• From WinXP to Windows 7

    My home machine used to be pretty state of the art, but that was a few years ago now. It has an Intel D865PERL motherboard. When I first got the machine, I used the built-in RAID to strip the two SATA disks together to get better I/O performance. This has proved quite stable, but unfortunately Windows 7 does not natively support the Intel 82801ER SATA RAID controller (the Windows 7 Upgrade advisor will warn you about this).

    So armed with this knowledge, I bought a brand new 1Tb SATA disk (a Hitachi HDT721010SLA360) and then attached it to a spare SATA card that was leftover from rebuilding Dad’s computer.

    All looked good until I started up the computer, and was greeted by a message from the SATA card that had found the Hitachi disk, but then did not proceed any further.

    This card identified itself as a Silicon Image SiI 3112 SATARaid Controller, with firmware version 4.1.34. I obtained the BIOS update utility and latest BIOS 4.2.84, upgraded the firmware and rebooted.

    This solved that problem, and the machine was able to complete startup and boot Windows XP successfully.

    I then tried to install Windows 7 from DVD onto the new Hitachi drive. First problem was that Windows 7 didn’t see the drive at all. Eventually I figured out that copying the “SiI3x12 32-bit Windows SATARAID Driver” to a USB flash drive, so then it could be loaded by the Windows 7 installer (don’t make the mistake of trying the ‘BASE’ drivers – they’re intended for motherboards, not cards).

    Now Windows 7 could see the drive, but it refused to install on the drive. Next stop was to change the motherboard BIOS to make the Hitachi drive the first drive (instead of the original RAID drive)

    That did it – Windows 7 was now able to install.

    One final thing to try out was whether Windows 7 could actually use the old driver for the Intel RAID controller. I located the ‘drivers’ folder (Program Files\Intel\Intel Matrix Storage Manager\Driver) and copied those files to somewhere that the Windows 7 installation could see them. Fearing a possible BSOD, I located the ‘Intel 82801ER SATA RAID controller’ entry in Device Manager, and upgraded the driver to this driver.. and it worked!

    So I was then able to backup files from the old RAID disks onto the new Hitachi (which I’d also split into two partitions).

    The good news is Windows 7 runs pretty well. I’ve still got a fair bit of migrating of applications but so far so good.

  • Hotmail accounts hacked for sending iPhone spam

    I’ve had a few family and friends now who have apparently had their hotmail email accounts hacked for the purpose of sending spam to all the people in their contacts (including me!)

    The spam (who’s grammar should make it obviously not from the original sender) takes the form of

    hi, how are you? recently, I got a nice site: www.nottheoriginalsite.com I brought some items from them. Wow, it is very nice. low price and good quality (iphone new model 3GS 16 GB only 385 euro) they also sell Wii, DJ, TV, laptop,camera and so on. how do you think? login and have a look at it! yours truly,

    As best I can tell, they’ve done this either via guessing passwords or maybe via some kind of phishing attack. One reason for this belief is that for one incident I saw, the spam was saved in the sender’s “Sent Items” folder, just like other regular email that they had sent.

    If you have a hotmail account, I’d strongly recommend you ensure your password is long enough to be extremely difficult to guess. A passphrase instead of just a password is probably the best way to do this.

  • Why Websense is stupid (and I told them so)

    One of the vendors who happened to be exhibiting at TechEd Australia this year was a company called Websense.

    They were giving away T-shirts, so it was only after I had received my free shirt from them that I then proceeded to tell them how stupid and horrible their software was.

    This seem to take the Websense staff a bit by surprise and they tried to defend their product assuring me with words to the effect that their software was wonderful and couldn’t possibly be faulty and had the “largest database”. Well let me assure you “quantity” definitely does not equate to “quality”, and it may be no coincidence that their company name rhymes with “nonsense” :-)

    Don’t believe me? Well take a look at this example:

    Try and browse http://www.opensource.org/licenses/bsd-license.html through Websense and you are greeted with this response:

    Reason:

    The Websense category "Entertainment" is filtered.

     

    URL:

    http://www.opensource.org/licenses/bsd-license.html

    Presumably the legal department must have a fair bit of influence at Websense, Inc. as I don’t think anyone else would consider reading software licenses ‘Entertainment’.

    It just goes to reinforce the enhancement Mitch Denny made in his [Software Development Pitfalls talk]/2009/09/tech-ed-2009-thursday.html) to point 5 of Jeff Attwood’s Programmer’s Bill of Rights :

    Every programmer shall have a fast, unfiltered internet connection

    Ah, we can but dream.