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Zugg Software :: View Entry - Living with Vista and Delphi 2007
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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:14 am   
 
More good progress today.

But first I wasted about an hour tearing my hair out trying to find a particular bug. There seemed to be a settings corruption that had caused one of my database field values to return the wrong value (it was returning 6 instead of zero). But what was driving me crazy was that if I opened the *.PKG database file in SQLite Admin, the field was shown as zero. But when loaded into CMUD, it was getting a value of 6. This seemed impossible. After about an hour, I noticed that the PKG file being loaded into CMUD was coming from a different directory, so it wasn't the same file I was loading into SQLite Admin. Doh!! Turns out the data corruption was the result of some bugs last Friday that I had already fixed. When I overwrote the PKG file with a clean version, then it started working *much* better.

Today I spent most of the time cleaning up the code for the Settings Editor so that it refers to the correct database tables. This new design is *so* much cleaner than before. No longer are there any "hooks" into the database events that do anything. For example, in the past the AfterScroll event of the master database was hooked to the routine that updated the Editor display on the right. The AfterPost event was hooked into the Tree save routines, etc. Now, none of this is necessary. The only thing that causes the Editor display to be updated is when you click on a new node in the TreeView. And the only thing that causes the Save routine to be executed is clicking on the Save Changes button.

The trick of doing the DisableControls/EnableControls to update the TreeView in the background timer is working great. I think I can even optimize this further by keeping a list of which nodes have changed and only updating those specific nodes. The only time the Tree itself needs to be reloaded is if a new setting is added, or an existing setting changes it's "parent" pointers (like it is moved to another class). Also, I have another idea that should help speed up the display of the editor panel on the right when you click on a setting of a different type.

I've tested basic Tree navigation and basic editing of script and field values, Filtering, and the Enable checkbox. Tomorrow I'll test/debug things like Deleting items in the tree, drag/drop, etc. But so far it's very stable and fast. There is basically *no* speed decrease when the Package Editor is open and variables are changed in the background. Changing the trigger that you are currently looked at in the editor also doesn't cause any problems. Basically, *nothing* messes up the Tree focus or selections.

So far, so good!
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Zugg
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Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:57 am   
 
I'm continuing to make progress, but it was a bit slow today. I'm just going through all of the functions in the Package Editor and testing them to see how they work and then fix the problems. I fixed a lot of problems today, and the good news is that everytime I fix something, the code gets cleaner and cleaner. I haven't had *any* crashes with the new TreeView. The worst of the problems is stuff like the current item not being selected/focused properly in the tree, and stuff like that. Deleting items needs to be improved a bit, as does the "New..." item creation (with the deletion of blank settings, etc).

While I've been working on the Settings Editor with the new Tree, I've been adding some other improvements that have been relatively easy. I've added dockable panels to the Settings Editor. The Tree is in it's own panel, and the Editor on the right is in it's own panel, and there is a new panel called the "Class Panel" which is similar to the list shown when you click on a class setting. The Class Panel contains all of the settings within the current class. This panel is disabled by default, but a new submenu in the View menu allows you to hide/show any of these panels. You can also turn on the "panel captions" and then drag the panels into a new layout. The settings editor layout is saved/restored between sessions (as is the toolbar customizations).

This new feature allows people to set up the settings editor more like it was in zMUD if they want, with a separate Tree and Class panel.

When doing some performance improvements, I needed the AQTime profiler, and found that AQTime 3 just really doesn't work with Vista and Delphi 2007. So I was forced to pay for the upgrade to AQTime 5 today (it's expensive too!). But now I've got the profiler working again and I was able to improve the speed between clicking on different settings and updating the editor panel more efficiently.

All of this hard work is starting to pay off. There was a new release of the DevExpress components this week. I was able to easily download and install the latest version without having to make any changes to the source code. So this is really making it a lot easier to stay up-to-date with their bug fixes. And they have gotten a bit better about listening to my suggestions and adding them to their planned feature list for future versions.

