Scott Hanselman

Fixing an XBox DVD Drive

February 19, '05 Comments [12] Posted in Gaming
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I've had a suspicion that my XBox's DVD Drive was on it's last legs. Ordinary games have been fine, but cheaper pressed discs with demos on them like the ones that come with the XBox Magazine constantly say there's errors.

Anyway, I ordered a replacement DVD Drive (my XBox is Hardware Version 1.0) from this guy for about $60. I was able to Paypal the money and the drive came in a few days.

I popped the XBox open with a Torx Screwdriver, and about 15 minutes later I was all hooked up again. Additionally, I got an ATA-100 IDE Cable and replaced the stock one, and I feel that the XBox's I/O is AT LEAST 30% faster than before. Games load so fast that some loading screens just flash then disappear. Fable, one of the worst loading screen offenders, has loading times now that are barely noticeable.

All that said, I'm thinking of getting an LCD 42" Samsung for TV and XBox, replacing our 32" Sony Wega. When I go to BestBuy I like the "look" of the LCD screens more than the Plasma. Everyone keeps saying "Get DLP!" but I'm just not feeling it. They seem big, they are a little dim to me, and their viewing radius both horizontally and definitely vertically seems limited. Am I missing something?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Free WiFi at Portland International Airport (PDX)

February 17, '05 Comments [2] Posted in
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PDXWirelessAccessI usually travel a LOT, but lately, not so much. We've been working on the Voyager SDK 2.0, the Messaging Platform for our Voyager product.

However, I'm sitting here in PDX Airport at the B Gates and I noticed "Free Wi-Fi" signs up all over. I'm used to paying T-Mobile by the minute when I'm in airports.

I'm always interested in how folks implement their Free WiFi. Often it's a captive portal, meaning your first HTTP Request is redirected to an internal site that provides you info and requires you to "sign" a disclaimer, then you're free to surf.

Take a look at the image to the right (click on it). The captive portal that PDX used is NICE. You get all the standard stuff, but also a map of where you are connected, as well as details about the airport and airport services.

We may be a second-tier city, but I have to give PDX Airport "big ups" for their implementation of features like this. It really is a world class airport.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Building your own Windows Media Center Edition 2005 Home Theater PC System

February 16, '05 Comments [21] Posted in Programming
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My co-worker Krishnan is truly the gadgeteer. He has more techie stuff than anyone I've ever known, including myself. He is also an expert on all things HD and Media-y. So, I asked him "should I buy a Media Center PC or build?" I had picked out a lovely $2500 system.

UPDATE - June 2005: Make sure your motherboard and case match. If you click on the D6 link below, be aware that depending on stock on hand Newegg.com may offer you a "similar" motherboard. For one reader they recommended an ATX mobo and Micro-ATX and that's not cool. Also, while note that the Ahanix D6 is not the 601. I currently recommend the LARGER standard ATX Ahanix 601. Make sure you measure as some of these cases are pretty deep.

He said that he just built one from scratch for around $1500. Here's what he did:

This system is totally HD ready, and Krishnan said he taped 11 hours of 1080i SuperBowl content into about 43gigs without a hitch. He's using it as his primary PVR now.

Does anyone know if you can somehow "coerce" or upgrade (laterally?) Windows XP Pro into being a Media Center machine? Perhaps my existing main machine (with specs better than these) could do double duty, without reinstalling, etc.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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More great "Effective Presentation Tips"

February 15, '05 Comments [3] Posted in Musings
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My buddy Venk (Venkatarangan, the RD from Chennai) has posted his tips for effective presentations and they're excellent, surpassing my own attempt from a few years back.

He's even seen fit to make his tips available via PDF. I highly recommend you check them out if you give presentations, or have any coming up.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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ASP.NET HotFix 887219/MS05-004 may break and confuse IIS and ASP.NET (404s)

February 11, '05 Comments [4] Posted in ASP.NET
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Here's an interesting one from Jeff Berkowitz and Phil Hochstetler:

Phil has discovered that MS hotfix 887219 / MS05-004 (http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/Bulletin/MS05-004.mspx), released last Wednesday, completely breaks our site.  At least on one test machine--happily we caught it before it reached Production.  With the hotfix installed, all our virtual roots (three of them, one containing a web application and two containing collections of web service pages) return 404s exclusively.  Backing out just this one hotfix solves the problem.

The fix was found by Phil on Google Groups: Go to IIS Admin, open Properties on Web Site, Home directory tab, Local Path text box: make sure there is no trailing slash.

 

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.