International support in Windows 2000

We’ve had many requests for better international language support in our labs, especially in our graduate halls. Many years ago, I tried and miserably failed to get something going with Windows NT 4.0 and Internet Explorer 5.01. In the last couple years, we’ve gotten international fonts working in Internet Explorer 6 sp1 (and Mozilla/Firebird/Firefox) without too much trouble.

This year, we’ve made some pretty good headway using some good documentation from Microsoft. While some of it is straight forward, figuring out which of the many locale ids/Input Locale combinations correspond to what is not. For example 0804:00000804 is Chinese_PRC with the US keyboard, while 0804:e00e0804 is Chinese_PRC with the PinYin IME. Thanks to this page, I know I need the second one to be able to enter Chinese characters. Chinese_Hong Kong was similar, with the first being a US keyboard and 0404:e0080404 being the one with the IME. Japanese and Korean both install IMEs without anything special.

As for AutoCAD 2005 that I mentioned earlier, it seems to be working pretty well, but the multiple install server support is still untested.

Next up is testing somewhere besides our limited test machines.

Media Bias?

There’s a liberal bias in the media? Then explain the picture next to the AP analysis of John Kerry’s latest ad.
I’ll venture a guess that one for Dubya wouldn’t show a picture of him choking on popcorn or vacationing in Texas.

Update: Looks like this was just a one day thing, but why pick some shots of Kerry water skiing?


On Friday night, after driving to my parents house and then on to Hoopeston (to eat), the Honda decides it doesn’t like it’s original battery anymore. My parents jumped me from their Honda, drive over to the grandparents house and see my aunt for several hours. Playing poker at 10:30 pm, so my parents were nice enough to let me drive their car, and they took mine. It even started using the headlight trick. Saturday morning, Dad hooks it up to the roll around battery charger, and nothing. Oh well, it’s got 7+ years and 67,500 miles on it, more than you could expect from most things anymore. I’ll drive it back to Champaign and run to AutoZone in the truck and pick up a new battery, no big deal. Broke even at poker, got to sleep at 2 am.

Dad has been slowly fixing up his loader tractor, an Oliver 1755, replacing parts here and there to get it to run better and start more reliably. He noticed that there was no fuel filter, even though the shop manual said there should be one inline after the sediment bowl. Looking at the fuel line routing, it seemed like we could get one in there with some creative thinking. We ran over to John Deere in Hoopeston and picked up one for a 3020 Deere, came in a CarQuest box, so I’m sure it’s probably just a standard part. Once we got back, we cut out a couple chunks of the steel fuel line and slipped in the filter, not too tough, but it took quite a bit longer than we thought it was going to. It started easier and ran better than it has in almost as long as I can remember.

Next, we went over to Fred’s house and picked some sweetcorn for me to bring back, and he gave us a whole bunch of jalapeno peppers. Guess I’ll be bringing most of those in to work to give away. Then we went home and had lunch. During lunch, mom happened to get up to get a soda from the fridge in the garage and looked out at the shed door. Sitting there next to the door was a groundhog. Of course, he chose to run IN to the shed. We spent 15 minutes finding him, and the dog finally tipped us off that it was under a pallet with dual wheels stacked on top of it. And, without moving a bunch of stuff, there was no way to get the forklift to the pallet. We managed to tip the first wheel off without too much trouble, but on picking up the bottom wheel, dad dislocated his pinky finger. After that, we spent some time beating on and trying to chase the groundhog. He didn’t want to leave the pallet, probably didn’t help that the dog was barking and biting at him. After a bit of stabbing and prodding, we decided to lift up the wheel and pull out the pallet. That worked, but he ran the wrong way, back into the shed. The dog cornered it again, and we ending up having to stab the groundhog and kill it to get rid of it. Haven’t heard how dad’s finger turned out yet, they were headed to the emergency room as I headed back to Champaign.

