Category: Software

AutoFLAC Error: Unable to Execute the External Program

Posted by – April 29, 2010

AutoFLAC Error

A screenshot of the error message I received.

Today I ran into an unusual problem with Exact Audio Copy and AutoFLAC.  Whenever I’d try to rip one of my CDs into FLAC, they’d copy fine but then it’d fail and not write any .cue file.  After searching around on the net for various solutions I was still having trouble.

It’s an easy fix, but wanted to share it here to hopefully save somebody else some time if they run into this same problem.

First, the error message:

Line 0 (File "C:\Program Files\Exact Audio Copy\AutoFLAC.exe");
$pid = run("" & $metaflac & ""' --add-replay-gain ' & $list, $ripdir, @SW_HIDE)
Error: Unable to execute the external program.
The directory name is invalid.

Now the fix, although it’s hardly a fix.

  1. Uninstall AutoFLAC.
  2. Uninstall Exact Audio Copy.
  3. Delete the Exact Audio Copy directory (C:\Program Files\Exact Audio Copy\ is the default).
  4. Use regedit to remove the AutoFLAC entries (HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\AutoFLAC).
  5. Reinstall Exact Audio Copy.
  6. Reinstall AutoFLAC.
  7. Ensure your FLAC binaries are up to date.

Steps 3 and 4 are possibly optional but I went and did it anyway and it fixed the problem.

Anyway, hope this helps people, and it’s hardly an original fix but I would have saved some time had I found a post like this.  Good luck, and happy ripping!

NAS200 Trouble and My Run-In with Linksys/Cisco

Posted by – November 20, 2009

Linksys Network Storage System with 2 Bays (NAS200)

Linksys Network Storage System with 2 Bays (NAS200)

As I posted what seems like forever ago, I had bought a Linksys NAS200.  Well, I’ve been having some trouble since I upgraded the firmware from V34R75 to V34R79.  This caused the media server to pretty much become useless.  Not only did it have problems giving a directory listing on my XBOX 360, but if I did manage to get something to play, it’d timeout about about five minutes of watching and I’d have to reboot the media server to get it working for another brief five minute interval.

So I did what I normally did, google around looking for a solution, but it seems a lot of people have this issue yet nobody has a solution.  Well, I have one for you!  If you don’t want to read about my adventure to simply rollback the firmware, skip down!

So after reviewing the changelog that talks about how they fixed the,  sorry “fixed” the media server to work with the PlayStation 3.  I dug around and it appears they went from Twonky Media Server to PVConnect.  Which for whatever reason was crashing or terminating which lead to having to restart it’s process.  The solution to me was clear, simply rollback to the V34R75 firmware, right?  Well My backup of it was missing in action, and the Linksys website didn’t offer the download location of old firmware.  So I decided to contact them.

So I decided to poke around the Linksys website and I eventually found a live chat support, which I felt was fine since all I needed was a download location of the old firmware.   However, upon connecting with a live representative I was informed that I wasn’t entitled to help for free because my warranty is over.  This irked me a bit, but I continued to say I wasn’t asking for troubleshooting just the firmware.  I was then told:

Daphne L. (10116): Inferno, this product is listed as being out of warranty and is no longer eligible for chat support. However, I do have a couple of support options that may be of assistance to you. First, we have our complimentary award-winning online support tools OR I can give you the 800 number to connect with our phone support staff where they can offer you technical assistance through various fee-based support options.”

Daphne L. (10116): Which option would you prefer, Inferno?

Me: Umm, well I just want you to offer to download the old firmware. The software that worked and didn’t turn it into a brick.
Me: I’m not asking you to help troubleshoot

Daphne L. (10116): Sorry, but we don’t have available firmware on our download site.

Me: Warranty or not, your ‘update’ destroyed my product you sold to me.

Daphne L. (10116): I understand, please also be informed that it is not advisable to upgrade the firmware of a device if it is working fine since it may corrupt the firmware.

Uhhh, what?

Me: Wait wait
Me: Your saying NOT to upgrade firmware for my products?
Me: I Don’t want to gets bug fixes and additional features?

