Just installed Windows 8 — and it tells me about the new iPhone

So I just got around to installing Windows 8 final, haven’t tried it since the first preview. And I login and look at what I see on the bottom row of tiles:

It makes me wonder why my new Windows 8 install is taunting me with a proper touch UI on a proper touch device. Maybe I should just give up on Windows 8, it puts in the Eastern timezone incorrectly yet shows weather for Mumbai? I think it is as lost as I am…..

Test Drive Unlimited 2: Title Update error


Test Drive Unlimited 2 has been horribly buggy since the launch, and it seems each update adds more bugs!  If you are unlucky enough to get an error saying you need a Title Update to use your game save, here’s how I fixed the error.

Delete and re-download all the addons: mandatory updates, Explorer Pack, Casino, cars/bikes, etc.  Do NOT delete your game save files!  This cleared up the error for me.

Now the strange part is that this has nothing to do with a “Title Update”.  What seems to be the issue is DRM.  The license on the first 2 downloads were before my last xbox died, and I transferred to the new xbox.  However there was no problem until I downloaded the new update — so it seems the mix is a real problem. Re-downloading makes it happy, but it is sad TDU2 is so buggy it doesn’t work with the xbox license transfer…

One other suggestion, while watching that progress bar for all the downloads, go ahead and order Forza Horizon — the real fix for this buggy mess…



Apple isn’t “green” — and I’m glad

So I was reading how Apple lost its “green” certification — and I started laughing. I truly enjoyed this — and not really because Apple products are largely about the brand/product image to some consumers. Basically a nerd like me sees it as a slap in Apple’s face for making an un-serviceable product. In this case, the “green” problem is you can’t recycle the products reliably because they can’t be disassembled and separated — but I don’t really care about that so much as it shortens the useful life of machines in many cases (which obviously would send them to the landfill even quicker).

If I’m buying a “premium” product like a new Macbook Pro or Macbook Air — why shouldn’t I be able to change the hard drive instead of tossing the whole machine should something go wrong? I’ve changed the hard drives on my last two Mac laptops — one due to failure and one because 80gig just got to where it wasn’t enough room for media — much less dual boot with bootcamp!

So since this is TheIdiots.net after all, I’d like to congratulate Apple on making an image over their competitors by doing things like being “green”, and then getting slapped around by it for making an un-servicable product. Nice one!

Turn 10’s VIP status — FAIL

Turn 10 has a “VIP” status you can buy into for Forza Motorsport 4. Like in Forza 3, if you buy the “limited collectors edition”, you get it. But then in case you didn’t get it, they throw it up in the market place later and it costs less than paying the premium for the collectors edition. I pre-ordered my copy so early, back before there was such a thing as “limited collectors edition”, so obviously I was not a VIP. So I thought why not pay 1200 points to get the extras, because it gets me a 400 point discount on this new Porsche pack that comes out today. So I buy 1600 points from Amazon and go download the VIP “status”. Guess what? The VIP discounted download link for the Porsche expansion is broken. So if you play the game enough to have paid for the VIP status or collectors edition and want the expansions, you can pay full price or wait till they get around to fixing it. So Turn 10 didn’t learn anything from screwing around VIP’s from Forza 3, and still screw around the people who actually buy all the additional content… (Yet they spend how much on advertising?)

Thermal paste — or mayonnaise???


I’m getting ready to swap the board/processor/ram in my home server and realized I only have Artic Silver from about 10 years ago.  So being the detailed friend, Rev Pizzaguy sent me a nice chart: Thermal Compound Roundup. And it looks using mayonnaise does better or as good as most of the compounds! And for the price of some of these, I could stop in Sams and buy a 5 gallon bucket of mayonnaise, er, heat sink compound. Now I know why the stuff tastes so nasty…..

MySQL Workbench….. Fail….


So I wanted to run a couple simple queries against MySQL data — and the editor doesn’t work???  Turns out it does — you just can’t see it… Notice in the screenshot I have no visible script, yet in the error pane you see that it did run what I typed…. Sometimes I like to think I am good at manipulating data, but I draw the line here: give me my editor back!!!!



Server Upgrade — What can go wrong?

I have an older server at work and the plan was to turn it into a storage box for backups.  I bought a Perc6i off fleabay and with the help of some new 1TB drives, I thought it should turn out nicely…

The aging box is a Supermicro 3U chassis with 8 hot-swap trays — and a Supermicro server board.  Sure it only has 4GB RAM and a Pentium D processor, but it’s all I need for some solid network I/O.  Well, I didn’t bother to check the board only has PCI-E x4 — and the Perc6i is PCI-E x8. Oops, strike 1.

