Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stuff that annoyed me this week

I know it's not nice to write a blog post which is full of complaints, but every once in a while we all need to take out some steam. So no long prolog needed:
  1. I simply hate the Windows Vista/Seven shutdown menu. At least once a week I put my computer into sleep instead of rebooting, or vice versa. Other variations occur as well. What were they thinking?
  2. In the previous post I mentioned the fact that upgrading isn't always good, and some trouble might occur, even if the newer version is considered "stable". In my life and work I get to use every OS out there, and that includes Windows XP and Windows 7. A few weeks ago both of them got an upgraded NVidia driver. Grrr. After days of irregular blue screens I was able to trace the issue to the drivers, and revert them to a previous version (thanks, Driver Sweeper). BTW, instead of trying to figure out Windows' minidump (those files created after a BSOD), I found a great tool called WhoCrashed. I get to use WinDBG too much in my work, so not having to use it at home in order to parse those minidumps was really nice.
  3. What's with the electric power stability in my living area? I think that about once or twice a week there's a power outage. Some parts of my house are already protected by power stabilizers, I guess now is the time to protect the rest.
Epilog: I just ordered a kick ass 50" FullHD screen. It should arrive sometime next week. It should fit well with some of the equipment I already have in my living room. So the finale of this post is happy. :)

Issues with Transmission and PopcornHour

Not a long time ago I've upgraded my PCH A110 firmware to the latest version. Also, I've upgraded the Transmission (bittorrent) client to version 1.91 (and later on to 1.92). Ever since those upgrades, I had issues with torrents: every few hours or so the Transmission client decided it should "verify" the torrent and the downloaded data. This process consumes a considerable amount of time, which slows down torrents download time to crawl.

The best solution I found so far was to downgrade the Transmission client back to version 1.76 using the NMT CSI. Now everything works perfectly, thought the new feature of 1.9X are missing.

Just like every other piece of software: upgrade doesn't mean you're getting a better product. Sometime it means you're part of the testing of the newer version. Nonetheless, I'd be happy to install the next version when it comes out.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Stay sharp, get offline

Often I find myself being too lazy when trying to solve an issue, so I copy-paste the error message or type the error description into Google, and press "Search". For over 90% of the problems, that's enough.

Sometimes I think that in order to improve my skills, I'm better off taking the old-school way, and dig for the solution all by myself. This means finding the source of the problem and the solution without any Internet access. This would usually require a bigger understanding of the system and problem in question.

After doing so, there's a great feeling of accomplishment, and it's fun to publish the solution on the blog, StackOverflow or other sites.

The always-on Internet has changed our lives, as it made us both smarter and dumber at the same time. What do you say? Would you try and get back, even only once in a while, to solve problems without the Internet?