• Tag Archives technology
  • 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.

    UPDATE 2019-06 : Drivers download link.


    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!


  • Windows 7 – RTC using UTC

    Ok, so this is more a note for my future self than anything interesting, but basically, to force Windows to keep the computer’s RTC at UTC (required if dual-booting Linux, and also just in general makes sense), adjust the following registry key:


    Key: HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\TimeZoneInformation\RealTimeIsUniversal
    Type: DWORD
    Value: 1 (RTC is in UTC) , 0 (RTC is in local time (default)

    Alternatively, save the following as a registry key file (.reg), and import it into your registry:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


  • Upgrading my Samsung Note II (N7100) to Android 4.4 “KitKat”

    A friend posted to let me know that Android 4.4 “KitKat” had just been released for the N7100.


    So I backed up all of my data on the phone (using a combination of Titanium Backup, SMS Backup+, and LifeSaver), and downloaded and flashed the firmware the new firmware using Odin.

    Lo and behold, a (very slow) reboot later, pretty much everything worked.  All my apps and settings are still there, which is nice.


    * Reinstall a custom recovery (TWRP)

    * Re-rooted

    * Deleted startup sound (/system/media/audio/ui/PowerOn.ogg)


    ADWLauncherEx is quite laggy; so perhaps it needs updating for the latest Android. For now I’m using the updated TouchWiz (the Samsung launcher), but it’s still limited to a ridiculous 4×4 icons per screen.  Ridiculous, at least, on the Note 2 which has a very nice large display; might make more sense on a smaller phone. Should be configurable though.


    None yet, really.  Will need to use it for a few days to see whether there’s any real differences..  So far most of the advertised differences aren’t visible, such as the camera button on lock screen, nor does it feel significantly faster than before.