TideLog Archive for January, 2010

Today was rather good. I went along on route practise, with Rikku’s comms-operator-turned-driver Cassie Heathfield, she’s just passed her PSV test, after being Matsuki’s 3rd Comms operator for nearly two years. I had nothing better to do, other than worry (what?!?) whether my Xbox was going to die (see, it’s silly!!), so I popped along to see how Cass did. She’s a good driver, at only 23 she’s done well.

I only wish my Kassie was as good, the last time I took her to the track in a bus for a mess around she kept taking corners too short, as though she’s in a car. The racing line is wider in a bus, and is mainly on the outside of corners, rather than inside out. She also kept hitting kerbs on bus stop practises! Kassie’s great in a car, she’s had years of driving high performance cars, like her Subaru, but big vehicles leaves her with a lot to be desired. Mind you, she has never driven a bus before, nor is qualified to, so I can’t criticize her, my sweet lil sugarlump.

Lady bus drivers, they’re cute! A cute lady who can handle big machines gets my admiration, anytime!

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I used a heatgun to heat the heatsinks up really hot. This is NOT something everyone should try, as the air from a heatgun is very dry, and can cause dry joints, so should not be done directly at the chips themselves, or for long periods, as the temperature is a lot hotter than a hairdryer. I use it as a very controlled last ditch attempt before properly vacuum reworking and replacing chips. I then ran the console without the fans connected, until it shut down, and then let her cool.

She’s been fine ever since, and has been run for about 7 hours following the repair, with cool off powerdown sessions in between. Fingers crossed! And no towel tricks or RRoD “FIX” kits in sight! LoL, who needs “bedroom experts” with the wrong tools and skills, such as *cough* Mark Pickavance *cough*?

Hehe 🙂 I don’t *think* I’m good, I KNOW it! LoL 🙂 As my Saints Row chick says!

Update 29th Jan: 24 hours runtime, still going! She’s been warmed up, powered up and down several times today, and she’s a darn fighter, a lot more than Greg’s ever was…

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I’ve used the image (for the good it did, if anything) and it all went fine. Everything’s still the same as ever, just a minor version number change. What a waste of waiting over a week for! Anyway, for anyone that wants it, I have it here on TideLog, so you don’t have to grovel to Clevo or Novatech.

First though, my disclaimer:


–  Please keep in mind that this disc/ISO should never be used in a PC or notebook for which it was not intended – doing so may render the PC/notebook in question unusable.

–  Please do not interrupt the update process (by resetting/switching the PC/notebook off or removing the disc, etc) once it has begun – doing so may render your motherboard unusable

–  Please do not update your BIOS with any suspect item plugged into your computer (such as suspect RAM).  If you are updating your BIOS to gain support for a new processor (CPU) then do not do the update with the new CPU installed – it  must be done with a CPU already supported by the existing BIOS.

–  Flashing your BIOS is done at your own risk – should anything go wrong then you are responsible for the results.

–  Do not update your BIOS unless there is a good reason (for the above reason).

So, you’ve been warned. I’m experienced at all manner of BIOS tasks, including modification, flashing, desoldering for bad flash recovery & resoldering, so bear that in mind. Of course, if you do brick your laptop, you’re free to send it to me for repair, but I charge £60 for the whole recovery task.

-= This update is for the M670SU with nVidia GeForce 8400M Graphics ONLY!!! =- There’s an update for the Hitachi H8 controller too, flash this AFTER the main update.

Click HERE to download the ZIP file.

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I don’t know how much longer she’s gonna keep fighting back, because the tearing has just come back:

She’s been one heck of a good console, and this is the first time anything like this has happened to me. I’ve seen it at work many times, and never thought it’d happen to me, not after so long, but it has. I suppose I’ll get myself a nice new Elite, mod it, and not go on Live, so that if I ever need to go on Live, once a method that works to stop you getting banned comes, I’ll use it, because the Stealth firmware let me down the first time I used it, and I no longer trust it as far as its so called “Live Stealth” is concerned.

It’s looking snowy for my chick in Saints Row 2, she looks a bit snowed up!

As long as I don’t turn it off, it’ll stay running, it’s just, well, snowy!

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After 3 solid loyal years, I think my Core 360 is about to die. I’ve just been playing Forza 3, whizzing my 680hp Viper SRT-10 round Suzuka Circuit, and the telltale black and white tearlines have appeared on the picture. Exactly the same sysmptoms as my friend Greg, 2 days later, the E74 error occurred, and never again did his console play another game.

