Monthly Archives: October 2005

Again?

Seems the Americas are having an excellent time of it this Autumn (Fall), check out this update on Hurricane Wilma, which has just been upgraded to a cat 5 storm (yes, another one). Not just that, it’s apparently the strongest hurricane ever recorded.

Not that it was anywhere near as catastrophic (in fact I feel bad making this connection at all), but I wonder if there’s any relation between it being the worst snow season in Whistler since 1969 (I think), and the number of hurricanes this year (taken from the above article):

“The storm is the record-tying 12th hurricane of the season, the same number reached in 1969.”

Edit: Actually that’s probably complete bollocks, but who knows. Maybe the cyclical weather idea applies.

For those concerned, I hope the storm doesn’t wreak the same kind of devastation that Katrina did.. Apparently my Auntie & Uncle are off to Florida this weekend, crazy fools :)

Working Life

As I queued up in traffic on Tuesday morning, on my way to my first 9-5 (or 5.30 if we’re being precise) job in a year, I sat there thinking, “work is for mugs”. I mean who wants to spend their life taking 305% of the normal journey time to get where they’re going, followed by 8.5 office hours, followed by a horribly shortened evening, repeated fivefold until you hit the weekend, which is what you ultimately end up living your life for, clinging to the fact that if you slave through this working week, there will be two blissful days upon which to fritter away the cash you’ve just so ungratifyingly earned.

Does that sound like a happy picture to you? Well, it doesn’t for me.

Granted there’s a little embellishment in there, and to tell you the truth the job I have right now is pretty good. But, I can’t imagine, at this stage in my life, EVER really feeling enthusiastic about going to do a “proper job”. And wtf is up with that terminology anyway?? Is it just something that parents and relatives have invented to throw at their children? Hell, even my ex-girlfriend asked me when I’m going to get a “proper” job – I have documented proof on the ‘net, link available, apply within ;)

Ok maybe if you’re running your own show then it’s different, as you actually have some personal motiviation behind your actions, but there’s still got to be some gritty period before one can achieve such a status, as getting involved in that kind of gig without proper preparation sounds like a risky business to me (no pun intended).

Ahhh. At least I’m getting rewarded fairly well, which I guess is the oh-so-silver lining to this perpetually grey cloud. Perhaps one day I will be enlightened and will suddenly feel differently about things.

Or, perhaps someone’s going to sign me up for some musical releases, and all this will prove to be a potential bad dream that was never realised. Who knows, here’s hoping.. For now though, given my financial status, which leaves a lot to be desired, I don’t really have much choice :)

Rant over. Maybe it’s the beer talking.

Time flew

I cannot believe that it has been a whole year since I was making my final preparations to go to Canada. This week in 2004 was my last in the country, as I flew out on the 24th October. Man, how I wish I was in that situation right now. Still, I’ve got lots of lovely work to look forward to before I can go anywhere else.. \*cry\*

I’m supposed to be at the job centre right now sorting out my jobseeker’s allowance (benefits, lol) for the past month, except they want umpteen forms and I can’t find my fecking P45, or my fecking last two payslips. Beh. They’ve been ‘filed’ somewhere by Mother and she can’t remember where.. [pulls hair] :)

Why don’t things just work

Well the sleep cycles idea didn’t work out too well, but then I could have ruined it by relying on an alarm to wake me up.. Bit of a neccessity though cuz if I got up at 12 today I wouldn’t fancy trying to shift everything back 5 hours in one night to enable myself to get up for work (and not feel like shit) tomorrow at 7.30..

Anyway back to the matter at hand. You see, among the problems that have had to be overcome to get bluetooth going, there is the fundamental issue that Windows XP SP2 is not designed to be able to handle bluetooth communication with devices other than keyboards and mice. Then there’s also the fact that the chipset manufacturer, Broadcom, refuses to make the latest drivers publicly available, referring you to the overall product manufacturer, whose driver release is about 5 revisions out of date. Fantastic eh.

By default, when you install the drivers that come with a bluetooth dongle Windows automatically reverts back to the proprietary bluetooth driver. In other words it ignores what you just did. Perhaps non-savvy users would be beaten at this point, who knows, because now you have to select the M$ driver, choose update, then manually proceed to pick out the one you just installed, and voila. Actually if you want to have a decent chance of getting things working like this, you have to follow this kind of quirky routine, which did need doing..

Now this was good enough to get my Orange SPV C500 working with ActiveSync over bluetooth, but the headset just didn’t wanna know. So next problem was to try and source an updated WIDCOMM driver that would be compatible with my dongle. I already said that Broadcom don’t share these, but I managed to download them from somewhere in Taiwan, and guess my way through the self-extractor as all the characters showed up as question marks :)
This driver revision was 4.0.1.2101, a fair bit higher than the manufacturer supplied 1.4.2.10, but the driver .inf file didn’t contain any information about my particular device. At this point I thought I was going to have to hack together the old driver file and the new one so as to fool the system into thinking it was appropriate, but this seemed like too much hassle so decided to keep searching.. Fortunately, through trawling some forum posts I managed to track down a working version based on driver version 4.0.1.700. For both generic driver sets, the install involved installing the drivers, then killing the bluetooth service, renaming & patching some system files, and patching some application files (in the latter case there was some kind of licensing set up that refused to co-operate with my dongle, but fortunately patching took care of this :). Oh yeah and even after that I had to delete and reinstall the bluetooth COM ports and perform a raindance before my phone would talk to ActiveSync again. Fun & games huh? So, fu Broadcom. I still have your latest drivers, so stop pulling this kind of shit.

So why don’t things just work? I have to say that, given my vast troubleshooting experience, I’m not at all surprised when they don’t. Oh no, that would be far too much to expect. But would manufacturers in other industries get away with this behaviour? I don’t think so. It seems that if you want to be at the cutting edge you have to accept that you’re going to be an active beta tester for the hardware companies involved. Don’t expect much help from customer support either, because generally they’re no wiser than you are :) Would this whole scenario be avoided by switching to Apple though? If I had the money I would already be using a 15″ Powerbook, and am currently still trying to justify the future expenditure.

It’s no wonder that bluetooth hasn’t taken off to the extent predicted, but when it’s this much hassle to get a headset working, well, is it any wonder. Boo.

w00t!

Have spent a significant amount of time today trying to get my new bluetooth headset (a Plantronics Voyager 510) working with Skype via a recently acquired D-Link DBT-120 bluetooth dongle. Now, at 2am, I’ve finally succeeded. Hence the post title :)

At this point, I find myself asking, “wouldn’t it have been so much simpler on a mac?”

Seeing as I’m struggling to write comprehensibly right now I guess this will have to be answered tomorrow, but for now, go me. I win again, M$.

I’m off to see if the concept of sleep cycles really exists…