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Solving the PrimoPDF “Invalid XML Document” exception

You need to delete the PrimoPDF settings XML file, which can be found in your Application Data folder.

  1. Navigate to %AppData%\PrimoPDF
  2. Delete PrimoSet.xml. You could back it up first, but I wouldn’t say it’s important.

After doing so, upon opening PrimoPDF again, the settings file will be re-created. Note that your previous PrimoPDF settings will have been lost, so make sure you set them correctly again.

Credit goes to itsupport.vizada.com for pointing in the right direction (though with slightly outdated instructions).

Sony Vegas 8.0 and mp4v files may conflict with QuickTime 7.6.8

Sony Vegas 8.0 projects that use mp4v files may not display the video properly, presenting only audio with a black screen. It appears that QuickTime 7.6.8 causes the problems. In my case, the .mov files, which originated from a camera phone, would play fine in VLC, but not in Windows Media Player.

The solution is to uninstall QuickTime 7.6.8 and install QuickTime 7.6. Unfortunately, this does mean you lose the updated security features of 7.6.8; one hopes Apple rectifies the situation in a future release.

Dynamic RAM Preview max can cripple Sony Vegas rendering

Bizarrely, rendering performance in Sony Vegas Pro 8 suffers by a factor of 3 if the Dynamic RAM Preview is set to use 0MB. Increasing it to 1MB results in a 200% performance boost.

Dynamic RAM Preview normally allows you to render a small selected portion of your project to preview it smoothly. This is especially useful if you have a portion of your project that includes many transitions and effects: without this facility, you may be unable to preview it at a usable frame rate. You can increase the amount of RAM reserved for this task, which increases the length of clip that you can preview. Mike J has a good explanation on the Digital Media Net forums.

However, if you don’t use this feature, the recommendation is to reduce the RAM kept aside for it, allowing it to be used elsewhere. I hardly ever use it, so I reduced it to 0MB—a mistake, as I found out.

John Cline over on the Sony Creative Software forums has produced a handy “benchmark” file, rendertest-hdv.veg to compare the rendering performance of different systems. For instance, in 32-bit Vegas, a stock Core i7 920 could chomp through the rendering in about 1 minute 50 seconds. A lesser Core 2 Quad Q9400 could manage in about 2 minutes 10 seconds. By comparison, at first I was clocking in at over 10 minutes! Something wasn’t right. I downloaded Vegas Pro 8.1, which is the 64-bit version, and the file rendered in under 2 minutes 40 seconds.

I realised, after some playing around, that the Dynamic RAM preview setting was to blame. Strangely, if I increased it to 1MB, the rendering time improved tremendously, dropping to around the 2 minutes 55 seconds mark.

Simple then—if you’re using Vegas Pro 8.0c or 8.1, don’t set the “Dynamic RAM Preview max (MB)” setting to 0MB. A rather silly bug; it would have been good if Sony had picked up on it.

Dell will provide free Vista x64 disks for customers with Vista x32

It seems that if you’ve bought a computer from Dell with Windows Vista 32-bit, they’ll provide, upon request, disks of Vista 64-bit.

It can be a bit of a struggle, though. The key, it seems is to quote the following document to them: DSN Document ID: 158098 (Operating System Changes and Operating System Swaps – Dell Global Policy).

When I asked back in April 2009, my Dell Chat online support conversation went something like this:

