Things you do once in 10 years ...

 I enjoy fixing things, setting them up, installing and configuring, breaking and testing too. And the things can be computer things and apps, and also physical things and devices and stuff. I am glad that I have digital competences so I can do most of the digital things by my own. But sometimes they also are quite challenging. 

When more than 10 years ago (almost 15 years ago, omg...) I set up this blog, one of my proudest moments was when I bought a domain and made this blog availabe thru a domain name. Instead of typing lauvadidzis.blogspot.com I got unique with my lauvadidzis.com address. And I was proud. I like computers but in life I have to million other things for living. The problem with million things to do is the constant motion of the attention. So, I got familiar with Domain zones and zone records, but not in depth. I got an understanding in what way they are important. Got an idea of A and MX records. Primarily I use domain for a email and secondly for this blog. I got in in the Google suite while it was offered for free and I got used to google services pretty much. Made different accounts for me and my "million other things" and had a nice hierarchy of what I did in my life. When I started my company I even used google aliases for company`s email and I saved pretty much money with the things I managed to do with the googles help. And then came 2021. Google basically fucked their legacy users and I had a painful time to move away from google. Well, I found a local company which gave plenty of digital platform needs for me for the same price google started to ask per account. The best part was that on that local company`s platform I was able to "re-create" those many different accounts I had previously on google. So, in the end I was paying 6 times less as if I would have to pay to google if I would stay with it. 

This was the second time when I had to work with domain name, zones and entries. But somehow I was successful with platform changes and everything worked fine. 

Yesterday I was trying to reconfigure my email program on computer and thought I can set up webmail access too for my email. Ok, got it working fine. But while I was setting it up, I started to poke domain zone settings too. And when you start poking things like that and again fall for not doing backups for the settings, things can go terribly wrong. Well, I lost few hours to figuring how to get the domain name for my website (this blog) back, but most importantly, how to get the email MX records back...

So, few notes to add here - 

when I connect this blog with a domain zones, I need two important CNAME entries - 

  1. for ghs.google.com and 
  2. for key:name pair.

The other thing which is important in my case is TXT records for mail delivery.

The TXT record is an SPF (Sender Policy Framework) record. SPF is a type of DNS record that identifies which mail servers are authorized to send email on behalf of a particular domain.

v=spf1: This specifies the version of SPF being used, which is SPF version 1.

include:_spf.google.com: This part indicates that the domain's SPF policy includes the SPF record of _spf.google.com. This means that the current domain's email can be sent through the servers listed in Google's SPF record.

~all: This is the last part of the SPF record and signifies the action to be taken if the SPF check fails. In this case, the tilde (~) symbol indicates a soft fail, which means that the SPF check will not result in a hard rejection of the email, but the email might be marked or flagged as potentially suspicious.

I also discovered a service mxtoolbox.com which allows to check the domain MX records. 

So, now I have a backup notes for myself in case I poke the Domain zone entries again :) I know that I will do that... Maybe sooner than after 10 more years.


Making PCR-800 working under Windows 10

 I bought PCR-800 back in 2008. So, today when I write this post, I own it for 14 years. I havent used it a lot in these years (nevertheless I substituted my main stage piano Kawai MP4 for one summer with this due to Kawai motherboard fried and I needed to replace it. Different story tho.) But when I used it, due to lack of driver support (last out of the box compatible OS is Windows 8.1 64bit) I kept it mostly in the bag and rarely connected it to my PC via Edirol FA-66 external sound card (also fried it once. Another different story tho.) using its MIDI port. Downside - I have to deal with power cable for my keyboard (but I am lazy person) instead of powering it using USB

During last Christmas break I found a time to research a little bit more about setting my PCR-800 for Windows 10. And some old Cakewalk forums had the info that Windows 8.1 drivers will work fine with one slight modification in the driver file. Without this driver my PCR-800 in the device manager was found as unknown hardware and windows did not offer any valid drivers for it.

Driver files often have their INF files which in plain text defines different details about the hardware and they are used to set the hardware up for the operating system. And that is also a problem. So, if the INF file is for Windows 8.1, then I have to modify the file so it is suitable also for Windows 10. 

First thing - download those drivers locally. 

Then - open INF file and find line which defines Manufacturer and replace the line

  1. %MfgName%=Roland,NTamd64.6.2,NTamd64.7

with the line 

  1. %MfgName%=Roland,NTamd64.10,NTamd64.7

Or in other words it is visible that NTamd64.6.2 which corresponds to Windows 8 is now replaced to NTamd64.10 which seemingly corresponds to windows 10. There are interesting info when I googled about these numbers, mostly all of them related to Roland hardware.

The other changes need to be done under the particular NTamdxxx section - the section name itself has to be renamed:

  1. [Roland.NTamd64.6.2]

needs to be replaced with this line

  1. [Roland.NTamd64.10]

I havent experimented with would it work if the driver will install if the rest of the sections (Roland, Roland.NTamd64.7 would be deleted. Cant take that for granted.

The last part is to disable the driver signature enforcement. There are some powershell and bcdedit techniques, but those did not work with my system. The last resort for me was to restart the windows 10 in advanced boot options (can be done through Update and Security dialogs or hitting F8 during the startup) and then select the option for booting the Windows 10 with driver signature enforcement turned off. That worked for me fine and I can now write my own sheet music in Sibelius.