After looking around, I stole an Asus board with a Core2Duo from a desktop machine I used for testing.  So I pulled the server board, dropped in the Asus desktop board — and the x16 slot doesn’t line up to the back of the case — there’s a cooling fan there…..  Strike 2.

So I took the bracket off the card and took the cooling fan out — and decided the card can sit there loose in the rack case.  Ok so time to cable this up.  But since it is a Supermicro case and a Supermicro board, it had a single ribbon cable for the front panel.  Amazingly the breakout cable showed up, but the bundle is so thick the front panel wouldn’t mount back.  After 30 minutes of saying “it can’t be this hard!” I ended up using a paperclip as a spacer to match the new cabling thickness.  Oh, and then the cable was too short to reach the connectors on the motherboard….Strike 3…

So who needs the front panel mounted anyway? It can just sit loose in the case and I’ll leave the 5.25″ bay covers out so a hand can reach it….  So after undoing the shimmed panel yet again, I hooked it up to the board and finished cabling the drives.  And guess what?  The Perc6i plus cable connectors is too tall for a 3U case… Strike 4…

So at this point, I put the server back the way it was and give up.  It can run some secondary tasks and remain unimportant.  I put the raid card in a newer machine and added the drives.  And what else can go wrong?  One DOA drive with cracked plastic by the jumpers and one drive that “works” but the plastic SATA data connector is broken off.  So with 2 out of 5 drives dead, I can’t build the array anyway.  Strike 5……

Sometimes upgrades don’t turn out so well, but I highly recommend avoiding the words that guarantee more problems: “What else can go wrong?”



I took the 3 remaining drives and setup a small RAID 5 just to make sure those 3 drives are ok.  Nope, 1 is bad.  3 out of 5 drives from Newegg are dead in less than 24 hours of unpacking them.  Strike 6…..


I got 2 more drives in and made a RAID 5 and the RAID manager is showing one of the other 2 original drives having 153 media failures already.  So 3 out of 5 bad, and one is flaky — leaving *one* good drive out of a batch of 5….



Apps are for smart-ass phones….

Noone can escape it.  Eventually you will have to listen to a friend rambling about the latest app they found for their smart-ass phone.  It puzzles me why another fart app would even get noticed these days  — and some things just don’t need high definition.

But it seems the world has forgotten an important app: the web browser.  You don’t have to install an app to listen to auto-tuned pop music on Pandora, order a new razor and tooth brush from Amazon, check the dirty laundry being aired on Facebook, or to look for junk on Ebay to refill the empty space from your last garage sale. It’s all available inside a web browser! And you can even bookmark anything you might want to view again later.

So why is it everyone is installing a new app for everything?  This would be unacceptable on a laptop.  Most people are too lazy to install anything on their computer — much less apply security updates.  Yet installing a few dozen apps is no problem for your average smart-ass phone user — even if the apps are useless or hold your interest for half the time it took to download and install it. And countless updates are OK?  I don’t get it…

And this mentality is why we don’t have better mobile sites.  As soon as someone picks up a smart-ass phone, they forget to search the web instead of the app store.  But please, can we go back to using web browsers instead of having separate applications for everything?  I don’t really like the deja vu feeling when it comes from from the days when 28.8 dialup was amazing…





Asus router firmware — RT-N53


I’ve been using an Asus rt-n16 for a while as my router, but since I’ve been using my laptop more I wanted to get a 5ghz router. Instead of replacing the N16, I thought I’d just set it up as an access point and then I can put it somewhere high and out of the way to get better wifi coverage.  Well, it doesn’t always keep settings, but a second try fixes wireless — but the IP address setting seems to not work at all. Now to get DD-WRT and redo it all for the 4th time!



Update:  flashing the router with newer Asus firmware doesn’t fix this either.  Interesting that Asus’ web site lists:

ASUS RT-N53 Firmware version
The first version of firmware for ASUS RT-N53

And my router came with — older than the first version?!?!?!  The hardware is nice, but the firmware is a bit annoying….

Having a 5Ghz access point has been nice, but it disappears from the network every couple months and it needs a power cycle. It’s a little annoying because it is up on a high shelf I can’t reach, using a POE kit from Amazon. Anyway, Asus has released new firmware — in fact 2 updates 2 weeks apart… So now that it seems they don’t need to fix the fix of the fix, I just updated it and am happy to report that it now lets you actually set your IP address in AP mode! Just be ready for the firmware update to erase all your configuration and you should be good to go.

I’ve had a couple questions about why I haven’t swapped this RT-N53 to DD-WRT. My actual router is an Asus RT-N16 which has more processor and ram and is running DD-WRT “Big”. The DD-WRT site only lists “Asus RT-N53 Firmware: Image for initial flashing”. That’s great, but where’s the actual firmware?? Oh well, since it is just an access point and needs no routing setup, it can stay stock as just a dual-band Access Point….