Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm seeing things a bit more clear

I introduced DeadPixelBuddy some time ago for testing that flat screen monitor and looking for lighting defects as well as dead pixels. Onile monitor test seems to go a few step further allowing you not only to look for defect but to make adjustments to get the best quality picture.

I saw a few more benchmarking and testing sites when watching DL.TV

Here is what they say about the different programs offered at their site:

The monitor test can be run directly in 3 different modes:- Ordinary HTML window (maximize with F11)- Full screen HTML (opens in 1280x1024 but can be resized to fit any resolution)- Executable fullscreen program for any resolution (no installation required) To download a zipped version of the excutable use this link

The input lag test can be used to test for input lag if you have 2 monitors connected. You will need a camera to record the counter. The procedure is as follows:
- Set your two monitors in clone mode- Run either the program or open the html document- Start the timer- Take a picture with your camera with both monitors i focus- If the input response is different on the two monitors, the number on each screen will be different
Another interesting product is a test DVD you can bring with you to the store before you throw down that suit case full of cash in exchange for that high tech wonder you will spend more time with than your wife. Since you don't have time to date that 60inch LCD before you buy it you might want to spend some quality time before you take it home. Look at it like picking up a puppy from the pound.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

As smooth as ICE and even cooler

Glide OS 3.0 - The future of portable desktop computing

Free 10gig storage, file synchronization, file sharing, and a powerful virtual desktop in one web based application.

This is so good its almost scary. There is no install required. There is a small install required for advanced upload and synchronization features which is to be expected.

The idea here is your desktop goes with you on the go or at home. This will be an addition to my desktop where I can access my files from anywhere. Where I can backup my files from anywhere. 10gig is free. At $4.95 for each 20gig above that and a system to upload files in a way that makes sense and the ability to share with friends or family, this is a fantastic value.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Game crashing on atioglxx.dll

I have been seeing all kinds of posts with crazy solutions to ATI driver crash issues and blue screen problems impacting a particular ATI .dll file.

ati2dvag.dll infinite loop problem for example.

Of course look to see that you have the latest drivers. This doesn't always work however and removing and re-installing is worth trying but likely won't work either. The method I suggest is to replace the offending file with either the latest version of that file or a older version. The re-install doesn't hit that file because it is locked by Windows and is being used. If you boot in safe mode you usually can't get the setup for the driver to work. So boot up in safe mode and follow my procedure.

This is a OPENGL problem and the new opengl doesn't seem to work in many games on Vista.

The fix is easy:

Goto C:\ATI
then to the 8_7 files
search for CMD

cd C:\ATI\SUPPORT\8-7_vista32_dd_ccc_wdm_enu_65998\Packages\Drivers\Display\LH_INF\B_66369

(this just happens to be the location of this file for this example
on a XP machine I found the file ati2dvag.dl_

expand atioglxx.dl_ atioglxx.dll

and copy the new atioglxx.dll to c:\windows\system32

replace your newer file

Friday, September 5, 2008

You don't have to be the brain to manage partitions for free.

EASEUS Partition Manager Home Edition FREE

As Partition Magic alternative, EASEUS Partition Manager Home Edition is a FREE comprehensive hard disk partition management tool to let you enjoy for free with all the powerful functions: Resize and Move partitions, Create, Delete and Format partitions, Hide and Unhide partitions and much more. What's more, EASEUS Partition Manager works perfectly with hardware RAID. Your data is completely protected during all operations. Why not free download EASEUS Partition Manager now to enjoy it like the commercial program Partition Magic?

Monday, September 1, 2008

More choices for free Anti-virus

Avast is a great choice for a free anti virus solution for home non-comercial use only. It also comes with anti-spyware & anti-rootkit protection as well.

I'm still a big fan of FreeAV because it works so well and doesn't take up too many resources. FreeAV doesn't include the anti-rootkit and anti-spyware features. I handle these myself with products that focus only on revealing rootkits and anti-spyware.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

All is Quiet, or is it?

The bad guys want to use your PC for there illegal activity so they won't get caught. Have you ever had that feeling that your being watched? How about being used? This much I can tell you, everyone is being watched and more people than you can imagine are being used. I hear the numbers are as high as 40% of all windows based PC may be hijacked.

Wireshark is a network sniffer that will capture everything off your local LAN. I wouldn't use this at work or anywhere you invade the privacy of others. You need to get your ip address of your machine and monitor activity or capture activity when the machine is idle and not in use.

