Wednesday, 30 October 2013

How to disable the annoying Skype update notifications completely and forever

I just can't help sharing this: the extremely annoying update-your-version-of-Skype reminders CAN be disabled after all. Like many users, I've tried all "legitimate" ways to get rid of the pesky alerts, but whatever alert settings you change, they still pop up. Apparently, MS desperately wants us to download every update of Skype, which increasingly turns into bloatware.

However, the way to turn the reminders off does exist. Some users have noted that whenever a new version of Skype comes out, the program downloads it into a temp folder under the name SkypeSetup.exe. Upon finishing the download it pops up the aggravating alert, and does it again after every other action you perform in Skype. So the way to get rid of it is, basically, to create a file with the same name and make it read-only.

So, the steps to do it, method 1 (manual):

1. Go to the %TEMP% folder:

* Open any Windows folder
* Type %temp% in its path (address) bar
* Press Enter

2. Locate SkypeSetup.exe in the folder (if the file is not present, check out the %TMP% folder the same way) and delete the file

3. Create a dummy empty SkypeSetup.exe in the %temp% folder:

* Right click in the folder
* Select Create, Text document
* Type SkypeSetup.exe in the filename field
* Press Enter, and Ok the warning

4. Right click the file you have just created, select Properties, Security, Advanced, Change Permissions, Add

5. Type the word Everyone in the "Enter the object names" field, then press Ok

6. Now select Everyone, and check the "Full Control - Deny" checkbox. Press Apply, then Ok the warning question and the dialog.

There you go: from now on your Skype would be able neither to download its updates nor to display the maddening pop-up windows!

You can also do everything above with the method 2 (automatic):

1. Create a fixskype.bat file consisting of the following two lines:


Icacls.exe %temp%\SkypeSetup.exe /deny All:F

2. Run the batch file under an admin account. This one can also be helpful if you plan to re-create the updates-blocking file regularly (e.g., if you prefer to clear %TEMP% contents on every system startup).

Friday, 11 October 2013

Creating an M3U8 Unicode Playlist for Foobar2000

Why would one need Unicode playlists anyway? Well, I download lots of music, and not all of the artists and track names fit into the ASCII character set. There is not too many playlist creation programs out there, and some of the existing ignore folders with non-ASCII names, like this one:

Note the Unicode symbols in the folder's name and MP3 file names

Luckily, the latest version of the highly automated mp3 tagger taghycardia, which I already wrote about previously, comes to help: the version 0.99.3 has an integrated configurable Unicode Playlist Generator. Not only it recursively creates Unicode (.m3u8) playlists for MP3 folder trees, but also offers some useful options.

First, you can limit the number of tracks to include in a playlist from each album. Those could be either the first N tracks of a folder or N tracks chosen randomly from each of the folders.

Second, you can avoid including introductory tracks in playlists. Sometimes, the first track of an album is an "intro" that is intended by an artist to set the mood for what you are about to hear, but when you need to taste several albums quickly, you often don't have time or desire to listen to the prelude tracks. So, taghycardia's Playlist Generator is able to skip track #1 of an album while creating a list whenever the first song is called "Intro" or its duration is shorter than two minutes, which too could indicate it is being an introduction.

Note that in addition to Foobar, m3u8 playlists are supported by Media Player Classic, and a number of other other modern media playing software.

Friday, 20 September 2013

How to sniff all http web page requests in your home LAN using a stack of free software: my article at

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

code + binary hosting?

I'm about to post an article at on a solution to the problem of continuous HTTP requests monitoring in a home WLAN using Wireshark/tshark. The solution circumvents the issue of Wireshark's memory overuse and is completely based on freely available software. I just haven't decided yet where to host the source code and binary for a simple log analyzer that I've written for the solution. I need to place direct links to both the code and .exe in the article. Any suggestions?

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Auto Check Part of a Compilation in iTunes for Multiple Tracks

We've all been there: drag and drop a compilation mp3 album in iTunes, upload it to an iPhone, and "Oh God, I forgot to set the effing Part of a Compilation checkbox for every track again": there are as many identical albums on your device as you had tracks in the folder. Scouring the Internet for a solution that could set the compilation flag automatically (there MUST be something, i thought), I didn't find anything until I ran into a simple free utility called Taghycardia. Moreover, it seems like this is THE ONLY solution to this simple problem out there. So, why not give it a try. Installing was a breeze. I just pressed Next a few times, and a Settings Wizard appeared.

I indicated that I'd like to "ensure the accessibility of downloaded MP3 albums on an iPod/iPhone" and to "Add Process with taghycardia to Windows Explorer menu" as I hoped to use the thingy on my music folders regularly. Leaping ahead, I wasn't mistaken.

Then I chose the compilation folder I desperately wanted to put on my iPhone in one piece, brought up the Windows Explorer context menu with a right click, and chose "Process with :: taghycardia :: ". Note the smart use of colons - you wouldn't confuse the item with anything else:)

I clicked on it, and a moment later the program presented me with the following screen:

Bingo! According to the options I set, it detected that this IS a compulitaion, and that I need to put it as a single album on my iPhone! I pressed Apply Changes, and a few moments later I transferred the album onto my device, all the tracks accessible together under a single "VA - Sounds From The Matrix 14" item in the Albums menu! In addition, the program found the cover art for the compilation and embedded into the tracks.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

detecting mp3 album tracklist and cover art with taghycardia

For the users of taghycardia who find the program's internal mass tag editor undocumented, here's how to use the feature to clarify metadata for an album with messy tags. First, we point the program to the album using the "[. . .]" button at the top, then press Go button:

To run the internal editor, double click on the folder path (in this case - D:\mymp3downloads\Inner Conflict). The editor shows up:

As you can see, the tracks in fact have no titles, and the track numbers are a mess. In addition, the Album field is empty. Let's try to correct all of this using the Mass edit tags button.

Press to try detecting the release.

Taghycardia has detected the release successfully, so we press Ok.

Now, we are able to get cover art for the release. Press Get Art button.

The art is loaded. Now, for track titles. Pressing the Get tracklist button.

Taghycardia offers the track list for the release complete with track numbers. Note that the program performs fuzzy match: for the selected track, it chose the correct track list item despite the typo in the file name. Everything seems Ok, so we press Use.

Now we have the right track titles and numbers, as well as the cover art. Press Apply Changes to write the modifications physically into the tags and then Close to close the editor.

Note that the program has removed the changes scheduled for the folder as we had made some modifications manually. Let's try rescanning the folder to see if it has any other tag errors left. To do that, press Go button. Now everything looks good, all mp3s in the folder have Album and Artist, as well as track numbers. As I have configured the program to rename folders and add track numbers to filenames, it schedules that for the album, so I press Apply Changes to perform the operations. Now the album is thoroughly tagged complete with embedded cover art.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Auto getting album art for your MP3s with taghycardia

Taghycardia is a little free Windows app that is intended mainly to get downloaded mp3 albums ready for putting on iPhones. However, it also turned out to have a nice Auto Cover Art Download and Embed  function.

Here's a small how-to for using the feature. First, you need to enable auto cover art fixing by setting the flags "Auto fix missing cover art" and "Use Cover Art form Discogs":

Next, choose the root folder of your mp3 collection and press Go. The program will start traversing mp3 folders trying to get art for the tracks that lack embedded pictures. Finally, it shows its synopsis:

Now you just have to press Apply Changes, and the program will embed cover art it found online (or locally) into the tags that didn't have images.