Clevo laptops and Windows 10

I've updated most of my PCs to Windows 10 over the last couple of days, and overall I'd say it's been a pretty painless process. There's one issue I encountered that did leave me puzzled for a few hours.

On a Clevo laptop (Chillblast, great guys), the Realtek PCIe Gigabit Ethernet card would randomly decide that its cable was disconnected. But… the cable was connected, and everything else in the chain including hubs and powerline connectors were also working just fine. (I learned this after two hours of poking and testing).

Given that I'd just upgraded to Windows 10, I hadn't considered looking for a driver update, but when I finally checked the manufactures site, there was a new driver available.

The stock version installed with Win10 is version 10.01, and there is now a version 10.03, Win10 Auto Installation Program (SID:1743532) , which is not being offered automatically by Windows Update.

Download Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller Drivers

Updated driver

There are no patch notes on this, but it solved my problem. So keep that in mind as you're upgrading - if you're having problems with a bit of hardware, check the manufacturers site for updated drivers, as it'll probably take 6 months for some of these to be offered automatically through windows update.

Roland VT-3 Voice Transformer - Review and Demo

A video review and demo of the Roland VT-3 Voice Transformer (as a tool for voice over work, prototyping characters and fast, real time effects.)

If you're doing sound and audio design for Games, get one of these. Things you can do:

1.Build a casting list for a project using one actor in a single session.
2.Model audio treatments in real time. Find a sound you like, then use that as a template for creating the audio space in your game.
3.On a budget? One voice actor can do many more roles in a single studio session.

Potentially this is also useful for doing Audiobook narration, as you can do some real-time processing of audio to build multiple characters and scenes.

And of course, it's a vocoder and Auto Tuner, so you can live your dream of being a Cher impersonator.:smile:

Equipment in Use:


Elance is not for Homework

Here are some top tips for getting your undergraduate academic coursework done on Elance:

  1. Don't.
  2. Seriously... Don't.

Example A from a budding young lawyer in the UK:

hi iv posted this job that is due on the 15th of November this will also be paid when the job is done and sent for the date said please do not send sooner then required also will be checked for any amendments that may be needed this essay will require the highest grade if you cant get that grade please reject this offer once iv hired i will send all the info you need this should not take a exsperienced law individual long to complete should no english law thank you and good luck this is not a hard essay to do so please do not expect to get hundreds of dollars

A quick look at the attachment to the job reveals that the specific essay in question is  Tutor Marked Assessment (TMA) 01 for the Open University's course W102 An Introduction to Law, which costs a jaw dropping £2,632 ($4250) .


There's really no ambiguity on this; getting someone else to research and write an answer to your assigned coursework is Academic Misconduct. Best case scenario - you have to do it again. Worst case? You get thrown off the course, or out of the institution and lose your money and academic record. It's not worth it.

"But what if I rewrite it?", says the sophisticated academic outsourcer.  Well, no. That's still "borrowing statistics or assembled facts from another person or source"[1] and "paraphrasing the words from a text very closely" [2] as it might typically be described in the guidance given to undergraduates.

However, the actual act of misconduct only occurs when you submit the work under your own name. So you've still got time to rewrite it and do it proper-like.


  1. Open University Assessment Handbook, Appendix I.
  2. Ibid.

Today's Blue Screen of Death - Page Fault in Nonpaged Area

If you're reading this around the middle of August 2014, you've rebooted your Windows 7 PC after a recent windows update, and you're seeing a Blue Screen of Death complaining about a "Page Fault in Nonpaged area". Short Version of the fix:

del c:\Windows\System32\FNTCACHE.DAT

But if your PC can't boot, then how do you get to your file system to delete the file?

Maybe you've got the Windows install DVD handy. You can boot from this, and run a recovery console. But watch out if you've got a few copies of Windows 7, as you seem to need exactly the same version of the disc even if you just want to boot to the recovery console.

Or maybe you've locally installed the Windows Recovery Console, in which case you have command line access to your hard disk. But this one isn't so easy to explain to your Mum/Grandfather/Aunt/Other Non-techie Family member.

