Aaarrrgg… Online forms that look like paper.

Online forms, aligning field names, input text boxes, adjusting the widths of each one, use tables. Not hard but to finish a single form with a bunch of fields uses so much time, especially if it looks like the form they fill up on paper. Appearance is just the first part, processing the form is the second part, so many variable names, and if error checking is required, it takes more time. I think I will make ready made codes in the future for commonly used things like date select boxes, country select box, state select box, age computation from birthday entries, etc. To make work faster in the future.

Still a lot more fields but I am half way through and when this is done, the whole client site is done, and I can now bill them. This should be done before the office starts in Manila, Philippines, +8GMT.

Playing around with WordPress

I wanted to abandon Blogger and try running my own blogging software but did not want to yet because of all the postings I have. Well I found an import function of WordPress and tried it out. It worked but I’m not making it my official blog yet, I will still check everything out if the importation was done properly.

Check it out, I did the import just before I wrote this entry.

Problems with AMD Athlon 64, Abit NF8-V Motherboard and Windows XP SP2

The two previous postings I had on my blog were about the problem with this setup:

Processor: AMD Athlon 64 3000+
Motherboard: Abit NF8-V
OS: Microsoft Windows XP SP2

I no longer have the problems, but I will just post this here for people searching for solutions on how to get their setups working. I know there are a lot of them having problems, since when I had the problem, I searched online and found tons of forums with people having the same problem.

The problem mainly is: Computer could not enter Windows and reboots all the time. And it starts to happen right after you upgrade to SP2 on your Microsoft Windows XP running a AMD Athlon 64 processor and Abit Motherboard.

Every problem seems to be kind of unique depending on the brand and model of your motherboard, so I will not give any fixed solution for everyone. I will just tell you what I did to make it work, and what I did that made it not work. It was all about the order of installation.

Follow this order in installing your software:

-BIOS update
I initially did not do this at all, since by experience in the past, I never needed an update since everything works fine without an update. And if you do BIOS update errors, it can mess the whole motherboard up and make it totally non-functional.

Until this setup, my USB ports were not working and after all the research I did online, they all point to updating my BIOS. Since this is a delicate process I read everything very well before proceeding. I downloaded the latest BIOS from Abit’s website, read the procedures well and did the update. After doing that, the computer still works, but Windows won’t work anymore. Even if I removed a bunch of startup items and drivers in safe mode. So I needed to installed Windows all over again.

So do this first. But make no mistakes here. It is not my fault if ever you get your motherboards busted. Read the procedures well by the manufacturer before proceeding.

-Windows XP
If you have problems with your CD Drive not being bootable, Microsoft has boot diskettes on their website. Download the file and it will create 6 diskettes that you initially use to boot and install Windows XP from the CD.

-Install the only drivers you need to get online. (Modem or Ethernet or USB)
My mistake, I installed nearly every driver I could install, and after doing that, updated Windows to SP2, and it never booted into Windows again. Read on about the next procedures.

-Windows Update, all critical, SP1 and SP2
Do this first instead of installing the rest of your motherboard drivers. Since most of the drivers need SP1 and SP2.

I also had problems installing SP1 and SP2 right away. What worked with my computer was install all critical updates, restart, then critical updates again, and restart, and doing it over and over until you use them all up, then SP2 is last.

-Windows Update, DirectX9.0c
The drivers, during installation was looking for the latest DirectX. So before installing, install DirectX first. DirectX is also on Windows update under the optional updates.

-Motherboard Drivers
Instead of using the CD my motherboard came with, I decided to download the latest drivers from the manufacturer’s website. After doing that, my computer was running flawlessly. Remember to install AMD Athlon 64 drivers on the motherboard.

-Video Card Driver
Another mistake I did, I installed the driver of my video card right away before everything else and it never installed successfully since the video controller port was not working well anyway since I needed to install the motherboard drivers first. And the motherboard drivers will not work without SP2, that needed SP1 first. And SP1 needed the driver of your modem. But this will all be useless if you do not do the BIOS update first.

-Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware Softwares
To stop the annoying SP2 from reminding you that you have no Anti-Virus software installed yet, install them now.

-Install the rest of the software you need

No more problems. All fixed and you may now start working. It was all with the order of installation. Other people with the same setup, try doing these steps and it might help you too.

Disclaimer: I am no lawyer who knows how to make disclaimers, but all I want to say is my procedure does not guarantee your computer will work in perfect condition, the problem of your setup may be different from mine. Don’t sue me if you get your systems messed up.

Flashed my BIOS, now Windows is not working.

