Friday, March 25, 2011

PunkBuster Handshake failures

I started getting "PunkBuster kicked player ... Restriction: Service Communication Failure: PnkBstrB.exe handshaking failed" errors after a minute or two of Battlefield 1942 online game play which resulted in me getting kicked from the server. (I was kicked before that with an error message about loosing key packets.) This started occurring about a week ago and after some research it looks to be caused by Microsoft Security Essentials.

If you are getting this error and are running Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) you just need to exclude the entire battlefield directory from MSE to get PunkBuster running again. To do that:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Limit or Delete Windows Shadow Copy Service - Free up HD space

I got a notification that one my Windows Servers was running low on hard drive (HD) space which was concerning since it had a HD of about 70GB. After a quick search of the drive with WinDirStat I couldn't figure out why despite having about 21GB of used space the drive was registering less than 4GB free. Where was that extra 45GB of space and how was it missing?

Enter Volume Shadow Copy Service. I opened a command prompt and typed: vssadmin list shadowstorage and my Allocated Shadow Copy Storage space was about 45GB.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Intel 120GB X25-M SATA Solid State Drive Benchmarks

A few weeks ago I beefed up my desktop computer by adding an Intel 120GB X25-M Solid State Drive (SSD) model number: SSDSA2MH120G2K5. I found the Intel drive on Amazon for about $200 and since the reviews were amazing I purchased it. Previously my desktop had a platter based Western Digital 1TB hard drive which I've now made my backup drive.

As I've done previously with my MacBook Air's SSD and a coworker's MacBook Pro SSD I've done some benchmarking on the 120GB X25-M SSD drive. To give you some background on the drive here's what SSD Life had to say about my new drive:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What I Use: Chris Kenst's Gear @ Home

I really liked the Lifehacker series What We Use where Lifehacker's editors write about the hardware and software they use on a regular basis, so I thought I'd do it myself. Only I’ve split it up into two sections. What I Use: My Gear @ Home and What I Use: My Gear @ Work. They really are two separate and interesting places. At work I’m a software tester. At home, I’m a technology enthusiast, blogger, scuba diver and still a software tester!


Hardware
Desktops & Laptops:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

HL-DT-ST DVD+-RW GH50N DVD Drive not working on Windows 7 Code 19

Sometime very recently my Dell T3500 desktop lost the ability to access it's CD/ DVD Burner drive. I don't know exactly how it occurred but I noticed it today and managed to find a workaround to fix it. (The only things I've installed today were a Windows Update for Security Essentials and two Apple Updates for Safari and iTunes / Quicktime.)

My T3500 has a DVD Burner with the model number: HL-DT-ST DVD+-RW GH50N. I located this information in Device Manager. When I tried letting Windows 7 update the driver it gave me a Code 19 error message which means the driver information in the registry is missing or damaged. To fix this problem you need to delete the registry key and uninstall the driver.

Here's what I did to fix it:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

TEDTalks: Salman Khan on reinventing Education

This is an awesome video by Salman Khan of the Khan Academy on reinventing education using the same techniques he's pioneered online. In essence flipping he traditional school model on its head by having kids learn at their own pace in the classroom, with the students helping each other and the teachers tracking progress and showing them how to apply the fundamentals. Kids use the videos to master basic subjects and teachers see instant tracking via dashboards on each students progress.

Check out the video:

Friday, March 4, 2011

A disappointing 2011 MacBook Pro refresh

This past week Apple released their new MacBook Pro (MBP) lineup after a little less than a year since the previous refresh. The new MacBook Pro's include an Intel Core i7 processor, a new more powerful graphics processor and a "thunderbolt" port.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

TedTalks: Bill Gates on Energy

I just watched this TedTalks video via Hulu on "Bill Gates on Energy: Innovating to Zero!" It's a pretty interesting lecture and shows another area where Bill Gates is putting his money. Check it out:



I've read a few articles in the Wall Street Journal about modular nuclear energy and there seems to be quite a bit of potential. Innovation in the nuclear arena has been missing for decades but this is simple: build smaller nuclear reactors (they produce about 1/10th the power of regular reactors) and install them in existing nuclear sites or coal sites when they extinguish their life (or become obsolete due to emission control). The benefit of smaller reactors is less danger of explosions (no big reactors wiping out cities), lower manufacturing costs, faster construction times and less emissions.

Here are some of the articles I've read:
Small Reactors Generate Big Hopes
America's New Nuclear Option

Just food for thought.