vista - Dave's Blog


PowerShell Scanning Script

2009 Jun 27, 3:42

I've hooked up the printer/scanner to the Media Center PC since I leave that on all the time anyway so we can have a networked printer. I wanted to hook up the scanner in a somewhat similar fashion but I didn't want to install HP's software (other than the drivers of course). So I've written my own script for scanning in PowerShell that does the following:

  1. Scans using the Windows Image Acquisition APIs via COM
  2. Runs OCR on the image using Microsoft Office Document Imaging via COM (which may already be on your PC if you have Office installed)
  3. Converts the image to JPEG using .NET Image APIs
  4. Stores the OCR text into the EXIF comment field using .NET Image APIs (which means Windows Search can index the image by the text in the image)
  5. Moves the image to the public share

Here's the actual code from my scan.ps1 file:

param([Switch] $ShowProgress, [switch] $OpenCompletedResult)

$filePathTemplate = "C:\users\public\pictures\scanned\scan {0} {1}.{2}";
$time = get-date -uformat "%Y-%m-%d";

[void]([reflection.assembly]::loadfile( "C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\System.Drawing.dll"))

$deviceManager = new-object -ComObject WIA.DeviceManager
$device = $deviceManager.DeviceInfos.Item(1).Connect();

foreach ($item in $device.Items) {
        $fileIdx = 0;
        while (test-path ($filePathTemplate -f $time,$fileIdx,"*")) {

        if ($ShowProgress) { "Scanning..." }

        $image = $item.Transfer();
        $fileName = ($filePathTemplate -f $time,$fileIdx,$image.FileExtension);
        clear-variable image

        if ($ShowProgress) { "Running OCR..." }

        $modiDocument = new-object -comobject modi.document;
        if ($modiDocument.Images.Count -gt 0) {
                $ocrText = $modiDocument.Images.Item(0).Layout.Text.ToString().Trim();
                clear-variable modiDocument

                if (!($ocrText.Equals(""))) {
                        $fileAsImage = New-Object -TypeName system.drawing.bitmap -ArgumentList $fileName
                        if (!($fileName.EndsWith(".jpg") -or $fileName.EndsWith(".jpeg"))) {
                                if ($ShowProgress) { "Converting to JPEG..." }

                                $newFileName = ($filePathTemplate -f $time,$fileIdx,"jpg");
                                $fileAsImage.Save($newFileName, [System.Drawing.Imaging.ImageFormat]::Jpeg);
                                del $fileName;

                                $fileAsImage = New-Object -TypeName system.drawing.bitmap -ArgumentList $newFileName 
                                $fileName = $newFileName

                        if ($ShowProgress) { "Saving OCR Text..." }

                        $property = $fileAsImage.PropertyItems[0];
                        $property.Id = 40092;
                        $property.Type = 1;
                        $property.Value = [system.text.encoding]::Unicode.GetBytes($ocrText);
                        $property.Len = $property.Value.Count;
                        $fileAsImage.Save(($fileName + ".new"));
                        del $fileName;
                        ren ($fileName + ".new") $fileName
        else {
                clear-variable modiDocument

        if ($ShowProgress) { "Done." }

        if ($OpenCompletedResult) {
                . $fileName;
        else {
                $result = dir $fileName;
                $result | add-member -membertype noteproperty -name OCRText -value $ocrText

I ran into a few issues:

PermalinkCommentstechnical scanner ocr .net modi powershell office wia

HP All-in-Ones-The Scan Button on the All-in-One Does Not Function When the Printer is Connected to Windows Vista

2009 Jun 20, 9:45"When the scan button is pressed on the product, nothing happens. The scan button does not work correctly." The workarounds are all basically, "don't use that button then." They say their Vista driver doesn't support sending the appropriate event. Lame.PermalinkCommentsvista hp scanner driver lame technical

WebGuide - Streaming TV, Remote Scheduling and Media Sharing for Windows Vista and Media Center

2009 Apr 20, 6:15Remotely set shows to record, watch recorded shows, etc etc for Windows Media Center. Lots of cool looking stuff I need to try it out. The old MSN Remote Record service is gone and in its place Microsoft has struck some sort of deal with the author of WebGuide such that its free!PermalinkCommentsmicrosoft windows tv mce plugin pvr cellphone remote free