I'll continue to work on the Settings Editor for the rest of this week. Then I need to go through each and every form in CMUD and adjust the various labels and controls for the larger 9pt SergioUI font that is used in Vista. Since this default system font is larger than the default 8pt Tahoma font in XP, many of the forms need tweaking. That will take a few days, but I'm hopeful that I might have a beta version for testing late next week.
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makena
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Joined: 11 Aug 2006
Posts: 100

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 2:02 am   
 
Whats planned after the delphi conversion?
More features, or bug fixes?
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Fang Xianfu
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Joined: 26 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 2:11 am   
 
Yes.

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Rainchild
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 6:27 am   
 
Fang Xianfu wrote:
Yes.


Twisted Evil you beat me to the punch!
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Zugg
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Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 5:32 pm   
 
As I mentioned in the New Year's Letter, after the Delphi 2007/Vista conversion, and during the beta testing of that version, I'll be getting the MyMuds.com site put together, along with the changes to CMUD needed to support storing your sessions on MyMuds.com. After that, then you'll see more bug fixes/features, followed closely with improvements to the mapper.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2008 1:48 am   
 
Today was a fairly interesting day. It's not often that you get to squash a bug that is more than 10 years old!

Yep, that's right. Today I found a bug in one of my low-level memory routines that has been around for over 10 years. This particular module is used to maintain a "list" of objects in memory, sort of like the Delphi TObjectList class. It uses a linked list to quickly traverse the list. But it also maintains a "cache" of the "current node" so that repeated requests for the same node are much faster. This optimization really helps speed things up a lot and avoids repeated list traversal or array lookups.

Anyway, it's obviously critical to maintain this cached node correctly. And 99% of it worked. But there was a problem when using the List.Insert method to instead a new node. Normally Insert was working fine. But if you called List.Insert( List.Count, Node) to insert the node at the end of the list, the cache could get messed up. This list structure is used in *all* of my products, so it might be the cause of some obscure bugs in zMUD or zMapper, or any other program that I've written. Really nasty.

I found this when I was implementing the Next/Previous history list in the settings editor. There were times when this history was getting corrupted. Of course I was using my Object List to store the history, and it was often inserting a new node at the end of the history. Anyway, took a while to track down...I never believe that routines that have been used so heavily for so long can still have bugs like this, so it was the last place that I looked.

The Settings Editor is working pretty well now. I've got the New item working, along with the Deletion. DevExpress has fixed the Shift-select and Ctrl-select for selecting multiple items in the tree, which everyone will be happy with. The new Next/Previous history is a *great* feature that I don't know how I lived without. It also works with the mouse Forward/Back buttons (like with web browsing) and works across different package tabs. It's very cool.

I also implemented some optimization of the TreeView updates. Remember that there is a timer (normally set to 1/2 second) that causes the tree to update itself. This is done by doing a EnableControls/DisableControls on the underlying dataset. However, this causes the entire tree to be reloaded from the database. This is good when the structure of the database has changed, but it's a waste of time if only a couple of records changed.

So now, when a record in the database changes, I add it to a ChangeList. Then, when the update timer fires, instead of calling EnableControls/DisableControls, I loop through the ChangeList and just update the tree nodes that have changed. This was a bit tricky since the routines to just change a single node in the tree were not obvious at all. Took several hours to get it working correctly.

But now that this is optimized, the Settings Editor can handle a large number of settings much more efficiently. It no longer needs to reload the entire tree when just a few changes were made in the background.

Anyway, still no crashes with the new tree. I've summarized the crash dumps that I receive for CMUD and more than 50% of the crash dumps are related to crashes in the current Settings Editor. So this change should have a huge improvement on the stability of CMUD.
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Tech
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Joined: 18 Oct 2000
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Location: Atlanta, USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2008 2:16 am   
 
This is great news Zugg... if you keep this up you'll have you beta testers clamoring for a release pretty soon. Out of curiosity, since these changes are occuring at lower level, does this mean there won't be any change to the user interface of CMUD? Especially if using XP? I'm just wondering the new components have a different look to them as well?

I also just had an off shoot thought of that? How many folks consider something an upgrade if the "look" of it hasn't changed? I guess speed would be another noticeable factor. I guess the more accurate question is what do people expect to get when they upgrade a piece of software.

