Friday, May 13, 2011

Upgrading a PC from Windows XP to Windows 7

I finally decided to upgrade my desktop system to Windows 7 pro from Windows XP pro.

Knowing that I needed a new video card I did some shopping around and finally found a compatible PCI card on a nvidia based Sparkle GEForce 8400GS which has proven to be so far very effective. I also got a Western Digital 320 GB IDE hard drive which I felt would be a major improvement over the 160GB Seagate HD that came with my circa 2004 Compaq Presario S6000V P4 desktop.

So far so good.

Now comes the part where I learn the perils of upgrading to windows 7 from XP the hard way.

Mistake number one was deciding to a clean instal of windows 7 on the new WD 320GB HD. Windows 7 installed flawlessly unfortunately when the time came for authentication things went wrong.

Windows 7 upgrade requires you to have an already installed Windows OS. Very irritating to say the least end result after a few trials and hunting down my slip-streamed windows XP pro SP3 install disk (and having to burn a copy of the windows XP SP3 install CD) as well as reformatting the HDD I was able to install Windows XP.

Then came the fun part of having to do a special installation rather than doing a straightforward upgre installation due to the system being a Windows XP system. Once I figured out what the issue I was able to install windows 7.

The installation went through very well. However the post installation issues that reared their head proved to be utterly annoying. Particularly the ones related to my wireless card as I relate below.

Namely my Cisco Linksys WMP300N wireless networking card. The card had been great in Windows XP very reliable with the cisco Linksys drivers. The card is based off a broadcom chipset (BCM4329). Windows 7 has two set of drivers for this chipset an older one that works and a newer one that totally kills all functionality. As well as the frustrating issue that when the drivers are installed it sets the IBSS mode (wireless frequency and protocol) to 802.11 a/b only rather than setting the card to the more logical 802.11 a/b/g/n auto setting. A little problem I only found out after a couple rounds of driver installs and uninstalls.

Of course the issue is not helped by the fact that the cisco linksys drivers are for vista and utterly buggy and the sad fact that installing the newer drivers available from Cisco's website (2010) have to be manually installed and result in the following message when you attempt to install the driver "The requested device registry key does not exist" which is a singularly unhelpful message and it directs you to contact your hardware vendor. Which I did do only to be put through an endless run around in which the helpful tech support person I got in touch with did not understand that my issue was with the drivers for a wireless NIC card not a router. She then wanted to put me in touch with their paid support people which I politely refused to do so.

So currently I'm working of the older circa 2007 broadcom drivers which unlike the updated version that Microsoft Windows update keeps wanting to install. So far the older drivers seem to be working reliably unlike the newer version which render the wireless card totally nonfunctional.

Getting back in the saddle...

It has been a while since I posted anything so I figure I will get started by posting some odds and ends...

First up will be a brief recounting of some of theups and downs of upgrading an older PC from Windows XP to Windows 7.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fireworks, and childhood in Guatemala

Having grown up in Guatemala. One of my memories of the November-December holiday season was the ready availability of fireworks.

Thus I embarked on the favored pastime of kids and youths in Guatemala. Fireworks and the things one could do with them...

I used to have fun lofting empty tin cans (I preferred Tuna fish cans) into the air using a bomba or two. These were of a triangular package made out of paper, wrapped in colorful paper.

What put an end to my somewhat risky holiday fun was that like any tinkerer I started to push the envelope on how high I could loft the can using Bombas. One bomba hey it went up 10 feet or so let's see what two will do and so forth it got riskier the bombas sometimes did not go of together and one with a smoldering fuse was an issue at times. Also the heights did go up althou locating the lofted cans sometimes posed a challenge. Innocently I though that tuna cans that had enden up in a dome shape where cool..

What finally made me stop doing it was the time I put one or two bombas two many and managed to have the entire can burst into shards of shrapnel which went all over the place. Luckily no one was hurt but that experience introduced a much needed element of caution...

