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Set Your Watches For the End of Windows XP

cibyr Windows XP Embedded (712 comments)

But Microsoft Windows XP Professional for Embedded Systems will continue to be sold until December 2016. It's the same codebase, just with different licence conditions. Will Microsoft actually stop releasing security updates for a product they're still selling? Will they keep developing security updates for Windows XP but withhold them from non-embedded customers?

about 2 years ago

Warp Drive Might Be Less Impossible Than Previously Thought

cibyr 500kg mass-energy (867 comments)

500kg mass-energy sounds like an awful lot.

That's about 4.5e19 J, or about 0.5% of the world's oil reserves. Might be actually doable.

more than 2 years ago

Australian IT Price Hike Inquiry Kicks Off: Submissions Wanted

cibyr Re:Dear Australia... (70 comments)

High local wages don't explain high prices for imported goods, often purchased online with no humans in the loop (e.g. Steam).

more than 2 years ago

Google Fights Back Against Android Fragmentation

cibyr Re:The Case for Google's Control: Atrix (373 comments)

By that logic, the iPhone is open because you can jailbreak it and then "make all kinds of changes".

more than 3 years ago

Microsoft and Nvidia Abandon PC Gaming Alliance

cibyr Re:No surprise (195 comments)

Problem is that games without DRM get pirated just as bad.

How is that an argument for DRM? You basically said

The guys who aren't wasting money pissing off their customers in the name of preventing piracy also have problems with piracy!

Well duh, but they have happier customers, which can't be a bad thing.

more than 3 years ago

In the Face of Android, Why Should Nokia Stick With MeeGo?

cibyr Re:maybe (336 comments)

Did you get your N900 with PR1.2 already installed, did you install the PR1.2 update via SSU or did you install it via the firmware flasher?

When I installed PR1.2 via SSU (how most users install updates; it's essentially a nice GUI on top of APT), after the reboot up popped a modal dialog asking me to accept the MyNokia T&Cs. The *only* way to dismiss this dialog is to accept the T&Cs, at which point it sends an SMS to Nokia. Sure, you can opt-out later, but by that point Nokia already has the data...

more than 4 years ago

Devs Grapple With 100+ Versions of Android

cibyr Re:I am just curious. (386 comments)

Nope. You'll choose a phone based on the hardware, and put up with the shitty manufacturer+carrier customisations. One of the best things about the iPhone is that Apple doesn't allow carrier customisations.

more than 4 years ago

2 In 3 Misunderstand Gas Mileage; Here's Why

cibyr Re:3 people in 2 don't know math. (1042 comments)

Here in Australia, they label most electric appliances with a sticker in the shops that shows you just how much energy it consumed compared to other similar alliances. It's not perfect, but it's a start in the right direction, and it has been running for a long time.

One of the really crazy aspects of this system is the units used. You couldn't expect a normal person to understand "Watts" or "kW", so I've seen air conditioners labelled in "kWh per hour". As in "kiloWatt-hours per hour". I wish I took a photo.

One of the things we get right is how we label fuel consumption: litres per 100 km. Half the number means you use half as much fuel to drive the same distance. Twice the number means twice as much fuel to drive the same distance.

more than 4 years ago

MATLAB Can't Manipulate 64-Bit Integers

cibyr Re:#TODO: (334 comments)

No, it's MATLAB. The comment character is %

more than 4 years ago

Good Language Choice For School Programming Test?

cibyr Re:surely not; Pascal was meant for this (407 comments)

Oh come on, Python was designed as a teaching language and in my experience students find it much easier to learn than Pascal (and it's much less limiting once you get past the basics).

As far as speed is concerned, according to the Programming Language Game Pascal is at best 60x faster than Python, and these sorts of competitions usually give you a few orders of magnitude in margin - the idea is to make sure your solution is in the right complexity class, not to try and enforce the most efficient possible solution.

more than 4 years ago

Providing a Closed Source License Upon Request?

cibyr Re:Dual-license (245 comments)

The only problem that MySQL is having with its licensing model is that Monty is a fucking idiot who wants to have his cake and eat it too. I'm sorry, you sold it. It's not yours any more. What you want no longer matters. Now shut up and go away.

about 5 years ago

How To Teach a 12-Year-Old To Program?

cibyr Re:Python+pygame (799 comments)

This is the answer. In starting off with pretty much any programming language, you screw around with strings, do some match, maybe make a GUI with some buttons and stuff... With PyGame, you can make games! Or at least, you can put graphics on the screen, move things around, make noises and it's easy... but not restrictive.

