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Video Card Malfunction
Date: 20/9/2005
I have for the last little while been suffering this seemingly daily problem of corrupt video output from my PC. The video card is a Xpertvision AGP NVidia 6200 bought 3 months ago. Basically what happens is during normal use the screen will go almost black, and if I turn the brightness all the way up I can just see the picture, however all the colours are corrupted. At this point I can change the screen resolution using the display settings and that restores the colours and brightness to normal. I'm using the latest Nvidia drivers with an up to date Windows XP sp2 install.

I made a video (12mb) of the problem on my DV cam. What the video shows is the corrupt screen, then I turn the brightness down to normal to show the black screen... Then I turn the brightness back up to show the corrupt window borders and then I change the video mode to restore the normal colours. Sorry I should have narrated it but I forgot.

The card properties says the GPU is running at 43°C which sounds fairly safe. The card has never been overclocked.

Has anyone seen such a problem before?
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Art or?
Date: 20/9/2005
I'm surprised this guy isn't doing hard time for this but it's seriously anti-establishment and I love it: Speech Bubbles!

Very clever. Take the time to go through most of them, some of them are great value.
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Display
Date: 19/9/2005
At some point I want to update my aging (borrowed) CRT to an LCD and by looking at the prices and models available it seems like there is a huge gap between the 19" and 20" models price wise.

For instance, you can buy a nice 19" LCD for A$450 which sports a resolution of 1280x1024. But to get 1600x1200 which is what I use you have to jump up to a 20" (wow a WHOLE extra inch!) and pay around A$1300. The price gap seems highly artifical. The average user looking at a little bit more than a 19" LCD would go for a 20" if it cost $600-700. But $1300 is just unreasonable. Esp. since dell regularly discount their 24" model to A$1440, if only it came in silver ;).

So is there anything <A$1000 that does 1600x1200? (I'm not hopeful but I thought I'd try)

I find it amusing that most 19" CRT's do 1600x1200 in their sleep, whereas the LCD crowd never do it.
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Html Layout
Date: 9/9/2005
I now have a far more intimate understanding of the absolute horror of HTML 4 layout. It's gruesome and evil and it haunts you, always promising more broken markup just around the corner to break your layout engine.

Well that aside, I did get some breakthough in the layout of 'p' elements in the HTML control. By keeping track of how many previous scanlines are 'margin' pixels in the flow construct I can get paragraphs to layout the same as firefox, under all the conditions I know about. Like nested, and self closed and so on. And gee it's only taken me like 2 years to get it thus far.

The tables are also looking much neater now. Although not totally perfect. At least all the work I put into validating the table structure has paid off, there is a bunch of code that re-arranges all the elements under a table tag to be 'correct' html. i.e. tables can only have 'tr's which can only have 'td's. I suppose you would believe how many people get that wrong. I have some classic example HTML emails from PayPal and Ebay that are ridiculous. Missing or wrong tags everywhere, badly formed CSS, nested table upon nest table. They really are a torture test. My personal fravorite was the PayPal email where nested 3 tables in they miss the end table tag. Oh man that just fries everything.

Anyway all these chucks of hideous HTML are stored away in source control with a HTML test suite program that runs through them all and renders it using the current HTML control. This way if I make any changes to the control I can scan quickly throught a bunch of hard files to render and check I havn't broken anything. So far it's passing the most it ever has, there are a few insane cases that it doesn't do yet, but for reading Outlook HTML it's enough. Speaking of which, the paragraphs generated by Outlook now appear correctly. Hurrah.
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Graphical Filter Editor
Date: 6/9/2005
The problem with modern applications is that they have to be both simple to use for beginners AND powerful for advanced users. One of the areas in Scribe where this clashes is the user defined filter conditions interface. Currently it kinda borrows from databases where it allows you to create a number of condition records, of which you can only see one at a time, and lets you edit the fields of each condition record using standard controls. However you are limited to either AND'ing or OR'ing all these conditions together. So you can't write powerful filters with combinations of AND and OR operators, or have any form of nested conditions.

So I'm playing around with a prototype user interface to replace the conditions editor tab. And this is what I've got so far:


This improves on the old UI in a number of ways. Firstly you can see all the conditions at once. You can now nest operators and conditions with ease. But hopefully it still remains easy to use for beginners. The short 3 button field allows you to create new conditions, AND or OR operators. The condition entries have editable fields and drop down helper menus. A nice legend at the top means the meaning of the icons will never be in doubt.

So what do you think? Any good?

The icons are rendered using the built in vector renderer in Lgi. They should scale to any size should the need arise. I had to fix a number of bugs in the vector renderer to get all this to display, but it was worth the effort.
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i.Hex
Date: 2/9/2005
The new build of i.Hex is now out, featuring the data visualisation tool that I talked about earlier. I've made a setup program to make it easy to install and uninstall, but it can still be moved around and copied the same as when it came in a zip file.

In making the release build I had to work around a bug in the aging VC6 Compiler. I had a line of code:
int Bytes = min(Block, Len - i);
That causes this:
Compiling...
iHex.cpp
D:\matthew\Lgi\i.Hex\Code\iHex.cpp(990) : fatal error C1001: INTERNAL COMPILER ERROR
  (compiler file 'F:\9782vc98p2\src\P2main.c', line 494)
    Please choose the Technical Support command on the Visual C++
    Help menu, or open the Technical Support help file for more information
Error executing cl.exe.

iHex.exe - 1 error(s), 0 warning(s)
Lovely eh?

Well it was easier enough to fix:
int64 Bytes = min(Block, Len - i);
*sigh*
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