Archive for September, 2007

Apple releases iPhone update

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

According to iLounge, Apple has released updated software for the iPhone.

Apple has released iPhone Software Version 1.1.1, which is currently available as a download through iTunes. The Software Update is a 152.3MB download, and begins with a warning that those who have modified their iPhones' software may find that "applying this software update may result in your iPhone becoming permanently inoperable."

OK, the question is, does this update trash unlocked iPhones?

The answer seems to be yes ... if you're running an unlocked iPhone, this latest update is fatally toxic to it.

CONFIRMED: It appears that this update is perfectly capable of turning unlocked iPhones into paperweights.

Apple releases iPhone update - Trashes some unlocked iPhones

New toys for the PC Doc HQ labs

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

The other day I picked up a few more new toys for the PC Doc HQ labs.  I'll post more details later but for now I'll just give you the basics.

Motherboard testing switches

Motherboard test switchesIt's really annoying having to plug a motherboard to the case switches in order to be able to test it so I picked up a few sets of motherboard testing switches.  This cheap and cheerful set will make life easier!

This set contains:

  • 1 x power switch 
  • 1 x reset switch 
  • 1 x power LED 
  • 1 x HDD LED 
  • 1 x speaker

LCD PSU tester

PSU testerI've bought a few PSU testers over the years but this one is really cool.  Not only does it test every PSU output, it has a cool and easy to use LCD display.

This tests the following outputs:

  • 24-pin and 20-pin power supplies
  • 4/8-pin connectors
  • PCI-E power adapter
  • HDD connector
  • SATA connector
  • FDD connector

PC screws kit

PC screws kitThis is more convenience than anything.  I have plenty of screws lying about but I thought that buying a few kits which came complete with boxes it would encourage me to keep things organized.

Because I get a shed load of email about PC screws and fittings I'll cover the contents of the box until later.  Stay tuned!

Microsoft “Stealth Update” blocks proper XP repair

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

I've been neck deep looking into this problem for the last day or so ... turns out to be a real issue!

Remember that Stealth Update I talked about a couple of weeks ago? The one that Microsoft sent down the pipes to XP and Vista users and installed it irrespective of whether the user had given consent for updates to be installed? Remember too how the apologists claimed that there was nothing wrong with how Microsoft had behaved because there was no harm done? Well, it turns out that this update isn’t as benign as we first thought and can indeed cause problems for Windows XP users if they try to repair their installation.

I've dragged Microsoft over the coals for this before and the main response from Microsoft apologists was "well, what's the fuss, it didn't do any harm."  Well, it does do harm.  This is exactly why we can't have undocumented fixes being sent to PCs, especially when they are being installed on systems where consent for updates hasn't been given. 

I'm now looking at Microsoft to release clear information about this and all previous stealth updates and to change the way it operates and be far more transparent with regards to updates.  Problems like this XP repair issue are made much more difficult to troubleshoot when you're dealing with unknown updates.

Excel 2007 bug confirmed and fix on the way soon

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

The Excel 2007 team have been busy investigating and coming up with a fix for the Excel 2007 bug I discussed yesterday.  Now the team have released more information about the issue:

The Problem
This issue was introduced when we were making changes to the Excel calculation logic in the Office 2007 time frame.  Specifically, Excel incorrectly displays the result of a calculation in 12 very specific cases (outlined below).  The key here is that the issue is actually not in the calculation itself (the result of the calculation stored in Excel’s memory is correct), but only in the result that is shown in the sheet.  Said another way, =850*77.1 will display an incorrect value, but if you then multiply the result by 2, you will get the correct answer (i.e. if A1 contains “=850*77.1”, and A2 contains “=A1*2”, A2 will return the correct answer of 131,070).

So what, specifically, are the values that cause this display problem?  Of the 9.214*10^18 different floating point numbers (floating point on wikipedia) that Excel 2007 can store, there are 6 floating point numbers (using binary representation) between 65534.99999999995 and 65535, and 6 between 65535.99999999995 and 65536 that cause this problem.  You can’t actually enter these numbers into Excel directly (since Excel will round to 15 digits on entry), but any calculation returning one of those results will display this issue if the results of the calculation are displayed in a cell.  All other calculation results are not affected.

The Solution
We take calculation in Excel very seriously and we do everything we can in order to ensure that calculation is correct for all cases.  We’ve come up with a fix for this issue and are in the final phases of a broad test pass in order to ensure that the fix works and doesn’t introduce any additional issues - especially any other calculation issues.  This fix then needs to make its way through our official build lab and onto a download site - which we expect to happen very soon.  We’ll add another post once that’s taken place with a link to the download.

Interesting bug indeed.  Let's hope a fix is released soon.

Windows Vista SP1

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

Last night Microsoft released Windows Vista SP1 (Service Pack 1) to a select number of beta testers.  I'm one of the beta testers chosen to beta test this new update.

Last night I downloaded and installed SP1 on a test system and took some screenshots of the install process as well as a few changes that I noticed.

Installation

Vista SP1

Vista SP1

Vista SP1

Vista SP1

Vista SP1

Vista SP1

Vista SP1

Post Install

Vista SP1
Well, SP1 is installed ...

Vista SP1
The updated Windows Vista Ultimate Extras wording is ... well, vague.  Several sources have told me that this will change and that I should read nothing into the deletion of the old information.

Vista SP1
This utility seems cool ... not tried it to see if it works though.

Vista SP1
The updated Disk Defragmenter allows you to select volumes to defragment.

Vista SP1
The Search entry is gone off the Start Menu (but not the Start Search box)>

Vista SP1
Somehow Vista SP1 boosted my Windows Experience Index score by 0.1 points! 

Vista SP1
Well, there you have it ... for now.