Thursday, 22 February 2007

Fix DLL errors with Dial-a-fix

I have at least experienced DLL (dynamic-link library) errors twice, once on Windows Me and recently on XP. This type of error results in a Windows Explorer warning and if we look at the error's details we'll bound to see something is wrong with a .dll file. The problem on Me was that it failed to display image files (.jpg, .gif) in thumbnail view. I went over to and found the fixes for the problem. Seconds later, everything was alright again.

The recent problem was trickier. I had no clue what was the cause. Everytime I wanted to access my D drive, Windows Explorer issued an error warning and forcibly closed my D: window. I was told it was an ole32.dll problem.

I tried searching via Google for ole32.dll errors, but nothing useful came up. Scandisk and System Restore didn't help much. It was days later when discovered this migraine-curing solution called Dial-a-fix.

Dial-a-fix is small, fast and a snap to use. Just check the boxes for the errors you wish to fix and click 'Go'. Dial-a-fix also fixes other Windows-related problem such as Windows Update and DirectX issues.

I felt incredibly relieved when everything was quickly back to normal. This nifty little tool is definitely going into my software toolbox.

Monday, 19 February 2007

Anybody remembers... Toriton?

Well I certainly do.

I remember this one especially because once when I was 4, Abah went to the video store and I asked him to bring back a Toriton video. Instead, he came home with a video of Terrytoons (!!!). Oh, ayahandaku...

Thursday, 15 February 2007

The Asiatics

No matter how voracious or adventurous a reader is, he or she will find at least a few book unreadable. Dumped, as Sharon puts it. An unreadable book feels impossible for us to finish it, even with an open mind or a broad spectrum of interests. It's just not our cup of tea or coffee or air ketum (thanks, dzul).

For me, such a book is Frederic Prokosch's The Asiatics. This book was a best seller when it first came out, which was back in the 1930s. I have little idea what's life like back then, but given that TV was still not widespread and the Internet nowhere in existence, being a best selling novel could be a huge deal. For a good reason, The Asiatics traces the journey of a young American man hitchhiking his way throughout continental Asia, from and to places like Istanbul, Damascus, Tehran, Delhi, Penang, Hong Kong and Hanoi. The man's journey is packed with surprises, danger, and of course, the key ingredient, the exoticness of the land called Asia, a place that fuels the imagination of inquisitive dreamers back then.

Apparently, Prokosch is also one of those people. He wrote the book without setting a single toe anywhere in an Asia country. The fact that book became a best sellers seems to suggest that readers believed in Prokosch's 'Asia.'

The Costa Book of the Year Award winner was announced a few days ago. The £25,000 prize goes to The Tenderness of Wolves, a first novel by screenwriter Stef Penney. First novels clinching the literature awards is not exactly news. The newsworthy part is the novel is set Canada, a place that Penney never visited, and will probably never will, due to the reason she's agoraphobic.

My fear wasn't of crowds or being out in the open. It was more a fear of losing control. For me it was public transport, and the bigger and faster, the worse it was, so planes were the scariest thing. Once you're in a plane you really can't say, 'Actually, let me out here'; there's nothing you can do. It's that feeling that it's totally out of your control.

Penny's 'Canada' is entirely patterned from reading and research. Her win seems to do anything but stop her from writing about places she'll unlikely to visit as she plans to write a road trip novel about two girls driving across the Lappland of Finland.

In due fairness, I myself haven't visited the places that Prokosch (and Penney) wrote about, with the exception of Penang.

Somehow I find Prokosch's vision (or version) of Asia to be very unusually less life-like, but still exhales an air of mystery and mystique that seems to attract the Western world to venture into these parts in the first place. The Asiatics' Asia is largely a strange place, filled with surprises both pleasant and painful lurking within its corners, almost like an alien planet in a sci-fi film. The problem is Asia is a real, existing place.

I guess what I'm getting at is nothing quite beats something written by someone who's actually been to the place and fully immersed him or herself into the local surrounding. Imagining a place and transferring it in vivid details onto the pages is a mark of a ripe imagination and skillful storytelling. But you can never fake the love and admiration for the people and the places.

The Asiatics is snapshot of its generation, a time when travelers to faraway places are a mere fistful and the rest had very little choice but to rely on their accounts. But on second thought, today's situation isn't really much different, considering what the media orchestra are leading us to believe. Maybe Prokosch is actually on to something. Maybe the world hasn't changed that much after all.

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

This blog may be renamed. Again.

The doctor told me to reduce my coffee intake, to prevent any long term health complications. I'm switching to warm milk for the moment (fresh milk heated until about slightly below boiling temperature). Still looking for names (and substitute beverage).

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Launchy 1.0 comes with newly added wonderfulness

Checked out Launchy yet? The new version 1.0 of this awesome program/file launcher is a good way to start because it now includes a few new useful plugins and features:
  • Explory: No need to click My Computer. Launchy can open the window of the C: drive by simply typing 'C:'. Same with all other drives.

  • Foxy: Launchy now indexes Firefox bookmarks for even easier access.

  • Weby: To search on Google using Launchy, type in 'Google' followed by tab and your search. Launchy can also search in Amazon, Wikipedia, MSN, Yahoo!, Live, Weather, Dictionary, Thesaurus, IMDB, Netflix, and MSDN. The plugin also alows Launchy to open typed in URLs.

  • Calcy: A simple calculator that can perform basic arithmetic operations (BODMAS).

  • Got a USB drive? Launchy 1.0 supports a portable mode, allowing us to use Launchy on other computers.
The best thing about it is it frees me from using the mouse too often, giving my wrist a rest. Searching and accessing my stuff is definitely faster now, but only if I've properly customise Launchy and remember what's the file's name. Read the Readme.pdf file for information on how to make Launchy work for you.

Once I was looking for a PDF file without setting Launchy to recognise .pdf file types. I thought Launchy wasn't working when instead it was my mistake.

Overall, this new version is a tremendous improvement of the previous version. Very much recommended.

[ Launchy 1.0 Final ]

Saturday, 3 February 2007

...and I hear somebody said

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