My laptop is back from service

After the RAM failure I procrastinated for two weeks before sending the laptop to service and then it took a month (including Christmas and stuff) to get it back. After service they tried to return it to the wrong address by changing the first letter in the street name from S to T and dropping the first digit in the street number. Weird.

According to the notes they only changed “planar” (motherboard in ThinkPad lingo, I think) and “palm rest” but the latter looks the same to me. I just hope that everything works so I don’t have to send it again.

Update I inserted the hard disk, booted memest86 from the grub menu and let it run a few tests. After that I pressed Esc to exit memtest and it said “Halting” but it didn’t shutdown so I powered off. Booting again never lights up the screen! I did see that the display problem was not fixed though. Pretty annoying.

Update 2 next morning The screen lit up properly and the laptop tried PXE boot as I had removed the hard disk drive again. I need to investigate further.

I found a compatible USB memory stick!

Yesterday I mananged to jailbreak the Xbox with a Splinter Cell save game found in a file called! I used a 2 GB SanDisk Cruzer Micro without U3 support. (USB vendor id and product id 0781:5151.)

Let’s see when I get time to install XBMC and connect a network cable between the Xbox and my file server.

I also upgraded my file server to FreeBSD 7.1-RELEASE yesterday, nice!

Problems connecting USB storage device to Xbox

I’ve been looking for a media center to get rid of the rising pile of DVD movies belonging to my 2.5 year old son. I was pretty close to buy a Popcorn Hour A-100 but a friend suggested XBMC Media Center and it sounded like a fun project.

On Monday I bought a used Xbox (449 SEK at GameStop, about €41) with SplinterCell (59 SEK) and on Tuesday I bought a soldering iron, two Xbox extension cables (one spare) and a USB extension cable in order to create an Xbox USB cable for connecting normal USB devices to the Xbox. I also bought a silent fan and a cheap Dremel clone for a future project: replace the noisy Xbox fan.

Unfortunately I have not been able to get any USB storage device working with my Xbox and home-made cable, but I will keep trying…

PC Magazine and Dr. Dobb’s Journal are going web-only

Or: web killed the paper star?

From The 2008 Media Inflection: Meet Dr. Web, the New Gorilla by Herb Sutter:

  • As of January 2009: PC Magazine is going “digital only.” After the January issue, the print magazine will disappear. Instead, the content will appear exclusively on the web.
  • As of January 2009: Dr. Dobb’s Journal is permanently suspending print publication and going web-only. Some of the content will be available as a new “Dr. Dobb’s Report” section of InformationWeek.

I hope that at least IEEE and ACM keep printing their magazines, or I would not have anything meaningful to read at the hairdresser or in the dentist’s waiting room.