Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"Flag of Canada" Gag Cartoon in Reader's Digest Canada Magazine (March 2007)

Reader's Digest Canada Magazine - March 2007 CoverThe latest issue of Reader's Digest Canada Magazine hits newsstands this week.

This month, one of my gag cartoons is published in the As Kids See It department on Page 72 ... If you're not a subscriber, I highly encourage you to pickup a copy of the magazine!

To all those hockey fans out there ...

Game on!

Reader's Digest Canada Magazine - March 2007 - Flag of Canada Cartoon by Mike Cope
"Flag of Canada" in Reader's Digest Canada Magazine (March 2007).

Click the above image to see the full cartoon.

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

UPDATED - HOW TO: Install Mustek A3 USB Scanner in Microsoft Windows Vista (Unofficial Workaround)

Disclaimer: This blog entry is an unofficial tech-support and is not guaranteed to work for all users. Novice computer users should not attempt it without a computer geek's supervision!

Now that Microsoft’s Windows Vista operating system has been commercially available for a few weeks, and everyday PC users have started making the upgrade “leap of faith,” I’ve received a considerable number of e-mails from individuals who own one of Mustek's ScanExpress A3 USB scanners. According to one reader, my blog is one of the only websites offering support and/or advice on this topic. That said, I felt this warranted an update regarding “how to install” Mustek’s popular (but unfortunately, no longer officially supported) large format scanning device.

First, the good news ... Many of the individuals that I’ve heard from have had great success installing their Mustek ScanExpress A3 USB scanner by following the steps I previously posted here.

The bad news?

Those steps were sufficient for installing the scanner via Vista Release Candidate 1 (RC1), a public pre-release (beta) copy of the Microsoft operating system, but some of the newly activated security features in the commercial version – more specifically, User Account Control (UAC) – are giving users a few extra, but passable, hurdles.


Ideally, your computer should have a fresh installation of Microsoft’s Windows Vista (any edition). You do not need to activate for the scanner to install properly. That said, you should try installing it prior to any other additional drivers and software like American Online (AOL) – one gentleman reported having issues with AOL automatically closing whenever he started it, however, he did not have this issue after re-installing Vista and installing his scanner first.


At the time of this posting, they are still available here ...


The Updated Windows Vista / Mustek A3 USB Unofficial Workaround ...


(1) Run the REGISTRY EDITOR. Click the Vista Orb (formerly, the “Start” button) in the bottom left corner of your taskbar. You should see a text box immediately above it that reads “Start Search.” Type the application name “regedit.exe” in this box and you should see a link appear (see following picture) for you to click.

(2) Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion

(3) Rename the key "ProductName" from "Windows Vista (TM) **" to "Microsoft Windows 2000". Please note that the ** will depend on your version of Vista. For example, Home Premium ...

(4) Install the Mustek A3 USB driver for Windows 2K/XP. Do this by RIGHT-CLICKING on the EXE file and selecting “Run as administrator.”

(5) When installation has completed, undo the registry changes.

(6) It wouldn’t hurt to re-boot your computer here, just to make sure there are no issues thus far.

(7) Power the scanner and connect USB cable. Windows Vista will proceed with detecting and installing the scanner.

Note: When I first installed Vista, I mistakenly attached the scanner’s USB cable before installing the drivers because my scanner was plugged in from my previous operating system. This caused an error that said:

C:/Windows/Twain_32/L3u16/ColorB.dat was not found.

To correct this problem, all that I had to do was unplug the USB cable, reboot the machine, and plug the cable into a different USB port. This caused Vista to re-install the scanner like a new device and everything seemed to work fine.

In my case, the scanner has been flawlessly working for 3 weeks straight in Adobe Photoshop CS2. If you own a Mustek A3 USB ScanExpress and have upgraded to Microsoft’s Windows Vista, please feel free to share your own success or horror stories below.

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Saturday, February 10, 2007

CNET News Article: Some bumps on the road to Vista (a.k.a. "I should've bought a Mac")

'The WOES Start Now' by Mike Cope
"The WOES Start Now" by Mike Cope

There’s an old public relations adage that says, “There’s no such thing as bad press.”

I wish the same were true for bad software.

From CNET Staff Writer, Ina Fried:

Activation trouble

For those who are making the move to Vista, one trouble area has been properly activating the new operating system. Cartoonist Mike Cope spent hours trying to get his Windows 2000-based system to move to Vista. Initially, he tried to upgrade from within Windows 2000, but that didn't work. Next, the Stoney Creek, Ontario, resident tried to do a clean installation of the software on his PC. The software installed fine, but when time came to do the product activation--a mandatory step with Vista--the process failed.

After reinstalling Windows 2000 and trying a few more things, Cope eventually found a loophole that solved his problem--installing Vista without activating it and then installing it a second time and going through the activation process. Because the software assumed he was moving from Vista to Vista, it activated successfully.

Still, Cope wasn't happy with the more than six hours he spent getting to Vista. "I should've bought a Mac," Cope said.

In theory, that method would let almost anyone install Vista using the upgrade disc rather than a full copy of the OS. However, Microsoft is not condoning such efforts.

"Microsoft is aware of that workaround and encourages all customers to follow the official guidelines for upgrading to Windows Vista," a Microsoft representative said in an e-mail. "People without a licensed copy of XP or earlier version of Windows that use this workaround are violating the terms of use agreed to when they purchased the upgrade version of Windows Vista."

While Cope eventually got himself to Vista, Brett Wasserman, a New York-based technology consultant, is still stuck on XP.

Some bumps on the road to Vista
By Ina Fried
Staff Writer, CNET
Published: February 7, 2007, 4:05 AM PST

To read the complete article, click here.

For the record, I'd like to be clear that I have no personal or professional issue with Microsoft, other than the fact that they falsely advertised their Windows Vista Upgrade product (OR, that they commercially released their operating system with a major software bug that prevents users, like myself, from using it as advertised). The six hours I spent trying to install Vista included time spent on the phone speaking with Microsoft Customer Service and Technical Support workers, and I sincerely applaud Microsoft on the quality of the service I received.

However, the software glitch should never have existed.

It was not until several days after the publication of the CNET News article that I received a personal phone call from a "higher ranking" official at Microsoft. Ironically, the solution that they offered me was the same "loophole" that I already discovered -- Note that this is also the same "workaround" that a Microsoft representative is quoted in regarding to. Their only other solution was for me to return the upgrade software (for a full refund) and then purchase a FULL VERSION license. That's right, they wanted me to pay more for their mistake! As mentioned above, the upgrade installation issue is not unique to only my purchased copy -- All upgrade copies (at least, those sold during the initial release) do NOT allow a legally purchased upgrade to be "clean installed."

Yet according to Microsoft's Windows Vista: Upgrade Paths from Previous Version website ...

Windows Vista: Upgrade Paths from Previous Version
SCREENSHOT: Upgrade Paths from Previous Version (highlighted)

Since I legally qualified for the upgrade software (as advertised online and on the software packaging), I decided to keep the upgrade copy, and hope that I never need to re-install Vista again. Needless to say, I have no doubt that my next computer will be a Mac.

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope