5.1 Sounds Great…Headsets can Be a Headache

You just bought this new spanking USB Headset with the 5.1 channel mind-blowing audio…fantastic surround sound with 8 individual mini speakers inside the cool twin web mesh shells, the 6 way controller and game positional audio to die for!

After installing the drivers from the disk, you are required to reboot. Horrors! You can’t get sound from the headset OR you can’t activate the microphone. Skype does not work. Re-installing doesn’t help. Chances are it’s a CM106 driver version that you have.

Feel like kicking the door? Scratching the cat? Submerging yourself  into the pool of despair? 3 reboots later, and dripping buckets of sweat? No inspiration from scratching the hair off your scalp? Feel a bout of dandruff coming on?

Try this:

  1. Scream into your pillow
  2. Get a nice cold beer from the fridge
  3. Put on some rock music
  4. Grab a bag of crisps
  5. Get ready for 15mins of simple tweaking

Solution is here:

It should be about 49Mb and take 8 mins on a regular cable connection.

Drink the beer!

Windows 7






Right click “speaker” icon from bottom right of your screen. Select audio devices. Playback tab should show C-Media CM106 Sound Device as working. Select Recording tab to see Microphone same status. Select Configure button below left [likely this is greyed out]

GO TO CONTROL PANEL AND TURN OFF THE HDA MODEM DEVICE FROM DEVICE MANAGER, OR DELETE IT – this sucker takes up Com3 which is required for your headset mic input to work.

Start–>Control panel–>Sound and Audio devices or Hardware and Sound. On the Sound or audio tab, set the default playback device to your main soundcard [eg CM106]. Your installed audio device should show up. Confirm that the device is active from control panel. Go to phone and modem options\ modems – remove HDA modem [this is only for dialup purposes. If you need to keep this, go to Device Manager and disable it, so you can reactivate it the next time you need it.

You can break out the bag of crisps now.


Access the speaker icon from the tray:

Right Select audio devices–>recording.
Select the Microphone icon with C-Media CM106 Sound Device.
Select configure [bottom left] which should not be greyed out now. This will launch Windows Ease of Access.
Select set up microphone.
Do the voice test if you hit all the peaks correctly, [next] button will appear.
You are set to use the headset microphone!

Open another can of beer!  Congratulations!

To get Skype working:
Launch Skype–>Main window…..>Tools -> Options –>Sound Devices–>audio device/USB/etc Audio Device (do NOT use windows default device). You can also tick the ring pc speaker check box as this is a good backup to alert you even if the main speakers are off or turned down.  Test the volume to view the moving green VU bar. If it moves, you are done!

I hope this helps, because it took me a whole day to get all this info worked out!

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“If you want the title, kindly take the job that comes with it”

Often enough, we apply for a job, and pray we get it.

“It’s a dream job…once in a lifetime…”, we croon with hopeful enthusiasm. Two months down the road, after we have had this dream job, we whine and whimper no end, to the very people we were celebrating with, when we got it in the first place.

Simple enough, we competed with hundreds to get an interview, rejoiced when we were shortlisted to the three, and celebrated when we signed the appointment letter. Our resumes sing praises about our illustrious performance in previous employs, and promises our undying loyalty to the tasks that lay ahead. No mountain high enough, no task menial enough for our egos to handle. Wasn’t that what we said?

What has changed?

Expectations. Those of the ME genre, the US attitude, with the THEM policies, which we decided NOW we don’t seem to agree with, after several weeks.

Funny how that works out, isn’t it?

The short answers, my kids, are:

  • Don’t do it for the money – if you do, thank God for the opportunity
  • Find out what the job really is about – if you haven’t, it was the wrong one to apply for
  • You were given a shot at it, now perform as promised – sure, no one guaranteed a wonderful, appreciative boss, but hey, he’s got a family to feed, too
  • Rise to the occasion – the hero either gets honored, or beat down, but that comes with the job, and it is a matter of time that either karma kicks in, or your contributions get spotted, but till then, shoulders to the plough
  • You may get talent spotted – and really get to live your dream job all over again
  • Your employees come to your rescue – and you realize it was all worth the pain

It isn’t really about why you don’t like something,  but about learning to live with it, accepting no one is perfect, but being grateful for the opportunity to learn about what you do like. Appreciation of ones lot is a great leap from being constantly disappointed with what you think… you don’t have. The constant whining will not help make things better. Instead, you will notice less friends, more depressed families, and a rapidly aging reflection of a lesser self in the mirror.

