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ECS RC410L/800-M Motherboard BIOS Hell

Posted in General | Vista at Wednesday, November 29, 2006 1:03 PM Pacific Standard Time

My youngest brother-in-law Boogs has a computer that I helped him to build. We have been trying to upgrade it with Windows Vista since RC1 was released but we always ended up with a BSOD. Today I spend some time trying to troubleshoot it and figured out the problem was with the ECS RC410L motherboard. ECS has a BIOS upgrade available on their website so I downloaded it and installed it with their utility. Everything went perfectly, the utility said everything was correct, and we rebooted. After the reboot we were greeted with a message telling us the date/time was not set and to hit F1. I hit F1, set the date/time and other important options and hit F10 to save and exit. Nothing. Hmmm. Clear the CMOS, system boots up, date/time not set, try setting only the date/time. Nothing. Try setting 100 different options different ways. Nothing.

Looks like I'm not the only one with this issue: http://forums.hexus.net/showthread.php?t=83863.

So I contact tech support, tell them my issue, point out that other people have the same issue, and I get the same cut/paste response:

Dear Valued Customer:

If the system doesn't bootup normally after the BIOS flash, the BIOS might have been corrupted, flash with a wrong file or was unsuccessful. Try clearing the CMOS jumper for at least 10 second with AC source unplug, longer time will allow the current or the memory to drain completely, reboot the system. If the system won't bootup on a floppy to re-program the BIOS then you need to contact your vendor for help recovering the BIOS.

Thank you for using ECS products

ECSUSA Technical Support

Now I'm no hardware expert (I used to do a lot of system building, but like Scott those skills have atrophied and I haven't kept up), but how do you clear the CMOS with the AC unplugged? I tried doing this just to test it out and it does nothing. From my experience you need to set the CMOS clearing jumper and turn on the PC with power for it to be cleared (nothing visible happens until you remove the jumper). Anyhow, I already ordered a new motherboard from Newegg and it is not an ECS motherboard as I'm guessing they will not be replacing the board for me. You can bet that I'll never buy an ECS motherboard again nor recommend thier products to anyone based on this really poor customer service. So if you're thinking about buying an ECS product, think again.

Technorati Tags: ECS, Hardware

Vista RTM Thoughts

Posted in Vista at Friday, November 17, 2006 10:24 AM Pacific Standard Time

I installed Vista RTM on my laptop last night and like Sam Gentile, I felt pretty let down. I had a similar experience:

  • NVidia driver didn't install and I was in VGA mode which generated an experience index of 1.
  • I was able to install the driver using windows update which solved the problem after I manually switched to the areo theme.
  • I don't see any UI extras either, in fact the startup screen is still just a plain bar which I thought for sure they would finish in RTM
  • Since installing it I've had more crashes than the entire time I used Pre-RC1/RC1/RC2.
  • The new sounds are nice, but they didn't update the most annoying windows sound: the IE navigate sound.

I don't know what happened, but I am suffering from the same underwhelmedness as Sam. I not even sure if/when I'm going to upgrade my desktop.


Strangely Quiet

Posted in Vista at Thursday, November 16, 2006 6:38 AM Pacific Standard Time

Have you ever played the thumbs game? You might to take a look around to make sure you're not missing out on something big. :)

Update: If you haven't figured it out, Vista is up on MSDN for downloading. I've got my copy so you can start downloading now.

.NET 3.0 Released!!!

Posted in WF | WCF | .NET | WPF at Monday, November 6, 2006 9:14 AM Pacific Standard Time

Via ActiveWin:

The Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 is the new managed code programming model for Windows®. It combines the power of the .NET Framework version 2.0 with new technologies for building applications that have visually compelling user experiences, seamless communication across technology boundaries, and the ability to support a wide range of business processes. These new technologies are Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Communication Foundation, Windows Workflow Foundation, and Windows CardSpace. The .NET Framework 3.0 is included as part of the Windows Vista™ operating system; you can install it or uninstall it using Windows Features Control Panel. This redistributable package is for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

The download to the redistributable package is here. Looks like the final release! The final version of the SDK has also been released here.

So we have the final versions of everything .NET 3.0 except the VS extensions for WCF and WPF. Very cool!

Technorati Tags: WPF, WCF, WF

Team Data CTP7 Released

Posted in at Thursday, November 2, 2006 11:24 AM Pacific Standard Time

From the Team Data Blog:

Please follow this link to get our final CTP before release! Please be sure to read my post from yesterday, and be sure to check out Gert's post for more lower level details about the CTP.


As Sachin Rekhi says, be sure to read Cameron’s blog post before you get started. The team fixed my biggest complaint in the last release, and this release fixes even more things plus changes the requirements. I think the product is looking really good and I can't wait for the actual release so that it will no longer be beta software. If you do any database development work, be sure to give it a try.

Another New Notebook Mouse

Posted in Gadgets | Vista at Thursday, November 2, 2006 11:13 AM Pacific Standard Time

My last mouse purchase was a real flop. The seem to be well designed, but for some reason when I would plug it into the usb ports on the right side of my M5 it would only work about 10% of the time, but when I used the left side usb port it would always work. Kind of annoying, but not a deal breaker. However, Logitech still hasn't provided the Vista drivers for it so you don't get any usage from all the cool extra buttons. So when I found out the new Microsoft Wireless Notebook Presenter Mouse 8000 was available I went out and bought it.

In the two months that I had the Logitech mouse, I never got a single comment on it. The first day I had the Microsoft mouse I had people asking me what kind of mouse it was and where I got it from. It is definately a nice looking mouse, size is right, and the features are great. I played around with using the mouse as my presenter with power point today and it worked very well. It also would work great as a remote control while watching movies or listening to music since you can play/pause, navigate, and control the volume all from up to 30 ft away. If your laptop has bluetooth then you don't loose a USB port which is nice. The mouse is well designed in that there is a presentation button on top that puts the mouse into and out of presentation mode which turns on the bottom buttons and turns off the normal mouse features. My only complaint so far is that the clicking is squeaky. I guess this is a common Microsoft Mouse problem.

Look for a Logitech VX to be listed on ebay real soon. :)

Note: If you want to use all the features with Windows Vista you will need to be on the beta program so that you can get access to Intellipoint 6.1 (which doesn't list this mouse during setup, but just choose a random mouse and then change it after you're done with the install, it is there).

SharePoint 2007 Beta Exams Available

Posted in SharePoint | Certifications at Thursday, November 2, 2006 6:05 AM Pacific Standard Time

You can sign up for them on the Vue website:

  • 071-630 TS: Configuring Microsoft® Office SharePoint® Server 2007
  • 071-631 TS: Configuring Microsoft® Windows® SharePoint® Services 3.0

The exam dates are from 11/7/06 through 11/20/06. The exam promo codes are BET630 and BET631. Good luck!