Koshdukai's Rants, Thoughts & Whatnots
2010-10-20
  Broadcom SUCKS!

...and every company that uses their WiFi chips, also suck! :(

Yeah, I'm talking about you, Toshiba!

Love my Toshiba Tecra and Qosmio i5 and i7 laptops, but my latest one has the most stupid and sucky WiFi performance I've ever experienced, EVER!

Why ? Because someone at Toshiba decided to use Broadcom chips on the latest Satellite A665-11T


Worse thing ? Toshiba Support asked me to send that laptop back and... 3 weeks have passed and no news, no explanations, no solution, no laptop, no money back, nothing.

For now, I'm feeling as if those hard earned 1800€ have been just stolen from me.

*GRUNF*!

...not buying another Toshiba so soon, that's for sure.
(so that tasty Libretto W100 is absolutely out of the question now)

Same happened to me with ASUS... haven't bought an ASUS laptop for almost 2 decades, just because of a sucky support experience... they had my laptop for 3 months and it came exactly like it went, with the same problem, and only after I demanded that they gave it back.


UPDATE: 1 month later... the feared reply "Sorry for the late reply. That's how Broadcom chipset work." and... that's that. 1 month without the laptop, only to be told that I'm stuck with it that way.

*ARGH*! >:(

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2010-06-22
  Toshiba Qosmio X505-Q890 ...and NVIDIA® 3D Vision™ ?

Love my i5 Qosmio i5 and i7 Qosmios (yup, bought another one recently... and again, a family element snatched it from me, so I'm Qosmioless again, grunf... -.-'), so much that I'm waiting for a Toshiba Qosmio X505-Q890 version with nVidia's 3D Vision for stereoscopic gaming and 3D Blu-ray watching =)

...heck, if Toshiba launched the Satellite A665-3DV, why can't they do the same on the Qosmio line ?

so... I'm still waiting -.-'

UPDATE: As you may know, by reading the next post, I ended up buying the Satellite A665-11T and now I wished I hadn't :( ...found out the hard way, that Satellite IS NOT Qosmio.

The A665 specs look like a better Qosmio, it even includes the TV Tuner but the Broadcom WiFi chips are so crappy that makes the laptop almost unusable on a high density WiFi spot like my home is :(

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2008-12-19
  How to run GTA IV for PC on a Intel GMA X3100 / 965 Express Chipset

Last night, I finally got my recently bought Grand Theft Auto for PC to run on my graphically underpowered laptop *PHEW!!!*

Ok, so, these are the specs of my current laptop:

Processor................: Intel Core2 Duo T7300
(x86 family 6 Model 15 Stepping 10)
Processor Speed..........: 2.00 GHz
Physical Memory..........: 2 GB
Operating System.........: Windows XP* Professional,
Service Pack 3 (5.1.2600)
DirectX* Version.........: 9.0c
Maximum Graphics Memory..: 384 MB
Video BIOS...............: 1478.0

But let's start from the beginning:


DAY ONE
Finally bought the darn thing!

After (the very looooong) installation process of GTA IV, I tried to run it as is, with the current (at the time) graphics driver (Version 14.27.2.4814, supplied by the OEM's driver site) and the first error showed up:
RMN40 - Windows XP: Need to have Service Pack 3 or higher to proceed.

Ok, fair enough... I still hadn't installed the SP3. After installing SP3 and rebooting, I gave GTA IV a try and, second error (THE ONE I FEARED THE MOST) showed up:
RESC10 - Out of video memory - Please re-boot your system

Heck... I tried everything at this stage, change to the lowest resolution (800x600), even messed with the Intel(R) Graphics Media Accelerator Driver for Mobile settings, even changing the 3D (OpenGL!) base memory to High, but with no avail... nothing made GTA IV work at this stage.