If nothing is happening you can generate some activity such as web browsing to get a feel for what you should expect to see. If you leave it running during times when you are suspect you can confirm your suspicions one way or another.


You can install a firewall to help give you an idea of what is leaving you PC but these guys are good at turning these tools off without your knowledge.

So you have to fight these guys from the trenches.

This is what they say about the program:

Wireshark is the world's foremost network protocol analyzer, and is the de facto (and often de jure) standard across many industries and educational institutions.

Wireshark development thrives thanks to the contributions of networking experts across the globe. It is the continuation of a project that started in 1998.

Wireshark has a rich feature set which includes the following:
Deep inspection of hundreds of protocols, with more being added all the time
Live capture and offline analysis
--Standard three-pane packet browser
--Multi-platform: Runs on Windows, Linux, OS X, Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and many others
--Captured network data can be browsed via a GUI, or via the TTY-mode TShark utility
--The most powerful display filters in the industry
--Rich VoIP analysis
--Read/write many different capture file formats: tcpdump (libpcap), Catapult DCT2000, Cisco Secure IDS iplog, Microsoft Network Monitor, Network General Sniffer® (compressed and uncompressed), Sniffer® Pro, and NetXray®, Network Instruments Observer, Novell LANalyzer, RADCOM WAN/LAN Analyzer, Shomiti/Finisar Surveyor, Tektronix K12xx, Visual Networks Visual UpTime, WildPackets EtherPeek/TokenPeek/AiroPeek, and many others

--Capture files compressed with gzip can be decompressed on the fly
--Live data can be read from Ethernet, IEEE 802.11, PPP/HDLC, ATM, Bluetooth, USB, ---Token Ring, Frame Relay, FDDI, and others (depending on your platfrom)
--Decryption support for many protocols, including IPsec, ISAKMP, Kerberos, SNMPv3, SSL/TLS, WEP, and WPA/WPA2
--Coloring rules can be applied to the packet list for quick, intuitive analysis
--Output can be exported to XML, PostScript®, CSV, or plain text

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Turn your PC into a super computer to save humanity

As a PC enthusiast I have way too many PCs. Even if you just have one PC would it be nice to put some of that Uber hardware to good use and to benefit humanity?

I was reading an article about a university group called Vision Lab of the University of Antwerp who created a computer designed to do tomography calculations which out performed the CalcUA on campus costing 3.5 million dollars. The CalcUA is the most powerful super computer in Belgium. (Tomography is the analysis of 3D medical images)

To read more about this click here: http://www.dvhardware.net/article27538.html

What is amazing about this machine is that it can be constructed for about $3800 from parts found on NewEgg.com.

  • AMD Phenom 9850 processor + Scythe Infinity CPU cooler
  • 4x MSI 9800GX2 graphics card
  • 4x 2GB Corsair Twinx DDR2 PC6400 memory
  • MSI K9A2 Platinum motherboard
  • Samsung Spinpoint F1 750GB HDD
  • ThermalTake Toughpower 1500W Modular PSU
  • Lian-Li PC-P80 Armorsuit case
  • Windows XP 64-bit
  • This got me thinking about some of the distributed computing projects out there.

    Remember the Seti project? The search or extra-terrestrial life in the universe. This project uses a distributed computing method to use your home PC to help analyze white noise data from space in an attempt to find defined patterns that could indicate the existence of life on planets other than earth. I consider this a complete waste of time considering many factors but if your geeky enough you might enjoy participating.

    Then I though about protein folding. Which has real world benefits and could result in the cure for deceases as well as help us create many advancements is drugs such as antibiotics. This can also have commercial benefits as well.

    Check out the web site: http://folding.stanford.edu/

    Here is a video explanation:

    As it turns out they have a version of the folding simulation software that supports advanced GPUs such as the Nvidia 8600 and up as well as the ATI 3750 series on up. My 6 Ghz machine folds at 60 iterations per second. Using the GPUs to run the calculation brings this to super computing speeds of 1300 iterations per second. This can be further tweaked to run on multiple GPU cores depending on how your hardware is configured.

    Link for the latest graphical client I am using:

    The nvidia 8600 cards show they are not supported until you load the CUDA display driver. This is much newer display driver from Nvidia than the one currently available for download.

    This worked on both my 8800Gt and my 8600GTX cards.
    One note about the display page for nvidia; it will not show your user name and shows you a test protein is selected. You can ignore that. Its best to run the application minimized anyways.