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wrym
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Joined: 06 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2008 7:46 am   
 
I have to agree, these improvements sound amazing. And have to say that I should hope beta testers are waiting for the second or third release, with new features and the accompaning bugs. I'm sure it would be easier for a band of vandals to find unmarred walls in the bronx, than for us to find bugs.

Sounds like your constant pestering of DevExpress has paided off with the new updates, and I can't immagine your relief at being able to simply plug an update in, instead of having to cobble it in.

I believe Zugg did mention that he would be doing a few updates to the looks to fit better with windows vista.

As for what I expect from software... easy to use, but powerful and stable with a clean interface, I'm not asking for the world... on that note, I think Zugg does an excellent job.[/quote]
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slicertool
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Joined: 09 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 5:43 am   
 
Tech, I think the lack of 'look & feel' in an upgrade really depends on what we're talking about. WinZip has looked pretty much the same for about 20 years it feels like. They're still releasing new versions, because of either improvements at low levels (like faster or more compact zip files) or additional features (executable zips, new formats, etc). If you have a clean stable UI, you don't need to move things around or polish them up.

There are a lot of applications that spend too much time thinking about the cool, flashy UI and not about the usability of the product. I want my apps usable. If it's snazzy too? That's just a bonus.

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Zugg
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:07 pm   
 
Look and feel isn't changing. The whole point of removing the Theme/Skin system was to make CMUD more compatible with XP and Vista and allow the operating system to control the Look/Feel. So, running CMUD on XP will continue to look like an XP application, and running CMUD on Vista will look more like running a Vista app. You will not see the Vista look/feel when running on XP. This assumes you have the "Normal" theme selected. If you have the OfficeXP theme selected, then you'll see a blue color scheme on both XP and Vista.

This OfficeXP "theme" is part of the Developer Express system. They have added a new "Skin" library to their components that I might use again in the future to support additional themes/skins, but they still have some bugs in their system so I'm not using it yet. But the Normal/OfficeXP/Flat theme placeholders are still there for that future expansion work.

Anyway, most all of the work that I'm doing right now is low-level work that you won't really see in the UI. The new TreeView looks just like the old one, and if all goes well, it should work the same except without the bugs and crashes.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:46 pm   
 
Damn, I got into the office this morning to find my computer sitting at the "Error, cannot load Windows" black screen. I turned the power off and on and was able to get the computer to boot. But after working for an hour or so, I am starting to get disk error notifications from my main Vista system disk. Looks like a disk is failing.

So now I have booted back into Windows XP so that the Vista disk isn't being used and I'm creating an image backup of the Vista disk. Looks like I get to spend the day buying a new disk and restoring the system. This is *not* what I planned to work on today!! Damn computers.
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Rorso
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Joined: 14 Oct 2000
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:01 pm   
 
Zugg wrote:

So now I have booted back into Windows XP so that the Vista disk isn't being used and I'm creating an image backup of the Vista disk. Looks like I get to spend the day buying a new disk and restoring the system. This is *not* what I planned to work on today!! Damn computers.

You might want to get something like http://www.seagate.com/freeagent/ so you can make frequent backups. I just got one and it is very handy with external drive :-).
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Fang Xianfu
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Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:45 pm   
 
Drive issues are horrible :(

I've just bought a new computer (c2d e8500, 2gb ddr3, gf 8800gts 512) but I kept the old hard drives (I have about 700GB of data I don't want to lose). Everything works absolutely fine except when I try to watch some of the videos I keep on one of my disks - if I try and do anything with it, poof, windows hangs. I've eliminated practically every possibility except drive problems (or something with the motherboard itself), neither of which is encouraging.

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Guinn
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:25 pm   
 
Ouch, 2GB DDR3? I'd have gone for 4GB DDR2 for cheaper.
Grabbed a Q6600 (@3.2GHz), 4GB DDR2 and an 8800GT 512 a few weeks back. Soooo much faster than my old Athlon 3200XP
</derail>

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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 12:00 am   
 
See, all of this talk of new computers was just a jinx ;)

After going to 3 different stores, I finally found the disk that I wanted. I didn't want to pay a fortune for a huge drive. 750GB is just too big for the Vista system drive in my opinion, and I didn't want to spend $200 on it. Circuit City was having a sale on Western Digital 250GB drives for $79, but they were out of stock until the 3rd store that I tried. So it took me two hours just to get the drive. They had better prices on Seagate Barracuda drives, but I've had two of those die in the past, so I try to stick with WD drives.

