Fixing Broken VMware Shared Folders in Kubuntu/Ubuntu (f_dentry and d_alias errors)

I recently installed Kubuntu 14.04 LTS (3.19.0-25) 64-bit in a VMware virtual machine. After doing an apt- get upgrade, Shared Folders stopped working. When attempting to build and install VMware Tools, I saw compilation errors relating to f_dentry and d_alias.

I fixed this using rasa's VMware Tools patcher. It's a slick tool that automatically applies appropriate patches to the VMware Tools distribution.

Before using the script, I selected Install VMware Tools from the VMware menu. For whatever reason, the VM used /media/username/VMware Tools/, and only after I selected "Open with File Manager" from the Kubuntu popup.

The exact commands I used on a fresh install were:

cd ~
tar xvzf /media/username/VMware\ Tools\VMwareTools-9.6.5-2700074.tar-gz

sudo apt-get install git
git clone
cd vmware-tools-patches
mv ../vmware-tools-distrib .

cd vmware-tools-distrib
sudo ./ --default

Looking back at the rasa code repository, it looks like I didn't need to do all those steps. Instead, this should work on a clean install:

cd ~
sudo apt-get install git
git clone
cd vmware-tools-patches
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Convert FLAC to MP3 on Linux

This is the script I use to convert FLAC files to MP3. After converting, it moves all the FLAC files into a subdirectory named .flac:


# Converts all FLAC files in the current folder to high-quality VBR MP3s.
# Moves all .flac files into a folder named .flac.

for f in *.flac; do  
    ffmpeg -i "$f" -qscale:a 0 "${f[@]/%flac/mp3}"

mkdir .flac
mv *.flac .flac/

echo Done.

This script requires ffmpeg. Install using:

sudo apt-get install ffmpeg


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Windows 10 Bug: ‘System Sounds’ Volume Gets Loud on UAC and Notifications


Running the retail/release version of Windows 10, every time I got a UAC prompt or 'toast' notification, the notification sound would be at full volume. I'd go into the Volume Mixer, run it down to around 5%, and sure enough, the next notification ding would be ear-piercing again.

I've found one other person reporting the same bug on a pre-release version.


I've found that leaving the Volume Mixer window open prevents the issue from occurring. Then again, after a few test cycles, I stopped getting ANY System Sounds at all...

Other Details

I use a Creative USB Sound Blaster HD and have all other audio output devices disabled. I don't know if this affects the issue.

Posted in Technology, Windows | 1 Comment

How to Remap Windows Key on Kinesis Classic Keyboard

My Kinesis Classic doesn't have a Windows key (well, technically it does, but it's embedded in the 'keypad' map Print Screen). I like to remap the Insert key to the Windows key. Here's how to do it:

  1. Press the Keypad key
  2. Press Program + F12
  3. Press Print Screen
  4. Press the Keypad key
  5. Press the Insert key
  6. Press Program + F12

If you omit step 4, then the Insert key will only be mapped to the Windows key when they Keypad map is active (where "Keypad map" means the alternative keymap that becomes active when you hit 'Keypad'. By default it turns the right half of the keyboard into a numeric keypad).

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Closing One-Off Tags in HTML5?

I wasn't sure whether I needed to close my meta tags in HTML5. And br tags, for that matter. People call them one-off tags, unpaired tags, self-closing, monotags, bachelor tags, among others.

They're called void elements.

According to W3C, the void elements are: area, base, br, col, embed, hr, img, input, keygen, link, meta, param, source, track, wbr.

Under "8.1.2 Elements":

Void elements can't have any contents (since there's no end tag, no content can be put between the start tag and the end tag).

Under " Start tags" it says:

Then, if the element is one of the void elements, or if the element is a foreign element, then there may be a single "/" (U+002F) character. This character has no effect on void elements, but on foreign elements it marks the start tag as self-closing.

So, "/>" has no effect on a meta tag. Or any other void element. But it is not invalid to put it there.

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WTF is a “Desktop Device App”

Apparently you now have to run the Windows App Certification Kit (WACK) on the software executables you publish in order to avoid a moderately scary warning from Windows SmartScreen.

Upon running WACK, you're presented with four options:


  • Validate Windows Store App

  • Validate Windows Phone App

  • Validate Desktop App

  • Validate Desktop Device App

All of them seem pretty self-explanatory, except for the last one, "Validate Desktop Device App". It's described as "Test a desktop device app for compliance with value-added software requirements". Huh?

Searching Microsoft and MSDN for the phrase "value-added software requirements" turns up zero results. Searching for just "value-added software" (isn't all software value-added?) led me to this post on Raymond Chen's The Old New Thing blog which indicates that "value-added software" is the crapware/shovelware that's pre-installed on computers bought at, say, Best Buy.

I really wish Microsoft would focus less on consistent branding and more on actually explaining things. Incidentally, I gagged a little bit when I read the phrase "Validate Desktop App".

