Wednesday, November 16, 2005

My Toshiba CDROM Burner Stopped Working - What I Did To Fix It

I am one of those people that got bit by the Sony Rootkit virus. Needless to say, I will never, ever buy anything Sony again. Period.

Around the same time I got hit with the Sony rootkit (serves me right I guess for venturing into Windows), my wife installed the latest iTunes. I also did a big batch of service pack updates from Microsoft. I was unaware that I had the Sony rootkit virus installed (my fault for playing fast and loose on Windows), and all of these installations took place on the same day.

After doing the above on the same day, something strange happened. I could no longer burn CD's. I also couldn't burn DVD's on my external TDK DVD burner either. Assuming it was just a Windows bug, viri, etc, I booted into Linux - but had the same exact problem on both burners.

This struck me as very strange. I wondered if I picked up a viri that embedded itself into my MBR, or perhaps some new super strange BIOS viri. But here's the really strange part...

When I moved my external TDK burner to another machine - it too wouldn't burn even on that second machine. VERY strange.

The solution: I downloaded a new TDK firmware update for the external TDK burner. After burning in the new firmware - it works and burns again.

The internal burner (a Toshiba SD-R2212) on my Toshiba laptop was a different story. Re-burning the factory firmware didn't help. Re-burning the last BIOS revision from Toshiba also didn't help as the problem remained. ultimately, I stumbled on a firmware site that has an assortment of hacked firmware for just about every drive on the planet.

I took a chance and burned one of the hacks. Now, my internal Toshiba burner works again.

If you are having a problem like mine, especially after doing a round of patches from Microsoft (I used Autopatcher XP)... check out this site:

If you have an SD-R2212 like I did, the patch that worked for me was this one:

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Mantel Leaves Novell / Suse

I suspect that when Novell purchased Ximian and later SuSE, the higher-ups at both firms probably had visions of eventually running Novell. I believe it was inevitable to see a shakeout or coup take place within Novell given the polar opposites that SuSE and Ximian team are -or- were. On all kinds of levels I bet these two teams had a certain disdain for one another, or at minimum a disgust with each's vision of the future for Novell.

Yes, Novell is going to have the KDE libraries included on their future releases, but as a practical matter I think SuSE's KDE support is going to go largely (at best) the way of RH's and Fedora's. Sure, a community project will probably appear, perhaps through OpenSuse, that keeps KDE going - but it's obvious to me that Novell is casting its lot with the Ximian/Mono team and all things Gnome. This was probably a business decision driven not so much by technical merits, but by internal lobbying and PowerPoint presentations. ;-)

If there is any good that stands to come from all of this (and such a thing is certainly questionable), it's that future editions of SuSE are definitely going to become focused on a core set of tools (Gnome, Mono, etc). That may ultimately make SuSE the winner with Gnome that it was with KDE, albeit at the latters expense. Novell probably looked over and saw all of the other big commercial outfits using Gnome - namely RH and Sun - and figured it might as well join the gang. Although I think Novell would have been much smarter to dump Gnome and focus solely on KDE with respect to the desktop, they probably couldn't justify it given all of the investments they made in Mono and the Ximian guys. Besides, I don't think Novell bought Suse because of its strong KDE focus, rather it was interested in the SuSE brand, market position, and a fast way to become the #2 player in the Linux ballgame.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Yup. Still here.

So much to do, so little time to write.

To make a long story short: law school took so many twists and turns for me that I put the whole thing on ice until next Fall. My wife was looking at taking a VERY GOOD paying job in Madison, and here I was about to restart my law gig at a California school, or at least that was the plan a few months ago. Faced with doing a reverse-commute from the midwest to the southwest (like my situation at Cooley, only this time in reverse) was just too much. So, I decided to hit the brakes and know with substantial certainty where my family was going to ultimately plant roots.

As it turned out my wife took an OK paying job at, oddly enough, my previous employer in Arizona. Oh the irony.

In the meantime I'm finishing my MBA. Big whoop, although after a stint at Cooley getting an MBA seems almost fun.