21 December, 2011

Codec Pack and Filters for playing flac in WMP/Classic Media Player

English: This image is the computer icon of Me...Image via Wikipedia

I was searching for the Christmas songs that I downloaded, so I can play them while working. It took a while, for it would only be opened once a year, but anyway, these are the Carpenters songs, and lo and behold, they are in flac format.

So when I tried to open them in Windows Media Player, I was alerted of a probable problem, that the audio format is unsupported.

I therefore searched for this issue, and found a good forum, where the different media players are discussed, the pros and cons, and the various audio formats are also put to the test and evaluated, and of course, the heated arguments are there – usually balanced off by the cool-headed arguers.

Anyway, I got what I wanted, and acquired what I needed, to play the Christmas songs.

But I learned a couple of things from that forum, which is here: Windows Media Player: How do I Play Ogg and FLAC Files in WMP?.

As for the codecs, I downloaded from here, K-Lite Codec Pack.

This is because I decided to stick with Windows Media Player and Media Player Classic Home Cinema. Others went on to advocate VLC media player, or foobar2000, or MediaMonkey, or Zoom player, or what have you!

I also installed DFX audio enhancer for Windows Media Player, which I got from wmplugins site. I just got the free version.

And the other codec pack that I installed (the first one actually) is from Xiph.org: Directshow Filters for Ogg Vorbis, Speex, Theora, FLAC, and WebM.


It was not so good for Windows Media Player, in that while it was able to play the flac format, the sound quality was ‘thin’ – kinda squeaky, like there was no mid to low audio information. But when I switched to Media Player Classic, the full sound spectrum was there.

Now at this point, I can’t say what is wrong, so I will reserve my comments what Windows Media Player isn’t at all good for playing flac audio format. For all the good points that users threw at the forum, I am one who will also vouch for this free media player. It is best at its good points, and only poor at its weak points, for one reason that I can presume: those who made it, whatever they fitted it with, made it at its best, so what third-party providers add in, it isn’t – or it may never be – at its best.

Remember Edward Scissorhands? He didn’t get a heart, but he got scissors for his hands, and they functioned very well, he used them very well. It’s like that for Windows Media Player.

Okay, so I will end here, and here’s to wish everyone a very blessed Christmas, and a joyful New Year!

Till then!

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12 December, 2011

Using Kies with my Samsung Galary R (GT-I9103)

samsung Galaxy SIIImage by low.lighting via Flickr

I wrote about my experience using iTunes the past week, and today, I am writing my encounter with Samsung Kies. Well, I didn’t have a plan to buy a new phone for myself last week, but it was just for my daughter, who is now entering secondary school next year. The deal was simply to get her a new phone, whose price 
is not exceeding her PSLE score, when she renews her phone subscription plan contract.

Well, I should have done this a long, long time ago, but it was only this year that I am moving over, due to some bad publicity that Starhub had, where the reception signal isn’t quite good.

That may have changed along over the years.

So from Singtel, the whole family will be migrating over to Starhub. That started with my wife, which was also when she got her iPhone, first quarter of the year, and then last week, one of my daughters, and at the spur of the moment, including me.

After attending worship service at the church, we had lunch, and decided to pass by and do window shopping for phones to probably buy, but actually, to check out the brand and model she’s been eyeing, since the November company road show they held at our factory, I mean, Starhub team. She saw the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S, but the price of the unit, under the plan we were targeting, whew! It’s quite for our budget, (but it is within her agreed amount, remember, PSLE score; we actually can buy 4 units…)

Our contracts were ended at the same time, somewhere in August, so anytime, we can sign up for a new one, and it was just a matter of time.

So we went to see and touch, check and compare, etc., etc., etc. Then what was available made her change her mind. It was due to the price, lower than what is offered for the Xperia arc S, but on another brand and model. That day, 4th of December, LG Optimus Sol and Optimus 2x, were just being released into the market, and they come with very good packages.

She decided first to get the Optimus 2x Plus package, which is Plus due to the charging dock, on top of the usual charger, and the additional 2GB SD memory. The phone already is fitted with 8GB internal memory, so that would already be sufficient.

And most of the phones we are checking are already on dual-core systems.

I am checking out the HTC Sensation XE, but I cannot buy yet due to the high unit price on the plan I am targeting. 

That was until we got a queue number, waited, and when called, sat down, and started discussing with the attending personnel. While her particulars are gathered, I stood up and walked around, to do the final view of the phones, for her (in case there might be better units on second thought), and that’s when I saw the Samsung Galary R, being offered for $11, at the same plan she’s getting. I was wondering, what is this phone coming to? It is supposed to be a better unit, I think, but why $11 only?

That’s when I saw the date at the price tag: 3-4 Dec only. So I rushed to check with the guy who has been pushing the LG units, and he said, that’s for 2 days only, yesterday, and today, then it will be back to its original price: $348, at your subscription plan.

