usb 2.0 not working in windows 7?

Man, I wished I saved some screenshots.

I wasn’t sure when it happened, but I was getting a pop-up whenever I plugged my USB devices in that said, “This Device may be able to perform faster…” and then it said I had no USB 2.0 or Hi-Speed USB connections installed on my system.

It was driving me nuts since I had a combo USB/Firewire PCI-E card installed and my Kindle, iPod, HTC phone, all complained and I was getting slow(er) USB transfer speeds.

I didn’t know what it could be!  I took out the card, blew the dust out, resat the card, etc, re-installed drivers, but nothing made a difference.

Then I read a forum post that said it might be related to the recent Service Pack for Windows 7.

In my device manager, I had three yellow exclamation points next to my USB devices.  The forum post said to delete them from your device manager, reboot, and then Windows 7 would reinstall the right driver.

Sure enough, it worked!

All my yellow "!" are gone!

In looking back through my Google Search History, I see that I saw an interesting thing in my Event Log:

The driver Driverusbehci failed to load for the device PCI

I work with a real sharp Microsoft Engineer and the first place he always looks is the Event Log.

Here’s the forum post that helped me solve this all:

http://www.sevenforums.com/hardware-devices/139441-standard-enhanced-pci-usb-host-controller-not-running.html

 

 

welcome back to the real world

We just got back from a wonderful time down at Disney World.  They sure know how to do it right.  Not only do they have excellent customer service, they go all out to make sure their customers have a great time.

Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse

This was the first time we actually spent time on their property.  That’s how you got to do it.  I drove our van once over the entire week for a beer run. Everything else has been taken care of.

I have some observations that I’d like to share.

Tattoos

Now, I have a tattoo.  I got it when I was 18. I can hide it easily.  At Disney world, tattoos are the new goatee.  You ain’t cool unless you have a tattoo. At Disney World, one will get to see a lot of tattoos.  I saw plenty of arm sleeves, leg tattoos, and heck, I even thought about getting another one on my leg, (in college I had picked out the most awesome Japanese Shadow puppet for my calf), but there were zero neck tattoos.  That is, until we returned to Georgia. It still boggles my mind why anyone would get a neck tattoo.

Oh yeah... I am very cool

Mr. Dumas

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… to the cloud!!!

… to sound cliche.

boo-hoo’ing

So, my precious VMWare node, running on an old Dell 1850 died a couple weeks ago. I lost a drive. I had it set up with RAID0.  Yes, I’ll admit I was over confident. I was surprised how quickly that drive died, but I lost everything. I lost years of work: my SVN repositories, my Asterisk configs, my DNS records, the list goes on.

A good friend of mine said, “It’s time to go to the Cloud; It’s awesome.

He was right. In recent months, I’ve relied heavily on DropBox and more recently on Box.net, and even more recently on Microsoft’s Skydrive, but what was I going to do with my other services?

… back in my day…

It’s been so many years since I’ve run a server in my basement. Even before my kids were born.  I was one of the first people to get aDSL in Atlanta: this was when the phone company still did a truck roll to their customer’s house.  I ran a FreeBSD box, (I think 4.5), that did PPPoE with a really old 10Mbit switch.  Ever since then, I had a box in the basement doing things.  I used to run mail servers, web servers, media servers, network drive, internal DNS, and even an Asterisk PBX.

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myths of innovation

The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun

I’m going to review the book, Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun.

In Scott’s book, he busts up the “myth of epiphany” by breaking down the history and process of how new ideas become reality. He explains the methods behind innovation, challenges innovation faces and explains how it just isn’t one guy alone, who has the best idea.

I really enjoyed this book.

I like to think myself as an innovative person, and as Scott explained the challenges that innovators or innovative ideas come up against, I could related all too well. Scott explains that innovators don’t usually find support with the mainstream and that often drives them to work alone on problems others ignore, and how this could explain the connection between “breakthrough thinkings” and new companies. That makes me think of the Googles and Microsofts of the world, both of who are just two of some of the bigger examples of breakthrough companies.

