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A window into the Digital Life of Bryan Vyhmeister

The Trouble with USB 3.0

An OpenBSD developer by the name of Ted Unangst recently wrote a post entitled USB 3 back compat in which he refers to how it is difficult or impossible to use USB 3.0 ports if the operating system does not yet have an XHCI driver. (OpenBSD lacks an XHCI driver at this time.)

The confusion partially stems from there being multiple different XHCI host controllers. The ones by ASMedia and other third parties do not function at all without an XHCI driver. The new Ivy Bridge chipset native Intel USB 3.0 controller is a different story.

On my Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe Mini-ITX board there is a BIOS option to set the Intel USB 3.0 XHCI controller to several different modes. As long as legacy USB is still enabled those ports usually function just fine as USB 2.0 ports. Although this varies from operating system to operating system, the default setting of Smart Auto may work just fine for USB 2.0 only operation if there is no XHCI driver taking control of the USB 3.0 ports. If Smart Auto doesn’t work, try the other three XHCI settings and see if one works for you.

Watch out for the Sandy Bridge motherboards with USB 3.0 ports because they are always a third party controller that does not operate as USB 2.0.

The Case for Thin Mini-ITX and the Intel DQ77KB

If you have been following this blog, you have seen that I have a particular interest in the Mini-ITX form factor. I own or have owned numerous Mini-ITX boards including models from Intel, Foxconn, and Gigabyte. I have recently added a new board to the list which is quite intriguing. The advantage in this newest board is its slim form factor and excellent on-board options.

Observations on Errors, Corrections, & Trust of Dependent Systems

This is a very good article that covers some of the significant advantages of ECC memory and the perils of running critical systems without it. This article was written by James Hamilton, one of the Vice Presidents of Amazon Web Services. Thanks to @maximdim for originally sharing this article with me many months back. Based on this and other data, I would tend to run anything that’s really important with ECC memory. I only wish laptops had ECC options available.

Anyone Know the Difference Between the S1200KP and S1200KPR?

I’ve written quite a bit about the Intel S1200KP motherboard and I’ve been pretty happy with it overall. The original board I tested actually failed on me but I might have been at fault. I’m planning to replace it now and I noticed that Intel has released the new S1200KPR but I have been unable to find out how it is different from the original S1200KP. Does anyone have that information?

Update: Thanks to the comment to this post, which references this Intel Communities thread, we now know that the purpose of the S1200KPR is to support Ivy Bridge processors. Apparently there are two additional resistors on the S1200KPR that are not on the S1200KP. Although users are still using Ivy Bridge processors with the S1200KP, it is not recommended or supported.

In-App Remove Ads, Please

I’ve noticed that some apps I have downloaded on my iOS devices from the App Store are supported by ads. Although I used to be 100% anti-ad, I see the value since I use ads in a limited capacity myself. I have also noticed a few apps that offer the option to remove ads with an in-app purchase. If you’re an app developer and you use ads, please offer an option to remove them with an in-app purchase. That would be wonderful. If it’s not there, I probably won’t use your app. I’m happy to pay for no ads.

VMware Fusion 5 and VMware Workstation 9 Released

VMware introduced two new products this week, one is VMware Fusion 5 and the other is VMware Workstation 9. Both products add some great new features but the most interesting is a new flavor of VMware Fusion in the form of VMware Fusion 5 Professional. As expected, a new addition to either variety of VMware Fusion 5 is Mountain Lion Support. Also as expected Windows 8 is supported in both flavors of VMware Fusion 5 and also VMware Workstation 9.

SilverStone ST45SF-G is First Gold Rated Modular SFX Power Supply

A power supply is always a critical part of any system. My experience in the last year with Seasonic X-series Gold-rated power supplies has been excellent but there is one deficiency in Seasonic’s lineup. SilverStone has been making very good power supplies but I have been holding off on purchasing one until now because a new model perfectly fits a need I have.

Twitter API Changes Set Maximum User Cap for 3rd Parties

I’m not any too happy with this development. Twitter is making changes toward closing their ecosystem from the majority of third party clients. Although my TweetDeck use would not change since it is owned by Twitter, Tweetbot would very much be in the target of these changes.

If you’re concerned about these changes, follow the discussion regarding this article on I am starting to look at other options like but I haven’t found anything I really like yet. The key is a federated system, not something controlled by one company like Twitter or Facebook.

Update: I’m liking what I’m seeing with I’m planning to do some testing with its codebase shortly.

Update 2: Paul Haddad of Tapbots has weighed in on the changes and his message is Don’t Panic.

Far more could be done to stop the deadly bacteria C. diff

Since my wife has some significant immune deficiencies, any time she has to go into the hospital is very, very risky. This article is just a reminder of how bacteria and viruses are getting worse and worse. If you don’t have to be in the hospital, you really don’t ever want to be.

Amazon Instant Video for iPad Adds Search

When Amazon Instant Video for iPad launched on August 1, I downloaded the app and started testing it out. As a long time Amazon Prime member, I automatically have access to a significant amount of content. The biggest problem I immediately noticed was that there was no search function in the app. The app automatically recommends popular content but the lack of search severely limits its usefulness. Today, when I did my software updates on the iPad, the Amazon Instant Video app had an update that adds search. I’m glad Amazon fixed the problem but I’m surprised they would release an app without search.