Sunday, 30 August 2009

I wish I could put 4gb of ram on my macbook...

According to an article on cnet Snow Leopard boots by default into a 32-bit kernel and mentions that macbooks with an older, 32-bit EFI chipset (which handles the early boot process) cannot boot the 64-bit version.

Although having a 64-bit kernel would be good, I'm more interested in the side effect of the 32-bit chipset memory limitation. The same article mentions that a 32-bit EFI chipset cannot address more than 3Gb of ram. Since most likely this is the chipset installed on my mac, I think that's the reason why 4 Gb are not supported. I wonder if the chipset could be replaced. Doubt it, since it must be soldered into the board.

Sadly, that's pretty much the largest reason I'm envious of the new macs. 2 gb isn't much, specially if you're like me and have tons of apps loaded all the time.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Man, it would be awesome to go...

Roy Osherove is giving an hands-on TDD Masterclass in the UK, September 21-25. Roy is author of "The Art of Unit Testing" (, a leading tdd & unit testing book; he maintains a blog at (which amoung other things has critiqued tests written by Microsoft for MVC - check out the testreviews category) and has recently been on the Scott Hanselman podcast ( where he educated Scott on best practices in Unit Testing techniques. For a further insight into Roy's style, be sure to also check out Roy's talk at the recent Norwegian Developer's Conference (

Full Details here:


bbits are holding a raffle for a free ticket for the event. To be eligible to win the ticket (worth £2395!) you MUST paste this text, including all links, into your blog and email with the url to the blog entry. The draw will be made on September 1st and the winner informed by email and on

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Windows 7 blues

why haven't I learned yet not to go for first releases?

With Windows 7 reaching RTM status and the general low working demands of August, I decided it was time to kick Vista to the curb on my dev machine and get myself a brand new shiny OS.

Triple-headed Blue-screens

Because it can never be two easy, the upgrade experience ended up being rather painful, with both attemps resulting in blue screens before the setup was finished. Deciding that perhaps it was some conflict with device drivers, one of the many programs I had installed or just bad luck, I decided to cut my losses and just repave the system partition to do a clean install.

Still no joy. Same bluescreen at the end of the setup.

The dev machine's most unusual part is the two NVIDIA display adapters installed on the PCI-E slots, which are used to drive 3 monitors. Remembering that vista also had some troubles with the secondary adapter, I removed it and gave it another shot.

Yap, that worked. Setup finished and gave me a brand new Windows 7 installation to play with.

You no like restart?

With a folder full of drivers for the display adapters, chipset, SATA controllers and audio, I spent some time updating them before heading home. Somewhere around the end ,after a restart, another bluescreen.

That's no good.

After some fiddling I found out that it only happened on a restart, and never on a cold boot.

Oh well, that's a bother but at least it's work-around-able. Off I go to install sql server, visual studio and a miriad of essential software for a dev machine. Thankfully with portable apps living in a dropbox folder most of it takes little to no time at all.

System Interrupts should not interrupt all the time.

Some time afterwards, while installing some software I decided to look at resource monitor as a source of "oh, look at all that data" entertainment.

And it showed "System Interrupts" using about 40% of the cpu, all the time. What. The. Hell. At first I thought it would have something to do with the troublesome display adapters, and reverting to the standard VGA adapter driver reduced the usage, but it still was too high (about 20, 25%)

Again, after some fiddling around, uninstalling drivers, disabling devices I found out that the problem was with the "Marver 88SE611 SATA V12069" drivers. Reverting the drivers to the default drivers makes the cpu usage go back to normal.

Sadly, the reboot bluescreen still appears from time to time. I think it always happened when the second display adapter was installed, but I'm not sure.

In a nutshell.

  • When upgrading/installing, remove the secondary display adapter.
  • With two display adapters, don't reboot (away from the machine)
  • Don't install the Marvell SATA driver
  • Get a rabbit's foot.

I do hope the reboot bluescreen gets fixed soon, but for now I'm happy with having a usable machine.

In the case someone has the same problem, this machine has the following specs:

  • Core2Duo E8400
  • 4 x 2Gb Kingston ValueRam
  • Asus P5Q Pro
  • NVIDIA 7300 LE
  • NVIDIA 7200 GS
  • Western Digital 150Gb Velociraptor
  • Seagate 200Gb