Google Glass

My wife has been accepted into the Google Glass Explorer program, and as such gets to go pick up her Google Glass next week. Unfortunately its cost is pretty prohibitive so she’s put out a request for small donations to help fund the purchase. you can read more about the fundraiser here:

http://www.gofundme.com/36y2y4

"Yes, I will be putting my initial purchase onto a credit card. This is here to just help a little.

What are the perks of helping me out?
Well, regular updates of the amazing adventures I plan to have with Glass (motorcycle rides, roller derby bouts, SCA/LARP Fighting, roller coasters, and so much more!)... that is for sure."

She has also pledged updates from Glass for each donation she recieves as well as some other goals. Please consider donating something to help her afford them! Thanks.

Dell PowerEdge 840: fix for memory limited to 256

So generally when I run across something at work that I think “hey someone else might have this same problem” I generally try to remember to post about it here at tmib.net. Sadly I am pretty bad at remembering to do it on a time and regular basis. I have been playing with Google+ recently and although I have been posting updates about there on there, that means that I am neglecting this page more. So since I hit a snag yesterday on something I figured I would post about it on the off chance that someone else has this type of thing happen to them.

I work for a non-profit agency, and as such we regularly receive older technology donations. The average computer here at work is a single core Pentium4 1.8-2 Ghz machine with 256 to 512mb ram. So when we get something a little bigger then that I tend to try to fix it right up, install the OS and our standard software packages and get it right out to someone. This includes when we get something like the Dell PowerEdge 840 with a 2.8Ghz single core, 1Gb RAM, Raid Controller, and a 250GB hard drive we automatically think “this would make someone a good desktop”.

It just so happens that someones computer died yesterday so I went and started to setup the PowerEdge to replace her computer. I went into the bios changed a few settings. Threw my Windows 7 Enterprise installation disk in the drive and … huh. Odd the raid controller is reporting 0 disks. Okay, reboot go into the raid controller setup the hard drive [which means deleting the volume and re-initializing it since it was already setup]. Reboot the machine, it sees the drive now but still no windows installer. Go back into the Bios, double check that its set to let the CD-Rom be the boot drive… it is. But then thats the problem isn’t it? Cd-Rom… Win7 is on a DVD.

/facepalm.

Open the case, replace the drive with a DVD drive. Fire the machine back up, Windows Installer is Go! Houston we have lift off. I go back to my desk and work on something else while I wait for it to get to needing my input. I turn around and there is an error message on the screen basically saying “You’re computer has 256mb of ram, this version of windows requires 512mb.” (yes totally paraphrased). So standing there dumbfounded since there is 1Gb on the Motherboard, and another 256Mb on the Raid… oh you don’t think that its the raid controller do you? Well I did. So I rebooted went into setup the Bios see’s the 1Gb. There are no options to change for the memory. Went into the raid controller, nothing to change in there. Shut the machine down, re-seat the RAM and turn it back on. Thats when I notice the little error message during boot that says:

“Amount of available memory limited to 256MB”

Grr… Okay back into the Bios for a quick look then off to visit our overlords at Google. A quick search of “PowerEdge 840 limited to 256” leads me to the solution. And thus concludes my little tech story to you all by saying this:

Go back into the Bios and shut off “OS Install Mode”.

I can happily report that the machine is currently installing Windows 7 Enterprise as I write this. Hopefully if someone else has a similar problem, this post will help them find the answer that they are looking for.

See you in the funny pages.

ALERT: NVIDIA: 196.75 fan control issues

There is an article over on slashdot this morning about Nvidia 196.75 drivers causing video cards to severely overheat and melt down. If you are using these drivers it is recommended that you downgrade to 196.21 until they get it fixed.

    “Blizzard recommended to uninstall the NVIDIA 196.75 drivers, and to downgrade to the previous driver version: 196.21. Starcraft II Beta is not the only application affected, thus this is a worldwide alert to every gamer out there. Blizzard concluded the fans control in this NVIDIA driver is not working properly.”