Logo (and programs like GameMaker and its ilk) get the first bit right, but once you want to do something that isn't moving a turtle around you're somewhat stuck. But with Python, you can do pretty much anything. And it's portable too! You can write a script in Python on your computer and run it on your phone (if you've got a Nokia, at least).

more than 5 years ago

Australia's Bizarre Classification System For Internet Censorship

cibyr Re:Don't click the last link then scroll to the en (208 comments)

But this story is about Australia, and we don't have a PG-13 rating.

Our ratings are (for those too lazy to click the link): G, PG, M, MA15+, R18+, and X18+. G, PG and M have no restrictions. People under 15 are not permitted to purchase or rent films or video games classified MA15+ unless they are accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. People under 18 may not buy, rent or exhibit films rated R18+. X18+ is the same as R18+ but is used for porn and illegal is some states. Anything that is "Refused Classification" is banned.

more than 5 years ago

Running Old Desktops Headless?

cibyr Re:Gentoo?? (347 comments)

Almost. It's the setup for a bad joke; the punchline being "I'll let you know when it's finished compiling!" (But you knew that, didn't you?)

Haw haw haw. Those silly Gentoo users, always compiling stuff! Why don't they like the Ubuntu developers compile it for them like everyone else?

What I don't get is why Gentoo gets singled out for "compiling" jokes. Why doesn't anyone makes these jokes about BSD or macports?

more than 5 years ago

Build Your Own $2.8M Petabyte Disk Array For $117k

cibyr You can get 2TB drives now (487 comments)

Since you can now get 2TB drives you should be able to fit 90TB in one of these boxes :)

And I thought I was doing well with a few terabytes in my home server (but hey, ZFS should save me from silent data corruption when the drives inevitably start to fail).

more than 5 years ago

Musician Lobby Terms Balanced Copyright "Disgusting"

cibyr Re:Frankly (319 comments)

That is the sort of English up with which I will not put!

more than 5 years ago

Suggestions For Learning FPGA Development At Home?

cibyr Re:Try these modules (185 comments)

I'll throw in another vote for the Nexys2. It's brilliant value, and you can program it via USB! Don't underestimate the value of that. The USB programming cable for the ML501 board I'm working with at the moment costs more than the Nexys2 board.

The toolchain is free-as-in-beer, but I've only run it on Windows. I think there is a linux version of ISE, but I don't know about the diligent programming software.

more than 5 years ago

Apple Finally Patches Java Vulnerability

cibyr Re:maybe (177 comments)

By default, newly downloaded executables from the internet have a flag (similar to Windows) that would ask for a confirmation before executing, thus requiring user input to work, I'm not sure if this vulnerability would bypass this.

You say "by default" - do you know how to turn this off? This is one "security" feature that really bugs me - on windows and on OS X. Yes, I really want to run that executable that I downloaded. That's why I downloaded it! I think I'm smart enough not to run some random executable that suddenly appeared on my desktop/in my downloads folder.

more than 5 years ago

Palm Pre Is Out, Time For Discussion

cibyr Re:Abroad (283 comments)

I'm pretty sure he's referring to the GSM version, and hopefully there'll be navigation software for other countries. Even without the navigation, it's an iPhone with a real keyboard and you don't need iTunes to get music onto it - I'm sold!

more than 5 years ago




Just how hard is it to get a driver fix from Dell?

cibyr cibyr writes  |  more than 7 years ago I have a Dell Inspiron 9400 laptop, one of the few with an nVidia 7800GO graphics card. This is important because nVidia do not publicly provide drivers for this card - you either have to use Dell's driver (which has literally not been updated ever) or try to find another driver that will work with your card (eg, from laptopvideo2go.com) and mod the inf file so that it installs. Obviously modded drivers aren't exactly officially supported, and it's hard to find drivers that support the laptop features such as power-saving.

Last week I installed Stranglehold on the laptop, and found that starting a game would consistently cause a BSOD, with both the modded driver I was using and Dell's official driver. Now you might be thinking "oh, the game's buggy", but but BSOD shouldn't be able to be caused by userland code so that's a driver bug in my book. I thought this might be my chance to get an updated official driver - the Dell driver has rendering bugs in other games (eg, the road does not appear in some recent Need For Speed games). So I sent a support request:

Computer Skills: Advance

System Information

System Product Family=Inspiron

System Label =Inspiron 9400/E1705

System Ship Date=2/10/2006 12:00:00 AM

Request Information

Request Type: Update - Software/BIOS

Operating System: Windows XP

Problem Description:

Blue screen of Death: STOP in nv4_disp.dll

When loading the first level of the game "Stranglehold", the computer locks up and displays the Blue Screen of Death with a STOP message in nv4_disp.dll.

I have tried uninstalling the nVidia drivers and re-installing the driver from the Dell support website.

After getting past the autoreply of common errors that didn't apply to my situation, I got this reply:

Thank you for contacting Dell Online Technical Support. If you have contacted or tried contacting Dell recently regarding this issue, please let me know.

