Wednesday, February 20, 2013

KRK VXT frequency charts

As looking for a pair of studio monitors, I wanted to have a comparison between the three KRK VXT series models: VXT4, VXT6 and VXT8 – cones being respectively 4, 6 and 8 inches. I got the individual charts from KRK website, and I just made a collage with the three. This is what I ended up with:

It’s easy to spot how the low end increases with the cone size. Many people recommend a subwoofer, but not everyone has an appropriated room to fit everything. Indeed, in my case, I can hardly fit anything larger than the VXT4 on my desk, so I’ll probably have to stick with the VXT4 or other monitor with similar size, like the Yamaha HS50M – although I found these too bright and lacking in lows, rather unpleasant.

And the quest for my new home studio monitors goes on.

Update: after a lot of research and some listenings, I ended up picking up the KRK VXT4, which not only sounds really good, but also fits my desk. I’ve got a new pair for a good price, and I’m pretty satisfied so far.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Reading version from EXE and DLL files

Here’s a C++ and Win32 class to read version information from the resource section within EXE and DLL Windows binaries. The key functions are GetFileVersionInfo and VerQueryValue. The object will provide public pointers to the strings; these pointers should not be deleted, since they point straight into the allocated data block. If version information can’t be read – for example, if it’s a file with no version information – the load method will simply return false.

There’s room for more improvements, like tighter error checking, but it’s pretty usable:
#include <Windows.h>
#pragma comment(lib, "Version.lib")

class VersionInfo {
	const wchar_t *pComments, *pCompanyName, *pLegalCopyright, *pProductVersion;

	VersionInfo() : _data(NULL),
		pComments(NULL), pCompanyName(NULL),
		pLegalCopyright(NULL), pProductVersion(NULL) { }

	~VersionInfo() {
		if(_data) free(_data);

	bool load(const wchar_t *path) {
		DWORD szVer = 0;
		if(!(szVer = GetFileVersionInfoSize(path, &szVer)))
			return false;
		_data = (BYTE*)malloc(sizeof(BYTE) * szVer);
		if(!GetFileVersionInfo(path, 0, szVer, _data))
			return false;

		UINT len = 0;
		VerQueryValue(_data, L"\\StringFileInfo\\040904b0\\Comments",
			(void**)&pComments, &len);
		VerQueryValue(_data, L"\\StringFileInfo\\040904b0\\CompanyName",
			(void**)&pCompanyName, &len);
		VerQueryValue(_data, L"\\StringFileInfo\\040904b0\\LegalCopyright",
			(void**)&pLegalCopyright, &len);
		VerQueryValue(_data, L"\\StringFileInfo\\040904b0\\ProductVersion",
			(void**)&pProductVersion, &len);
		return true;

	BYTE *_data;
Usage example:
	VersionInfo vi;
	if(vi.load(L"C:\\Program.exe")) {
Can’t be simpler than that.

Like Firefox? Try Pale Moon

When it comes to internet browsers, overall, I prefer Firefox behavior over Chrome’s. But when using Firefox 18.0.2 on Windows 7 x64, I started to become increasingly angry with its memory usage. Even with only 4 tabs opened, Firefox peaked 800 MB of RAM easily, like not releasing memory at all. This was making Firefox really slow, a pain to use.

Searching around, I found Pale Moon. Basically it’s Firefox compiled specifically for Windows, letting out compatibility with older processors, all compiler optimization switches on, and also some minor changes done by the Pale Moon mantainer, which follows Firefox with some gap, waiting for the bugs to be fixed. Pale Moon seems to release memory faster, and on my tests, the RAM usage floats around 300 MB, compared to 800 MB on Firefox. On the use, it’s noticeably faster, a joy.

I’m testing a portable version of Pale Moon 15.4.1, and so far I’m very pleased. All my add-ons worked fine. I totally recommend it as an alternative to Firefox itself.