Got home, opened up the computer to put in the drive and found that I didn't have any more SATA power ports left. So I had to go *back* to the computer store to get a molex->Sata power adapter cable. Got back and installed the drive. Then the computer wouldn't boot.

Maybe you remember this computer...it's the one that just beeps 7 times when you try to turn it on. This has happened before. In fact, it seems to happen whenever I open this case. After fiddling with it work a while, I found that when the PCI cards are screwed down, it actually causes the back end of the card to lift up a bit and make poor connections. In other words, this motherboard doesn't fit or mount properly in this case. Once I unscrewed the PCI cards, especially the video card, then it booted. The first time it booted, the new USB card was not recognized, so I had to unscrew it too and then reboot.

I've gotten so sick of working on this POS computer that I just went to Newegg and put in an order for a new motherboard, case, CPU and video card. This current computer is a couple of years old and was the "emergency replacement" computer that I got when the last one died. I got it at a local computer shop and I've never been happy with it. I didn't like that it only had 2 SATA ports (requiring an additional PCI card), and didn't have USB 2.0 slots (requiring another PCI card).

The new motherboard is a Gigabyte, which is the company that makes the motherboard that I got last year for my DIY gaming rig downstairs. I was *really* happy with Gigabyte (much better that my experience with ASUS), so I got another one. The 2GB of DDR2 memory that I already have is relatively new and will also work on the new motherboard, and the new motherboard has 4 memory slots instead of just 2, so I'll be able to expand the RAM again in the future.

I also like that the new motherboard has onboard audio that is Vista compatible, so I can toss another PCI slot which had an old Creative card that wasn't Vista compatible.

The new case has 3 120mm fans, and is designed for quiet operation. So that should take care of all of the heat problems that I've been having. And the new CPU will make Vista run faster. Total cost for the new system was about $500. The exact parts are: Antec P182 ATX case, GIGABYTE GA-M57SLI-S4 AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 SLI MCP ATX AMD Motherboard, MD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ Windsor 3.0GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM2 125W Dual-Core Processor , and MSI NX8600GT-T2D256E OC GeForce 8600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 SLI Supported Video Card. I should get it in about 3 days and will then need to put it together this weekend. It should be faster than my current AMD 3100+ and ATI 1600 video card, which will make Vista a lot less painful. It will probably be faster than my gaming rig that I built last year, but I'm trying hard not to think about that ;)

Meanwhile, back on the current computer. It is still formatting and copying the Vista partition. Rorso: I already use something called Acronis True Image, which is a great product. So I have nightly backups, and they do a combination of image backup and file backup, so you can easily restore individual files, or restore an entire partition. It is very fast and performs good compression. I can't say enough good things about this particular software...it has saved me numerous times. But I made a more recent backup this morning instead of using last-nights backup.

In theory, it's possible that the Vista disk errors are left over from the Vista disk formatting issues that I had last year when I installed Vista (see the older blog article about that). So when I'm done with the image copy and have the system working again, I'm going to do a low-level format of the old Vista disk and see if I can use it for other storage. I just didn't want to risk this with the main Vista system disk.

I'm still convinced that most of my problems over time have been caused by overheating. So the new case should really help with that. But this was the first time that I pinned down the flaky booting problems to poorly seated PCI cards, and that was just the last straw with me.

Kind of sad when the blog thread about Vista results in getting a new computer upgrade. I'm sure that's just what Microsoft had in mind all along ;)
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Rainchild
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Joined: 10 Oct 2000
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 1:36 am   
 
You really don't have much luck with your systems do you Zugg. I'd be tempted to tell you just to buy a Dell with a 3 year next-business-day-onsite-warranty. Make fixing it their problem when something goes wrong!