So I’ve unplugged it, and will let it cool, see what happens. In the meantime, I’ve got two options, the Easy one, and the Techie one:

The Easy method:

Go out and buy a brand new gorgeous Elite, with new motherboard, less heat.


The Techie method:

Rework my Core with NEW CPU & GPU chips, replacing the solder balls with lead ones. I use more heat than the factories, so I know it will last longer.

And before you geeks kick in, NO I WON’T use your foolish Towel or X-Clamp fixes!

UPDATE: She’s had it. The E74 error is now displaying, in all its multilanguage non-glory, on my Toshiba 42″ plasma:

It’s just a single segment flashing, but, who cares, an E74 is an E74 nonetheless, and it’s the GPU that’s ill:

Seeing as I’ve got nothing really to lose, as my console’s modded anyway, I’m gonna heat her up, nice and hot, to see if I can prolong the life a little longer, I want to get to Level 30 driver skill on Forza 3, and I’m at 27!

Update 2: She’s BACK again! But, for how long?!? She’s a fighter, that’s for sure!

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I’ve finally got the BIOS update for the M670SU, as a CD image. I haven’t used it yet, so won’t post it here yet, and when I do there’ll be a big disclaimer, I cannot accept responsibility if you do it wrong. I’m experienced in BIOS flashing and recovery, including desoldering SST & Winbond chips to dump in a Willem programmer, and restoring BIOS code, so if I mess up or some freak of technology happens, I know how to put it right.

Also, I’ve been doing a bit of digging about my VT-x issue, and apparently Microsoft have DROPPED the Virtualization requirement. It was mandatory, but now isn’t, so we’ll have to wait for the rollout of the new software. I’m glad in a way, because quite a few Intel machines either don’t support VT-x in the CPU, or have it Locked OFF in the BIOS, as in my case. AMD, however, have a policy where it is available and switched ON across ALL of their range. I’m not really a fan of AMD, but that is a good move by them.

I’ll try the update, and report back..

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Rikku phoned earlier this afternoon. She’d finished work earlier than expected, and Jill was still at her Aunty Sandra’s until 6pm. She offered to meet at the training pitch, for some one on one training, to see how my back had healed. I’ve kinda missed football with the weather being so snowy over the past month, so I was up for it!

So, I got all my new kit on, and headed over to the training pitch. Rikky was waiting in the changing room, already changed. She looked rather ravishing with her new hair colour, it matches her team shirt, which is red with black stripes down the shoulders and arms. She loved my new kit, and was rather surprised when she asked whose colours it was based on, and I told her my old secondary school. “You really suit it, you look nice!” “The pitch is wet, sloppier than I thought, but who cares, let’s go! Take it easy, and if you get ANY pain, shout and I’ll stop training.” She explained that it was just me and her because she felt I’d be under pressure if the other girls were there, as she’s seen how I get stuck in, and I could do myself damage.

We did some goal shot tactics, with her in goal and me coming in from different angles. She’s really good, and anticipated a few of my fool tactics, letting in only 3 of 12 shots at goal from me! Then we practised passing tactics, with her passing to me, and then me passing to her, from different angles. Following this we did some light tackling practise, she was very very gentle, and I made sure to fall by rolling on my side where possible. The muddy grass helped soften falls. We finished by doing some general dribbling, practising dribbling in slaloms round cones.

My new football boots are really good, they’re lightweight, and give me excellent ball control. My skills have actually improved since I got them, both in the one Sunday training match with the team that I’ve used them in, and my practise kickabouts in the garden. It’s good that I’ve got big feet too, I’m a men’s size 11, so there’s a lot of foot to use for passing and catching passes with the side of my foot, it dawned on me while Riksy was passing to me, she’s only a ladies size 7.

Kassie doesn’t really like me putting stud holes in the garden though (or ruining the grass when it’s muddy!). Her response the first time I came downstairs in my kit is, “Do you HAVE to wear your boots?”. I had to explain to her that my boots are lighter than my trainers, and are designed for ball control. Since the match when she joined us, she now knows. We have a pretty big garden, so she’s designated me my own area of the garden for football, that I can ruin as much as I want!

I enjoyed this unexpected training session, it’s always nice to be trained footie by Rikky. She’s been playing football for 7 years, after moving from Rounders and Netball. I just wished I’d asked her to train me when she was running Woodhill LFC, their training pitch was bigger, and I’d have more experience at football by now! I enjoyed watching her and the Woodhill ladies playing though, and went to several matches. Rikku reckons it was because I fancied her team captain, Lisa, but there were other reasons! I suppose I didn’t ask her because computers took over, and I never actually thought how nice being trained footie by girls really can be….