    For multi cpu support you copy your folding@home folder creating multiple folders. The shortcut in your start menu points to a folder in you application data folder. You can change this to point to the other folder created in the Program Files directory. Then you change the shortcut to include the "-gpu N" flag (N starts at 0)

    Your extra parameters in the advanced page of the systray clients, or the advances settings of the console clients. Again N starts with 0 not 1, so your primary display is 0, the next is 1, etc. Each client if you are running more then one needs a different -gpu and a different machineD, and a different working directory, so follow the instructions for multiple clients.

    Here are 2 tools that can give you more insight on what is going on with your progress.

    http://www.blogger.com/http://fahspy.com/index_eng.shtml// - you point to your folding at home folder. You can monitor multiple folders for multiple GPUs with this tool.


    My stats are here: http://fah-web.stanford.edu/cgi-bin/main.py?qtype=userpage&username=vbiggar

    MIT open courseware on the subject of Protein Folding

    I'm on the DL.TV team 57391, feel free to join.

    Monday, June 30, 2008

    Don't get caught with your pants down!!!

    I did an article on routers from old PC junk.

    This is no Clark Kent but some might say is sexier than Lana Lang. Lets face it if your on my sight your too much a Geek and too poor to ever have a shot at her anyways so we might as well get excited about something we can have at my favorite price, FREE.

    The monowall concept has evolved into a commercial product that is available free for home use. This is slightly different than the monowall approach in that is sits in front of your NAT home router. It is runs right out of a Red Hat linux distribution which brings you more features with a more power set of networking tools. How do you like the sound of virus scanning before the virus even reaches your machine.

    Lets say your kids are on the internet and have infected a computer from the latest game hacker site. Now your internet traffic slows down and you internet connections and bandwidth are being used to commit crimes without your knowledge.

    Maybe your just paranoid and would like to know why your connection just slowed down or why your application just locked up. The first step is to ensure your system is clean from virus and rootkit activity. And if they are smarter than you and the experts you need to know whats coming and going on the network. Maybe you just want to pinch off that Bit Torrent traffic that they say is uploading at 6kbps but you can now see is really moving at 300kbps.

    Provides core server applications
    - mail, web, VPN, backup, file and print services...
    Protects network and data
    - antivirus, antispam, firewall, intrusion prevention...
    Enforces Internet usage policies
    - content filter, peer-to-peer filter, bandwidth manager...
    Simplifies management and monitoring
    - system monitoring, software updates, mail backup.

    Clarkconnect provides several very useful networking tools. Along with several daemons, you have the ability to limit bandwidth, filter traffic, etc. Listed below are some popular network services:
    • Samba
    • Apache
    • SSH
    • Squid
    • mySQL
    • ProFTP
    • Squirrel Mail
    • Snort
    Keep is simple to save power and money.
    • AMD Athlon 750 MHz
    • 512 MB PC133 SDRAM
    • 20 GB IDE Hard Drive
    • 10/100 On-board NIC
    • Intel Pro 100+ NIC <- Very compatible - since this faces the DSL 100mbs is many times more bandwidth than you DSL provider will allow up and down stream.
    Download a ISO and install it to a fresh hard drive on that old junk PC.

    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    Google, I love you.

    Google does for phone what it did for your email. They remove the shackles and set you free.


    I tell everyone who is nailed down to a single provider for email to get onto a online service. Yahoo and Hotmail have become unmanagable with spam. Besides that, Yahoo delays the receipt of email. When you are waiting for a email for a password code or a response you have to keep clicking the check mail button to refresh you page which forces you to refresh the ads as well. My email is delayed from 1 to 20 minutes. The same query in GMAIL I will receive the message instantly. This kind of manipulation has caused me to stop using Yahoo for anything important.

    Have you ever been at the checkout of a store and forgot your discount card? They say punch in your phone number. Most of these cards have phone numbers from years ago. Imagine if you could have one number for every phone for now and in the future. Imagine if you could actually take control of and filter your calls.


    Google has acquired GrandCentral Communications, a company that provides services for managing your voice communications. GrandCentral is a service that lets users integrate all of their existing phone numbers and voice mailboxes into one account, which can be accessed from the web. This is similiar to services provided by may VOIP companies like Vonage.

    GrandCentral offers many features that complement the phone services you already use. If you have multiple phone numbers (e.g., home, work, cell), you get one phone number that you can set to ring all, some, or none of your phones, based on who's calling.

