April 2005

Showing Hidden Devices in XP’s Device Manager

One of the Lockergnome properties has this article on displaying hidden devices in Device Manager. Displaying non-plug-and-play devices is fairly easy: right click My Computer -> Properties. Click on the Hardware tab and select Device Manager. In the View menu, select Show Hidden Devices and there they are.

Devices that are defined but not currently present (e.g. MP3 players or USB drives) is harder. You must create an environment variable that has a particular value in order to force them to show up. Again, My Computer -> Properties and go to the Advanced tab. Select Environment Variables and create a new System variable called devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices. Set its value to 1 and click OK to save it and OK to exit the System Properties dialog. Now you can open Device Manager and see everything, You’ll have to select View -> Hidden Devices but, once you’ve done that, both ghosted and hidden devices will show up.

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Yahoo web beacons

A friend of mine, came across some info about web beacons on Yahoo, used to track your movements through Yahoo! properties. I don’t think this is new … I seem to recall something about this cropping up a year ago or so. Still, it’s good to be reminded of it every now and then. Chad’s weblog entry is here and it includes links to the Yahoo! Privacy Center with information about their use of beacons and also this link that you can use to opt out.

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SkypeIn and Skype Voicemail

So, everyone’s probably already aware that Skype offers free Skype-user to Skype-user calling and outbound calling from the Skype client installed on your PC or Mac to a regular telephone for something like $.02 per minute. Skype now has SkypeIn and Skype Voicemail in beta. Interesting products! The SkypeIn service allows the user to “buy” (i.e. pay for on a monthly basis) one to three phone numbers that are local to whatever area they wish — maybe one in Sillycon Valley, one in Oklahoma and one in London! Calls to your SkypeIn number actually go the owner’s Skype client.

How much does it cost? Well, that’s a little unclear to me. A 3-month subscription to SkypeIn is about $13 US (the price is actually quoted in Euros) for 3 months or about $39 US for a 12-month subscription and includes a free subscription to Skype Voicemail. But I haven’t (yet) been able to find anything about air-time charges which I’m sure are there. If I hear otherwise or I get a price for air-time, I’ll update this entry.

PR annoucement is here.

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Eventtriggers.exe — how to get XP to perform some action when an event occurs

Windows IT Pro publishes some great newsletters. This month, they discuss eventtriggers.exe. Yes, you have it installed on your XP system. Go to a command-line and enter “eventtriggers /?” and you’ll get a list of options. You can monitor for a specific event ID in a particular event log or all logs and, when the event occurs, have it do something specific. Now, the magazine will have this email newsletter available on the web in a little while. In the meantime, you can read more about this in this article at TheLazyAdmin.com.

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