NWN2 on Windows 7 b7100

image I have ran into another issue with Windows 7 built 7100 (RC). I recently installed Neverwinter Nights 2 on my Windows 7 system and I get an error that ‘No 3D card found’, despite my GXT285 working great with all other games.

I did some Google searches and it appears that this issue is partial to DirectX on the 7057/7100 builds- and only to this game. Others tester were reporting that NWN2 worked on build 7000, stopped with 7068/7100, and is again working in build 7127.

I tried upgrading to 7127 x64 from inside of 7100 x64 and had three successive failures (possibly due to my RAID0 boot drive on the Gigabyte SATA2 RAID) and decided to start over and install 7127 x64 clean. I was able to get the base install to work, but now I received errors when trying to run AVG or Nero: 'side by side configuration errors’ made these applications (plus likely a good deal of others) impossible to use, so I reverted back to b7100.

Finally back to build 7100, I did a little creative Googling and finally found a ‘fix’ on the BioWare forums:

To get NWN2 to run on Windows 7 - download this file - Click Here - take ownership of the original file (look in c:\windows\system32 or c:\windows\syswow64 depending on your flavor of OS), rename it (I recommend renaming the extension to something other than .dll in case you need the original file later on), then move the downloaded file into the same folder as the original. Good to go.

To get the NWN2 Toolset to function under Windows 7 - you need to manually install the actual DirectX 9.0c package. Best version to get is Microsoft's updated end-user redistributable, as this not only places the correct DirectX 9.0c files on your system, but will update any DirectX 10 files as well. The file can be found here - Click Here - download, unpack to any folder on your system, and run the dxsetup.exe file. The toolset will now run.

Neverwinter Nights 2 will now run after taking ownership and replacing the dxdign.dll file in c:\windows\syswow64\ (for x64 version).


Just call me ‘Mr. Ambassador’…


I attained the ‘Ambassador’ title for my main character in World of Warcraft- by becoming ‘Exalted’ with the five Horde factions- Orgimar, Undercity, Thunder Bluff, Darkspear Trolls and Silvermoon City.

For the last one I couldn’t find enough quests for rep, so I took the IT approach- I threw money at it;I had to buy out almost all of the Runecloth in the auction house to finish of the last few 1000 points…


GP2X Wiz


I recently read that there was a GP2X emulator for the G1- so I decided to pull my GP2X F200 out of the closet and play with it for a while- for nostalgia purposes.

Looking for updates to Emulators on my F200 found that many haven’t been updated in a while. The SNES (being my primary concern) works very well- but can bog down to 15fps while playing Super Ghouls and Ghosts.

A little further research found that the GP2X F200 was replaced by the GP2X Wiz- with a much faster CPU (533Mhz vs 250Mhz- overclocked!) and an OLED display- all for less than what I paid for my GP2X F200; and the software for this system are much more recent


Looks like my GP2X F200 is headed to eBay very soon. The big question is to buy a GP2X Wiz now, or to wait for the Pandora?

Apple Rumors- My Thoughts

Everyone on the web is going ape-shit about possible future Apple hardware releases.

The two that are most prominent are a new Apple iPhone and an Apple Tablet Mac/eBook reader.

Here are my views on these rumors:

New iPhone:

Rumors for this include:

  • New OLED Screen
  • Light-up Apple logo on the back
  • 32GB Memory
  • 2x Faster CPU and RAM
  • 1.5x Battery Life
  • Mini/Larger iPhone model

The 32GB upgrade I can see; this is long overdue. (or maybe they could just slap a MicroSDHC slot in there and I could add 32GB to it myself!) I would even consider an OLED screen and a faster CPU- but a faster CPU + RAM AND longer battery life is complete bullshit fantasy- unless they make the iPhone thicker… (and the trend is to make it thinner with each update)

There was actually a 32GB iPhone place holder on the Australian T-Mobile site for a short while.

A light-up Apple logo on the back? My only question would be- Why? A separate light-up display would use battery life and look pretty fucking stupid. This wouldn’t bee too difficult to do- so long as they don’t switch to OLED- as Apple could just put a clear panel behind the LED backlight to allow some of the screen’s glow to permeate through- but this would dim the display of the main screen as light would be escaping in different directions.