    This way, your phone number is tied to you, and not your location or job. The service also gives you one central voice mailbox. You can listen to your voicemails online or from any phone, forward them to anybody, add the caller to your address book, block a caller as spam, and a lot more.

    You can even listen in on voicemail messages from your phone while they are being recorded, or switch a call from your cell phone to your desk phone and back again. All in all, you'll have a lot more control over your phones.

    Screen Callers
    Know who's calling and screen unknown callers
    ListenInTM Hear why someone is calling before taking the call
    Call Record Record calls on the fly and access recordings online
    Block Callers Unwanted callers won't be able to reach you anymore
    Notifications Receive voicemail notifications via email or SMS

    Ring Different Phones
    One number that rings different phones based on who's calling
    Greetings Personalize your voicemail greetings by caller or group
    RingShareTM Go beyond the ring and choose ringback tones for your callers

    WebCall Button
    Let people call you from a web page without showing your number
    CallSwitch Switch phones in the middle of a call
    Click2Call Call from your addressbook and save your typing
    Mobile Access Visual voicemail for your mobile phone

    Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    Too good to be true, Too good to miss.

    Online storage has just expanded 10 fold. 50GB for free.

    This uses a Java applet to upload files and to do file management. Since this space is so large it looks like I'm going to make it my primary online storage. I recommend creating a true crypt directory and only storing encrypted files.

    The upload speed is respectable. I would like to see a FTP solution with this kind of storage space. Im going to load some family movies and go from there.

    Thursday, May 15, 2008

    Increase the clarity of text in XP

    Do your fonts look blocky or washed out? Are they too small to read? Here are some suggestions.


    The article show step by step how to modify the clear type properties that will help improve the clarity of most fonts.

    If that doesn't do what you need try this application:
    Download Font Changer.exe

    It is a simple executable app that requires no install. My only problem with both of these applications is that they don't display the fonts before you make your selection.

    The developer has a application that will show all the fonts installed on your machine.
    Download Font Query

    Tuesday, May 13, 2008

    Clonezilla, should I be afraid?

    What is Clonezilla ?

    When you get windows installed and you have all of your drivers updated and any software you always install then you need to make a clone image.

    This program lets you do this from CD, DVD, or direct to another drive.

    The best way to go about doing this is to make a backup and restore it as a test run before you reach that point of no return.

    This is similar to the commercial package Norton Ghost®, and its Open Source counterpart, Partition Image.

    How did he get in here?

    Windows Password Reset Utility


    • This is a utility to (re)set the password of any user that has a valid (local) account on your NT system.
    • You do not need to know the old password to set a new one.
    • It works offline, that is, you have to shutdown your computer and boot off a floppydisk or CD.
    • Will detect and offer to unlock locked or disabled out user accounts!
    • It is also an almost fully functional registry editor!

    Tuesday, May 6, 2008

    How can I beat it into you thick head?

    We try to categorize knowledge such as Math, Chemistry, History, Psychology. So what is Science?

    The word science comes from the Latin "scientia," meaning knowledge.

    How do we define science?
    According to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, the definition of science is "knowledge attained through study or practice," or "knowledge covering general truths of the operation of general laws, esp. as obtained and tested through scientific method [and] concerned with the physical world."
    What does that really mean? Science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge. This system uses observation and experimentation to describe and explain natural phenomena. The term science also refers to the organized body of knowledge people have gained using that system. Less formally, the word science often describes any systematic field of study or the knowledge gained from it.

    What is the purpose of science? Perhaps the most general description is that the purpose of science is to produce useful models of reality.

    So what is the point I'm trying to make here?
    The http://www.physicsforums.com/ website has more than just physics. Understanding and learning concepts in physics gives us practical applications to use much of the math and chemstry we learned. It isn't just rote learning of concepts we already know but a place to apply what we know as we learn more and expand our knowledge.

    This site has great resources for Math, Science, Engineering, and Technology.

