Simplecom NB407 USB Bluetooth 4.0 driver

If you have bought this adapter and are having trouble installing it on Windows 7, which is of course still the best version of Windows available today, and are having trouble reading the mini-cd that is shipped with the adaptor, then you can download the Windows 7 x64 drivers here (who is using x86 still?). I tried to plug this USB adaptor and it just came up as Broadcom BCM2070* in device manager. And broadcom have helpfully decided that Microsoft is to be trusted and they will not host drivers for their hardware anymore. Thanks a lot broadcom.

Normally I would not post 3rd party executables let alone drivers, but I promise, this is the exact binaries off the tiny mini-cd I received when I bought this product, after I tried and re-tried the copy process on different CD-ROMs until I could get all the files. Why should you trust me? Well it’s up to you, it sucks that you have to trust someone on the Internet. Here’s a photo:

Download it here: https://codenature.info/pub/Simplecom_Win7_vista_x64.zip

Plug in your Simplecom USB adaptor and then run setup and it should work.

Hope it helps.

Nexus 5X not detected in Windows

My Nexus 5 was working fine with my Windows 7 desktop, but when i plugged in a Nexus 5X (running Android 6.x) it was not detected at all (in Windows Explorer or adb). Installing drivers did not help, and the phone was detected fine on another Windows 7 computer. Here’s what fixed it – go into Device Manager and see if you have a ‘Portable Devices’ node. If you don’t, check to see if you have a ‘Android Device’ node. If so, try right clicking the child node and choosing ‘Update Driver Software’.

android-nexus5x-not-detected

For me, it found some random USB compatible device or something, and then the ‘Portable Devices’ node suddenly appeared, and all was good! Maybe it will work for you!

Fixing GWXUX crash (aka Windows 10 Ads)

gwxux

I would like to go on record and say the reason I’m not upgrading to Windows 10 at this point is because there is a HINT that Windows 10+ will be subscription based operating system. I mean come on, I know Windows 8 is an abomination, but a FREE upgrade to Windows 10?? Surely that can leave no doubt that Microsoft is going the way many other (foolish) IT companies are heading – to a subscription based model. I can see them crippling core OS features, like ‘Computer Management’ and ‘Network Drives’ unless you ‘subscribe’ to a higher pricing tier, just like they are doing in Azure. I develop on Azure for my full-time job and today we started receiving deployment errors stating:

The ‘AlwaysOn’ feature is not available in your current plan.

Granted, Azure was actually having some ‘down-time’ during this, and we are yet to confirm if this was a programming fuck-up, or they actually changed the pricing tier for features as they see the need for more money.

I’ve also stopped recommending Team Viewer now that they have to switched from a ‘pay-once, updates are optional’ to ‘pay every month, BILLED UP-FRONT ANNUALLY, all updates required‘. Which means you have to instruct your partners on the other end to continually upgrade to keep up with your version to be able to connect!! What once was a small one-off purchase changes to a AU$538 up-front charge, billed every year thereafter, unless you can figure out how to cancel it. And we all know how companies make it next to impossible to cancel any subscription service. Normally you have to call up a number, wait in line, and then listen to an hour long spiel about how great they are, testing your patience and willingness to give up over sitting it out to get cancelled. BTW I’m not just being theoretical here, we wanted to buy a team viewer license just the other week, but no one was willing to swipe a credit card to the tune of $AU538 per year, i.e. people are not crazy. So we did not purchase it! Team viewer lost!

Rant over, my Windows 7 box I use as my media center has been having this GWXUX.EXE crash every time i boot it for the last few months (i.e. since Windows 10 advertising started). I lived with it for a while, expect Microsoft to actually care about their advertising programming crashing in full-view of customers every time they turn on their PC, but now I’ve given up. So I’ve written the simplest possible program to look for and kill GWXUX.exe before it gets a chance to crash.

If you are seeing this crash, and haven’t found a way to fix it you can do this:

1. Download KillWindows10Ads.exe to anywhere on your PC.
2. Add a shortcut to your startup folder to this executable.

There is no UI, it just runs in the background, waiting for GWX.exe to rear it’s ugly face (yeah it’s named GWX.exe but the crash dialog shows GWXUX.exe, but the user experience it’s programmed to give is a crash dialog) and kills it quick. The source code is as follows for those who care:

using System.Diagnostics;
using System.Linq;
using System.Threading;

namespace KillWindows10Ads
{
    /// <summary>
    /// This program exists to kill the poorly programmed 
    /// Windows 10 update advertisements, which is 
    /// installed automatically by windows update and 
    /// launching automatically on login of any user.  
    /// And then it crashes, more than once.  Great effort 
    /// Microsoft.  And yes i see the irony in using 
    /// Microsoft technology to kill Microsoft advertising
    /// for Microsoft technology.
    /// </summary>
    public partial class App
    {
        public App()
        {
            while (true)
            {
                var windows10Crap = Process.GetProcessesByName("GWX")
                    .FirstOrDefault();
                if (windows10Crap != null)
                {
                    try
                    {
                        windows10Crap.Kill();
                    }
                    catch {}
                }
                Thread.Sleep(1000);
            }
        }
    }
}

CSR bluetooth dongle killed by Windows update

An optional update for my USB bluetooth dongle (which I used to connect my Logitech bluetooth keyboard) recently appeared on one of my Windows 7 machines. Trustingly, I proceeded with the update, only to find that afterwards, my keyboard no longer worked! And there was no blueooth icon in the system tray to inspect the status of bluetooth devices. After googling, I found out that this update has killed many people’s bluetooth hardware and the solution is to uninstall it an go back to the default Windows drivers. The solution that worked for me (and others) detailed on this thread, which I will summarise (paste) here:

To accomplish this select “Update Driver Software” from “CSR BlueCore Nanosira” (the working device), then select “Browse my computer for driver software” and then “Let me pick form a list of device drivers on my computer”. In my case Windows presents the new driver from CSR (“CSR BlueCore Nanosira”) and two generic drivers as you can see in screenshot 2.