It also led me out of sheer curiosity to test just how potentially dangerous some fireworks were on a Banana tree relative some of those charges did make some pretty big holes and in one memorable occasion actually shattered the stem of 6-7" in diameter maicena.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A few thoughts on Nuclear Energy and Renewables...

No matter how much some of us would wish otherwise there is no way we can markedly reduce the amount of energy that our civilization uses by any stretch of imagination.

As both human population grows and new technologies develop the amount of energy required to support our civilization will increase it will not decrease. Take a look at the trends in energy usage across human history these have only increased over time.

Getting the average citizen in the street to agree to rationing or to reduce the level his/her lifestyle voluntarily is an exercise in futility that will inevitably backfire particularly in the large modern democracies. In any case bear in mind how will you keep them down in the farm once they have seen gay Paree?

And as far as the non democratic states they will be more likely to base their decisions on what they believe to be their needs and these states will more likely than not make their decision on a different set of political consideration than the democracies.

Surface based solar power and wind will not to any marked degree be a replacement for fossil fuels. Both face the problem that energy production by both these technologies face the the constraint that both their main sources of energy are subject to whims of the local weather.

Nor should we fail to consider that other than in a few spots these technologies will not be producing energy at peak efficiency. Nor will either technology produce a consistent energy output at the time and place it will be needed.

Also the ecologic footprint of both technologies is far heavier than one would think at first look. In order to mantain or equal the current energy output of fossile fuel technologies how many hundreds if not thousands of square miles of land/offshore would be required to even equal the current output from both Nuclear and fossil fuels?

Take the time to ponder the impact on fragile desert ecosystems of endless square miles of solar panel arrays. Also consider the impact on both bird and bat populations of wind turbines.

What would be the amount of raw materials that would be needed to manufacture solar panels? (Silicon, aluminum, iron, copper,assorted rare earth elements, and polymers) Or what amount of materials would be needed to manufacture wind turbines? (Carbon fiber, iron, aluminum, copper, rare earth elements, and polymers)

Sadly these question have been largely ignored both by a majority of our environmental community. And our political class has proven far more adept at responding to

As a civilization we need to carefully consider all our options for energy production. And by any rational measure of consideration we can not afford to rule out or for matter abandon nuclear power as an energy source.

As for the nuclear waste issue has been grossly distorted and overblown. It can be addressed by using reprocessing spent nuclear fuels and making use fast breeder reactors to "burn" out the more radiactive byproducts of nuclear fission.

We could discard unusable nuclear waste materials in subduction zones rather than the current approach of storing them in isolated geologically stable areas. Let Earth own conveyor belt adress the issue by the time any of the material makes it back to the surface the clear majority of it will have run through it's radioactive half life and what is left would be scattered atoms embedded in cubic miles of rock.

Even though we at the present consider a particular series of byproducts of nuclear fission to be waste it doesn't necessarily follow that our descendants will consider these to be waste. They may very well find them to be of use in other ways

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Obama and the Nobel Peace Prize

I've taken the time to actually think about President Obama's Nobel Peace prize award.

As far as I can see this was a particularly absurd and premature decision on the part of the Norweigan Nobel Peace prize committee. As was most congently stated by the London Times.

There are far more worthy potential recipients out there for the Nobel Peace Prize than President Obama. If they wanted to award a symbol why not award it posthumously to Neda?

Obama has yet to accomplish any of the goals he set out to do. I would far rather the Peace Prize be awarded for actually accomplishing something for world peace rather than for the illusion of the hope of peace in the Middle East and Nuclear disarmament.

In the long run this award will prove to be a millstone around President Obama's neck. And it will inevitably set an impossible to exceed yardstick to measure whatsoever he accomplishes in office.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sunset photos

Sunset photos, originally uploaded by werehawk.

Some susnsets are more spectacular than others...

It has been a while since I posted something here so I will be making an attempt at posting more or less regularly in the future...