Thursday, 30 September 2010

Little Problem Today with a Netbook

I'm not a sysadmin, I'm a developer, but today I was given a netbook (Samsung N110 with XP) for use off-site, and was told it had a slow startup problem. Having established there was no data on the PC that the previous user wanted to keep, I elected to just use the restore function on the notebook to get the machine back to health.

Sure enough it booted like the proverbial lightning after the restore. Good I thought, just stick the windows updates and ms office on there and we're good to go.

The first set of updates (80 or so) went on ok and the system was fine. So I installed office, which resulted in a load more updates on the machine (another 40 or so). After this round of updates, the PC became painfully slow between the welcome screen and the desktop - taking about 3 mins to be usable.

I didn't want to trawl through uninstalling updates, so I resorted to good ole' msconfig. This determined the root of the problem to be something called the Marvell Yukon service (relating to the network card). I disabled this and everything was great again...

So I head on over to the Marvell support site and download their latest XP/x86 software for the card (88E8040), and install it. Then before I reboot, I go in to the services.msc to re-enable the (presumably updated) service...

However, when I look in the services panel, I find that the new software install actually deletes the old service! Well, I guess that's one way for them to fix the problem.

The netbook itself? It's nice, cute, and (now) surprisingly quick. It also has a long battery life (up to 8/9 hours allegedly). However, the keyboard is pretty horrible to use and the backslash key is on the right-hand side of the keyboard, which is a big no-no for a computer professional used to a full size uk keyboard.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The Demise of Xmarks

Hopping from one workplace to another can mean using a lot of different PCs. One of the things that always eased the transition for me was Xmarks - a cross-browser bookmark sync tool. Sadly it looks like they are shutting down their operation in Jan 2011. Their blog post makes for an interesting read: