Archive for the ‘Crap’ Category

Activision, I was planning to buy Guitar Hero III, but I’m not going to

January 25, 2008

Why? Because I cannot use the GH3 controller with Rock Band.

I am going to buy Rock Band in any event, but saw GH3 as a nice opportunity to get that second guitar and have some fun before Rock Band arrives here in a month or so. Your refusal to let Harmonix use your guitars with Rock Band means that I’ll stay away from GH3 and buy another Rock Band guitar instead.

Just wanted to let you know, Activision.


Having problems with the Seagate FreeAgent 500 GB external disk drive

August 27, 2007

Update 20/07/08: Going by the experience of Tony in the comments, the drive problem is caused by overheating. Unplugging the light in the enclosure seems to alleviate this somehow – at least it made the drive more stable for me and others, though if the issue is overheating simply ensuring proper cooling should fix it as well. (I used a flat screwdriver to remove the bottom cover, unscrewed the metal cover to get to the circuit board and unplugged the wire running to the light. It’s been working fine since. But remember – experiment at your own risk!). Read on to see what people have figured out, and make sure to catch Tony’s very informative comment about overheating.

Update 24/05/08: Make sure you take a look at the comments section of this post – it seems the problem lies with the enclosure and not the drive itself. Posters have reported that their drive became stable after unplugging the front light (!) – and it worked for me as well. I used a flat screwdriver to remove the bottom cover, unscrewed the metal cover to get to the circuit board and unplugged the wire running to the light. It’s been working fine since. But remember – experiment at your own risk!

Update 31/08: After a night’s rest, the drive was detected by OS X and appeared to function normally. However, after a few more hours of operation, it became impossible to write to the drive again. I’m going to take the extra trouble and test the drive with a Windows machine, just to make sure the operating system’s not in any way part of the problem here. Then I’ll ship it back to Komplett and hope for a good apple the next time.

Right. It’s a bit late, so I will be very brief. And a few of these details are problably incorrect, as I haven’t noted them down before now.

About a week ago, I got a Seagate FreeAgent 500 GB external drive in the mail from webshop I intended to use it for my Mac Mini, as a media server/backup solution, and so I formatted it as one big HFS+ partition.

After about 24 hours of operation, the disk did not respond when I tried to read from it using the Finder. I was forced to reboot. After rebooting, it was not visible in Finder any more. However, it did appear in Disk Utility, although without the partitions I had originally created, but with one called “disk1s3”.

When I tried to repair it using Disk Utility, I got an error message, saying that the disk had been corrupted:

Disk Utility reports problems  with the Seagate FreeAgent
I gave up the repairs, erased the partition and created two new partitions with 250 GB in each, roughly.

A few days went by, the drive appeared to operate as it should. Suddenly OS X reported an I/O error when trying to write to it. Apparenty, a file was partly written to disk. We tried to reboot the Mac Mini at this point, this did not succeed (stopped while showing only the background graphics), after a hard reset the drive was once more invisible to OS X.

Now I have gone through all the material I could find on Seagate’s web site, and verified that as far as OS X is concerned, no drive is attached to the computer’s USB hub (according to System Profiler). I have checked it on two Macs, and my WinXP laptop does not find the drive either.

Consequently, I am preparing to give up and return the drive to Komplett. The next drive will have no flashy light in front, but a standard, sturdy USB connector (this one has a mini USB) and a dedicated power button (which this one does not).

I’ll probably update this post tomorrow.

“Your CD key is not valid” – Battlefield 2 woes! [updated]

May 20, 2007

Right now I am seriously pissed off about EA, DICE and Battlefield 2. I installed the game under Windows Vista a few months back, but when trying to join a server, I was informed that “Your CD key is not valid”.

Update 24/05/07: Guess what? I installed Windows XP, went through the exact same troubleshooting as described below, and now the game works. It could be that the cause is something else, but it looks like a real possibility to me that there is a problem with Vista compatability and BF2. EAs techie did not mention Vista as a possible problem factor, so apparently, if Vista is the problem they are not aware of it. It would be great if you can post your experience below if you too have this problem.

Update 27/04/09: Guess what?! A friend of mine had this exact same problem – then managed to get around it by right-clicking Battlefield 2.exe and choosing “Run as administrator”. Haha!

Today I took the time to go and have a look at EA’s support site. It has two search functions on the front page, one of which does not work at all. The other one lead me to a page of frequent BF2 issues, and I found a few pages relevant to my problem.

The page told me to reinstall BF2 – so I uninstalled the game, and started the installation. At the end, Vista had a blue screen – I don’t know why. I thought it might be related to the DirectX 9.0c update program, but when I tried the installation again, it went fine.

I was instructed to install first BF2, then Special Forces, and then the patch. The not-so-helpful EA installer told me I did not have enough space for Special Forces on the first go, although I had 2,5 gb free. It did not specify how much I needed, but freed up more space, and the installation got going.

Having completed it, I started installing the patch. Of course, EAs patch installer requires you to have 2400 mb free on the drive (I figure that means the C drive – I was installing on the D drive, but that doesn’t make a difference). Although I had 2,7 gb free, the installer refused to do its work – so I had to free up more space.

All this took quite some time, as you can imagine. So I became angry when I completed the procedure, logged in to my BF2 account, tried to join a server, and… “Your CD key is not valid”.

EA / DICE: I am staying away from your games from now on. Bugs and these patching problems is a big part of the reason why I didn’t get BF 2142 or the “booster packs” for BF2, and you’ll have quite a challenge getting me back as a customer ever again. As a start, I hope you’ll do whatever it takes to “validate” my CD key, so I can play BF2.

And, finally, as a software developer, I have to say you should be ashamed of the amateurish installers/patchers you force upon your customers. When it would be a lot easier if you just released every patch as a zip file and let users fix things themselves… that’s when you know you have problems.