Archive for June, 2009

Problem with Radeon 9700 card and newer drivers

June 27, 2009

I recently was restoring an older machine with an ATI Radeon 9700 card in it. I noted that the mouse cursor was turning into a 1/2″ rectangle made up of fine black lines whenever it went over a text block on a web page or on the blank spots of a Word document. After much trouble-shooting, I discovered that it did it with the stock 9700 drivers from the Windows update site and all version of the drivers available from either ATI or the various driver archives I found. The only drivers that didn’t produce the glitch were the ones that came on the factory CD (the version dated to 2002!). Strange…

I post this in case anyone else has experienced the same weirdness. One fix is to install the original factory drivers. If you don’t have them, I saved copies before I gave the machine back to my kid. I need to retain them in case they lose the original disk.

It didn’t do this before when it was running newer version of the drivers, so I have to wonder if one of the newer XP service packs or other change since the last install introduced the glitch when used with driver versions of Catalyst 2.5 or above. It did it when I stuck on SP 2, so that might be the culprit.

Panda Software has, by far, the WORST registration regime on the planet

June 24, 2009

I bought their security suite for my kid. It required registering the software, entering the key code twice, getting a client number (after filling out a long web form), getting a user-name (a 10-character string of random number and letters they generated), and then getting a password to be able to download updates. WHAT AN ORDEAL! Worse, I later had to try to reload it when my kid had a system failure and it isn’t recognizing her key code. Panda has been sent packing and I will NEVER use them again. Norton Internet Protection doesn’t make me jump through all those hoops to try to use their product. The registration system must have been designed by a bureaucrat from a DMV working with the Marquis de Sade.

An old soldier remembered.

June 8, 2009

I went to a memorial service on D-Day for a sergeant I served with as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve some years ago. SFC John Stegall ran the motor pool during my six years active in the reserves at the 549th MI BN in Austin, TX. His military service went back to 1954 and he put in 30 years or so.

He didn’t die of combat, but of disease in old age.

You haven’t likely heard of him, as he never really did anything that made it on the news. He just did his job, whatever the job was, as best as he could get it done.

I found out at the memorial that he set records for Lion’s Club toy drives for kids in shelters with that same attitude. He gave equal devotion when it came time to help homeless veterans with clothing and supplies as part of his service with the VFW. Awards for his public service were on display at the memorial, but the job getting done well was the reward he sought. He served in high leadership posts in these organizations, but was remembered for getting others to display their own potential to lead.

Few folks like Sergeant Stegall will ever be famous. They don’t seek the limelight; they just seek to get the mission accomplished. They will give an order with unquestioned authority or take one with a humble determination to succeed. It is folks like the Sergeant Stegalls of the world who made the military function.

I learned that SFC Stegall even took on a post-military second career late in life in the financial industry when a six-week part-time gig turned into 10 1/2 years. It seems he just became too valuable to ever let retire.

Anyone with a passing knowledge of the military knows you don’t salute sergeants, as they are non-commissioned officers. Yet, I just gave a sad salute to the memory of one tough old sergeant who made himself indispensable in any slot because the mission always came first.

Such people are actually fairly rare. We really need more of them these days. Now, with the passing of SFC John Stegall, we have one less.