1. v. The act of writing a weblog or 2. n. Toby’s weblog.

Giving me the Vista sign

I have a new client, one who has just bought a new PC from Dell which came with Vista Home Basic. Dell, according to the website for this PC, say they recommend Vista Home Premium. The new client buys the software online, runs the online upgrade plan and waits the couple of hours it takes to upgrade only to find his machine continuously rebooting.

He calls me.

I have a look, find out that even safe mode doesn’t work and turn off the auto-reboot using the magic of F8 on boot and find out the cause of the crash is something called spdt.sys which comes from some software called “Daemon Tools”.

Fortunately the Vista Premium upgrade allows you to roll back. Once I have a working Basic installation I try to run the Daemon Tools uninstall programme, only to find that it doesn’t work. Wow. Colour me nonplussed. I rename the offensive SYS file and try to delete the registry entries which turn out to be write protected. Which idiot decided to do that I don’t know but they deserve a very special place in Hell. Preferably an area that I look after.

Anyway, the renaming of the dll seems to fix it and the next day my friend Theo manages to upgrade it without problem.

Well, I say that.

It turns out that the Dell supplied sound card (Sigmatel STAC 92XX) does not work with Vista Premium. We have a look on the Dell support site for this particular sound card and try the latest driver. No joy. Personally at this point I would send the whole bloody lot back to Dell as not fit for purpose however the client can’t do without a PC so we are going to try to source a Vista Premium compatible sound card.

Basically: don’t get Vista yet; it is clearly not ready. Don’t trust Vendor claims of Vista compatibility, especially for upgrades to Premium; they are different products and the drivers required likewise. If you do plan to buy Basic and then upgrade to Premium don’t bother; the hours that it takes out of your life and the amount of will to live lost just is not worth it.

Published on 2007/04/11 at 17:52 by Toby, tags , , , , ,

We're back!

After a couple of days of pain toblog is back, and it wasn’t the typo upgrade that caused the problem.

A few months ago gentoo removed a patch to their postgresql build. Unfortunately the removal of this patch caused a problem which meant that pretty much any query on the structure of the database returned:

ERROR: did not find ‘}’ at end of input node

This is not good.

I found someone who suggested some database surgery online but this only partly solved the problem. So, having partially updated typo because the upgrade requires structural queries to work, I finally took the plunge and did what was ultimately necessary.

  1. Alert clients to a database / mail outage overnight
  2. Stop the database
  3. Take a backup of the data directory
  4. Downgrade postgresql to the version with the pg-heir patch
  5. Startup postgresql and undo the surgery performed above
  6. Dump all the databases to file using pg_dump -Fc
  7. Stop postgresql
  8. Upgrade postgresql
  9. Remove the old data directory
  10. Reinitialise the postgres database
  11. Start postgresql
  12. Create the required users
  13. Create the required databases
  14. Import all the databases from the files dumped above

This took a good couple of hours, and pg_restore does take a lot longer than pg_dump. That said I now have a properly set up postgresql install that I am happy with and understand a lot more so some good has come from this exercise.

Bring on the 8.2.x upgrade!

Published on 2007/04/04 at 14:54 by Toby, tags , ,

Swapping from Feisar's iSync plugins to Apple's

I was using the Feisar iSync Plugin to sync my k800i with my Mac. Irritatingly this stopped working with the latest version of iSync. Feisar’s site has a page explaining why and what to do about it. Except, for me anyway, it missed out a fairly crucial step.

They suggest that you should remove the plugin and then rerun iSync and it should All Just Work. This did not work for me. What I discovered you have to do after removing the plugin is unpair your phone from the mac and pair it again otherwise iSync won’t sync with your phone.

For safety’s sake I forced my initial sync cleared out all the phone data; you may or may not want to do this.

Published on 2007/03/29 at 12:41 by Toby, tags , , , ,

Yahoo! Greylisting!

Yahoo! has started to greylist. One of the mail servers that I manage has a number of large mailing list on it and one of them has a lot of Yahoo! email addresses. Here are the effects of this on the server.

CPU Usage

Network Usage in Bits per Second

I hope they don’t expire the whitelist too quickly.

Published on 2007/03/07 at 12:09 by Toby, tags , , ,

TCSOTD 2007-01-02

‘After a sinister year it’s down to us to protect our freedoms’
… Henry Porter back on form

Well, that didn’t take long

Every Step You Take
… A one hour documentary about video surveillance in Britain.

Photos taken through a microscope

Yep, I’m still not going to the US

2006 Darwin Awards

Microsoft’s evolution in keywords

Twittering away

Despite the fact that I still don’t really grok what it’s for I am sure that it useful for something. Therefore I have created myself a twitter account. So, feel free to twitter me. A word to the wise: when setting up your mobile phone you need to use the full international dialling code with the plus.

Published on 2006/12/21 at 17:19 by Toby, tags ,

TCSOTD 2006-12-15

Verbotomy! – create words to match definitions

Firefox gets support for CardSpace
… only on Windows so far, though.

Reuters debuts machine-readable news for automatic stock trading

Half decent looking spectacles with ‘heads up display’ / microdisplay
Manufacturer’s website

Larger sized clothes ‘should come with warning to lose weight’

Reindeer Tipping the game

The Psychology of conjurers

How to network, for introverts

TCSOTD 2006-12-12

Home office child porn expert admits child porn charge

The phony war on Christmas

Smart Card Alliance criticizes RFID passport plans

Firefox 3 Alpha Released

Sense of smell may be tied to quantum physics

Wordie: like flickr but without the photos

DNA ‘should be taken from babies’
… “It is about time we had a debate about whether we want to turn from a nation of citizens into one of suspects” — Liberty

The PPL FT advert included dead people

Published on 2006/12/12 at 06:33 by Toby, tags , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Night Backstage

Ben and I are in there somewhere

Saturday night saw Ben and I make our way to the BBC Backstage Christmas party and what a good night was had! It has been a long time since I last went to an event like this so my networking skills were low but the only way to improve is to just damn well Do It so here is the obligatory blog report.

As well as free beer, some great spicy food and a huge cake provided by I got to meet Matt again after a long time out of contact. and it was weird to know that he has been reading this blog. In fact the phrase “Ah yes, I read about that on your blog” was oft heard throughout the evening.

As someone who is a bit of a lurker on the ORG mailing list it was a pleasure to finally meet Suw Charman. it was great to talk to her about digital rights and politics and hopefully we managed to get something interesting out of the meeting, but I will leave that to Ben to talk about…

I also met David who, after some conversational games, turned out to be working with another friend of mine who wasn’t at the bash. There were lots of similar joining of dots going on around us as people networked away and I hope to see some interesting projects come out of the party.

Meeting Ben’s OSS Advocate friend Dave was interesting, albeit brief, but it was good to finally meet him and I hope to see him again and talk properly with him.

To the Reading student who was convinced that I had been seen around other similar events I can safely confirm that going Core Duo isn’t one of my skills so it was the first time that we had met – but I look forward to your blog going non-beta…

The goody bag at the end had the mandatory T-Shirt and a copy of the latest Make Magazine which I am seriously considering taking a subscription out for – the first time in a long time that I have even come close to wanting to do so for a technology magazine.

Finally, many thanks to all the people who were involved with making sure that this party became reality. I had a fantastic time!

Oh, and Twitter really needs metadata, but I’m not sure I grok the idea of it too well…

Photo is from cubicgarden’s Flickr Photostream.

Published on 2006/12/10 at 19:39 by Toby, tags , , ,

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