Toys for Iceland

I bought a Sony Action Cam a couple of years ago to use on my bicycle.  It’s a pretty good camera but a bit underused these days.  With our upcoming Ring Road adventure in Iceland and having seen some really good video compilations done by others I decided to spend a few bucks and buy some Action Cam accessories so I can feel like a proper Spielberg during the trip.

To add to the assorted accessories I already own I bought three new items.  The first item is the must-have Sony Action Cam Monopod.  Not to be confused with a selfie-stick this is clearly a monopod for action.  It’s got a couple of segments that will let me extend it about three and a half feet and it has a spongy hand grip as well as a strap to wrap around my wrist so I don’t drop it into a volcano or geyser.


Item number two is the versatile extended clamp for clamping to such things as internal car fixtures and assorted clamp-able items in nature.  It’s pretty sturdy gear and should be up to the task of providing stable clamp-age.


Item number three should be super fun.  To round off the accessories I bought myself an Action Cam suction cup mount.  This thing is designed to grab securely to flat surfaces like car hoods and fenders.  It’ll either generate some fun footage or we’ll make a stop along the way and wonder where we lost it. : )  Stand by for the action!!


Seat Pak by Flight 001

In my never ending quest for interesting gadgets and cool doodads and stuff I recently came across one of those cool “you’ve never heard of these guys before” companies that sells travel items that are just super cool and useful.  The company is called Flight 001 and has locations in all the groovy cities around the world as well as the usual online location.


The item itself is called the F1 Seat Pak and comes in two types, Pro and standard, with eight colour options.  It’s essentially a super handy organizer with assorted pockets to carry all of the critical items the traveler needs close at hand when taking a journey by plane.  Mind you, I can see this being handy for use on the train as well.

What you get is a well made, expandable fabric pouch divided into compartments for typical travel items.  On the back is a larger zippered pocket labelled Jet Comfort where you might store your inflatable neck rest, an eye mask, ear plugs, etc.

Jet Comfort

On the front are three zippered pockets.  The first is labelled Digital for your music player, cell phone, a small camera, etc.  The second is labelled Travel ID for your passport, wallet, customs documents, etc.  The third is labelled Aerostuff and could be used for gum, more earplugs, hand cream/hand sanitizer, etc.

On the end of the bag is a small loop perfect for hooking the bag onto the tray table latch on the seat in front of you while in flight (or on the train) thus providing easy access to all your necessaries without having to dig through a bag in the overhead compartment or strain to reach something from the bag under the seat.


I haven’t had the opportunity to use this yet, I purchased a pair for our upcoming trip to Iceland, but its clear that this is going to be very useful.  I’ll add an update once we get back.

Prevent a Windows Driver Update from Reinstalling in Windows 10

I have a laser printer at home.  It’s an HP LaserJet Professional CP1025NW.  It’s a dandy colour printer.  When I want to use it with my Windows 10 computers I go to the HP support webpage and download the appropriate driver and go from there.  For some reason Windows wants to install the HP LaserJet Professional CP1020 series driver which must have something related to the CP1025NW driver.  It never properly installed on my Windows 8.1 computers and it’s now doing the same thing with the Windows 10 computers I have.  Every time new updates are released Windows 10 tries with all its might to install that CP1020 driver and every time it results in this:

update status driver problem

What I would like to do is uncheck the requirement/option that insists on updating this particular driver.  Sadly, this isn’t available to me.  I can understand why that is.  Microsoft is doing its best to protect people who run with scissors.  Budding trapeze artists who use no safety net.  I had a chat the other day with one of the smart people I work with about my printer driver dilemma and he pointed me to this support article KB3073930. There are a couple of excellent suggestions in the article but there’s also an actual work around to “make it stop” trying to install the driver.

When you download and run the wushowhide.diagcab file available on the support article page it does a quick scan of your machine and presents you with the option to Show or hide updates.

004 - update status driver problem

I selected Hide updates and was presented with a list of drivers including the “offending” driver.

005 - update status driver problem

I selected the driver and click next and the wizard begins “Resolving problems”.  The wizard completes and resolves the problem.  If the situation changes with that driver I can always rerun the wizard and Show hidden updates to allow Windows to update it successfully.

007 - update status driver problem

Virtual Memory

Soooo Slooooow

Four days ago I noticed a serious drop in performance on my five year old Dell Studio laptop.  An uncomfortable change in behavior was happening that appeared to be coming out of the blue.  The system would degrade to the point where it was almost unusable.  CPU stats would climb to 42% in Task Manager and stick there.  The fan would jump to full power and stay there.

I went over what I might have changed or installed: a new password database application, and update to WinZip, some Microsoft updates, beta Firefox.  Nothing really that should have caused the drag in performance that I was seeing.  Symantec?  I downloaded and installed MalwareBytes to scan for malware or anything malicious that might be present.  Its been a really long time, years, since I’ve had any sort of virus issue so I wasn’t really surprised when the scans came back negative.

Next I looked at the hardware.  Had something failed?  I ran the diagnostics on the hardware and everything responded as ok.  Wow, weird.  So next I decided to remove the newer software, starting with the Firefox, and see if perhaps one of the new programs was causing the discomfort.  No such luck.  Uninstalled it and a couple of older programs I no longer use, did a clean up of the disk, installed CPUID’s HW Monitor to get an idea of how the hardware was behaving.  The exhaust port was hot to the touch. The cpu seemed to be throwing off a lot of heat.  HW Monitor told me the cpu was super hot, the cores were all pinned at 100%.  Without running anything the cpu was being taxed like crazy.

Digging around online I found a few articles pointing to the weird 42% cpu thing but nothing that seemed related to my situation.  Last night I found something different.  There are a couple, more than a couple, of references to changes in how virtual memory is managed by Windows 10.  This is something I haven’t changed in ages, Windows has been doing a good job of managing this.  I don’t know what changed it but it definitely changed.  So, I right click Start, select System, select Advanced system settings, select Settings under Performance on the Advanced tab.  Select the Advanced tab on Performance Options and click Change on the Virtual Memory option.  I uncheck the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives option and set the Custom size to the Recommended option at the bottom.  Close everything up, reboot the laptop, and everything is back to normal.

I can only imagine that when the last set of updates were applied it maybe reset something?  I’m going to watch it for a few days then try and switch it back and see what it does.  Weird.



Not Helpful

I have successfully updated three of the Windows 10 machines here at home but the fourth, the one I use regularly and often, just won’t go.  From what I see online the problem is related to the installation of the Windows DVD player KB3081704 which appears to be successfully installed on this computer.  Interestingly I see the updates download and run and appear to go to 100% before they crap out.  I haven’t seen the November update yet on this machine.  I’m not a big fan of the way Microsoft is presenting the details of the updates.  The “learn more” and “details” links provide fairly useless information.  I’m hoping this changes.  If Microsoft is going to provide more frequent updates in the background to keep Windows 10 current it would be super useful if they also provide lots of details of what’s being updated and why.