So I tried to bargain with my daughter and told her about the other phone, but she can’t be persuaded, and her mind can’t be changed anymore: it was already 2 times she’s changed her choice. She won’t anymore. So my wife told me, why not I get it for myself. 

So I did!

Then my wife was telling me to wait for the other phone, which really is my choice, but I said, this is already a very good deal, and besides, the difference in the features aren’t really killer features, but the price is. So I decided to buy the phone and get my contract signed up at the same time, too.

By the way, I keep on confusing by saying ‘renew my plan’, but since we are porting over from Singtel to Starhub, it is not a renewal… it is a new contract. So the renewal, that will probably be in the next 2 years or so.

So there’s the story about my buying the phone, the Samsung Galary R (GT-I9103) en punto.

Using the Kies

I was thinking, this is software that would be quite frustrating and irritating, much like the iTunes, but I was wrong. Kies was so simple, and it was easy to use. I am immediately able to set the preferences, and of course, copy music and video files, within the hour, which included the downloading of the installer, and from the initial run, I don’t think there is anymore of tweaking setting, which are under the hood. Perhaps it was designed that way – and why not – things like this shouldn’t be so complicated so everybody can use it without any assistance from the customer service personnel.

You would immediately see the similarity of iTunes and keys, the device and the library. But with Kies, you are able to copy the files into your device by pasting it into the folders under the device. If you have done that, and then copy the same file in the library folders, Kies detects that as a duplicate file, demarked with filename(2), much like what Windows do, in case you accidentally copy over what has been edited with the original file.

But anyway, one thing I found is that I spent much time trying to convert video files into different WMV formats, and I can’t get the video frame that fits the screen size of GT-I9103 to a ‘T’. After trying so many frame sizes, copying these into the device by ‘paste’ or Ctrl-V’ into the device folder, and then viewing the videos, the size, no matter what I select, are either narrow, or short; it’s either the length or height that is a mismatch. Sometimes both.

But one time, when I plugged in the unit into the laptop, I decided to click on the option in the Autorun window that opens the device in Windows Explorer. I mean, I do that now and then, but this time, I used Windows Explorer to view the folders, then copy one of the video files that I have been converting for a thousand times (okay, that’s an exaggeration…), and when I played it on the device, it was a surprise: the video frame was an exact fit!

So that’s it. Why bother converting externally, when upon copying over, it will be converted into the right frame size and format by the laptop/phone software, automatically? Actually, the setting are there in the Kies, to automatically convert, but this is another way to copy music and video files, and get them in the correct playable format, and some more, being in the right video frame size? 

Some things we learn the easy way, and some things, the hard way.

But we learn.

Till then. Shalom!

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ASP.NET Textbox Selectall() property


I am currently writing a form where I needed to highlight and select all text in a textbox when it is selected (onfocus), cause that is what user will be doing: copy and paste, so that in effect requires selecting the whole text string currently in the textbox, to replace it with new value.

I got two answers from my search routing, server side, and client side, and that is coming from a single article.

Here’s how:

In Page_Load event, add below code:

myTextBox.Attributes.Add("onfocus", "this.select()")

The other way is what I tested, and it worked, so I assume above works as well:

Hoe this helps you, as it did me.

Till then. Ciao!

Reference: selectall() property in C# for textbox control

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08 December, 2011

The iTunes saga: unable to copy movies and music to iPhone

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBaseEnglish: Original iPhone 8GB, iPhone 3GS 16GB ...Image via Wikipedia08-Dec-2011

I am one who wouldn’t go for the iPhone for my own use – I wouldn’t die just to get an iPhone. However, somebody dear to me wanted it, and so she got it.

Here comes the nicer part: I didn’t bother ‘learning’ this gadget, so I didn’t know anything about it when my wife asked me to go and configure it, something that I would usually do with my phones (since I started using one back then in 1999). I have zero knowledge of iPhone, so I didn’t know what to do.

Natural thing, I checked from the web. There is no manual, and sort of everything that you do with and about the iPhone is by trial and error method. And since I was keeping the acquisition of the iPhone a secret, and I was quiet about it, I cannot any longer, for I have to ask those before me, before us, who are using iPhones and have already done much configuration on their units.

That’s what we did.

But the natural thing to use is, I thought, the iTunes. Or so I thought.

I actually keep on messing up the movies that I would attempt to copy over from the computer to the iPhone, and sometimes succeeding, but at many times, and with much frustration and headache, fail. I would even be erasing, accidentally, what I have already copied over.


All the while I thought that iTunes is the problem, especially that when Apple team released an upgrade, that some features were disabled, some were taken out due to security and vulnerability issues, etc., etc., so I thought that iTunes IS the problem.