As for a different sized iPhone, Apple has an application store with 1000s of Apps that are 100% compatible with both 1st Gen and 3G iPhones (save for ones that need GPS)- and they would probably want to maintain this compatibility (at least for the next few years). iPhone hardware changes cannot be something that would make older apps break (such as a different screen resolution).

A smaller screen would also mean a smaller keypad typing area- so unless they switch to resistive screens and include a stylus (which doesn’t work on capacitive touch screens) I think they would only be able to sell smaller screen iPhones in Japan.

New Tablet Mac/eBook Reader:

Rumors for this include:

  • Multi-touch screen
  • eBook Reader/Kindle killer
  • Color eBook reader
  • 8.5” x 11” screen (13.9” diagonal size)

Right off I call bullshit on an ‘eBook reader’ option from Apple- at for at least a the next years; the technology isn’t there to make it ‘cool’ as of yet.

Will apple make a touch-screen MacBook? Sure- but remember that PC manufacturers made similar beasts about 4-5 years ago -and they are still waiting for tablet PCs to catch on. People would rather type than write on a screen; writing is way too slow compared to data entry via a keyboard.

Will it be multi-touch? -only if they don’t want handwriting recognition. There are two kinds of touch screens; resistive and capacitive. Resistive can use a stylus and is generally single-point contact (although some are working on this); capacitive needs something that can create an electric field to touch the screen- such as a human finger- and allows for multi-touch; It is not very easy to write an email with your finger. (I guess a metal stylus held in hand would work as well- but would also scratch the screen!)

I can envision a Mac Book with a multi-touch screen so people can play with their digital photos/edit music/etc. I don’t see them losing the keyboard- unless the device is a dock and the screen is removable for portability. No stylus and no handwriting recognition (but maybe voice recognition?).

eBook reader/eInk Technology

A little background: eInk is a patented technology made by one company; eInk Corporation. They make all the screens for the Amazon Kindle family, the Sony e-Readers and just about every other eInk reader in the world.

The benefits of eInk are that it is a static display (i.e. it is not illumined by a backlight that is running at 60hz) so it does not cause eye strain and it uses very little power (usually readers are rated in days instead of hours).

eInk Corporatopmn makes 4 sizes of screens ; 5”, 6”, 8” and 9.7”. The 6” is used in the Kindle, the Kindle 2, all three Sony eReaders and many other 6” readers. The 9.7” is used in the Kindle DX, due out in Summer 2009. This makes a 8.5” x 11” screen (13.9” diagonal) impossible as one doesn’t exist!

The only color eInk display that has seen the light of day was made by eInk corporation and sports 6” display -with a whopping 400x300 resolution (1/4 the res of their monochrome display- or 83ppi vs 167ppi) with 12bit color depth. If Apple were contracting out a custom 13.9” color e-Ink display, the display will have a 706x913 resolution (based on 83ppi x 8.5” and 11” measurements)- and make the cost of the Kindle DX look like a bargain!

eInk is a static display- so you cannot do anything that requires motion- i.e. no videos, no games, no flash animation, etc. It is difficult enough typing a URL on a device (i.e. Kindle) that has a refresh rate of ‘once every time a button is pressed’- much less trying to do word processing or a spreadsheet.

So, will Apple make an eBook reader/Kindle killer? If it is monochrome and looks almost like the Kindle- sure! The biggest screen available for eInk is 9.7”, so there will not be a 8.5” x 11” display.

If it is color device, it will either be dedicated ebook reader with a 6” 400x300 screen (ugh!)- or a laptop with a backlight LED (or possibly an OLED version- for about $4,000 more) and have a battery life about 3-4 hours- i.e. killing all the benefits that eInk has to offer (adding eye strain, killing battery life, etc).

And finally- what do people think that Apple would want to go into eBook distribution when Amazon (a venerable book distributor for many years) and Sony are both is still trying to make money on these products? If they were making decent money, the Kindle wouldn’t cost $400-$500 as they could subsidize the cost with the publishers.

My predictions:

  • New iPhone with 32GB, possible OLED screen; This will most likely just be a 16GB and 32GB upgrade announcement- disappointing fan boys and investors alike.
  • Apple MacBook/PowerBook with multi-touch screen- perhaps with a detachable screen- and maybe even with eReader software (from Amazon). If the later happens, I also foresee a future lawsuit against Apple for eBook reader software causing migraine headaches/eye problems to thousands of users…
  • All the rest- fantasy bullshit.

