Friday, September 26, 2008

Microsoft Equation Editor problem with system locale

I was facing similar problems with Office 2000/XP under Windows XP and Vista 32bit. Now I understand the problems. That is because I have set up System Local to use Simplified Chines to be able to display Chinese for some non-Unicode programs. After setting back the System Locale to English (Singapore or USA), equation editor can run again. I believe this applies to other version of Office as well (like 2003 and 2007).

Install XP on HP Compaq Presario V3619AU

There are many articles on installing XP on the HP/Compaq
laptops. The major problem seems to be the chipset,
graphics and sound card driver. Here are some good links
which works for our Presario V3619AU. YMMV.

General overview and dual boot.

I used Vista's built-in Disk Manger to shrink the C: partition
and create another D: partition (the recovery partition will be
E: now. The I installed XP SP1 on the computer (better not
connect to Internet because of some bugs with XP SP1) and then
updated it to XP SP3. After that, we need to fight with various
driver issues.

Working drivers for chipsets and graphics.

I used the same Nvidia chipset driver and graphics driver
(NForce 630a+Gefore GO 6150 graphics) and it works for our
Compaq Presario 3619AU.

Nvidia Chipse driver
Nvidia graphics driver

Sound card was the worst for 3619AU (Connexant HD Audio). I
tried all kind of things to no avail. Finally got an Toshiba driver
and manually edited the INF file to get it working. Still it has
some bugs and occasionally noise comes out. Some people
have lucks with the HP Vista driver, not for us.

[EDIT in October 2008: finally solved the problem by using
the HP XP driver for other models but modifying the
INF files to add the IDs by copying the INF file
section from the Vista driver]

For most of the other things, HP/Compaq's Vista driver/software works
(wireless, card reader, bluetooth, DVD writer, etc). HP puts
the software in C:\SwSetup directory and that is a good thing.

For people who want a real XP based desktop/Notebook, the new
Atom based PCs will be a good option. For instance, I played
with Asus EEEbox and it was not slow at all running XP.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Acer M1641 Ubuntu 8.04 Shutdown Problem Solved

I could not find any BIOS updates to Acer M1641. Therefore I have to use "acpi=off pnpbios=off" option. There was still a problem. Reboot works. Shutdown does not work as it hangs.

Similar bugs were reported for Ubuntu 8.04.

The solution in the Launchpad bug report works.

This is certainly not an old PC and Vista 32bit SP1 works fine. However I tend to believe this is more an Acer Bios bug. Actually FreeBSD 7 hangs during startup. If I disabled ACPI in BIOS, FreeBSD 7 will complain about GPF (General Protection Fault) no matter which option I select for startup. If I enable ACPI in BIOS, it could not find the disk. So I could not run FreeBSD 7 at all with this new PC. So Ubuntu 8.04 is at least better than FreeBSD 7 in this aspect.

FreeBSD problem with Acer M1641 is reported here.

Notes on 10-April-2009:
The latest kernel does not need the options any more for Ubuntu 8.04.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Samsung SCX-4200 Scannding and CUPS Printing Problem Finally Solved

It turns out that the USB cable is to blame. Changing to a better USB cable solved the Scanner I/O Hardware Error problem. Now I do not need to use the USB 1.1 Hub to force the scanner to work in the USB Full Speed mode.

This also solved the CUPS problem when use the Western Digital Mybook World as the printer server. We are using an image from a Chinese website ( It has already done a good job and provide a nice web interface for managing the Mybook World. In CUPS, we need to explicitly enable “raw” printing for application/octet-stream. Please refer to the following two URLs for more information.

Basically what we need to do is to edit /etc/cups/mime.convs and put in this line:
application/octet-stream application/vnd.cups-raw 0 -

Then we also need to install Samsung driver for the Windows Vista, XP and Linux client.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Acer Aspire M1641 with Ubuntu 8.04

The installation of Ubuntu 8.04 on the Vista based M1641 proved to be a bit harder than I would like.

Problem 1: need to disable acpi (boot the kernel with acpi=off option). Ubuntu 8.04 will hang during bootup after "Starting Bluetooth Services...". Actually I knew this problem when my bother-in-law tried to boot up a Gentoo based live cd for hacking the Mybook World. Still I expected Ubuntu 8.04 to be better. Unfortunately not. And Google shows that this is a common problem. Ubuntu also complain about the PNP bios problem. I will check whether there are new BIOS from Acer.

Problem 2: need to use the Nvidia closed-source driver to get the display working with the native LCD resolution. The default install stuck at 800x600 and 640x480 at 61Hz. Google shows similar problems. Installing the closed-source Nvidia driver (normally I do not want to do this and do not need to do this) solved the problem.

After solving these two problems, I am happy with Ubuntu 8.04 again.

A New Vista PC Acer Aspire M1641

My old desktop suddenly went south. So I have to buy another PC. I was eying the Asus EeeBox (XP Home, Atom CPU, very cute). but later decided to buy a cheap Acer Aspire M1641 (47M32) instead. Its cost is SGD640 (no monitor) with upgraded DDR2 RAM to 2GB since I know Vista will be happy with 2GB RAM. The 47M32 model is the 47MR32 model without the Nvidia 9300 graphics card. Since I do not really play games, the 7050 integrated graphics is good enough to me.

Many people do not like Vista. And Vista really have problems with old hardware and old software. Still most of the desktops and notebooks now come with Vista only and the vendor does not provide XP driver. Anyway, I'd like to try out Vista myself. I have spent a few days to install the software packages I like to use. So far I have not met major problems with it but I did notice a few IE7 stability problems.

Of course, I also installed Ubuntu 8.04 on it. Vista has one good feature. It is so easy to shrink a partition under Vista. Shrinking the empty D drive took only seconds.

Samsung SCX-4200 Printer with Western Digital Mybook World Linux CUPS

We also want to try out to use the Samsung SCX-4200 printer with a hacked Western Digital Mybook World Edition 500GB device. The simple NAS runs Linux and we can use the USB host to connect to the printer and use CUPS to share the printing function. However, it seems that sometimes the printer will stop functioning. My brother-in-law bought this Mybook World in the Comex show recently held in Suntec City. He did quite some research and successfully got the hacked version work nicely as a file/P2P server. But the printer server function is still not so good. Sometime it works. Sometimes it does not.

I tried to downgrade the printer to use USB 1.1 Full Speed by inserting the USB 1.1 hub in-between the host port of Mybook World and SCX-4200 but that does not help too much.

Samsung SCX-4200 Scanner Hardware I/O Error Problem Solved

I bought this Samsung SCX-4200 printer/copier/scanner early this year. The printing and copying function work fine. At its price, it seems to be a good investment. Since we have another old Acer S2W 3300U and it works very well so we have not used the scanning function. But the first time we tried to use it, it gave us "Hardware I/O error". I have tried it under three different PCs, under Windows Vista, XP and Ubuntu Linux. All have the same error even though it works fine as a printer under all three OS. So I was thinking to call Samsung coming Monday since it is still under Warranty.

Today I read this solution here. Finally I understand the problem. The problem seems to be that the scanner does not work fine

Under Linux, one can rmmod the EHCI driver (high speed USB) to force it to use Full Speed USB transfer. Under Windows, my solution is to put a USB 1.1 Hub in between. After that, the scanner works fine.