Daphne L. (10116): Wait let me verify first, your only concern is to get the old firmware, right? We can double check if we still have it available.

Me: That would be wonderful.

So they eventually said they’d have someone call me back within 48 hours.  So I waited…and two days later I get an email from Celo Deavilla, who asked me to call his office or reply to his email.  So I did both, upon calling his office he wasn’t there, so I responded to his email with my contact information and when I’ll be available, and also offered to have the conversation via email if he wished.  I got no response all week, and I kept calling him daily and he was always away from his desk.

Finally on Friday I replied stating how I was disappointed in Linksys as I had waited for a week and received no help for my problem which was pretty simple, I just wanted the V34R75 firmware.  Which fortunately, got a response quickly, Cello pulled through and emailed me NAS200_V34R75.bin which was exactly what the doctor prescribed.

So I reinstalled the old firmware and everything works smoothly and cleanly again!  Problem solved.

The Solution: Install NAS200_V34R75.bin!

I’ve uploaded it and the full chat log.  I hope this will help someone else and they won’t have to waste over a week on tracking down the firmware.

NAS200_V34R75.bin

Linksys Support Chat Log

Review: Google Reader

Posted by – October 26, 2009

Google Reader's Main Layout

Google Reader's Main Layout

This post has been sitting in my draft folder FOREVER, as I was never quite happy with the formatting or what I wrote.  I decided I’m going to push it through anyway.

I’ve been using Google products for years.  Like most people I’m attracted to the ability to save my work server-side as well as being able to export it to my own local hard drive for safe-keeping.  Most companies don’t tend to do both because their business model is to lock you into their services usually to ensure constant ad revenue.  Google instead relies on innovation and user-friendliness, which hasn’t failed them yet (at least, except maybe Orkut, which I also enjoy…alone), this includes Google Reader.

It all starts off with a pretty simple layout.  The right pane is for viewing your feeds/statistics, the left pane is for navigating your feeds and options.  The ability to use Google Gears to view your feeds offline also gives you a great option for laptop users who will be traveling without wifi access, as you don’t need to install a local news reader.

Viewing a Feed with Google Reader.

Viewing a Feed with Google Reader.

The layout for the reading the feeds is the most important feature however, and it doesn’t get much better than this.  As you can see, it looks very much like any feed reader out there, very simple, with black text on a white background, all the images are there and easy to see.  You can even collapse the navigation pane for a larger viewing window.  With all the different viewing options on how the articles will appear, I think everyone can find a view that they like which is really what customization is really about.

You can track your reading statistics through Google Reader's Trends.

You can track your reading statistics through Google Reader

Another very cool feature I probably couldn’t live without is Google Reader’s Trends.  I’ve always been one to enjoy graphs and statistics (especially when they’re about me; see Review:WhatPulse, Review:RescueTime and DD-WRT Vs Tomato).  However I do find this somewhat useful as if I find I’m reading too much junk feeds, or I haven’t read from a particular feed in many many months; I’ll prune the feeds to increase my productivity.  This doesn’t always work how I’d like however.  In order to get an article to disappear from your ‘new items’ you have to click ‘read’ even though I may just be skipping it as that particular article doesn’t have my interest (Slashdot or Metafilter are two of the big feeds I have trouble with in this regard).  I propose having an ‘ignore’ box as well, which will show up on trends showing how many you ignore, so you can also prune away if the numbers get too high.

For the most part I think Google Reader is the best feed reader out there, although I’ve seen some religious wars with Bloglines vs Google Reader.  The arguments for both sides aren’t very convincing as Google has/is taking all the good features from Bloglines, and getting rid of the bugs and problems Bloglines has (such as duplicate articles in the feed).  It’s all up to you to decide because that’s what the Internet is about; choices.

Here are a few other screenshots of different views, for those interested enough to care, but not yet enough to sign-up.

Google Reader with the navigation pane collapsed.

Google Reader with the navigation pane collapsed.

Google Reader displaying articles with the list view instead of extended.

Google Reader displaying articles with the list view instead of extended.

