SiKing

January 7, 2007

Installing etanol – day 3

Filed under: etanol,windows — SiKing @ 3:07 pm
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“Day 3” is just a symbolic label now used strictly for consistency as I have been working on this for like two months. [self-censored] This is actually my first blog post from etanol.

As I mentioned the last time, I changed the disk configuration to RAID 0 which now reports 447.2GB of total storage. So far no problems losing the redundancy of RAID 5.

During installation Windows XPx64 requires an extra registration step – product activation – on top of the standard license key that you have to punch into it. I needed to wait for Internet access for this. Same for my edition of Word 2002 CZ. Both of these went without a problem through the Internet – must be something wrong? WOW!

The webcam also went without giving me any trouble. The drivers are available directly from Creative – beta release only. Yahoo! Messenger picks it up without a problem.

Other things, however, took a little more effort.

Multimedia Video Controller

At first, I mistakingly thought that this is the Sapphire video card, but in fact this was the TV card. Totally by coincidence I ran across an article on the Internet which talks about some HW support issues under WinXPx64. It actually scared the crap out of me, especially when I got to the part about video card support.

In the end, the TV card was actually easy: search the Hauppage website, followed by the Internet, as last resort contact the manufacturer directly:

Date: Tue, 7 Nov 2006
Hi,
There are no 64 bit drivers for the PVR 350 at the present time. I'm
afraid we haven't been given a timescale for release for them either.
Best Regards

It now sits, disabled, inside the box. shit

Sapphire video card

This one was actually kinda funny – in a I wanna stab myself in the eye sorta way.

Windows detected the card correctly as ATI Radeon X300SE. However, I think it is capable of higher resolution that what the Microsoft supplied drivers are giving me; as well as the ATI supplied Catalyst control center, which gives you a whole bunch of optimizations for 3D graphics. I downloaded the ATI drivers, and tried the install. At some point early in the beginning the installer tells you that “the CATALYST Control Center requires Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 prior to installation” and happily continues on after that warning until it eventually freezes up. The ATI (AMD now) website actually points you to Microsoft’s .NET Framework 1.1 download page. Since I was in a hurry, I tried that. The ATI driver again complains that it does not have .NET 2.0, but this time the install completes. Just for the heck of it, once I had a little more time, I hunted around for the .NET framework 2.0 (x64), and tried the whole thing all over again. This worked, with one small annoyance: it did not uninstall the previous 1.1 .NET framework. Maybe I’m just too demanding.

Internet access

This continues to be a source of joy (that’s sarcasm, for the humour-impaired) to this day. I am actually very proud of myself that I did not go on a killing rampage while hooking up my Internet.

The first step was to hunt, err: find, an ISP. Due to my professional and personal time commitments, it took me approximately a week to discover that Internet through cable TV is not available in my area.

On to the telephone companies then. Since my love was by now getting on my case with: “I can’t believe that I cannot get on the Internet at a geek’s house!“, right now became more of a priority over anything else. Ireland has only one monopoly (sarcasm, again) that supplies all wired telephone service: Eircom. These people are willing to sell you Internet only under the condition that you also buy telephone service from them. Since I don’t even know how to use a standard telephone unit, I thought I’ll go elsewhere. I quickly discovered two things. 1) There are companies that do indeed offer cheaper Internet than Eircom, unfortunately they make you purchase more packages from them that I have no use for which all together make it more expensive than from the Monopoly. And 2), all of the competition has to use the Monopoly’s telephone lines, which the Monopoly rents out to them at (conveniently) the same price as what it costs to get a telephone line from the Monopoly. By this time, my love comes home from the 20 minute walk to the local Internet café, and just rolls her eyes.

Back to broadband.Eircom.ie. I first tried to order it online, since they had a promotion that the first month is free only if ordered online. Apparently to hook a phone will take them up to 15 days. Fine! I did not immediately get an e-mail confirmation, so I thought I would call them back, just to make sure: “Well sir, sometimes it takes up to three days for the e-mail confirmation to be generated.” WTF!?!? OK, fine! 15 days later, nothing. So I call them back to get the same runaround: promotion is available only through ordering online, takes three days to get an e-mail, takes 15 day to find out if it worked, and then maybe. So this time I took the three more days to find out that the online order did not work again, until I decided that it will be better for my health just to phone order it.

