Stream Audio from Windows PC to AirPlay Devices

Sometimes, I want to play audio with my PC instead of my AudioStation (Synology) via my AirPlay Devices (Yamaha HTR-4067 and Philips Fidelio AD7000). I found TuneBlade to be the best cheap solution.

TuneBlade

TuneBlade

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A lot of details and info can be found here : http://tuneblade.com/blog/

I like it because:

  • It’s very simply to use
    • No need to change the current playback device of Windows.Simply press play on the AirPlay Devices detected by TuneBlade
  • It’s cheap (less than 9€)
  • It’s able to send the music synchronously on various distinct devices (Just like Synology’s AudioStation)

Website: http://tuneblade.com/

FreewaresTips Put Windows PC’s display to sleep immediately

Wizmo

Wizmo

When I watch a movie, I like to be in the complete dark… But if my PC is running, the screens are sources of light… Here is how to create a keyboard shortcut turning the screens off immediately, using “Wizmo”.

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As I am lazy and don’t want to turn off the monitors manually using their power button, I looked for a solution to put the screens to sleep immediately – without waiting for the screen saver to turn off the display as configured in the Control Panel > Power Options > Plan Settings… – using a keyboard shortcut.

I found a a first solution based on “NirCmd“: Download it and create a desktop shortcut (assigned with a keyboard shortcut) to: nircmd.exe cmdwait 1000 monitor off

That solution didn’t work fine for me. Indeed, after a few minutes, the screens were always turning back on magically… I didn’t find for sure the reason why, but it could be that my wireless mouse (Logitech) is not 100% quite although untouched…

So, I looked for an alternative and found “Wizmo“. Download it and use it in a desktop shortcut (also assigned with a keyboard shortcut) to: wizmo.exe monoff shake=99

This will eliminate the minor mouse “shake” that a wireless mouse seems to have and which is turning the monitor back on, while allowing you to still wiggle the mouse a bit to turn your monitor back on. (Notice: Wizmo won’t run if you copy it into %WinDir%\System32 !)

Tips Request Microsoft for an existing hotfix not publicly released

I found a kb (article from the knwledge base) of Microsoft mentioning an existing hotfix but not providing a link to download this one.

Here is a link to request Microsoft for such hotfix without going through the long and expensive process of a phone call,  etc… E.g.: for a dummy kb 1234567: Click here.

Click to Read More

I found a post that give all the requested details on that process: http://www.pesikov.tk/blog/request-download-kb-update-hotfix-directly-without-contacting-microsoft-customer-support-services/

Only notice that you must now use a parameter “ln” in the URL to enforce the language of the page. Ex.: http://support.microsoft.com/hotfix/KBHotfix.aspx?kbnum=1234567&ln=en-us.

This will bring you to such a support page:

Request Microsoft for a hotfix

Request Microsoft for a hotfix

Tips View or flush the content of the DNS cache on Windows

Although my primary DNS is my Synology and the IP returned for ‘beatificabytes.be’ is expected to be the IP of my NAS, Chrome tried to access my blog on the web instead of locally. I thought it was an issue with the DNS and wanted to know how it resolved my domain name.

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Windows is caching the IP resolved by a DNS. So, thinking my DNS was possibly off when Chrome tried to resolve my domain name, I had to view the content of the cache. This can be done with the following command:

ipconfig /displaydns

The result was clear. My DNS didn’t answer itself and the domain name was therefore resolved by the DNS of my provider:

www.beatificabytes.be
—————————————-
Record Name . . . . . : www.beatificabytes.be
Record Type . . . . . : 5
Time To Live . . . . : 30
Data Length . . . . . : 8
Section . . . . . . . : Answer
CNAME Record . . . . : <myNAS>.diskstation.me
Record Name . . . . . : <myNAS>.diskstation.me
Record Type . . . . . : 1
Time To Live . . . . : 30
Data Length . . . . . : 4
Section . . . . . . . : Answer
A (Host) Record . . . : 91.182.141.78

So, I tried to just flush the cache to see if my DNS would now resolve the domain name. The command to do so is:

ipconfig /flushdns

For information purpose, here are the commands to respectively turn off/on the DNS cache until next reboot:

net stop dnscache

net start dnscache

Flushing the DNS didn’t solve the issue unfortunately :(

Neither ipconfig /release nor ipconfig /renew did solve the issue either*… But this post is to keep a note about viewing/flushing the DNS cache only ;)

* To be continued…

Tips Change Windows Product Key before activation

Here is two command lines to change a Windows product key (Vista,  7 or  8) and activate Windows. They must be executed in a Command Prompt “Run As Administrator”.

  1. To set a product key, run “slmgr.vbs -ipk <your product key>”
    • Ex.: slmgr.vbs -ipk 00000-00000-00000-00000-00000
  2. To activate windows after changing the key, run “slmgr.vbs -ato”

Tips Windows Shortcuts and Hot Keys

A impressive reference guide of shorcuts and hot keys is available on the “Shortcut World” website here, covering various OS (Windows, MacOS, Linux) and products (Autocad, Office, … ). Use the search box to find shortcuts for your software (e.g.: “Windows 7”).

But the most complete, up-to-date and official, lists of shortcuts for Windows should be the ones provided by Microsoft itself.

Click to Read More

Have a look:

  • here for Windows 7, 8.1 and 10
  • here for Windows XP

To find shortcuts for other Microsoft products (Excel, Word, …) go to the page Accessibility in Microsoft Products, select a product in the list to open the related page and search for the “shortcut” word on that page. you will most probably find what you need ;)

Notice that you may also create your own “keyboard shortcut” to open a program:

  1. Locate a shortcut to that program (e.g.: via the menu Start > All Programs).
  2. Right-click the shortcut, and then click Properties.
  3. In the Shortcut Properties dialog box, click the Shortcut tab.
  4. In the Shortcut key box, enter the key that you want to use in combination with Ctrl+Alt (keyboard shortcuts automatically start with Ctrl+Alt) and click OK.

If the same key combination as the shortcut you just created is used by a program currently running, then your shortcut might not work.