Archive

Archive for the ‘Hacks/Tricks’ Category

iTunes Crashes On “Determining Song Volume” [Fixed]

Sunday September 6, 2009 2 comments

Introduction

Today I downloaded a couple podcasts into iTunes (QuackCast and Psychology Podcast). After completing the download, I ran into a problem. iTunes crashed when the “Determining Song Volume” process started.

iTunes determines the song volume when “Sound Check” is enabled. This ensures that all your songs play at the same volume.

So, not only did iTunes crash when I completed downloading the podcasts, but it would immediately crash as soon as I tried to start it up again. It would attempt to determine the song volume of the new podcasts and immediately crash.

I tried restarting the computer, and still nothing. Instant crash as soon as I opened up iTunes.

It turns out that iTunes isn’t entirely stable on multi-core processors. A quick search online revealed exactly what the problem was. iTunes needs to run on 1 processor core, at least when running the “Sound Check” process.

The Solution

It turns out that it’s possible to set individual programs to only use a certain number of processor cores. And that’s what I did with iTunes.

Here’s how you do it.

  1. When iTunes attempts to start up, try to hit the little ‘x’ next to “Determining Song Volume” to cancel that process. It may take a few tries to click it before iTunes crashes.
  2. Next, in iTunes, go into Edit/Preferences/Playback tab. Disable “Sound Check.”
  3. Open up the Task Manager (CTRL + Shift + Esc). Open up the “Processes” tab and right-click on iTunes. Select “Set Affinity…” And be sure only 1 core is selected (CPU0, 1, 2, 3, etc – depending on how many cores your computer has.).
  4. You can now go back into iTunes and enable “Sound Check.”

That’s it. iTunes should determine the song volume of your newly imported music and you’ll be all set.

You can also find these instructions here.

Virtual Pool 3 Has Stopped Working [Error 0xc0000005]

Saturday July 11, 2009 6 comments

Before I begin, I should mention that I’m using Windows Vista Home Premium, 32-bit.

So I’ve been dabbling in my old PC games as of late. Namely Virtual Pool 3 – a classic.

I’ve been playing it for a while. But, all of a sudden it stopped working. As soon as I click the game to start playing, I get a message popping up saying “Virtual Pool 3 Has Stopped Working.” After Windows checks for a solution it says…

A problem caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available.

With no obvious solution being found on the internet, I’m left with writing this blog entry; a plea for help.

For anyone who’s got some programming chops or has some deep understanding of the inner workings of the Windows Vista operating system, I’ve done a little bit of research on the problem.

Going into the Control Panel under Administrative Tools, looking at the Event Viewer, I’ve found a few logs with details about this error. It says I’ve encountered an “exception code 0xc0000005.” To be more specific, here’s exactly what the log entry says…

Faulting application vp3.exe, version 3.3.1.1, time stamp 0x47e6ca05, faulting module vp3.exe, version 3.3.1.1, time stamp 0x47e6ca05, exception code 0xc0000005, fault offset 0x003ecb0f, process id 0x1350, application start time 0x01ca028518c059e5.

And, for a touch more information, here’s a screen shot of the debugging information involved with this error. I don’t know if it helps or not, but more info is better than less. (Click the picture for a larger image.)

vp3debug

Each time I try to run Virtual Pool 3, I get this error in the Event Viewer. It’s quite frustrating. I’m usually pretty handy at solving computer problems, but this has got me hacked. I’ve tried all different settings in the “Compatibility” tab. I’ve tried all the options on the Virtual Pool 3 Support Page.

I’ve completely uninstalled the program via Vista Manager, with its Smart Uninstaller which removes all registry entries and any leftover files that may be hanging around after the uninstall procedure.

Still nothing.

So, if there’s anyone out there with more information about this error, I’d be greatly appreciative if you could leave a comment with your suggestions as to how to fix this error! I know this is an old game, but it’s the best pool simulator out there… as far as I know. I’d really like to be able to play it again.

Read a book! It’s good for you.

An Open Letter To Apple [Please Fix Error 4450!]

Sunday June 7, 2009 17 comments

Shortly following my posting of this entry, through the insight of those who left comments on my original entry, as well as from those sending me email comments, I’ve come to realize that I may have been hasty to place the entire blame of this “Error 4450” solely on Apple.