The lady that I talked to – not mentioning any names to protect the incompetent – took my order. She convinced me, that the only ADSL modem they have is a wireless one, and since I do not have a wireless card in my desktop computer, I will need to purchase an adaptor from them. Apparently the adaptor is USB, and there should be no problems with a driver. Yea, right I thought! But I need the Internet.

This time, the telephone got hooked up in a few days. Several days after that, the wireless adaptor came in the mail. It was a Netopia 3D Reach wireless G USB, and of course the drivers did not work! Tech support from Eircom played (very effectively) brainless and useless. I tried Netopia (aka: Sun) directly. They pointed me to RT2500USB driver from Ralink, which surprisingly worked just fine. However, the story does not end there. A few days later the modem arrived. The modem is a Netopia 2247NWG wireless and 4-port ethernet gateway. Back on the phone with Eircom to return the wireless adaptor. I am still going to have to call them up at some point, as my last service bill was over €70, which I think is a little too steep for one month of Internet access.

other pieces of Windows

There are several applications and small items that are still not working, and probably never will. Perhaps it’s just that I am too demanding (not unreasonable I think, considering the price that you have to fork out for this OS), or perhaps it is due to user error (also entirely possible).

I wanted streaming radio from the Internet. Most of the stations that I like are streamed through Real Player. I could not get the basic download to install, so I contacted their support. They told me that they do not support XPx64, because “the Windows 64 operating system has many advantages that can help run games in general, but because we have not tested on this operating system, we are unable to offer technical support for games on it.” I tried to reassure them, that I am only interested in the streaming radio and not games. I got a reply, that said they are sorry they could not help me immediately, and they will bump me up to “level 2” support. Fine… “Level 2” support replied to me a day later, that they have no record of me as a paying customer, but that they will make a one-time exception. “Unfortunately at this time we do not have a version that is compatible with Windows XPx64.” Are you like for real? There are people that actually pay for this? I mean at one time Real used to be a somewhat lousy player, today it’s a really lousy operating system. Whatever… losers

BOINC screen saver. This is one of the most worth-while projects that I like to support. It costs the user, next to nothing and helps out a great deal. Unfortunately, I could not get the graphics to work. Apparently, there are people on the net that have experienced the same problem and have somehow resolved it, but I could not be bothered, considering all the other problems that I am having with this system.

I have three accounts on the box. When I first wanted to make another account it forced me that the first one must have administrator privileges. What I did not know, is that it will disable the administrator account. OK, I guess I will go along with that. Then I have one user account for my love, that has a password so that the babies do not mess up any of her stuff – she is more than capable of messing it up herself. And one account for the babies, with like no privileges, that is password-less. Creepy thing is: when my love wants to download a Word .doc from her mail (accessed through http), it freezes up the application (I-Explorer and Word). The exact same file on my account or the babies account, no problems!?!? Tried reinstalling Word, tried even reinstalling that account… nothing. Luckily it only happens under Internet-Explorer. I prefer Firefox anyway, so I juts have to disable that piece of crap from the menus.

Windows XP comes with a new hip theme – whatever. On my administrator account I switched it to the classic Windows theme. Then I went ahead and created the other accounts – where it erased the administrator account. Well along with the administrator, it also erased the Windows XP theme!!!

After installing Firefox 2.0, I could no longer set icons for HTML documents. In fact, when I right-click on on an HTML document, and ask to pick what I want to open it with, Firefox appears twice in the list – always leads to the same thing. When I try to go into the File Types and change the icon, it always ignores me.

Conclusions

I made a new year’s resolution, actually two. I normally don’t go for this kinda stuff, but this year I made an exception.

By the end of the year I want to have all my stuff 100% on Linux. This is not to say that I am completely going uninstall Windows – I still have to live with my family, all of whom have bought into the big lie. I just want myself to be running on Linux, and this is the year! The amount of time I spent trying to get this to work, I could probably have learned how to write Linux drivers and written the appropriate drivers myself. Now I just have to make it functional for the rest of the family.

Also, never buy top-of-the-line stuff again, ever.

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