Acer XP Drivers, HD Confusion, Laziness – Contactify

Acer XP Drivers

Wow, a lot of feedback from people wanting to switch from Vista to XP on this laptop, and similar models. I guess that tells you something.

Here’s a few things to help you in case you’re not dual-booting with Vista and need your computer’s specs (and/or you can download a freeware system info program like the last free version of AIDA):

Acer 5520-5334
Nvidia GeForce 7000M/nForce 610M
Atheros AR5007EG (Wireless adapter)
Nvidia nforce networking controller (wired network adapter)
Realtek HD digital audio (Audio)
HDaudio soft data fax modem with SmartCP (modem)
Phoenix BIOS

Some of the drivers I found said that they were for Vista with no mention of XP. Some worked, some didn’t, some still worked by manually using the drivers. The latter I had to extract and then manually update the drivers from the extracted files.

So, below is a list of the drivers themselves that worked for me. You can find these, for the most part, at this site (this dude is doing similar for his laptop but it’s a slightly different model) and this site. If you still can’t find them do a search for the filenames or driver names or device names in Google or at one of the free driver download sites, like

Here’s the driver filenames, in the order I think it best for installing them:

Foxconn Modem Driver 7.62.00 or
Modem driver. Unzip to a directory and run the SETUP, I had a few problems getting this installed because, I think, I installed it after the audio driver. I’d recommend installing this first or second.

15655 nvidia video drivers.exe
This was for the video primarily. It installed and worked great, no problems.
Unzip this and run the exe. Installed fine.
This was trickier. You need to extract this to a directory. Then go into your Control Panel, click System, then Device Manager. Find the system devices that are in error, like the coprocessor and some fo the unnamed ones. Right-click on them and select Update. Click the second option (Install from a list or specific location) and navigate to where you extracted the file. Go through all the sub-directories, eventually you will find that it updates the coprocessor and the MCU. It takes a few tries of the above process.

Installed fine. I wouldn’t normally install this as the default mouse driver works fine for the touchpad on this and other laptops. But I couldn’t get the settings for the mouse driver to be exactly the way I wanted. The ” increase accuracy” made it pause too long before moving. The ALPS software fixed this, and the nice edge scrolling and tap-right-click is nice too.

There are some more drivers list at the second site above available for the webcam, webcam software, smartcard reader, etc. I didn’t install these as mine worked fine after installing WinXP.

You can also find the other miscellaneous software for the extra buttons and Acer’s e software, none of which I installed. If anyone else tries these and they work in XP let me know. In fact, please drop me a note or feedback if you find any better methods, better order to install the drivers, more drivers for this laptop, or whatever. I’ll post it here.

HD Confusion

There’s certainly a lot of confusion when people are discussing HD TV, Blu-Ray DVD, HD DVD, whether people need to do anything before the shut-off of the analog TV signals comes along next early next year. Then throw in HDMI cables and all the kinds of TV’s and you triple the confusion, at least.

One thing people get confused about right off the bat is the difference between “digital” and “HD” TV.

All HD TV is digital, but not all digital TV is HD. Digital is a way to transmit the signal, HD is the format of the signal itself. Just plain digital is usually a lower quality picture then HD, but higher than analog (low quality). Plus, digital can carry a number of channels on one frequency in the same bandwidth as analog carries one channel.

HD TV is capable of resolutions up to 1080 of vertical resolution (1920 horizontal), progressive or interlaced. But now you probably won’t see a lot of them at that high of a resolution. Most will be the 720 or so. Consider your old analog TV signals – 250 lines of resolution or so.

Blu-Ray and HD DVD are also capable of 1080. Even though there are two difference formats with very different methods of presenting the data on the DVD; they are similar in what you see and their use. Blu-Ray DVD’s do hold a slight amount more data then HD DVD’s, but to you; the consumer, they are going to look the same on your HD TV – whichever one you use. Some DVD players are coming out that play both formats.

And it should be mentioned that your regular, run-of-the-mill DVD’s have great picture quality as is (depending on the studio and release of course). An HD DVD or Blu-Ray DVD is only going to be a portion better than an “old” style DVD, visually.

