Monthly Archives: March 2012

Flash Player 64-bit installer defeats its purpose

Computer icon of Adobe Flash Player 11 installerAdobe Systems has recently released a 64-bit version of Adobe Flash Player for x64 processors.(There is still no 64-bit version for IA-64 platform. No surprise there.)

The 64-bit installer installs both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Adobe Flash on x64 versions of Windows. (It should. After all, 32-bit software are also supposed to work on x64 systems.)

However, there is a catch: The 64-bit installer is a 64-bit app itself, meaning that it won’t run on 32-bit version of Windows. I still have to download both 32-bit and 64-bit installer packages since I administer computers that have 32-bit Intel Atom processors. So, here is a question for Adobe: If a system administrator has to download both installers, why needlessly increasing the size of 64-bit packages?

Tips for programmers and software optimizers: If you develop an installer that has supports for multiple platforms, make sure it can actually be installed on multiple platforms.

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Question: The most important “system requirement”

Computer software often do not work on all hardware or operating systems. Each computer program has certain system requirements. Users must make sure those system requirements are in place if they wish to have a smooth experience.

Now, I have a question for software developers. Which piece of system requirement is the most important in general? The most important piece is the one that is most difficult or expensive to negotiate. But which piece is this? CPU? RAM? Hard disk drive? Graphic card? Sound card? Modem? Mouse? Keyboard? Monitor? Network card? Operating system? Software platform like DirectX, .NET Framework, Java Runtime, Adobe Flash, Adobe Air, QuickTime, OpenGL or Physix?

Let me know what you think.

IT World accuses Windows 8 of feature theft

On 9 February 2012, IT Word published an article titled “Eight features Windows 8 borrowed from Linux” which accuses the still unreleased Microsoft operating system codenamed Windows 8 of feature theft. The assertion is not direct, but is unmistakably accusatory. But did Windows 8 really “borrowed” anything? Read the rest of this entry

Microsoft Security Essentials: Why jump from 2 to 4?

Previously, I mentioned that Microsoft Security Essentials v4.0 is on its way, though there is no version 3.0. Well, I think I discovered the reason behind the version hop. Here are two screenshots from About dialog boxes of Microsoft Security Essentials v2.1 on Windows 7 and Microsoft Security Essentials v4.0 Beta on Windows XP, which help shed a light on the matter.

There are a handful of version numbers listed in each dialog box but the only two that concern us are Security Essentials Version and Antimalware Client Version. In Microsoft Security Essentials v4.0, both version numbers are 4.0.1113.0. In Microsoft Security Essentials v2.1 however, the Security Essentials Version is 2.1.1116.0 while the Antimalware Client Version is 3.0.8402.0.

According to Microsoft, all modern Microsoft antivirus products use the same antimalware engine. While the graphical user interface of v2.1 (msseces.exe) dates back to 16 June 2011, its antimalware engine (MsMpEng.exe, MpCmdRun.exe and NisSrv.exe) is updated on 28 April 2011. (Check the included digital certificates on the mentioned files.) In v4.0 however, both the engine and the client are new. It is my guess that Microsoft meant to unify the version numbers with this new release, just as it did to Movie Maker and Microsoft Office products.

Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X: Hacking the tactical map

If you have been following my previous posts, you know that I play Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X, an arcade combat flight simulator by Ubisoft. Despite all its greatness, the game suffers from a low-performance scripting engine, which perform poorly, even on my current computer, which is equipped with a very powerful Intel Core i7 CPU. (My current computer has but a moderate video card, but its technical specifications well outdo the recommended system requirements.) As a result, triggered events run with delay.

One of the side-effects of this glitch or incompetence is me being able to do things that I am not supposed to do, including but not limited to enabling Tac Map is mission 9. Tactical map or Tac Map is one the helpful tactical assets of the game. It provides the player with battlefield awareness, enabling him to devise a strategy to beat a mission. In the first part of mission 9 however, the player is deprived of this asset and is therefore forced to find its way blindly through an intricate network of early warning radar hotspots and surface to air missile launchers.

Taking advantage of the slow scripting engine however, it is possible to press M immediately after gaining the control of the plane to enable Tac Map. The ability to toggle Tac Map will be disabled shortly thereafter, meaning that the Tac Map cannot be disabled again. (But who wants to disable this blessing?)

Here are two screenshots of the hacked Tac Maps:

Even if you cannot hack the Tac Map on your computer, you should be able to use these images to find your way through the maze of the enemy defenses; or better yet, to destroy all enemy SAM sites before you run out of time! Doing so will give you an easier time doing the escort part of the mission since there will be no SAM site to shoot your allied bombers down and will leave you free to focus on shooting down the upcoming enemy planes (16 of them). You may wish to waste no time killing the red SAM sites, for they will be revived when allied bombers come.

I said “waste no time”; but reminds me that you need not to worry about the time if you know another glitch: The timer stops ticking as soon as you discover the enemy radar base, not when you destroy it! Therefore, you can find the enemy base, go back and destroy the SAM sites and then come back and destroy the radar base.

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