All my USB problems seemed to point to my BIOS. That my BIOS needs to be updated by flashing it with the latest BIOS version. My board had a lot of on-board stuff, on-board 5-channel audio, on-board SATA/RAID controllers, on-board LAN, USB 2.0 ports. So these all had controllers and drivers. Now that I updated my BIOS, Windows won’t continue, probably a problem with the drivers of these on-board equipment. Even if I delete them from the device manager, and refresh it, it still seems to pull the old driver from it’s old location and still does not work. I took out almost every startup item I can remove too but Windows won’t even continue. I tried doing a repair but Windows won’t install once SP1 and SP2 are already there.


1. A lot of people have been having trouble running an AMD Athlon 64 processor on Microsoft® Windows XP™ SP2. I had the sample trouble. I found a lot of forums talking about it. Some forums you know they know what they are talking about, some other forums as full of guesses. Guessing the problem and guessing the solution. And a funny common guess is a Virus or Spyware and the the forum writers recommend installing the AVG, Ad-Aware, Spybot and SpywareBlaster. Funny, a lot of people initially think their problem is a Virus or Spyware problem. I got mine to work after disabling the IPVMon driver in safe mode. Computer is now working but since I did a fresh install again, i have no softwares on it and still has to do some installing to get it working.

2. USB ports working, but not for data drives. Probably some problem with my USB controller drivers. And I also read an article that AMD processors have problems with USB Flash disk due to some timing issue. Something I still have to research on. Right now, since my laptop is networked to the desktop, I have to plug in data drives in the laptop, share it an access it from there on the network.

3. Mama has an interview at the US Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. I’ll be driving her there even if I do not know how to get there. But Google maps is really cool. Compared to Mapquest and Yahoo because of their satellite photo maps. At least I know what kind of land marks I might be passing by and I am also taking note of the plain land areas and heavy residential house areas.

3. After installing all softwares, first thing to do is nothing but the Graveyard Chef. I need to finish that site real quickly.

4. In the Philippine Graphic Designing community, everyone is talking about Bayoâ„¢, the grament manufacturer in the Philippines for ripping off the designs or a small time Japanese artist placing her artwork on the web. Copyrights belong to the artist and the website really says that you are not allowed to use any of the graphics in anyway without permission. I have read that the artist was trying to contact the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines and the Philippine Embassy in Japan.

5. DoS flaw in DNS protocol? What? Does this mean all of us web hosting companies are doomed? Got to talk to Mike Lopez about this as we exchange notes on server administration. He’s more of a Linux master than I am.

6. I want to start with the Gracie Brazillian Jiujutsu after I tried the trail class, but I have no money right now. 🙁 So many bills to pay. I’ll go back to Taekwondo then since I can practice there for free since I worked on their website.

7. Tiring life going in circles, work at work, work at home, if there is free time, it is either BMX, Gym, Taekwondo, and soon Jiujutsu too. Wifey is far away back home. 🙁 Family is far away. My Wifey is feeling the same way. 🙁

8. New clients, recently paid, was, Others are still proposals. So far I am having no month with no sales with December last year which is good.


You might think I am rich already, nope. Hosting is not really that expensive. What has big money is designing and development, but this consumes so much time. Hosting and Domain Registration does not eat much of my time and is a recurring payment, even if it is small, it is recurring.

PC fixed, but not completely done

Finding out if my problem was the CMOS battery, motherboard, processor, temperature, power supply, incompatible hardware just uses so much time. So instead, I did this:

1. Bought an AMD Athlon 64 3000+ and Abit Motherboard.
I am not much a fan of AMD since back in the day, I used an AMD 586 and an AMD K6-2 and I was not pleased with it comparing it to the Pentium I 120MHz, 166Mhz, 166Mhz MMX, Pentium II and Pentium III’s I had in the past. And it just generates so much heat compared to my previous Intels and they hang when extremely hot. I needed fans everywhere, and a good airconditioned room since it is always hot in the Philippines whole year round.

The Athlon 64 has real 64bit processing and I think the Intel counterpart is included in one of the Xeon Processors. The Athlon 64 seemed promising, and the price was good and there was a good promo at Fry’s that included an Abit NF8 Series Motherboard.

Why buy this? This takes out the possible problem of a Processor or Motherboard problem, aside from that, the upgrades will be…

– Processor Speed, I used to use a Pentium IV 1.6Ghz.
– USB 2.0, my old motherboard was still using USB 1.1. And this will make my printing, scanning, file saving and retrieval faster. Aside from that, the new DSL modem I have has a USB connection aside from the RJ45 Ethernet, which will run 4 times faster.
– 5 channel speaker system. The built-in sound chip on the Abit has this feature. My old board had the plain 2 speaker system.

