Archive for June, 2008


HTPC woes

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I’ve been frantically rebuilding my HTPC and as a consequence have stumbled upon the limitations of Vista when it comes to transferring files across a network. For the life of me I can’t figure out why Vista hangs when I just want to copy a file from it. I was cursing this damn D-Link gigabit switch I purchased on the weekend, thinking it was the piece of shit that so many people on Whirlpool Forums claim D-Link is; however it is yet to be established as it seems to be working and it has been pretty much plug and play apart from Vista being a pain.

As a desperate measure I abandoned a file transfer from the Vista end and tried it from the XP end, which is what my HTPC is running on, lo and behold, my files easily copy. I’m not getting blistering performance considering it took 16 minutes to transfer 40 gigs of data but I don’t believe the switch is to blame for the slowness (I say this with tongue in cheek – it is a hell of lot faster than the standard 100 megabit port on my router), again Vista inherits the crown by not being able to handle AHCI on my SB600 south bridge chipset which is perhaps slowing down my SATA drives because they’re in IDE mode but it may be due to the ATI SB600 period. Ok I can take some of the blame by not researching and installing drivers at the OS install stage, along with ASUS and perhaps AMD/ATI for releasing a less than bug free chipset.

I started this upgrade on my HTPC Sunday afternoon after I hesitated with the heavy apprehension of yet again ripping the guts out of the box and installing a new motherboard, CPU, RAM and Graphics Card. Well the Graphics Card is new and the other parts were from previous builds, I wanted to test out an ATI card instead of the NVIDIA 7600GT I had in it.

ati-hd3450 jpeg

My apprehension was justified when it came to booting it for the OS install – no damn video! WTF! After frigging around trying out a 7900GS thinking the 3450 was dead, still no video showing. Damn it! All that effort of removing parts, adding extra power cables to power the 7900GS and to no avail. Ok it was back to basics, rip out the 7900S, pull out USB connectors, reseat the ram and clear CMOS and then put it back again. Yep. User error. I must have had some ports and connectors installed incorrectly, because it posted after reconnecting the various plugs and DIMM modules – no trivial feat as the HTPC case is lacking room to move, certainly a tight fit – not a great deal of space for clumsy fingers like mine. The drama wasn’t over. The time came to installing Windows XP and the fucking thing doesn’t install onto C: drive! Because I had another drive with partitions already installed, Windows decides to create the boot drive as E: drive. Great! Just fucking wonderful! No option but to reinstall it.

Monday morning – 1:30am. Finished installing SP3. Time for bed. The rest of this week has been reinstalling software and reconfiguring Media Portal and the job still has a way to goes. Media Portal has changed so now it’s a process of re-acquainting myself with its new idiosyncracies. Still trying to figure out the Vista problem but it’s like looking for a needle in hay stack – it certainly makes me wonder if these incompatabilities are intentional. Would Microsoft create headaches so the least problematic solution is to upgrade the other PC’s to Vista? Would a monopoly do such a thing?

Category : Rants | Blog

Naked node

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I’ve recently gone to ADSL2 for my broadband service on this new fan dangled naked deal where the voice component is stripped from the copper that connects me to the telephone exchange. So far I’m not all that impressed with the purported 20 megabit speeds that are theoretically possible.

I’m ostensibly, not all that far away from the exchange by any stretch of the imagination, however on Australia’s enfeebled copper it is a struggle for telecommunications to achieve theoretical maximums, apparently. Where I was achieving around a 6.5 megabit connection on ADSL1, it is near neigh impossible for me to get anywhere near those speeds even when Internode have upped me onto a faster line profile.

The maximum speed achievable by my line seems to be around 5 megabit, which in the scheme of things is more than the most people opt for, but in my addiction to speed I feel a little jibbed by not gaining at least a slight boost over ADSL1. Probably in the same sense as a meth addict feels if short changed by scoring a dose of powder rather than ice. I can certainly feel the edginess of not quite getting into the zone, of not reaching the synaptic rush of dopamine flooding the gap, sending electric waves of binary euphoria pulsating through open connections to my Usenet client.

I can’t fault Internode for the service and technological limitations of what seems a locality or geographical issue. The process of converting my existing service to nDSL was flawless, from order to installation – all went smoothly with no downtime as far as I’m concerned and spot on with the estimation to complete. There are some advantages which are hard to argue with, most notably a $30 cost saving a month, however it leaves me rather listless nonetheless – my fix has been cut with lactose or rather, aging copper.

With the National Broadband Network on the horizon, it seems my last salvation, my last hope to break the 1000kbps download barrier – a waiting game now for the first fibre to be rolled out to a node near you. Although, by the looks of things it may be a double edged sword. With the proposal comes the hitch, which is; that the existing copper be cut off, essentially disabling the existing infrastructure. This is disconcerting because it has the potential to end in tears for the end user – You and I!

Tears because cash will be flowing faster from our wallets than the rise in bowser rates from your local BP service station. Cutting off the existing copper, a totally unnecessary requirement as I understand it, will quell competition and once again Australia will be held hostage to a Telco Monopoly – so faster speeds could also mean higher prices. My last hope to break the hour barrier to download a Linux ISO may very well come with a hefty dent in my back pocket.

Category : Rants | Blog

All in the family

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The good news is that it is a long weekend coming up. It caught me by surprise, I hadn’t realised that such fortune would bestow the worker this week. The bad news, however, is that I may have to visit the folks, well i mentioned that I might head down on Sunday for the night. I know that there are those people out there who absolutely love their family life and my hats go off to those virtuous souls, however the other half; the destitute and spiritually bankrupt, souls not dissimilar to myself find the ordeal of family responsibility a rather tiresome and bothersome obligation. In truth, the whole family thing and especially the happy family thing is just too hard to bear when one needs to travel half way across the country to partake in fifth commandment bullshit.

It is annoying that for some reason the onus is on me to bring my ass down to see Mum and Dad when it was their choice to move to the arse end of New South Wales. Like a five hour drive just for proprieties sake seems excessive. For what? So I can keep someone else happy. Pure people pleasing, and because it isn’t exactly people in the sense of other people but family – it is somehow transformed into duty, responsibility or obligations because there are blood ties involved. It even seems antiquated in this age of self. What gain can be angled from this antiquity? None! It is purely an indulgence in superficial pleasantries. What’s a selfish old sod like me to do?

Family dynamics and relationships may seem interesting looking from the outside in but when the inverse is true it becomes too close to reality to be at all comfortable. I just wish that the distances involved weren’t so great, having the option to shorten the obligation into a more manageable chunk seems a vision in paradise. Ah well no amount of whingeing will make it go away.

Category : Journal | Blog