I selected “Generic Bluetooth Radio” from the list and clicked OK. Then I had “Generic Bluetooth Radio” and “Microsoft Bluetooth Enumerator” back under “Bluetooth Radios” and the Bluetooth icon appeard in the taskbar again. After that I was able to use my bluetooth mouse and keyboard again (even without pairing it again).

Thanks to davewebb8211!

Then you will want to hide that nasty windows update as follows:

bluetooth-update

No sound in Kodi / XBMC with ASUS Xonar

I recently replaced the motherboard in my media centre due to on-going bluescreens, and I unwittingly selected a refurbished board with no on-board audio (ASUS Rampage Extreme II). The two main PCIE sound card manufacturers appear to be ASUS and Creative. I selected ASUS Xonar PCIE 7.1 DX for two reasons:

  1. I’ve used plenty of Creative hardware before and they are getting worse over time.
  2. It was the only one they had in the shop!

Anyway, first problem was that the card didn’t physically fit in my PCIE x1_1 slot due to the CPU heatsink placement! Luckily I found out that you can put a smaller PCIE card in any larger PCIE slot. So I was able to install it in my 2nd PCIE x16 slot.

Second problem is that when I went the install the drivers from ASUS, the driver installation didn’t detect the card and just hung. I forced a reboot, ran the installation again, and amazingly the installation worked 2nd time around and sound in Windows 7 was now working.

When I fired up Kodi however, there was no sound. Looking into the log file i saw this:

CAESinkDirectSound::Initialize: cannot create secondary buffer (DSERR_UNSUPPORTED)

And after googling that I saw that many people were having problems with ASUS Xonar cards in XBMC / Kodi. The main solution was to go into system – audio settings and change from using DirectSound to WASAPI. This did work for me, however it means that when Kodi is running, no other application can output sound, i.e. Kodi has exclusive access to the audio hardware. While not optimal, this is at least a workable solution. But I probably won’t be buying ASUS Xonar sound cards in the future.

Unknown Hard Error

This stupid error plagued me for almost a year before a colleague of mine found a fix. If you see this:

unknown-hardware-error

You can make the following registry change to avoid this. This was happening on machines that were running UI tests, so this top-most dialog was causing tests to fail, pretty horrible considering there is no explanation as to the cause. Apply this reg change and move on:

HKLM/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control/Windows/ErrorMode=2

For reference see:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/124873/en

USB Driver for Nexus 5 on Windows 7

When I plugged in my Nexus 5 to my Windows 7 PC, it was not recognised, even after I used the Android SDK Manager to install the latest Google USB Driver. I finally worked out that there is a manual step you must take: Check the tooltip to find out where the USB driver was downloaded to (I found one under Program Files folder that was not installable – make sure you refer to the tooltip), and use Device Manager to update the driver, pointing to this folder. Then you can debug on your Nexus using ADB.

usb-driver

Disabling NumLock Key

For me, the NumLock and CapsLock keys are relics of the past, and are now the two most annoying keys on the standard keyboard. Every time I want to type in a number with more than say 3 digits, I find it easier to use the number pad, but I find i am forced to look down and check the num lock light status and/or attempt to type to see if num lock is activated, or otherwise risk having to re-type everything because numlock was off. Which surprising is most of the time for some reason, even though I ensure num-lock is activated on boot-up in the bios. Caps lock key is not as bad, I don’t seem to bump that on as much as the num-lock key but heck, when was the last time you actually wanted to write an entire sentence in ALL CAPS? I hope not recently. Anyway, there’s an easy way to disable these keys on Windows and Linux as follows:

Linux (Mint)
1. Open Keyboard Layout preferences
2. On the Layouts tab, press ‘Options’, then you can configure caps lock and numlock to behave more sensibly as shown in the following two screenshots:

linux-caps-lock

linux-num-lock

Windows 7
To do this on Windows 7:

Download NumLocker, install and configure via system tray icon.

I also tried SharpKeys but it didn’t work for me after rebooting.

Git Bash Scripts

Using git as your source control, but have to use it on Windows? You may want to run some shell scripts like I did in git bash console (msysgit). I found that chmod does not actually work to add the executable bit to the file permission, but provided you add

#! /bin/bash

as the first line in your script file, you don’t even have to use chmod, Mingw32 automatically adds that bit in this case and you can execute immediately.

Source: msysgit on google groups

Bluetooth Service Connector

Bluetooth is still a relatively new technology when it comes to Windows. Although Windows 7 now has a reasonably decent bluetooth stack baked-in, it’s certainly not bug-free. It is not straightforward to control connection of bluetooth services, such as AudioSink, HeadSet, RemoteControl etc. And depending on how ‘dumb’ your bluetooth device is, your only option to get it connected to Windows in some cases (e.g. your device was last connected to a different host, such as your phone) is to completely uninstall and re-discover the device, as discussed on this thread. Weeeak.

I’ve written a small utility that may help with issue (it works for me, but I’ve only tested on my own bluetooth headphones – Sony DR-BT50). It works in conjunction with another utility I recently posted (that allows a program to set the default audio device), and provides control over connecting / disconnecting the available bluetooth services for all your paired bluetooth devices in Windows. It also provides a shortcut specifically for bluetooth audio devices which automates the process of getting a frustratingly silent pair of headphones / speaker to spring into life with a single click.

Download the utility here. I hope it works for you!