Saturday, March 04, 2006

cold snap!

"Bitterly cold again with temperatures as low as -5 or -6 degrees, widespread severe frost and icy stretches on roads."

Wireless on me laptop broke again yesterday, and this time it seemed Windows wasn't interested in playing with it anymore, even after booting to linux (where the open-source, volunteer-maintained orinoco[_pci] driver works fine) which had served to somehow reset the card into usable state for Windows after booting back.

To try to figure out what the problem was, I tried to identify the mini-pci wireless card, which was a task in itself - linux used to report the PCI vendor number as Harris Semiconductor, but now it's Intersil (who seem to have bought off part of Harris)... but then, Intersil apparently sold that technology to Conexant around the same time I bought the laptop in 2003. Great.

Anyway, I called all of these companies since it was free (thanks to voipstunt - go get it!), and a Fred at Harris (who I imagined wearing a Budweiser cap and reflective polaroids, possibly chewing wheat and pondering changing his name to "Buck") told me they didn't make any of that stuff.
The two people I was put through to at Conexant were voicemail boxes.
Intersil's Taiwan office weren't awake yet... eventually I called Acer's HQ, who were up a bit earlier at 8:45am, and got a poor girl trying to understand what I was on about, and eventually asked me to send her everything in an email.

So I went downstairs to boot the laptop back into linux, but first tested out another driver installer purportedly for Win2k, but the actual driver package seems written by the same guys that wrote the one that broke (Triplepoint - I called them too and spoke to a real nice guy who tried to help) and was about 10 months older. Surprise surprise, it worked straight off, and the card seems to be working fine in Windows now.

Except that it might be flooding me with interrupts or something, or it's using spinlocks (do they use them in windows?), because the system occasionally freezes for a fraction of a second which is a pain in the hole when listening to mp3s.

Ah well. Need a new laptop soon :)

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