Archive for November, 2007

Things that piss me off in Windows XP

November 27th, 2007

FlagOk, so over the years since XP’s release, there are a number of things that drive me nuts. I know that some of these things can be fixed using third party apps, but why should I have to install those? Should some of these things not be part of the core operating system? Anyways, here’s the list:

  • When copying or moving files from one location to another, if ANY file errors out, you get a nice error message on the screen, and your ENTIRE copy operation is now broken. Why doesn’t it say “There was an error, BUT, we’ll copy the rest of the files so you don’t have to do it all over again”?
  • I need more information on the progress of a copy operation. The time estimation is terrible. XP should show the number of files and the size of the transfer that remains.
  • Why isn’t there an option to have Device Manager search sub folders when updating drivers? Instead I have to navigate to the exact folder under the crazy directory structure that manufacturers create when packaging drivers.
  • Why do my tool tips for system tray icons some times show up behind the task bar, with no hope in hell of getting them to come back to the front?
  • Why do I have to go to a web site to do Windows Updates? I know I can use Automatic Updates, but it would be nice if there was a better featured update app that I could use right from Windows.

Now I know you’re thinking to yourself “But Keith… most of these features are in Vista. Why aren’t you using it?”. Now let me tell you this. In Vista, why can’t I run one single Virtual Machine that uses 512MB of my 2GB available memory, without Vista telling me that my memory is completely used up, and that I must close the only two apps I have open!

I tried with Vista. Just ask this guy and this guy. They both tried as well. It’s just not polished, it’s too slow, and I’d rather put up with the above complaints in XP, than have my computer run like it was built in 1997.

How much does it cost to fix an Xbox 360?

November 27th, 2007

PennyEight cents! Yes you read that correctly. Today I was watching TV via the Media Center Extender that’s built into the Xbox 360. After about five minutes, the video went all screwy, locked up, and was accompanied by quite the screeching sound. I promptly turned the 360 off, and when I turned it back on, I was presented with the same garbled video and lock up, before it even got to the dashboard! Fearing that my 360 was completely boned, I left it off for a while. When I tried it again later, same garbage. Now I was beginning to dread that my 360 was in the makings of the 3 Red Rings of Death, which indicate a general hardware failure (for most consoles, this is caused by the GPU and it’s RAM chips obtaining a tiny fracture in some of their solder points). I talked to this guy, and he confirmed my suspicions, as he himself has fixed two 360’s with the same problem. So, with all of this at hand, I decided to fix it myself using what’s called the “12 cent fix”. Even though the guide I used suggests using twelve pennies, I ended up using only eight as per recommendation by said fellow. The process involves wrapping the pennies in stacks of two with electrical tape, and then applying them to the bottom of the mainboard where the video RAM chips lie. Once those are in place and the 360 is back together, you need to overheat the sucker to allow the solder to heat up and sort of connect back up. Sounds crazy, but seems to be working so far! The fans are louder now, which I believe is due to a crappy contact between the CPU, GPU, and their respective heatsinks. If I run into any overheating issues, I’ll likely open the 360 back up, and put some fresh, high quality thermal compound on the heatsinks and see if that help. For now, I’ll just keep playing on the now loud, but working Xbox 360.