windows 7

Windows 7 Updates Roll-up

There’s really no doubt that Windows 7 updates have become a bit of a nightmare.  Microsoft have been aggressively pushing Windows 10.  Some of the stories that have been rolling around have clearly highlighted this to anyone watching.  Despite all the statements coming from Microsoft themselves they do seem to have employed a form of plausible deniability tactics to increase Windows 10 adoption.  It even drove Steve Gibson to write Never10.

Whilst I can understand getting as many people on the new Windows 10 OS has lots of advantages, for everyone.  It would make my development life easier so in some ways I have a vested interested but you can’t arbitrarily push a new OS on someone.  There are so many dependencies and potential issues in some scenarios it just isn’t smart to force this.  Someone with a fully working system that falls foul to these tactics and then has lots of issues is the worst thing you can do to a customer.

I can’t think of another situation where you can buy something from a company, use it successfully for years, then the company that you originally bought this thing from 5 years later comes to your house and breaks it.  Then, offers to give you the new all singing all dancing replacement “thing” vNext.  Can you imagine the builder who built your new dining room 5 years ago coming back and taking a wall down then offering you Wall V2?

Me neither …

It seems this happened more times that Microsoft would ever admit to.

Windows 7 Updates

With all the goings on Windows 7 Updates seem to be in a bit of a mess.  Installing Windows 7 updates has become a bit ridiculous and takes an incredibly long time.  To be fair we are dealing with 5 years (Windows 7 SP1 was released February 22, 2011) worth of OS updates on the most popular desktop OS on the planet.  In it’s defense Windows update is a complex piece of software doing lots of sophisticated dependency checking and wotnot.

Either way, it’s gotten to the point where applying Windows 7 updates has become really painful.  Urgh …

Good News! Update Roll-up

The Good news in that MS have done a Windows 7 SP1+ update roll-up.  They have taken all the updates applied to Windows 7 since SP1 in 2011 and packaged them up for easier deployment.  To make use of these packages you need to do a bit of manual stuff to a new install.

I was setting up a new VM in Virtual Box using my old Windows 7 license and got fed up with watching the indeterminate “progress bar” (that’s an Oxymoron if ever there was one) I decided to look for this update.

The New Windows 7 Updates Process

It’s actually really easy.  In my case, as I was going from fresh install to latest I did this:

  1. Created VM and installed Windows 7
  2. Applied updates normally to get Windows 7 to SP1
  3. Go and grab KB3020369 and install it
  4. Get the Windows 7 Updates roll-up here (requires IE) and update away!

Alas, even after going through this process the last check for updates process I ran took around 5 hours.

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Bookmarks Toolbar in FireFox Full-Screen Mode

This is a neat trick that I use in FireFox.  I like to use FireFox in full-screen mode and I use the bookmarks toolbar a lot.  The trouble begins when using full-screen mode, toggled with F11 for the uninitiated.

Using full-screen mode really improves the browsing experience.

It gets rid of UI clutter and lets you focus on the web site you’re browsing.  Unfortunately it also hides useful things, such as your bookmarks toolbar.

You still have access to your tab bar by placing your cursor at the top of the view port.

You can also use CTRL+B to toggle your sidebar into view which is useful.  Unfortunately, the bookmarks toolbar will disappear … BOO!  You’re left with this:

bookmarks toolbar missing

Missing bookmarks toolbar

To bring it back whilst also in full-screen mode, you need a spot of profile CSS jiggery pokery but its really straight forward.

How to Show your Bookmarks Toolbar

Firstly, locate your active profile:

  1. Open the Run dialog by:
    1. Pressing Windows Key+R;
    2. Clicking on Start then type “run“;
    3. Press the Windows Key to open the start menu and then type “runbookmarks-toolbar-run-dialog
  2. In the Open command textbox in the Run dialog, type the following following command:
    firefox.exe -P

This will open the Profile Manager view showing your active profile.  To view the location on disk, hover over the  active profile entry shown on the right-hand side of the dialog, a tool-tip will pop up showing the path.

bookmarks-toolbar-firefox-profile-manager

  1. Navigate to this profile directory in explorer then look for a “chrome” directory containing a userChrome.css file.  An example location might look like this:
    \%APP DATA%\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\<your profile directory>\chrome\userChrome.css
  2. If none of this exist, create what you need.
    1. Create a “chrome” directory if it doesn’t exist
    2. Create a new text file inside the new chrome directory (Right-click -> New -> Text Document)
    3. Name it “userChrome.css“.  Click on yes when asked about the file extension.
  3. Edit userChrome.css by selecting the file and hitting Enter on the keyboard or double-clicking on the file name.
  4. Paste in the following code:
    @namespace url(http://www.mozilla.org/keymaster/gatekeeper/there.is.only.xul);
     #navigator-toolbox[inFullscreen] #PersonalToolbar{
     visibility: visible !important;
    }
  5. Save the file

Now restart FireFox and test the full-screen mode (F11).  Going into full-screen mode should now allow access to your bookmarks toolbar.

bookmarks toolbar full-screen mode

Shows the bookmarks toolbar in full-screen mode

Useful Full-Screen Shortcuts

When if full screen mode, you can use these shortcuts:

  • Open new tab – Hold CTRL + T
  • Scroll a page – Press PgUp or PpDn
  • Open Search – Hold CTRL + K
  • Refresh Page – Press F5 or Hold ALT + R
  • Go to saved Home Page – Hold ALT + Home
  • Cycle through open tabs – Forwards – Hold CTRL + TAB – Backwards – Hold CTRL, SHIFT + TAB
  • Close current tab – Hold CTRL + W
  • Undo Close Tab – Hold CTRL, SHIFT + T
  • Navigate history – Hold ALT and then tap an Arrow Key
  • Find in page – Hold CTRL +F then press F3 to continue looking
  • Open developer tools – Press F12
  • Open mobile view port – Hold CTRL, SHIFT + M

You can find many more useful keyboard shortcuts in the FireFox documentation.

 

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Apple Music – A Disaster for Users

This is the worst thing I’ve ever read regarding an online service.  Apple Music service hijacks ALL your content – even your own created works and holds you to ransom for access to it.  Literally unbelievable.  Not only that if you have nice high-bandwidth WAV files, it’ll convert them to MP3 or AAC at the same time.  This is just the worst thing you could possibly do to a composers own work.  I would be livid if it were my stuff.

“The software is functioning as intended,” said Amber.
“Wait,” I asked, “so it’s supposed to delete my personal files from my internal hard drive without asking my permission?”
“Yes,” she replied.

https://blog.vellumatlanta.com/2016/05/04/apple-stole-my-music-no-seriously/

I’ve never read anything like it.

The author – James Pinkstone – is also composer and has had his own material taken from his hard drive.  This is theft.  I hope that the attention this is drawing will force a rethink as this is probably one of the worst content hijacking stories I’ve ever read and in my opinion one of the worst consumer relations scenarios I’ve ever read about – bar none.

I have a MacBook Pro, an iPad and an iPhone.  However, all of these devices are dedicated to testing software I make.  I remember becoming so frustrated and annoyed, not to mention confused, with iCloud “sync” that I turned it all off.  I hate it.  It seems like the new music “service” from Apple has taken that premise, given it a limitless stash of steroids and unleashed it onto an unwitting public.

Draconian is the only word that fits.

Apple you already were an incredibly arrogant company but this is on a whole new level of arrogance.  This is criminal in my opinion.

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