Microsoft Virtual CD Drive… it exists

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Ever download an .Iso image file of a CD… sometimes manufacturers provide these “virtual CD” files with instructions on how to pop in a blank CD so you can write the file to the CD for use…

well you actually can skip that step and mount it directly in a virtual CD drive… eliminating the time to burn and wasting a blank CD. You could always do this with virtual drives, I often used Virtual Clone Drive, but found out today that Microsoft actually makes one available as an update to the operating system of windows XP, Vista, and 7.

I haven’t used it yet personally, but found it looking for something else on Microsofts website… you can download it here… I probably will at some point.


Windows XP on a mac for NCARB practice software

So, unlike options for  Microsoft windows, I don’t know of any free virtual machine software packages for the mac to run windows XP on. There are some relatively inexpensive ones though… I use Parallels, its popular, has a bunch of features I use for other stuff, and is what this tutorial covers.

The tutorial is two parts… 1. getting / downloading the software and 2. installing everything

Click the More link below to see the steps involved in both parts.

Continue reading “Windows XP on a mac for NCARB practice software”

How do I get NCARB software on my computer


How… Easy… just go to the NCARB site and download and install it… oh wait… you get some 64bit errors?… it’s only compatible with windows XP or other 32bit operating systems?… and your computer is post 1984 and/or even a Mac… bummer.

Well, actually… fret not as you have two options (…if you have internet where you study).

Option #1 | Pay NCARB more money than you already do,  and add their “cloud based” practice software. Technically, a virtual machine running windows XP somewhere in the world and the NCARB practice software pre-installed on it. If you do this option to get the testing software, your essentially  paying for remote access through the internet to this virtual machine they assign you somewhere in the world so you can use their practice testing software. Its the easiest option to getting the NCARB software installed but its $10 a year, and you will not be able to modify / install any alternate tests you see on various websites or ARE study forums.

Option #2 | Install your own virtual machine on your Mac OS or Windows 7 or 8 that runs Windows XP 32bit in the background, and once thats up and running you can install the NCARB practice software til’ your heart’s content, add various alternate practice files, and even run it offline sans the internet in your cave or wherever you study that doesn’t have internet.

For those that don’t know, a virtual machine (or VM) is software that emulates another computer running in the background of the computer your actually sitting in front of. An example would be say your sitting in front of a computer running windows 7 (64bit), which is incompatible with the NCARB software. As an option you can setup and run a virtual windows XP computer that runs in the background. Once this winXP VM is running in the background you can install any software on it like it was its own little computer inside your computer… including the NCARB practice software running on it.

Check out how to install a VM of windows XP on a mac… post to follow, link will be updated

Check out how to install a VM of windows XP on a windows 64 bit machine… post to follow, link will be updated

2014 New Castle Common Design Competition

Second Place AwardedEDPN_2013_giguere_1

I entered and placed second overall in the 2014 NH AIA Emerging Professional’s design competition this year. Ironically, a co-worker also entered the competition with her own design and won first place! Read more about the competition at the AIA-NH awards web page, or see my particular entry at, which is my portfolio site with a page detected to  my design competition entry.

Visit our firm’s webpage, TMS Architects, to see more of the amazing designs we do in real life, or to get information on how to hire us.

What is the IP address of the printer on my MAC OS

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I manage a network of about 20 workstations, 5 printers, and some other fun stuff.

Most of the workstations are windows based, and if I need to find out the IP address of one of my printers on the network I can easily go to print properties and see the port configuration… its not that easy on the MAC… atleast until I figured out the below. You see, Mac uses a unix based printing language called CUPS, and there is actually a neat little web interface for this if you enable it… with that you can see more (like the printer’s IP address).

So two steps, 1.enable cups web interface, and then 2. find the IP address of the printer you want.