We have a LOT to be grateful for. Remember that.

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WindowsUpdate_80070005 error – Why so serious?

It’s a wonder why we can put up with the monopoly of windows when the purchase contract changes constantly, predictably, regularly. The package says I get an operating system when I pay for the license and I will get what I pay for upon installation. The fine print is all together another chameleon. Right after I install ANY windows OS, I have to put up with an hour of “updates”. Does that mean that what I bought at the shop was NOT the entire package? Sure, there’re these “updates”, or patches, or fixes, or…oops, some Microsoft engineer forgot to debug a script before the deadline. Why oh why do we put up with this?

In 1990, I owned one of the early models of the Apple Macintosh Portable, all 1024Kb of RAM, 16Mhz processor and 1.44 diskette drive in wonderful 9.8″ monochrome which weighed in like 7Kg. [lead acid battery – yeah, as in car type] which had NO hard disk and cost USD 6,000.

Everything worked. Word, Stuffit, Diagnostics, even Pagemaker, and I would happily lug it around in a nice big polyester nylon case. 

These days, I have a slim MSI 640x with 4GB RAM, ATI Radeon HD4330 Graphics at 2.2Kg, costing one sixth of the price, and the OS still has bugs in it.  What’s wrong with this picture? You decide!

THE SOLUTION to the WindowzUpdate error is rooted to the fact you DO NOT have enough permission to install updates [duhhh!] . Creds to data engineer Stossman:

Re: Windows update fails WindowsUpdate_80070005

Here is the solution, it’s relatively simple and more importantly, it works!

1.Disable Windows Update
a.Click on start
b.Click on all programs
c.Click on accessories
d.Click on Run
e.Type services.msc and press ok
f.Right click on "Windows Update"
g.Click on stop (Windows Update is now disabled)
2.Rename Software Distribution folder
a.Navigate to: C:/Windows/
b.Find the folder named: “SoftwareDistribution”
c.Rename that folder to something like “SoftwareDistribution.old”
d.Create a new folder called “SoftwareDistribution”
3.Enable Windows Update
a.Click on start
b.Click on all programs
c.Click on accessories
d.Click on Run
e.Type services.msc and press ok
f.Right click on windows update
g.Click on start
If you are unable to find Software Distribution Folder, follow these
steps before #2 above.
1.From the explorer window press the Alt key to view the file menu.
2.Click Tools
3.Select Folder Options
4.Select the View tab
5.Select “Show hidden files and folders”
6.Remove the selection from “Hide protected operating system files”
7.Click OK
Restart your PC and you should be good to go!

Have fun people. It is serious business after all, as my living depends on it. I hope yours does, as well!

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Take Your Pic

Smell Me!

How many of us yearn to express the creative aspects of our life, when we are trapped by technology around us?

Look up at that stratospheric cloud formation pierced by orange rays of God’s wand, the steam arising from a luscious bowl of double-boiled chicken broth with orange lycium, the towering billboard of lime green merging to a 3D bottle of fruit juice, the power of architecture, the happy grin of a child, the artistic labour of an insect, or the gentle froth of lapping waves overseen by the red of a tropical sunset. That list only ends with what we perceive…

Whether we are inspired by the visual, or awed by scale, there is an innate drive inside us to try to express ourselves. Often, we believe we cannot because we were not “taught” but the right approach is one where we strive past understanding how we have not “learned”, and that commitment can start with a few clicks to a friendly photographer… and you will be surprised [trust in humanity] how many photographers acknowledge the dreams and desires of the rest of us, in wanting to at least capture the beauty that nature has created, purely because every single photograph taken is UNIQUE.

Whether it is digitally lighted, or painted by a real bristle brush, it is your piece of humanity untouched by time. Archive it for yourself, or your kids, or your friends, or the world. Touch someone with your interpretation of your life… no words are required.

Be brave. Be unafraid. Pick up that camera and start snapping, because it EXPRESSES the view each of us has of the world around us, where NOT a single one is the same. Capturing and immortalizing a view is the closest thing to respecting what we see, and appreciating those little things not even kings may get to see.

Above all…SHARE it.

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Analyzing the Future of Action

The purpose of any organisation’s presence on the web is reputation.

