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Emergency Boot CD
Posted Mon, Apr 29, 2013


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Muse - Black Holes and Revelations

- It's Muse! Great band.

Morricone Youth - Silenzio Violento

- This group is pretty whacked-out crazy. This album is songs you'd expect in a western movie, or even working you way to the 70s chase-scene music of "Heist"

Kandy Whales

- This was one of those CDs I didn't really know if I'd like or not until I got all the way through it. It's definitely a strange sound, but worth a listen if you're into more far-out stuff.

Streetlight Manifesto - Watch It Crash

Catch 22 - A Minor Point

Duende - Contrastes

Hot Snakes - Braintrust

Moosefrog - Sixshooter

Port Mahadia - Requiem of the Mind

Apartment 26 - Give Me More

Gnarls Barkley - Basically

ok here's another test

The MPAA can kiss my ass
Posted Wed, Nov 28, 2012

In the days of my youth, I was told what it means to be a man.

Err, sorry, too much Led Zeppelin.

In the days of my youth, I used to be quite a little pirate. I mean, I pirated a lot. Then, I kinda fell out of the practice and went legit.

Since moving into college, I've not only been in a more piracy-prone environment, but the legal situation surrounding movies and piracy has caught my attention. To put this frankly:

I'm pissed off.

You can only fight a trend for so long before it is steadfast. Maybe if the ubiquity of free-as-in-beer media on the internet had been stemmed from the beginning, the state of things would be much different right now. But as it is, people want to watch movies online, instead of paying ridiculous prices at the movie theater or video rental store. They want to watch the movies when they please, with no artificial constructs dictating what they can and can't do.

And as we well know, the people usually find some way to get what they want.

Installing RAM in a Mitac 8258
Posted Thu, Mar 26, 2009


Another entry just for any poor souls trapped in Google Hell.

While placing an order on for a VGA splitter cable (wtf, no B&M places within an hour's drive sell them...), I decided to go for 4GB of RAM for my laptop. 1GB is hardly enough these days with games/etc., and a possible Vista upgrade to go in the next 2 years (which I see as the possible main lifetime of my laptop).

After a long week of waiting (memory got stuck in UPS limbo over spring break), I got my RAM and installed it. Laptop doesn't boot. Uh oh. Figuring one or both of the sticks was bad, I try booting in both slots with just one. Both sticks check out fine in both slots. That's not good.

I tried one of the 512 sticks I had before in combination with one of the 2GB sticks I had ordered. No good. A lot of investigation later, and the best I can come up with is that the folks at Mitac decided on an Intel chipset that supports up to 4GB of RAM, but went with a memory controller than only supports 2GB (the Intel chipset identifier program was not particularly helpful in figuring this out; here's a clue, guys, an identification program probably should avoid giving the end user 16 possible configurations for their chipsets. At that point, I may as well just start guessing by picking random chipsets off your list)

Bottom line, if you've got a Mitac 8258 (and you're either Chinese or have managed to identify your laptop chassis/mainboard as such, which is no easy task), chances are you can only install a maximum of 2GB of RAM in your system. Luckily for me, my EeePC is happy to take the extra stick, so I didn't waste my money. But still..


When I took my current job, I inherited a complete mess. Every computer was set up in a completely ad-hoc manner, and the software is nowhere close to standardized. This creates awesome little brain-teasers for me, like the incompatibility of Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express (although, really, I'm more upset at MS about this one; email clients shouldn't have to be standardized at all, because email is supposed to be) Anyway, part of my clean-up initiative is mandating what software gets put on new systems. I decided paying upwards of $200 for a copy of Microsoft Office, chock-full of its own incompatibilities and awful errors, was downright foolish. I'm also a fan of FOSS software, so I decided to give a shot in the business environment. The results were pretty good; most of my users couldn't even tell the difference! The only problem they reported was that OO was saving files in OpenDocument format by default, which is obviously a problem for the Microsoft-centric business world. You can change this in the program itself in the options, but doing this on all the computers I install it on is too tall an order. After a little research and poking around, I found the file that contains this setting, and wrapped up a juiced version of it with my OpenOffice installer, so that all instances will save in Word/Excel/PowerPoint by default. The file (Setup.xcu) lives deep in the hierarchy of folders, in 3\share\registry\data\org\openoffice. It's just an XML file that contains some settings that can be applied for the user. Mine looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <oor:component-data xmlns:oor="" xmlns:xs="" oor:name="Setup" oor:package="org.openoffice"> <node oor:name="Office"> <node oor:name="Factories"> <node oor:name=""> <prop oor:name="ooSetupFactoryWindowAttributes" oor:type="xs:string"> <value>92,146,952,520;4;0,0,0,0;</value> </prop> <prop oor:name="ooSetupFactoryDefaultFilter" oor:type="xs:string"> <value>MS Excel 97</value> </prop> </node> <node oor:name=""> <prop oor:name="ooSetupFactoryDefaultFilter" oor:type="xs:string"> <value>MS PowerPoint 97</value> </prop> </node> <node oor:name=""> <prop oor:name="ooSetupFactoryDefaultFilter" oor:type="xs:string"> <value>MS Word 97</value> </prop> </node> </node> </node> </oor:component-data>


