Daniel Hoelbling-Inzko talks about programming

Disk shows up in BIOS but not in Windows 10 (AHCI Hotplug)

So today I installed a new Drive-Bay that makes a 5.2" Slot on my computer into a dock for 3.5" SATA drives. The installation worked fine, I enabled Hot-Plug in my UEFI-BIOS and everything looked ok. Until I installed my hard drive into the bay and Windows would not recognize it at all.

I went back into the BIOS, this time with 3.5" drive installed in the bay and saw that the drive is showing up in my BIOS monitor just fine. Just to make sure I re-checked the power connections and finally I plugged the drive directly into the SATA port to make sure it's not the Drive-Bay that's at fault. Still Windows 10 would not recognize the drive.

After looking around on the Internet I found this very interesting forum thread on TomsHardware that suggested running the Windows 10 Memory Diagnostic. Well - no clue why it worked - but it did.

After running the diagnostic on minimal settings with only one pass Windows bootet again and the drive was there and it even shows up in the "Remove Hardware securely" section which I need for Hot-Swapping the drive.

Filed under hardware, windows, bios, ahci

Razer Black Widow Ultimate Review

I have been putting this review off for a very very long time since purchasing the Razer Black Widow Ultimate, (in fact it's been almost 3 years since I got mine), but since friends keep asking about the Keyboard I thought I could save myself a few keystrokes here.

So, short and sweet: Is it any good?


I don't know how many times this has already been said (see Jeff Atwood for example), but keyboards matter. And having a great keyboard is one of the most important things to me personally.

So after 6 worn out Microsoft Natural 4000 Keyboards, some intermediate Razer and Logitech keyboards, I decided to bite the bullet and jump on that new "mechanical" keyboard wagon to test it out and got the Razer Black Widow Ultimate. And god this thing changed my life!

When you first type on it (or any mechanical keyboard for that matter) it's this "HOLY CRAP" moment when you remember how typing felt back on those IBM keyboards in your youth. The keys travel perfectly uniform, with exactly the right amount of pressure and a satisfying click at the end. Let's just say the typing is sublime. It's just plain better than conventional keyboards - period.

Now we have established you need an mechanical keyboard, but do you need the Razer Black Widow?

Yes, no and maybe. I love Razer products, I swear by my Razer mouse and their keyboards have always served me well before. So I would say the Razer Black Widow is a well build, solid and great looking Keyboard you want to buy. But: Don't buy it for it's gaming features. Buy it for the looks, the build quality and the switches.

Why not for gaming features? Because gaming keyboards are a lie - Gaming keyboards are the equivalent of 3D-TVs, just a marketing gag to extort money from you. You don't want an extra row of macro buttons, because you don't need an extra row of macro buttons. That's like putting a second door handle on a door - everything you need out of a keyboard is already there: On or near the WASD keys. No game on this earth expects it's players to have a macro-recording super duper keyboard so all games are designed to work well with a standard keyboard. I have yet to find a game where I actually could not remap the keys in the interface, or had to perform a keyboard input that weird that I had to use these keys - EVER.

Second lie with gaming keyboards is their anti-ghosting technology. Again: You ain't gonna need it. Yes the keyboard may accept more than 4 inputs at the same time, but I have never ever felt that this was a problem with other keyboards which lacked this before. The times where you played multiplayer games by having 2 people use the same keyboard are gone, and for everything else you will never hit any limits even with a 10€ keyboard.

Third lie is the ultra-fast 1ms response time. Who are we kidding? There are no noticeable keyboard delays on regular keyboards, so any improvement on already unnoticeable lag is just snake-oil. But heck, it sure sounds like that's the only thing holding you back in multiplayer games.

Now that we established that I love my Razer Black Widow, but think all the gaming features they market it with are crap, I also have to express my frustration with the Ultimate version of the keyboard.

When I bought it, you could get the Razer Black Widow for around 80€, and the Black Widow Ultimate for 120€. I went for the Ultimate edition, because it has backlight illumination and I liked that. It also has an additional USB Port and a Audio/Mic pass-though. This means in theory you could connect your headset to the keyboard, avoiding problems with cable length etc. The reality is just frustrating: Brainless monkeys designed this feature! They put it on the right side of the keyboard - right where my mousepad starts!. What on earth where they thinking? I am supposed to have cables and USB sticks on my mousepad? Like there is no fucking space anywhere around the keyboard! Actually, there is exact the same space unoccupied on the left side of the keyboard. The whole back of the keyboard is empty. I've seen other keyboards solve this way better! I have had keyboards that even had grooves on the bottom to pass your headset cables below the keyboard so they aren't in your way. And Razer designed theirs so the whole point of the cables is to be in your way.

So in closing: You want this keyboard - it's great. Just make sure you really really want to pay 40€ extra for the illumination - because the rest of the "ultimate" package is just crap.

Filed under hardware, tools, review

Microsoft Natural Keyboard 4000 Review

I’m a keyboard addict. I love keyboards and they love me.
I never managed to break one in any way because I have never used one long enough to break it. I consider my keyboard the most important tool as a programmer, and that’s why I constantly try to get the best available.

I guess that is over, I haven’t bought a new keyboard for over a year now.

My last 3 keyboard buys have all been the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 so I have one for every workplace I happen to be at. My 2 computers at home have one, my desk at work has one, it’s just that great!


I got introduced to Ergonomic keyboards through the Logitech Ergonomic Desktop Freedom Pro (or at least I think it was called that way) and used it long enough to really learn how to properly type. It was good compared to what I was using before (10 pound IBM bricks) and it was the first keyboard I actually bought myself (for the ridiculous amount of 280€ as a 16 year old). Unfortunately Logitech discontinued the ergo series and Microsoft’s old Natural keyboard was discontinued too so I switched back to normal keyboards for quite some time (trying out all sorts of fancy keyboards like the Fingerprint Keyboard etc) before I found the Microsoft Natural 4000.

At that point I haven’t used a ergonomic keyboard for some years so I was hesitant, but I got lured by the price. 40€ is nothing after having spent 100€ on the Logitech G15 (worst keyboard ever) and I was blown away by what I got!

Typing is so convenient on this keyboard, and my wrists feel a lot better after extended periods of work than they did before on the (ergonomic nightmare) G15 (we’re talking about magnitudes of >300% here).
The leather I rest my wrists on feels very comfortable and soft even after a year of extensive use.

The keyboard also comes with some sort of tilt-attachment that creates a reverse slope. It’s unusable if you want to play games, but for typing it is very comfortable to not have to bend your wrist to access keys.

Also notable is that the keyboard comes with a standard pgup/pgdown layout instead what makes working pretty easy once again (who designed the DELL keyboards should be crucified for the Pos1/End placement!).

Some shortcomings:

  • No Next/Previous Media functionality. Only Play/Pause and Volume control buttons.
  • No lock workstation button, I had to remap my Calculator key
  • Zoom wheel in the middle of the keyboard is pretty much useless.

Still, the best keyboard you can get.

Patience is a virtue I don’t have

I hate waiting for stuff when working. Whenever something hangs, lags or simply doesn’t work right the first time I get annoyed.

Usually a little distraction like this doesn’t really hurt too much, but when you are deep in thought while programming – and something hangs, I can almost feel how my memory gets flushed and my productivity drops to zero for the next few minutes while I try to get back into everything.

This is very very very bad, and that’s why I am feeding insane amounts of money to the hardware vendors. I need the best performance not because of the insane calculations I do but simply because I can’t afford to get distracted by lagging applications.

Same thing applies to unit tests and build processes. It’s important to keep those as short as possible. If I’m doomed to wait for 2 minutes to see if my unit tests pass or not I will either not run them as frequently, or I will run them and do something else in between. Either way I loose productivity.

So, while at it, I guess the server I wanted to configure stopped hanging while I wrote this.

When drivers don’t get along

Logitech VX Revolution

Just when I hoped driver issues are gone for good, I bought my new Logitech VX Revo because I was so upset with my Microsoft Presenter Mouse 8000 (worst mouse ever!).

After experiencing huge precision and lag issues with the Microsoft Presenter 8000 I wasn’t really happy to find my new Logitech totally laggy on the acceleration part.
I’m a huge fan of mouse acceleration, and that’s the main reason I wasn’t happy with Logitech mice, they accelerate differently than Microsoft ones.

But this wasn’t just different, the mouse accelerated absolutely insane:
I then found out that Logitech and Synaptics don’t come along too well. Synaptics and Logitech both try to hook into the same acceleration and so your mouse acceleration gets controlled by the Synaptics driver and your touchpad by the mouse driver. Adjusting the mouse speed worked separately, but still the acceleration was way out of line. So after a day of tinkering I finally gave in and uninstalled the touchpad drivers.

I tried to find a  solution to the whole SetPointSynaptics issue and it seems that there is no solution. Logitech blames Synaptics and vice versa. People just end up doing what I did, uninstalling the touchpad driver.

Logitech and Synaptics don’t work together.

And that means:

  • I can’t scroll on the touchpad (the scroll-area was part of the touchpad driver).
  • I can’t disable the touchpad when working with the mouse (driving me crazy all the time)
  • I miss all the neat stuff like gestures etc.

Soltution: Don’t get a Logitech mouse if you’re stuck with a Synaptics touchpad. It’s simply not worth the trouble.
And while at it, Microsoft should make the Touchpad driver that’s built into Windows better. I’d wish for Windows 7 to support gestures and scrolling out of the box, not having to rely on stupid drivers!

Filed under drivers, hardware, personal, rant, tools

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