Blu-Ray Software

A friend lent me a blu-ray copy of 'Cabin In The Woods' horror movie, When trying to play it using AnyDVD and MPC, the playback order was scrambled.

Turns out there is a type of content protection where dodgy playlists are added.
You have to use 'Navigate, Jump To' and try to pick the correct .mpls entry.
Either take an educated guess ( shortest over an hour ) or look for a forum post.

I also decided to try some commercial alternatives:
– PowerDVD 13 trial required registration, interface was more horrifying than the movie.
– WinDVD 11 trial required registration, puts you on mailing list, tries to install a toolbar.
– ArcSoft TotalMedia 5 trial, no registration, more than just a player, but I liked it.

None of them would play over my wireless HDMI link or if I was remotely connected, and would to disable aero during playback. So I will be sticking with AnyDVD.

LGSL 5.8 for Joomla 3.0 Update

Updated the code to the latest Joomla XML / OOP / design requirements.
The new version has been tested as working on Joomla 2.5 and 3.0.

I also submitted a new entry to the Joomla directory listing, but there are so many
commercial, crappy, and malicious submissions, there is a months worth of
backlog while a few JED volunteers test each one to make sure they are OK.

LGSL may not even pass as they ask for a Joomla loaded check in every PHP file, which is not practical for me to maintain as a lot of the code is a cross CMS library.

We will see if common sense prevails, but I have nothing to lose or gain from it 🙂

Programmatically restoring files from a Volume Shadow Copy


A specific file has been corrupted on many home directories.
Within a Volume Shadow Copy backup is a good copy of the file.

The corruption is easy to detect, but how do you code something
to automatically go through previous versions on multiple servers.

Here are my findings with some snippets of C# to help.

Command Line:

When you open a previous version, explorer shows the date in brackets:
\\server\folder (‎01 February ‎2013, ‏‎12:34)

But try that same path in the command line or code and it will fail.
Shift Right Click on a folder, 'Open command window here' and you get:

Using a VSS time in a file path:

That @GMT path can go anywhere you would expect a directory, for example:
Both shares go to the same place, providing a copy the previous version.

Finding a valid VSS date and time:

The GMT/UTC path has to be the exact moment the 'Shadow Copy' was started.

Tests showed the starting seconds varied daily, even the starting hour changed
as the VSS schedule was local time and 'daylight savings' had taken effect.
In short, using the schedule and guessing paths was not going to be practical.

As a starting point I found the command line: VSSAdmin List Shadows
But this has no remote parameter, gave local time, and would require parsing.

Remote WMI query to rescue:

Using "SELECT * FROM Win32_ShadowCopy" and the "InstallDate" property you can
get a list of shadow start times, but they need converting from local time:

var dmtf = wmiProperty["InstallDate"].ToString();
var vssTime = ManagementDateTimeConverter.ToDateTime(dmtf).ToUniversalTime();

WMI results can be returned in any order and we want the newest shadow first, so we put the query results into a list and date sort descending:

vssTimeList.Sort((a, b) => b.CompareTo(a));

The dates can then be converted into a usable directory path format:

var vssPath = "@GMT-" + vssTime.ToString("");

Using the VSS paths:

The shadow times returned are for ALL drives on the server, so when looping
through the times and combining them into a share path, some may be invalid
when the time is for a shadow on another drive.

AVOID Lightworks Video Editor

It silently installs an invisible license manager that screws with your PC.

I needed to do some lite video editing and a site recommended Lightworks.
Used by the professionals and a free version? Great! I will give it ago.
Except it fails to mention it requires an account, so immediately uninstalled.

But later noticed something weird, my hard drives were no longer winding down.
( I have a very quiet PC with a SSD, so you hear when drives are spinning )

Fired up ProcessMonitor and see a 'hasplms.exe' constantly polling everything.
Not something I had seen before and no new entries on Programs list.

Quick google search gave me a helpful blog, had to download the license installer
and run it with the purge command. Shortly after my disks spun down. Hurray.
And that's the story of how I wished harm upon developers I have never met.