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About benryves

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  1. benryves

    Programmers talk "Alien"

  2.   Liquid should not be coming out - make sure you keep the can upright and don't hold the button down, use short bursts. I don't think the liquid should cause any significant problems beyond making the dust a bit harder to remove, just don't get it on you - it's extremely cold and may give you a burn. It's not a very good idea to cool down your expensive electronics in this way, though it can be useful to detect overheating components when designing your own electronic circuits. In such cases the can is designed to let the liquid out.   It hopefully goes without saying that you shouldn't breathe the gas in, either!
  3. benryves

    Repairing a PlayStation controller to USB adaptor

    Sorry for not getting back to you sooner, but I'm not really sure what the problem could be! Have you tried with a different controller, or does it do the same with all of them?
  4. benryves

    Repairing a PlayStation controller to USB adaptor

    Digital I/O lines on microcontrollers often include protection diodes - here's an example from the ATmega168 datasheet: If you don't connect the positive power supply pin but have a positive voltage on the data pin (Pxn in the above example) current will flow through the upper diode into the positive power supply rail and the microcontroller will switch on. However, this power supply is generally unreliable (if the data line goes low, as data lines are wont to do, the device loses power - not to mention data signals are not usually rated to the hundreds of milliamps a controller will need to run) and so only works accidentally (if at all) and can lead to strange behaviour - in the case of my adaptors there was no connection to the PS2 controller's power supply (pin 5) thanks to the missing diode but there was a connection to its data pins and the controller was therefore being powered via its data pins. Interestingly the rumble feature did also partially work, but the analogue feature didn't work at all, so it does sound somewhat similar to your issue.
  5. benryves

    Repairing a PlayStation controller to USB adaptor

    That's interesting, are you able to measure the voltage between ground and pin 5 of the PlayStation connectors to ensure that the controllers are powered? What happens if you press the "Analog" button on the controllers - does the LED blink at all? It's curious that they used a surface mount diode instead of a through-hole one, too, I'm not sure how good a connection that will have made.
  6. benryves


    This used to be the case but I believe that was changed with Visual Studio 2010: I'm not sure what Goof Prog is referring to specifically by saying "Visual C++ does not legally let me distribute the executable" - I seem to remember there are some EULA restrictions if using an educational version of Visual Studio, but you are allowed to distribute software developed in the Express Editions, even commercially (they used to spell this out clearly in their FAQ, but the FAQ seems to have been removed).
  7. benryves

    How do you pronounce your image formats

    The term I use depends on whether I'm referring to the format or extension (for example - I saved the image as a jay-peg as file dot jay pee gee). GIF is slightly problematic as even though the format is pronounced "jif" I pronounce the extension "gif" as .jif is an accepted three-letter version of the .jfif (JPEG) extension. It is usual in British English to use the American English spelling when referring to computer terms - another example is computer program v television programme. Windows 8 introduces a British English language setting for the first time, but unfortunately they misspelt dialog box as "dialogue box".
  8. benryves

    Laptop or PC for development?

    I've never really got on with laptops - they're not really small or light enough to be practically portable (unless you lug them around in a large bag) but they are still small enough to suffer lousy ergonomics (dodgy keyboard and mouse). That's why I prefer to have a desktop as my work machine and use a tablet (effectively throwing away the dead weight of an awful keyboard and mouse) when I need to be mobile.
  9. benryves

    Repairing a PlayStation controller to USB adaptor

    Thank you, and that's interesting information - I'm glad to hear yours works for you. Mine worked slightly better when plugged into a powered USB hub, so I guess they can be quite sensitive to voltage levels and particular controllers.
  10. I recently purchased an inexpensive PlayStation controller USB adaptor for my PC. Several reviews confirmed that it was compatible with the controller's analogue joysticks so I thought it would be what I was after. Life is rarely that easy with cheap electronics, unfortunately! When it arrived I plugged it in and Windows installed the appropriate HID drivers for it automatically, but as much as I waggled the joysticks on a connected DualShock 2 controller the axis preview in Control Panel remained resolutely in the zero position. PlayStation controllers have an "Analog" button that can be pressed to toggle between digital and analogue modes, but any attempts to press this resulted in the "Analog" light briefly flashing before immediately switching off again. Thinking it may be a driver issue I tried to install the drivers from the mini CD that had been included with the adaptor. My PC could not read the disc (it appeared to be scratched, and was not very well protected in postage) so I hunted around online until I found a package that worked using the device's USB ID (VID_0810&PID_0001). This enabled the controller's rumble/vibration feature, but I still couldn't get analogue input to work. Thinking that if one driver package could add vibration support, another might add analogue support I contacted the Amazon seller to ask them if they could send me a copy of the correct drivers - they instead chose to send me a whole other unit in the post. In the meantime, I experimented with another controller plugged into the adaptor. I was surprised to find that with two controllers plugged in at once I could enable analogue mode on one of the controllers. This made me think there could be a power issue - the second controller increased the capacitance across the power supply, which would make it more resilient to voltage spikes and reduce ripple that could be causing the controller to reset out of analogue mode. This was further confirmed by plugging the adaptor with a single controller into a powered USB hub - in this scenario the controller would only leave analogue mode when vibrating. I checked the power supply pins on the controller ports and was very surprised to see that there was apparently nothing connected to pin 5, which is supposed to deliver +5V to the controllers. At this point I decided to dismantle the adaptor to see what was going on. On the inside of the adaptor I could see that several components had been omitted. This could be to blame on cost-cutting measures (e.g. the LEDs D1 and D2 which are purely cosmetic) but the removal of D3 puzzled me the most - this diode is connected between USB VCC and the controller port pin 5, and is presumably responsible for providing power to the connected controller. I put this down to an oversight at the factory, and soldered a 1N4001 rectifier diode in the marked place. The above image shows a close-up of the place the missing diode should appear - D3 is indicated by a silk-screened diode symbol. Unsurprisingly the 1N4001 silicon diode has far superior characteristics to the silk-screen diode it replaced. With the diode in place both controller ports started working flawlessly, even allowing me to use a wireless Guitar Hero controller receiver (though not the whammy bar - Guitar Hero controllers lack the "Analog" button to manually enable the analogue mode and instead rely on the PlayStation to enable it via software). Whilst I had the soldering iron out I thought I should add the missing LEDs, once again using the existing markings to establish the correct polarity: If the markings are unclear, the anode (+) is always to the left when viewing the bottom of the circuit board when the other markings are upright. As the enclosure is blue and I seem to remember some fuss being made of the PlayStation 2's blue LED when it first came out I opted to use two blue LEDs with 1K5 resistors. I do not have any surface-mount resistors but through-hole ones fit quite easily though they can be a little fiddly to solder down. When the replacement adaptor arrived in the post I was surprised to see that (once again) the diode D3 was missing and it demonstrated the same problems as the other one I'd fixed. I find it unlikely that the same mistake could be made twice, so this seems to be a genuine cost-cutting measure. Microcontroller I/O pins often have an internal protection diode between them and the positive power supply, which is how I assume the circuit works at all when the controllers are left unpowered - a small amount of current flows from the I/O (data) pins to the positive rail via these protection diodes, which is just enough to let the controller work in digital mode but once they draw more current (e.g. when sampling analogue inputs or driving the vibration motors) the voltage droops far enough for the controller to reset and leave analogue mode. With these fixes in place I now have two working PlayStation USB adaptors for the price of one (and two 1N4001 diodes). I'm still rather perplexed by why there's such a blatent flaw in the hardware, but it is at least an easy fix which is why I've written it up. In summary: if your cheap PlayStation to USB adaptor ("Twin USB Vibration Gamepad", "Twin USB Joystick") is not working correctly, unscrew it and see if D3 is missing. If it is, solder a 1N4001 or similar diode between the two holes left for that purpose.
  11. benryves

