Mar 29

I have been a long time user of Creative Labs Soundblaster line of sound cards. I am currently running an X-Fi MusicExtreme on Vista x64. Many users who have soundblaster sound cards have only basic functionality on windows Vista. An individual, Daniel Kawakami, on the creative forums had modded the creative drivers to work perfectly on vista. He had enabled many of the features that apparently Creative disabled on purpose.

For Audigy owners he had successfully provided working drivers for things like the equalizer, CMSS, DVD audio, Dolby/DTS encoding and hardware midi in windows Vista. These features are available in XP. He simply made them work in Vista. Many think Creative disabled these features to force end users to upgrade. The Vista Audigy support pack was removed from creatives forums. Within 24 hours the community was outraged by their actions towards Daniel.

Here are list of the forums posts from Daniel with support packs. The files are property of Creative Labs.

    SB Live! for Vista
    Audigy for Vista
    Gameport for Vista

Here are direct links to the support packs at filefront.

    SB Live! for Vista
    Audigy for Vista
    Gameport for Vista

I will try to keep these updated as the posts are restored to creative’s forums or I find them elseware. If I am officially contacted by Creative I may be forced to remove my links. I’m sure they will be gone from filefront by that time as well.

Creative had an official statement to Daniel Kawakami released by the VP Corporate Communications, Phil O’Shaughnessy. In this statement creative threatens legal action against Daniel. They also forbid him to accept donations for his work.

The bad publicity creative is getting for this won’t soon be forgotten. They are quickly changing their statements, possibly already feeling the effect the community has. Many suggest they give Daniel a position at creative. I doubt he would accept after they way they have treated him so far.

Mar 28

VMware Consolidated Backup is going to continue to mature into a great solution for backing up VM’s. Some of the early adopters may have experienced problems with centralized storage. If you have more than one path to your centralized storage it has been recommended in VMWare’s documentation that you disable all inactive paths. This to me does not seem acceptable as part of the reason you paid for your highly available storage was for it to be “HIGHLY AVAILABLE”. This was a big issue for me.

VMWare VCB 1.1.0 apparently works fine with PowerPath. I have configured this and I am currently backing up about 20 guests. I am using Windows 2003 SP2 and PowerPath 5.1.0. The version of VCB I am using is exactly VMware-vcb-64559. I am also using Tivoli Storage Manager

I am unsure if VCB and PowerPath are officially supported yet. I am unable to find any documentation on VMWare’s site that says it is supported. I am also unable to find anything in release notes or the forums. It was recommended to me by vmware support to see if it resolved a disk access issue we seemed to randomly be having. I’m happy to say that after installing PowerPath I am able to backup all of my vm’s I have in vmlist so far. I would try it in a lab environment for a bit. I’d be interested to hear if it works for anyone else.

Mar 24

Microsoft’s recent desktop OS, and I call it desktop because I do not currently consider it a viable workstation OS, is almost 15GB installed. I’m currently running Vista on my workstation and laptop at the office. I also have it running on my home workstation. Previous to SP1 for Vista the windows directory was a whopping 14.9 GB in size. The largest directory was “winsxs” which apparently holds multiple versions of dll’s and such used for compatibility. I have had many issues with Vista and was hoping SP1 would solve them all for me. Now that my windows directory is up to 20.1 GB with SP1 installed I’m disappointed to say that none of my issues were resolved.

Some current computer specifications are in order…

    Processor: Intel Q6600
    Memory: 4GB DDR2 PC8000
    Motherboard: ASUS P35
    Hard Drive: Raid0 SataII 200GB

As you can tell I do build my own home machines. At the office I have a Dell Precision T7400:

    Processor: Intel Xeon 5482
    Memory: 8GB DDR2
    Hard Drive: Raid0 SataII

Neither of these machines are what I would consider as under powered. However Vista always seems sluggish. At home I have a very annoying issue of just about anytime I open explorer the window is white and not responsive for about 30 seconds. After which it is perfectly fine. If you wait another 10 minutes to open explorer again then you will experience the same issue. At the office I have an issue with adding folders to my taskbar. I usually add the desktop to the task bar and use it as a menu system to quickly open items without having to minimize to the desktop. I’m fine up to this point, however once I lock my taskbar items a tiny bit of the first icon shows in the taskbar for the desktop. Unlock and it goes away. Very annoying.

Being a Systems Engineer usually means you get to manage some Microsoft products. One product I’m sure a lot of us get to manage is Exchange. If so you may have already found that you are unable to install the Microsoft Exchange Systems Management Console on Vista. It doesn’t install with some missing features, or say that it cannot be installed but still let you, It will not install, period. Another issue I found recently was that I have to call Microsoft for a hotfix to get the DHCP admin working in Vista. How am I to manage all of these Microsoft products when I cannot install the consoles or use the consoles on my workstations?

I was hoping SP1 would fix these issues that seem to bug me the most. However after waiting the hour for SP1 to install on the 2 machines I use the most, I’m just about right where I was. Eventually I’m hoping Microsoft will get Vista running as good as XP. For now I’ll fight the urge to switch back to XP.

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