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Vista Search Crash Resolved

Monday, September 29th, 2008 at 1:30 pm

I have been using Vista on my work machine for the last six months, and have generally been happy with it. The only big problem I have had was that the Start Menu search, which is one of Vista’s best new features, would seemingly randomly crash explorer.exe. I finally got tired of this and decided to track down the problem.

It turns out that it was Adobe Version Cue CS3 causing the problem, the Version Cue control panel app to be precise. Any time I would do a search that would return the control panel app for Adobe Version Cue CS3, explorer.exe would crash out. In practice this meant anytime I started to search for something that started with A, C, or V, which is why I thought it was random for so long.

I found a couple of hits on google that talk about the problem, and the solution is to uninstall Version Cue. There are a couple of problems with this, you could want to have Version Cue installed (does anyone actually use it?), but more importantly, the uninstall failed on my machine. I probably could have removed and re-installed the whole CS3 suite, but that’s way too much trouble.

Instead, I tracked down the registry entry in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Control Panel\Cpls called Adobe Version Cue CS3 and deleted it. This removed the broken control panel app and left the rest of the program intact.

Hopefully in the future MS will fix it so that a rogue CPL can’t crash explorer.exe, and Adobe will fix their application so it plays nice with Vista.

Xavin’s List Subpages Released

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008 at 7:50 pm

I released my first WordPress plugin today, Xavin’s List Subpages. It’s a fairly simple shortcode wrapper over a wordpress function, but I use it extensively on this website.

I’m getting close to being ready to release the plugin I use to make the review rating stars on this site also.

90210 Pilot Review

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008 at 11:13 pm

I have to admit, I got hooked watching the early seasons of the original 90210 one summer during high school. While it wasn’t great television, it did have that soap opera “I have to find out what happens next” quality, and without it we wouldn’t have gotten great shows like Buffy, The O.C., and Veronica Mars. When I heard they were going to re-imagine it, I, like everyone else, figured it was going to suck. What put it on my watch list was when I heard that Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah were going to be the showrunners. They are partially responsible for Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared, and they created the underrated Life as We Know It.

Teen dramas tend to be mediocre, and write down to their audience. The really good ones either elevate the necessarily angsty and overdramatic plots with clever writing and truthfulness like Freaks and Geeks and The O.C., or they have a unique hook that puts the drama into perspective, like the supernatural in Buffy and detecting in Veronica Mars. 90210 is aiming for the former, and makes a good start of it. This is a review of the first two episodes, shown together as a two hour pilot.

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Prison Break 4×01 and 4×02 Review

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008 at 12:24 am

Prison Break has been a very uneven show. Most of the first season was good, but the second season was horrible. The third season managed to recover somewhat, and get good again near the end. Of course, the main problem is that you can only break out of maximum security prisons so many times before it gets old and contrived, and/or they just lock you in a hole.

Season four starts by wiping away most of what they set up at the end of season three. Everyone is out of prison, some of the non-core characters from the last season get killed or sent away, and Sara turns out to be alive. While I’m not a big fan of retconning out significant events, I think the show is better with Sara, and the way they brought her back was believable enough I’ll give them a pass this time.

Rather than trying to escape, or being on the run, this time they are assembled, working as an off the books unit for Homeland Security trying to take down “the company” (possibly the stupidest conspiracy name ever). It works well in the first two episodes so far, and they manage to keep the pace up, which has been a problem for the show in the past. It’s a good setup, since it means they are trying to break into places rather than out of them. They also have almost everyone in the same place, which works a lot better than the scattered stories of the previous seasons.

I was pleasantly surprised by how good the first two episodes were, and how well the new setup works. They could easily keep it going for at least a season without getting old.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Alias – A Retrospective Review

Monday, September 1st, 2008 at 3:26 pm

Watching Alias during it’s original run was a frustrating process. In the beginning, every show ended in a cliffhanger. Later, the pacing and quality faltered, which led to long periods of disappointment. Despite that, it was amazing when everything managed to come together. I recently watched the entire series in marathon format for the first time since it aired, here are my thoughts. Spoilers for each season follow, I strongly suggest not reading any more if you haven’t seen the show and plan to.

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Fringe Pilot

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008 at 2:28 am

Fringe is basically X-Files spun through the J.J. Abrams (Alias, Lost, MI3) machine. This is a very solid and cinematic pilot, with a very un-TV feel. It’s J.J. Abrams’ best pilot since Alias, much better than the uneven Lost pilot. The setup for the show is a very strong monster of the week/unknown conspiracy formula, with a lot of room for character growth and plot arc progression. They also seemed to be hinting at something like the Singularity, which would be very cool if done right.

All of the actors do a great job, especially Lance Reddick, essentially playing Daniels from The Wire as a Homeland Security agent. Even though the science is pretty out there, the show manages to keep a feeling of high realism throughout, much more so than Lost for example. It also manages to hold on to an unsettling ambiance very unusual for a TV show.

I am cautiously optimistic about the show, even though Abrams shows have a track record of starting off fantastically and then falling off the horse in a season or two. If they can manage to pace the revelations well (and make them interesting and believable) while developing the characters, this show could have a good long run. Hopefully the monster of the week element will give them focus where they were unable to find it in Alias and Lost. It does bode well that quite a few of the questions brought up earlier in the pilot were answered by the end, maybe they have learned from their mistakes.

This is definitely on my must watch list.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

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