  • Conversation is the starting point.
  • Brand management accounts to sales.
  • Crisis management is too late in the day.
Having studied  the Meridio platform by Autonomy [used by US, UK, and Australian security and homeland agencies to monitor activists and identify potential terrorists], I am beyond certain that reputation management is the key to the immediate future of the social understanding of actionable consequences – in non-technospeak, that means “social interaction leading to a conversion or an action.”

PR companies need to re-invent to stay relevant and useful, because these days, some 38% of content on the web is attributed to comments by non-content generators, when original content is only created by 15%…and you know what they say about not believing everything you read!

When I spent 5 years in the biggest public relations firm in the world, Hill & Knowlton, I had the opportunity to handle large clients entering and servicing the Asian markets. Northrop, United Airlines, Lufthansa, Richardson-Vicks, Vidal Sassoon, General Electric, and Camus Cognac, are just a few. [I love airplanes and aviation, so that could explain why those accounts fell onto my lap.] And… crisis management as well as executive training for the same, went into my events management portfolio. Here is the takeaway:
  • A standard PR retainer is $x – press releases, media monitoring, administration
  • An event is about $1.7x – launch, journalists lunch, booth management for exhibition, talent scouting, co-ordination of 3rd parties & expenses
  • A crisis management situation runs around $8x-unlimited – crisis procedure, press centre, liaison, monitoring, claims processing,  big expenses etc etc
  • In 1984, the Union Carbide chemical plant leak at Bhopal, India, of methyl isocyanate  [derivative cyanide] is still being listed as the world’s worst disaster – numbers are subjectively debated at 15,000 deaths and 550,000 disabled. It beats the tsunami hands down. Crisis management lasted more than 3 years, with claims still being settled 5 years later. Some people thought it could have ended the existence of the world’s biggest battery company. Especially in Asia, awareness of the toxicity of power cells forged the beginning of many such products boasting “mercury-free” labels and cyanide was banned from batteries. Eveready had to be re-invented.

    Today, prevention is based on time. Reputation is a premium that cannot be recovered, and Gooogle never forgets. Computing power on cloud has a redundancy uptime of 24×7. We are ALL socially connected, and I have the power of voice on the net…and now….mobile.

    If our every opinion can be heard, and each voice speaks for many facing similar issues, within causes or grievances for administration or rectification, I do not see why my privacy would suffer for it.

    Just don’t advise me who I should be seeing or preach me the values I should be believing in.

    Analyse me. Do not judge me.

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    Update on Regional Crowd-Sourcing Initiative

    Now that www.CatalystConnector.com is up and running, I am grateful to hardworking partners who have painstakingly and tirelessly populated it with the latest features and news in VAR and social media, much of which is highly relevant to the Asian scene. To those who helped with our last event, “Transform. Social Business 3.0”, a successful workshop and networking activity which lasted 9 hours for which we made gratis…THANK YOU!

    [seems others were charging USD 500 for something remotely similar, as they were capitalising on the hot social business scenario].

    UnConference and Business-Matching Networking events will become regular stuff. Keep eyes on, for more details, and a lot of linked-in members have been contacting me to attend, except the timing hasn’t been ideal. But stay optimistic, as we have been known to adjust timing for sponsors and speakers.

    If you have been on stage, sharing stories and advice on the art of the start, or want to invite partners for a piece of the Asian markets, by crowd-sourcing or re-locating to market proximity, drop me a line to my linked-in account:



    In November 2010, Mr Obama courted the Chinese with many promises of mutually beneficial trade opportunities in exchange for a floating Yuan during the G20 Summit. Perhaps he had chosen to forget that his office had already done this in 2008, and did not deliver on promises. The investments made by the mainland Chinese then, took a big hit, and valuation would have dropped a good 70% to be near the 20% mark. It is no surprise that pegging the Chinese Yuan [ren min pi] to the USD is a really bad idea. Some folks were saying that pegging the USD to the Yuan might be better to prevent the day when 1 Yuan = 1 USD. The Europeans have lost faith in the first Black American president, by urging the International Monetary Organisation [IMO] to step in.

    The takeaway here is in the cultural misnomer of assuming a manufacturer will listen to the marketer – a serious error when you consider that Asian economies resorted to self-rule and financial governance after the colonial rule, in the drive to avoid manipulation by western financial instruments. I don’t think any change there is coming anytime soon. Singapore is one interesting hybrid, manipulating western instruments for Asian gain.