    Tuesday, April 29, 2008

    Home Grown TV

    More and more people are overcoming the controls placed on them by big media companies. They are producing unique focused content that likely won't make them famous but certainly can cause a following. They are opening more doors than just sitting at home playing an odds game. This is reality TV. Made by real people not mass media companies. Your looking at the next generation of media pioneers. If you enjoy their work donate anything to help them grow. Their success will pave the road for many more future success stories.

    http://theguild.blip.tv/posts?view=archive&nsfw=dc - better quality than Youtube

    The Guild on The Web

    Facebook Fan Page

    Core Facts about The Guild

    • Over 6 million hits web-wide
    • Completely funded by Fan Paypal donations since episode 3
    • Almost 1/2 of our donors are women
    • The 10th episode will be the Season 1 Finale

    Sunday, April 27, 2008

    Anything can be your worst nightmare.


    Really cool technology, science, biology based fiction.
    These are free audio novels that can be purchased in book form.


    Thursday, April 24, 2008

    Your Teacher Wants What?

    Your kid is assigned to make a movie for a class project. A DVD movie?
    Not just a video clip you can email but a DVD you can play in front of the whole class.

    You may be tasked with teaching training class at work but don't like speaking in front of lots of people.

    We all likely have old copies of home movies that we might want to convert to DVD. There are many products that get the movie to the PC but gtting it on that DVD seems to be the source of quite a bit of technical blackmail. Sure Nero came with your DVD burner but what do you need that burner the most for? You guessed it, video. Of course my son comes to me with a project where he has movie files captured in MP4 format. He wants to author a movie with sound tracks and special effects.

    Step 1: Get that movie into a MPEG2 or WMV format.
    AVI works in many cases but the extension says AVI but it comes in many flavors most of which will leave you wondering what the hell happened. Use a program called Any Video Converter. You can use the free version from the download page. I'm not sure how they can even sell a version since the code behind the converter is the open source MPLAYER.


    Step 2: Author that video.
    I have a progam called ULEAD Video Studio. All it is is Windows Media Encoder with a interface almost identical to Windows Movie Maker. So naturally I use windows movie maker. My post to getting HD quality out of MovieMaker is below. It comes with plenty of cheesy effects as well.

    Turn Windows Movie Maker into the best HD video production software for free.

    Create your movie.

    Step 3. This is where technical blackmail comes in.
    You get just about to the end of this project and the Nero software says they can't support your audio format without paying $30. Many of these free DVD players do the same with limited audio functionality.

    This is when I found: DVD Flick

    It can take a number of video files stored on your computer and turn them into a DVD that will play back on your DVD player, Media Center or Home Cinema Set. You can add additional custom audio tracks as well as subtitles of your choice.


    • Burn near any video file to DVD
    • Support for over 45 file formats
    • Support for over 60 video codecs
    • Support for over 40 audio codecs
    • Add your own subtitles
    • Easy to use interface
    • Burn your project to disc after encoding
    • Completely free without any adware, spyware or limitations
    Basically this gets the movie from the PC onto that DVD. They are working on menus in the Beta which I don't recommend at this time. This tool takes that video and imports it, encodes it, and burns it. Its a bit slow but beggers can't be choosers. In this case Biggars.

    Wednesday, April 23, 2008

    Push it to the limits, Stress me out.

    Whenever I buy new components such as memory or build a new rig I stress test it. This lets me know early on if I have parts that are marginal or might be prone to failure under stressful hard core gaming or video decoding.

    For overclockers, Prime95 has a feature called "Torture Test" that allows maximum stress testing on the CPU and RAM. There are several options allowing the stress test to focus on the memory, processor, or a balance of both.

    Usually Prime95 will detect an error within a matter of minutes if an overclock is not stable, however many people like to let the system "burn-in" overnight to ensure long-term stability.

    Author: Mersenne Prime Search
    Version: 24.14
    OS: Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP
    File Size: 1.1 MB
    MD5: 469d8bd50780d948929a03e2dcee42ab

    Saturday, April 19, 2008

    Is your computer part of an organized crime ring?

    Trend Micro™ RUBotted (Beta)

    Malicious software called Bots can secretly take control of computers and make them participate in networks called “Botnets.” These networks can harness massive computing power and Internet bandwidth to relay spam, attack web servers, infect more computers, and perform other illicit activities.

    Security experts believe that millions of computers have already joined Botnets without the knowledge of their owners. By using remotely-controlled computers, the criminals in charge of the Botnets try to remain anonymous and elude authorities seeking to prosecute them.
    RUBotted monitors your computer for suspicious activities and regularly checks with an online service to identify behavior associated with Bots. Upon discovering a potential infection, RUBotted prompts you to scan and clean your computer.

    Friday, April 11, 2008

    How perfect is that picture?