Combining the two- perhaps a 32GB iPhone with OLED and a landscape mode eBook reader; but I for one would never want to read a 300+ page book on a 3" OLED screen…


Android GP2X

So I purchased a GP2X F-200 several months ago; it is a great device.

I switched to T-Mobile to get a G1 ‘Google’ phone a few months later.

Now it appears that someone that might be a big fan of the Reese’s ‘chocolate in my peanut butter’ commercials is developing a GP2X emulator for the G1

I think I may cry tears of joy… :o)

T-Mobile G1 1.5 ‘CupCake’ Firmware available for Download!

image Finally- after many, many (many, many) delays, it looks like the G1 1.5 ‘cupcake’ firmware is up on Google’s site.

Android Community has a post that links to Android Downloads, which then has the direct link to the 1.5 firmware on Google’s site

Bad news is if you have root access and you want to keep it, you should probably wait (unless you want to got through the rooting process again) until a ‘fixed’ version of 1.5 comes out.

If you don’t care about root access you can update by:

  • Download the signed-kila-ota-148830.de6a94ca.zip file,
  • Rename it to ‘update.zip’ (note: by default, Windows hides file extensions- so be sure you are not naming it ‘update.zip.zip’ by un-hiding extensions if this doesn’t work)
  • Copy the ‘update.zip’ file to the root directory of your MicroSD card
  • Power off your G1
  • Power on your G1 while holding down the ‘home’ button
  • When the warning triangle comes up, press alt+L on the keyboard
  • Next hit atl+S on the keyboard
  • It will prompt you to hit home+back to reboot a few times.
  • After this, you should be to 1.5 firmware (and you will need to re-setup your phone)

Now we can start waiting to see if Android ‘Donut’ v2.0 will ever be ported over to the original G1- or maybe we will just need to be happy with the Haykuro 'Hero' build

Goths in Hot Weather

I started following Miss Destructo on Twitter and ran across a tweet on Goths in Hot Weather and had to post a link

USB Tape Player

I guess there are still some cassette tapes in the world...


MKV (H.264) Support on Windows 7!

DivX Labs has created a codec for MKV video container support on Windows 7. It is a free ‘preview’ download- after creating an account and joining the Project Rémoulade group


Panasonic RP-WF5500 Headphones

In October 2007 I read an article on Engadget about the new Panasonic RP-WF5500 wireless 5.1 headphones. The article was brief and I was unable to find a review of the headphones online.

The headphones are 2.4Ghz digital wireless headphones that offer 5.1 surround sound via digital or analog inputs. The big benefit for me to the digital input is that it it can be passed through my receiver without going through the amplifier- giving the benefit of not having to control the audio through my receiver: I can turn the volume down on the receiver and control the volume on the headphones independently. My prior headphones were analog input only so I had to use a 3.5mm to headphone adaptor and plug it into the output of the receiver- disabling my room speakers and requiring the audio to pass through two amplifiers (one in the receiver and one in the headphones).

They specifications sounded very good and I had good hopes that this would almost be the ‘ultimate headphones’ for me (they lack noise cancellation so they are not the true ‘ultimate headphones’ for me).

I watched and hoped that they would appear on the shelf at my local Fry’s store- but no such luck. I did find them on AccessoryJack and GeekStuff4U for around $230 - $250, but this is a bit expensive for a new set of headphones that no one has really tested. I added them to my Amazon Wish list (via their universal wish list option) and someone was kind enough to purchase it as a birthday present for me. :o)

The headphones took a few weeks to arrive as they were shipped direct from Hong Kong- in a paper bag:


The contents inside were wrapped in a thin bubble wrap and the contents arrived fairly unscathed:



It really made me wonder how a set of headphones can travel around the world in a paper bag and FexEx/UPS can’t manage to do this for a 50 mile delivery.

Inside the box were the headphones, charging base, wall adaptor, a 6’ optical cable, a single AA rechargeable battery, instructions and warranty information (the later two matched the box as they were only in Cantonese).


The headphones are adjustable and the ear covers pivot and twist to make them more comfortable. They are covered with cloth and are very comfortable to wear. The headphones (with the AA battery installed) weigh about 9oz.


As a size comparison, they are a good deal smaller than my old Sony MDR-RF970K 900Mhz stereo headphones:


The headphones are simplistic in design; there are for two controls on the right headphone and charging contacts on the left headphone. The controls are a simple analog volume control and an ID button. The ID button is for pairing with the base station.