2. Took out 2 Ethernet LAN cards, and the 120GB Hard Disk drive and my old CDR-RW drive.
I had a 230W power supply and if you have more devices that need more power, the higher the watts needed. I still have a 40GB hard disk in there that I left along with a 10GB and 1GB, yes 1GB hard drive. If I were to compare my hard disk to paper, the two smaller hard disk drives are scratch paper.

Aside from lowering the power consumption inside, I also give more space around the processor for air to freely flow from vent to vent to keep the temperature down. The LAN cards were there since in the Philippines, my old DSL modem just had one RJ45 jack and to network them, I had another LAN card to connect to my hub to network all computers. And the new Abit motherboard had a RJ45 Ethernet jack on it already.

I did not need my old CDR-RW drive since I already have a DVDR-RW/CDR-RW drive. And besides, my old drive won’t even open anymore, I always needed to poke in the emergency eject hole to use it. It had that problem since July last year.

3. Bought external hard disk enclosure and external floppy disk drive.
Since I took out my 120GB drive, which was mostly data, I bought an external enclosure box with a USB2 connection so I can easily connect if anywhere when needed to work on other computers for emergency purposes.

Windows XP works fins when changing hardware parts, but when you change your processor and motherboard, Windows XP sometimes can’t take that. Instead of domain a repair, I wanted to do a fresh installation since my Windows was not that clean anymore. Too many things installed and uninstalled. There was a lot of garbage in the files and folders, as well as the registry. Problem was my Windows would not boot from the CD, and the only place I got startup disk for Windows XP Pro was from Microsoft that had a free downloadable program that creates startup disks so you can start your installation in floppy diskettes. It creates 6 diskettes that you will all use during the installation.

The only functional computer I had was a laptop and it won’t create the diskette files on the hard disk, nor on a USB drive. It is really looking for a floppy disk drive, and my laptop does not have one. So I bought that too, there were so many brands to choose from with all the same price… so I decided to choose a good brand and good appearance since function and price were all the same, until I saw the iOmega one, for an additional $10 more expensive, it came with a Compact Flash, SmartMedia, MMC, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, SD Card and MicroDrive card reader. My phone, PDA, Video Cam all use MMC and SD Cards. My old camera (with a busted flash) uses Smart Media. So it was worth it I guess.

I was able to create the diskettes, and reinstall Windows.

Am I done? Is the computer fixed? Nope.

First thing to do is install the drivers, to use the USB2.0 I needed to install the motherboard drivers. Even the AMD Athlon 64 drivers needed to be installed. And all these drivers were looking for Microsoft’s Windows XP SP1 and SP2 updates. So I needed to be online first, but my DSL model won’t detect any DSL line signal yet. They said it will take 7 to 10 days after installation of the line. DSL was installed on the 16th. And I still do not have it yet. So all I can do is wait first. I am using dial up right now using AOL’s free 1175 hours and I do not want to install this on the PC. Too much installing and uninstalling is not good. I’ll just wait for the DSL to keep my Windows nice and clean.

PC not yet done. 🙁

PC Problems

My PC, since January 2005, sometimes had problems during start up. It just won’t boot sometimes. I suspected it to be a Windows problem as most people would suspect, but I noticed the hanging, occurs even before it enters Window. During memory check, or detection of IDE devices, it was happening quite often already, but I still remember even before I left the Philippines in July 2004, this problem has already occurred but in rare occasions only. And just turn off the power, wait a few seconds and turn it back on until it boots.

Around February, random rebooting started to happen. Although some viruses that plant Trojans may be capable of doing this, I can say I had a pretty secure system. My anti-virus software and anti-spyware softwares were always up-to-date, as well as obtaining Windows updates. The rebooting was not related to any instance that I do, it happens at different situations. I did suspect a memory and video card problem, and I got new ones last February. It helped make my PC run faster, but the problems were still there, random rebooting and failed start ups.

Last April the rebooting started to occur more often as well as the startup hang. Aside from that, CMOS settings always reset. You may think it was the CMOS battery but I do not think because I do not think it can cause and hang and reboot problem, but I can do a CMOS setting reset. Things were getting worse. I knew the end was near and all I can suspect that can cause the problems are:

1. Too many devices, low watt power supply which was only 230W.
2. Motherboard problem. Defective Motherboard.
3. Defective Processor
4. Temperature Problem.
5. Another hardware component causing the problem.

