Friday, July 27, 2007

ThinkPad T42

The screen on my ThinkPad T20 got too pink and the 256MB of RAM just didn't cut it. I came across a T42 on RetroBox and went for it. It's 1.7GHz and 1GB or RAM. Much better.

The first question was go to Vista or not? Sure, why not?

I installed Vista Home Premium using the clean install from an upgrade DVD. Worked like a charm and quick, taking about an hour and a half.


Vista didn't find a video driver. No problem, I thought. Windows Update will fix that. Nope. No driver there. No problem, I thought. It was an ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 so off I went to the ATI site. Nope. No driver there. No problem, I thought. Off to ThinkWiki. Nope. No driver there. Problem.

I finally found a post on Microsoft's TechNet forum that gave a bizarre workaround but it worked. Kinda.

This gave me most of the expected features and controls for the video adapter but, alas, no Aero. Seems that the 7500 doesn't have Pixel Shading 2! So close, yet so far.


I ran through much of my normal install process and went to connect to my server where my printers are. No go. Vista said the print spooler wasn't running on the XP system. But it was. Fiddle, fiddle, and suddenly without explanation they worked.

In summary, that's how the whole experience went. What was expected to work didn't. Sometimes there was a fix or workaround and sometimes there wasn't.

Just to get a sense, go to Lenovo's "Drivers and software" page and note the dearth of support for Vista. Missing are items like Audio (worked), Trusted Platform Module (TPM), Intel SpeedStep Applet, Intel Chipset, Presentation Director, LCD/Monitor, and of course ATI Radeon/FireGL. Some of these could be included in the Vista base code.

That got me to thinking about what Alex Rublowsky of Microsoft had told me in an Executive Briefing in Redmond November 3, 2005 - "When Vista ships, 3 year old systems will run it." Not even close. And this T42 is an enterprise class system built in August 2004.

In the end, I punted and went back to XP Pro. Felt like an old pair of shoes.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Site Meter

I've used Site Meter for a long time on a variety of web pages including this blog. It's always been a solid set of statistics and very dependable.

This spring, when I went to check my statistics on this blog, I got some odd results. The problem has since been corrected. I quickly hit PrtSc and captured the erroneous output.

Being the nice guy that I am, I e-mailed it to Site Meter. 2 days later I got a reply.

Dear Ben,

Thank you very much for sending this through.

We attempted a launch of the new sitemeter site on Tuesday. Unfortunately we encountered problems and had to revert back to the old site.

This information was useful as we tried and diagnose the problem.

I have upgraded you to a Free lifetime paid account for taking the time to send this along.


The Sitemeter Team
Now, I wasn't familiar with the "paid" Site Meter account so here's the difference.

Above is the "free" service.

Above is the "Plus" service.

Pretty nice guys.

Friday, July 06, 2007


I have photos scattered ALL over. My dream is to get these all in one place with the best of all presentations. The ultimate would be a lot like Google's Picasa Web Albums but with just a few more bells and whistles - things like the ability to store full resolution images.

My web host (Globat) gives me 100GB of web space so it seemed like the logical thing to do was to put the photos there. Now all I needed was some software to run there.

I searched high and low and found Gallery2 from Menalto. This is a SourceForge project, natch. There's a site that lets you play with all the themes for Gallery2.

Well, it seemed like a good idea.

Gallery2 has a nice php installer. You just upload it to your web site and run it. (Oh, don't forget to set the permissions.) It will actually copy the Gallery2 files to your web server, unpack them, and take you step-by-step through the install. Only one call to Globat to get the MySQL database setup. (Good support, by the way.)

So far, so good. But it was early.

The Gallery2 upload process(es), while a diverse collection, weren't nearly as smooth as my benchmark Picasa Web.

The results of the upload were pretty good. It created thumbnails and 640x480 images at the same time. Well, almost. One image of the 24 that I uploaded as a trial didn't get a thumbnail so it loaded the 4MB picture every time you went to the album page.

Some of the pictures needed to be rotated so I went into Edit Photo and rotated one. That's when I got the (first) server error. And the thumbnail went away, permanently.

It went downhill from there. The forums had lots of suggestions including recompiling the image toolkit. I don't recall having to do this with Picasa Web.

At this point, Gallery2 is pretty well hosed. Me too.