Well, I guessed it was time to update the graphics driver, so I did. Went to http://downloadcenter.intel.com/ and downloaded the latest Mobile Intel® 965 Express Chipset Family Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator Driver for Windows XP driver, Version 14.37.0.5009

When trying to install it, I've got an error saying this wasn't a OEM driver, that I should get the correct driver from the OEM, but, the problem was, I already had the "latest" driver from the OEM (14.27.2.4814), and that wasn't working, so I had to try a newer one... Intel's latest (14.37.0.5009).

So, I bypassed the standard Setup procedure (by not running the Setup.exe again) and doing the driver update from the Control Panel \ Display applet.

For those that don't know this procedure, here's a copy from the driver readme file:
*********************************************
* Microsoft Windows* XP
* "HAVE-DISK" Installation Instructions
*********************************************
1. Click "Start" then right click on "Computer" button and then choose Manage.
2. When the Computer Management window opens select the "device manager" icon. (NOTE: IF UPDATING DRIVER GO TO STEP 3B)
3a. Double click "Video Controller (VGA Compatible)". (Go To STEP 4)
3b. Select "Display adapters" then Double click on the graphics controller shown.
4. Click on "driver" tab and select "Update Driver".
5. Select the following option when the Hardware Wizard asks to connect to Windows Update: "No, not this time".
6. Select the following option: "Install from a list or specific location (Advanced)".
7. Select the “Don’t search, I will choose the driver to install” option and then “Next”.
8. Click on the "Have Disk..." button and then the "Browse" button.
9. Enter the directory where you unzipped the file you downloaded, and then enter the "Graphics" subdirectory. Locate and highlight the "igxp32.INF" file. Click on the "Open" button.
10. Click on the "OK" button. A window listing all of the available display types should open. Select the display adapter that your system contains and then click on the "Next" button.
11. Click on the "Next" button. The operating system will install the driver. Click on the "Finish" button when done.
12. Click on the "Close" button and then click on the "Yes" button to reboot. The driver should now be loaded.

After this, I tried the game AND IT WORKED!!! (ok, sort-of, read on...)

I was so happy \o/

I was finally running GTA IV on my "$%!&#%$ laptop :P ... or so I thought.

As soon as the opening ingame cut-scene kicked in, I knew something was wrong... missing lots of textures, the worst was, the muddy, darkish image. I never saw anything like that before. It was like... watching a very very dark version of a newspaper B&W photograph (but animated).

After trying various combinations of the game Graphics setttings, I let everything at the lowest settings and gave it a try. The best frame rate I got from it was between 3 to 4 frames per second, LOL!!!! A joke, I know -.-'
...anyway...

"...at least I can hear the dialogs, and... try to drive the car..."

I thought. And I did. After some trial'n'error (because I kept bumping into invisible stuff) I got the car on the road and, slowly, very slowly (3 frames per second slowly ;) and keeping an eye on the GPS-like mini-map, that fortunatly was working as expected, I finally arrived at the first stop, the cousin's place :P

Second cut-scene, ok, the image still a blackish mud of pixels, everything went as expected (at least, as a blind-bat would expect it) and the cut-scene ends. Then, all hell broke loose :P

I tried to get Niko out of his cousin's place, but I couldn't find the exit door :P ...not that I'm too stupid to find it, but... THERE WAS NO DOOR!!!! :P HECK!!!

Tired... I gave up for the night and went to sleep -.-



DAY TWO
Can't give up!!!

After getting home, I started searching the web for someone with the same problems and they were many... too many, but none with a solution.

Trying to find something that could help me understand if this was really an hopeless endeaver, I tried many combinations of searches, from Intel to Rockstar foruns, to dedicated game, gamers and specific GTA foruns, nothing... until a google search caught my eye: A video showing that indeed, GTA IV on a GMA X3100 was possible, although at 4 frames per second, it was possible !!!
Fortunatly, the author of the video, mentioned a driver version, although impossible to find on the Intel site.

I tried to find that specific driver version 6.14.10.4964, but I couldn't find it on "trustworthy" sites. I rejected the idea of installing a low-level driver on this machine from an unknown origin!

