Fixing the Cuisinart CEK-50 Cordless Electric Knife

Recently I had the misfortune of my Cuisinart CEK-50 cordless electric carving knife becoming defective. It was running continuously, even when the trigger wasn’t held down, and wouldn’t stop unless held at a specific angle.

As always with cheaply-made plastic consumer crap, the culprit was a 1ยข piece of plastic on a $3 component.

Specifically, the microswitch connected to the knife’s plastic trigger had its tiny actuator snap off. This meant the knife was running all the time unless the actuator was forced out of the switch (into the “off” position) by gravity.

What follows is a very rough guide to repairing the knife. It should take about an hour.

You’ll need:

  • A soldering iron and solder.
  • Heat-shrink tubing.
  • A Torx 9 bit.
  • A Philips 3.5 bit.
  • A pry tool and/or spudger.
  • A replacement microswitch (assuming that’s your issue) – it’s a Merchant CMm SM-51 16(4)A 125/250VAC, but any 16A switch of the same form factor should do.

  1. Unscrew the one visible torx screw at the base.
  2. Pop the clamshell casing using your pry tool:
    1. Two small tabs – front and back – hold the base cap in place.
    2. Two small tabs – front and back – hold the top cap (very tightly) in place.
    3. Several plastic tabs up each side of the case hold the body in place.
  3. Undo the four visible Philips screws – two under the bottom cap and two under the top cap – to fully release the case.
  4. Inside, on the other side of the knife’s trigger, you’ll see the white plastic blade holder mechanism. The microswitch is underneath it.
  5. Remove the four screws from the white plastic and two screws in the black plastic just down from it.
  6. There’s a small black plastic “bridge” which acts as the safety slider – gently pry it off at each side.
  7. The white plastic can now lift out.
  8. On one side there’s another small black plastic arm which is what connects the trigger to the microswitch. Remove it.
  9. Pull the microswitch out from under it.
  10. De-solder the existing wires.
  11. Put your new switch in.
  12. Apply heat-shrink tubing and solder the wires up again.
  13. Re-mount everything the way you found it.
  14. Enjoy.

You can test your new switch works before soldering by holding the neutral and live wires to their terminals and pressing the actuator.

Hidden plastic lugs which need to be pried open.
Hidden plastic latches hold the top cap on extremely tightly.
The SM-51 micro switch showing the broken actuator and N/L terminals.

Direct download links to patch the recent WannaCry ransomware exploit (KB4013389)

Many recent articles about the WannaCry ransomware virus report that Microsoft has issued a fix to patch the issue. However, as is typical of today’s poor-quality mainstream journalism, the articles don’t include any links to the patch. So here are the links.

Windows 7: Install SP1 first and then use the links below.

Windows 7 SP1 32 bit:

Windows 7 SP1 64 bit:

Windows 8 32 bit:

Windows 8 64 bit:

Windows 8.1 32 bit:

Windows 8.1 64 bit:

Downloads for other operating systems can be found by clicking the OS name here:

Solving error 80070422 “Failed to configure Windows updates”

There are various solutions floating around for the Windows Update error “80070422” (aka 0x80070422) but none of them worked for me.

Here’s what worked:

  1. Start -> Run -> type services.msc
  2. Ensure the following services are all set to “Automatic” startup:
    1. Windows Update
    2. Windows Firewall
    3. Windows Modules Installer
    4. Background Intelligent Transfer

Trillian messenger skin: “Trillian Live Messagewindow”

Here’s a mirrored copy of the Trillian messenger skin “Trillian Live Messagewindow” by Scream81, originally hosted at

Currently only works with Trillian versions 5.6 and below. I’ll update when/if it’s compatible with v6+.

How to re-enable unsigned extensions in Firefox 50 without reinstalling them manually

The Problem

If you’ve recently upgraded Firefox you may be left with lots of unsigned extensions which need to be reinstalled. If you’ve followed our guide to allowing unsigned extensions in Firefox then you’re halfway there; but what if you don’t want to manually re-install every single one of your old or unsigned extensions, one-by-one?

Luckily, there is a way to automatically re-install all of them with very little effort.

The Solution

First of all, you should have already upgraded Firefox and enabled unsigned extensions. Now, to reinstall all your extensions in one go, do this:

1. Open your Firefox profile folder (%appdata%/Mozilla/Firefox/Profiles/[profile_id] or, from Firefox, navigate to about:support and click Show Folder). Ensure Firefox is closed.

2. Now open the extensions subfolder and temporarily move all of the files/folders to another location.

3. Open Firefox again; you should have no extensions now.

4. Close Firefox and move all those extension files/folders back to the extensions folder.

7. Re-open Firefox once more and you should see lots of new tabs asking you to install your old extensions. You can either click Install on each tab, or go to the Tools > Add-ons window and install/enable them all in bulk.

How to downgrade from Firefox 29 to Firefox 28.

Firefox has just been upgraded to version 29, and is apparently one step closer to being a clone of Google Chrome. As usual, the update is absolute crap and many users are incredibly angry.

So, to downgrade to version 28 of Firefox, just run the full v28 installer which can be found here:

Oh, you should also submit some negative feedback and your thoughts about the “upgrade”, here:

Thief 4: disable intro videos, mouse acceleration, startup errors, and framerate smoothing.

Thief 4 (2014) has just come out and already there are a few problems. And solutions.

Startup Error 0xc000007b

When launching Thief on 64-bit (x64) computers, you might see an error message like:
“0xc000007b the application was unable to start correctly”. The solution is:

1. Search within your C:\Windows folder for “D3DCompiler_43.dll” and delete all instances of this file from your system.
2. Download the Direct X Web Setup from Microsoft and install it.

If that doesn’t work you can carefully follow the steps in this video, except changing the game path to Thief’s path.

Disable Intro Videos

1. Open up [THIEF_DIR]\ThiefGame\Config\ThiefEngine.ini.
2. Delete or comment-out any lines beginning “StartupMovies”.

Disable Mouse Acceleration / Mouse Lag

1. [THIEF_DIR]\ThiefGame\Config\ThiefInput.ini
2. bEnableMouseSmoothing=False

Disable Framerate Smoothing

1. [THIEF_DIR]\ThiefGame\Config\ThiefEngine.ini
2. bSmoothFrameRate=False

Disable Framerate Lag / Buffering

1. [THIEF_DIR]\Engine\Config\BaseEngine.ini
2. OneFrameThreadLag=False

Skype 3.6/3.8 no longer working on Windows.

If you use Skype 3.6 or 3.8 on Windows you’ve probably noticed a message in the past few weeks which says “Skype cannot connect.”

Unfortunately after much research I have found no workaround for this.

I do not recommend you upgrade to a newer Skype version because they are insecure. I’d recommend the excellent Trillian IM to use instead of Skype. It supports Skype accounts, so you can still talk to your Skype friends, any many other chat protocols.

I recommend you try it with the TrillianLiveMessageWindow skin which makes Trillian look like the old Windows Live messenger.