103718, the May 2018 rollup of security updates.

(Before you ask: I still run Windows 7 on one machine because I like Windows Media Center, which isn’t available on Windows 10.)

Every time, it thinks the patch is successful, but then wants to do it again. And again. And again.

I tried the Fix Windows Errors web page, which included the Windows Update Troubleshooter. It didn’t seem to help.

This article describes what to do: go to the list of available updates, right click, Hide Update.

This didn’t fix it alone. Checking for updates again, 4103718 popped up again in the guise of the April 2018 rollup.

Once I hid that version as well, it seemed to stop wanting to reinstall it.

4103718 has other problems, including in some cases disabling network connections. Hopefully they fix this one soon.

Motorola Moto G5 Plus “camera restart” error

My current phone is a Motorola G5 Plus. I really like it.

Except for one thing: sometimes it won’t start the camera. It pauses for a few seconds, then comes up with a camera restart error; you have to try it again. Sometimes it takes several goes to get it to work.

By the time the camera actually opens, whatever you wanted to snap may have gone.

It’s a widespread problem. Some people think it’s a heat issue, but I have my doubts.

There is a partial workaround: clear the cache partition.

This removes some temporary files, but no user files.

This page on the Motorola web site explains how to do it — but I’m going to post the text here, as it keeps disappearing off their site. Dodgy.

To perform a wipe cache partition:

1. With the phone powered off, press and hold the Volume Down button and the Power button at the same time until the device turns on.
2. Press the Volume Down button until the flag next to the power button reads “Recovery mode”
3. Press the Power button to restart into Recovery mode.
You’ll see an image of an Android robot with the words “No Command”
4. Holding the Power button, tap Volume Up once and then release the Power button.
5. Use the volume buttons to scroll to “wipe cache partition” and press the Power button to select it.
6. Use volume down to scroll to YES and power to confirm.
7. At the bottom of the screen, you will see your device go through the process. Once it says “Cache Wipe Complete” the reboot system now option will appear at the top.
8. Press the power button to confirm the reboot.

The above workaround clears it for a little while… then it comes back a few days or weeks later.

Hopefully eventually there’ll be a permanent fix for it.

Teletext still lives (just)

Teletext was developed in the 1970s in Britain as a way of sending information (text and basic colour graphics) in a PAL television signal.

The BBC implemented it as Ceefax (1974 to 2012), and numerous other broadcasters in PAL countries also used it. In Australia it was called Austext (1982 to 2009) and broadcast on Channel 7.

Apart from screens of information, the technology was also used to provide captions for TV programs (in Australia on page 801 on all networks).

In Australia, it ended in part because the original equipment was at end-of-life, no doubt combined with the rise of the Internet for getting that sort of information.

THE AUSTEXT SERVICE WILL CLOSE ON 30 SEPTEMBER 2009.

The Seven Network started providing test Teletext services in 1977, with live services commencing in 1982 in Brisbane and Sydney.

The Austext service today is still provided using the original 1970’s technology. This equipment has now reached the end of its lifespan.

Unfortunately,it is not possible to replace the existing Austext system with new equipment except at significant cost.

The BBC Micro and teletext

When the BBC Micro was introduced in 1981, this included a graphics mode (Mode 7) that natively supported teletext graphics. Given the computer only originally had 16-32 Kb of RAM, this mode using only 1 Kb was handy to have. It was mostly used by text-based programs, though there was the odd action game implemented in it — I remember a rendition of Space Invaders that used Mode 7.

In schools, BBC Micros could be networked together using the Econet system. A Teletext-like system was available that I think was called Eco-fax — we had that at my high school.

Less common, and only used in Britain, was a special Teletext adaptor, this could be used to download computer programs.

Teletext lives!

Teletext on broadcast television might be long gone, but there’s one place the technology is still used: in Australian racing.

Teletext displays in a TAB

Walk into any betting shop (this photo is from a TAB in Melbourne) and you’ll find these familiar text displays, with 8 colours, the capability of flashing and double-height text, and simple graphics, under the brand name “TabCorp Skytext”.

I have no idea how the signal is broadcast, but it’s definitely the same display technology. Nice to know it lives on, over 45 years since it was devised.

  • Ironically, this video from 2012 of highlights of 38 years of Ceefax isn’t playable on modern web browsers because it requires Flash