Will technology ever catch up?

Archive for January 8th, 2007

Media: Thoughts about buying TV on iTunes

Posted by cascadehush on January 8, 2007

I was watching a copy of a TV show which had been recorded of someone’s TV. Part way through, a banner add appeared at the bottom of the screen (yet another reason why traditional TV stations suck) telling me that the series was available in iTunes.

Here is what went through my mind in the next 60 seconds:

  1. That’s nice to know, if I want to seen any episodes I have missed, I can at least get them that way.
  2. Is the quality going to be any better than what I’m watching now? I doubt it. If it isn’t, then why would I pay for it. If I’m going to pay for a TV show I want it to be DVD quality.
  3. Isn’t it ironic that I never would have thought to go to iTunes for this TV show. I am watching a non-legal copy, yet by watching it I am now a potential customer for a legal copy of further episodes.
  4. I bet that when I go to iTunes the TV show won’t be available on the Australian iTunes. Nothing I have looked for on iTunes is available in Australia. There is stuff I want which is available to Americans but I can’t buy it here. So I probably won’t bother looking.

Posted in Media, Opinion | Leave a Comment »

XP: Finding and Installing Drivers, Part 1.1 – Via Motherboard Chipsets

Posted by cascadehush on January 8, 2007

N.B. This is a continuing series of articles about finding and installing drivers in the case that you either don’t have the original driver CD or choose not to use it. There is an introduction to this series as well as an section introduction about Motherboard Chipset.

VIA Technologies, Inc, without a doubt, have the best motherboard driver package. I can’t say whether they are the best chipsets, though most of my PCs have Via chipsets. I find them a nice balance between cost and performance.

4 in 1 Driver
The older motherboard driver package was and is called the ‘4 in 1 Driver’. It is recommended for systems more than about 3 or 4 years old. Personally I have had good results with this driver on quite old systems running Win98; so don’t feel compelled to track down motherboard specific drivers for some ancient hardware if you have already identified it has a Via chipset.

The 4 in 1 driver contains the following drivers

  • AGP VxD; necessary for proper operation of an AGP Graphics Card
  • ATAPI Driver for smoother running of your IDE device.
  • The ‘INF’ driver which sets up the power management
  • The PCI IRQ Miniport Driver, which is only necessary and only installs on Win98, to fix IRQ routing.
  • For NT only, the VIA IDE Bus Mastering driver. This is the only driver installed on NT.

The package runs on any version of Windows from 95 to XP (32 bit only) and is smart enough to know which are the appropriate drivers for your hardware and OS.

The current version is 4.43 and was released on 25 October 2001. Don’t let its age fool you. It is a stable, mature driver set. Download the Via 4-in-1 Driver

Hyperion Pro
Sounds impressive. Well, perhaps not. But this is the name for the current package of drivers. I guess the name 4 in 1 was getting a bit silly since there were 5 drivers included, of which you would get 1, 3 or 4 drivers depending on your OS.

The Hyperion package include similar but updated drivers to what is in the 4 in 1 package, with the important addition of the SATA drivers. As of this writing the latest version is 5.10a which was released on the 8 September 2006.

The Hyperion package is for Win98 through XP and Windows Server 2003. Both 32 bit and 64 bit versions, where appropriate, are included. As with the 4 in 1 package, the installer is smart enough to know what drivers are required.

You can download both the Hyperion and 4 in 1 drivers from VIA Arena.

A Note about RAID Utilities
Now here is a fact worth noting. Many SATA drivers give you the option of installing just the driver, or the driver plus the RAID utility. I recommend that you DONT install the utility, just the driver.

The RAID utility is not necessary, and is usually just another annoying taskbar icon.

If you have a Raid 1 or 5 array where a drive fails, you usually have to go into the BIOS or RAID BIOS to run a utility to re-build the array. (after replacing the faulty drive, of course). Whilst the array is being rebuilt you can’t use the PC, but it is the quickest way to re-build the array.

However, with the utility installed you can rebuild the array inside Windows, which means you can still use the PC whilst the utility re-builds the array. Your PC will probably be slow, and the array will likely take all day (maybe all night as well) but at least you have access to your email and play Freecell.

So if you really, really, must rebuild the array with Windows loaded, install the utility then, and not before. The uninstall it when you are done, or at least remove it from the line-up of programs that run whenever you start Windows.

Posted in Drivers, Hardware, PC, Troubleshooting, Win9x, Windows XP | 9 Comments »

Software: eBay Solutions Directory

Posted by cascadehush on January 8, 2007

eBay Solutions Directory – Tools & services that make buying and selling on eBay even easier:

The Solutions Directory features eBay and third-party software and services designed to improve your productivity on eBay.

The eBay website has always been ungainly, and is in desparate need of a web 2.0 make-over. In the meantime, here is eBay’s own list of software that will make your auctions easier.

Posted in Internet, Software | Leave a Comment »