Nvidia is quoted as saying:

    “We are aware that some customers have reported fan speed issues with the latest 196.75 WHQL drivers on NVIDIA.com. Until we can verify and root cause this issue, we recommend that customers stay with, or return to 196.21 WHQL drivers. Release 196.75 drivers have been temporarily removed from our Web site in the meantime.”

Here are some useful links for two of the more popular drivers at Nvidia:
Windows XP
Windows Vista/7 64-bit

slashdot source: http://games.slashdot.org/story/10/03/05/0739241/NVIDIA-Driver-Update-Causing-Video-Cards-To-Overheat-In-Games
original source: http://www.incgamers.com/News/21293/nvidia-19675-kills-video-cards

Spring Winter Cleaning

Most of you probably know that I squirrel away a metric shit ton of crap that (I feel) other people would never save. I have an old Surround Sound system (two of them actually), 10 old Hard Drives (not in computers), mouse pads (who uses those anymore?), cords, cables, 6 extra (older) video cards, 4+ sound cards… and lots lots more.

So last night I started trashing things. Here is a list of the things that are free to any friend who wants them, first come first served:

  • 2 surround sound systems
  • 1 VCR
  • Assorted Hard Drives: (don’t see why anyone would want these but)
  • * Seagate 4.3gb
    * Western Digital 3.2gb
    * Western Digital 1.6gb
    * Western Digital 80gb (SMART fails, but drive works)
    * Maxtor 31gb

  • 2 SoundBlaster Live! cards
  • 1 Asus Ageia PhysX card (almost new gonna list on ebay)
  • 1 LiteOn 48x Cd-Rom Drive (black) man:2002
  • 1 Netgear Wireless Firewall Router WGT624 v3
  • 1 D-Link Ethernet Broadband Router DI-604

Here is the list of things that I have thrown away:

  • 4 assorted CD / DVD / Drives
  • 33 CDs (including several copies of 95, 98, 98se, 2k, and Vista)
  • 2 Hard Drives (8gb broken. unknown clicked. WD 80gb. WD 80gb. WD 36gb Raptor. WB 80gb w/78 bad sectors)
  • Boxes from EverQuest: Trilogy, EverQuest: Shadows of Luclin, Unreal Tournament 2004,
  • 5 lbs of assorted pieces of paper, manuals, and such

These lists will be updated periodically. If you want any of this stuff let me know asap, as I will be throwing it all away in a week. (Or trying to list what i think will sell on ebay.)

wetware incoming

There is an article over on Slashdot that caught my attention today, about robots being controlled by the human brain. Cybernetics have always intrigued me from Gibson to Cyberpunk 2013 (1988) to War Games (1983) to “ghost in the machine” to the well known Matrix Trilogy. All of these have pieces or parts of what I visualize our future to encompass and the scary realities that implies.

Do you want to know more?