My back seems to be fine, I didn’t get any pain. My neck is still iffy, I think I strained a tendon or muscle, as it locks up, and hurts sometimes, it did it during warmup, so I need to keep an eye on it.

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I’m not letting this get the best of me. Kassie isn’t here, and she’s my BIOS editor, so I’ve decided to fire up her copy of  Phoenix BIOS Editor (not a free program, Kassie is a BIOS developer), and give editing the hex registers a go, to enable both VT-x, and AHCI, because I think it’s set to Compatibility like on Vaios.

Isn’t the splash screen kinda cute?

Now I just need the ROM of my BIOS, and can’t find a dumper that dumps in .ROM format. The good thing is, Her Ladyship has an emulator that I can test the ROM on before flashing. Because, if I screw up live, it’s a “desolder-BIOS-chip-insert-into-willem-programmer-reflash-then-resolder” dance, which reminds me of the good old “configure, make, install” dance under Linux!

I guess I’ll wait until Novatech send me that “update”, and extract the ROM from that..

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My M670SU is slowly losing it’s appeal, bit by bit. I can’t use Mac OS, I just keep getting, “Waiting for root device”, and NOW I can’t use Virtualization!

The CPU is VT-x capable, but the BIOS has been set to “Locked OFF”, in the latest update, which means it’s turned off and unchangeable, without being hacked. I’ve still got my Core i7 for VT-x, but I feel it’s a bit overpowered for XP Mode. Most of my XP apps aren’t optimized for quad core. Other VM’s I have to use 64-bit, as my i7 has 32GB RAM.

I thought only Sony did such a dirty pointless trick! Not so…….

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In March I blogged on the ability to interchange main board between Polaroid TDA-03211C and Polaroid TDX-03211C. A few days ago I had a customer bring in a Memorex MLT3221, which, design wise, appeared the same as the above mentioned Polaroid models. It was the same ProView piece of equipment just Memorex branded.

Well, almost the same.

Even though it is the faulty power boards that those Polaroids are notorious for, the Memorex MLT3221 had an apparently good power board – first because it had all the produced voltages neatly printed on the board and second because they all checked out.

So apparently it was (again) the main board. 200-107-PF261XA-CH. Presented here for your viewing pleasure:

Well, it turns out this boad is rare. Especially if you search for a board for Memorex. In fact, I didn’t find any available for Memorex. However, I did find a board with the same tag available for Polaroid TDX-03211C.

You guessed it, it worked.

But it gets even more interesting! Suppose you don’t find 200-107-PF261XA-CH for neither Polaroid nor Memorex. What do you do then, throw the TV out? Pay £120 for a main board for a 32” TV when you can get a new one for £250? No need, you can simply use 200-107-GT32XA-BH from Polaroid TDX03211C and therefore you can also use 200-107-GT32XA-AH from the Polaroid TDA03211C!

And I am not kidding you, it works! I tried 🙂

There might be the minor issue of having to see “Polaroid” instead of “Memorex” on the startup screen, but if you find the board at a good price that would hardly matter, eh? And finally, if you use the Polaroid board in the Memorex you will need a little extra work to extend the antenna cable connecting the board with the external antenna outlet.

The Polaroid boards have the antenna receiver placed higher on the board and turned horizontally as can be seen here:

See the Motorola ARM processor? Cute, eh? Strangely it doesn’t have the heatsink on top of it like the Memorex, so if I do a swap, I transfer the heatsink after applying thermal adhesive (it needs to be adhesive so it’ll stick, not grease or paste!) All in all, though, none of these is a deal breaker.

I hope this information will serve you well as it did serve me!

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I decided today to just chill out, with Mika. She needs some company now Kassie has gone home to Osaka for a year. We went out for a couple of drinks last night, after I took her out for dinner. Bedtime was very nice too, it’s been a while since Mika and I made love together, just the two of us. I felt kinda naughty because Kass wasn’t here, but, hey, in 2008 she had Mika in Tokyo all to herself for the whole year!

It made me realise just how much I love the both of them, and how a threesome relationship really can work. Not many blokes either like the thought of being in a relationship with two bi women, or can even sustain one. I was scared at first, but you soon adjust to being a little family. I’m a really faithful guy, I can be friends with women without having to have sex with them. This relationship is not something I take for granted. It probably won’t last forever, so I make the most of it, and look after the girls.

Rikku gave me a rather nice surprise this morning. She’d been on an airport run, and went past me as I’d gone to get milk from the shop. She beeped her horn at me, and pulled the bus over. I kinda recognised who the driver was, but I didn’t! She’s dyed her hair bright red! I was taken aback, in a very good way! She looks the cutest ever! Those big hazel eyes go so well with red hair, my heart nearly stopped…. I always told her she’d look cute, but never THIS cute! If I can get her to sit still for a bit, I’ll take a picture!

I’m closer to possibly sorting my M670 BIOS out, Novatech have taken 8 days just to ask me for the serial number….

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Yesterday, Kraft viciously took over Cadbury, with a £12 billion takeover bid, which the board at Cadbury couldn’t refuse. This opens the floodgates for Kraft to do a similar thing that they did to Terry’s, in York, taking it over, and then moving roduction from York, overseas.

Even the great grand-daughter of Cadbury’s founder, Felicity Loudon, didn’t believe it, saying, ”

We can’t sell out to a plastic cheese company. It’s a horror story. It’s not just because I am a Cadbury that I feel so English about it. I just feel it’s really worth fighting for.

“It appalls me that a company like Kraft, that makes something you put on your hamburger, could end up owning Cadbury.”

Kraft has borrowed £7billion to finance the deal, adding to fears at Cadbury’s HQ in London, and at the iconic factory in Bournville, Birmingham, that jobs are likely to go as Kraft looks to cut losses, and repay its debt.

If the Bournville factory goes, I’ll be sad. It’s something I see every time I go to Birmingham, and it really does Birmingham credit to its history. Every time I eat a bar of Cadbury, I think of Birmingham, and it makes me warm inside.

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This is the version on mine, and it seems really weird to me. It’s stopping me installing Mac OS x86 on it, no matter what I try, I’m getting “Still waiting for root device” after installation, regardless of what drivers I install. I’m using iPC 10.5.6.

Primary Master has the DVD-RW drive. The S.M.A.R.T option is on Primary, but Disabled and unselectable. For an optical?!?

Secondary Master is where the hard drive is. There’s NO S.M.A.R.T option. See the wrong picture?

From my days as a PC engineer, I know for sure that optical drives DO NOT even support S.M.A.R.T, let alone USE it. And the HDD should almost ALWAYS be Primary. The assignments cannot be changed, either, no matter how many times you take drives out, try just one, etc. SATA doesn’t use jumpers anyway, but I think the optical on this still uses IDE, but has no jumper (I’ve seen optical drives with a jumper switch on the back, in fact, I have one somewhere!)

I’m sure it’s a bug. My Novatech support rep, Rebecca (she’s lovely) is sending me an Update ISO image. My instincts tell me that this is either a BIOS code bug, a design fault, or just lazy engineering. I’ll update when I have more, and will share the disc image if successful.

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When I got the machine, and cleaned the heatsink, I put the CPU Spec number into Intel’s site. The Spec number is unique to a specific family of chips. Intel’s site said No to Virtualisation.

Now, both CPU-Z, and Intel’s Processor Identification Utility are BOTH saying it DOES!! Take a look, here’s CPU-Z:

See in Instructions, the VT-x? I didn’t believe it, so I downloaded Intel’s PROCID, and ran it, and even it called Intel’s own site a liar:

So, I just spent £38 I didn’t really need to! Oh well, I can always use the new chip, and stick this one on eBay, the new one’s faster anyway. Anyone in need of a T5500 laptop chip? Yours for £40! 64bit, VT-x, SSE 1/2/3, 667MHz FSB? Any takers?

Moral of this particular story? Always seek a second, third or fourth opinion….. Time to get Windows 7 Ultimate installed with my new key, and Windows XP Mode….

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I’ve just found a nice CPU with Virtualization. It’s a T5600, that runs at 1.83GHz (total 3.66GHz), 667MHz FSB. And, it has Virtualization! All for just £38! That’ll be fine for my needs, as my Fujitsu Hackintosh wouldn’t allow me to run any virtual machines under Virtualbox, as all Intel Macs have VT-x, and VirtualBox won’t allow you to turn it off. Following my refund from Justin, of £17.99, I just couldn’t resist!

This laptop should be fine with Mac OS x86, even Snow Leopard. From what I can see, my chipsets and graphics are supported.

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