I liked how Scott pulled in tons of information from other sources and linked it into a way that made it all make sense. The book had lots of content from other sources, that helps put some of these larger ideas into perspective for me. Scott also references some of the points from Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, (which I also enjoyed), such as the 10,000 rule and the influence of opportunity.

What I found particularly helpful, was Scott’s sections on helpful suggestions, such as “Creative Thinking Hacks, “How To Pitch an idea,” and “How To Stay Motivated.” This is particular challenge for me so I really appreciated the information and definitely plan to leverage what I learned in 2011.

Now, I read this version on the Kindle, so I don’t know if this is the same in the printed book, but I also liked the way all the chapter’s footnotes are at the end of the each chapter. I found this a refreshing way to read the footnotes while the content of the chapter is still fresh in my mind

Finally, I enjoyed Scott’s writing style, his sense of humor, and that way he was able to combine and weave them into the book. I would recommend this book, and look forward to reading Scott’s other works.

You can find the O’reilly Page for the Myths of Innovation here.

holding the spoon the right way

At work I’ve been doing some skunk works projects on Enterprise Collaboration, or Enterprise 2.0.  I enjoy setting up new things and seeing how they work and fit together. I also enjoy teaching new things to people and seeing them digest new ideas, so this has been something I’ve really enjoyed working on.

Cisco Networks released Cisco Quad, and I thought the best description I heard was, “When you are at home, you are addicted to Facebook… when you are work, you are addicted to this…”

That sums up my sentiment exactly.

There have been some well intentioned, yet primitive attempts at increasing collaboration across the company… wait… let me rephrase that.  People have been collaborating all long, via primate methods, at least by what has been available.

We have Microsoft’s Sharepoint 2007 in house, and I’ve become very knowledge about it in the last half of the year.  And I do see it as a potential enabler of virtual collaboration, but to me, it seems lacking in several areas.  Granted, our implementation has suffered from stability and usage issues, but it only recently began gaining any noticeable traction almost eight months after it’s initial implementation.

But, it hasn’t been good for sharing media, or spontaneous communication, and I certainly realize the potential is there.  I’ve seen Sharepoint 2010and it is an improvement, but unless it becomes part of our daily habits, or routine, Sharepoint 2010 could still languish.

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Making Snow at home!

we had a white Christmas

Well, it is almost that time of year and since here in Georgia, we did get snow on Christmas Day, (the first time since 1882), I thought it might be cool to post my video of me and my brother-in-law making snow last year.   I was surprised at the amount of views this got on Youtube and I’ve been enjoying reading the comments.

I don’t know if we’ll try again this year, but I bet we will.

Enjoy!

the htpc revisted

Back in the day, a long long time ago, I really got my original Xbox to hack it. Not to play “back up games” but to share and stream media. That’s right, I really wanted to use XBox Media Center to take the content on the Internet out of the computer room, and into my living space.

… and it was good.

I helped others get an original Xbox for streaming media. Most notably, I helped my German brother-in-law get his set up, so his kids could watch German TV and Movies off of the PC.  He subscribed to a German TV service that would allow him to download German TV to his PC. His Xbox and XMBC would allow his family to watch the shows in the living room.

… and he was happy.

Later, I got a Roku M500, and if you had given me a chance to talk about it, I would have told you that it was the coolest thing I had ever bought in my life. I loved this thing.

… and it was great.

But my Roku 500 rolled off the entertainment center and broke. My Xbox got long it the tooth, and our DVD player gave up the ghost and all of a sudden were faced with an opportunity to upgrade to a Blu-Ray.  My wife didn’t want another gaming console, (to which I am referring to the PS3 before you suggest it), and I really couldn’t argue against it. We had heard good things about Samsung Blu-Ray players, but we ultimately had a bad experience with a Samsung BD-P1590. But I had a taste. Streaming Netflix, Pandora, Blu-ray…  If a Blu-Ray player didn’t have Streaming Netflix, I’m not interested.

