Smart Codes

I have heard about the use of data matrix barcodes in other countries to convey data to others.  For example:


...contains my name, skype phone number and email address. 

Software for various handsets to read the above can be downloaded from www.i-nigma.mobi or post.beetagg.com 'Barcode Scanner 'and 'BeeTag' applications for the G1 also support this format (albeit I could not get BeeTag to work with the above on monitor display).

There are two primary types of codes; QR Code and Semacode Data Matrix Code.  The former version I have seen on FedEx pacakges.

You can create your own personalized code at Kaywa, i-nigma or BeeTag (or a plethora of other) websites...



Where Has Horizontal Spanning Gone?

I have been using dual monitors at home for a few months now and I was given the option to do the same at work.  I ordered a GeForce 9500GT card and found another 17" Dell LCD and set them up in dual-view mode on my XP work computer. I later updated the video drivers with the latest nVidia drivers and was looking through the menus to see the options and I came across 'Horizontal Spanning' and vertical Spanning' options-which basically means instead of having two separate 1280x1024 screens, I could combine them to make a virtual desktop of 2560x1024 (or 1280x2048).  This could be very useful for applications that cannot dynamically resize- such as World of Warcaft- and give a display of something like this:


The one issue I have with this is the center of the display is split across the two monitors (not pictured in the screen capture), so it can be a bit difficult to see what my character is doing.  To fix this, I installed CTMod3 Core with CTViewPort, allowing me to modify the game view area:


This looks awesome so I tried to replicate it at home with two 24" monitors (1920x1200, trying for an 3840x1200 resolution)- and have had nothing but heart-ache since...

Some people have said 'window it and stretch it to fit the screen'; WoW will only offer proportional renderings in variants of the screen resolution it is presented by windows (i.e. 1920x1200, 1920x1020, 1600x1200, 1680x1050, 1440x900, etc) and trying to modify the window gives me a nasty stretch-o-vision variant:


...or pretty much exactly NOT what I am looking to do.

Horizontal Spanning was completely dropped in Vista due to architectural changes in the display rendering'- or so claims nVidia.  This sucks as my primary system is Windows.

Luckily I have a quick-change SATA bay for my PC, so able to install XP (and Windows 7) to see which platform(s) it works on best.  Apparently this is also not an option on Windows XP with the nVidia GTX260 video card- or any nVidia chipset boards- or two 8800GTs in SLI mode...

I could only get horizontal spanning to work with a single 8800GT under XP (x86 ver) with an Intel P35 chipset board -and at about 15fps.

I tried a few other motherboards I had laying around (Asus M2N32-SLI, eVGA 780i, MSI Neo P35) and my video card stock (GTX260, two 8800GTs) to try to replicate spanning and I was VERY disappointed with the results:

  Single 8800GT 8800GT SLI GTX260
XP32 on Intel P35 Horizontal Spanning! Not SLI MoBo Failed
XP64 on Intel P35 Not Tested Not SLI MoBo Failed
Vista on Intel P35 Failed Not SLI MoBo Failed
Win7 on Intel P35 Failed Not SLI MoBo Failed
XP32 on nVidia 590 Failed Failed Not Tested
XP64 of nVidia 590 Failed Failed Failed
Vista on nVidia 590 Failed Failed Failed
Win7 on nVidia 590 Failed Failed Failed
XP32 on nVidia 780i Not Tested Not Tested Not Tested
XP64 of nVidia 780i Failed Failed Failed
Vista on nVidia 780i Failed Failed Failed
Win7 on nVidia 780i Failed Failed Failed


I even went so far as to pickup a Radeon HD4870 from Fry's to see if it was an nVidia issue- and I was unable to get a Horizontal Spanning option on it as well... (It was returned as it is about the same performance as my GTX260- and generates quite a bit more fan noise).

The end result is that I am not sure if the video card vendors discontinued support for horizontal spanning across all platforms, nVidia chipset motherboards do not support, or f 3840x1200 resolution was never supported (perhaps it requires more than 896MB of frame buffer space?).  The only two configurations I have found to support this mode are my work PC (a Dell Optiplex 745 running XP, with an Intel chipset, a GeForce 9500GT, and dual 1280x1024 monitors) and a scaled-down version of my PC (MSI Neo P35 Mobo, XP, single GeForce 8800GT, dual 1920x1200 monitors).

I would really like horizontal spanning with more than 15fps for WoW.  Since the older Intel motherboards do not support SLI (rather they support Crossfire for ATI cards) I guess I can only hope that someone will create a mod that will allow WoW to use a resolution other than variants of the ones reported by windows.


Ask.com search Hijack

Ask.com appears to have dropped to a lower level of desperation; while installing another piece of software (BitTorrent, if you must know), I was prompted with an the option to install the ask.com toolbar.  I mistakenly hit next and then tried to go back, but it was too late- their craptastic software was installed.

1st issue I see here is that the default action for on this useless program (as well as on many similar products from Yahoo, Google, MSN, etc.) is to 'opt in' for the install instead of a default of 'opt out'- so a person mindlessly clicking the 'Next' button during routine installs will end up with several redundant search bars installed.

2nd issue is that when I uninstalled the ask.com toolbar via add/remove programs, it left the default search for the URL keyword field directing to Ask.com.  I tried the obligatory uninstall of Firefox and the purging of all 'ask.com' registry entries to no avail. 

Eventually I was able to find a resolution to this over at paperstreet:

  1. Open a new tab or window.
  2. Type “about:config” and hit enter, this brings up the all powerful settings of Firefox.
  3. Agree to the warning that you could mess things up
  4. Find keyword.url, you probably should not change anything else
  5. Double click and change keyword.url string to something else like: http://www.google.com/search?q=

So now I must thank 'ask.com' for their annoying browser hack by adding their root URL to my AdBlock filter list...