    This is something you can do with Microsoft paint or another image editor but why make things more complicated than they need to be. I test my monitors for dead pixels. What if you buy a monitor from craigslist. Bring a laptop and run this app and you can be sure what you are buying is good. If there is a dead pixel or two you have just bought yourself some room to negotiate.

    This is a dead pixel test program. It allows you to easily test your LCD screen for dead pixels.

    Before trying to grasp the meaning of a dead pixel, first you need to understand the technology behind LCD displays. An LCD display is essentially made up of pixels. Each pixel is made up of red, blue and green valves. The valves in each colour either block or pass the light source. By manipulating the amount of light passed through, each pixel displays a distinctive colour on screen. Pixels consisting of these valves are what make up the image that is ultimately displayed on the screen.

    A typical monitor has millions of pixels. A dead pixel refers to a pixel with a defect in its ability to display the correct colour output. It may look like a tiny black spot on your screen, or any other colour that does not correspond to what the actual image should look like. A typical 17 inch monitor contains up to 4 million pixels. Even a tiny dust particle on one of the pixels during the manufacturing process can create a dead pixel. Or a slight bump during shipping can break one of the highly sensitive pixels. If you've scoured every inch of your screen but can't find a single dead pixel, you are in luck.

    Because of the complexity of the design, it is generally regarded dead pixels appearing in some products are inevitable. If you need to absolutely make sure whether you have purchased a defective display, you can use this program. It simply paints your entire screen with one of the colours that make up a pixel to make the dead pixel more conspicuous to the naked eye. Run through the red, green and blue colours in turn and check for pixels that do not match.

    Tuesday, April 1, 2008

    Red Alert, Let your browser warn you of danger


    Trendmicro is a great company providing us with yet another free tool. If you Google a site they can warn you of malware before you click. You can't always run everything through Google. This is a extension that attaches to your browser and warns you of danger as you surf.

    TrendProtect adds a new button to your browser's toolbar area. The icon and color of the button changes to indicate whether the current page you are viewing is safe, dangerous, trusted, or suspicious, or whether it contains unwanted content.

    TrendProtect also uses the same icon and color combination to rate the Web pages listed in your Google, MSN, and Yahoo search results. In the search results, moving your mouse over an advisory icon displays a page advisory, which has additional information about the rated Web page.

    Click the TrendProtect button and select Options to customize the view, trusted pages, content categories, and connection settings. Select Check Your Computer's Security from the menu or click Scan computer for viruses in the page advisory to access free scanning and cleanup services from HouseCall.

    From the sound of it, it must be an EBook

    For info on ebooks and readers check out http://www.mobileread.com/
    FREE BOOKS form mobilereader
    Other resources for free ebooks in many formats:

    Nice post with many options:

    Monday, March 31, 2008

    VMWare from Microsoft

    I'm a fan if VMware but VMware can be a bear to build and configure. If your not a super geek but have a need for a virtual machine then this might be an option.

    Virtual PC 2007 is now available

    Whether Microsoft virtualization technology is an important component of your existing infrastructure or you're just a Virtual PC enthusiast, you can now download Virtual PC 2007 absolutely free.

    Stress can be a good thing.

    When things go wrong how do you know and can you prove it.

    I wanted to publish a list of benchmark software sites. The idea here is not to show that you have the most UBER machine ever created, you aren't even close if you read this blog. Actually I practice what I preach and my machines stay in the top 2% in the world.

    If you think you have a failing video card or memory or even a CPU you can run benchmarks and stress tests to find the problem. I recommend multiple tests because some issues don't show up in certain tests. BFG video cards have caused me major issues in the past and customer support was so bad I would rather go to the dentist. At least at the dentist you feel like your accomplishing something.


    extremeoverclocking.com has compiled a list of benchmarking utilities to stress test you machine. I like aquamark, and 3D mark for the graphics. Even the newer cards can show signs of weakness under these tests.

    I found a new link at:

    for memory testing see my post:
    Microsoft Online Crash Analysis - FREE
    System Information and Performance Testing

    Saturday, March 29, 2008

    Make sure the patient is dead before the autopsy.

    Force an XP Crash to get a Memory Dump

    I'm going to do a little security experiment. I will post my results once completed but for starters I need to see what is loaded in memory. I'm going to manually generate a memory dump. Since I'm not a security expert ot hacker I don't have the tools that can do a system memory scan. If anyone has a free solution please let me know.

