What was it I was supposed to write here?

Friday 18. December, 2009

I keep forgetting what I was supposed to write here. Anyone?

At least ReactOS 0.3.11 is out…

The Atheist’s Prayer

Sunday 1. November, 2009

From something that really looks like a t-shirt:

Our brains, which art in our heads, treasured be thy name. Thy reasoning come. Thy best you can do be done on earth as it is. Give us this day new insight to help us resolve conflicts and ease pain. And lead us not into supernatural explanations; deliver us from denial of logic. For thine is the kingdom of reason, and even though thy powers are limited and you’re not always glorious, you are the best evolutionary adaptation we have for helping this earth now and forever and ever.

So be it.

So nice…

Surprisingly Easy Fix for Wireless

Saturday 1. August, 2009

The wireless of my notebook “broke” some time ago and I just couldn’t get it working neither in Windows 7 (RC) or in Linux. The problem was caused by hardware kill switch, according to Linux’ system logs. The kill switch near the keyboard was working correctly for the Bluetooth-circuits taking the radio on and off as I pressed the button on and off, but the wireless (Intel® PRO/Wireless 3945ABG) stayed offline regardless of the button’s state. Trying to Google solution revealed that many others had had similar problems, but their problem/solution seemed to be that they had been attempting to use software version of killing the wireless (Fn + F5) instead of a real button on their laptops. I only had a real button, no such key combination.

I let the computer be for couple of weeks completely ignoring the problem (“You don’t exists”-clause) until I thought of the notebook’s recovery disks. Could they possibly be used to recover from this problem? After some hours of copying the hard drive (ddrescue to the rescue!) to my other computer I inserted the recovery disk #1 in the cd drive and rebooted. I was presented with a choice to open menu for various recovery options, to erase everything and do full recovery or exit the recovery software. I chose the full recovery erasing everything and waited and waited…

Finally the Windows XP logon screen came up and I could log in. On the system tray there was a program, program called “HP Wireless Assistant” telling me that Bluetooth device was on and WLAN off. I was saddened by the fact that if was still not working, but then I right-clicked the program icon and saw a menu containing an item “Enable all devices”. I thought that it would probably not work after seeing Linux and Windows 7 saying the kill switch was preventing everything but for my surprise it actually enabled both Bluetooth (that was already on) and WLAN. WHOHOO! My WLAN was back!

“iwl3945: Radio disabled by HW RF Kill switch” was gone!

Now I wonder what set the kill switch in the first place…

Long lost love

Sunday 26. April, 2009

Recently I have been checking the university’s “computer recycling area” in hopes of finding me a new ancient computer. I saw a couple of old machines in the student lab and after finishing my experiment I just couldn’t stop staring at them. They were so old and looked so nice. It was so nice, but then came a dude who took the machines from the floor and carried them away. I suppose they went to recycling, but they didn’t go the way newer computers go. Normally computers to be removed from service go to the IT department for some good blancking of the hard disks, the very same place decides if the machines go to other duties, to sale or to the “floor” where students and other people can grab them for free.

I though the two oldies would go to the same place and end up to the “floor” as the “MHz limit” for resale is about 1000 MHz, and any 386-machine is well below that limit with their blazing 16-33 MHz. Sadly though the machines never went to the department for judging, I even asked if they had seen those machines.

Afterwards I have been thinking more and more about my old Acer 1100SX, who, sadly, was sent to the landfill years ago. Now I want it back. I really want it back. I even checked local online action sites (by local I mean Finnish), but all the oldies there were too new for me. Ebay instead did have some 386 machines, but the prices… I really won’t pay $300 for a 20 years old computer (+shipping, of course). Crazy people… You can’t really do anything serious with it. It would just sit on the table (or floor) and look good. Maybe occasionally I would try to play or do something, get frustrated and shutdown the machine (that’s what I do with the other oldies I have).

I’m surprised that there’s no real information of the Acer 1100SX desktop computer on the net. Googling didn’t really reveal anything about the system. Except that it was Windows 3.0 compatible and that some companies claim to sell memory modules for it. There’s not even a picture. I don’t know if I would be more depressed if there were pictures of the system somewhere or, as it currently seems,  no pictures at all. Few pictures might make me want it back even harder.

Let’s at least put some specs up

Acer 1100SX

  • 386SX-processor, 16 MHz
  • 2 MB RAM
  • 3,5″ 1,44 MB floppy drive
  • 5,25″ 1,2 MB floppy drive
  • 40 MB Hard disk
  • Integrated VGA graphics card
  • 14″ VGA color monitor
  • 4(?) ISA slots
    • 1200 bps modem
    • Game port extension card
    • Diamond Sound Something sound card (I added it later)
    • Allied Telesyn AT-2000 Network card (this one too)
  • AT-power supply (surprise!)
  • manufactured 1989
  • I also got an Epson-matrix printer, I loved it

The machine was bought used in 1996-1997 I think. The monitor’s power switch broke 1999 and dad thought that we could replace the whole machine with a brand new model. I still used the machine more or less actively for a couple of years while my brother was playing with the new one. As time went by I used the machine less and less. Finally it just sit in the corner looking sadly at me until mom decided to throw it away.