Review: DD-WRT Vs Tomato

Posted by – December 5, 2008

Linksys WRT54GL: New Heart of My Network

Linksys WRT54GL: The new heart of my network.

Since I bought my new Linksys WRT-54GL router (one of the three new goodies I picked up, reviews and news coming soon) I’ve been using DD-WRT. Originally I was a bit worried about mucking around in the firmware, since the router was working quite well. That was until I tried to grab some stuff off bittorrent, and noticed the speed was incredibly slow, which turns out to be a linksys firmware bug they never fixed. Instant courage.

I was quite overwhelmed with all the cool new features of my router, and was even thinking about setting up an free (possibly ad-sponsored) wifi hotspot. However I was still disappointed in the performance of the router, and DD-WRT seemed large and bulky.  However I had it working to the point where I rarely had an issue, and was pretty happy with DD-WRT unless I thought about it too much.

A few weeks ago though, I’ve found Tomato.  It was in some unrelated Reddit discussion about bittorrent destroying the Internet because they’re using UDP instead of TCP now, you know, garbage.  Upon reading up on Tomato firmware though it seemed to be much more sleek and performance orientated than it’s DD-WRT cousin.  It contained all the basic features you’d need to run a nice personal network or even a small business network (depending on your needs) and not really any useless filler.  This was precisely what I wanted, I’ve always been a performance over features sort of guy anyway.  So I downloaded the firmware AFTER reading the manual and FAQ which is a good idea if you’re upgrading from DD-WRT, it’ll save you a headache when you attempt to login for the first time.

Tomato's basic network settings.

Tomato's Basic Network Settings

Tomato's Bandwidth Monitor (Realtime view)

Tomato's Bandwidth Monitor (Realtime)

As you can see, bittorrent is working.

As you can see, bittorrent is working.

So after installing the Tomato firmware (which was extremely painless, just a straight firmware upgrade through the web GUI) and a reset to default settings then  I was up and running.  I was giddy at this point, scrambling through all the pages admiring the awesomeness of the power I had (I’m sure any geek who gets a new gadget knows what I mean; never lingering on any one feature till you’ve seen them all).  After I calmed down a little I started configuring options, including Quality of Service (Qos), Port Forwarding, DNS addresses and Access Restrictions (to block sites I waste time on when I should be working) etc.  Then I was done.

I’ve now been running Tomato firmware for a few weeks, I have yet to have any issue.  I’ve setup a samba share for it to save it’s bandwidth logs, because I love graphs and it has a built in Common Internet File System Client (CIFS) built-in making it easy.  I’m in love with this firmware, and anybody using anything else really has to give it at least a shot, and if you like it donate to them.

Download Tomato Firmware.

More screenshots:

Tomato's Wireless Survey Tool.

Tomato's Wireless Survey Tool.

Tomato's Qos Graphs. Mmmm...

Tomato's Qos Graphs. Mmmm...

Tomato's QoS Classification Settings

Tomato's QoS Classification Settings.

Review: WhatPulse

Posted by – August 8, 2008

Not many people know about WhatPulse, and I’m not too surprised.  I can’t even remember how I came across it, however I’m glad I have.  Whatpulse is basically a keylogger or rootkit, except it doesn’t actually care what you type (as this information is not recorded), only the fact that you clicked the mouse, or pressed a key.  It then counts all these clicks and key presses and generates stats.

WhatPulse generates a running total of clicks and keypresses into different categories of your choosing.

WhatPulse generates a running total of clicks and keypresses into different categories of your choosing.

It’s quite amazing how many buttons I push on the average day, and I find it interesting to follow along and use these statistics as a basic form of productivity tracking.  Although it leaves much to be desired.

Seeing as how the program uses practically no resources, that it allows teams and lets you have categories such as ‘blogging’ and ‘forums’ the possibilities are near-endless.  It’s definitely worth a look if you’ve ever wondered on your wordcount or in this case, keycount or if your just stress-testing your keyboard out of boredom.

On an related note, feel free to join the Freedom-Uplink Team.  It has no real purpose (much like Freedom-Uplink itself), but would be interesting to see.