Tuesday, July 24, 2007

KB936357 = funky

This is a Windows Update patch you have to watch out for and be careful.

It is microcode for the BIOS of certain affected systems.

Only systems with the following CPU's need this:

  • Mobile: Intel Core 2 Duo mobile processor.
  • Desktop: Intel Core 2 Duo desktop processor, Intel Core 2 Quad desktop processor, and Intel Core 2 Extreme processor.
  • Server: Intel Xeon processors 3000, 3200, 5100, and 5300 series.

The problem with this patch is that it is installing itself on systems not affected and causing problems.

If you have your Windows Update settings set to automatically download and install patches, you might want to change this to downloading, but asking before installing.

When a new update downloads and you are asked, do not select the typical or express install. Choose the advanced option and check for this patch in the list.

If you don't have one of the affected CPU's, unselect this patch and do not install it.

You will have to do this every time, so keep the patch number handy so you'll remember the name of it.

I know of at least 1 person that ended up with this patch that didn't need it.

For one guy with an older P4 CPU, it messed up his router causing him to have a problem with it disconnecting every few hours.

Another guy...I haven't heard from him since he rebooted after an update tonight(he has an AMD64 CPU). I suspect he ended up with this patch and it may have caused problems, but I can't be sure at this time.

So please be careful with this one. Don't install it if you don't need it.

But if you do have one of the CPU's affected, please install it...you do need it, even if you are not currently having problems. There is a flaw in the listed processors that creates an exploitable vulnerability and your BIOS needs this patch to correctly deal with it and protect you.

The alternative to installing this patch on affected systems is to install a BIOS update from your motherboard manufacturer. Not all manufacturers have released a BIOS update to address the issue, and some require your system to have a floppy drive to install it. It is just easier to use the update from Microsoft for affected systems.

Full patch info from Microsoft

Details on the vulnerability with select Intel processors

Friday, July 20, 2007

Lawyers Love Instant Boss!

American Bar Association Journal - July 2007 I am feeling a little stunned today.

I found out that an article in the July issue of the American Bar Association Journal, recommends one of my software applications, Instant Boss.

This is the magazine read by half of all lawyers in America. And this isn't in some small article buried somewhere in the back of the magazine that nobody is going to read. This is in their cover story...the main article.

It made #31 on their top 101 productivity tips & tricks list:

31 If you have trouble staying focused, you can make Instant Boss your digital task­master. You can set it to time your tasks and your breaks from those tasks, allowing it to nag you on a schedule of your choosing.

This was totally unexpected.

Now I will have to go out and find a copy, and buy it. :-D

The only criticism I really have with the article, is that the online version doesn't contain any links to the sites of most of the software mentioned. I am hoping there was a page at the end of the print edition article that contained the URL's.

Of course now I'll have to get busy working on the next version of Instant Boss, including in it all those great ideas that I have been collecting for the last year.

Read the full article.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I think I carry scars

Can one be emotionally and psychologically traumatized by being forced to use outdated hardware and software?

I started another blog recently, devoted to software for older 9x PC's.

Anyone that knows me well, or has known me for any length of time, knows about my old P1 and the story behind it. They also know how I feel about people that own older PC's. I feel compelled to stand up and defend them and fight for them in a world that seems to define the value of a human life based on the hardware & operating system one uses.

Through no choice of my own, I ended up stuck using my old computer again when my P3 suddenly died. I thought this was going to be a temporary thing lasting a week or 2 at most. I thought it was some minor problem that would take a few bucks and a few minutes to fix, once I could figure out what the problem was.

A few weeks turned into a few years when the problems with that PC turned out to be something major and I couldn't afford to fix it. I also couldn't afford to buy a new one. A large financial disaster hit my family around the same time, and we still haven't exactly recovered from it.

It was really hard for me to deal with the slowness of that computer. I would have given anything to have a new one. It wasn't like I was using it because I enjoyed using an old slow piece of crap...I just couldn't afford a new one.

All the things I once loved doing with a computer became frustrating, overnight. How do you do 3D art in Bryce when you can't even run Bryce? I couldn't even use most of the plugins for Paintshop Pro that I was used to.

Watch a video? You've got to be kidding!

Play a simple Flash game? Unfortunately, I could no longer play my favorite Flash games...or just about any modern game. It broke my addiction to Neopets almost overnight.

I was sitting on a pile of software that I had paid for and couldn't use and I was miserable. It was depressing.

I had to deal with 3-4 years worth of teasing from online friends, because I was running Windows ME instead of 2k or XP. I dealt with insults from developers when making bug reports...them blaming me for their bugs because I wasn't using a "modern OS".

Somehow, to others, being stuck with an old computer suddenly meant I had a lower IQ...that I wasn't worthy enough to run decent software...that I should spend all my time forwarding humorous emails to housewives and elderly women that could barely turn their PC's on, instead of helping people with their computer problems, like I had been doing up until the time my P3 died. It was as if overnight I went from someone that people respected and came to for help, to someone not worthy of sharing the same internet with them. All because I was using an old 9x PC.

It was during that time that I began to feel that there was something more to life than whatever I had been doing with mine. Something was calling me, telling me to find some purpose, to leave a mark, to make the world a little better.

I started a community where people teaching themselves programming could come together and help each other, sharing the knowledge and experience they had.

I started a directory of links to freely available programming related ebooks, for those that couldn't afford books to learn from.

I started programming, writing software that would run on my old computer.

And then I received a gift of a brand new computer.

Even though I use this nice spiffy P4 3.2ghz Prescott machine for almost everything now, part of me was still stuck on the old P1 and I was not entirely sure why.

I think the experience of being helplessly at the mercy of a world of technology that was rapidly passing me by, really changed me inside. I felt so alone and isolated when I was on that old computer. But I knew deep down that there had to be others like me, stuck on old machines, and that felt the way I did.

I think the whole thing traumatized me in some way, as if I am some sort of survivor. As if I made it out of hell, and left people behind...the others, like me, that were still stuck on their older computers. It's as if I am carrying around some guilt, feeling like I have abandoned them.

Can I move on and not look back? Can I forget it all and just happily enjoy finally having a modern PC?

No. For some reason I just can't. I am drawn to thoughts of others being frustrated with older machines and them not able to do anything about it.

I made a promise to them that any software I create, I will try to make sure it will run on my old computer, so that it will be sure to run on theirs, and I intend to keep that promise for as long as that computer continues to run.

But I feel like it isn't enough. Like I have to do more.

Maybe this is why I created that blog. Maybe it's an attempt to reach out to the others that I know exist and let them know they aren't alone...that someone knows what they are going through...that someone cares and wants to help.