Archive for the 'IT' Category


AMD system build

I’ve created a feature which details the building of a PC using an AMD 690G motherboard.


Hitachi 1TB…big boys toys

It’s not often that I’m in awe of computer kit these days, but today Hitachi very kindly sent me once of the their new 7K1000 drives. This baby has 1TB!!!
It’s easy to dismiss stuff like this and just say it’s a bit bigger than the 750GB Western Digital I reviews a while back. True it’s entirely arbitary amount of data, like any other size, but an entire terabyte on a single drive, numbs the mind a little.
Let me put that in a little perspective. The first hard drive I owned was the 30Mb MegaStore for the Atari ST. This drive is a thousand gigabytes or a million megabytes, which is a mere 33,000 times bigger! I’m not sure how many MegaStore’s Atari sold in the UK, but I think I could hold more capacity in one hand in these drives than they pushed in all the MegaStores. Assuming the rate of growth is proportional, which it isn’t, in 2027 we’ll have 20,000 or 40,000TB drives. Or, more HD movies than it’s possible to watch in lifetime. Bring it on!

Hitachi 1TB


AMD 690G build crazyness

Cheng Build
I’ve spent the day trying to complete a PC build for a friend, which I’ll document more completely at a later point. But this morning the PC had XP on it and was pretty ready to go (or going as in the picture). So why have I just finished mucking about with it???? In a word ‘sound’. For a reason that still defies logic I noticed that no sound device had been installed, and then more strangely that the sound device was missing! I assumed, wrongly, that it was an XP driver muck-up, and reinstalled XP using repare mode. That didn’t fix it. So in desperation I threw Vista on it, mainly to find out if it was something wrong with the hardware. It was, because I got no sound in Vista either!
In the end I wondered if the BIOS settings weren’t being shown correctly, and considered pulling the battery out to reset everything. Before doing that I reset to factory defaults and kerrr-pow!…We have sound. Now all I’ve got to do is scrap off Vista and start again with the OS my friend actually wants…
Perhaps I should write an article on how to waste about five hours on something stupid.


iPlayer – it doesn’t get better

I’ve been trying to use iPlayer for a while now, and instead of getting better it’s actually getting worse. Last week was a horrible mess where content appeared, then disappeared, the reappeared and still didn’t work. For example; Doctor Who on the 16th was on the lists but you couldn’t download it, and that was true an entire week later when it was removed after it’s 7 day slot. In 7 days they couldn’t get a single file and put it in the right place! I wouldn’t mind but the amount of material their currently releasing is very small, if given the source data I could output the conversions needed for each day alone with a couple of computers. I presume the BBC has more that two computers…
But there are other issues. I noticed today that they’d listened to their critics a little, and upped the bit rate/resolution of the shows! Hooray! Oh, hang on…the person who converted them didn’t realise they weren’t normal aspect ratio, but widescreen, and so they won’t play correctly in full screen! Doh! And they’ve also started to put links in for shows that are being released tomorrow, but when you click on them nothing happens, so it’s entirely pointless as you can’t order a show to download in advance.
I tried to mention some of these issues on the BBC forum, but it won’t accept my password, and tells me that my birth date is incorrect when I try to change it, something I’m unlikely to get wrong.
I’m sure the BBC will eventually stop making amateurish mistakes with iPlayer, but I’m wondering if anyone will be using it by then.


SCO train hits the buffers

The Linux world woke up to some excellent news today, the sort that makes people actually believe in the American legal system. If you’ve not a techie or being living under a rock then it might seem incredible but SCO (formally the Santa Cruz Operation) has been holding a revolver to the head of the entire Linux world for the past four years, ever since it sued IBM claiming that millions of lines of code in Linux where owned by it.
The claim was utter bunk, but we’re seen SCO attempt to railroad this claim without virtually any evidence that it was true. But despite running a very tight legal ship it’s not IBM that’s really put the mockers on this whole sordid exercise. As part of it’s case SCO claimed it owned UNIX, after a previous deal with Novell. Except Novell said it owned UNIX and not SCO. It’s this other side to the case that’s finally delivered the coup de grass on SCO, as Utah Federal District Court Judge Dale A. Kimball has ruled that Novell owns UNIX, not SCO. That’s a big problem for SCO, because not only does their case against IBM collapse, because they’re suing for using something they don’t own, but they’ve also taken money from the likes of Microsoft and Sun Microsystems for license which is legally now Novell’s. Giving that money up is a difficulty, because the amount they got is greater than the net worth of SCO.
I’m sure when SCO CEO, Darl McBride and friends thought this scheme up it looked great. We hold Linux to ransom, get IBM to pay use off, take our ill-gotten gains and head to the sun! But when the stock market opens on Monday, and the reality of where SCO is really heading dawns of those holding stock, it could really be the end. Personally, I hope so.

If you want to read more I’d head over to the excellent Groklaw , who’ve been providing a blow-by-blow coverage of this case.

SCOX (NASDAQ code for SCO shares) closed at $1.50 on Friday, opened at $0.45 on Monday and on Wednesday is trading at $0.37…
I hear the sound of water going down the plug-hole.


The Future is a scary place…we’re told

Apparently that’s the overwhelming conclusion of the House of Lords report on the Internet, which they likened to the ‘Wild West’. Putting aside the argument that the notional concept of the Wild West is pure fiction anyway, from the portions that have been reported this document seems to have discovered that the Internet isn’t immune from exactly the same sorts of threats that people encounter every day in ‘reality’. Gosh that’s a revelation! How long exactly did it take them to work that one out?
What worries me the most though isn’t the banal rehash of what’s been true for at least five years, but the assertion that ISPs should somehow be made responsible for what others do with their service. People have been scamming people with letters and phone calls for years, since these mechanisms became widespread in fact. But I’ve never seen the government turn around to Royal Mail or BT and ask them to stump up when some old lady buys shares in a company that doesn’t exist, or hands over her details to a criminal!
This isn’t a new idea though is it, as the whole YouTube and Torrent rows demonstrate. You can’t hold Google responsible for stuff found by their indexing or put by others on YouTube. In the same way that Ford aren’t responsible for letting people drive their cars while drunk. It isn’t Ford’s responsibility to sit outside the pub and stop you driving, and it isn’t the ISPs responsibility to work out which packets of data that are travelling on their network might ultimately upset someone.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to see ISPs being more pro-active on killing virus packages and mail zombie data in transit, because I think that’s entirely practical, and it’s something they could actually do. But making them liable is frankly the stupidest thing I’ve heard recently.  As many of them resell services from other providers, like BT, they could share responsibility around, eventually bringing a huge class action against the relatives of Antonio Meucci, Johann Philipp Reis, Alexander Graham Bell, Elisha Gray and Edison  for their contribution to the creation of this highly dangerous facility.
Clearly based on this thinking Elton John is ready for a peerage, which I respectfully suggest is given to him just minutes before the unelected second house is disbanded and replaced by an elected one with people who have more of a grip on modern technology. But then the other elected house doesn’t seem to have any of those, so maybe that’s asking too much.


XP SATA install without floppy

I know this has been possible for a while, but I’d always worked around it, either by finding a floppy drive or installing to an ATA drive and then cloning it to the SATA when happy with the installation.
But today I decided to grasp the thorn and do it the slick way with a tool called nLite. It worked a dream! I’m so impressed with my own ability to follow simple instructions, I might well turn this into a Micro Mart feature, or alternatively put it here.
The bottom line is that you don’t need a floppy to install XP on SATA! Is this the bitter end for the floppy?