It sounds super dodgy that screwed-in cards started losing contact, heh. As a DIY computer builder I typically buy gigabyte boards, thermaltake cases (though I've had some woes there too), corsair ram, seagate drives (I've never had failure issues with any of my seagates), and intel chips (I had an AMD for a while, but ran into compatibility troubles with it so have gone back to the intel camp).

In other news, the final version of Vista SP1 has just been released to MSDN/Technet subscribers, so now may be a good time to get your hands on it if you're already reloading your system up, rather than facing SP1 woes in the middle of a dev cycle in a couple of months when they force it out via windows update.

Good luck with the upgrade anyway :)
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 2:04 am   
 
Sigh...Vista won't boot the new disk. When I run Vista Repair from the original disk (and then install the SATA drivers), it still doesn't detect that Vista is already installed on the disk, even though I can browse the disk for driver files! So the disk is there, formatted, and online. But Vista Repair doesn't detect that it is a valid Vista disk! Microsoft, what the hell are you doing???!!!

OK, I Googled and found someone else with a similar problem. They recommended a program called EasyBCD to fix the Vista boot loader. I can still boot the WinXP partition, so I downloaded EasyBCD and tried to run it. But it requires the latest version of .NET!!

So I go to Windows Update...please install ActiveX component...please wait..."we have improved our software" (yeah right) Please install new version of Windows Update...please wait...Please install the Windows Validation Tool (come on Microsoft, quit it with all of this crap!)...please wait...Please install these 64 Required Updates to your system!

Yes, it's been a couple of months since I booted XP and ran Update (because I've been using Vista). But come on, this is ridiculous. This is exactly one of the reasons that I HATE .NET SOFTWARE! There is no need for this kind of trouble. Especially since I already had a pretty recent version of .NET on this computer. I hope EasyBCD doesn't end up telling me that it only runs on Vista (that would be a big catch-22).

Anyway, I'm still waiting for the 64 XP updates to finish installing. But this is getting *really* aggravating.

And no, I have horrible luck with computer systems. Of course, looking back at the blog, this computer is actually 3 years old. The old computer died in January of 2005. And 3 years just seems to be the limit of reliability these days. I'd just get a Dell like you suggested, but then when something went wrong I'd have to ship it off and wait for it to get repaired and returned, and I just can't handle that kind of downtime. And honestly, I'd never trust any vendor or computer shop to actually fix the problem without wiping out all of the user data. Wiping out a disk and reformatting and reinstalling Windows seems to be what many computer repair shops do these days.

Edited: Oh, sorry, I see you said "onsite warranty". Missed that the first time I read it. Sounds expensive though. The local computer shop charges $75/hr and at that rate, it's cheaper to buy a new computer these days. Don't know how much Dell charges, but I had such a great success building my own gaming rig last year that I think I'll stick with that. Honestly, the computers I have built myself have a much better reliability record than the computers that I've bought. Although I'm not going to buy anything else (other than a cable or something simple) from our local computer shop since everything that I've gotten from them has eventually died sooner than it should.

Of course, our economic system doesn't reward anybody for reliability these days. Why sell a reliable computer when you can sell a less-reliable system for less money and then have it die in a couple of years forcing them to buy a new computer (or most anything else that seems to fit this lack of quality trend).

I'm not an MSDN member, so I don't have access to Vista SP1. So I'll have to wait for it to show up on Windows Update.
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Fang Xianfu
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 2:16 am   
 
Guinn wrote:
Ouch, 2GB DDR3? I'd have gone for 4GB DDR2 for cheaper.

Don't diss - 4gb is excessive. I've been running Crysis on max settings all day and the 2gb hasn't minded at all. That's at 1680x1050 on my new 24" monitor too :D (only 150 on dabs - I highly recommend) The main draw is that the timing matches the fsb/cpu clock - I think it's working out better overall.

Also, 750gb drives - they're an utter skank. 40-50 for 250GB, 60-70 for 500GB, 105-115 for 750GB? I think they must've held that price meeting on Friday afternoon. I'm going to keep buying 500GBs until the price per gig comes down - my new case has 5xlarge bays and 7xsmall - I won't run out of space any time soon!