… and so it began.

So, most everyone will tell you the PS3 is the way to go, and for the most part I would agree.  However, I had a taste of something else.

Since we are down a DVD player, I’ve been hooking my laptop up to the TV via S-Video and RCA jacks into the audio. My laptop is nothing special. It’s running Windows 7. But what is special, is the choice apps I have been running on it:

Boxee

And not to mention, Windows Media Center, (which is also VERY cool!).

After playing with Boxee, XMBC, and Hulu Desktop, Windows Media Center, (part of Win7), on this laptop, I was thinking I wanted more than what the PS3 has to offer for an HTPC. I was floored! They make PC cases that look like audio equipment, so this merits further investigation.

I figure my shopping list would consist of the following, and would consider my current situation and future growth:

  • HTPC Case
  • Multi-core CPU + motherboard
  • Digital audio out, (either on-board or PCI card)
  • Component (w/ HDMI) video output
  • Descent OS: Currently thinking about Win7 but open to other options
  • Wireless keyboard
  • Multimedia PC remote

This set up would totally get me started and be ready for future upgrades, (We still have a really nice rear CRT projection TV with only component-in).  I’d love to hear any other tips or suggestions anyone has. Please let me know your thoughts!

Windows 7 motherboard swap

This is really cool.  If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen me rejoicing over my new purchase of a motherboard and AMD CPU at Fry’s this last weekend.

I’ve been upgrading parts of our home Windows desktop and handing down parts to my FreeBSD server and my (now retired) Asterisk server. (The physical hardware has been retired, but the server image lives on my VMWare ESXi server in my basement).   For the longest time, I would have considered myself an Intel man, but honestly I don’t have fanboy tendencies either way.

But I saw my deal at Fry’s this past weekend, I asked my wife if could get executive approval for the upgrade purchase, and she said yes!  Here’s what I got for $149 (plus tax) after rebate:


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Now, I had a rather old Asus Socket 775 Intel based, Via chipset motherboard and a Pentium D 820. That was a dual core CPU and I wasn’t really too happy about the Asus motherboard. I mean, it was okay, but wasn’t great.

In preparation of my upgrade I began researching on what would be the best way to handle replacing the motherboard from under my Windows 7 installation.  In the past, I would try to get a new motherboard as close to as what I was replacing, and then make the swap, and do a repair installation of WinXP.

I cruised around a couple of the more popular Windows 7 forums and the consensus I was getting was that I should do a “new installation.” The installation process would create a Windows.old and I would have to reinstall and restore my files, (yes, I do have backups).  Then I saw something that blew my mind…

One forum poster claimed that he swapped motherboard and Windows 7 impressively detected the changes and proactively installed the necessary drivers for the new motherboard and after a reboot, he was as good as new.

It’s true.

I decided to try this. With the expectation that at the worst, I would do a “new install” of Windows 7.  I made my swap of the motherboards, plugged everything in, hooked up the bare minimum, (keyboard, mouse, network, monitor), powered it on, went into the BIOS and set my C: drive to the first boot device and let it rip!

It worked.

As proof, here’s a video of my upgrade. I took the chance that it would work, and recorded it with my Flip HD.  The whole thing took 16 minutes from start to finish, but I edited my video down to six minutes.

As you can see, after the reboot I was back in business with quad-core goodness! And here’s a video of me updating my Windows 7 User Experience Index:

Notice my CPU index went from 2.2 to 7.2! Now to be clear, I did have some minor clean up issues:

  • I had to uninstall my ATI Radeon drivers since I wasn’t using that card any more.
  • I did have to install some drivers from the included CD
  • I did have to flash the BIOS to the latest
  • I did have to use the automated Microsoft Activation via the phone, but it was painless.

