Monday, December 31, 2012

Direct Memory Access

boringus title.. ha.

Yes, but I figured that I might not be the only one facing this issue, so if this helps even just ONE more person, than it would have served its purpose.. ‘paying it forward’ perhaps.. =)

So recently, like just a month back, I decided to do a clean reformat of my Windows partition seeing it had some errors (which I now know what it was but didn’t then). In essence, it decided to slow down so much over night that it was practically impossible to use.. and I couldn’t figure out why. I didn’t install any new program, I didn’t update any stuff, I just left it alone for a night and the next morning it was crawling..

Shortly after the reinstall and what-nots, I got my Windows XP updated to SP3 and got all the updates till then. It was good as new.. nice and fast.

But it didn’t last long.. about 2 weeks back, on a random night when I flicked the computer on, it took FOREVER to load my desktop.. what would typically be a 45 second wait became a 5 minute wait before I saw my desktop spring into life on my monitor.. every application I opened would be first accompanied by a painstakingly long wait and unresponsiveness of the OS altogether. The same bug bit.. and I didn’t know what it was.

So after days of trying to put up with a really slow computer (yes, even trying to fix my iPod), I finally found the problem and solution to it.. the 3 magic letters? DMA.

U see, by default, when set to AUTO under bios, Windows automatically tries to set ur harddisk up for the fastest speed it can access it with. New versions of hardware and firmware allows for DMA mode which is the fastest, now it even has Ultra DMA modes (UDMA).


Configured within the codes of Windows also includes a certain condition by which things change. As a default, when Windows runs into any errors (CRC) reading/writing to the harddisk, it takes note of it. Once u accumulate a total of 6 errors, it decides that the speed’s too fast for its own good and bumps it down a notch. So if u were at UDMA mode, it kicks u down to a slower version of DMA. And if u’re already at the slowest version of DMA, it sets u to use PIO mode.

The difference is staggering.. and it not just affects the harddisk speed, it affects ur CPU speeds as well.

PIO (Programmable Input-Output) mode works by taking up ur precious CPU processing time to read and write into ur harddrive. Think of it as each time Windows wants to read or write to ur harddisk, it has to have the specific instruction from the CPU, byte by byte, word by word. CPU tells it to write, then it writes. So our dear CPU is awfully busy when u want to just say, open an application or save a document.

DMA (Direct Memory Access) mode on the other hand, does the reading/writing independently of the CPU. All the CPU does is to tell a little controller that it wants to read/write and then the CPU is free to process other stuff while the controller does the reading/writing.. and once it’s done, it just sends an interrupt to the CPU to inform it that it’s done. Somewhat like delegating the task to someone else..

So the solution? After digging around I found what works for me and it’s detailed in the following few steps from Microsoft’s support site..

To re-enable the typical, or faster, transfer mode for an affected device:

  1. Double-click Administrative Tools, and then click Computer Management.
  2. Click System Tools, and then click Device Manager.
  3. Expand the IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers node.
  4. Double-click the controller for which you want to restore the typical DMA transfer mode.
  5. Click the Driver tab.
  6. Click Uninstall.
  7. When the process completes, restart your computer. When Windows restarts, the hard disk controller is re-enumerated and the transfer mode is reset to the default value for each device that is connected to the controller.
And there u have it! My comp’s finally back to the blazing speeds it used to have.. and all in time for the new year =) woot!

DMA modes for both my Harddisk and DVD drive..

Latest earwax?
Mandy Moore’s I wanna be with you..

Sunday, December 30, 2012

L0ve-H@te relationship..

Yes, it’s aimed at the l33t wannabe inside me..

Technology.. sigh..

So after seeing my iPod touch collecting dust inside my pouch, I decided to do a little housekeeping and tinkle around with it.. tried to get some new apps and games and then came across the fact that I COULD possibly update my humble iPod to the latest iOS it will handle; 4.2.1.

Thinking that it’s safe, I dived in and went to update the iOS.

Can u see where this is going already? Ha..

Soon after, the visit to JailBreakMe tells me that my device is not supported and I’ll have to use Redsn0w instead. My initial thoughts were OH DAMN, since the only other time I’ve used anything similar was the Absinthe thing for dar’s iPad.

So I tried and long story short, that got messed up; it wouldn’t come out of the boot logo. Then I tried to fix it by using Greenpois0n but that didn’t work either cos Cydia refused to install. It just keeps telling me that it’s already been installed, but when I try to run it, it goes into an endless loop of rebooting..

Long story short, after a long long long long long time trying to reset the ipod to factory settings (which didn’t work by the way) and wound up having to get it into DFU mode and then managed to re-load the clean 4.2.1 iOS.. THEN trying the Greenpois0n thing again, did it finally work.

