My window to the world

Xbox LIVE Gold 12 Month Subscription Card giveaway

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 1-May-2007 09:11

Head over to the main Geekzone page and look for the Xbox LIVE Gold 12 Month Subscription Card giveaway (until 8 May)... The prize is a 12 month subscription plus 1000 Xbox LIVE points in the package, so the winner will have lots to spend in the Xbox Marketplace.








No more signed drivers for Windows Vista 64 bit

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-Apr-2007 22:37

I found this today and will try soon, when I have the Vodafone vodem updated to work with Windows Vista:

bcdedit /set loadoptions DDISABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS

This command disables the requirement for signed drivers under Windows Vista 64 bit. Nirvana!

Thanks to Chris123NT for the tip.

By the way, the Vodafone vodem can be updated to work with Windows Vista, but the firmware updater only runs on Windows XP. I don't have any Windwos XP PC here anymore. Might have to borrow one just to update the device.


UPDATE: As mentioned by Brad, this seems to be the fix we have known for some time - and it only works once each time you issue the command. One option could be to run this as a batch file on logoff, through the Scheduler...

UPDATE: I haven't tested yet because I don't need any non-signed driver to be installed right now, but Chris123NT tells me this is persistent across reboots...




Thanks Provoke for the Geekzone Gadget

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Apr-2007 08:07

I announced here a couple of days ago the release of our Geekzone Gadget for Windows Vista Sidebar.

The software is a small application that lives in the Windows Vista Sidebar, monitoring our Geekzone Forums, and showing the forums with most recent topics, how "hot" or "cold" a forum is based in the number of replies and the last hour and providing direct links to the discussions.

I always wanted to have something like this, and it was made possible by the guys at Provoke. They came along for one of my weekly coffee meetings in town, we talked about the idea, what I wanted to give our users and we agreed on a quick project - less than a week to have it all done.

The Geekzone Gadget for Windows Vista Sidebar was developed in just a couple of days, from concept, design and testing through release.

We already have some ideas for v2.0, including perhaps posting replies direclty from the gadget instead of having to load a webpage, user selection of which forums to monitor, and more.

I recommend the guys at Provoke if you are looking to create something similar, or even start a bigger project. They work with design, business solutions and e-government applications.






Pirates of the Silicon Valley

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 23-Apr-2007 10:44

The movie Pirates of Silicon Valley (IMDB) is a made for TV story of great figures, and corporations: Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp... You will see Noah Wyle as a young Steve Jobs, Anthony Michael Hall as Bill Gates, Joey Slotnick as Steve Wozniak and John Di Maggio as Steve Ballmer. Worth watching it. You will find out lots. I saw the movie a few years ago on DVD. IF you want to find even more about Apple Inc, read Steve Wozniak's iWoz. I don't know if this is an authorised version, but Google video shows more than 300,000 views already, and the movie has been up for more than four months. Watch Pirates of the Silicon Valley now on Google Video.



A couple of RSS feeds you should read

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 22-Apr-2007 20:38

This is a shameless plug post. I am about to suggest three RSS feeds you should keep an eye on, including the readership numbers (by FeedBurner):

 Geekzone (RSS feed): this is our main feed, with all news, reviews, and some of the top Geekzone Blogs.

 Technozone (RSS feed): this is a special feed based on a network of tech blogs, including some Geekzone Blogs, and a few external blogs we think are interesting.

 Australia/New Zealand MVPs (RSS feed): this is a brand new network, bringing together blogs by Microsoft MVP folks based down under. You will find posts in a wide range of Microsoft technologies and interests.

If you are a Microsoft MVP based in Australia or New Zealand, please post to the mailing list asking to be invited to the network!

Of course you should also subscribe to my own RSS feed.