Liam: “I need a copy of Vista Ultimate 64-bit to replace Vista Ultimate 32-bit.”
Agent: “Can you tell me which particular Windows came with your system?”
Liam Cromar: “Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit.”
Agent: “The cd or dvd installers we have are the ones that came with the system.”
Agent: “We can only send the Vista Ultimate 32 bit.”
Liam: “Thanks. I understand, however, that Dell Global Policy specifies that the customer is to be provided, on request, with two copies of the 64-bit versions as well. This is according to DSN Document ID: 158098 (Operating System Changes and Operating System Swaps – Dell Global Policy).”
Agent: “Thanks let me check if we can provide you.”
Agent: “Let’s check if your system is capable of having 64 bit. Click Start, click Run, type MSinfo32, and click Enter Look under the system type and see what it is listed.”
Liam: “X86-based PC.”
Agent: “This computer is not compatible with 64 bit OS. For Dell computers when you checked the system type and it list X86-based PC, it is only for 32 bit OS. For computers compatible with 64 bit, you will see X64-based PC.”
Liam: “With all due respect, I am an IT consultant and I know perfectly well that this machine IS compatible with a 64-bit OS. What appears in the System Information utility only refers to what OS is CURRENTLY installed on the computer. Since it CURRENTLY has a 32-bit OS on it, it says X86-based PC. To find out whether it could support a 64-bit OS you have to check the underlying hardware, in particular the motherboard and processor.”
Agent: “Thanks for additional information. Please give me a minute.”
Agent: “All indications point to 32 bit compatibility only. I have double check this and I got the same answer.”
Liam: “What indications?”
Agent: “We have reference where we can check compatibility with a certain system. No 64 bit OS is listed as compatible.”
Liam: “It has a Core 2 Quad processor, definitely 64-bit compatible. Please tell me exactly what is claimed not to be 64-bit compatible.”
Agent: “Let me check your processor information.”
Liam Cromar: “Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600.”
Agent: “Please give me a few minutes again thank you.”
Agent: “Thank you for waiting. Your request was approved. Since the warranty is active, I can send you a Vista 64 bit OS. I apologize for the delay in approving your request.”

Note the amusing attempt to try and persuade me that 64-bit Vista would not be compatible. All’s well that ends well, however; the disk arrived quickly.

Note also that I have no idea whether this policy is still in force, or whether it has been changed. If you want to try this, don’t leave it too long.

Much credit and thanks go to the moderator Chris M on the Dell forums who explained the necessary document to refer to on the Technet forums.

Error 0x80070643 when installing Microsoft Security Essentials? Lose Microsoft AntiSpyware

Clever, isn’t it. I was trying to install Microsoft Security Essentials on a laptop running Windows XP Professional; installation kept failing with error 0x80070643. Picked up hints around the web that other anti-malware programs might be interfering. I had already uninstalled Avira AntiVir Premium, but though I might as well try getting rid of Microsoft AntiSpyware.

Surely these two Microsoft security products couldn’t be conflicting with other…surely not…oh. Yes they could, it seems. Removed Microsoft AntiSpyware and Microsoft Security Essentials installed with no problems. Something for Microsoft to sort out, I think…

Firewall causes Rails update failure in NetBeans

If you are receiving the following error message when trying to update Rails in NetBeans 6.7:

ERROR: While executing gem … (Gem::RemoteFetcher::FetchError) SystemCallError: Unknown error – An established connection was aborted by the software in your host machine (http://gems.rubyforge.org/gems/actionmailer-2.3.3.gem)

…try momentarily disabling your firewall. In my case, Windows Firewall seemed to be torpedoing the process: after disabling it for a moment, the update went through perfectly.

Perhaps obvious, but also easily overlooked.

Credit: This post by “joseph george” reminded me to check the firewall settings.

NetBeans 4.1 with Windows 7 RC x64

Had some issues when I tried to install NetBeans 4.1 from the Open University CD-ROM, which is not surprising, considering its age and the determination of the Open University to keep on using legacy software.

First of all, the installer wouldn’t display correctly, with many graphical elements not appearing at all. Thanks to Simon over at abscforme.co.uk, I was able to get past this by forcing Windows 2000 compatibility mode.

Secondly, when going to File -> Open in NetBeans, Java crashed. This appeared to be a complete show-stopper. I even set up Windows XP Mode just to run it correctly. However, while I was doing that, I realised that the problem could lie with the Java Runtime: the Open University installer had installed the x86 version of the Java Runtime and the JDK. So I tried uninstalling the x86 versions and installing the Java SE Runtime Environment 5.0u19 and likewise the Java SE Development Kit 5.0u19 instead for Windows x64.

Upon installing NetBeans threw a paddy because it couldn’t find the JDK. I had to go to C:/Program Files (x86)/netbeans-4.1/etc/, set the permissions on the folder for Users to Write, and then edit the appropriate line in the netbeans.conf file to the following: netbeans_jdkhome=”C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.5.0_19″. Then it was a case of putting the permissions on the folder back to as they were.

Upon restarting NetBeans, all seemed to be well…and so far, all is still well. As a bonus, using this version of the Java Runtime/JDK doesn’t force Windows 7 out of the Aero GUI. I’ll keep you posted if there are any further developments.

Having said all that, though…I really hope the Open University get a move on and switch to NetBeans 6.5 or later! It’s faintly ridiculous that courses that teach such a platform-independant technology as Java are so prescriptive of the platforms they will support.