Posted in Technology, Windows | Leave a comment

Minimal Steps to Fake Authenticode Signature (Self-Signing)

Here are the minimum steps required to self-sign an executable for development and testing:

makecert -sv mykey.pvk -n "CN=MyCompany" -len 2048 mycert.cer -r
pvk2pfx -pvk mykey.pvk -spc mycert.cer -pfx mycert.pfx -po mypassword

Note: You'll be prompted to create a certificate password and it must match whatever you supply to pvk2pfx with the -po switch.

To sign an executable, use:

signtool sign /f mycert.pfx /t /v executable.exe

Note: once you have a real code signing certificate, you'll use whatever timestamp server your provider gives you. Comodo works fine for self-signing testing purposes.

To automatically sign a binary at build-time in Visual Studio, add go to your Project Settings | Build Events | Post-Build Event, and add something like this to the Command Line setting:

signtool sign /f MyCertificatePath\mycert.pfx /p mypassword /t /v $(TargetPath)

Explanation of makecert command:

-sv Specifies the private key file.

-n Specifies the certificate name.

-len Generated key length, in bits. This StackOverflow answer indicates that Microsoft released an update blocking certificates with keys under 1024 bits long.

-r Specifies self-signed, i.e. not a root certificate.

Posted in Technology, Windows | Leave a comment

Enabling uiAccess in Visual Studio C++ Projects

After spending too much time fiddling with my project's Manifest Tool settings, trying to import an "Additional Manifest File", I realized the solution was actually really simple. Under Project Settings | Linker | Manifest File, there is a simple dropdown for "UAC Bypass UI Protection" which sets uiAccess to true.


Posted in C++, Technology, Windows | Leave a comment

Windows Console and Double/Multi Byte Character Set

The Windows Console doesn't support Unicode. It does, however, support Double Byte Character Sets using Code Pages. By changing the system locale, the Console can display Japanese, Korean, and Chinese text:

Code Page 932, Japanese file names and Unicode file content work correctly, UTF-8 file content is gibberish.


UTF-8 and UTF-16 are types of Unicode. However, it's common on Windows to refer to UTF-16 as Unicode, and UTF-8 as UTF-8. I will follow this convention. DBCS (Double Byte Character Set) is the only type of MBCS (Multi Byte Character Set) supported by legacy (i.e. non-Unicode) Windows applications. Japanese, Chinese, and Korean are supported via DBCS encodings. None of these DBCS encodings are Unicode, and all of them are proprietary Microsoft implementations of other standards.

Code Pages Supported by Windows

Windows supports four Double Byte Character Set code pages:

  • 932 (Japanese Shift-JIS)
  • 936 (Simplified Chinese GBK)
  • 949 (Korean)
  • 950 (Traditional Chinese Big5)

The available code pages are determined by your System Locale. If your System Locale is set to "English (United States)", then these code pages will be unavailable to you. In this post, I will only be covering Japanese, since it's the only language with which I have any familiarity. The steps and results would be similar for the other languages.

How to Change System Locale

To change your system locale, go into "Change date, time, or number formats":

StartMenu_ChangeDateTime Select the Administrative tab, and click on "Change system locale". Select the new system locale, click OK, and reboot. The system must be rebooted to change the system locale:


Windows Console Font and Code Page

The font typically recommended for Japanese output is MS Gothic. I have, however, found that Japanese text displays with the Terminal font selected, but it's entirely possible that the UI is lying to me.

To change the Windows Console code page, use the chcp command. chcp with no arguments will display the active code page.

Code Page 932 (Japanese Shift-JIS)

With the code page set to 932 (Japanese Shift-JIS), the path separator character will change into the Yen symbol (because only the backslash and tilde characters differ from ASCII in the lower 7-bits of Shift-JIS). Japanese file names will display in Japanese, as will text saved as Unicode. Japanese text saved as UTF-8 will display as gibberish:


Code Page 65001 (UTF-8)

I have found that it will sometimes work to set the code page to 65001 (UTF-8). Japanese filenames, Japanese Unicode file content, and Japanese UTF-8 content will all three display, as shown below. However, when I experimented with this it stopped working after changing fonts and code pages a few times. My final impression is that it should work, but that the Console has some bugs in this regard.


Here's a screen shot of the Console after code page 65001 stopped working as expected: Code Page 65001 (UTF-8), Japanese output stopped working


Posted in Technology, Windows | Leave a comment

Add Day of Week To Taskbar

Do you want to see the day of week displayed on the Windows Taskbar clock?

Day of Week on Taskbar Clock

Go to the Start Menu and open "Change date, time, or number formats"


In the Region dialog, on the Formats tab, click on "Additional settings..."


In the Customize Format dialog, click on the Date tab. In the "Short date" text box, add 'ddd' for the abbreviated day (e.g. Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed), or 'dddd' for the full day name:


Given that, chances are, you know what year it is, there's not much point in showing it on the Taskbar. Consider using "ddd M/d" instead:

Taskbar - Day of week with no year

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