• Just a shout-out to my Garmin Map Update HOWTO from last year

    Saved me tons of time again this year: Garmin Map Update HOWTO

    Or so I thought… it’s never this easy, is it?  “There was an error installing the Update”.  Well, that’s bloody useful, isn’t it, Garmin? Have I mentioned before that your software SUCKS???

    Luckily I’m an experienced hand with their shite, and creating a hard link on C: drive (where they INSIST on creating a temporary area to download their 5GB onto) to my D: drive (where I actually have room for it, and where I TOLD it to install the maps to) fixed this.

    Specifically, it abuses C:\ProgramData\Garmin\CoreService\Downloads as a temporary download location.

    To create a hard-link, also called a “Junction”, in Windows:

    mklink /J Downloads D:\Garmin\Downloads

    This still requires you to have at least 6GiB free space on C: drive, as the Garmin software still checks free space requirements even after you have already downloaded the maps prior to installing on your GPS device.

    I repeat, Garmin SUCKS when it comes to software.

  • Installing Windows 10 on a Sony VAIO TZ

    So I got bored and decided to see if I could get an old VAIO VGN-TZ27GN running Windows 10. The short answer is: Yes.


    After post-install fixes, these items are not yet working:

    • WebCam
    • Turning Bluetooth on/off via software

    And the following items have not been tested:

    • Modem

    Everything else seems to be working just fine. Not bad for a pretty old and underpowered laptop!

    Base Install

    The base install went quite easily, taking some time due to spinning disk, but nevertheless no worries. Ended up using just over 8GB of diskspace, around 9GB after a couple of updates and Skype was installed.


    What worked?

    Almost everything. Not too shabby for an old bespoke piece of kit.

    The most surprising entry here was the fingerprint reader.

    What didn’t?

    • Three devices in the Device Manager: SD and MS card readers, and an unknown device.
    • The special hardware buttons on the front.
    • Some of the Fn keys.
    • The microphone and webcam. Nothing flagged up in Device Manager, but no go either.
    • Disabling bluetooth. Funnily enough disabling Wifi works.

    Post-install fixes

    All drivers were downloaded from the official Sony Support Site.

    Memory Stick and SD-Card reader

    Simple case of heading over to the Sony support site, downloading and installing the drivers. This sorted out the device errors in the Device Manager. A quick test showed them working now.

    Status: SUCCESS!

    Unkown Device

    The Unknown Device turned out to be the Sony Firmware Extension Parser (SFEP). A quick download from the Sony support site and it installed flawlessly.

    Status: SUCCESS!


    So the microphone did end up working just fine, it’s just that the TZ has both a built-in microphone as well as a microphone jack, and Windows 10 defaulted to the jack. Switching defaults in the properties and it’s all good.

    First Attempt
    • Downloaded Audio driver from Sony support site.
    • Created a restore point
    • Tried to install the driver.
    • The driver failed to install from the setup program, but installed fine when manually clicking on the various inf files in the driver package.
    • Microphone still not working, but found second device in Audio Settings now. Set other device as default, et voila, va haff a vorkink mikrofon! Now I wonder if it was always working… let’s try a System Restore!

    Status: SUCCESS!


    As for all the other issues, Step 1 is to download the Camera driver from the Sony support site.

    Unfortunately the driver fails to install. Even forcing the install manually fails to get the camera working, as does running the installer in compatibility mode.

    For now, the webcam goes down as broken 🙁

    Status: FAIL!


    To get the keys working, download and install the following drivers in this order, rebooting as necessary between each one:

    1. Install Sony Firmware Extension Parser (SFEP.exe)
    2. Install Sony Shared Library (Sony_Shared_Library.exe)
    3. Install Sony DLL Utils / Setting Utility Series (Setting_Utility_Series.exe)
    4. Install VAIO Event Service (VAIO _Event_Service.exe)

    And both hardware keys and Fn-keys are now armed and fully operational!

    Status: SUCCESS!


    While it works, it’s impossible to turn it off without using the hardware switch, which also turns off Wifi.

    Attempting to install the driver from the Sony support site failed with a message saying the software is incompatible with this version of windows.

    Status: FAIL!


  • Poland Day 9 – Tatras to Wildalpen

    Got up early(ish) and had a lovely brekky before anybody else was around.  The lovely lady brought me my washed clothes which weren’t quite du yet. Oh well. I spread them out in the roof outside my window while I packed the rest and fit the bike ready.

    The roads and views once I got going were absolutely stunning, with hardly any traffic about to spoil things. Soon however I was out of the mountains and into the plains where summer asserted itself with a vengeance. The temperatures climbed well into the mid thirties and the roads got ever more boring.

    Things did not really improve once I hit Austria, if anything worse as I encountered several roadworks with long waits in the scorching sun. Eventually however I found mountains again and took advantage by taking several detours along promising looking roads. One of the highlights was the Höllental, only slightly spoiled by a slow bus in front of me which I couldn’t get past.

    Eventually I reached my planned stop for the night though, the Wildalpen, which were in even more stunning scenery than any I had driven through so far.
    First stop was a restaurant where I had a well deserved beer. They helped me find a bed for the night in a B&B just a few doors down.

    While sorting out my room a couple of bikers pulled up at the servo opposite and I got to chatting to one of them. Markus and I ended up having a beer before he had to keep going. I had a great dinner of red deer steak followed by a childhood delight, Kaiserschmarrn.

    Then it was trying to sort out the home Internet connection with Dana’s help before heading to bed.