The pivoting action also controls the auto power-off function of the headphones (which I was unaware of until I started playing around with them). When the headphones are worn on the head, they power on (indicated by a red light on the right headphone).



As mentioned earlier, the headphones are powered by a single AA battery located in the left headphone. The single battery gives the headphones about 6 hours of use before needing a recharge.


The docking station has to digital optical inputs and an analog stereo input via 3.5mm stereo headphone jack (cable for the later is not included). There is also a digital optical output.


The base station has three buttons and a selector switch:

  • ID/Tuning: Syncs the headphones and the base (via matching ‘ID’ button on the headphones)
  • Bass Boost: Obvious use
  • Selector switch: Allows selection of Digital input #1, #2 or analog audio.
  • Surround button: Cycles through surround modes:
    • For digital inputs, Dolby Digital, DTS or MPGE-2 AAC are automatically selected. The surround mode toggles 'Dolby Headphone’ mode on/off.
    • For analog input, the button will cycle through Dolby Headphone + Movie, Dolby Headphone + Music or straight stereo audio modes.
    • Dolby Prologic II converts stereo audio into a matrixed 5.1 surround sound- but I was unable to test as I do not have anything recorded in this format (I am not sure if this is for digital or analog inputs).


The headphones rest in the base and charge the battery.



The headphones use a 2.4Ghz digital signal to communicate with the headphones. I was a bit concerned that there would be interference in my house that is saturated with similar frequency 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth, and wireless keyboard/mouse/game controller signals. Luckily my worry was unwarranted; I have been using the headphones for several weeks and I have not heard a single drop/pop/cross-talk in this time period.

The actual sound is very clear. I am not an audiophile by any standards (although I do rip my MP3s at 240kpbs as I think 128kpbs sounds like crap) but I am extremely happy with the sound quality. The surround sound is good- not spectacular- but I do not think I could honestly expect more from two separate speakers trying to emulate a center channel.


The range is rated at 30 meters (about 100’) but I find the signal to start dropping at about 30’ in a normal house situation. The 30m range is probably more the case in a studio type scenario.


  • Consistent wireless signal; no drops/pops/cross-talk
  • Good Sound
  • 5.1 Surround
  • Auto shut-off
  • Rechargeable
  • Digital input
  • Light weight & comfortable


  • Cost
  • Not available for sale in US/non-US warranty

Overall, I am VERY happy with these headphones.

The new Battle.net


I remember Battle Net as the service that I logged into when playing Diabo or Warcraft II- but Blizzard has changed that.

The new battle.net web site looks to be Blizzard’s answer to Valve’s Steam Powered software; I was able to enter in my CD keys for Diablo II, Starcraft, and Warcraft III and they are made available to me for download- negating the need for me to keep the old CDs around. The games are downloaded via Blizzard’s client; the same peer-to-peer/direct download client used to distribute World of Warcraft updates.

I alsi merge my World of Warcraft account to use the same login as battle-net. Additionally, for those concerned about account theft, they offer use of the Blizzard Authenticator/Battle.net Mobile authenticator. The later is only useful (at this time) if you have an iPhone.


Skydeck and Google Voice

I chanced upon the skydeck service- which provides several very useful features for your cell phone: voicemail speech to text, online call/text logging, contact backup and a VoIP client (in the premium version)- to name a few of the prevalent ones. One very useful feature for me was unknown caller ID lookup.

During the setup wizard, the skydeck client is installed on your phone (via SMS link). The software detects the type of phone you are using and installs the appropriate client; this worked on both my personal T-Mobile G1 and my work Blackberry Storm with no issues.

The client allows the phone to communicate with the Skydeck service and transfer information about incoming/outgoing calls. It also can log into your online carrier account (if you allow it to by providing your cell phone number and password) to pull more detailed information on your calls.


They have added ‘Google Voice Mash-up’ instructions for using Google Talk as external email for the the free client; giving speech-to-text (via Google transcriptions) to the Skydeck basic client (the premium is $14.95/month). This also allows the use of the filtering/screening rules through Google Talk as you will be using it as your primary cell voicemail. This scenario is great if you have a large volume of calls on your cell phone and you need to keep detailed logs/history (say if you are in sales/support).