I got Left 4 Dead for Christmas, and it's awesome. Unfortunately, you pretty much absolutely need a mic to play. Typing or even using the in-game voice commands is way too slow/generic. I don't really like the mic on my laptop, so I decided to try hooking up my bluetooth headset to my computer (via a bluetooth dongle I have). So got that all squared away, and discovered I was required to set the handset as the default device before starting the game in order to get sound to come out (I still haven't found a graceful way to replicate output to the bluetooth AND the realtek audio). This is annoying, so I did a little research and set up a batchfile to automatically handle switching the device for me before starting the game.

This setting is stored in the Windows Registry, in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Multimedia\Sound Mapper, under the Playback value. You can use the reg.exe command to change this from a batch file, as below:

echo Switching to bluetooth handset...
reg ADD "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Multimedia\Sound Mapper" /v Playback /t REG_SZ /d "Bluetooth Hands-free Audio" /f

echo Starting l4d...
start steam.exe -applaunch 500

echo Hit enter to reset the default audio device...
reg ADD "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Multimedia\Sound Mapper" /v Playback /t REG_SZ /d "Realtek HD Audio output" /f

VIA 8237 southbridge and SATA
Posted Wed, Nov 19, 2008


(Mostly for my own records, and any poor sap who ends up in the same Google hell I was in for a few hours)

My most recent slice of computer repair work started out simple enough: an HP Pavilion a420n with a 0x0A STOP error caused by some driver or another failing during Windows boot. Safe mode worked, nothing else did. I quickly concluded (after listening to the hard drive clanking and creaking) that the HD was going bad (it WAS a Maxtor, after all) and in the process of doing so had nixed some crucial driver (probably LAN), and after confirming with my client, ordered a new harddrive out of pocket with the intent of being reimbursed at invoice time. The old Maxtor was PATA, so I originally started looking for a PATA replacement, but then noticed a pair of SATA ports on the mobo. With more of a selection in SATA, I decided to go for it and upgrade the guy. 2 days later, the drive (a Seagate 7200.10 80gb) shows up. I pop it in, get my clonezilla disk ready to start hand-picking his old files to recover, and I'm met with "NO HARD DRIVE FOUND."

Obviously I was pissed, having put my own money up for a drive I had no use for, being a dedicated notebook user for the time being.

2 hours, one useless chat with HP support, and innumerable google searches later, I figured out that the VIA 8237 Southbridge (used in the A7V8X-LA motherboard, the bastard cousin of the Asus A7V8X-MX) does not support SATA2 (3.0Gbit/s). Jumpering the drive (thanks for not including a jumper, TigerDirect/Seagate!) solved the problem just nicely, and I'll be raking in my profit soon enough.

It did piss me off that this was not documented on HP's site OR in their technical division's files (although the tech DID mention something about the chipset not supporting RAID, which got me researching it to begin with). Just another reason never to buy a whole desktop, I guess.

How to Report a Bug
Posted Sun, Oct 12, 2008


While cruising the interwebernet to take a short break from a project, I stumbled across an article written by Simon Tatham (author of the infamous PuTTY) on how to [properly] report a bug as a user.

It's a nice essay, and it provides some insight into why programmers and general technicians are all so particularly annoying about the little details.

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There aren't too many artists of notable mention from today, but here's two that I played who have their music up for free download on the net!

Echoes -
Nickel EP(I played Track 2, "SOS" from this album)

Fosforo  - Macondo
EP( I played track 1, "Mano De Dios" from this to start the show )

That's all for now, you greedy bastards. You'll just have to wait until next week for some more free tunes.

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A little while ago, I participated in a project known as Classic Doom 3. Long story short, we remade the original id Software game Doom for the newest version of it, as faithfully as possible, while still taking advantage of the eyecandy and abilities of the new engine.

We even "upgraded" the music. Brian "SonicClang" Kline scrubbed all the original tracks with his fine musical ear, and produced an ass-kicking soundtrack to match the updated spirit of Doom.

Anybody who was at least 5 in the 90s probably played Doom, and a lot of these tracks are a great throwback to a more innocent day of MIDI metal and sprite graphics. Highly recommended.

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