So after 8 hours, my humble iPod now has a new iOS installed and some new toys in it.. thankfully it worked though, I was almost prepared to make a paper weight out of it and get me another one already.. *phew* and not like I can just get the newer ones with a camera in-built.

At least it worked out well.. =)

my new boot logo animation.. =)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Let Go, Let God.

..To live by the Ranger Code.. To make the Golden Rule my daily rule.

18 years ago, I stood stomach-in-chest-out for the first time in my life and recited, amidst a long verse, those very words. The first time I was to don a regimental uniform.

Fast-forward to now, and I am reminded of those very words I uttered as I face this moment in my life. The meaning has changed quite profoundly for me, now that those 6 letters mean something else to me, but in essence, something still burns inside, which resounds with those very words above.

It was a desire I’ve always had in me to be able to inspire. To be able to influence in how ppl think and to shape the way they perceive the world, and therefore their actions that follow. I do believe that this stems from the very ppl that have influenced me throughout this journey in life.. ppl that have been my guitar heroes, the sages in my life, the intelligent, witty and carefree.. who have inspired me to shred hard and fast, spoken much wisdom into my life and showed me that there’s more to life than my perception of it..

In one way or the other, these ppl influenced me and made a difference in my life. They showed me what their purpose in life was, they displayed to me their characters through their actions, and that inspired me. It made me want to be someone like them. And the best part, they probably weren’t even trying.

And in the same way, I now turn things around and have this urge to want to inspire. It’s something I can’t quite put a finger on.. it’s like when I decided to start this phase of my passage in life. The math doesn’t add up (does it ever? Ha), everybody somehow tries to convince me that it won’t work out (and usually they succeed), but somehow there’s just this thing that tells me it’s the right thing to do. Or at least, it’s what I was meant to do. That sickening inner voice that speaks without words.

So now, I’m at this point where I feel reluctant. Reluctant to have to make a change in my life, but yet, something inside me stirs and this seems the way I should be going. Let go.. and Let God.

So I pray that as I willingly commit this new chapter of my life unto You, You will use it for Your glory. I do not expect that it will be a bed of roses, in fact I actually think it’s gonna be an uphill fight all the way, but I choose to trust that You who have started the good work in me will see it to completion. I choose also to give You praise in whatever the situation, recognizing that You have deliberately planned for me to learn lessons which will help me grow.. even if it hurts.

I just ask that every step of the way, You send me gentle reminders of why I’m doing it, and that You are watching over me, even when I should feel alone. Empower me to be the compass to direct the many men placed under my charge and give me the wisdom to lead their hearts; that I can be an inspiration to them. May the next 2 years bring You the glory that You deserve and most importantly, thank You for choosing to use me, as part of Your great plan. May my life be Your living example for them to follow..

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The First of Many..

It’s been more than 9 months since my last post. Somehow, that’s a record. Not to say it’s a good one, cos I’d really like to have kept this blog alive.. but so many and so much has happened.. one thing dragged to another.. things get overtaken by other events and before I know it, here I am.. sitting in front of my comp, finally getting down to another post.. 9 months later. Great. Some record.

The past 9 months has been filled with a myriad of events.. I’ve seen myself going overseas at least 4 times, of which most of them were work related.. I’ve been to places that I’d never have wanted to re-visit (but still did in the end) and done things which I don’t want to ever recall in the name of ‘work’, but yet, I’ve also seen some of the most dashing scenes, had the most brilliant meals, taken the most astounding pictures and spent the best times overseas too. So who am I to complain really..

I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the best soldiers from around the world and they have given me an insight to how human they really are.. how down-to-earth they really are, and it blesses me to see that they are so willing to do their job and do it well.. the sheer dedication and the kind of life they choose to live.. it’s refreshing to see how a foreign counterpart thinks so different simply because of the environment he is in.. even though we may be doing a somewhat similar job in a somewhat similar setting.. I am humbled.

Ok, that said, I’m still trying to figure out just what else to type in here. It’s a never ending story, the past 9 months.. too many events to be typing away at one go, at 2 in the morning.. for one, my computer decided to poop out on me once again.

The typical windows comes with its once-a-so-very-often-need-to-format syndrome, and after spending 2 days, I think I got it back to how it used to be.. the previous hardwork of trying to ghost the image of the harddisk didn’t seem to quite work.. so I gave up and started from scratch.. now I think I’ve gotten the most up-to-date system I’ve ever used in the past 5 yrs. Haha.. so maybe it’s a good thing after all..

And esp, cos I didn’t bring my OLD photoshop5, I’m now forced to install my Photoshop CS5 after it arrived in the mail more than a year ago. FINALLY..

There’s still a tonne to update, a tonne to talk about and a tera-tonne of pictures I’d love to upload. But that’ll probably have to wait.. hopefully I see some light at the end of this very dark tunnel of my work life..