The Skydeck software will determine the carrier your phone is on (Verizon, in this case) and provide setup instructions specific for that carrier:


During testing I would call my cell phone and it would ring 8-10 times before finally going to voicemail and transcribing the message; 4-5 rings on the phone and an additional 4-5 rings once it was forwarded to Google Talk. Turning on ‘Do Not Disturb’ under the Google Talk options screens forwards all calls to voicemail and reduces this to 5-6 rings before reaching voicemail.

Another very discouraging issue I found is that T-Mobile FlexPay plans do not allow any forwarding for voicemail; which makes these services useless for my personal cell phone.


DSL Outage and D-Link DGL-4500

I awoke this morning to a terrible revelation- my Internet was down!

I did the normal basic trouble-shooting before calling BellSouth- who was equally confused as to what was happening. After a little research I determined that I was not getting DNS resolution. I immediately thought this was a BellSouth issue, but I finally discovered a new ‘feature’ in my D-Link DGL-4500 router.

There is an ‘Enable Advanced DNS Service’ option in the ‘Manual Configure’ page of my Internet settings page":


Checking this box over-rides the ISPs DNS server settings and changes them to:

If these servers are not responding (as is the case this morning), all DNS lookups fail and web pages/other services can only be reached by IP address.

Unchecking this box allows the router to use the default BellSouth DNS Servers:

I am not sure if this ‘feature’ was added in the latest v1.20 firmware (that I installed yesterday) or if this was an old feature and the servers went down during the night….


New System Build

I decided it was about time to upgrade my main PC again. The new system is up an running using:

CPU AMD Phenom II x4 940 (3.0Ghz x 4, AM2+)
MoBo Gigabyte GA-MA790X-UD4P (Socket AM2+)
RAM 8GB Generic DDR2 (4x2GB modules)
Video eVGA GTX285 1GB
Boot HD 2 x WD Raptor X 150GB SATA drives in RAID0
Other HD 3 x 750GB Seagate SATA drives
LITE-ON 22X SATA DVD Burner with LightScribe (iHAS222-06)
Case Coolermaster Cosmos 1000

It is definitely not all top-of-the-line hardware (several re-used items to be truthful) but it is a sizable upgrade for me from my prior Intel E8500 and GTX260 system- and I made it fit in my budget. My overall system speed is significantly better than before; a WinRAR extract that took about 5 prior now takes about 4 minutes. My frame rates in Dalaran are much better than before- rarely dropping below 20fps (at 1680x1050 window with effects on ‘ultra’).

Windows 7 indicates my current bottleneck is still my hard drive throughput:


But HD Tach shows me as much better than a u320 SCSI for burst speed:


I believe one of my issues is that the Raptor X is SATA 150; I would need to move up to the VelociRaptor for SATA 300- and two 150B VelociRaptors are a bit our of my budget at $180 each. The next option would be a Corsair SSD drive- but 128GB for $300 is very cost prohibitive at this time.

With my eVGA purchase and registration, I was given a free license for 3DMark Vantage and a $10 discount code on badaboom- nice extras that I wasn’t expecting.


I also picked up a few blue LED 12cm fans- just to add a little glow when the front case door is open.

Here are a few quick shots of the gutty-works of my new system:

1701 A.D. and Tagès CP Issues with Windows 7 x64

image I picked up a copy of 1701 A.D. (made by Aspyr) for $15 at Target as it seemed to be a well designed RTS/Sim game. I tried to install it on Windows Vista 7 x64 RC and I received a ‘driver incompatible with this version of Windows’ message when it tried to install the ‘Tagès drivers’.

The ‘Tagès drivers’ appear to be a form of copy protection for DVD-ROMs; without this driver the game attempts to start but fails with the error that copy protection is not installed. I highly suspect that this is due to it not being written to support an x64 Windows version.

I could find no information on this on the Aspyr site- save for the 1701 A.D. 1.02 update. The patch tried to re-install the Tages drivers- and appears to have somewhat succeeded- save for now when I start Windows 7 I get an error ‘Tages driver blocked due to incompatibility issues’.

I resolved that I would just uninstall the drivers and the game and be done with it. I uninstalled the game, but the Tages drivers persisted and I could find no way to remove.

A search of the web turned up a Tagès driver update page- with both x86 and x64 support. I downloaded the v5.5 driver, re-installed the game and it now works.

I believe (albeit I have not tested as of yet) I will need to run the Tages 5.5. setup again to eventually remove the Tages driver.