Adventures in trying to play Minecraft

Despite its huge popularity I have never played Minecraft, but was recently asked to join a server for the Java version and I thought why not give it ago!

I ran the MinecraftInstaller.exe and it dumped itself into C:\XboxGames without prompt! What the hell Microsoft? After finding it has no other option, I uninstalled it and switched to the ‘MultiMC’ launcher, a fantastic tool which solves this problem, but adds its own complications.

I needed Java, which is fragmented these days from Oracle being dicks. So went to the recommended Azul site, chose the ‘zip’ version to download, extracted to my game drive and pointed MultiMC to it. Next in MultiMC settings, Accounts, linked my Microsoft account. Finally added an ‘Instance’ of the ‘1.20.1’ version I needed, ran the game and created my first Minecraft world!

Now to make it pretty, I was recommended BSL shaders, but they have a dependency on a mod called ‘Optifine’ and its a JAR installer that expects the crappy official launcher. To solve this you need ‘Fabric’ a mod tool and ‘Optifabric’ that allows the installer to be directly loaded. Fabric is built into MultiMC, you just need to edit an instance, select ‘Version’ on left, ‘Install Fabric’ on right. Searching ‘Optifabric’ took me to CurseForge but their big download button gave me an old incompatible version, instead I needed to select a Minecraft version on the right of the site to get the correct download.

Also in edit instance, you can select ‘Loader mods’ on left, ‘View folder’ on right to open your mods folder, this is where I added ‘OptiFine_1.20.1_HD_U_I5.jar’ and ‘optifabric-1.13.25.jar’ before running the game and confirming I had a new Shaders option in Video Settings.

The Shader option has a handy ‘Shaders Folder’ button, which I could then add my ‘’ into and finally enable the shader. After admiring transparent water, I noticed everything looked super hazy or foggy. The solution was Video Settings, Shaders, Shader Options, Camera, set Bloom OFF.

Now I just have to learn how to actually play the game 😀

Back from the dead…

I shut the site down quickly after a CMS vulnerability had been exploited, but what started as waiting for a hotfix turned into six years. While it was great that people found my code useful, I was mentally burdened trying to keep it updated and supported, especially for code I no longer needed myself. The site being down gave me a sense of freedom to focus on other parts of my life.

Occasionally I would have a fleeting desire for a space to post my thoughts, or solution to an obscure issue, stuff that didn’t quite fit into StackOverflow or Reddit. Finally I sat down and worked out how to convert the old CMS data to WordPress.

And here we are… Welcome again to my small corner of the internet.

Office 365 Issues

Currently going through a large Office 365 migration and so here are a few issues I encountered and their solution.

– Problem: The 365 Portal ( 365 App Launcher ) is missing Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc icons, even though 'Office Online' licenses have been assigned.
– Cause: Admin Center, SharePoint, Settings, 'OneDrive for Business' was set to Hide. The option hides icons for all related services.

– Problem: For OneDrive, Word, etc, the 'Share' and 'Invite People' is missing the Share button, even though sharing is enabled in the SharePoint settings.
– Cause: FireFox / Chrome AdBlocker was blocking the button, disabled AdBlock for the domain and reloaded the page.

GTA 5 Memory Benchmark

My current PC is a pretty fast 4.4Ghz I5 and Titan X. For a long time I have been running with 8GB of RAM, and even with the minimum page file, have not felt the need to upgrade as no game came close to using it.

Well GTA 5 changed that, and with my VirtualBox usage, I thought it would be a good time to upgrade, move the 8GB into another system and get a 16GB pair at a faster clock speed.

But would the upgrade actually improve GTA 5? Running the included benchmark using my preferred quality settings:

Corsair 8GB DDR3 1600mhz CL9 – Average FPS: 80.7 – Frames above 60 FPS: 94% 91% 99% 99% 90%
Corsair 16GB DDR3 2400mhz CL11 – Average FPS: 84.4 – Frames above 60 FPS: 97% 97% 99% 99% 96%

So the answer is yes, only slightly, but enough to help keep the FPS above the important 60 mark.

Happy 2016

Just realised I have not posted any news for a whole year! I am still alive and have posted little updates for tools.

The main reason for the quiet is that the majority of my day at work is taking up with projects and C# coding, so when I get home my brain just wants to switch off and watch something funny on TV or play some co-op with friends.

In the few moments where I do feel like doing something, it's usually VR related, I am just starting to tinker with Unity 5, I tried UE4 for a bit and while it's powerful, the learning curve with C++ and Blueprints for a hobby project was too much, where with Unity, the familiarity of the language meant I quickly picked things up, and it was fun!

