How to Eliminate Hiss in Windows Audio

After tiring of my 12-year old Creative Sound Blaster sound card paired with a set of Logitech speakers, I decided to treat myself, so I upgraded to an external DAC (a.k.a. external sound card) outputting to and amp powering some high-end Bowers & Wilkins studio monitors. This upgraded solution cost five times the price of the older consumer grade setup I was running (and was universally touted as fantastic-sounding), so you can image my surprise when I plugged it into my shiny new custom-built Windows 10 PC (with a dedicated USB port specifically for external DACs), and I still heard a very noticeable hiss in the background whenever I played any music. It reminded me of old cassette tape hiss from the 1980s. After upgrading and rearranging all my cables without improvement I finally found the cause and the easy fix… Read more

Edit a VM’s Properties When There’s an Unhandled Exception in ESXi 6.5 Web Client

If you’ve ever had a physical VMware ESXi server with an external USB drive attached to it, and then tried moving the VM that was connected to that USB drive from that server to a new ESXi 6.5 server, you’ve probably noticed that trying to edit the VM’s properties on the new server is impossible – even if the old USB drive is connected to the new server. The browser begins to display the settings page, but just as it’s about to finish rendering it, it suddenly goes gray with an “unhandled exception” that requires you to reload the page and start over. Here’s how to get around that, so you can edit the properties of your VM and move on with your life… Read more

How to install 3rd Party RAID controller drivers in VMware ESXi 6.0

I recently had to install VMware ESXi 6.0 on a server sporting an Areca RAID controller. Since Areca supplies VMware drivers on their site, and this is a well-established name-brand controller, you may expect it to be easy to get it working. It isn’t exactly easy, since VMware doesn’t natively support this controller, but I did get it working, and since this same basic procedure could be adopted for other models/brands/situations, I wanted to post how I did it, since I couldn’t find anyone else on the internet at the time who had useful instructions for someone who hadn’t done it before (or with this version of VMware).

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How to Forward Ports on a Watchguard Firebox

Firewall appliances can be notoriously confusing to set up when it comes to something that should be relatively simple, that’s one of its most commonly performed tasks, like port forwarding. Perhaps the most confusing box I’ve come across is the Watchguard Firebox XTM21, which works great once you decipher the confusing way it expects you to configure it. Here’s what always works for me if I want to, say, forward all traffic coming in on port 41000 to an internal machine at IP address (I’m sure this procedure (or something like it) applies to other similar Watchguard models as well.)  Read more

8 Keyboard Shortcuts that Will Change the Way You Use a Computer

I hate hyperbole, but it’s true – learning about (and using) these key combinations really will revolutionize how much faster and more efficiently you can move around your system! They’ve been around for years, and work in pretty much every program on every platform, but lately I’ve been encountering more and more people who still don’t know about them, and people always seem to be blown away when I show them, so without further ado, here’s what you need to know:

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How to Get Copiers & Scanners to Use the Glass Bed When They Insist You Set Document on ADF

Have you ever wanted to copy or scan something large or unwieldy like a book, but when you put it on the glass and pushed Start, it just sat there saying to “Please Set Document on ADF” or some other similar message telling you to put it in the Automatic Document Feeder?  The other day that happened to me, and a few quick searches on the internet didn’t help, nor did the manual, which simply said that if you want to copy something with the Document Glass, you simply have to set it there and hit Copy.  That doesn’t always work, and here’s why: Read more