Overall, it was an exceptional experience!  I never thought I would have a quad-core CPU at home, and I certainly never thought Windows 7 would continue to be this awesome!

Finally, this worked wonderfully.  Here’s a comparison of what I went from and what I went to:

Old Setup New Setup
  • Intel Pentium Dual Core CPU
  • VIA Chipset
  • ATI Video Card
  • AMD Quad Core CPU
  • Nvidia nForce Chipset
  • Nvidia Onbard Video

non-traditional job interviewing advice

Following up with my previous post about non-traditional resume help, I had also given a few pointers to friends about interviewing. I’ve distilled them here:

  • In this economy, there are tons of people out looking for jobs and willing to take anything.  If you are a senior person, and you apply for a junior position, you probably won’t get the job.  Employers are savvy about this, and realize once the economy gets better, you’ll probably leave as soon as you can for a better paying job.
  • And you should, (if you got the job!)! Companies lay people off all the time; it’s a business decision. You and your family should be your number one business.  Think of it as a business decision that is good for you and your family!
  • Remember that the interview is for both involved parties. You should be interviewing your new company, boss, position, growth potential, quality of work/life balance, etc.  See how they treat you during the interview process.  Did they offer you bathroom breaks, sometime to drink or eat?
  • Are the people interviewing you qualified to assess your skills and/or qualifications?  If your hiring manager is not knowledgeable in your skill set, there will be some frustration around expectations.  I was recently asked to interview a candidate for a Cisco Network Engineer position.  I know nothing about the technology, I was brought in to evaluate the guy’s personality. But I was able to asses his ability to learn, lead, personality, and if he could get the job done if given what he needed.  I would not have been able to gauge his technical skills. I was upfront and honest about this.
  • If you get pre-screened by HR or the recruiters, they’ll ask you what you make now or what you made before. DO NOT give them a number until it comes down to an offer. If you give them a number, and it’s lower than the range for the position, they’ll give you that.  You can always say, “Before I give you a number, I want to learn more about the position. Until then, it’s hard for me to give a number that I think is appropriate…” or something along those lines.  If they press you for a number, I would give them a number around 10% above your current or last salary amount.  Don’t tell them, “I’d like to make, $XZY.”  Instead, make it a definite statement, “I am looking to make $XYZ!”
  • Remember, if you get an offer, to consider the total benefits package; vacation, sick time, work at home policy, breaks, insurances, etc, commute, along with the salary.  Work is not just about making a salary. It is also about these things, too.
  • Vacation is always a negotiation-able.  While HR says, “Nope, our standard policy is two weeks” you can always work out a deal with the hiring manager. Just get it in writing from them in case you move under a new boss or he moves out of their position.
  • Sometimes, a severance package is also something you can negotiate for.  “Since I was laid off at my last job where I was at for twelve years, I would feel more safe if some accommodations were made if I was to be let go within my first six months while I am here.”
  • When you get an offer, ALWAYS say, “Thank you.  I need 24 hours to think about it.” If they say, no, then you don’t want to work for them.  You do need to think over every offer and at least sleep on it and talk it over with the family.  Be sure to get back with them either way by the time you committed to.
  • Be prepared to ask questions or do the interview yourself.  Some people just aren’t good interviewers.  One guy I interviewed with when I was being interviewed was clearly uncomfortable so I began asking about his family, kids, etc and we talked for the whole hour about that sort of stuff.
  • This is a good one, but kind of scary.  When the interview is over, ask them if they have any reservations on hiring you. This might catch them off guard, but otherwise it will throw the door wide open for more discussion if there is any concerns. The interviewer might say, “Well, as a matter of fact, I am a little concerned about your lack of experience in XYZ…”  This gives you, as the interviewee, to specifically address this.  In this case, maybe you answer, “While I haven’t done XYZ, I have done ABC which is the same skill set…”  who knows.  But if this guy was worried and the interview ended and it never came up, it could hurt your chances when the other candidates are considered.

