FreakoutITGeek's Blog

Random IT postings from Freakz

Monthly Archives: September 2012

Hacking scorch active X installer

I don’t tend to put how-to stuff on my blog as it’s not really what I intended it for. As I will probably need this in the future and it may help out other IT support people, I’ve made an exception.

My Issue was that the Music department in the High School I work in requested Sibelius Scorch installed on their Windows XP PCs. This should be an easy task but Sibelius/Avid only provide the software as an Active X plugin for Internet Explorer or an .exe installer for Firefox, Oprah, Netscape etc.

Since the staff and pupils are blocked from installing plugins, or any other software, (for security reasons) I needed to find an installer that would install Scorch that I could then distribute to the PCs using Altiris.

After a lot of searching I was no further forward.. So the only option was to start hacking..

I downloaded the Active X .cab file from Sibelius.com and saved it to the desktop of my test Windows XP computer. Once on the PC I extracted the files and was left with a setup.inf and setup.exe files. The setup.inf file is read by windows and starts the setup.exe file.

So I manually ran the setup.exe file and ,due to the restrictions in place on my test PC (proxy settings), the setup.exe failed and gave an error message with a details button. Clicking the details button brought up a URL of where the setup.exe file was attempting to downloading a Microsoft installer file from. (The URL is also recorded in a log file under the profile of the account being used)

With this Info I could just browse to the URL and download the MSI file and use this to deploy the software to the PCs required (after testing).

Hope this info is of use to others in the same situation 🙂

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Our friends electric / driving in my car

Recently I was given a chance to drive the Renault Twizy around the streets surrounding George Square, Glasgow as part of Renault’s ZE tour.

To be honest the Twizy is not really suited to my needs as I travel roughly 50 miles a day from home to work and back again, so the Twizy would be nearing it’s maximum range every day.

My short drive of the Twizy was nice, on a decent Saturday afternoon with dry roads the Twizy surpassed what I was expecting of it and apart from feeling every one of the bumps in the road, due to the suspension setup, it was a pleasant ride and draws a lot of attention from people wanting to know what it is or how to hire it for the day.(money making opportunity ?)

Anyway there wasn’t enough time for me to try out Renault’s estate car, the Fluence, which would have suited my requirements better, but I was impressed with the little Twizy, especially the way it took on the hills at the University and once I had got used to the low ‘biting point’ I was really comfortable with it, possibly in part due to driving my wife’s automatic.

Anyway, around the same time I had a slight bump and my insurance company organised a loan car for me to drive whilst mine was in for repairs.

The loan car was a Peugeot 107 and it was terrible. It is the worst thing I have driven. I kept comparing it to an old family metro, from the 80’s which didn’t even have a sprung gearbox & would often go into the wrong gear but in comparison, the metro still won hands down. Even my old company car in the 90’s, a classic Mini cooper in racing green, was at least fun to drive and could go round corners in a way that made you feel like you were in a rally or on the Italian Job and you even forgave it on freezing Scottish winters when the heating barely defrosted the front window.
Then I thought about the Twizy… I would have loved to drive the down the M8 & M74 and probably I would have been going only a tad bit slower than the Peugeot, despite the Twizy’s 50 MPH limit (BTW the speedo on the Peugeot goes up to 110, you would kill the engine in seconds even trying to get to that speed, and with no rev counter and a tiny fuel tank I wonder what they were thinking). But really, when you’re driving a fun vehicle, what’s 5 or 10 minutes extra on a daily commute? I think I would have enjoyed it far more and would have got to work in a better frame of mind, ready for work and looking at things from a better perspective.

For all the faults with the Twizy I would take it any day if it was a trade off between it and the Peugeot 107. Not quite as fun to drive as a classic mini cooper but then not much is 🙂