    Goodbye Start button?

    That's a different branch of the family tree  ...NT4 -> 2k...   Technically, 2k is actually more of a real predecessor of XP than ME is. The 98/Me branch and the NT/2k branch had serious compatability issues with each other. 2k made a lot of progress in becoming compatable with the 98/ME branch, and then win XP finished the job. XP is actually a continuation of the NT branch... but if I drew my timeline that way, then my pattern wouldn't work  I don't think the pattern really works in any case, despite its constant parroting - 95 was decent but 98 was awful (98SE made it somewhat usable) and XP wasn't much good until it had a couple of service packs under its belt. Vista was fine as long as your hardware manufacturers had sorted their drivers out, which they had by the time 7 came out which is probably 7 has a better reputation than Vista despite it removing or breaking a lot of good features. Sadly those have been continued into Windows 8, but at least Windows 8 adds a lot of other good stuff to help you forget (and you can install 3rd party software like 7+ Taskbar Tweaker to fix some of the more annoying changes).
  12. benryves

    Looking for a new browser

    As fond as I am of Opera they have announced that they are no longer going to be working on their own rendering engine and will be switching to a browser based on Chromium instead. Hopefully they will reimplement most of the excellent UI features that made Opera such a good browser, but in the meantime it's probably not the best choice.
  13. benryves

    So, windows 8?

    I can see from where this comes. Some time ago Microsoft sent in one of their newsletters some PDF teaching programmers how to get started making Metro apps. I assume it was already outdated, because it had quite a large bunch of wrong information. One of the things it mentioned is that apps can't be closed. Apps were expected to save their status when they lost focus, and when the system started running out of memory Windows would automatically start closing apps as needed.   Not sure how much of an issue would that be unless Windows failed miserably at managing memory (though it was never stellar in that sense), but whatever, in the end you can close apps. Another thing that PDF said was that apps couldn't be run in the background... This was the case in the first preview release, and it was quite irritating as applications would be permanently stuck in the task switching order so if you accidentally launched an application you didn't mean to it would keep popping up as you switched between tasks. You could only terminate apps via task manager or rebooting - fortunately they gave us a way to close them in the next preview release.   Metro apps tend to be pointer-happy, though they do respond to keyboard input - Alt+F4 closes them, as you'd expect, and there are some new standard Win+key shortcuts for use inside apps (Win+Z brings up the toolbar that appears when you swipe the top/bottom edge and Win+I brings up the settings bar that appears if when you swipe the right edge, though these can also be invoked by hovering the mouse to the right edge of the screen or right clicking). Beyond that it's up to individual apps for how well they support the keyboard - they tend to respond to cursor keys and tab as you'd expect, however.
  14. benryves

    Monitor Haze

    It's fine, though it may depend on the video card and monitor and how they translate the native RGB to YCbCr and back again - it seems both do a better job of this than it does with RGB, so go for it (greens are overly vivid on my monitor in YCbCr so I tend to stick to RGB).
  15. benryves

    Monitor Haze

    I'll check that out soon. My laptop runs with the Intel HD 4000 Integrated Card and switches a discrete Nvidia card when it needs too. Will I be able to find this setting in the Intel Control panel or something? Do ya know? [/quote] I would have expected you to be able to, though I don't have personal experience with HDMI in Intel or Nvidia control panels so I'm afraid I couldn't point you to the relevant settings. All I know is that AMD cards default to "HDMI means dumb TV", at least, and your symptoms sound similar to mine.
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