Changing the battery went smooth, $49 later it’s got a new economy battery with a 1 year free replacement warranty and a 6 year prorated warranty.

And now I’m at work because one of our SDLT librarys decided it didn’t like life anymore late last night. Hopefully the firmware and driver updates for the SCSI interface card will fix that.

Lab Progress

I got quite a bit accomplished for our lab rollouts today: upgrade to MatLab Release 14 and a good start on AutoCAD 2005.
MatLab has to be one of the easiest installs ever: it runs just fine off a read only share on a server and needs no files outside of what’s in that directory.
AutoCAD has been a serious pain in the past, but this year seems to be better, with baked in support for network share based installs, very similar to Office 2000/2003. Now I just need to make it work with our multiple distribution servers model, but I think I’ve got a way to do that.

And a random bit of news: Drug companies are pushing doctors to prescribe drugs people don’t really need?

Fahrenheit 9/11

I took off from work a few minutes early this afternoon, headed over to the Art Theatre and caught a showing of Fahrenheit 9/11. I have to agree with Ardvaark that it’s not going to change anyones mind, but I have to hold some hope that it will.
The scenes of war are probably the most powerful parts of the movie, showing just a glimpse of the horror that will be in the memories of soldiers for many years to come.
The one question I have for George W. Bush: Why have you never attended a soldiers funeral?
Oh well, this just proved my own theory from earlier, I probably shouldn’t have seen this movie.

Dell/Nvidia unattended install

I spent most of the day today trying to get all the new hardware in the new workstations for the student sites working with my antiquated OEM style Windows 2000 setup. This is almost always something between visiting the dentist and trying to buy a new car: it either all works very quickly or you spend hours googling for tidbits of knowledge. But this year, I had a bit of an advantage: we ordered our Dells with Windows 2000 preinstalled, so I knew we’d have working drivers there.
But, I went racing off towards ‘cutting edge’ drivers from all the vendors, blindly erasing the Dell install on my test machine and stuffing on ours, assuming it would all just work. Ha, was I wrong, just like putting the case back on before you boot up your freshly built computer. Using the most recent NVidia Unified Drivers (56.something), GUI-mode setup locks up at the end of the Detecting Devices progress bar. Something isn’t right there. So, after a few more tweaks and adjustments of what I had downloaded, I gave up and went to dig through a Dell that hadn’t been formatted. I found a much older version of the drivers, from December 2003. Once I copied that set of drivers over to my $OEM$ directory structure, all was much better. Now I get to move full steam ahead into updating applications and other fun.

DishNetwork and DVRs

I apparently waited too long to take advantage of the DishNetwork DVR promotion. The current deal is to either: a) Lease the 510 DVR for $5/month AND pay the $4.98/month DishPlayer fee or b) Buy the 510 DVR for retail cost: $299 AND pay the $4.98/month fee. So, spend the money upfront or lease it hoping I don’t keep the same DVR for more than 60 months ($300/$5).
We’ve been here and using the same receiver for just about 60 months now. Hmm. I suppose I could jump ship to DirecTV+Tivo, but that just seems wrong. And they have no estimated date for local channels.
Anyone got any thoughts? Email me if you do. (Or maybe I’ll figure out how to turn comments on for this post).

Maybe I should invest some time trying to get Freevo going? Yeah, right, in my copious amounts of free time.

Update 7-07-2004: Well, I took the plunge and ordered a DishPlayer 510 for rental/lease. 7-10 business days before it gets here. After reading some at DBSTalk and SatelliteGuys, I’m starting to wonder what I’ve gotten myself into.

aacraid+aic7xxx+megaraid == Hang?

Apparently either the aic7xxx or the megaraid driver conflicts with the aacraid driver starting somewhere around gentoo-sources 2.4.25-r2. Pulling those two out of the kernel lets the machine boot. Had my heart skip a beat or two when our backup MX wouldn’t boot on a newer kernel because of this.