MSN Live Search Adds A Captcha

msn-searchYes, I know the previous post published without being finished. I’ll have to fix that some time soon.

For some strange reason, I can’t get to Google today.  No Google search, no Google Adsense, no Google webmaster tools, no GMail which really is an issue.  Nothing.

So anyway, I still have things to do today.  I guess I have to to use another search engine to get some work done.

I’ve used MSN a number of times previously, usually to see how different search engines compare with certain search terms.  So I headed over to to give it a try.

Imagine my complete surprise when the above captcha pops up. Not once, not twice but every single time I did a search.  And it wasn’t an easy captcha either but captchas with other characters in the background, making it harder to read. (At least for me.)

Now, I’m not a big fan of captchas.  I’ve noticed that they really don’t work and are easy to beat.  MSN isn’t alone with their use either.  Google’s done it before, recently as well, and they’re not that easy to read either. (Rather long if you ask me.) I don’t see it that often though on Google.  And it didn’t take 5 tries that it did with some of MSN’s.

How to Solve “Invalid Update Control CTF File” Errors on AVG

AVG Antivirus

AVG Antivirus

I’ve been getting “Invalid Update Control CTF File” errors for quite some time whenever I try to update my local copy of AVG Free, the virus protection I use on my Windows boxes.  I finally dug around and found the solution to the problem.

Some of the downloaded files are corrupt. (I actually assumed that from the error I received.  Is nice to know I was correct.) You have to go into your Windows Explorer and delete the *.ctf temp files in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Avg8\update\download\  Don’t delete the *.bin files as those are the ones that were compiled on previous updates. (It would be nice to see them all made into one file though.)

I hope this helps someone.

Update: I know I wrote this post for WinXP users but Doug notes in the comments below that Vista users can find AVG’s saved files in the C:\ProgramData\avg8\update\download subdirectory.

Looking back at January



Breakfast was cool.  Had eggs, bacon, and biscuits.  I think I was the only non-church person there so i had to introduce myself a number of times but I didn’t mind.  I walk by the church twice every day when I head over to UNCC.  Didn’t get any pictures as my batteries died with the other breakfast this morning under the bridge.

I finally got a chance to look over the most read posts for January.  I probably should do some sort of Top Post widget in the sidebar. (edit: Done now.)

Download Dragon Magazine and it’s Part #2 article.
Mac Desktop Wallpapers
50 Things NOT to do at Hogwarts (And I feel bad about that as it’s not even mine.)
Robot Chicken: Charlie Brown And The Great Pumpkin
Download Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? (You can but not with those links.)
Family Guy Videos – Rock Lobster
Movable Type 4.1 gets released (*shrug* All I said was that it was released.)
Crash on Volturnus – Chapter 1 (I really should go back and work on that. I liked writing that stuff.)
Pairings (Another old Daria fanfiction piece that I had written way back when.)
How to stop the irritating “Updating your computer is almost complete – Restart Now?” message

How to stop the irritating “Updating your computer is almost complete – Restart Now?” message

monitor.jpgLooks like they updated the computers here in the Atkins Library again here at UNCC. Every time they do so, we get stuck with the “Updating your computer is almost complete – Restart Now?” message with a five minute countdown. Rebooting doesn’t help as that message pops right back up 30 minutes after the reboot.  Over and over again.

It’s real simple to fix although you have to go into the system settings to do so.  That will give some folks the willies but it’s fairly easy.

Click on the Start button like you were going to start up a program followed by the Run icon.  You’ll get a small popup that includes an “Open:” field.  Type or copy in “gpedit.msc” without the quotes and click on the OK button.  You’ll get a new window that sort of looks like the file manager included with Windows.

Here’s where you have to do digging but we’re looking for something that’s found in a very specific place within the system.  Look at the column along the left hand side and travel these levels until you reach the final one:

  • Local Computer Policy
  • Computer Configuration
  • Administrative Templates
  • Windows Components
  • Windows Update

When you click on the Windows Update folder, you’ll get a long list of records in the right hand side window. Look for the one labeled “Re-prompt for restart with scheduled installations” and double click on that to pull it up for editing.

We have to change both settings within that window. You can choose any number between 5 and 1440 minutes (That’s 24 hours in case you didn’t know) and you have to click on the enable selector.

Not done yet. When you exit out of that window, it saves your settings but you still need to tell your computer to pay attention to the changes settings.

Open up the Run box again and type or copy in “gpupdate.exe /force” without the quotes and press ENTER.

Hope this helps

Microsoft Excel can’t count

Stolen from here:

Microsoft Corp.’s Excel 2007 spreadsheet program is going to have to relearn part of its multiplication table.

In a blog post,
Microsoft employee David Gainer said that when computer users tried to
get Excel 2007 to multiply some pairs of numbers and the result was
65,535, Excel would incorrectly display 100,000 as the answer.

Gainer said Excel makes mistakes multiplying 77.1 by 850, 10.2 by 6,425
and 20.4 by 3,212.5, but the program appears to be able to handle
16,383.75 times 4.

“Further testing showed a similar phenomenon with 65,536 as well,” Gainer wrote Tuesday.

He said Excel was actually performing the calculations correctly, but
when it comes time to show the answer on the screen, it messes up.

Gainer said the bug is limited to six numbers from 65,534.99999999995
to 65,535, and six numbers from 65,535.99999999995 to 65,536 and that
Microsoft is working hard to fix the problem.

I could have sworn that this occurred before as well.

Search Engine Smackdown

I’m sure you’ve head about Google Fight by now where you can Linus Torvalds matches up against Bill Gates or finally prove to yourself that Coke is better than Pepsi by comparing Google results between two different words.
Bringing it to the next level we have Search Engine Smackdown. Using the heavy weights of the Search Engine field, see how much trivia you know about the history of the market.
Technorati tags: Flash Games, Search Engines