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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:22 am   
 
XP crashed halfway through the updates. When I tried to reboot, I didn't get my normal "select XP or Vista boot menu". I just got some junk like:

1234EF:

or something like that. Just some hex prompt. So I thought something had corrupted the boot record. I tried running Vista Repair to get to the DOS Prompt to use the BOOTREC and BOOTSECT tools, but that didn't help. I then thought that I'd just do a regular Vista install to a new partition just to restore the boot stuff, but when I tried to install Vista, it notified me that the Vista UPGRADE can ONLY be run from within WINDOWS XP.

MICROSOFT!!! THIS IS CRAP! Why can't it search the disk for my existing Windows XP partition? I've now got myself into a catch-22. I cannot install Vista without XP. And since my XP CD is also an "upgrade" disk, I can't install it without Windows 95/98/2000. So what am I supposed to do, install Windows 98, then XP, then Vista? Even though there is an XP partition already on this disk? Just because the MBR or boot loader is screwed up? This is ridiculous!!

I finally tried using the Repair option on my WinXP disk just to get into XP. This has allowed me to boot my computer into XP again. Now I'm installing the rest of the Updates along with .NET 2.0 so that I can run EASYBCD and try to fix the boot record for good so that I can try to boot into Vista again.

But all of this is just ridiculous. And I am still really pissed off about this whole Vista Upgrade disk issue. And I'm not about to shell out hundreds of dollars for a non-upgrade Vista disk. I'll switch to Mac or Linux before I do that.

This is getting worse and worse. I have no idea why Windows Update crashed in the middle, and I have no idea how my boot record got screwed up. But I just went and added 4GB of RAM (Guinn was correct that it's just as cheap as 2GB these days). Corsair XMS of course. Because now I don't trust *anything* that is in this current computer box. For all I know it's a memory issue that is causing all this trouble.

It's very possible that this computer has gotten too flaky to do any work on at all. In which case I'm not going to be able to do any programming work until the new computer is built. Might be time to start trying to get Delphi 2007 installed and working on this laptop. I'm going to need to do it sooner or later so that I can program "on the road".
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Rainchild
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 4:34 am   
 
Yeah, I get tired debugging computer troubles. Last year I went out and bought a SATA controller so I could toss out my old ATA drives in my server. The SATA card came with a floppy disk containing drivers. FLOPPY DISK!!! I had to rummage through storage boxes to find one of those. Then I wanted to turn off the RAID part of the controller (because Windows 2003 has its own RAID built in at the OS level). So eventually I figure out if I put the card in "JBOD" mode that should work. Then I go and install Windows and, what's that? Bluescreen! So it turns out that they sold me a card that isn't compatible with my older AMD hardware. I take that back, get a new card. Oh whoops, that one doesn't have 2003 drivers. So I take that one back, shell out an extra $150 to buy a "Promise" controller rather than the cheaper ones and finally get it all working but it took 3 days to do what should have been a 2 hour kinda job!

Anyway, that's enough of me ranting :D

On the topic of Dell, I don't know how it is in the USA, but here in Australia you pay an extra $100ish when you buy the computer (or $250ish for a laptop) and they give you a 3 year next-day onsite warranty including insurance against accidents! My friend's dog chewed off some keys on his Dell laptop, the next day the technician had replaced the keyboard with a brand new one! Sometimes there are things which aren't field-repairable where they may take your computer away with them, but for 95% of problems they will fix it while you watch. Certainly now days I make novice computer using friends buy from Dell just because of the warranty since it means less headaches for me (in the past I'd build them a system out of components, but that always ended up with me having to fix something when they broke it).

It's probably not as true in your case (since you work from home most of the time) but I decided to retire my desktop and do everything on the laptop and connect monitor/keyboard when I was at my desk. Just a convenience thing really, I don't have to maintain 2-3 copies of all my programming tools, everquest, email, etc since the one machine does all, very convenient for "on the road", "at the home office", "at work's office" and "on the couch in front of the TV" :D
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Zugg
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Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 4:37 am   
 
I got EASYBCD to run. It fixed the boot entry for Vista (was pointing to "unknown partition". changed it to point to correct new disk). This time, the Vista reboot started, but then hung in the middle. Also couldn't do a "safe" boot either. So something is still screwed up. All I can think of is that the image backup/restore backed up some corrupted data.

