Dune: Duncan Idaho?

It occurs to me that the way we feel about the silly name Duncan Idaho echoes the way that the Fremen felt about the name Muad’Dib (“hopping mouse”) when they first heard it.

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Using PowerShell To Change File’s Created/Modified/Access Timestamps

File timestamps can be modified on Windows using PowerShell.
Command Syntax:

(Get-Item YourFilePath).CreationTime = "mm/dd/yyyy hh:mm"

Time can be specified using a 24-hour clock, or using am/pm.

There are three settable timestamps:

  • CreationTime will affect the Created timestamp.
  • LastWriteTime will change the Modified timestamp.
  • LastAccessTime will change the Accessed timestamp.


(Get-Item MyFilename).CreationTime = "10/23/2017 12:56pm"
(Get-Item MyFilename).LastWriteTime = "10/23/2017 12:56pm"
(Get-Item MyFilename).LastAccessTime = "10/23/2017 12:56pm"

Results (from the File Explorer file properties dialog):

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USB Charger/Hub Comparison

GaNFast, which appears to be a site intended to promote Gallium Nitride devices, happens to have one of the best charger + hub product lists out there. It gives power, type and number of prts, and overall size, all in one table:


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Visual Studio Theme Pack Broke My Visual Studio 2022

After installing the Visual Studio Theme Pack from the Visual Studio Marketplace website, my installatio of Visual Studio 2022 was completely broken. The error messages I was getting included:

The 'MEF Service Broker Package' package did not load correctly.
The 'Background long idle package' package did not load correctly.

I couldn’t even open Tools | Manage Extensions. In fact, no menu items worked at all, only triggering an error message, "The operation could not be completed." Attempting to open a project resulted in an error "There is no editor available for…"

Even the close button resulted in an error dialog!

The fix was to uninstall the Visual Studio Theme Pack using this command:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio\2022\Community\Common7\IDE\VSIXInstaller.exe /u:VisualStudioThemePack.453e3fa1-2e0e-467e-abbd-1d08fe6468d1

After some more monkeying around, I managed to get Visual Studio into an even worse condition. Ultimately, running these commands as an Administrator got Visual Studio working again:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio\2022\Community\VC\Auxiliary\Build\vcvars32.bat
devenv /resetuserdata
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Thinkpad T420 IPS/PLS Screen Upgrade

Tired of the awful OEM screen on your T420? Want FHD (1920×1080) resolution with the full colors and deep blacks of IPS screens? Having a hard time deciding which to order? Then this page might help you.

There are several screens available for the non-S T420 laptop which have performance characteristics on par with true IPS screens. This page has a good explanation of how the various panel types differ.

This thread by RMSMajestic seems to be the origin of the screen upgrade for the non-S Thinkpad T420 and T430. The first post explains why flickering is a common problem.

There are several eBay sellers carrying FHD IPS controllers. The one sold by moe-tech, for example, supports the following screens:

1920×1080 (FHD) Screens

Brand Model Type Finish Colors Brightness Contrast Viewing Angle
AUO B140HAN01.0 AHVA Glossy 16.2m 300 cd/m^2 800:1 89/89/89/89
B140HAN01.1 AHVA Matte, hard 16.2m 300 cd/m^2 700:1 89/89/89/89
B140HAN01.2 AHVA Matte, hard 16.2m 300 cd/m^2 700:1 89/89/89/89
B140HAN01.3 AHVA Matte, hard 16.2m 300 cd/m^2 700:1 89/89/89/89
LG LP140WF1-SPB1 AH-IPS Matte 262k 300 cd/m^2 700:1 85/85/85/85
LP140WF1-SPK1 AH-IPS Matte, hard 262k 300 cd/m^2 700:1 80/80/80/80
Samsung LTN140HL02-B01 PLS Matte, hard 262k ??? ??? 85/85/85/85
BOE NV140FHM-N62 ADS Matte 16.7m 300 cd/m^2 800:1 85/85/85/85
NV140fhm-n41 ADS Matte, hard 262k 250 cd/m^2 800:1 85/85/85/85
Innolux N140HCA-EAC AAS Matte 262k 250 cd/m^2 800:1 89/89/89/89

There are also 40-pin controllers that support 2560×1440, such as this one by e-qstore. It lists the following screens:

2560×1400 (WQHD) Screens

Brand Model Type Finish Colors Brightness Contrast Viewing Angle
AUO B140QAN01.1 AHVA Matte, hard 16.7m 340 cd/m^2 700:1 85/85/85/85
B140QAN01.5 AHVA Matte 16.7m 300cd/m^2 700:1 85/85/85/85
LG LP140QH1-SPB1 IPS Matte 16.7m 300cd/m^2 700:1 85/85/85/85
LP140QH1-SPA2 IPS Glossy 16.7m 300cd/m^2 700:1 85/85/85/85
LP140QH2-SPB1 IPS Matte 16.7m ??? 800:1 85/85/85/85

I chose the AUO B140HAN01.3 from eBay seller neidersch, and the LCD controller from moe-tech. Why that particular screen? Because I wanted a matte finish, and it appears to be identical to the B140HAN01.1, aside from being 0.2mm shallower. Both have been working great for around nine months.

Posted in Hardware, Technology | 2 Comments

Microsoft Symbol Server Configuration for WinDbg

Since I always forget how to configure a symbol cache on a new machine, here’s my configuration. Setting this environmental variable will download symbols from Microsoft’s servers and cache them at E:\symbols:


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Far Cry 5: Only 32 Hours of Story

I finished Far Cry 5’s main story with only 32 hours of game play. I spent a fair amount of time doing side missions, too. I generally see 50 – 70 hours of game play in AAA titles, so I’d rate this a mediocre value. Still better than FC4, though.

Far Cry 5 game play time

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It’s 2017 and Windows 10 Notification Sounds Are Still Obnoxiously Loud

Back in August of 2015, I wrote about how System Notifications in Windows 10 were deafening and ignored System Volume settings.

It’s 2017, and the problem appears to still be there. In fact, it’s even worse, since Dropbox has to notify me every time I take a screenshot (even though I turned off notifications), and Windows chooses to notify me when Windows Defender has not detected any threats.

One very ugly fix is to go into System Sounds and disable the Windows | Notification entry. But I actually want notification sounds, I just don’t want them blasting at full volume.

So, here is my ugly hack: I loaded the “Windows Notify System Generic.wav” file into Audacity, dropped the volume 20dB, and set that as my notification sound.

Here is a link to a ZIP file containing -5dB, -10dB, and -20dB versions of the default system sound. To use them, download the file, extract its contents to C:\Windows\Media, then type “Change System Sounds” into the Start menu, scroll down to ‘Notification’ under ‘Windows’, ‘Browse’, and select the sound file you want:


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Lenovo Thinkpad T420 – Removing Whitelist from BIOS 1.49

I wanted to install an Intel 7260-N WiFi PCIe card into my T420. For this to work, I had to flash a modified BIOS that removes the hardware whitelist. Unfortunately, I had just upgraded to BIOS 1.49, which ostensibly cannot be downgraded.

The solution was to manually call winflash using the sv and sd flags:

winflash.exe /sv /sd 83ET76WW\$01C8000.FL1

The above command assumes that you’re in the bios_mod folder, which is contained in the modified BIOS archive on ThinkWiki.

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PPTP on Lubuntu with PureVPN

I was having problems getting PPTP to work with PureVPN on a Lubuntu VM. I followed PureVPN’s directions, but only one of the four VPNs I created actually worked. The configuration appeared to be identical, based on what the user interface was telling me.

When I looked at the VPN configuration files in /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections, I found a discrepancy. The VPN that worked contained three entries under [vpn] that were missing from the other files:


Once I added these entries, the PPTP connections worked as expected.

Posted in Linux, Network, Technology | Leave a comment