And I was wrong.

You see, I found one forum, where users are having the same problem like me, exactly. And you know what? It was a very simple solution. I mean, if I were a user smart enough, I would have figured it out myself. But sometimes, you could trip over a pebble…

There is a section entitled “LIBRARY”, and there is that section that pops up and disappears, as and when a device (meaning your iPhone unit) is plugged in or not. By way of nature (I mean my natural way), I would copy the files (movies) into the Movies folder under the Device node. And why not? That's where I want them appearing, right? It doesn’t matter actually whether the checkbox “Automatically sync…” is ticked or not. For my case, it is unticked, so whenever I click on ‘Sync’ button, what I put in the Movies folder are immediately wiped out, to my surprise!

Then, I found out it was being put in the wrong place…

I have to put it in the “LIBRARY” node, in the Movies folder. I did that. I even added in some mp3 files in the Music folder, and, as was suggested in the forum, make sure that the files I wanted to copy over are ticked.

So now I have the movie and music files put in the LIBRARY node, in the Movies and Music folders, respectively, and when I clicked on Sync, the transfer was a success!

What I did next is to tick the ‘Automatically sync…’ box, and while my device was disconnected, I added in some more files, in the LIBRARY section, (for where else, since the 'Device' isn't present, not available; it is disconnected) and unticked some of the files already inside, and when I plugged in my device, naturally, the sync process was immediately triggered.

Happy now?

Yes! At least I know now how to manage files on the iPhone. But I’m still not getting an iPhone for my own use…

Till then, my friends. 
“…to the audience we’ll never have…”

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05 December, 2011

When SxecuteScalar() returns null

The Greek lowercase omega (ω) character is use...Image via Wikipedia

I was working on a new web page today, and I decided to use ExecuteScalar() as my method to fetch a singular data that returns a string.

I completed the whole code, and during debugging, I encountered some issues. One of them is simply throwing an exception, and when I stepped through, I found that it was due to a null value being returned by the ExecuteScalar() procedure.

I then checked from the web on possible solutions to this problem, and after putting in all the patches, all scenarios can now be handled.

Here’s how it works. Detect first if the return value is null, then handle it appropriately:

if (cmd.ExecuteScalar() == null)

An else clause is then added to handle possible return values other than null:

bfrResult = cmd.ExecuteScalar().ToString();

And that’s all there is to it. Hope that this helps you also, as it did me.

Till then!

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02 December, 2011

Flock 2.6 and Zemanta 0.7.1

Image representing Flock as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBaseImage representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase02-Dec-2011

I guess this is one long overdue post.

I mean whenever I browse the web and search for Zemanta for Flock, I always see those angry and frustrated people like me, who wanted the old Flock (Flock 2.6.1, or 2.6.2) with the magical Zemanta add-on, which is really magical when you are into blogging.

You know what Zemanta can do for you, so when it’s gone, the horror!

I have come across the same problem myself, which is one major reason why I am not ‘killing’ my other PC, the old XP machine, which holds the magical duo Flock 2.6.1 and Zemanta. I hold this PC from being migrated to Windows 7 because of that.

But now, there’s no holding back. I have searched long and hard, and have found how to get the magical duo into any other PC.

There are many sources, but one singular site I can recommend for getting Flock 2.6.1 is FileHippo.com; and there are many sources for Zemanta 0.7.1, many of which are bogus sites, telling you they have, but offering something else. Fortunately, the source I found is very reliable as well. And why not, it is the same add-on that works for Google’s Chrome browser.

So there you go:

  1. Flock 2.6.1, get from FileHippo.com.
  2. Zemanta 0.7.1, get from Mozilla Add-Ons Page.

Well, the links I have provided, so hopefully, you’ll get them right away.

Happy blogging!

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The provider is not compatible with the version of Oracle client; ORA-03134

English: The logo of Oracle Corporation de:Bil...Image via Wikipedia02-Dec-2011

One of the final touches that I had to do on the new refurbished PC that I got is to make it into a local web server, an intranet application per se. And having found that in Windows 7, the way to go is publishing by a compiled site, I did just that.

I am one who would tend to make use of the different technologies and methodologies, just to be able to familiarize and not be tied to one; it’s for the good: when that singular method you lean on breaks, your whole system breaks, so having many sticks to lean on, you still are lifted up by the many others that remain standing and strong – when one breaks or falters.

Here’s what happened:

I copied over the codes, built the solution, and then published it. Since this is the second time around, I was going through all these things, including the creation of the folder, a breeze.

When I accessed the service from another PC, well, I got a 404 error.

I went to the IIS manager, and ticked all the services and features that I think are needed; of course, I haven’t memorized these sets, so I referenced the other PC that is already running the same web application.

That wasn’t enough. I still get a 404 error.