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    “a simplified and standardized conception or image invested with special meaning and held in common by members of a group”

    relates to:

    an·a·lyt·ics –The branch of logic dealing with analysis. (of a language) characterized by a relatively frequent use of function words, auxiliary verbs, and changes in word order to express syntactic relations, rather than of inflected forms.

    use in:

    Cloud-based analytics are designed to optimize user acquisition, increase conversion, aid viral growth, elevate social play mechanics, and maximize monetization. Over time, the data mined will enhance the ability to track and attract new user acquisitions over time.


    Craig is quite the blank sheet of paper with wild scribbles all over the page.

    Chong is the epitome of a PC manual with annotations below every paragraph.

    Catherine is a poster of sleazy remarks rescinded by her ignorance.

    Calvin is a field of missed passes aided by friends with opportunistic goals.

    Callie is a maze of unexplored inhibitions seeking a determined predator.

    Cecilia is a harbor of personae tinged with bitter experiences from her youth.

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    The Wisdom of Experience in Running Ones Own Business…must surely be in the mistakes

    I recall what a friend shared with me from his successful uncle’s advice:

    “You are not wasting your time learning from your or others’ mistakes. It is a small investment in time to prevent the really big ones you may make later in life…”

    On occasion, when i am invited to speak, I consider it an honor when asked to share my experiences. Sharing my mistakes is not a slight on my ego, because someone else is going to benefit from those few minutes by saving hours or days agonizing over a solution to their predicament one day. You could say that this is a “Pay It Forward” policy entrenched in my life on a daily basis, and one I hope will also rub off on my kids. There is nothing as uplifting as someone coming up to you and saying they had learnt a lot from your father, and if there was anything they could do to assist, to just call them…anytime!

    Last night, I was seated next to a bright 19 year old exchange student who flew in from Hong Kong. A UK citizen of Indian ethnic origin, he began to describe how he and his brother were sent to school in HK. Before I could guess why, he explained that his father, who runs one of the bigger textile factories in New Delhi, wanted both of them to speak Mandarin and be familiar with Chinese culture.

    [ Deja Vu kicked in… wasn’t that the very same idea Lee Kuan Yew executed to ensure Singaporean kids study the Chinese language as a compulsory examinable subject?].  Can you imagine Chinese-speaking Indian entrepreneurs bridging business between the 2 biggest economic forces of the century?

    He asked me for advice on how he should decide on a career which deviated from his father’s hope of getting him to run the family business. I gave him this:

    “I know this may sound unreasonable: abandon all the ideas for a start. Shortlist 3 really great ideas and research them thoroughly…you have to do this. Draft 3 business plans. Go back to them weekly, refining them once in awhile. This may take a few weeks. Astonishingly, you will soon get committed to one GREAT idea after a few months have passed! That’s because there are so many ideas floating around, that your mind has to get past the noise, and slow cook that really great ONE… the one you will look at the mirror one morning and say ‘I love this, it’s me’. Only then, will your heart know. The next stage: Find a way to link that with your family business, because generations have invested their lives to make it successful. It is never about who does it first, because first mover advantage has a downside…no mistakes have been made yet. Trust me, there are lessons in every startup. The winner is the one business idea that has been well-thought out and even better executed thoughtfully…”

    I know you will make it, my friend! Change the world with other people’s mistakes!

    Make your dream the one your family will love you for.

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    Bridging Business twix the West and East and cultures inbetween…

    Often, we ponder over the possibility [and futility] of embedding ourselves into another culture. Like immigrants off the boat, eking out a living from humble roots means a multitude of trials and mistakes await our aspirations. When we meet the natives, no one seems to have a clue of the history of their kind and any strange cultural nuances to be encountered…

    This is pretty much what happens when east meets west, or vice versa. Language barriers, religious practices, climate and trade restrictions are the norm when companies are attempting to gain a foothold while contemplating a presence in a foreign country. It seems the key lies in having a local professional with the business intelligence and savvy to make the marriage work.

    This is the cause I had taken upon myself since a few years back, and over time, assembled a team of mentors situated in various Asian countries to facilitate the bridging of business opportunities, as well as a small club [now numbering 27,000 members] of value-added suppliers and SMBs keen to team up and handle what each country needs.

    hence, for those who are looking to tap the huge new market in Asia, I have built www.CatalystConnector.com, which is designed to place your business needs and services out there in the Asian markets.

    Drop in, sign up, and post up your skills or solutions. We’ll attempt to match your business with the right projects, and likely, save you the angst of a painful belly landing [ouch].

    good luck! stay connected!


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