    Microsoft KB article for activating a feature called 'Crash on Control Scroll'. This feature allows a user to manually crash the system, thus triggering the BSoD and memory dump.

    To enable that feature on a USB keyboard:

    Start the registry editor (regedit.exe)

    Locate the following key if you have a USB keyboard: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\kbdhid\Parameters
    Locate the following key if you have a PS2 keyboard: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\i8042prt\Parameters
    In the Edit menu, click Add Value and add the following registry entry: Name: CrashOnCtrlScrollData Type: REG_DWORDValue: 1
    Exit the registry editor, then reboot.

    Reboot, so you can now trigger a crash by pressing the SCROLL keyboard key twice while pressing the right CTRL key.

    What? Can You Repeat That?

    Im a podcast Junky but I can't hear very well. I had a several explosions go off very close to me while in the Marines and lost about 50% of my hearing in one ear. This doesn't help that fact that men tend to loose hearing as they get older. This is a natural defensive mechanism.

    Anyways I ran across a program that can help.

    Tired of reaching for your volume knob every time your mp3 player changes to a new song?MP3Gain analyzes and adjusts mp3 files so that they have the same volume.
    MP3Gain does not just do peak normalization, as many normalizers do. Instead, it does some statistical analysis to determine how loud the file actually sounds to the human ear.Also, the changes MP3Gain makes are completely lossless. There is no quality lost in the change because the program adjusts the mp3 file directly, without decoding and re-encoding.
    Think about ways to get better audio levels out of movie audio tracks. I will experiment with this and post more later.

    Wednesday, March 26, 2008

    Sometimes its hard to see clearly

    WinMerge Might Just help. This is no easy task to develop a program to do this kind of data comparision.

    Visual differencing and merging of text files
    Flexible editor with syntax highlighting, line numbers and word-wrap
    Handles DOS, UNIX and MAC text file formats
    Unicode support
    Difference pane shows current difference in two vertical panes
    Location pane shows map of files compared
    Highlights differences inside lines in file compare
    Regular Expression based file filters in directory compare allow excluding and including items
    Moved lines detection in file compare
    Creates patch files
    Shell Integration (supports 64-bit Windows versions)
    Rudimentary Visual SourceSafe and Rational ClearCase integration
    Archive file support using 7-Zip
    Plugin support
    Localizable interface via resource DLL
    Online manual and installed HTML Help manual


    I guess my brain doesn't work so well.

    I know what your thinking, no I don't. Now Im lost and confused.

    Patience is a virtue but Im not virtuous. This is a tool to help you organize you thoughts. With most tools like this you have to be dedicated to using it all the time. I would hate to see what happens to you when they pull the plug.

    I had a very hard time getting this to work with the massive amounts of data I deal with daily. It may just be a learning curve. Look at my leading comment. With me there is no learning curve because I don't have time for it. It look like it could be useful to many people. It could be useful to planners and organizers, possibly management with many employees. If I'm not that excited about this they you might ask why did I post this?

    It is likely the wave of the future and it could be useful and it is free.

    Free organization software:

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008

    Ever wished you can be two places at once?

    Maybe you can't be two places at once but your files can.
    From my testing this application allows you to work from multiple locations on the same folder. The changes you make no matter where you are are updated everywhere. You can create shared or personal libraries. The website uses encryption and your file transfers are encrypted.
    To get started click the INSTALL link at the top right of the website. This will allow you to create your account and form relationships between computers. Once this is done you select the folder you want to share and synchronize.
    I created a TEST folder on 2 machines and put 2 files in each with the same name but different data. I allowed automatic synchronization and instead of randomly writing over my file the system on each end added a second extension for the duplicate file names and then synced up. So now the files from both machines are now on both machines without and random file overwrite.
    I use the same terminal application on 2 machines. I have built in command folders and files to track notes. If I'm working from one machine and want to add notes it updates on both.
    A word of caution! Before you synchronize 2 folders it would be best to start with a empty folder and a folder with files and let the application copy them over.

    Wednesday, March 19, 2008

    Monster Prices on HDMI Cables


    Its time to slay this dragon. Digital signals usually don't degrade on cables until you get over 225 ft in length. I typically see 6ft HDMI cables from $60 to $150 dollars. Monster cables only makes for a monster bank account for the company and to be honest makes a fool out of you.

    6ft HDMI cables for $5.24 - at monoprice.com

    There is another company offering ok prices with lots of conversion options: