Vista Update Drives PC Into Perpetual Reboot Cycle

My Vista-based laptop gave me the Windows has recovered from an unexpected shutdown screen: this is where you have the options to start Windows normally or select one of several “safe” driver- and service-less modes to boot.  I picked normal, the system booted .. end of story.

Except… I walked away for a little while, and 15 or so minutes later when I came back, the computer was in the same stage.  So I repeated the process… and guess what:

Coming back a little later again, I saw the computer at the ugly reboot screen again.  What was going on?  This is a few weeks old laptop with hardly anything installed on it, is it already dying?

I got lucky: for the first time in my life, Vista’s Problem Reports and Solutions actually found the answer:

After you apply update 973879 on a computer that is running an x64-based version of Windows Vista or of Windows Server 2008, you may receive a "Stop 0x0000007e" or "Stop 0x00000050" error message within 10 minutes after system startup.

Well, not exactly, I dug into what these errors were, and my computer behaved rather differently, basically playing a game of perpetual reboot.  Still, I figured I would go ahead and uninstall this update – I even got lucky, I could simply remove it without having to resort to the more torturous Method 3, that involves a Windows Preinstallation Environment.  (Yuck… I don’t like the sound of it.).

Voila!  My PC is in working condition again… and I just hope in won’t become total crap in the two months left before it gets rescued by Windows 7.


(Cross-posted @ CloudAve)


Google Replaces Beta Tag With Price Tag on Apps

Just a short note:

Guess who will welcome GooGreed with a big smile?  Zoho.

Update:  TechCrunch has the clarification from Google:

In experimenting with a number of different landing page layouts, the link to Standard Edition was inadvertently dropped from one of the variations. We are in the process of restoring it and you should see it soon. We have no intention of eliminating Google Apps Standard Edition, and are sorry for the confusion.

Related posts:


Google Finally Ends the Folder vs. Label War – What’s Next? Find the Answer Here.

Bear with me for this somewhat long post, for I am not only discussing the sweeping changes Gmail made today, but in the end will also tell you what they are going to do next year – or perhaps after that.

Gmail Changes

The Gmail label changes announced today and to be released to accounts slowly (you may not see them yet, I only have them on one account) are ones that I’ve long been waiting for, and that most reviewers seem to underestimate, thinking of them as mere cosmetic or usability changes, i.e. “drag and drop”, “right-side labels retired”..etc.  We can always trust good old Lifehacker to call it what it is: Gmail Gives Labels the Folder Treatment.

Folders vs. Labels

Because they are. Folders, that is. Just very few people realize that.  The Folders vs. Labels debate is older than the tenancy debates we discussed recently, with two deeply religious camps (apologies for the extreme characterization):

Continue reading


Promoting SaaS on eBay?

This listing on eBay is hilarious, almost makes me wonder if it’s a true listing or carefully planted advertising for Google Apps (and SaaS in general).  But the seller appears to be real, has been on eBay for ten years…   Here we go, get Microsoft Office w. Outlook for $75, because:

It’s brand new and never been opened.  My boss bought it right before I moved the whole company over to Google Apps.
We never looked back, but here’s your opportunity to live it up, 90’s style, with this great, retro piece of Microsoft 2007 software.

Read more


Gmail’s Undo Send Isn’t Really Undo, Just Like Multiple Inboxes Were Not Really Multiple Inboxes

First of all, I love Gmail, it’s my one-and-only email system.  And I’m certainly glad to see the ever accelerating rate of enhancements, whether “official” or just the Labs variety.  But oh, please, can we have some control here and call features what they really are?

First there was the multiple inboxes announcement.  Nice. Except that it wasn’t. Multiple inboxes, that is. Think about it: that would defy logic – unless we’re talking about handling multiple email accounts, which is clearly not the case with Gmail.  This feature is multi-pane viewing – no more, no less.

Today we’re getting another new feature: Undo Send. Except that it really isn’t. Undo Send, that is.

Undo Send is what Outlook has offered for ages: you can actually recall a message that had already been sent, provided the recipient has not opened it yet, and you’re both on Exchange.  What Gmail offers now is a momentary delay of 5 seconds, during which you may just realize you’re emailing the wrong Smith or Brown, and hit the panic Undo button. It’s not really undo, since the message was never sent in the first place – Gmail was holding it for 5 seconds, if you had enabled this option.

Of course, as just about all TechCrunch commenters note, 5 seconds is not enough, the delay might as well be configurable.  Something like this:

Oh, I forgot.  It’s from that other Web-mail system (the one that actually has multiple inboxes, too).

UpdateMG Siegler over @ VentureBeat agrees this is not real  unsend,  and he remembers AOL had a real unsend/recall feature, just like the Exchange theme I described above.

Update #2:  Oh, please… per Wired, Google already plans configurability, but all you get to pick is 5 or 10 seconds.

Related posts:


My Miracle PC

It does so much, while using zero resources:

Of course that’s not the typical picture, more often than not CPU usage is in the upper 80-90% range, while the Resource Monitor can only account for about 40%.  Just another crappy program from Microsoft… but no worries: Windows 7: Cutting corners in the rush to market?   How reassuring…


The Tale of Two Notebooks, and Yes, It’s All About Earning a Buck

One down, one running better than ever.  Thanks to the irony of TechMeme, the two news are juxtaposed almost side by side:

I’ve never considered these two Notebooks comparable, despite the common name.  Google’s one was your web-based post-it notes, barebones, easy to use.   Zoho’s version is a full-featured multimedia application to create, aggregate, share, collaborate on just about any type of content easily, be it text, database, spreadsheet, image, drawings, audio, video – you name it.  It offers a lot more, but may be “too much” if all you want is the yellow stickies.  The two apps serve entirely different needs. But I don’t want to focus on the products here, did it before: Not All Notebooks Are Created Equal.

Let’s talk about the economics: Google is simply ditching some of the money losers which is clearly the right strategy in a recession when it saw it’s primary revenue source, advertising drop radically.  A while ago (before the economy collapsed) Zoho CEO Sridhar Vembu provided great insight into why getting into applications does not make much financial sense for Google, whereas it is Zoho’s primary business.  Today we’re seeing that logic in action.

Of course  Google is not the only one, we’re seeing startups shut down service, or give up the free-for-all principle and start charging for their services.  Over at CloudAve we’ve discussed Jott as an example, but there are many others.   We may have enjoyed all these free services, but deep down had to predict this bonanza would not last forever. It’s time for rationalizing business – after all, it’s all about making a buck.

Update (1/20/09):  Surprise, surprise! (not really).  Zoho came out with a tool to import your Google Notebook data into Zoho Notebook.

Update (1/22/09) Two days later here comes Evernote with an import process.  Who’s next?


Forbidden 403 Error in Gmail Contacts Manager


Error 403


Ouch … this is not what you want to see in your Gmail Contacts. Weird… and not fun, not even on Sunday.

It’s not system-wide, appears to be specific to one of my accounts – crazy log-in-log out sequence produces occasional access, but mostly the error. smile_sad

Update: apparently (thanks, Charlie), this is a more wide-spread problem than I had thought…


Your Digital Data My Not Be Accessible Soon

So you’re doing the right thing, backing up everything on CDs or DVDs.  Too bad they may not be readable in a few years… and even if they are, you still have to worry about data formats.

Data sitting on your hard disk may not be much better: in fact files you created with the very apps you’ve just upgraded to the most recent version my no longer be readable by the current version anymore.

Read the details here…


Gmail Themes Go Beyond Cosmetics

I couldn’t care less when Gmail added those cute smiley, but the newly released themes go beyond cosmetics, they can actually increase your productivity. How? By helping you differentiate between multiple Gmail accounts.  

I have branded (Google Apps, using my own domain) accounts for business and personal use, and a few generic types for subscriptions, lists, online purchases.  It’s all neatly tied together by Gmail Manager, the excellent Firefox extension.  Even then I sometimes find myself typing an email in the wrong account window.  Here’s the solution: give all your Gmail accounts its own distinctive theme.


I don’t really care for the fancy themes, but at least the top row are all subtle, minimalist styles.  Pick one for each of your accounts, you’ll get used to the colors fast and never mix up your accounts again.

Well.. almost.  As usual, Google rolled out this new feature to the generic, accounts only.  Google Apps users will have to wait – lets’ hope not too long.