OneNote 2016 Annoyance. A permanent sorry about cleaning up.

My transfer to Microsoft Office 2016, that has been recently released, has failed. The trouble is OneNote 2016 functionality. It keeps showing the message: “We’re sorry. OneNote is cleaning up from the last time it was open. Please wait.” Although it is actually working OK after, this message is very annoying, and I could not stand it, neither could my wife :(

OneNote 2016 error

I have MS Windows 10 build 10240. Office version was Office_2016_16_0_4266_1003_x86 (I also tried Office_2016_16_0_4266_1003_x64 without success).

I use OneNote extensively. I have around 1GB stored in OneNote Notebooks stored on my OneDrive, which is very useful.


How to block ads in Windows with just Notepad

Ads are annoying on the web. Besides they lower your internet bandwidth and can be particularly offensive for minors. If you share your PC with your kids, I’m sure you will see how helpful my advice is. There are different ways to screen advertising with use of free and paid DNS providers, firewalls, and special software. I propose to use light and effective method of modifying hosts file. It is a manual hack, but if you browse approximately the same list of websites every day, it will not be very tedious to implement. I’ll explain in plain and simple language. This method is not risky and very easy to revert, if for whatever reason something goes wrong. I tried it in Windows 7, 8, and 10 Technical Preview. It does not matter whether you use 32 or 64 bit version, it will work anyway.

1. Get the HOSTS file

First look for the following path in the Windows Explorer:



To be on a safe side, make a backup of this file, save a copy of it in a different folder. This file has no extension ‘naturally’, so don’t worry. So, you can copy it to your Document folder, for instance, and make another copy with extension .bak. Then leave the file hosts.bak intact. And double click the file hosts in this new location. We will edit this file here, and once you are done, you will copy the edited new file back to the target place (C:\windows\system32\drivers\etc) to replace the original file. It is because we cannot edit this file directly in its original place.

When you double click the file, you have to choose which program to use to edit it. Pick NOTEPAD. Then you will see something similar:


Everything except the last line ( localhost) is simply a commented description. You need to extend the list to assign the web addresses you want to block to this IP address For example:

What it does, it tells to the system, if that exact address is requested (e.g. then instead of getting the real IP address from the root server (DNS), it will immediately short cut it to the, which is zero content. It applies to every web browser you can use — Internet Explorer, Chrome, Opera, Firefox, you name it.

Mind the syntax though: don’t put http:// or https:// — not needed.

2. How to block the ads.

So, how to hit particular ads you see every time you visit certain websites?


Windows 8 Media Center Pack for Free

Windows 8 proConfused with Windows 8 versions? Here’s a good explanation on on that, describing all four flavours of the new Microsoft operating system. In short: Windows RT (limited to built-in applications), Windows 8 (for most users), Windows 8 Pro (like Win7 Ultimate with  encryption, extra networking features, and similar features like to connect to a domain through a work network), and Windows 8 Enterprise (for corporate users). But here we also have mysterious Windows 8 Pro Pack, which seems to be more than just upgrade from Windows 8 to 8 Pro. It was also mentioned that you can have Windows 8 Pro Media Center Edition for those who want to record or watch live TV shows through a TV tuner with Windows Media Center and also play DVDs.

I would go for Windows 8 Pro anyway, but I just realized that Microsoft is giving away product numbers for Windows 8 Media Center Pack here. Just type your email and hit Enter. It seems that sometimes you have to wait for a couple of days for the key to arrive. But there is a hidden secret. Some people reported that it is enough to install Windows 8 Pro  (x86 or x64) with public KMS client setup key (Microsoft Technet source), activate it, and then just follow the sequence:


How to deal with suspended account in Twitter

We know Twitter for its speed and communication efficiency. As for their Customer Support — it is simply slow and deaf, one of the worst customer support I’ve ever seen. Well, maybe I should not generalize my experience. Look what happened.

On December 13th 2011 my Twitter account @expertvista was suspended without explanation and any notification. I read again the rules but I had no clue what my violation could be. The help page was particularly useless (see the screenshot below):

twitter account suspended

I used the online form with stupid “with love” built-in ending to report my issue. In few minutes I got an automated email from Twitter Support [] asking to reply (!) “to this ticket with a confirmation that you understand our policies and will not engage in any prohibited following behavior.” That request to reply was unusual, and easy to miss.

So I replied. Nothing happened. I sent another request on December 20th. No answer.

Only on December 22nd I received an email from someone with a dog’s name “gobeee“, saying that I’m fine now. Eight days for Twitter customer support to fix an issue.

So if you want to quickly deal with your suspended account in Twitter, I really don’t know what to suggest. It looks like Twitter handles manually the customer tickets. I think it is OK, but that should not be that slow (8 days!) for a company providing instant services.


Convert DVD movie to iPod Touch or iPhone format with Handbrake

Handbrake logoMy favorite serial is British “Fawlty Towers” with brilliant John Cleese as Basil Fawlty. All twelve parts are full of sharp-tongued hilarious dialogs. As people say: “the best farce ever written in the English language.” I wholeheartedly recommend. Anyway, I wanted to convert the DVD I bought few years ago on Amazon to m4v format, suitable for my iPod Touch (previous generation) to watch “Fawlty Towers” during the business trip. The key requirement would be to keep the subtitles, as I like to savour the wording (that movie in particular) along the watching these episodes. The hard part was to choose the right program to convert DVD into iPod Touch format as the selection looks excessive at first glance.

