Tristan’s On Holiday (shudder)

I’m off to Canada, and I’m faced with some Serious Travel Time (something like 11 hrs to Honolulu, 7 to Vancouver, 7 to Toronto, then driving to where we’re staying, then driving around the East coast), so I’m trying to work out what to take.



  • Zen Micro (which plays some of my new purchased WMAs and complains about the lack of a license for 80% of the others) or Muvo 1.5 (which plays all my new and existing purchased WMAs, only not as many, and hasn’t been the same since the “of course it’s drop proof” demonstration, resulting in the odd “remove the battery to skip that song” episode)

  • Game Boy Advance (do all aeroplanes have in-seat entertainment these days? If not, why not?) – or do I upgrade to DS for the one-off trip? Or buy a PSP and Wipeout when I’m there? (Both? Heard the battery life wasn’t really Long Haul).

  • Laptop? (If so, will it run GTA San Andreas? Will I need to go buy another copy of Vice City (which I know runs well, and which was a lot of fun, but I’ve somehow lost the discs for)… Are there any other single player games worth playing that run on a Radeon 9000?)

  • The Confusion, by Neal Stephenson – it’s a hard read, almost feels like edutaiment so far, but if time taken to read and re-read a single sentence is an indicator of value, it’s value loaded

  • Digital Camera? – the 5 year old 3 megapixel lump of metal is heavy and annoying, but I find most cameras annoying. I still want a reasonable-pixel camera, phone, MP3 and GPS in one for under $AUD300 (the last part is the killer)

  • Some sort of noise reduction headphones?

Decisions, decisions…

I Make Things Happen*.

I am a genius (and humble to boot).


Quickie: The latest twist on the RSS Feeds Du Jour is that EvenBalance just released a new version of PunkBuster for Joint Operations (caught during the morning catchup via Newsgator). Haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but hopefully this one will support X64, and I can again play online. Yay!


This brings my “bizarre predictive RSS feed” score to 100% within ~24 hours of publication. Wait, no it’s 66%, still no sign of… you know, that one.


Now, after playing Battlefield 2 to warm up, I can get back into JOPS, with any luck…

RSS Feeds For Useful* Things

Until the website folk get their collective minds into gear and produce RSS feeds, I’ve taken to scripting my own.


All care taken, no responsibility accepted.


The Idea


There’s nothing like the tiny dose of repetitive strain injury caused by having to click through a few sites daily – just looking for updates – to spur you into action.


The idea is that you use an RSS feed reader that identifies when a particular RSS item has changed. With these feeds, this will usually signify one of two things:



  • The site changed and broke the feed
  • The site changed and didn’t break the feed

If it’s the former, well, I tried. If it’s the latter, you’ll know something’s been updated.


Built from the tattered skeleton of my last foray into the dark and wretched existence of late night Internet scripting (see: experiments with Xmlhttp and Winhttp), I dissected a page or two, and present for my personal amusement my own little driver feeds:


Feed Me


Because I Love Drivers:



  • The Nvidia X64 Drivers RSS Feed (one item for Graphics, one for Nforce4 AMD Platform Drivers) – just in time for an imagined-and-really-really-hoped-for Battlefield 2 driver drop.

Because it was easy to fiddle the existing script:



  • Nvidia x86 32-bit version (all the interesting stuff I could spot – the filename convention changes at one point, so the NF4AMD one might not work reliably).

And the only faintly ironic:



Newly added:



 


This page is going to be my master list for the forseeable future – the other place to check the current feed list is here, but I’m not promising to keep it up to date, see, cos I get stats more simply from here.

KB Highlight: Connectivity Problems with MS05-019

There’s a KB article that pretty much covers it: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/898060/ . For my money, a really good KB article, with detailed symptoms that allow you to quickly diagnose the problem from a network capture.


MS05-019 was re-released this month, and the update contains fixes for the problems listed in the KB. If you installed the original release of MS05-019 on any computer, it’s a Really Good Idea to upgrade that to the new version as soon as you can.


And if nothing else, if you’re having a weird connectivity problem, just check WindowsUpdate isn’t offering the newer version to you.


Windows Server 2003 SP1 wasn’t affected by the vulnerability, but is affected by the issues documented in the KB article above; if you’re affected (easy to tell from a network capture), give PSS a call to obtain the hotfix.

B-Day (no, not bidet) for Battlefield 2

Well, Battlefield 2 is in my hot little hands right now. I had to get the CD version (3 CDs) because I don’t believe in preordering (it violates rule #1 of impulse buying, which is that if the goods aren’t miraculously present on the store shelf, I don’t pick them up and purchase them).


Now I just need those Nvidia X64 drivers to show up… c’mon! Pleeease!


[Update, 2:20am] Well… it’s pretty good, but I find myself wanting to play Joint Operations after I get annoyed at the infantry game. It’s all about the vehicles in BF2. Opinions may change with experience, but I’ll give it a 7/10 at the moment.

Aussie MSN Maps: I’m Ashamed I Never Knew

I’ve never really been interested in maps, as such. They’re in the “nice to have when driving” category for me, 98% of the time.


On the subject, I’ve been a user of Whereis for many years, not knowing that there was an alternative for Australia. I knew about MapPoint as an API, but knowing of an API and having a usable interface is something quite different.


With the recent mapping hoo-hah, I’d just resigned myself to thinking that Australia will lag the other regions (the tyranny of being a small economy with a huge geography).


Well, thanks to Raymond, I know there’s an alternative, and it’s fast, pretty good, and the maps are resizable (the smaller streets become visible when the maps are zoomed). It’s MSN Maps. Give it a try!


Can’t wait for MSN’s Local Search beta to cover regions outside the US too…

Windows Server 2003 SP1 Automatic Updates Blocker

Like XPSP2 before it, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 is going to be distributed via Automatic Updates.


The start date for automatic updates is July 26, 2005.


If you’d rather move at your own pace over the next year, you’ll want to look at the Blocking Toolkit, and the following information:


http://www.microsoft.com/WindowsServer2003/evaluation/news/bulletins/ws03sp1blockertool.mspx


FAQ: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/evaluation/news/bulletins/ws03sp1blockertoolfaq.mspx


The blocking mechanism expires on March 30, 2006.