Friday, November 9, 2018

Win10: Photos app opens extremely slow

The Photos app on Windows 10 is just painfully slow.

1. go to Settings > Privacy
2. under App permissions on the left, scroll down to Pictures
3. turn OFF Allow apps to access your pictures library
4. go to App & features
5. select Microsoft Photos > Advanced options > Reset
6. open Photos
7. click on the overflow menu (three dots) > Settings
8. remove any folders from collection
9. turn OFF Linked duplicates
10. turn OFF People

Alternatively, you can change the default program back to Windows Photo Viewer.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Alexa: AWS regions for Lambda functions

Playing around with Alexa Skills Kit. I was having an issue where my lambda function was not being triggered by Alexa. The lambda function itself works fine when testing within AWS Console. The issue turns out related to the region where my lambda function was created.

For custom skills, Lambda functions can be hosted in one of these regions:
  • Asia Pacific (Tokyo)
  • EU (Ireland)
  • US East (N. Virginia)
  • US West (Oregon)

For smart home skill:
  • N.Virginia for English (US) or English (CA) skills
  • EU (Ireland) region for English (UK), English (IN), German or French (FR) skills
  • US West (Oregon) for Japanese and English (AU) skills.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Firefox: getting user-agent

I used to get my Firefox user-agent string through about: But in the recent version of Firefox, about: is no longer available. Instead, the user-agent can now be found under about:support

Page "about:" removed in Firefox 59? | Firefox Support Forum | Mozilla Support

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Kindle E-reader: disable screensaver

* only tested with a Kindle Keyboard

The power button of my Kindle Keyboard stopped working all the sudden. When I toggle it, it doesn't go into sleep mode. After leaving it idle for awhile, it went into sleep mode automatically. However, I can't turn it back on!!

Interestingly, the power button is not completely broken. I managed to reset the device by holding the power button for 30 seconds. Once it finish reboot, everything (except the power button) continue to work. As a workaround, I disabled the screensaver so I don't need to turn it ON/OFF again.

1. press Home
2. press ↵ (the enter key)
3. a search bar would appear
4. enter ;debugOn
5. enter ~disableScreensaver
6. enter ;debugOff

If you change your mind, replace step 5 with the following command:


How To Turn Off The Kindle Screensaver – Permanently | IT Support Forum

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Win10: PC wakes up randomly overnight

Last week, I was troubleshooting an issue where my PC starts waking up randomly overnight. Sometimes, it would wake up immediately after going into hibernation.

Apparently I was not alone. Kirk Hamilton from kotaku ran into the same issue as well, and he wrote an article about it. Funny thing is that I went through the exact same troubleshooting process. I was going to document my findings, but now I guess I can just share his article ;)

The Endless Quest To Make My Windows PC Stay Asleep Overnight

Windows 10 wakes randomly from hibernate - Microsoft Community
Update Orchestrator Reboot - Microsoft Community
windows - Disable UpdateOrchestrator Reboot task - Super User
Administrator account not allowed to disable UpdateOrchestrator Reboot - Microsoft Community
How to permanently stop Windows 10 reboots after installing updates

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Win10: unremoveable language keyboard

I was poking around the language settings, and somehow I ended up with 2 language keyboards which I was unable to remove through the UI. I ended up editing registry in order to fix it.

  1. open regedit
  2. navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Keyboard Layout\Preload
  3. 0x00000409 corresponds to English (United States). Rename it's key name to 1 if necessary, and then remove all other extra keys
  4. logout
For a list of keyboard layout values, see
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout\DosKeybCodes

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Win10: remove optional language feature

  1. Navigate to Windows Settings > Apps & features > Manage optional features
  2. Locate the optional feature you want to uninstall, select Manage
  3. It will switch to the Region & language screen which is quite confusing. Under the language list, remove the undesired language
  4. Now navigate back to Manage optional features, the previously selected feature should be removed
Cannot remove languages from Optional Features - Microsoft Community