Here's another option:

Burn a Linux Mint boot disk (or make a MintStick), boot from it, use the nice point and click interface to navigate your file system, and delete the file. Much less hassle all round.


Laravel and Foundation working together (forms and modals)

Following on from Continuous Learning for Techies , here's a couple of quick notes on one of Treehouse's  newer courses.

Laravel is a PHP framework, and a really good one too. I could never get to grips with Symfony, but somehow Laravel just seems to make sense it a way that other MVC environments didn't (to me anyway). My team has used Laravel on quite a few jobs, and there's no question that the technology can dramatically speed up the delivery time on backend development (if developers are happy with the structure...) but I've always kept it at arm's length.

However, I've just completed Laravel Basics Treehouse's Laravel Basics course and it's given me a much stronger appreciation of the benefits of this framework [and strangely I feel much more relaxed about Magento, even though that's based on Zend's framework]. Fair warning to anyone in my Project teams - I now know enough to be dangerous. In this course, Hamilton Paulk used Foundation as the front end library to handle styling. So that got me thinking about how easy it would be to integrate some of the more interesting bits of Foundation Javascript into a Laravel project. It turns out that it's really easy. These examples assume you've got Foundation's CSS and JS files available as assets in Laravel. Here's a quick Codepen of what your main.blade.php should look like (approximately) to achieve this.

Reveal Modal Dialogs

So let's say you've built a View using Laravel. You've got links in the files that reference specific routes and associated controllers. But maybe sometimes you'd like to open those as Foundation Reveal modal dialogs. Is that easy? Yes it is, particularly if you use Laravel's Helper Functions. Our goal is to click a link generated by Laravel that open a modal, and fills that box with relevant content using an AJAX call. The starting point is to use a Helper like:

link_to_route('', $title, $parameters = array(), $attributes = array());

in our Blade template. By using the second $attributes array, we can very easily pass in the required stuff to make Reveal Modal do its thing.

  ['class' => 'tiny button',
   'data-reveal-id' => 'MyModal',
   'data-reveal-ajax' => 'true',

{{-- Include blank modal in the layout --}}
<div id="MyModal" class="reveal-modal" data-reveal></div>

By adding those attributes, we've built a device that creates an anchor, which on click attempts to open the content of that link in a modal dialog. But... the content of the modal will repeat the headers and footer of the site. Ideally all you want is just the content. Can we do that? Yup, all it needs is a little bit of conditional logic in the view associated with a controller:

{{-- views/myModels/action.blade.php --}}
@extends(((Request::ajax()) ? 'layouts.modal' : 'layouts.main'))

This conditional checks whether the new request is an AJAX/XHR request [checking for the X-Requested-With header], and if so it replaces the main page layout with a cutdown version containing no headers or footers.

{{-- modal.blade.php --}}
<div class="row">
  <div class="small-12 column">

  <a class="close-reveal-modal">&#215;</a>

And you're done - links using these structures will open as responsive modals; but the underlying routes will still work as standalone pages, and if javascript is unavailable all this behaviour gracefully degrades.

Abide Validation

Can Laravel forms incorporate client-side verification using Foundation Abide? Yes, they can. As above, the goals is to output the required attributes in the Form after which everything else is handled by Foundation's javascript. The documentation seems a little bit confusing on this point, but all of the Form generation methods appear to be able to pass custom attributes; you just need to include them in the declaration as additional key/value pairs in the array of parameters.

{{ Form::model($mymodel, [
      "route" => ["",
      'method' => 'POST',
      'data-abide' => '',
      'class' => "my-form-class"

{{-- Set data-abide to 'ajax' to intercept submit --}}

Once you have the data-abide attribute output on the form, you can then add patterns and required attributes to individual form elements.

{{ Form::text(
  ['required' =>; '',
   'pattern' => '[a-zA-Z]+',
   'placeholder' => 'Enter Text Here'

And that's it!