Monday, July 21, 2008

HP notebook returned, dev is back on!

I received my HP notebook back last week, and short of finishing replastering and repainting my bathroom the next few weekends I can spend time again developing software on this schedule.

Unfortunately my notebook is a DV9000 series (DV9233eu to be precise) which has a known design fault that kills the wifi and then the GPU part of the northbridge on the mainboard. The winning combo known to be the cause of the problem is a Geforce GPU and an AMD processor, which probably covers some 30-40% of the notebooks HP have made in the last 3 years

HP replaced the mainboard with (I believe) one of the same revision.

At least it was free - HP agreed to extend my one year warranty by another year for this fault free of charge, and I'm in the UK (no visible recall/extended warranty programme here unlike the US).

HP were very fast (4 working days turnaround) and dealt with the entire thing via email. It's just a shame that the dozy courier gave my laptop to a complete stranger at my work to sign for (hundreds of employees). Luckily it still found its way to me because of a note with my name on I left on the notebook (see below)

The way I see it, if the HP breaks again with the same fault, I'll buy a Dell, otherwise HP will get my money. I think that's fair.

Oh and one more thing - if you send HP your notebook without the hard disk tell the HP contact before you send it and leave a paper note on the machine to the effect that you have confidential client data on it and had to remove it. The HP contact told me that the engineers sometimes refuse to fix them without a hard disk so she had to add a case note on the system and recommended I add the paper note! The engineers also did not do any QA on the return checklist citing "N/A no hard disk" - do they not even have a boot CD?!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Aerofoil 1.4.3 - Small Update

The version of Aerofoil I have has been updated a few weeks ago, but since my laptop broke I didn't get to test it much. I've decided to release it this evening anyway, since it seems stable enough. There are no new features just small improvements in the way it works and particularly the size - it is now just 23K! (albeit the .Net framework still makes the running process much larger I still think this is the smallest utility of its kind!)

  • Smaller file size (23K)

  • Removal of duplicate embedded Aerofoil logo

  • Optimization of the Aerofoil logo

  • Fewer lines of code, few extra code comments

  • Removal of "dangling pointers" (not a problem really as this is mostly managed code - just good practice)

  • Removed a couple of obvious "intermediate" objects (but doesn't affect code readability)

  • Updated to use C# generics (tut I should have done this in the first place)

Download Aerofoil 1.4.3

Source Code for Aerofoil 1.4.3

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Delays for Gesture Magic 1.1/Vampire Castle 1.0

Rather annoyingly my main development laptop died on Friday, and I've got a heavy cold so no work is getting done. The laptop is going into HP for repair and I'll document the procedure and how I got an extension to my 1 year warranty when I get the machine back (I don't want to curse it!)

In the meantime I'm setting up my old XP machine to do development work, this is a long haul measure since I'm anticipating HP may take some time to get back to me.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Free and legal commercial games

A lot of people aren't aware that there are some games that can still be found on sale that are have been given away free by their respective owners. I'm not talking about grey abandonware*, but genuinely free games. Here's a list of those that are reasonably popular and where to get them.

Grand Theft Auto
Grand Theft Auto 2
Wild Metal
MechCommander Gold (Expansion pack)
MechCommander 2
Command & Conquer
Railroad Tycoon

Another bigger list (doesn't have some of the above) is also available on wikipedia

* Note Mechcommander/Gold is a tiny possible grey area - Microsoft gave away Mechcommander 2 officially, but I can't find mention of the older editions, however all MechCommanders are hosted at, and I'm sure MS would have busted them by now had it not been official!