From your email, I understand that your system detected Blue screen error when load to the "Stranglehold" game.

I understand about your concerns and please do not worry as I am here to help. As a Dell hardware specialist, I will try my best to assist you on this third party issue. Kindly carry out the following steps and reply me the results so that I can assist you further.

1. Please install the video driver by following the below link:


2. Please run the Dell Diagnostic to check on the hardware. This test will generate an error if a hardware fault is found.

a. Insert Dell Resource CD (Dell Drivers and Utilities CD)

b. Restart system. Press F12 immediately when Dell splash screen appears to enter into the Boot Menu.

c. Choose to boot with CD/DVD

d. Run the 32 Bit Diagnostics/ Diagnostic test.

e. Choose to run the Extended Test

f. If there is any error reported, please provide me with the complete error message and the category the error falls into.

NOTE: If your system did not detected any error after you have run the diagnostic test, it means that the system hardware is working fine. I would suggest you to contact your gaming vendor in order to rectify the exact problem that your system faced.

Do not hesitate to contact me if you have further enquiries.

For your reference, your case number is: 2132525

Take care and have a good day!

Despite the fact that the driver he linked is the same on that was on the CD that the laptop shipped with, I reinstalled it and ran the diagnostic (which of course turned up nothing).

That is that same driver that I downloaded and re-installed before emailing you, but just to be sure I have re-downloaded it, uninstalled it and re-installed it. Upon opening Stranglehold and starting a new game, the same BSOD appears. This time I took note of the exact message:

STOP: 0x0000008E (0xC0000005, 0xBFA6A922, 0xBA4C2B9C, 0x00000000)

Nv4_disp.dll - Address 0xBFA6A922 base at BF9D5000, Datestamp 00000000

I can send you the memory dump(s) if that would help, though I'm sure if you had an Inspiron 9400 with a 7800GO, this driver and Stranglehold you would be able to reproduce the issue.

I have run the Extended Test from the Dell Resource CD and it reports no errors. This is not surprising, seeing as it does not test any 3d functionality.

What's next? Do you have a more recent driver that I could try?

Their answer? Replace the graphics card!

Thank you for your updates.

I understand that you have run the diagnostic test and no error messages detected. It means the hardware is working fine. However, to isolate the problem that your system faced, I have arranged for an engineer to replace the video card for you. If after the replacement the issue still persists, it means the hardware is working fine and I will encourage you to consult your gaming vendors to rectify the issue that your system detected.

You will be receiving a call from our technician within the next working day to schedule for an appointment and to have the system fixed. However, this is subject to part(s) availability. Please let me know if you do not receive a call from the engineer by Thursday. I will help to expedite the case for you.

Have a pleasant day!

I am rather amused by this point, and when the technician arrived he agreed with me that it was a waste of time but replaced the card anyway and then got Dell support on the phone. Dell support reported that other people had the same problem with other games and it turned out to be spyware so I'd have to re-install windows. Luckily, I had a spare 2.5" hard drive lying around so I was able to do a clean install of just XP, drivers and the game and yet (surprise, surprise!) the problem didn't go away.


The engineer came today and replaced the graphics card. The same error still occurs.

While he was here, he called Dell technical support to see what the next step would be. I was advised that the problem could be spyware, so I should re-install windows XP. I re-installed windows XP from the CD that came with the laptop, then installed the drivers from the Dell resource CD. The graphics driver on the CD is the same one that you linked me to earlier (R114697.EXE). I then installed the game, and the same error still occurs when I try to start the game.

At this point, I cannot see how the problem could be anywhere but the graphics driver. Perhaps you could contact nVidia and see if they have a fix, or at least a more recent driver to try, especially considered that the driver has not been updated since the laptop was first sold nearly two years ago.

Their reply:

Thank you for your updates.

I understand that our engineer has replaced all the parts for you but the issue still remains when you attempt to load the games.

From the symptoms that you have provided, I believe that the game that you tried to play having some issue with the laptop. As a hardware specialist, I will try my best to assist you on this third party gaming issue. I have helped you to do a research in the Internet and I found out the following link might be useful to rectify the issue that your system faced.


If the issue still persists after updated the file that I enclosed in my reply, I would appreciate you to contact your local gaming vendor to check whether there is a latest patch to be downloaded to your system in order to play the games.

Please accept my apology if this issue causes any inconvenient for you as this third party gaming product is not fully tested with our system and it might have some problem when you load the game.

So they link me to a dodgy site with an even more ancient version of the nVidia DLL, and tell me to look for a patch to the game (I couldn't find one, and in any case a game shouldn't be able to cause a BSOD). I've pretty much run out of things to say, as it seems like they're not actually reading what I write anyway. Just how hard is it to get a driver fix from Dell?

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