Wireless Zero Configuration Crash

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I'm using a Thinkpad T43p, and recently the Generic Host Process started to crash after putting the notebook out of standby or hibernate.  This seemed to happen only if the WLAN adapter was enabled.  I'm sure you've seen a similar dialog before as well, but for different reasons.
svchost_crash.pngThis dialog is actually pretty useless.  The "click here" link provides some details, but only if I'm in the mood to look at a crash dump.  To me, a hint to look at the Windows Event Log would be more helpful than telling that some information may have been lost.

In the Windows Application Event Log I found the following entry.

Faulting application svchost.exe, version 5.1.2600.5512, faulting module wzcsvc.dll, version 5.1.2600.5512, fault address 0x000337b4.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.
Now that's something I could work with.  The svchost.exe is the Generic Host Process, and the affected Module is wzcsvc.dll, the Wireless Zero Configuration Service.  I'm using ThinkVantage Access Connections to manage my network settings, which has its own way to configure wireless networking.  I was puzzled to see the Wireless Zero Configuration Service crash, because it shouldn't have been enabled at all.  I think this may have been caused by my recent System Update, which also updated the Intel Wireless.

There are two lessons to take from this.
  1. If anything goes wrong, make sure to check the Windows Event Log.
  2. If you upgrade your system, immediately check the configuration of the upgraded components.  It's much harder to connect the dots after some time has passed.

I recently updated my Java installations, which include Java 1.3, 1.4, 5.0 and 6.0, to their latest versions. Today I noticed that Java Applets stopped working in Mozilla Firefox.

Amazon Unbox

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Amazon.com launched a new service recently: Unbox Video. It's about time movie download services come about. But this post is not about the available movies, prices or video quality. I wouldn't be able to comment on that anyway, not living in the US.

More intersting, at least for me, are the "Unbox Video: Terms of Use." These say that to view the movies the Unbox Video Player must be installed on an "Authorized Device." " The Software may operate on your Authorized Device continuously for a variety of reasons..." and "The Software also will access the Internet in order to perform a number of functions including as described below:"

a. Software Upgrades. The Software automatically checks for upgrades, but the Software will not automatically upgrade without your consent, except as provided herein. If you do not consent to an upgrade that we make subject to your consent, the Digital Content may no longer be viewed on your Authorized Device. You must keep the Software on your Authorized Device current in order to continue to use the Service. We may automatically upgrade the Software when we believe such upgrade is appropriate to comply with law, enforce this Agreement, or protect the rights, safety or property of Amazon, our content providers, users, or others.

That's where I stopped reading. These terms sound awfully familiar to the EULA that accompanied the Sony "Rootkit" CDs, though. Seems to me like these terms come directly from the media companies. But this post is not about complaining about these, either.

So what is this post about? It seems to me that the Simple Rules of Sale have changed fundamantally. Previously, if I likes something I looked at the price and decided if it would be worth it or not. If I buy it, I "own" it. At least that's how it felt for me.

These days another factor gets even more important: The terms. Not that is wasn't important before, but it had less impact. There were far fewer things that could "go wrong." Probably because computers were not connected. Or I'm just getting old. Now, I have to check the terms in detail to see what the program does, if it phones home and if so what it tells about me. It seems like that I am not buying a copy any more but just the license, and it's my duty to prove it's valid. The terms or software may change and if I don't agree any license is gone.

I, for one, will pay attention to any licensing terms more closely, and what I'll get - if I want it or not - for my money. And, of course, be suspicious if the license comes from one of the big players. ;-)

I have finally finished the transcript of Perlcast's interview with Randal Schwartz. It's available here, also in POD.

The incomplete transcript can be found on my site. I hope to have the transcript done by the beginning of the next year. If you're not interested in the latest and greatest you might want to wait for the finished transcript, which I hope will be available directly from Perlcast.

Compiling Inline::Python 0.22 on Win32

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I recently tried to compile Inline::Python 0.22 on Win32 with Visual C++ 7.1. I started with the usual build mantra.

perl Makefile.PL
nmake test
nmake install

But I only got up to "nmake," and got hit by the following compiler error.

perlmodule.c(160) : error C2099: initializer is not a constant

By the way, it's the very same thing with Visual C++ 8.0, also known as Visual C++ 2005.

The problem comes from the following code snippet.

DL_EXPORT(PyTypeObject) PerlPkg_type = {
  0,                            /*ob_size*/

The offending part is "PyObject_HEAD_INIT(&PyType_Type)" because it is not strictly conforming C, as explained in the Python documentation. The solution is also explained there: Replace the construct with the following one.


There are two more places with the same construct, which I had to replace too. Another "nmake," and the module was compiled. The test were passing too.

>nmake test
All tests successful, 58 subtests skipped.

I recently started transcripts of Perlcast interviews. In case you don't know, Perlcast is a podcast devoted to Perl, in my opinion well worth listening to. The first transcript of Perlcast's interview with Richard Foley is available at Perlcast. Complete and incomplete transcripts are available on my Perlcast corner too.

I am planning for about one transcript per month, depending on my real life workload.

Blogging... Again

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This is the third time I am setting up a weblog. Previous attempts with blogging were, well, only moderately successful. I just couldn't get myself to write down a few lines every now and then. We'll see how this one goes.

I've been looking around for good blogging software for some time. It would have been nice to have something that integrates well with Apache Forrest, so that it integrates nicely with the rest of my side. Obviously, that didn't work out. I have decided for Movable Type because it's simple to install, especially if the ISP has a decent Perl installation, which mine had, and seems to be very usable.

I don't have any specific focus for this blog. I guess it will just be a random log of my brain. Having a system log is often actually a good thing, though the random part may limit its usefullness for others. My brain seems to like random stuff. At least that's what it likes to think...