Oh, for an age gone by!

October 22nd, 2002

From an NYT review of David Rockefellers memoirs, quoting his description of arguments with an an arch-rival at Chase:

“If the disagreement was strong enough, we could end up pretty close to the borderline of incivility.”

A good Korea move

October 12th, 2002

[Original Link] BBC article on the dramatic steps taken by the Korean government to ensure wholesale broadband deployment.

New version of VNC

October 12th, 2002

[Original Link] I’m a bit late reporting this, but it’s worth mentioning anyway.

A couple of weeks ago a major new version of VNC was released. This is the first release of any sort for 18 months, the first major update for considerably longer, and it includes many new features and improvements.

Development at the AT&T Cambridge lab had all but ceased while we were working on the Broadband Phone, but when the lab closed in April several of my friends who were on the original VNC team left to set up RealVNC, and have been working hard on improvements since.

This will not, I predict, be the only phoenix to rise from the ashes…

Today I made a big mistake…

October 5th, 2002

It was understandable really. I’d been lulled into a false sense of security. But after goodness knows how many years in the computer industry I should never have forgotten the cardinal rule for survival: “Don’t ever do what Microsoft suggests unless you absolutely have to!”

It happened like this: My wife Rose uses her elderly PC heavily every day, for word-processing, email, and the web. That’s it. Nothing very fancy, and it’s worked reliably ever since we installed Windows 2000 some time ago. So reliably in fact, that I was starting to think quite highly of the operating system.
I, in the meantime, had switched to a Mac and had installed several different operating system versions without incident.

However, the large number of security holes found in Microsoft’s software recently made me think that I ought to run ‘Windows Update’ to get the latest patches. I’ll just quickly do it over breakfast, I thought. It suggested I install Service Pack 3, and after an hour or two (it’s only a 300MHz Pentium, after all), the installation was finished. I rebooted and everything came up just fine. Except for the network card. The device manager said it couldn’t find enough resources (IRQs, I/O ports etc) to install it. Suddenly, by trying to bring myself right up to date, I had thrown myself back into the bad old days of interrupt clashes.

I will spare you the details of the hours I spent downloading new drivers, trying new CMOS settings, removing other peripherals. Having to use a machine with Internet Explorer on because Microsoft’s support site requires it and doesn’t work with other browsers, when the machine with Internet Explorer on had just been killed by something I downloaded from that site. And so on…

Suffice it to say that in the end I fixed it. I found a page somewhere on the web which told me that some similar cards needed a registry patch to work. In particular, one had to set
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\ Services\Pcmcia\Parameters\DisableIsaToPciRouting
to zero. This had been fixed in recent service packs. It had certainly been ‘fixed’ in mine, and so I guessed that perhaps all I had to do was to unfix it by setting it to 1. I rebooted and it worked! Obvious really. I then just had to rebuild the machine.

Rose’s next “Service Pack” will have an Apple logo on the box, I think.