I remembered other things needed, so I didn’t hesitate downloading Web Platform Installer, where some other small, small services or features, not to mention some other service packs or applications, are offered.

I did that, and when the installation was finished, I did a reboot.

That brought the intranet application up and running!

Well, not all of it.

The section that runs queries using Oledb was okay. The other section that runs queries using Oracle client (ODP.NET) wasn’t. I got this error message:

“The provider is not compatible with the version of Oracle client”

Of course, the web being my primary source of information, I immediately launched Maxthon, which I prefer using to IE (a snail browser; Netscape is many times faster than IE), and searched on solutions to this problem at hand.

Again, many, many articles and discussions offered various steps to solve this problem, like copying over some dll files to the folder holding the exe, installing the ‘right’ and ‘compatible’ version of Oracle client, etc., etc. I could say the list is endless. I think I also saw some that suggested checking on the Oracle home definition, in various way and means, which I did by invoking Home Selector, and finally, through the registry editor.

And these didn’t help me. My problem isn’t solved. I actually did another comparison technique, that of the working PC and the non-working PC. They are the same.

But taking from some from the whole, I did what I think will help. I reinstalled ODP.NET, of course the version I am using is the same all over the computers that I manage. So there is no question of introducing an ‘incompatible’ or ‘incorrect’ version for this software.

Well, that fixed the problem on the particular section. BUT, it broke a number of other applications!
In particular, I got this error:ORA-03134. This is something about a newer Oracle client version accessing an older Oracle server version.

I’ve been through this one, but I don’t remember how I fixed it! My gracious me…

But I thought, since I fixed one by reinstalling, why don’t I do the same with this other?

And I did just that, reinstalling Oracle 9i client – which fixed ORA-03134.

I did a reboot, and after confirming that all the sections of my just-released web application are working, I retired – for the day.

Here’s a summary of what I was doing, what happened, and how problems are fixed, so far:

  1. Publish an intranet application on a local desktop PC running in Windows 7
  2. Copy the codes from another PC (already running the same web apps).
  3. Created the folders in the Program Files directory for the web apps destination.
  4. Built, and published to local folder (through compiled site method).
  5. Opened IIS manager (inetmgr), then added in the Virtual Directory (PC_Name >Sites > Default Web Site right click, then select Add Virtual Directory).
  6. Once the Virtual Directory is added, I right click on it, and then selected Convert to Application.
  7. That’s when error 404 was thrown out.
  8. Turned on additional windows features on IIS. Still got 404.
  9. Installed Web Platform Installer, followed by installing the service pack, and some auxiliary services and features.
  10. Reboot, and that’s when Web Apps was brought up, but section using Oracle client wasn’t working, with this error message: The provider is not compatible with the version of Oracle client.
  11. Reinstalled ODP.NET (the version I am using is ODT with ODAC
  12. Fixed section using Oracle client for oracle connection, but created a problem for the others, specifically Oracle 9i client, with this error message: ORA-03134.
  13. Reinstalled Oracle 9i.
  14. The other programs were okay, and every section of the web apps works.
  15. Reboot, and crossed my fingers while waiting for the machine to come back up.
  16. A final check and review, and everything were working fine.
  17. And so I retired for the day, tired, but happy.

Till then!

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01 December, 2011

Can't play streaming radio: fixed!

Windows Media Player 11 running in mini mode(i...Image via Wikipedia 01-Dec-2011

This is from the home front.

When I did a trial of AVG PC TuneUp 2011, I was very happy. Little did I know that some effects were undesirable.

My IE9 stopped playing streaming radio.

And I thought it was IE9. When I tried it  on Firefox, Maxthon, Safari, Chrome and Flock, the same result I got: the play button on the internet radio just flickered when it quickly sunk on mouse click, then it popped back up right away.

I thought if I clicked many times, it would work… silly me.

This went on for days.

I searched the web.

Some forums or articles led me to checking Windows Media Player setting. And I found that there is no value in the Streaming proxy settings (Organize > Options > Network). What’s more, the Configure button is grayed out.

I searched and surfed, and here’s what I found as suggested actions:

  • Make Firefox the default browser, or vice-versa.
  • Reinstall IE ( or whatever is your favorite browser).
  • And many other various tips and tricks, so they say.

Of course, all of them didn’t fix my problem. Until…

A couple of days back, I came across one forum, the discussion of which was a lengthy one, and of course, the usual offerings (as listed above) were thrown to the asker. And almost at the end (which is an indication that the solution was got), one guy told of registering one library:


That is, to go to c:\windows\system32 folder, then issue the command in the command prompt:

c:\windows\system32>regsvr32 wmnetmgr.dll

Did that fix my problem?

You bet it did!

And if you are having the same problem, you can try this solution. I bet you will say it is the solution.

Till then!

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