Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Migrating from Parallels 8 to VirtualBox: The Lazy Way

This is not exhaustive, or complete. At most, it's a set of clues...there's my disclaimer.

Make a copy of your virtual machine. Then if you screw up, no big deal.

What finally made me do this is Parallels could actually GREY SCREEN and reboot my Mac Pro desktop. Ya done, ancient copy of Parallels running an ancienter OS.

If you need to change from the expanding format hard drive image in Parallels, this has some good info:

The command line tools mentioned there are in the same place on version 8.

Fortunately, my hard disk was already in plain disk format.

The next hurdle is the VM locks on agp440.sys just like back in the day when you tweaked XP too much.

Step 7 here "Enable IO APIC" got me to the user listings screen.

It took a while but I got logged in via safe mode with command prompt.

Windows did some driver work, some it couldn't find, etc. Rebooted and I could log in.

Hardware I'm on:
Mac Pro 4,1 flashed to 5,1
XP 32 Bit OS from a ZE4100 laptop. It had 192 megs of RAM. Wow.
Virtualbox Version 6.1.8 r137981 (Qt5.6.3)

Reactivating Windows XP in 2020:
Worked fine via the internet in the virtual machine via the virtual network adapter.

Did I help? Send me a dollar. :) -=>

Ask questions in the comment section. I do respond.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Free Faster Hotel WiFi Hack

The free WiFi you get is usually slower than the paid, but here's how to get faster WiFi for free: use a USB WiFi adapter in addition to the built in laptop WiFi.

Things you will need:

  1. A USB WiFi Adapter like this very cheap one that I personally use: It's 802.11ac Windows 10 works with no additional drivers.
  2. A Speedify Account. Free for 5 gigs a month, and it's a VPN which I highly recommend for public wifi. Really, you shouldn't use it without a VPN. Speedify. I have a paid yearly account. It's pretty cheap.

The way it works is you will get 2 'slots' vs. 1 slot so if the network is overloaded, you get a bigger piece. If it's limited to a certain speed because you're not paying for the higher speed, you get two pieces of pie vs. one.

All you have to do is connect your laptop wifi first, and once it's done, disable that connection temporarily.

Then plug in the USB and set that up. Re-enable your laptop WiFi.

Speedify will combine the links.

You could actually do this as many times as you have USB ports and you could also use one USB adapter as a shared hotspot for your other devices so you don't have to log into hotel WiFi with those.

Enjoy, and use my Amazon link above to support my blog. Or click here for ANY purchase. I get a tiny commission:

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Best Backpack Bag for Disney World or Disneyland Park. Easy Security Check!

This is what I always bring to the parks.

Couple of reasons.

1. Easily pass through security because they can see through the bag. If you don't have much in it, they will often not even open the bag because it's see through.

2. The less obvious reason is that the bag BREATHES so your back stays cooler. It's full of holes. :)

Support my blog and buy one you like on Amazon. There are many choices:

I have one with the external pocket.

One idea, depending on what's in the bag and the weather, is a frozen water bottle against your back in the bottom of the bag.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

K150 Ebay PIC Programmer for $7. And how to get it working under Windows 10. Prolific

First, the chip that gives the problem is the Prolific PL 2303HXA. It's a USB to serial.

Windows 10 will install drivers when you plug it in but they don't work. You'll see a message in device manager about contacting your supplier.

(I may experiment here a bit later with drivers...update to come...but it may be academic. I just like to have official drivers when possible.)

So a bit of backstory:

Supposedly this chip is End of Life and 'not supported'. Or another story is Prolific wrote their drivers so counterfeit chips won't work. But others have surmised that even older devices from reputable vendors are also rendered inoperative on OS versions they are supposed to work in.

So he said, she said.

There are good directions and a download for drivers from before Prolific broke them here:

The way *I* installed it is plugged it in and went thru Device Manager and did a driver 'Update' but I clicked on the option to select the driver myself from the directory I extracted the above ZIP file to.

Windows did not complain and AVG did not see any threats.

Here's a video explaining  how to get it to work. One major thing is I don't think the software appears to work until you do an operation on the PIC in the socket. It will do read/write/verify but the software always complains that it can't communicate with the board.

I'd be really ticked if I'd spend the $59 original price with that level of software quality...

The software the video shows is at the top of this page:

...which was a bit tricky to find.

ALSO. Apparently there are different versions of for the firmware the PIC on the programmer uses. The longest DIP on the board is a 16F628, and that holds the firmware. The software has to match.

So if you want to update the firmware, you have to install a new PIC. So if it's soldered in, FUN.

Still wondering why these are $7?

Anyway, you're doing this for fun right?

Here's the one I bought on Ebay.

Did I help collect all the info you're looking for in one spot? Buy me a cup of coffee on the Ebay link on the right.

To do:
Verify that mine works and note the firmware. I'm waiting on PICs to arrive. As I said, it won't do anything until a PIC is put in the ZIF socket, apparently.

Misc Notes:
There are 3D printable cases on Thingiverse, and the one I tried was KINDA close. Took a little cutting and I just taped it closed. YMMV. Better than nothing.

Prolific has a CheckChipVersion.exe program that could talk to the chip once I got the drivers installed and it did tell me the chip I have was a PL2303HXA. I don't know if it's a 'real' one or not.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

Super Old Amiga 1000 Floppy Notes

Most "modern" floppy drives don't use 12V. But apparently the Amiga 1000 one DOES. Or at least this one does. Here's the label:

In further weirdness, it has a rotation indicator on the spindle that passes a sensor for speed pickup. Wild.

For Googlers, it's a JU-363-03

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