Just to discover the real problem to narrow down my list would consume time and I was not happy just thinking about it. I felt burned out already without even starting. I felt bad the first day my PC died. Although my projects have lessened already, I still have one major one, The Graveyard Chef, more updates for AME. Thanks Amor for working on MarkProf, and for helping out with the billing of clients in the Philippines. I’m doing passive selling for design, development and SEO, but active selling in hosting and domain registration since design, development and SEO consumes so much time and that is something I lack right now. Hosting and Domain Registration may not earn as big but is a regular payment for a long time. Just have to keep them all happy and make sure the server is secure and running fine.

To catch up with work, I need to get my desktop running. I get to get into the mood in fixing it too. Thanks babe for just being online when I wanted you online.

No DSL Yet. Computers not setup yet. Some stuff still a mess.

-Move out of Del Dios, Escondido last Saturday going to Rancho Penasquitos, San Diego. Unloaded all stuff, stuff was a mess. After everyday sorting, arranging, fixing… things are starting to be in order.

-My two desktops are not yet working because I haven’t put everything together yet. Doing work on my laptop, not that convenient, I can deal with it being less ergonomic, but I am not used to the contrast and brightness of my laptop, and no matter how I adjust it, it does not look like how it is on my desktop. If you are working with fine lines, they seem to disappear in the laptop if they are too fine and when you adjust image brightness and contrast, hue and saturation to make it look good in the laptop, it will appear dark on the desktop. I make websites and these should be pleasing the majority of people online whom most are using desktop, I need to get my desktop’s up and running soon. Got a few additional things for MarkProf and I need major development done on The Graveyard Chef

-The shower is fixed but can’t be used for two days. So I’ll be taking a bath in Ma and Pa’s bathroom for the next two days. The phones are not setup well; we had our phones transferred too and Ma and Pa’s was connected on the 14th. Mine supposed to be on the 16th. But mysteriously, mine is connected already, and Ma and Pa’s is not yet connected. I checked all the sockets and all other wires available to get a dial tone, none of them gave a dial tone. Which means the wire in the house is not connected well to the connection box outside. I called up SBC to verify if it is connected and they said it is. So I asked the apartment manager where the main phone terminal box is, and she pointed it to me. I checked it out and it was all spaghetti. Wires everywhere, no labeling what so ever, just a few numbers written with a pentel pen, others with a pencil, and it is not clear which one it was pointing too. I thought of getting my phone and some wires outside and start calling the number on my cellphone to figure out the right connection. But that is a trial and error thing, and every time I get an error, I may be disturbing another co-resident at the apartment. There are more than 20 units here and I don’t want to risk making 20 wrong numbers before I get the right wires. So I called up SBC to have a rewiring done for me.

-My DSL comes after 10 days, I have no Internet connection at home, so I opened up a free 1175 hour, 50 day AOL dial-up Internet connection CD so at least I can use something in the meantime.

-After being a sponsor for iBlog, the Philippines’ 1st Blogging Summit, I have been having few signups, few but better than none at all. For those who haven’t seen my promo, check it out here: Imagine this, P888 per year, a free domain name, 75 MB disk space, 2000 MB traffic, unlimited emails, tons of ready-made, easy to install software. Yes, only P888 per year. Check it out.

-More people checking out Teresa Heights. Thanks for the good feedback.

-A blog visitor named Carmela posted a comment, since he was searching for Joel Arcellana, a long time childhood, neighborhood friend whom we treated as cousins. She posted a comment since she was Joe’s college classmate. I called up Joel first to make sure I got the right number, left a voice mail and he called back later in the evening. It was funny since we never talked to each other ever since he left the Philippines which was… early 90’s I think. I said he sounds different and he said I sound different. Gave a few updates of each other and went back to work. He said he hasn’t called Benny ever since he came here. Well everyone is busy here. And Benny, if ever you get to read this… belated happy birthday, which was last May 11, along with Archie Reyes from Teresa, same day. Which reminds me that Laureano “Jhun” Umagtang’s birthday, a highschool classmate, is today!

-Bills, bills, bills, I got a lot. And I also have to monitor the people I bill, check if they paid already. Good thing Amor is there to help me follow up.

-Nice thing about being here at Rancho Penasquitos, I’m near Master Won Kee Min again at Champion Taekwondo Academy. Aside from that, there is a Brazilian Jiujutsu by some student of the Gracie’s. I can’t wait to get into the Gracie system and try it out. All I know is random concepts in my head on how the Gracie system is but has never experience the actual training.

-Now time to check my wifey’s blog, along with my daughters… Jamie and Ate Dawn. Got to check them out and see how they are all doing.

-Benj Arriola Blogging out…

1 Week not 100% online.

Need to move locations, and need to move my phone and DSL connection. Although the phone will me moved right away, the Internet may take a week to 10 days before I get online again. But I will still be online most of time, but from at home.

I’ll do last minute work updates today before I sleep.