My x64 Upgrade Experience

I hit a couple of niggles during the upgrade, which wasn’t really an upgrade as such (it was a fresh install).

I went from a not-really-mildly-broken-by-my-last-set-of-upgrading-shenanigans Windows XP SP2 installation to an XPx64 installation, on an AMD Athlon64-powered Asus A8N-SLI (an Nforce 4-based board), avec Nvidia 6600GT (just the one, at the moment).

I dropped in a new 200GB SATA drive, bought special for the occasion, disconnected the other two, and kicked off the setup.

About half an hour later, I was staring at the Welcome screen. First problem: no connectivity. Doops. But it booted in literally under 10 seconds. The little blue caterpillar didn’t even get all the way across the first time. That’s cool.

I lunged for my laptop, went to and grabbed both the latest nForce platform (6.25 BETA) and graphics (71.something WHQL Candidate) drivers, and stuck them on my girlfriend’s USB memory stick (deleting a bunch of boring wedding photos to make space). To whichever deity is the owner of USB keyrings, my eternal thanks.

One installation of the platform drivers with-everything-ticked-full-steam-ahead-don’t-worry-about-unsigned-drivers-and-damn-the-consequences-Reggie, the box wouldn’t boot any more, it just stuck at a black screen.

I invoked Last Known Good after a reset, which undid everything I’d done wrong to that point. This time, I just installed the Ethernet drivers. This time, the machine could reboot.

I spend a bunch of time without sound, trying to work out whether I needed the weird (and slightly crackly in Brothers in Arms) AC97 codec I’d been using under XPSP2 (as supplied with the motherboard), or if I could use the Nvidia platform driver set – as it turns out, you can use the nForce platform drivers for audio on this board as well, they’re not just for SoundStorm boards.

So, I didn’t install the GART driver, the IDE driver, the hardware Firewall (I don’t trust ’em), RAID or the SMBus driver, and the machine still boots. Network and Audio were all I needed from the nForce platform driver. Now, the caterpillar runs across twice, but it’s still a 10 second boot. Ahh, sweet newness.

The video drivers went on next, and I’m happy to report they’re working. Not that I have any games installed yet – baby steps. Baby steps.

Off to look for Cool’n’Quiet drivers, and other random bits and bobs, maybe try out a few games, put the .Net Framework 2.0 on it…

The Great Blog Migration

EBTDF is now , as opposed to the old one. I apologize to all six long-term subscribers, and all three comment spammers.

This is how I measure my progress: after about a year of running this blog, I can now use the word “all” to describe my readers, as opposed to “both” or “him”. Which implies that I’m at least 300% up on readership from the first guy.

As it’s also my anniversary month, I’ll get all gushy and say: “Thanks for a fun year. You guys are the greatest.”

I’ll get back to some more actual content posts when work quiets down a bit…

Evil Features: I like ’em.

I quite liked the idea of Smart Tags. Unlike “Smart Tags Are Evil” Scoble.

I like the way Smart Tags work in Word documents, and I wish they’d been included in IE. Perhaps not in the “sponsored” format that was mooted (links to MSN/Google properties, etc), but in a more fundamental user-configurable sense, I like the idea.

It’d be so useful to have a content recognition engine, and to let users plug in an array of tools that they want. For example, if I see a support incident ID on a web page (SRXblahblahblah) and it doesn’t have a hyperlink, why shouldn’t I be able to define that item as being hyperlinkable to the site of my choice? Why not take one of a set of actions I define based on that content? Dial a phone number with Skype? IM someone by email alias? Look up someone’s location on a map? If it saves me a useless start-other-application-then-copy-and-paste some information, then why not?

Further: what if the website I’m using is internal? Why should a web page developer (or content author) support my desire for an internal hyperlink, when they can’t even see or test the result?

Back in 2001, Smart Tags might have saved me a bunch of time spend developing interop code for web applications that wouldn’t have needed it if a simple client-side tag could have been implemented.

So actual technology: very useful. Intended purpose is at issue. Guess I’m just a “glass is half full” type of person.