In the past I used to convert with CloneDVD, so I started this time with it. Unfortunately CloneDVD did not recognize the subtitles. I tried also Nero 10, Xilisoft Video Converter Ultimate, Xvid4PSP, Aimersoft Video Converter, and DVDFab with its ugly monkey head. No luck. That is the conversion was OK, but no way to put subtitles together. Almost at the moment of desperation I tried a program called Handbrake, which is an open-source converter available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows. It supports video in following formats: MPEG-4 (ffmpeg), H.264 (x264), and Theora (libtheora). Handbrake also supports chapters and all kind of subtitles (Vobsub and Closed Captions). I used version 0.9.5 for Windows.

So here’s the screenshot of the settings that did work with my iPod (click to enlarge):

Handbrake settings to convert DVD movie with closed captions

That worked nicely. So in iPod Touch (or iPhone) you just select subtitles in the menu:

And enjoy the movie:

A little disappointment is the capital letters of the subtitles — that I could not fix yet.


Remove DRM from Adobe Digital Editions – How-To guide

[updated 17 Oct 2011]

Like Adobe says: “Make reading an engaging experience!” So engage yourself and break free your pdf books, which you bought legally. In the first article “Remove DRM from Adobe Digital Editions – Background” I showed how it was started. Now let’s roll up the sleeves. I will show how to strip DRM protection.

STEP 1 – Find the inept files with code for Python

Find in the internet two text files: ineptkey.pyw — version 5.4 and ineptpdf.pyw — version 8.4.50. Versions can be different, but they should not be too far away from what I have indicated. Save them in your folder, we will need these files a little bit later.

STEP 2 – Install Adobe Digital Editions and activate

I used version 1.7.2 of ADE. Here’s a screenshot below:



Remove DRM from Adobe Digital Editions – Background

adobe-pdf-encr-slideThree years ago I wrote an article about breaking of Adobe Digital Editions DRM protection on books purchased legally, when you want, for example, to access your books with alernative PDF readers like Foxit. Or some people simply say that we should not be treated like criminals. Since then Digital Editions hit version 1.7.2 and I’m curious to see if that Open Source method with Python source files ineptkey.pyw and ineptpdf.pyw still valid. At least I saw newer versions of those files in the internet (ineptkey.pyw — version 5.4, ineptpdf.pyw — version 8.4.50, and ineptepub.pyw (to use for EPUB books instead of PDF) — version 5.2). Let’s have a look.

DRM in your book
Vanished like a sigh
Of weakening wind in the sunrise


It is all started by a guy (or a girl) under nickname I love cabbages or i♥cabbages or i-u2665-cabbages :)) — you can find his blog here. He found a way to unlock Adobe ADEPT-encrypted PDF files and ADEPT-encrypted EPUB books. There were two steps to follow:

  1. Key retrieval (for that key-retrieval Python script should be used: ineptkey (version 5.4))
  2. Decryption (for that two decryption Python scripts should be used: ineptepub for EPUB books (version 5.2) and ineptpdf for ebooks in PDF (version 8.4.50)

Get Service Pack 1 RTM for Windows 7 Now!

Windows 7 Ultimate package retailFinally! Service Pack number One for Windows 7 is out! Good bye blue screens of death! Sigh and install Windows 7 now if have not done it yet. There are number of fixes and improvements included, I already mentioned in one of my last posts. Officially Microsoft has not provided Service Pack 1 to public yet, but its RTM version (released to manufacturing, the final one!)  has leaked and available in torrents to download. Here’s some links below:


Plan Z. Destroy all your data with DBAN.

Sometimes you need to quickly destroy all your data, for whatever reason. In this case Darik’s Boot And Nuke bootable CD can help. What you need to do is download the file image dban-2.2.6_i586.iso (last version 2.2.6) and burn it without unzipping. Then to deploy it, simply reboot and follow the prompts. Important to mention, that in your PC BIOS booting order must be set to start from DVD(CD)-ROM. Beware though, as this program is designed to look for any hard drives, not only the system one, and to wipe out everything without any possibility to restore. Therefore, be extremely careful with that CD. DBAN is a good way to recycle your old computer, making sure that no identity theft is possible if you sell your PC, for instance. It is also a good way to totally sanitize your hard drive before new Windows (or whatever OS) installation, especially if you suspect it was compromised with virus or rootkit infection. Creator of this tool claims that “DBAN prevents or thoroughly hinders all known techniques of hard disk forensic analysis.” It is free to use. Just be aware that good cleaning of large volume of data takes time.



Fastest WiFi Connection at home

If you have equipment capable of the fastest WiFi connection available today — 802.11n, 2.4 GHz (up to 600 Mbit/sec) — make sure can you take advantage of it. Check if you use encryption WPA2-PSK+AES (Modulation Type 64-QAM) and 40 MHz-wide channel. What WiFi channel is the fastest? There are 14 channels designated for 2.4 GHz with 22 MHz range each and with 5 MHz step, therefore they overlap. To avoid overlapping it is recommended to use channel 1, 6, 11, and 14, but you want the fastest (40 MHz-wide channel) use 2 and 12, for instance. If encountering interference from other devices within the home, you can change the channel up or down. It is also good to check if there’s any strong wi-fi network nearby (here’s how to do it). Yet all Wi-Fi devices on your (one) network should use the same channel.