SOURCE: Slashdot: Hardware: Robot Controlled By Human Brain Cells

New Dell Woes…

Recently some of our child agencies recently began purchasing new Dell workstations to replace their aged desktop PCs. As an IT person I have heard some good things about Dell Customer Support, and know many people that swear by them. My boss, of course, is not one of these people. Don’t get me wrong he loves their tech support but not their hardware. Let’s face it Dells are cheap. They are the King of Cheap. They do a darn good job of getting some great prices on components from their vendors, and it allows them to sell PCs at prices that almost no one can beat. There has been a thread on GNHLUG recently regarding the Dell Maxtor Hard drives having a lot of failed units. This post is not about hardware though.
This is about software that comes bundled with new Dells. My first step is to remove all memory and systray resident programs that are running that I don’t want. McAfee is in the systray so I exit that also. CTRL-ALT-DEL, click on the processes tab and start killing things that are non-essential to the machine. (like RealPlayer) Of course there are a bunch of things in there I don’t recognize. Once the running programs are shot down, I proceed to START -> CONTROL PANEL -> Add/Remove Programs. Here is a brief list of the majority of the crap I have to uninstall: Three AOL programs (Aol9, Coach and Connectivity, and of course none are AIM), Earthlink Installer, Yahoo! Music Match, Search Assistant, NetZero Installer, URL Assistant, ViewPoint Media Player and finally McAffee Security Center. So I uninstall all this garbage that the employee doesn’t and won’t need. Not counting McAffee Security Center this takes literally about 30 minutes (the machine is a CeleronD 2.53Ghz w/ 256mb RAM). Once all the little things are done I start to uninstall McAfee Security Center. It of course tells me that McAffee is currently running and to shut it down before I uninstall. Note that I already shut it down from the systray. So I check the task bar, nothing there. Check the systray (again), nothing there. CTRL-ALT-DEL and go into the Task Manager. There are at least 8 processes that I surmise could have something to do with McAfee Security Center, so one by one I start killing them off. (mcshield, mcdetect, and several others) Once this is done, I go back to Add/Remove Programs and click to uninstall McAffee Security Center and nothing happens.
It turns out that about half the time the pop up window goes behind the Add/Remove Programs window so that you cannot read it. Well Fraq me. You have to go into Task Manager and kill the mcappins.exe program which apparently doesn’t end even after you close the window when it tells you that it cannot install. The kicker is when you kill that process you can try to uninstall again and it usually works. Please note that I said usually. A couple times while trying to uninstall it the uninstaller crashed. This of course makes us IT people filled with warm and happy feelings. So I go back into Add/Remove Programs and run the uninstalled again. Thank the magic blue smoke that the entry is still there. Great so the program seems to think that its already running. CTRL-ALT-DEL back into Program Manager and look the mcappins.exe is back. End task the cylon and run it again. Yay! An hour wasted easily.
McAffee you suck… fix your bloatware.

SLR DigiCam

Harbor Homes gave me a budget to be able to buy a few things so as to be able to sell things on eBay. One of those things was a really nice Nikon D50 camera. Over the next few days I will of course be posting some new pictures as I continue to experiment with the camera. To start you off right, here is a picture of Ben from Bickfords last tuesday.


click on image to enlarge

Nintendo Revolution renamed Wii

Its official the Nintendo next gen console is called the “Wii”. They have an offical announcement at nintendo.com. Here is the text from the page:

Introducing Wii.

As in “we.”
While the code-name “Revolution” expressed our direction, Wii represents the answer.
Wii will break down that wall that separates video game players from everybody else.
Wii will put people more in touch with their games … and each other. But you’re probably 
asking: What does the name mean?
Wii sounds like “we,” which emphasizes this console is for everyone.
Wii can easily be remembered by people around the world, no matter what language they speak. 
No confusion. No need to abbreviate. Just Wii.
Wii has a distinctive “ii” spelling that symbolizes both the unique controllers and the 
image of people gathering to play.
And Wii, as a name and a console, brings something revolutionary to the world of video games 
that sets it apart from the crowd.

So that’s Wii. But now Nintendo needs you.

Because, it’s really not about you or me.

It’s about Wii.

And together, Wii will change everything.

This leaves me with one thought… and it isn’t we… Its Wii (pronounced why)?

Micro$haft monopoly

On the topic of selling PCs with out an operating system pre-installed…

“We want to urge all system builders — indeed, all Partners — not to supply naked PCs. It is a risk to your customers and a risk to your business — with specifically 5 percent fewer opportunities to market software and services,” wrote Michala Alexander, Microsoft’s head of anti-piracy. source: zdnet

So let me see if I get this right… If I want to buy a new system I should have to pay the Microsoft tax even if I already OWN their latest OS? Or if I plan on installing an older version of their OS? Or if hey how about I want to install Linux, or FreeBSD… Why in the world do they say things like that? I’ll tell you why. People are sheep. If people read that statement they will think that “Microsoft is huge, they must be right. I should listen to them.” In this case they are dead wrong.