This means that a lot of my PHP stuff is in limbo, but luckily there are good people who are taking the time to share
updates on the forum with others, so I try my best to keep the site up and clear of spam.

16 bit Windows Subsystem

At work, all desktops use the 64-bit version of Windows 7, but we still have some legacy 16-bit applications.
As XP support is ending, we are using VMWare View to provide 16-bit apps on a virtual 32-bit Windows 7 desktop.
For one of the applications we had this error:

config.nt. The system file is not suitable for running MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows applications. Choose 'Close' to terminate the applicate.

Changing compatibility mode made no difference, search results said the autoexec.nt or config.nt is missing, but the files were there.
So I fired up ProcessMonitor and watched NTVDM.EXE which runs 16-bit apps in Windows 7.

WriteFile – C:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Local\Temp\scs1DE8.tmp – Success

For some reason, a temporary file is accessed with a truncated username, stopping the app from working.
The work-around was to use a login username that is 8 characters or less, and then it worked.

Ricoh Printer Mystery

Occasionally you get problems that make you really say to yourself WTF???.

After having succesfully migrated DHCP from Server 2003 to Server 2008 R2 SP1
for over a hundred subnets, I get a call saying Ricoh printers on two of the subnets
can no longer get an IP and are defaulting to

Other brand printers, the computers, etc, were all correctly picking up an IP address, just not the Ricoh's, and just on those subnets, even though they were set to DHCP.

After trying various things without luck, I noticed that the affected subnets had a
BAD_ADDRESS 'This address is already in use' entry imported over the old servers.
After deleting the entry and rebooting the printers, they all picked up their reservations!

The bad IP and MAC did not look similar or have any obvious relationship with those not
working, but never the less, removing it fixed multiple Ricoh printers on that subnet.

Realtek Driver Issues

Installed Windows 7 64-bit on an old Novatech / Clevo laptop, made when Vista was out.
Windows automatically installed a driver, but the integrated microphone did not work.

Installed the latest Realtek audio codec driver, which made the microphone work, but now
the sound was distorted, like speaking into a fan. Reducing the quality from DVD 24-bit to
CD 16-bit changed the distortion into lots of crackles, pops, and other static noises.

Tried an old official W7 driver from the Clevo site, but still the same problem. Dug out the original
driver CD with R1.91 drivers, but the setup.exe was designed for Vista and refused to install.

Went into Device Manager, chose Update Driver on the 'High Definition Audio Device' and pointed
it to the Vista64 folder within the Realtek drivers, it installed, and everything worked perfectly.

Stuck Samsung Bios Update

Ran the Samsung Software Update, it said a new bios update was available, chose install.
After 30 minutes, the progress bar was still scrolling away doing nothing, stuck, hung, frozen?

I went into Task Manager, and used 'End Process' on sManager.exe which revealed a popup
box that was hidden behind, telling me that AC power is required during the bios update.

Clicked OK, turned on mains power, and ran the updater again, same thing, 30 minutes, nothing.
Updater window was not movable, Alt+Tab revealed nothing, so once again killed the sManager.exe

There was the popup again, but with information on the update, and giving me a final option to say
Yes or No, chose Yes, it updated the bios in less than a minute and rebooted, all working fine.

How annoying is that, all because the bios updater gets launched behind the SW Update window.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Settings

I got myself a S4 to replace my aging HTC Desire, the S4 hardware is great, but software is cluttered so may try a 'Google Edition' rom in the future.
Until then, here are some of the changes I made to make the experience better:

– In Sounds, turn off Touch and Dialling pad sounds, enable vibrate when ringing.
( Too many annoying sounds, the whistle notification being the worst. )

– Enabled developer options, set 'Window, Transition, Animator' scale to off.
( Makes navigating and accessing menus in TouchWiz feel more snappy. )

– Ran S-Voice, settings, unticked open via the home key.
( Removes delay when pressing the home key. )

– Play Store, installed 'Google keyboard', in its settings, set 'Voice input key' to off.
( Better keyboard, and you get a comma key when voice button is off. )

– Application Manager, All, Disabled 'PageBuddyNotiSvc'.
( Gets rid of the 'Recommended Shortcuts' from the tray, since you cannot customize them. )

– Installed 'QuickPic'. Don't disable stock 'Gallery' or camera app freezes after taking a shot.
( Allows you to exclude folders, so that you don't have a gallery of music album art. )