Archive for May, 2010

Google Went Binged

by on May.06, 2010, under Posts

Just in 30 minutes ago:

JPG Image, 927x600px

Google's New Search Result Page

which looks suspiciously similar to:

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Bing Bang Bong

Page still loads fast, AdWords are nowhere to be seen, and the colors and font look more… Androidish?!? I guess this is what Marissa Mayer means “our overall look more modern”. I can’t wait to see how this design is maintained across to the mobile search.

BusinessWeek just ran an article on the way the nerds at Google got to this design, which is kind of scary and fun at the same time.

What do you guys think?

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Enable Hardware Acceleration on Lenovo X100e for Better Video Playback

by on May.01, 2010, under Posts

Lenovo ThinkPad X100e, PNG Image 401x255px

Gasp! Red-coloured ThinkPad?!?

If you just got the awesome Lenovo ThinkPad X100e notebook and found the video playback to be jittery or out-of-sync with audio, especially when the video is of high-definition quality or encoded using the H.264/MPEG-4 codec, try the following procedure to force update the video driver (under Windows 7 in this scenario).

The latest ATI Catalyst driver from AMD is 8.723.0.0 (as of writing of this post), which is more updated than Lenovo’s version 8.663.2.1000, released on April 7 2010. Lenovo’s driver does not yet support hardware acceleration of video playback.

  1. Download the display driver and Catalyst Control Center from AMD by selecting your Windows flavour, “Radeon” and “ATI Radeon HD 3200 Graphics” here, or click here for the direct link to download the one for Windows 7 32-bit. It is important to download separately under the ATI Catalystâ„¢ 10.4 Components section because you just want to update the driver.
  2. Extract the display driver by running the file 10-4_vista32_win7_32_dd.exe, which should extract all its files to C:\ATI\Support by default. The Catalyst Install Manager installation program will start, but click Cancel to abort the installation.
  3. Navigate to C:\ATI\Support\10-4_vista32_win7_32_dd\Packages\Drivers\Display\W7_INF. This is where the display drivers are located, which you will use later.
  4. In your Start menu, go to Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Computer Management. Here, go to Device Manager -> Display adapters -> ATI Radeon HD 3200 Graphics. Open its Properties -> Driver tab.
  5. Click Update Driver… -> Browse my computer for driver software -> Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer -> Have Disk…. Specify the location noted in step 3 above in the field Copy manufacturer’s files from, then click OK.
  6. Scroll down the list and select ATI Radeon HD 3200 Graphics. An Update Driver Warning window may pop up to scare you, but click Yes to proceed.
  7. After the driver has been updated, reboot your computer and repeat step 4 above. Verify that the Driver Version field shows 8.723.0.0 or later/greater.
  8. Extract the Catalyst Control Center installation by running the file 10-4_vista_win7_32-64_ccc_lang1.exe. Proceed with the installation as usual.
  9. Reboot your computer again.

At this point, try to play some HD or Flash video to see any improvement. If there still is not much difference, I’d recommend you install the K-Lite Standard or Full codec pack from here. This includes a good video codec ffdshow and the Media Player Classic program.

If the default codec settings still don’t help, try tweaking them by reading thru the following links.

http://www.codecguide.com/faq_mpc.htm>
http://www.codecguide.com/faq_playback_issues.htm>
http://imouto.my/watching-h264-videos-using-dxva/>

I’ve managed to get full screen MPEG-4 playback to be smooth and no audio delay or jitter. CPU utilization also dropped by half from 100%. Play the video capture of the playback below that I uploaded to Youtube.

Windows Update may try to be smart and bug you to update the driver, but you know you are smarter. Hide/ignore the update because it’s going to install the older version. However, it’s a good idea to keep watching the Lenovo driver link above for its official update, especially when they release the quad-core X100e (with optional hard disk clicking sound!) later this year.

If you want screenshots of the procedure above, do let me know. Kudos to Peter Wong who gave the good advice in the comments section of this review.

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