Here is what I originally wrote…

To Whom It May Concern At Apple, Inc.,

On my blog, I write mainly about philosophy, religion, skepticism, science and the like. But, by far, the most popular post on my entire blog is the post in which I discuss an error that occurs in iTunes – the dreaded “Error 4450.” In fact, my post is the first post to come up on Google when searching for “Error 4450.”

This error pops up when burning CD’s in iTunes. At different (seemingly random) times during the burning process, the disc will eject and a message will pop up saying that the burn process has failed, relating that the cause is “Error 4450.”

The “Comments” section of my post is filled with frustrated users searching for answers. People have tried everything from registry scanners, to different brands of CD-R’s, to disc drive lens cleaners. Nothing works.

On the Apple Support website, there is no official response to this problem. Then we go to the Support Forum portion of the site and we find countless users experiencing this same problem, with not a single bit of help offered from you, Apple!

In fact, Apple, you’ve been completely silent on this “Error 4450” issue. The name implies that it bears some type of significance. Your programmers must know something about this. And yet, as I’ve said, you remain silent on the entire issue. Do you intend on ignoring this issue indefinitely? Until we get frustrated enough to go out and find another media player that works better than iTunes?

Overall, I am happy with iTunes. But, to the degree that people have complained about this issue and, to their dismay, there having been nothing done about it whatsoever, I’m beginning to wonder if you (Apple, Inc.) aren’t taking your customers for granted. Have you become comfortable in your position?

It seems to me that it wouldn’t take much to solve this issue. Just a little attention and some debugging skills.

With that being said, I’m speaking for everyone who’s had this problem. Please, Apple, fix Error 4450, or at least let us know what’s going on with this problem and offer some type of help for those who are experiencing this problem.

Thank You.

P.S.

Please, don’t give us something ignorant like “uninstall and reinstall” because we all know this is a cop-out and does not fix the problem. We’ve all done this countless times before.

For those of you who are experiencing this error, I would recommend filing a bug report, even if you’ve already done so. You can do this in iTunes by going to this link. From this site you can provide Apple with useful information about your situation and the circumstances surrounding the occurrence of “Error 4450.” Under “Feedback Type” select “Bug Report.”

As I’ve said before on this blog, my main purpose for writing is to contribute to the wealth of information on the internet, to help make the internet a place where useful information can be found. I also think that, as one who values truth and intellectual honesty, it would only be right for me to acknowledge that I was wrong about my original post.

So, to conclude, thanks to everyone who brought my attention to where my arguments were flawed.

Windows Cannot Open This Program… [Fixed]

Tuesday June 2, 2009 4 comments

Introduction

software restriction

“Windows cannot open this program because it has been prevented by a software restriction policy.” If you’re reading this, you’re more than likely intimately familiar with this message popping up on your screen. I’m also willing to bet that you’re pretty frustrated with trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Well, help has arrived.

I think what surprised me the most about this issue is how simple the fix is. I’d done a lot of searching on the internet, and every solution involved setting up group security policies, using a program called gpupdate.exe, and a slew of other options; none of which resolved the issue.

The Solution

Now on to the simple solution (I’m assuming you’re using Windows Vista Home Premium). In the Start Menu, click “Default Programs.” Next, click “Set Program Access and Computer Defaults.”

Now, scroll down to the “custom” box and check that. It will drop down a menu, giving a list of programs. Look for the heading “Choose a default media player:.” To the right of these programs, you’ll see a list of boxes saying, “Enable access to this program.”

All you have to do is locate Windows Media Center, or whatever program is giving you the headache, and click “Enable access to this program.” That’s it. You now have access!

I hope this helps!

Read a book. It’s good for you.

XBox 360 Error 51-C00DF236 Fixed [Play Videos Offline]

Sunday May 24, 2009 103 comments

The Annoying Introduction

If you’ve found this entry from a search engine, you’re probably at your wits end with trying to solve this issue. You’re trying to play a video file on your XBox 360, but it won’t let you watch it unless you’re signed on to XBox Live.

You attempt to play the video, but unless you’re signed on to XBox Live, you get a message saying you need to download an update in order for the video to play; an update that you’ve already (countless times) downloaded. Well, that’s not exactly the problem. In fact, that’s not the problem at all.