Meteorology Law of the People's Republic of China --

2009 Feb 4, 4:16From Sorting it all Out wrt the weather gadget in Vista's sidebar, this link to China's laws on weather forecast: "Article 22 The State applies a unified system for the issue of public meteorological forecast and severe weather warning... No other organizations or individuals may issue to the community such forecast or warning." "Article 25 When the media, including radio, television, newspaper and telecommunication, issue to the community public meteorological forecast or severe weather warning, they shall use the latest meteorological information provided by a meteorological office... Part of the revenues from the distribution of meteorological information shall be drawn to support the development of meteorological service." Whether an application is legally allowed to provide a weather forecast is not an attribute I would have imagined necessary for a localization API.PermalinkCommentsvia:michael-kaplan china law legal politics weather forecast localization

Windows Vista Team Blog : Introducing Windows 7

2008 Oct 13, 3:26'But now is a good time to announce that we've decided to officially call the next version of Windows, "Windows 7."' No new name for Win7. That's one less thing for me to remember.PermalinkCommentswindows windows7 blog vista microsoft

Tech Tracks | Microsoft launching Windows ad campaign at 5:15 p.m. with spot on NFL season opener tonight | Seattle Times Newspaper Blog

2008 Sep 4, 6:08The new Windows ad campaign begins. I thought it was funny. I thought it'd be more directly aimed at the Mac ads and have something about Vista. I'm no ad expert though so what do I know? "The ad to air tonight is the first of a series and is meant to be humorous, said a company spokeswoman. She would provide no additional details about the campaign." Oh, jokes! I get jokes. Thanks for the tip company spokeswoman!PermalinkCommentshumor video advertising microsoft

Mike's Digital Home : How To: Share Recorded TV with other Media Centers

2008 Aug 21, 10:40"I see a lot of questions in the Media Center newsgroups and forums asking how to access recorded TV from another Media Center in the house. This is fairly easy to accomplish. In this entry I'll walk you through it in Vista; XP is almost the same except for some of the steps for sharing and securing the folder."PermalinkCommentstv vista windows mce sharing mediacenter dvr howto

NetFlix Media Center and Ong-Bak

2008 Jun 15, 7:57

Ong-Bak movie poster.I just installed vmcNetFlix which lets you watch your on demand NetFlix movies via your Vista Media Center or any Media Center Extenders like the Xbox 360. It works well but fails poorly with some cryptic error messages and long timeouts. Be sure to get NetFlix on demand movies working in your browser before installing this plugin. Once I did that everything worked very well.

To test it out I watched Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior in which Ting must travel from his country village to Bangkok where he works with his cousin in the city to recover his village's stolen religious artifact. Its a mix of Perfect Strangers, Street Fighter and Pad-See Ew. Martial arts movies, like porn and video games, aren't required to have a strong plot but Ong-Bak has a fine plot line and enjoyable Thai martial arts. I saw the Tiger Knee in there several times. An enjoyable movie that reminded me of watching martial arts movies with my friends in high school.

PermalinkCommentsmedia-center thai netflix ong-bak vista

Featured Windows Download: vmcNetFlix Streams Watch Now Videos to Your Xbox 360

2008 Jun 13, 12:52Stream NetFlix's on demand movies to your Vista Windows Media Center and all extenders including Xbox 360.PermalinkCommentsvia:dotjosh lifehacker movies vista xbox plugin mce windows netflix movie

Update: Why is NBC Flagging Digital TV Programs - and Why is Microsoft Obeying It? | Electronic Frontier Foundation

2008 May 18, 12:15'...he was recording Raleigh's HDTV channel WNCN-DT1 on his Vista machine when a popup stating that "restrictions set by the broadcaster...prohibit recording of this program" appeared.'PermalinkCommentstv vista mce microsoft television video windows nbc via:boingboing

Kevin@Work: Consolas: the Coder's Font

2008 Apr 15, 2:51How to use Consolas in cmd.exe among other places: "Consolas is one of a set of new ClearType fonts that shipped as part of Windows Vista and Office 2007... I love to code in it... In this post, I'll go through all the places I use monospaced fonts."PermalinkCommentsfont windows howto consolas code vista cmd

Zeno's Progress Bar - Stolen Thoughts

2008 Apr 7, 10:09

Text-less progress bar dialog. Licensed under Creative Commons by Ian HamptonMore of my thoughts have been stolen: In my previous job the customer wanted a progress bar displayed while information was copied off of proprietary hardware, during which the software didn't get any indication of progress until the copy was finished. I joked (mostly) that we could display a progress bar that continuously slows down and never quite reaches the end until we know we're done getting info from the hardware. The amount of progress would be a function of time where as time approaches infinity, progress approaches a value of at most 100 percent.

