Archive for September, 2009

tech: BSOD with ati2dvag

I received a new laptop recently. I was bothered when it would show a Windows blue-screen-of-death (BSOD) about once a day with a message about ati2dvag. This was a Lenovo Thinkpad W500, which has an ATI Mobility FireGL V5700 driver. And it seemed to occur when I was doing scrolling or window resizing.


Unfortunately, updating the video driver from Lenovo didn’t fix it. Even reloading the OS from a factory image didn’t fix it. As was pointed out by a friend, here is what to do: open the Catalyst Control Center program, go to the PowerPlay tab and disable PowerPlay. That’s it. It hasn’t had a BSOD since. Thank you Mike!

tech tips marcelk 17 Sep 2009 2 Comments

tech: getting subversion to work in IBM RAD 7.5

IBM Rational Application Developer (RAD) is an Eclipse-based IDE. I love using Eclipse and its derivatives. I recently got a new laptop, installed RAD 7.5 (I had been using RAD 7.0), and wanted to connect to our team’s svn repository. But RAD doesn’t have a native svn client. But not to worry, it’s Eclipse-based, we can get something working.

I settled on Subclipse, as it is relatively easy to get working. It would be nice if an svn client was natively included, but we can work around that.

First, versioning. From what I can tell by looking at the plugin version numbers, it appears that RAD 7.5 is based on Eclipse 3.4 which maps to the Eclipse version name Ganymede. So when you are looking at the subclipse web site, get the version of subclipse that can work in the Ganymede (3.4) version of Eclipse.

First, start up RAD and go to the menu “Help” -> “Software Updates” and click on the “Available Software” tab. Then click on the “Manage Sites” button. If you scroll towards the bottom of the list, you should see one titled “”. As of this writing, subclipse has version 1.6, which is what I use, check the subclipse site for more info. There isn’t a way to edit the 1.2 software site URL to make it a later version, so you’ll need to click “Add” to make a new one. Use the URL for the update site for the latest version of subclipse that runs on Eclipse 3.4, which as of this writing is “”. After you’ve added this URL to the list, check the box on its left, then click OK to get back to the “Available Software” dialog.

Now click on the plus sign next to the subclipse 1.6 entry and after a moment of “Pending” it should show you some entries. I got 3 and selected all 3 checkboxes. Then I clicked the “Install” button on the top right corner of the dialog. The screen capture below shows the plugins that those 3 selections installed. Give it a few minutes to install and restart.

List of plugins installed

Our svn server has only an ssh interface, so I have to use a repository URL in the form of “svn+ssh://”.

Martin Woodward provided some good help. What got me working the rest of the way was the following: go to the menu “Window” -> “Preferences” -> “Team” -> “SVN” and set the SVN interface client to “SVNKit (Pure Java)”. I didn’t need to install TortoiseSVN and set the environment variable for tortoisePlink as Martin describes, but TortoiseSVN is good to have around anyway.

Now go to the menu “File” -> “New” -> “Other” -> “SVN” -> “Checkout Projects from SVN” and enter your repository URL (mine is in the “svn+ssh://” format). If you don’t want to set up ssh keys, you will be prompted for your ssh password and that can be saved in RAD so you don’t need to enter it each time. And compared to the setup on my old laptop, I didn’t get a popup MS-DOS window for each svn transaction.

I originally had been using JavaHL instead of SVNKit as the interface client, and had been getting errors such as “Folder ” does not exist” and “can’t create tunnel”, which went away when I started using SVNKit. Perhaps if I used tortoisePlink with JavaHL it would work, but I didn’t try that. As always, it’s a community of us that helps us work through all of it.

Here is the IBM statement on software supported with RAD. Scroll down to the bottom to “Source Configuration Management”.

tech tips marcelk 17 Sep 2009 9 Comments

life: technology and happiness

A friend showed me the following video, and I was laughing and nodding my head. Perhaps it’s because I’m in my 40’s and have seen change, and sometime find myself with the same whacked expectations that he talks about while forgetting what life used to be like. I hope you’ll laugh too.

My take on this is let’s not forget where we came from, not be self-centered, step back more to realize what an amazing world we live in, and recognize technology as an enabler and not as an end in itself. Lastly, let’s not make technology a requisite to make us happy. We can find happiness no matter where we are.

life tips &tech tips marcelk 11 Sep 2009 No Comments

tech: gmail + Thunderbird

Call me old school, but I like having a thick client for my email. Thunderbird is a great email client, I prefer it to a web browser. I also like being able to work while offline.

I also like being independent of my ISP for email services: should I ever change ISP I’d like to keep my email address. And gmail is a reliable (enough) service with tons of storage at the right cost (free). My ISP rejects my attempt to send email while traveling on a different network, but gmail doesn’t.

So how to put these things together? IMAP.

IMAP is a protocol for leaving your mail messages on the server, but still access those messages from your client as if they were downloaded locally. It’s a much richer protocol than POP3. And it can handle folders. Make a change on the client and it is immediately stored on the server. So I can use Thunderbird but everything is handled on the gmail servers.

I’m not sure how popular the IMAP service is on gmail, but I think it is pretty cool. My own ISP offers only a web interface and POP3.

Here’s how to enable it: Login to the gmail web interface. Select “Settings” then “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” and click “Enable IMAP”. It is disabled by default, but so easy to turn on. Don’t forget to click the “Save Changes” button. Now you need to configure Thunderbird to connect to the gmail servers for both receiving new mail (IMAP server) and sending outgoing mail (SMTP server). Here are the instructions for Thunderbird, or just click on the “Configuration Instructions” link in the “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” tab. Make sure that in Thunderbird’s “Security Settings” for the IMAP server that you select “SSL” so traffic flows encrypted on port 993. And in the “Security and Authentication” settings for the SMTP server make sure that you select “Use name and password” and “TLS”. This will enable all your Thunderbird traffic to be secure for when you are in the hotel or conference center or coffee shop, both incoming and outgoing mail.

But what if I want to access my email from multiple computers? The nature of configuring multiple clients to hit the same IMAP account is that a change made via one client immediately appears on all the other clients. So IMAP is the perfect way to do this. As an added benefit, I can still use the gmail web interface and see the same inbox and folders: I just got another client for free.

Are address books handled via IMAP? No. But there is a Thunderbird plugin, AddressBooks Synchronizer, to handle that. It can sync your Thunderbird address books across multiple Thunderbird instances using your IMAP account. This is how I keep my Thunderbird address book synch’d across all my clients. It doesn’t make my Thunderbird address book available in the gmail web interface, but someone is working on a Thunderbird plugin to do that too.

Maybe someday I’ll give up my old ways and use a pure browser-based email client. But in the meantime this is how I do it.

tech tips marcelk 08 Sep 2009 No Comments

tech + fun: hack your Canon digital camera

I have a Canon PowerShot pocket camera. I’m not a fancy photographer, but it works for me. I saw mention of a way to load a firmware addition in the camera that opens up all kinds of new features. This works on lots of different Canon models. Take a look at the features to see if they are interesting.

The net is that you download a file, unzip it to your SD card, put the card in the camera, press a special button sequence, and there it is. If you don’t like it, just power cycle your camera and don’t do the special button sequence, as it needs to be loaded each time. I think this is pretty cool. Just having a decent battery meter is a big help.

It’s called CHDK, and it’s free. Take a look if you have a Canon camera.

cool stuff that doesn't cost much &tech tips marcelk 07 Sep 2009 No Comments