But this video gave me some hope :)

At this time, I noticed (in one of my searches) that GTA IV for PC had the first patch released, I I downloaded it and installed it.

...it broke my already barely working GTA IV installation :(
TEXP40 - Unable to create color multisampled render target - Please re-install DirectX and/or install the latest video card driver.
THAT WAS IT!!! THAT MEANT WAR!!!!

So I reinstalled the included DirectX on the GTA IV DVD but:
TEXP60 - Unable to create color render target - Please re-install DirectX and/or install the latest video card driver.

I revisited Intel's site and searched for every possible version between 14.27.2.4814 and 14.37.0.5009: I found 2 more: 14.32.4.4926 and 14.36.4.5002

I tried'em all, but I kept getting those TEXTP errors:
TEXP50 - Unable to create color multisampled render target - Please re-install DirectX and/or install the latest video card driver.
TEXP70 - Unable to create depth render target - Please re-install DirectX and/or install the latest video card driver.

Time to uninstall GTA IV, reinstall the game from scratch (to loose the patch that "broke" the thing) and decided to try the version 14.36.4.5002, the one prior to the latest that kinda-worked.

AND IT WORKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
\o/


Yeap, this time, besides getting the game to run again with no errors, the graphics were fixed!!!

Ok, I still had the same 3 to 4 frames per second snail frame rate but at least now I could SEE "everything" :D ...slow as hell, but everything was there :D



So, if you want to do the same with a Mobile Intel® 965 Express Chipset Family Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator you must:



...now, to test this on a desktop Pentium Dual Core@3GHz, 1Gb DDR2 and a nVidia 8600GT 512Mb :)

UPDATE: It works! You'll need to update to the driver recommended by Rockstar and install the Patch... yeah, the patch does its thing with a nVidia graphics card ;)
 
2005-12-07
  LEGOtronics ?

I “bumped” into this site while browsing some blogs about robotic gadgets.

After checking it out, the first thing that came out of my mouth was
“Ah! This is just the modularity I expected from LEGO if it ever got into electronics-for-kids.”
Robotics-wise, I also would expect something like this from LEGO, at least something that would keep the modularity known to all LEGO System and Technic fans.

So, anyone interested in robotics could achieve the same freedom as all that do sculptures, buildings, machines, cities, etc, with LEGO System and LEGO Technic.

Currently I find myself giving up on some projects/ideas, because the motors aren’t precise enough (there’s no Back-EMF like the XRC has), and don’t have enough power to lift another motor. Imagine a shoulder not strong enough to lift the elbow :(

...to be continued...
 
2005-11-28
  Why Python, why ?

Why, oh why does Python make me use something like
str="123456789"; ini=5; end=7; str[ini-1:end]
when I want the substring from the 5th to the 7th chars ? :(

Wouldn't it be more logical to start indexes with 1 and the end limit be inclusive so I could simply use something like str[5:7] so one could read it like "str's 5th to 7th chars" ?

*sigh*

Another kinda stupid thing is the integer output of 2 /3 having to resort to one non-integer to output a decimal output, like 2.0 / 3 or 2 / 3.0

*double-sigh*

...to be continued...
 
2005-11-16
  Mighty Mouse, Apple and input devices.

Apple finally launched something that might be usable to someone (like me) that thinks one button isn't enough for a 5 finger hand.

I hate those 30-button mice that some bright minds put out without checking if we could even grab one without clicking by mistake half a duzen buttons, but, heck, one button mouse ?

So, I'm the kind of guy that misses something that takes care of the zooming, scrolling, panning, or whatever that keeps me from doing too much unnecessary mouse milage.

I always thought that mice should have a (roller)ball (2 axis) instead of just a wheel (just 1 axis). Yeah, I've seen some wheels that one could tild sideways, but that's really not the same.