But now that I can boot into XP again, I can reinstall Vista. Then I can try copying over the individual files from my backup. Then at least I might be able to get Vista to do a "repair" install. I still don't know why the Vista disk doesn't show up in the Repair list...the SATA Driver is loaded, and I can browse the files on the disk. But it doesn't show up as a repairable disk for Vista. Microsoft is obviously doing something else stupid to screw over it's customers.

Anyway, I'm now in the middle of doing a full reformat of the new disk again. Then I'll install Vista to the clean disk. Once I can boot Vista, then I'll try copying over the backup files so that I don't have to spend the next week reinstalling all of my applications (again!).

This is getting worse and worse.
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 4:45 am   
 
Heh...Ninja post ;)

That's a good price for Dell onsite support. Definitely something to consider in the future. I can't do all of my work on my laptop. I need a *real* keyboard, and I need my dual 19" widescreen monitor support. The laptop is for on-the-road programming and demos, but I can't really do 12+ hours of programming on it like I can with my desktop. The other advantage of getting the laptop setup in D2007 is that it gives me a "hot" backup system. I had this with XP, but not with Vista. I can't put Vista on this laptop, but I *can* install Delphi 2007, which might be all I need (and then I just copy over all of the 3rd party components that I upgraded).

And don't get me started on this SATA nonsense. How Microsoft can release a "modern" updated Operating System like Vista without built-in SATA driver support is beyond me. I was in the same boat as you with needing a floppy drive. Fortunately, my desktop system is the only system in my house that still has a floppy. So it hasn't been a problem today. But last year when I built my gaming system, I had to go borrow a floppy just to get Windows Media Center installed (which has the same SATA driver issues as Vista).

IDE drives used to be so much easier. Of course, there was always BIOS trouble with the latest big disks. But at least you didn't need special drivers just to install Windows. I don't know why the people who came up with the SATA protocol didn't come up with a *standard* for the driver that would work with anyone's controller card, especially for non-RAID disks. I understand that everybody wants to make their own RAID protocols, but non-RAID SATA disks should be standardized. It has certainly made hardware upgrades and software installs a *lot* more complicated. And one of these days, those idiots are going to realize that many systems don't have floppy disk drives anymore!

Anyway, I'm still livid at the amount of time I have wasted on this today. As I said above, I am *really* close to just giving up on all of this until my new computer gets here.
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 6:49 am   
 
Well, bad news. Something is definitely wrong with this computer. It seems to be stuck in the middle of doing the standard Vista install to this new disk. It is installing *very* slowly compared to last time. I suppose it's possible that this new disk is bad...but it passed the full XP formatting (regular format, not "quick') without any problems.

Or maybe it's the motherboard or this SATA controller. Who knows. I'm going to leave the Vista install running overnight to see if it finishes. It's at the point of "installing updates", so maybe it's a network problem with the Microsoft site. I had Windows Update problems earlier, so maybe their update site is messed up today, or overloaded.

If it hasn't finished in the morning, then I'm going to call it quits until the new hardware arrives.

Can't believe this morning I was using this computer just fine and now I can't even do a fresh Vista install to a clean partition. I've double and triple checked the PCI connections that were causing problems before and they all look fine. But maybe the disk error wasn't actually the disk but was the controller or motherboard dying. In any case, I'll have brand new hardware in 3 days, or perhaps 2 if NewEgg is as fast as they sometimes are.

Anyway, sorry for all of this. I know everyone was looking forward to a CMUD release this week, but I doubt that will happen. I'd really much rather be working on CMUD than all of this Vista crap.
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Arlie
Wanderer


Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 62
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 9:04 am   
 
I'd definitely call it hardware crap as opposed to Vista crap; thus far it sounds entirely like hardware trouble to me :P Sorry to hear you're having a bad time of it mate. Computers: can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. Every couple of years you have that annoying problem that takes a few days to fix in return for the few years of decent work you get out of your machine. Pretty cyclical.
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