This is similar to Zeno's Paradox which says you can't cross a room because to do so first you must cross half the room, then you must cross half the remaining distance, then half the remaining again, and so on which means you must take an infinite number of steps. There's also an old joke inspired by Zeno's Paradox. The joke is the prototypical engineering vs sciences joke and is moderately humorous, but I think the fact that Wolfram has an interactive applet demonstrating the joke is funnier than the joke itself.

I recently found Lou Franco's blog post "Using Zeno's Paradox For Progress Bars" which covers the same concept as Zeno's Progress Bar but with real code. Apparently Lou wasn't making a joke and actually used this progress bar in an application. A progress bar that doesn't accurately represent progress seems dishonest. In cases like the Vista Defrag where the software can't make a reasonable guess about how long a process will take the software shouldn't display a progress bar.

Similarly a paper by Chris Harrison "Rethinking the Progress Bar" suggests that if a progress bar speeds up towards the end the user will perceive the operation as taking less time. The paper is interesting, but as in the previous case, I'd rather have progress accurately represented even if it means the user doesn't perceive the operation as being as fast.

Update: I should be clearer about Lou's post. He was actually making a practical and implementable suggestion as to how to handle the case of displaying progress when you have some idea of how long it will take but no indications of progress, whereas my suggestion is impractical and more of a joke concerning displaying progress with no indication of progress nor a general idea of how long it will take.

PermalinkCommentszenos paradox technical stolen-thoughts boring progress zeno software math

The Filing Cabinet : Don't judge a book by its cover - why Windows Vista Defrag is cool

2008 Mar 31, 1:19Some interesting notes on Vista defrag."We don't try to make the volume 100% defragmented because defragmenting to the point where there are no fragmented files has negligible benefits.", "We don't give a percent complete or time to completion estimatPermalinkCommentsprogress progress-bar windows vista blog msdn microsoft defrag


2008 Mar 31, 10:40Sean Lyndersay's blog.PermalinkCommentssean-lyndersay msdn blog microsoft vista windows rss live

Bit-cycling : WebSlice Viewer Gadget (Alpha)

2008 Mar 31, 10:36"The advantage, of course, is that developers can integrate WebSlices into their applications just as easily as they can integrate RSS feeds. To illustrate this, and to try out developing a gadget, I created a WebSlice viewer gadget."PermalinkCommentswebslice ie8 rss msdn microsoft sean-lyndersay blog vista vista-gadget extension

Feed Folder Deprecated; Use Internet Explorer 8

2008 Mar 7, 7:20

Internet Explorer 8 has made my plugin Feed Folder obselete in functionality and implementation -- which is good!

IE8's Feed Folder feature screen shot.IE7 Feed Folder plugin screen shot.

I made Feed Folder for IE7 because I wanted the Live Bookmarking feature from FireFox. The Feed Folder plugin for IE7 would allow you to display your feeds as virtual folders in your Links Bar. When your feed is updated the virtual folder is updated as well with the new feed items. I use to store all my links so I could add virtual folders of my daily links, my friends blogs links, quick reference links, etc. etc.

My plugin relied on shell folders to implement the virtual folders I described above, but IE8 doesn't support shell folders in the Favorites Bar. But I'm OK with Feed Folder not working in IE8 since there's a much better implementation already there. IE8 does better than my plugin on a number of points: First, there isn't the horrible perf. issue that my plugin had on Vista. Second, when a feed is updated the virtual folder flashes to note the change in status. Third, unread items are bolded and the bolding bubbles up from feeds contained in subfolders. And lastly, the middle click button is supported to open items in a new tab.

Accordingly, I don't plan to work on Feed Folder anymore unless someone comes up with a good reason. Instead I mark Feed Folder deprecated and suggest you use Internet Explorer 8 instead.

To use this feature in IE8 simply drag a feed from your feed list in your Favorites Center onto your Favorites Bar. Or, when viewing a feed, click on the 'Add to Favorites' Star Plus icon thing in the upper left, and select 'Monitor on Favorites Bar'. A .url Internet Shortcut file is produced as usual, but if you open up the .url file you'll see there's some additional info about the feed.

