Tech

Curing Windows Update after a hardware change

I mentioned in my previous post that I’d managed to avoid performing a complete XP reinstall when changing my motherboard by following the steps in this MS Knowledge Base Article. However I noticed that I wasn’t getting the surge of windows updates that I’d expected since I assumed the process would replace a bunch of files from the original XP SP2 CD. It turned out that Windows Update was bottlenecked on the Microsoft Installer 3.

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Microsoft allegedly tries to 'influence' OOXML ISO vote

ZDNet Reports Who woulda thought it? Suggesting Microsoft might stoop to skewing a standards process to their own ends? Come now… ** **

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Engage Ludicrous Speed! *

I’ve been thinking about upgrading my main desktop machine for a while, and two things finally pushed me over the edge and levered the requisite cash out of my wallet (or rather, my long-suffering credit card) to do it; getting a new MacBook Pro, which was making my main machine feel decidedly sluggish when doing major builds, and the release of Bioshock. Motherboard & CPU The last time I upgraded my main machine was about 18 months ago, just before dual-core became really mainstream, and as sods law dictates even though I bought a motherboard which supposedly could handle the new chips, Intel of course changed them again and it couldn’t take the new Core 2 Duos - so once again, it was motherboard upgrade time.

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Cleaning out

I should have known better than to ask my wife ‘What would you like to do today?’. Like any self-respecting tech who has a lot of PCs, and is often called upon to sort friends & relatives PC’s out when they decide to throw a wobbler, I’ve been known to keep a fair number of spares around. Ok, so maybe a lot of spares. It’s something my wife ‘suggests’ we do something about fairly regularly, but I’m not a naturally spatially organised person and the thought of sorting through all of it triggered almost instant catatonia.

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Apple GLSL driver bug - attribute aliasing

One of the unfortunate things about Mac OS X is that graphics driver support lags behind other platforms. Drivers are bundled with OS X system updates rather than being updated separately and occasionally there are bugs which take longer to get resolved on OS X than on other platforms as a result. We’ve had this problem before, and we appear to have got it again now. In our example media, we have some hardware skinning shaders written in GLSL; we also have Cg and HLSL versions, but the GLSL version is there to prove certain features such as passing arrays of uniforms - bone matrices - to GLSL.

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Bye bye PackageManager, hello DMG

As I’ve blogged before, I’ve spent a fair amount of my spare time recently getting to know OS X development, and one thing I’ve wanted to do is get an automated SDK build going for before the next release goes out. Annoyances with the organisation of framework versions, and issues with driving PackageManager from the command line have all frustrated those efforts, but nevertheless I’ve made progress. Today, however, despite having a mostly working installer I decided to change tack completely and drop PackageManager in favour of a disk image (dmg) instead:

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Windows Update ate my GPU

Or rather, my wife’s GPU. Updates resulting from good/bad old Patch Tuesday kicked in yesterday, and for some reason my wife’s machine never recovered. It did the usual “I’m going to reboot your machine now” thing, (with that incredibly irritating habit of popping into the foreground and making the ‘Restart Now’ button the default, so that if you’re typing and hit space just as it pops up you don’t get to avoid it; plus it continues to pop up forever until you do it so you’re bound to get caught out eventually - ugh), but after rebooting the GPU was so dead as to not even display a boot screen.

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Scrapping with XCode and PackageMaker

Much as I love using OSX now, I still miss my Windows development tools. Even though I’ve gotten used to using XCode and related tools now, they still have multiple limitations that really annoy me when I’m trying to get things done. I mentioned a little while back that I’ve wrestled with Framework versioning and debug / release configurations. I’m not much closer to solving those in any way I feel is elegant, or even adequate.

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Finally saying 'adieu' to CRTs

So, I’ve finally joined the 21st century and got rid of my last trusty CRT monitor. I hung on to it far longer than I intended to really, but initially I avoided LCDs because of their poor response rates and ghosting. Then, I avoided them because they were too expensive. Then, I avoided them because I like to test in lots of fullscreen resolutions and wasn’t that happy with the way that looked on many LCDs, and didn’t like being locked to a single ‘best’ resolution.

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Dumbest .. OS .. ever

So I was using Vista today, a relatively rare event on this machine since my discovery of how silky an experience OS X is, and I realised that although I’d already installed Cygwin (because I use bash for all my scripting needs, and being without sed / awk / patch / diff on the command line is unthinkable), I’d forgotten to check ‘patch’ when I ran the Cygwin installer. Simple I thought, I’ll just run it again.

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