Archive for March, 2012

Password problems with Firefox Sync

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Although Firefox has sported a Sync option for quite some time, I only recently decided to make use of it.
I’m working on several different OS on several different pcs in several different locations and having my bookmark collection always up to date is a real time/lifesaver.

Unfortunately, every once in a while Sync reports “could not sync within the last 7 days” due to a password problem. (The screenshot was taken on a Ubuntu installation)

The offered options are to change your password, to unlink the device or to reset.

This happened to me on Win7 x86_64 with Firefox 10 and on a Win7 x86_64 with Firefox 11, both workstations joined to a domain and again on Ubuntu 11.10 x86_64 with Firefox 11.
I usually try to re-enter my password first and it’s always “incorrect” for some reasons.

I’ve solved plenty of user problems with passwords to know all the tricks’n’traps (keyboard settings, numeral keypard etc,) and I *know* I enter the correct password (although that’s what the users say as well). In the end, I usually unlink the device, delete the firefox profile and set up Sync again. You need to have your recovery key ready for this but as I store all passwords in KeePass files and sync them using Ubuntu One, I’m good with that.

Of course, when I set up Sync again and enter the same password as before, it’s deemed “correct” and my synced settings are restored within seconds.

You won’t find any information about this in Event Viewer but have a look at C:\Users\<username>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\<random_name>.default\weave\logs (on Linux: .mozilla/firefox/<random_name>.default\weave\logs ).
The next couple of lines will refer to the Linux version, your mileage may vary on Windows but should be similar.

The log files contain a timestamp in Unix time (online converter here), warnings and debug messages such as “401: login failed”. It will also display your encrypted (?) username. Quite useful information but no hints to what the actual problem is. Previous post in the Mozilla support forum report that intermittent server failures could be the cause but from a user’s point of the view there’s no way you can verify this.

What are experiences with Firefox Sync? As a tool I like quite like it but this password issue is a bit annoying. Do you have any hints? Let me know…

Maybe thrashing your Firefox profile is an overkill. Simply try restarting Firefox first. Whilst writing this very post, Firefox complained about an incorrect sync password (that’s why I was able to take screenshots ^_^) but closing Firefox, adding a new bookmark on a different pc and starting Firefox again, the new bookmark was synched without problem.

And another thought:
If you use the NoScript extension, make sure you allow – don’t know if it helps but it can’t get worse.

Swiss German Keyboard Layout for Japanese IME on Windows 7

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

In Windows 7, there seems to be a bug regarding the keyboard layout in Japanese IME (probably not the only bug in Windows 7, but hey…). The issue apparently didn’t exist in Vista but affects Windows 7 users who use Microsoft IME to input Japanese on non-Japanese Windows 7 pcs.

After adding Japanese input via Control Panel -> Region and Language -> Tab “Keyboards and Languages” -> “Change keyboards…” -> Tab “General”, Japanese input uses an US layout keyboard whenever you input something in Japanese.

Basically, this is not a problem for users with a physical US keyboard layout but there are some people with a non-US keyboard layout. E.g. mine is Swiss German and I even though I can use an US layout on a physical Swiss German keyboard without problems, others might not be so lucky.

So, how do you change this keyboard layout setting? This article pointed me into the right direction but you can’t choose keyboard layouts anywhere in the IME settings. There are tons of settings but nothing to do with keyboards. In this case, you have change a registry key! Standard warnings on editing the registry apply, so be careful.

Start regedit and navigate to the following key:
Right-click “i8042prt” and select “Export”, save the key as i8042prt.reg on your desktop.
Open i8042prt\Parameters and select “LayerDriver JPN” in the right window pane. Double-click “LayerDriver JPN” and type the following value data: KBDSG.dll
Click OK, close regedit and restart your computer. At the next logon, you can input Japanese using Microsoft IME with a Swiss German keyboard layout.

For the curious: KBDSG.dll is located in C:\Windows\System32 – if you look at the properties, it says:
File description: Swiss German Keyboard layout.

I haven’t tested this but I imagine you actually use any kbd***.dll in System32 as value in “LayerDriver JPN” if you feel unhappy with the standard US layout.

HTHS, cheers!


Not all is gold that glitters. There’s a downside to the method described above. In Japanese texts, the standard brackets are “「” and “」” and guess what? As these characters don’t exist on a Swissgerman keyboard, you won’t be able to input them. Although they come with a Unicode code (U+300C and U+300D resp.), entering Unicode requires you to press Alt and the + key on the numerical pad (which you might not have if you’re working on a laptop). Even worse, as long as you only have to enter numerals, Unicode works but in most programs Alt+C or Alt+D will trigger some command or open a menu.

An easy workaround would be to copy these two characters to a simple text to have them at your disposal when required. But that’s not a very technical solution, isn’t it.

Guitar tab for Miles Of Machines Main Arpeggio by Jeff Loomis

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

After transcribing some part of Devil Theory, here’s the transcription of Miles Of Machine, the main arpeggio.

Youtube: miles of machine by Jeff Loomis

Originally  transcribed using tuxguitar, I exported it to ascii so I could add the fingering and the chords.

Transcription: miles_of_machines_jeff_loomis

HTHYGP (hope this helps your guitar playing)