Category: technology, games and gadgets

Anything technology, PC, phones, gadgets and so on goes here!

A week with the Panasonic Lumix GX80 / GX85

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Micro Four Thirds, mirrorless camera released 2016

I recently picked up this nifty ‘new’ camera, the Panasonic GX80 (or GX85 if in USA), after getting the notion into my head that I wanted to do more photography, but noticing that I often neglect to bring my Nikon D7100 with me on more occasions. I’ve lamented on a few occasions not having anything more than my phone with me, and whilst that’s better than nothing, my OnePlus 7T Pro really doesn’t give me what I’d like.

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Kaspersky Removal Tool (still) breaking Volume Shadow Copy and System Protection

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Windows

Spent tonight troubleshooting why my PC hasn’t successfully managed to do a System Image Backup in a few weeks – Event Viewer indicating an error 0x8000ffff and Backup indicating error 0x81000019. If you’re having problems with System Protection and have used Kaspersky for your antivirus, read on.

A merry dance ensued, the usual suspects ran (SFC, DISM). For a while, I thought the backup drive was just corrupt – a CHKDSK turned up a bunch of stuff. Sadly, not a solution in any of the above cases.

The real key turned out to be that I noticed that System Restore was also not working; error 0x81000203. This could be seen in the System Properties > System Protection tab. Some googling indicated possible issues with a tool called TuneUp Utilities, which I had used but a very long time ago. Those pages also tried to suggest turning off your antivirus.

On a hunch, I did some more searching based on my antivirus, Kaspersky. I found this old blog post – https://rjcuk.blogspot.com/2016/09/kaspersky-removal-tool-bug.html – and true indeed, I had used the removal tool to repair an issue I was having with my Kaspersky installation. So, despite the age of that post, and other links asserting that this bug had been fixed, it has not, as can be seen from my screenshot below.

The important hive path highlighted, with the offending key circled; it should include Windows’ own “volsnap” entry in addition

Appending ‘volsnap’ at the end manually was enough, after a restart, to fully reactivate System Protection and System Image Backup. Note, a restart is required – adding the key was not effective immediately.

Post-repair hive entry; all working!

Anyway, making this post mainly in case anyone else finds this issue and needs another search hit for the solution, especially a more recent example. If it saves someone a few hours, then I’ll feel more justified!

Pokémon ‘NO’ – launch issues and first impressions of Pokémon GO!

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Pokémon GO

How do you mess up the launch of a huge franchise like Pokémon? It’d be hard to, really, it’s one of the most popular gaming franchises out there and when a new game is out, all people want to do is pick it up and play.

Which is exactly how Niantic and Nintendo screwed this up.

As we speak, it still seems like the servers are down. There are thousands of third-party installed APKs on Android, and the rest are clamouring in fear of bans, bugs and of fearing being left behind in a persistent world, being the have-nots in a world of haves.
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Windows 10 Start Menu not working?

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If so, try this simple test.

So I’ve been struggling with Windows 10 for a bunch of reasons, but the big one at the minute is that my start menu just stops opening. Along with that, the notifications pop-out and Cortana.

The biggest giveaway for me that a rogue process is at fault is that in safe mode its fine, and usually the first 5 to 10 minutes.

I got so frustrated that I opened task manager and started killing processes a few at a time and trying the start menu, including all but the key Windows ones and nVidia (because the last thing I need are MORE TDR errors…). Through this, I identified that the culprit is the “Runtime Broker” process.

Killed it, and the start menu, Cortana, notifications work again.
For at least 10 more minutes anyway.

https://twitter.com/WindowsSupport/status/690707788130062336?s=09

In a tweet to me, Microsoft support say that the task involves the permissions for Metro-style apps. There’s probably a further root cause app at fault. But at least I can mitigate for now!

TLDR; try killing the “Runtime Broker” process.

Best games of 2015

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As far as gaming goes, 2015 has been an interesting year for me. More and more I lack the time for the triple A, big budget games, and find myself drawn to the simpler and more innovative games.

So my list of games of the year are the following:

Undertale
This game is amazing, very Earthbound-style and meta, exploring morality, relationships, flowers, skeletons… It has a killer soundtrack, very NES but with a modern flair. Replayable at least a few times,  if you can count it as a replay!

– Axiom Verge
Wearing the Metroid influence very much on its sleeve, this retro styled action exploration game has a sorta cyberpunk theme. It’s fun to play, lots of cool weapons, story and theme, enemies, bosses, and yet again, an outstanding soundtrack.

– Downwell
A great little pick-up-and-play game, you are falling down a long deep well bouncing on enemies with your gunboots, building combos and going deeper. Very recommended for casual play, when you have 10 mins!

– Rocket League
I unexpectedly loved this! Simple concept but a crazy one – 3-man team football with rocket-propelled cars. Glorious 5 minute fun, with some serious competitive play going on.

– Super Smash Bros 3DS
I don’t have a WiiU so don’t get me wrong, I love playing it on the big screen too, but it’s great to me to be able to play on the move and in my palms. A steady stream of great, though pricy, DLC characters has been particularly tasty.

These are my top 5 of 2015! Let me know yours!