1a. System Preferences -> Sharing -> Check off  “Printer Sharing”

1b. Open Terminal, type the following: cupsctl WebInterface=yes

2a. Open the CUPS web interface with the following address in your safari browser

2b. Click the tab Printers -> Then the click the name of the printer

It should display some basic info about this printer, one of the lines will have it’s local IP address



ARE Forum FTP site


At the time of this post, the ARE forum is still down. However, I just found out their FTP site is still up. Here is the direct Link :

If you, like me, are still trying to study for your architectural registration exams while the site is down, this is vary useful… especially if your searching for the vignette alternates. If you don’t know what the ARE is… then sorry for wasting 10 seconds of your life to read this.

iOS7 Halloween Hack… sort of



A Co-Worker told me about this hidden setting… It essentially inverts the default color pallet of your phone. At first I thought it was just the colors of the app icons to make them anti-apple, but then I quickly realized it does it to all the menus in the apps themselves as well as pictures.

This invert trick turned the blues to a cool orange color and made pics of my son’s look like zombie kids… perfect for halloween if you can stand browsing web pages and what not like this… worst case you can always change it back.

Here’s where to toggle the setting:

Settings > General > Accessibility > Invert Colors

Wha-La… a halloween interface!

ARE Forum Substitute Alternate



I know some of the traffic to my site deals with folks in building architecture… if your one of them and your in the process of getting licensed in the States you’ve probably been like… wtf…. is down… again.

Well fear not. Coach from those forums seams to have launched his own forum site to help peeps studying… layout is very similar but his site address is the following

Note sure how long ARE is down or if its ever coming back up, as its been down for more than a week now, but here is alternate, perhaps replacement… who knows.

Pass along the word to any others that could benefit from this info.

Chrysler Factory Computer Seat Belt & More Hacks


So we entered the man-van stage of my vehilces… man-vans are like mini-vans, but cooler… because I drive them :). Anyway… some of the “safety” features in new cars drive me nuts… call me ignorant, stupid, whatever… I don’t care, but they annoy me sometimes and I want to disable them if possible… and I’m sharing how I did it here. The engineers of newer computerized cars usually allow backdoor sequences for someone to change various programming options without needing special equipment for the vehicles diagnostic port.  What this means is you can disable most of these features annoyances by searching the inter-webs or even deep down in your car owner’s manual. Here are some of the features I figured out how on my 2012 Chrysler Town and Country.

These factory hacks will most likely work for any newer Chrysler, Dodge, and even jeep models as they are all sister companies of each other and usually share more common electrical parts, such as the computer hardware / software. However, with that said, I’ve only tested these on my own Town and Country. Same goes with GMC, Chevy, Cadillac, and Buick are all sister companies of each other… so even if these hacks most likely won’t work with those brands, you can try looking in forums of other sister brands of your specific vehicle.


Disable Seat Belt Chime:

1. Hop in your car, close all the doors and buckle the seat belt.

2. Start the engine and wait until seatbelt light on dash goes off. When it does go out unplug seatbelt and wait for seatbelt light on dash to go on again. Unplug seatbelt and repeat this process so you unplug and re-plug seatbelt a total of 3 times within 60 seconds or so… ending with the seatbelt plugged in.

3. With the seatbelt still plugged in (or buckled) turn off the engine. The Chrysler 300 forum I got this info from said you should hear a chime when the car turns off, but I didn’t on my van. But I do not hear that seat belt chime when the driver or passenger decide not to buckle up either.

Notes: If you want to turn the chime back on simply repeat the steps above. Also note, that although this disables the chime, you will still see “seat belts” light on the dash and the EVIC will display a message about buckling up… but no chime at least. If I figure out how to disable the messages I will post that as well.


Disable Auto-Door’s locking when vehicle starts moving:

This feature locks all the vehicles doors once a speed of 15 mph is reached. In my 2005 Jeep Liberty Limited you could navigate the EVIC menus overhead to disable it. On my 2012 Chrysler Town & Country I did not see this option in the EVIC menu, however you can still enable / disable by doing the following.

1. Hop in the car and close all the vehicles, stick the key in and leave it in the off position for 20 seconds or so.

2. Turn the key to the on positions (do turn key all the way to start position.. if the engine turn over to start take the key out and restart the process) then turn it back the off position.

3. Repeat this on – off sequence of the key for a total of 4 times within 60 seconds.

4. End the sequence with the key in the off position, and now hit the driver side lock button on the door. They say you should hear a chime, but I didn’t… however my doors don’t lock at 15MPH any more.