To get the absolute highest resolution on your TV you need HDMI cables at this time. If your TV doesn’t have an HDMI jack there are probably going to be other connections that are going to give you a good or great picture, maybe even components jacks that will still give you 1080.

One thing to remember about HDMI cables – they’re all pretty much the same. As long as they are built correctly and don’t break on you or fall apart; it just doesn’t matter whether you bought them for $15 or for $100. Of course, the guys in the electronics stores are going to tell you differently.

It’s just like these stereo shops that try to sell you gold-plated, super-thick monster cables. Unless you plan on running your Dolby Surround Sound speakers a mile away from your receiver you’re wasting your money. Hate to tell some of you audiophiles but copper’s copper and aluminum’s aluminum.

As to the whole switch-over to HD…I’ll leave the “why’s” and “whatfor’s” to others; the reasons and conflicts and justifications by the FCC and television networks and such (I already ranted a bit about this in a previous message).

Firstly, technically (and contrary to popular belief) the shutdown doesn’t mean specifically that everything broadcast over the air must be HD, but it MUST be digital. And it doesn’t cover low-powered TV stations. And some specific-purpose ones will still be transmitting in analog a bit longer then the official deadline – February 17, 2009.

If you get your TV off an antenna then you definitely need either a TV with an HD tuner built-in (everything you buy from now on) or an external tuner/receiver that will receive and convert the signal from HD to either plain analog or a high definition signal your existing TV can interpret. You can sign up for the voucher from the government that will help you get a cheapo HD converter box.

If you have an older TV without HD you can still get a good HD picture by getting a converter box that outputs with RCA cables, S-Video, Component, or HDMI. With an HDMI output you’ll get a high quality HD picture, same with Component if your TV supports it. With S-Video and RCA cables it won’t be as good, but still very nice. If you have an old television with just a composite plug (the thing the big thick cable sticks into) then the best you’ll get is an analog picture (though it likely will be better than your TV without the HD converter box).

This switch-over doesn’t directly affect cable or satellite providers. Notice I said “directly” because it’s more complicated.

Your cable provider may want you to get a box if you don’t have one, or switch to digital or even to HD. They probably don’t need to, but they may anyway.

Most people with cable get their local channels through the cable, so this all won’t affect them for the most part (again, depends on your company and possibly their equipment to some extent).

Satellite signals have been digital for years. You don’t need to do anything differently either – unless you happen to get your local channels off an antenna in addition to getting your other channels off the dish.

So this is where it gets tricky.

I heard a guy at Wal-Mart a few weeks ago explaining this whole thing to a co-worker. He did a great job at going through the whole concept and who needs to do what until he got to the satellite part. He told his co-worker that those with satellite wouldn’t have to worry about switching over either.

Wrong. Incorrect. But, it depends…

If you have a dish and get your local channels off the dish (like if you’re in a good-sized market) then you have nothing to switch over or worry about. You’re digital, you’re golden, no worries.

But not all local stations in all parts of the country are on the satellite dish. Basically, the local station has to send their local content to the dish company, who then re-transmits it to their satellite transmitters, which then gets sent to the satellites, which in turn rebroadcasts it back to the people in that market who want to watch the local channels. It’s round-about, but those people don’t need an outdoor antenna or the aggravation of having it and maintaining it, switching back and forth, lack of signal, etc.

As you can imagine it’s not always fiscally possible for smaller local TV stations to do this, or at least not at this time.

So some people with satellite dishes get their local stations off an ‘old-school’ antenna, or not at all; which puts them right in the same boat as the people who ONLY get their TV off an antenna.

So you may have a nice dish sending you high quality digital signals or even HD signals, yet if you’re in the boonies your only local TV stations (like if you want local news, local programs, etc) come off a pair of rabbit ears or a roof-mount antenna and in crap-a-vision analog.

Speaking of antennas; there’s absolutely no difference between an analog antenna and an HD antenna. But it’s another rip-off by some of the electronics stores, both big chains and small shops – because they’ll tell you that you need a new antenna for HD. Yes, a “special” HD antenna. A good rip-off for them, right up there with “monster cables”.