CTP for Windows Home Server beta hits the streets

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Apr-2007 08:59

The Windows Home Server beta has hit the stage where a CTP (Community Technology Preview) is widely available to the public. The announcement came after a leak of the CTP build, a witch hunt, allegations that a MVP was responsible for the leak (no MVP was involved in that leak) and general high antecipation.

You can apply to be a Windows Home Server beta tester now.

A word of warning though: even with the push in the direction of 64 bit OS for the desktop, Windows Home Server CTP still does not support Windows Vista 64 bit clients. I tested this last week (I had an early access to the CTP build) and can conrfirm this feature is still not present.

I've heard from Bill Gates himself how important is the 64 bit push into the desktop... But Microsoft is still working around this.

The Windows Home Server is a great concept - and you can tweak lots. Power Users will notice that WHS can run almost everything you'd run on a SBS box. Be careful though and read the documentation. Some programs are known to break the new special file management system in place. This new system is really cool and allows almost transparent management of storage on your server. For lots of more information, check the Windows Home Server blog.




Microsoft Athens: Forums, Blogs, Tags

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Apr-2007 12:41

Microsoft has just announced an update to its project "Athens", the Microsoft Community Beta. "Athens" is a collection of tools for companies, communities and individuals to create their own space.

The tools include Forums, Blogs, and Tagspace. Currently these are not available to use outside Microsoft, except the Forums which accepts posts from anyone signed in with a Live ID. But the company has opened the doors for the IT community in general to have a look in the feature, suggest new services and more.

The main site for the project Athens is here. You can access each individual tool directly through the following links: Forums, Blogs, Tagspace.

According to the team, "The functional scope of the Athens beta applications and services is limited by design to the fundamentals, such as posting to a forum, commenting on a blog, or bookmarking a resource. Our purpose is to provide the foundations and essential framework for rapid iteration using customer feedback as our main development touchstone."

Also it is important to note the target for this release:


Our target audience for this release is Microsoft technology professionals — IT pros and devs, mainly — who are actively engaged in online communities and are willing to try out some new concepts and tools. We also intend this release as a way to further the internal discussion with our stakeholders and partners about how “Web 2.0” and social networking technologies should fit into Microsoft product development, marketing, and evangelism.


One interesting question is "Are you trying to compete with Community Server?"... The answer according to their FAQ is "Are you trying to compete with Community Server?


While there are clearly areas of overlap between our (fully envisioned) community platform services and Community Server, we don't really see ourselves in direct competition with that solution. Rather, we hope to provide the "plumbing" that Web sites and other applications—including community sites built on Community Server technology—can use to complement and extend their online community services and user experiences. In fact, as far as we're concerned, communitarians far and wide should use whatever platform suits them best; we aim to provide the glue that can connect them to one another, and help them discover whole new communities of shared interest, wherever they may be on the Web.


You will find feedback forums links fro the Microsoft Community Beta page. If you want more information, there's a Microsoft Community FAQ page up now.




Why Windows Vista on your PC with 4GB RAM can only see 3GB - or less...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Apr-2007 13:48

Many times I've seen people asking "I have 4GB RAM on my PC but Windows Vista can only see 3GB. What's going on?"...

I know. It even happened to me. I installed 4GB on my desktop and Windows Vista reported only 3GB total. I thought something was wrong with the memory, shuffled it around, ran memory tests, but nothing worked.

Then I read this: The 3GB not 4GB RAM problem. The author explains why and how. First we find out that there's a limit of memory a 32 bit system can address. But even so, the actuall memory is less than the addressable limit, because of reserved memory imposed by chipsets.

Even though Windows Vista 64 bit has a much higher limit (128GB RAM), it may still be limited, depending on the chipset!


If you are running 32-bit Windows, you must live with it. You will not ever see all 4GB of RAM you've paid for.

If you are running 64-bit Windows, you may have to live with it. Depending on your motherboard's chipset, your system may support memory remapping. If so, you will be able to use all 4GB of RAM.


Interesting read.