I hope you find these helpful.  These come from mypersonal experience as well as some other job finding groups I belong to.  If you have more ideas, I’d love to hear them!

non-traditional resume help

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of proofreading of resumes from people who are close to me.  I really love helping people I care about since there are only a few things someone can do to really make their resume stand out among the sea you get, especially in this economy.

I’ve been a hiring manager for many years and since I was laid off in 2007 I had the pleasure of going through the interview process many, many times. I would be hard pressed to call myself an expert, but I am surprised at how much people don’t generally know.

When I got laid off, I had been at the same company for more than 12 years, and I didn’t have much of a network, social or otherwise, to speak of.  As I’ve said before, before it was called social networking, it was called, “managing your online presence.”  Social Networking sounds a little cooler, but the premise is the same.

A couple of things became really clear to me when I was laid off.  First, I was way off on how much I thought people were connected or dependent on the Internet.   I assumed,  incorrectly, that everyone was “connected” and “online.”   There are a ton of people who don’t have broadband internet, who don’t use email for business, etc.  It was a real eye opener.  Second, not everyone is ready or wants to be connected. Who wouldn’t want to drink from this magical fountain, I thought?  Hmm, not everyone, that’s for sure.

Don’t get me wrong, this IS changing as broadband gets cheaper and more accessible, (yes, not everyone can get broadband believe it or not).

I was talking about resumes, wasn’t I?

Okay, let me get back to my point bout being a hiring manager.  Listen to this very carefully.  You’ve heard it before, but hear me now:

Your resume is your first and sometimes only impression you have to make on the hiring manager.

Especially, in this economy, there are many many qualified, top quality candidates out there.   The problem is, most of them have sucky resumes. Yup, I mean it.  For every open position I post, I might get close to 100 resumes to review.  As a hiring manager, I might want to do phone interviews with 10 of them, and bring in maybe four or five for actual face-to-face interviews.  How am I supposed to weed through the stack? Believe me, I have my methods;  I can smell a baked resume, (recruiters love to bake resumes), and as hiring manager I alway try to see life from the candidate’s point of view.  I’m often willing to overlook some of the minor glitches in a sucky resume if I can find some way to relate, but if I can’t… I’m on to review the next one.

Now, in this post, I’m not going to tell you the do’s and don’t of the resume.  There are plenty of resources out there so I’m going to give you the highlights as I call ’em.

  • If you got laid off, and some sort of engagement with an outplacement agency is part of your severance package.. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT!!! It will be extremely valuable.  They might have a resume workshop, give you a chance to network, etc. You never know.  I took advantage of it.  I have talked to many people who decided to blow it off.  I think that was short sighted.  It helped me tons and my I think my resume is pretty good and truthful.
  • You got to be truthful.  Find some examples online of resumes that match what you do.  You’d be surprised what you can find. Personally, I don’t think there is ANY shame in finding a resume example you like and cut and pasting your info into it. Make sure it is YOUR info in the example’s format.
  • Make a text version of your resume.  Be it Notepad on Windows or Textmate on Mac, copy n’ paste your resume into your favorite text editor and make sure it formats well.  Many sites and recruiters require this.  Have it ready beforehand.
  • Keep your resume on Google Docs so you can get a copy anytime, anywhere you can get a Internet connection.  You never know when a lead might come through.
  • Consider having a chronological (traditional) resume and a functional one.  Google the difference.
  • Consider non-traditional places to look.  When I was looking for a job, Craigslist was pretty active.  They say 80% of the jobs are “hidden” and you have to network your way into them.
  • Go to networking events.
  • This was actually pretty cool and I still use it.  Print up some business cards with your personal info on it.  Consider these your “Calling Cards” and carry them with you.  Link to your website, provide your email address, phone number, and an elevator pitch.  Give them out to anyone who might remotely seem like they might be able to help you find a job.

I also got a slew of interviewing tips I might share in the next post.

What other tips do you have? Please share them!