It had MS-DOS 3.33 and Windows 3.0 installed including some Microsoft entertainment pack. It was all in English so I had to buy a Finnish-English-Finnish-dictionary to understand the system 🙂 Later my cousin gave me MS-DOS 6.22 and Windows for Workgroups 3.11. The Windows was in Finnish this time 🙂 Due to the DOS 3.33 limits the hard disk was originally partitioned in two partitions, 32 MB C: and 8 MB D:. The D:-drive contained all the games the machine had, and I still have kept the same partitioning: C: for system, D: for games 🙂

When the machine was about to be thrown away, I took several components from it to remember it by. Most notably the RAM-modules, power supply and the cool 5,25″ floppy drive, that I put on the Compaq P733 I told about in some earlier post. (The newest computer didn’t have BIOS support for it. I wonder why…)

I think the machine was originally equipped with only 1 MB RAM as the other four of eight 256 KB modules looked different than the other four. I also got 5,25″ floppies including MS-DOS 3.33 and Windows/386 for which I even have the user manuals. Sadly I didn’t have floppies for the Windows 3.0 nor the WordPerfect 5.2. There were also some Acer setup utilities that could lower the CPU speed to 8 MHz and other tool to park hard disk heads to the designated parking zones. I think there was also a text mode tutorial program on what exactly is a computer and what you can do with it.

Edit 12.07.2009:

Acer 1100SX Specifications

Acer 7013A Specifications (the monitor)

Edit 28.11.2010:

Some fucker was selling an Acer 1100SX motherboard on Ebay for $60. When did they become so expensive? Admittedly they are quite rare these days…

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Thursday 25. December, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2009 to everybody who has managed to reach this blog site. Especially for those who have commented the Intel 945GM article.

Funny thoughts, vol. 1: Soul Energy

Wednesday 29. October, 2008

Let’s suppose that souls are real and are some form of energy. This would mean that the number of souls would be constant due to law of conservation of energy. This in turn would suggest that if souls go to some place after we die and won’t come back, the Earth would eventually run out of souls. In fact, this progress has already started as we all know that some people don’t have souls (excluding the cases who deny the existence of souls, it’s against our premises) or their souls are black, which would suggest that souls, in general, are radiant or that they absorb the Light of the light that inspects them.

If we suppose that souls do radiate, we could, as the price of oil is rising, start to use used souls as an energy source for our society. Those souls who would end up in the hell would probably rather die in a fire (or be consumed, if it’s less ruthless) than go to that place anyway.

Just think of it. We could build soul energy plants, that could also function as a crematorium for all dead things that still have a sould attached to them. As we don’t know when exactly the soul leaves the body, we would have to build a hospital near or in the plant complex that as little as possible of the soul can escape. We don’t necessarily have to burn souls of the human beings as a recent photoset I saw somewhere in the net says that dogs and rocks go to heaven, that is to say, they have souls. Yet another problem rises: How are we going extract souls from rocks? With living things it’s quite easy to say when the soul is about to leave the host but with a lifeless rock… Maybe we need a grinder…

I can see the big billboards with slogans already… “SoulPower: We’ve got a soul”, “Heavenly Energy: Your grandma recommends” and “General Electricity Company: The last choice”. (by the way, I reserve the rights for those names, in case this comes reality someday 🙂 )

If the Hindus are correct about souls being recycled, this kind industry would eventually lead to a soulless planet. Unless we could find a cheap way to convert other forms of energy back to souls, which could be quite unlikely. Souls must have some mighty compex structure (structured energy?) as they also contain our ethics and morals (unless theologists are wrong), so creating souls would require us to reduce entropy by a magnitude I cannot estimate.

Doin’ some fixin’

Friday 17. October, 2008

It was a sunny day in the spring 2008. Me and my friend were at the university’s IT repair  “scrap-yard shelves” as one might call them. There was an old Compaq Armada 1130 on the shelf…

It didn’t have any hard disk in it, it had been taken away as well as all the screws that hold the case in one piece. Its battery was lost together with the back panel covering the memory expansion slots. Something came over me and I told my friend to take the computer with him as I thought he might have some tools to test the computer if it would boot. Well… he didn’t… and my little computer project stalled for too long time.

This week I went to the same place and saw some power supply that gave out 24 V and 1500 mA. I instantly thought of the once-glorious-laptop and guess what! The system booted with it!

Unfortunately the power connectors were not compatible, so some “haxing” was needed. I “gently” took off the original connector on the laptop’s motherboard and soldered power line from the supply directly on the motherboard.

The computer’s bios didn’t seem to like the fact that its cmos-battery was empty and hdd missing. It takes several minutes to get pass the initial detection. Kinda weird.

After some trying and inappropriate touches on the internals of that computer I successfully had FreeDOS and memtest+ running on it. No memory faults!

My friend wrote about my project in his blog and took even some pictures: The first set and the second set.

Next in line:

  1. Steal the HDD from his laptop
  2. Get one ATX power supply
  3. Connect the supply to iMac G3 logic board (that was in the iMac I bought the next day after the take-away laptop, details in some other blog entry in the distant future)
  4. Get one VGA/Dsub connector
  5. Solder the connector on the iMac G3 logic board
  6. See where the smoke comes out