Microsoft Outlook 2007 update for performance (KB933493)

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Apr-2007 10:52

Last week Microsoft released a 8.4MB update fixing performance problems found in Microsoft Outlook 2007. I've already installed the update on my Windows Vista 64 bit laptop and used it for a few days before posting the link here.


This update fixes a problem in which a calendar item that is marked as private is opened if it is found by using the Search Desktop feature.

The update also fixes performance issues that occur when you work with items in a large .pst file or .ost file.


The Knowledge Base article 933493 has more details. Make sure you read it because there are some problems when running Outlook with the Business Contact Manager.

It seems the performance issues affect large .pst and .ost files only... I have a rather large .ost (Exchange account) file, but I don't use the integrated RSS feed feature, so I guess performance improvements would be more easily perceived for users with this feature turned on.

Worth updating though, it looks like my copy of Outlook is quicker to start now. But could be just my perception (a placebo effect?) since it wasn't that slow before anyway.




ReadyBoost and SD cards:

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Apr-2007 13:26

You might be aware of my previous posts about Windows Vista ReadyBoost working inconsistently on my Acer laptop. It seems to work fine with a USB memory key, but I tried two different brands of high speed SD cards with the internal SD card reader and both stop working after a while.

Just now I found this KB article about "Availability of the Windows Vista Secure Digital (SD) hotfix rollup package".


The following issues are fixed in this hotfix package. These issues have not been previously documented in a Microsoft Knowledge Base article.

• When you try to remove an SD card driver or when you try to disable it, a Windows Vista-based computer stops responding. When this problem occurs, you receive a Stop error message that resembles the following: Stop 0x000000C4 (0x00000062,parameter2,parameter3,parameter4)

• When you insert an SD card into a card reader on a Windows Vista-based computer, Windows Vista does not detect the SD card. This issue occurs if the following conditions are true: 

The SD card does not support 1.8 volts. Typically, most SD cards use 3.3 volts. 
The SD host controller uses 1.8 volts.
 
• When you insert an SD card into the card reader on a Toshiba M500 portable computer that is running Windows Vista, Windows Vista does not detect the SD card. This issue occurs because of a timing issue with the SD host controller.

• When you copy more than 4 gigabytes (GB) of files to a Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) card, some files are corrupted. You do not experience this issue if you copy less than 4 GB of files to the SDHC card. This problem occurs because the Windows Vista SD driver does not correctly process more than 4 GB of addressing.

• An SD card stops responding after a Windows Vista-based computer resumes from sleep (S3) or from hibernation (S4) two times. For example, you experience this issue after you follow these steps:

1. You put the computer to sleep or into hibernation.
2. You start the computer from sleep or from hibernation.
3. You copy files to the SD card or from the SD card.
4. You put the computer to sleep or into hibernation
5. You start the computer from sleep or from hibernation.
 
• You try to use the Safely Remove Hardware feature to remove an SD card from a Windows Vista-based computer while the card is being used. As expected, the card is not removed from the computer because the card is being used. However, when you try to access the SD card, you receive the following error message: SD media cannot be accessed. Media is not accessible, access denied

• On a Toshiba M500 portable computer that is running Windows Vista, you use Device Manager to disable the "Bluetooth RFBUS from Toshiba" driver. However, when you re-enable the driver, Device Manager stops responding.




I am installing the hotfix now and will test it through the week to see if it really solves the problem.






freitasm's profile

Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

I'm the Geekzone admin. On Geekzone we publish news, reviews and articles on technology topics. The site also has some busy forums. Also worth visiting is TravelTalk NZ, a community for travelers!

Subscribe now to my blog RSS feed or the Geekzone RSS feed.

If you want to contact me, please use this page or email me freitasm@geekzone.co.nz. Note this email is not for technical support. I don't give technical support. You can use our Geekzone Forums for community discussions on technical issues.

Here's is my full disclosure post.

A couple of blog posts you should read:

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