Don’t forget your audio too. Who wants incredible video without at least good sound? Even a cheap Dolby Surround Sound Systems can sound real good. Bug a good one sounds REAL good!

And course if you don’t want to run wires there are alternatives.

Wireless speakers come in both RF and IR but they don’t always have enough bandwidth for a full frequency range, and there can be timing and interference problems. The new (and expensive) “psychoacoustics” sound bars use a bank of speakers in a kind of “audio trickery” to make it sound like you have speakers all over your room. This idea has been around for many years but never quite perfected until now. I remember experimenting with it as a kid.

There are, of course, multitudes of kinds of TV’s. The most common:

Plasmas – the best pictures, but prone to fading and burn-in and a definite lifespan – 5-7 years. These can theoretically be extremely large.

LCD’s – usually your blacks aren’t so much black as dark gray and there can be long response times so you see pixelation and compression artifacts in scenes with lots of motion, this is getting better and better. Plus dead pixels are fairly common.

Rear projection – these can be CRT projectors where the picture is bounced off a large mirror onto a display screen (good picture but prone to fading, burn-in, etc) or DLP where micro-mirrors, a high-powered lamp, and spinning color wheels or prisms are used to project the picture onto the tiny mirrors, many times one to a pixel. Drawbacks can be long response times and the possibility of certain people being able to see the prismatic “rainbow” effects (and sometimes subsequent headaches and such). Another major con is the lamps have a definite lifetime, some say a few years (would depend on your usage of course). Some new ones use an LED in place of a high-powered arc lamp, increasing the lifetime of the TV (likely it will last as long as you have the TV, or at least as long as another component fails). But sometimes this can be at the expense of a higher response time, causing the possibility of an increased “rainbow” effect and more compression artifacts when there’s lots of motion.

And lastly good old CRT’s. Big, heavy, but tried-and-true. Limited to ‘smaller’ size screens.

Sorry there’s no reference links above. Wikipedia is your friend.

LaZy/Burned Out – Easy Feedback Box

I’ve been working on a couple big projects this week. One person wanted a “small” eCommerce system set up. He had bought a whole package through his hosting company quite some time ago but he could never figure out. He finally admitted defeat and contacted me, I set it up (though it turned into much more than a “small” system once he saw all that could be done with it, no complaints from me) but I have to say, the ease that the package brought to the whole process was refreshing, though it still was a lot of work involved.

The other project didn’t come out so well. I had mentioned in a previous blog about setting up a wiki for Jefferson County.

I’ve set up a number of wiki’s for fun, for learning, for testing, and for a few customers. They all worked great and still do.

But none of them had the traffic that this Jefferson County one caught once it was opened to the public. Unfortunately the hosting company we set it up on sucks. Ipowerweb. Sucks. Badly.

I’m sure you’ll find lots of bad reviews for them, especially their limits on database query access. Ugh. I’ve put SOOOOO much work into this, just for the fun of it – no pay for this one.

So now the database won’t work, I know the temporary fix for it as well as the permanent one (which requires some hacking into the wiki’s code) but now the database is corrupted – AFTER USING Ipowerweb’s database fix.

What a pisser.

Anyway, I’m just finishing up a few things on another website. But previously I had received some responses here along the lines of not being able to contact me.

There’s a contact link at the bottom of this blog, as well as the ability to leave comments.

So I decided to go ahead and add a little contact box for the blog.

On blogs, websites, and other sites on the Internet a lot of times people just add their e-mail in a link. VERY VERY VERY BAD! Spam robots will eat this up, especially if your site is linked well to others and in search engines. Over time you’ll have so much crap in your mailbox you won’t know what to do with it, even with spam filters.

I use either a little Javascript applet that encrypts this from direct harvesting, or a form.

The latter is probably the best method. But I’m lazy today, and got too much I still need to do today. Not to mention a bunch of snow coming down that I’ll have to shovel/snowblow at some point on top (Wow, it’s really coming down).

So I’m going to use this nice little free service that does the contact box for me. It’s called “Contactify” and creates a little form box for you, complete with anti-automation anti-spam verification. Very nice.

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