PermalinkCommentsie8 feed feedfolder plugin technical browser ie rss

Windows Vista Help: Opening the Windows Vista box

2008 Jan 31, 11:19Dang, my Vista must be broken!PermalinkCommentshumor howto box windows microsoft via:swannman help

IPv6 Roundup: Address Syntax on Windows

2008 Jan 9, 11:34

IPv6 address syntax consists of 8 groupings of colon delimited 16-bit hex values making up the 128-bit address. An optional double colon can replace any consecutive sequence of 0 valued hex values. For example the following is a valid IPv6 address: fe80::2c02:db79

Some IPv6 addresses aren't global and in those cases need a scope ID to describe their context. These get a '%' followed by the scope ID. For example the previous example with a scope ID of '8' would be: fe80::2c02:db79%8

IPv6 addresses in URIs may appear in the host section of a URI as long as they're enclosed by square brackets. For example: http://[fe80::2c02:db79]/. The RFC explicitly notes that there isn't a way to add a scope ID to the IPv6 address in a URI. However a draft document describes adding scope IDs to IPv6 addresses in URIs. The draft document uses the IPvFuture production from the URI RFC with a 'v1' to add a new hostname syntax and a '+' instead of a '%' for delimiting the scope id. For example: http://[v1.fe80::2c02:db79+8]/. However, this is still a draft document, not a final standard, and I don't know of any system that works this way.

In Windows XPSP2 the IPv6 stack is available but disabled by default. To enable the IPv6 stack, at a command prompt run 'netsh interface ipv6 install'. In Vista IPv6 is the on by default and cannot be turned off, while the IPv4 stack is optional and may be turned off by a command similar to the previous.

Once you have IPv6 on in your OS you can turn on IPv6 for IIS6 or just use IIS7. The address ::1 refers to the local machine.

In some places in Windows like UNC paths, IPv6 addresses aren't allowed. In those cases you can use a Vista DNS IPv6 hack that lives in the OS name resolution stack that transforms particularly crafted names into IPv6 addresses. Take your IPv6 address, replace the ':'s with '-'s and the '%' with an 's' and then append '' to the end. For example: That name will resolve to the same example I've been using in Vista. This transformation occurs inside the system's local name resolution stack so no DNS servers are involved, although Microsoft does own the domain name.

MSDN describes IPv6 addresses in URIs in Windows and I've described IPv6 addresses in URIs in IE7. File URIs in IE7 don't support IPv6 addresses. If you want to put a scope ID in a URI in IE7 you use a '%25' to delimit the scope ID and due to a bug you must have at least two digits in your scope ID. So, to take the previous example: http://[fe80::2c02:db79%2508]/. Note that its 08 rather than just 8.

PermalinkCommentsroundup ip windows ipv6 technical microsoft boring syntax

Dev-Toast : Blog Archive : Uncrippling Bluetooth in Vista RTM

2007 Dec 28, 3:55PermalinkCommentsbluetooth hack howto vista

Windows Media Center and Zune Integration Hack

2007 Nov 28, 1:23One of the new Zune features that had me the most excited was the claimed improved Windows Media Center integration which unfortunately turned out to simply mean support for the Win MCE video format (with an exception for HD). I wanted to be able to pick shows recorded by my Win MCE and have the Zune automatically sync up the latest episodes. However, with the improved podcast support in the Zune software one can easily create a ridiculous hack to accomplish this.

The new Zune software has podcast support which does everything I'd want to do with a Win MCE recorded TV series so the goal is to shoehorn a TV series into a Zune podcast. An overview of the steps: Create an XSLT that converts Win MCE data to a podcast, run the XSLT as a scheduled task every few hours per TV series, setup a Web server pointed at the resulting podcasts and the Win MCE Recorded TV directory, and subscribe to the resulting podcasts in the Zune software.
  1. Reading through the Win MCE data stored as an XML file in "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome\Recording\Recordings.xml" and the spec for podcasts I created an XSLT to convert a series from Win MCE data to a podcast.
  2. I added a new task to the Scheduled Tasks to run my XSLT using my xsltproc.js script. The task runs a handful of commands that look something like the following:

    C:\windows\system32\wscript.exe C:\users\dave\bin\xsltproc.js C:\Users\Dave\Documents\trunk\development\mce-zune\mce-to-podcast.xslt C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome\Recording\Recordings.xml --param title "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" --param max 4 --param baseURI "http://groucho/" --param thisRelURI "tds.xml" -o "D:\recorded tv\tds.xml"

    For each TV series I run a command like the above and that outputs a podcast for that series into my "D:\Recorded TV\" directory.
  3. Zune only allows http URIs for its podcasts so I installed a web server on my Win MCE server. I'm running Vista Ultimate so it was quick and easy for me to install IIS7 but any Web server will do. Then I pointed it at "D:\Recorded TV\".
  4. Once all the above was done I just subscribed to the resulting podcasts via my Web server and viola! Since I'm forced to use a Web server I can even run the Zune software on a machine other than my Win MCE server. You can see a screen-shot above of my Zune software showing my Colbert Report podcast.
PermalinkCommentstechnical xml mce hack windows media center zune windows xslt podcast
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