From the looks of it, this Mighty Mouse doesn't use a (roller)ball. Maybe it uses something like those red tips IBM ThinkPads have. If this is true, it'll be just another of those things I can't understand why the heck it was done this way.

It still looks like a one-eyed mouse, but at least this one knows better :)

erm... btw, if anyone reads this, I have to say that I'm not a Mac user. I have 0 (zero) Apple products. But I try to keep an eye on Steve Jobs projects, ever since NExT. Who knows ? Maybe someday "my perfect personal computer" may have an Apple logo in it.

In my entire life, I've only touched 2 Apple computers.

The 1st was an Apple Lisa. The first time I ever used a mouse (yes, I'm that old).

The 2nd time, was a Mac OS X iMac, for 20 seconds at a cyber-cafe, while trying to check something on Google. It was the first time I missed the right-button mouse, ever :P

So, do I dislike Apple ? ...I'll say something about it on a future post.
 
2005-11-14
  Pixar, Final Fantasy, Google Video and YABPASyadayadayada...

You, know... yet another blog post about SONY's perspective on how to enforce DRM on their clients. Remember ? Those guys'n'girls that give them money to enjoy their products? :P

One needs to read Mark's Sysinternals Blog posts about Sony, Rootkits and Digital Rights Management Gone Too Far to understand what' this all about.

Yup, that's what you get for buying a legit Audio CD from SONY BMG and play it on your Windows machine with autorun turned on. A little "free" gift.

I especially like this comment:
Perhaps if you kernel level developer guys were a little less friendly and helpful on you're mailing lists you could prevent things like this being created.

Ceri Coburn of First4Internet.co.uk asking for help writing a cdrom filter driver
and, of course, this one:
First4Internet, eh?... let's see... according to public records, they were incorporated 24/11/1999. In 2004 they had a turnover of £709,941 and operating expenses of £1,301,546 -- meaning an operating loss of £591,605. In the last five years they have, on average, lost £541,067 a year. For 2004, their credit rating is "HIGH RISK" (complete with capitalisation). Meanwhile, the four directors share annual renumeration of £224,413 between them (average £56,103 each).

One of the directors, Nicholas Bingham, (appointed in 2002) was director of "Sony pictures home entertainment Ltd." from 1989 to 1997, and director of "Sony pictures television production UK Ltd." from 1996 to 2000, and director of "Sony digital radio europe Ltd." from 1994 to 2000.

A cynic might say Sony selected this inept copy protection technology because it was supplied by one of thier cronies. The reason this is a bad business practice can be seen by the software's many failings.
So... SONY... good move eh ? :)

Anyway, I never buy protected Audio CDs. If one was given to me (never happened, fortunatly), I would make a protection-free copy of the audio stream so I can play it whenever, wherever and how I want. ...and keep the original CD (the physical object) as another art manifestation of the artist, like the cover and the booklet, photos, etc...

If this is ilegal, ok, fine... there's plenty of listenable music on Radio or TV to listen to, so no need to support SONY's way by giving them what they want: my money.

I try to spend my hard earned money with those that I think deserve it. If I like the artist but don't like the label behind it, well... tough luck to both.

"Those who want it all, loose it all."


Speaking of this, Pixar is one of those where I like to spend my money on :)
For me, The Incredibles was their best work so far. The water effects, the hair, the characters, the story, the way the super powers were carefully matched with each family member, everything was great :)


hmmm... speaking of hair, you must check the latest Final Fantasy movie
WOW!!! ...now that's high quality 3D CG hair and fur :)

And... finally Video Google search engine now has integrated video feeds :D how cool is that, eh ?

ok, enough already.



For more about Sony's Rootkit issue:
  1. More on Sony: Dangerous Decloaking Patch, EULAs and Phoning Home
  2. Sony’s Rootkit: First 4 Internet Responds
  3. Sony: You don’t reeeeaaaally want to uninstall, do you?
  4. Sony: No More Rootkit - For Now
...and Microsoft's Jason Garms (Anti-Malware Technology Team) comment
 
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