Monday, June 11, 2012

A very funny snippet from one of my current favorite TV shows

Sheldon: All right, I’ve taken the liberty of drafting these workflow charts which outline our various duties and the path we will follow as we develop our ground-breaking new app.

Raj: Hey, why am I in charge of phone support? Seems a bit racist.

Sheldon: A customer service representative with an Indian accent will create the impression we’re a vast enterprise that uses overseas call centres.

Raj: Oh. Very clever. But still racist.

Sheldon: Duly noted, Steve from Wichita.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

I am victorious, again

Lately our house has bred friction due to Nate, Maren, and Jess all wanting to use the computer at the same time. Yeah, I know, we should all suffer such tragedies... Nate decided he wanted to use his accumulated allowance money to buy himself a laptop.

Instead, on May 5th I went to Microcenter and bought components to build a modern desktop PC to keep in the den for Nate & Maren to share, and something to keep them off of Jess' laptop.

Parts list:
  • Gigabyte Z77M-D3H motherboard
  • Seagate ST310005N1A1AS HDD - 1Tb, 7200rp
  • Corsair 8Gb DDR3 RAM
  • Intel Core i5-3570k CPU, retail box
  • Sony bulk DVD-RW
  • CoolerMaster 500w PSU

I assembled the components, re-using an old case and power supply (PSU), but otherwise using all new parts. (Planned to return the PSU if I could use the old.) The system frequently locked up, with no rhyme or reason.

Over the last month I didn't have time to focus on the problem, but occasionally tried to figure it out.

I tested the RAM for 7 hours, no errors. I ran a disk utility from the hdd manufacturer, found no errors there. I booted off of Live CDs, the system still locked up sometimes.

Over the weekend I returned to Microcenter and discussed the problem with one of their system builders. After describing everything I'd done so far, he concluded that given everything I'd tried so far, maybe the motherboard itself was bad, and suggested I bring it back for an exchange.

I returned the next day and exchanged the motherboard. Microcenter was great about the whole process.

After swapping the motherboard the system still locked up inexplicably. I then swapped the PSU with a brand-new PSU. That didn't help either.

I flashed the BIOS to the latest BIOS revision. Still no help.

I finally found the solution on Sunday night, buried deep in a British forum focused on Gigabyte motherboards.

Sunday night I raised the BCLK setting in the BIOS from the default 100.00 to 100.10, and the machine has been on since then, and hasn't locked up yet.


Friday, June 01, 2012


Two or three years ago I became the thrilled owner of a brand-new Hewlett-Packard (HP) Photosmart Premium Wireless All-in-One printer. I loved this printer - inexpensive ink, wireless-N, built-in quick-forms, touch-screen, scan-to-web-page interface, and on and on.

My only criticism was that the platen was not legal-size, but that only matters very infrequently.

Then last fall the computer wouldn't connect to the printer. So, as I've done many times before I uninstalled the printer software, planning to reinstall and proceed as normal.

The reinstallation error'ed out.

I battle with mal-adjusted, malcontent, socially deviant computers and assorted technologies for a living, and I certainly wasn't going to just sit there and take any disrespect from that piece of plastic and silicon.

Unfortunately, the printer was winning for several months. Every so often I'd take another crack at installing the printer software, and I never succeeded. Each attempt would last several hours - the best I ever managed was to get basic printing working, but no scanning functionality was present.

Finally, today, after another prolonged battle lasting most of the day, I've defeated the programmers at HP, Intel, & Microsoft. They put up a good effort, but in the end I was able to get the printer software installed on my computer once again, with full functionality. The guys and gals that worked on the installation software will now just have to go find somebody else to push around!

And now, in case another soul comes across this post, the gory details:
Printer: HP c309g-m
OS: Windows 7 64-bit
Computer: Lenovo T420 laptop

HP AIO installer would not run successfully. Depending on what I tried, sometimes the installer would simply begin running and then simply abort. The install program would just disappear. Other times, I'd see error messages like

"X:\hpzprl40.exe not found"



"Fatal Error"


Searching Bing or Google with combinations of terms such as HP Printer can't install fatal error c309 temp not found will result in numerous results. I spent many hours, on many days, over many months poring through the results with no success.

I tried uninstalling and re-installing various bits & pieces (anything HP-related, Adobe Flash, .NET). I tried running the installer as Administrator. I tried running the installer on 2 different graphics cards (my laptop has an NVIDIA Optimus hybrid graphics system). I tried disabling the HP Updates. I tried disabling my firewall.I tried capturing the extracted install files before the installer failed, and then running setup directly from those files instead of letting the installer extract them and then run the temp files.

Nothing helped.

Finally, today I found a post on the Microsoft Answers message board with the answer. ( )

I updated the Intel wireless driver for my laptop, and afterward was able to install the HP printer software successfully. Hallelujah!

(I still haven't re-installed Flash, but I don't think that has anything to do with the problem.)