Archive for October 23rd, 2006

US were "arrogant and stupid" over Iraq, or not

In an admission that will greatly surprise the seven people in Arkansas that think the war in Iraq is going well, Alberto Fernandez, a member of the US State Department has admitted:

I think there is great room for strong criticism, because without doubt, there was arrogance and stupidity by the United States in Iraq

He also said that the US is willing to “talk to any insurgent group, except Al Queda” in an effort to reduce the bloodshed. This in no way constitutes a change from the stance of “no negotiating with terrorists”, since they’re not terrorists, they’re ‘insurgents’.

Mission accomplished, eh?

One day later, under no pressure from his bosses at all, he retracted his statement.

In further news, the war isn’t being won and the US will not be able to stay for the long term.

So, with certain estimates putting the number of dead in Iraq attributable to the war as over 650,000 (warning, PDF link), civil war being almost inevitable and the most likely outcome would result in the country splitting into three ethnically divided regions, each probably trying to blow up the other two.

But, on the other hand, Iraq has some lovely oil reserves!

I’m not saying that Saddam Hussain was a lovely man who hugged puppies and enjoyed long romantic walks in the rain, but do people really think that post-Saddam Iraq is a better place? More importantly, do you think you’re safer from terrorism now than you were before the invasion?

I don’t.

Still, there is all that lovely oil…

October 23rd, 2006

nVidia drivers can bite hard

I’m a big fan of nVidia graphics cards, unlike my past experience of ATI, nVidia cards have never given me problems.

Recently, my PC would have issues with processes consuming 100% CPU and making Windows grind to a halt. I have a dual CPU machine so the process would only get 100% of one of them, but the process that would suffer the most was explorer. Now when explorer being over-demanding the rest of Windows tends to go with it – programs continue to run but actually interacting with them is a bit of a hit and miss affair. Manually killing explorer would move the problem to another process, and eventually a slow spiral of death from a thousand cuts occurred, in most cases hitting the big red switch was the only solution as shutting down turned into an avalanche of hitting ‘this process has stopped responding’ dialogues.

I was quite prepared to believe that it was just XP suffering from a bad case of bit rot and is in dire need of a re-install, however I don’t like to let things be when they’re bothering me on my own PC so I broke out the heavy tools and started debugging.

The heavy tool of choice in this case was the terrific Process Explorer from SysInternals, it allowed me to dump the stack of the locked up explorer process and at the bottom, sucking all the CPU was the nVidia nView dll, which is part of the nVidia drivers.

I had enabled nView months ago for something and completely forgotten about it, until my debugging session.

One quick trip to control panel and nView was disabled, and I’ve not experienced any process lockups since. If I was a betting man I’d think it was a race condition exacerbated by having dual processors, but in these days of dual-core CPU’s this problem could become more prevalent.


October 23rd, 2006


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