This all has to do with Microsoft’s annoying DRM (Digital Rights Management) practices. I’ll give you my story, and I’m willing to bet yours is similar. I got my first XBox 360 about 4 years ago. It finally died on me a couple months ago. Obviously, a 4 year-old XBox is not under warrantee any longer. So, I went out and bought another one. Kept my hard drive and stuck it on my new XBox.

Now, Microsoft’s sneaky little trick is that they only allow your videos to be played on the original XBox that you set your gamertag up on. Let’s call my original XBox that I purchased 4 years ago “XBox A,” and my new XBox will be called “XBox B.” Each XBox has a unique “Console ID” number. A long string of numbers uniquely identifying your particular XBox.

Because I initially set up my gamertag on XBox A, when I attempted to play videos on XBox B, Microsoft realized that I was playing videos on an “Unauthorized” XBox that I had not originally set my gamertag up on. So, obviously they had to weasel their way into my life and keep me from watching videos in a convenient manner – meaning I had to be signed in to XBox Live in order to watch anything.

That’s not to say there isn’t a fix, because there is. And here’s how to do it…

The Solution

Microsoft has a site where you can “Transfer Content Licenses to a New Console.” It’d be nice if something like this was mentioned on the XBox error message. It could possibly save a lot of anger and frustration.

From this site, you get all the instructions on how to transfer your “license” to watch your own videos on your own XBox! So much for “Digital Rights.” More like Digital TYRANNY! No wonder torrent sites are so popular. All of the content with none of the restrictions.

Anyway, that’s the fix. You have to go to that site and transfer your license to your new XBox.

Hope this helps!

Videos Have No Sound On XBox 360 [Fixed]

Sunday May 24, 2009 64 comments

So, last night I was trying to watch an AVI video file from a USB flash drive on my XBox 360. For some reason, no matter what I did with the audio settings (on the XBox or the television), I couldn’t get any audio. The video worked fine.

Another strange thing I noticed was that the audio portion of the intro that plays when the XBox is turned on was no longer playing. I still had sound effects on the Dashboard, and games behaved normally. A real puzzler.

I should mention that my XBox is connected to my TV via HDMI. And this brings me to the solution of this issue.

After spending about a half-hour fiddling with the audio settings, I finally determined that it’s got to be something with the HDMI cable. Something to do with audio compatibility. So, I went downstairs and grabbed my HD cables that come with the XBox and hooked it up. Voila! Fully functional sound!

I’m not sure on the details of this, but it probably has something to do with the audio codec configuration and sound compatibility with HDMI. When using the standard HD cables that came with the XBox, the sound works normally.

That’s what I’ve been able to conclude. If you have additional information, leave it in the “Comments” section.

Update as of 7/19/2009

I’ve discovered that actually turning the television off and back on resolves the issue. So, it appears this could be a television issue and not an XBox issue.

Prevent Your Console Window From Closing [C++ Programming]

Sunday May 3, 2009 4 comments

Introduction

First off, I’ll state that this solution has only been tested on Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 while writing a Visual C++ program. I don’t know how well it will work with other platforms, or in other situations. With that being said, let’s get into a description of the problem, and the solution.

When writing programs, it’s essential to run them in order to check for problems (debugging). If it’s a console application, a console window will pop up in which your program will run.

Let’s say, using a simple example, you’re writing the legendary “Hello World” application. You write your program, and then you run it. The problem arises when you run the program. You barely catch a glimpse of the window displaying “Hello World” when it immediately closes.

Not-So Solutions

There have been several solutions offered online. Usually, these solutions involve adding lines of code to your program, such as cin.get(), system(“pause”), or something similar. These solutions are rather cumbersome and unnecessary when taking into account that your program is not meant to be run from a developer environment. The end user isn’t going to need that type of code in the program. It is unnecessary and inefficient.

The Real Solution

Surprisingly, the fix for this problem is very simple. I found that when I ran my programs, I always hit the “Play” button on the Debug toolbar. That green arrow actually means “Start Debugging.”

If you press Ctrl+F5, or, in the “Debug” menu click “Start Without Debugging” when you want to run your program, the console window will not automatically close after your program is finished. You will get the “Press Any Key To Continue…” message. Voila!!

Problem solved. I hope this helps!

Read a book. It’s good for you.

Categories: All, Hacks/Tricks, Programming