Recap of a 3-hour phone call with Sony.
1st and 2nd tiers .. aside from leaving my system in a messy state, were unable to to anything useful.
3rd tier .. Nathaniel was excited to see this happen. I wasn't able to generate a dump file for him, but he has my nfo file now, and was able to see with his own eyes my repro (modulo the fact that killing the dhcp client service would temporarily disconnect him).
This problem *is* known to them, and has affected a variety of platforms: win7, vista, xp, mac. They hadn't narrowed any particular culprit down yet, but my work last night has made the tech very happy. They should be contacting me for follow-up sometime, but it's well after hours for them now.
So.. informal poll of the Win7 folks for whom the reader software is not working. (I say Win7, but adventurous Vista and XP folks might be able to adapt the script.)
Is DEP set to the first radio button (system services only)?
Is UAC activated?
(In my system, having DEP set to the other -- all -- button, and having UAC disabled, would cause the reader process to exit quietly. Restoring them to their default would cause the process to hang. Use task manager to view this.)
With DEP and UAC in their defaults (as above), does the reader process hang?
If the reader process hangs, bring up msconfig, and also bring up service manager (under computer | manage | services).
Is DHCP Client enabled (under msconfig's Services tab)?
Is DHCP Client running?
With both of these "Yes", my reader was hanging. If that is what's happenning with you..
Uncheck DHCP Client in msconfig, click apply.
Right-click DHCP Client in service manager, click stop. Confirm to also shut down WinHTTP Web Proxy service.
Go to task manager and right click on the hung reader process(es). Click End Process Tree. Try running the reader again. On my machine, it will finally bring up the UI. It may ask if you want to associate epub. Whatever. Get it to the store. The store should be inaccessible in the reader's store browser.
If so, then go back to msconfig, check DHCP Client, click apply, and then restart the service in the service manager.
Click the Home button in the store browser. This should bring it back up.
I have their email address. I'm happy to gather this info informally and ship it to them, and I'm sure they'd be happy to see it. But the first couple tiers aren't able to touch this problem, and may be leaving machines in a bad state.
I also now have an uninstall bat file to compensate for problems with the uninstaller they supply. I'll be happy to email it to folks.
So -- real and known problem. Sony simply hadn't gone through all the services. I suppose it's just lucky that DHCP client was in the first batch that I disabled.
Thank you to the guy who reported using msconfig to disable everything. That was the clue they needed, and apparently the upper tier hadn't heard of that making a difference in the behavior.