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12/30/07     -Memory problems, Steelers issues

How many of you use or even have heard of Patriot memory?
Well, in the past I've had decent experiences with them. I bought a used stick on eBay years ago, upgraded my laptop almost a year ago with it, and haven't had any problems with their MIR's (Mail In Rebates.) We equipped our systems with Patriot memory this past fall and all was good for about 3 months. Now keep in mind that between 3 systems there are 10 sticks of memory between us, 8 1Gig sticks between John and I and 2 2Gig sticks for Tom. They were all purchased in 2 stick kits, important point as you'll see below.
So late last month I found some problems! My system started to BSOD and I originally thought it was a driver but through good troubleshooting figured out it was memory and I figured out what stick it was. Only 1 out of my 4 was bad so I was OK with the situation. Then even more issues began!
I contacted the RMA department and was sent the forms needed to return my memory. I will admit that I did make a mistake here because I clearly read that "if the memory is part of a kit return both sticks." I didn't think nothing of it because I've returned Kingston memory in the past and had NO problems if it was part of a kit. Then I received the "friendly" email telling me they received my memory but they needed the other stick, unless I wanted to void the warranty??!!? HELL NO, I'll waste another $3.40 in postage and wait longer! There is NO way I'll give up my lifetime warranty especially since one of them has already failed! The thing that really ticks me off about this is the wait. I received notice on the 27th saying my memory was shipped out and will be delivered on the 7th??? A week and a half?? I understand the holidays but damn that is NOT reasonable! Keep in mind that they received the GOOD stick of memory on about the 20th! I sent it on the 17th PRIORITY mail and they evidently didn't have the time to check the GOOD stick several days later! Oh well, I'm done getting mad about it, I just basically want to inform all of you and warn you of the possible RMA issues you could face if you chose Patriot memory. I can say for me, I will not pinch pennies and will get Kingston memory next time! Please feel free to let all of us know of similar situations by posting in our "hardware" area of the forum. We would love to hear of good and bad stories by any manufacturer there and know that it will help others in their decisions.
GOOD purchases!!
Sorry, can't help myself. I've read the same thing on many other sites and I hate to be an echo but I have to mention GOOD companies. APC still has to be the top company in customer service and I'm reminded of that because Randy recently received an APC UPS for Xmas!! Congrats to him on receiving a quality piece of equipment and if he happens to have to get support from them, it will actually be a great experience! I've taken headache medication after a support call MANY times, but after talking to APC it is NOT necessary! I bought a great APC UPS 3 years ago and when I had a problem with it, the experience was unreal. They back up most of their equipment with a 3 year warranty so really, the extra money you may spend when compared to others is WELL worth it! Ok, I"m off my soapbox.

Finally this brings me to my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers. I'll get off topic quick to mention a few purchases and Xmas presents this year. To start, I made my normal July purchase of the new Steelers hat and was yet again disappointed that Ben wasn't wearing my hat on the sidelines for the second year straight. I think I've noticed a trend though. When the new season hats are "released" there have been two these past two years, one that is a little more "flashy" and one that is more "plain." I've noticed the Ben likes to wear the more "plain" and traditional hats. After last year I almost attempted to write him to make make sure I would buy the right hat, and this year I actually told the girl working at my local shop that if Ben wasn't wearing the hat I just bought I would return it!! I didn't though.
I didn't make too many purchases this year except for a mini helmet. After the first Steelers game in their throw back uniforms I thought the helmets looked pretty cool so I had to have a helmet.
Then Xmas, the boys all received jerseys this year. My oldest Troy got a Polamalu jersey, Ben got a Roethlisberger, and William received a Parker jersey. I would have bought William a "coaches" jacket but someone had to retire so me naming my son after him means nothing!!!!! At least we have Willie Parker so everyone in the family has a player to idolize.
Which brings us to next Saturday! It's going to be tough and the situation isn't the same as 05, but the Steelers have A LOT of talent. I don't know how well it will play out but there is a lot of revenge that could play out in the sudden death playoffs! I do know one thing, someone better damn well knock those Patriots into the dirt and out of the possible "perfect" season. They aren't better than the '72 Dolphins until they win the Super Bowl and for the sake of "good" history, they better not accomplish that!!
Anyways, with Willie Parker out it will be hard.....however there are enough Offensive weapons to take on any team. The Defense should be strong after a few starters rested today. All the announcers have been saying for at least the past week is that Jacksonville will be scary in the playoffs and that no team wants to see them. I ignore all of that because those idiots only say what the networks allow them to say, they have no real opinions just BS. I've watched them do it all season long, jumping from one bandwagon to another. It makes me sick because these "robots" act like they know nothing but they should. I'm getting ticked off again, I better just go to bed now! GO STEELERS!!!!

11/25/07     -Version 3.10 released!!

After a few minor delays, a new version is finally released!
Big thanks to everyone in our development and beta tester teams. Download and enjoy!!

11/19/07     -work in progress

The next release is getting close!! We will hopefully be releasing 3.10 soon!!

10/16/07    -Huge THANKS, rally is over!!

Sorry for the lack of updates for the past few weeks, been busy with the laptop disaster, work, putting our new kick ass systems together, and working on a new beta. Thank you all for your help in getting us our new systems!! Please remember though that we still have our monthly costs so please still consider donating if and when you are able to. If you missed out on the opportunity to donate, you still can. Donations are always used responsibly and go towards purchases to help us make UBCD4Win better. Paying our hosting fees (and our other costs) had an effect on the donation rally, one that I hadn't really thought of. It delayed us reaching our goal. We have always been able to pay our bills thanks to donations. Past "rallies" were for smaller amounts of money so they were completed pretty quickly. This was a HUGE rally and a few times I lost perspective on that, expecting it to be over quicker than it would be. I apologize for acting a little crazy over the past few months, some of you are probably used to it though!

The laptop disaster is taken care of and overall everything is good. They ended up replacing the motherboard (what I thought it was) and I got it back pretty quickly. The only thing I didn't like was the chat and phone support. But for a $600 laptop the experience was acceptable. So HP / Compaq still has me satisfied for the most part.

Beta? Did I mention a beta? Yes I did and I'm hoping we can get it finished up and released soon. I'm sorry to report though that there really isn't anything too big in this release. Just another maintenance release to fix a few minor problems however a lot of software has been updated over the past. Some now known HashCheck issues have been found and we are taking care of them in this release.

Thanks again everyone, I greatly appreciate my new system and know that the other guys really love their new systems!! I'm very happy that I chose Vista Ultimate 64 as our OS for these systems because I've already found 1 bug/problem with UBCD4Win in a 64bit OS.

9/19/07    -Closer to the goal, laptop disasters, etc.

We are extremely close to reaching our goal!! Thanks to everyone who has donated so far, it's been awesome! We only need a few hundred dollars to reach our goal and that is great.

Laptop disaster. I really don't want to get into it too much. I'm honestly at a loss here because it's just too hard! Personal opinions and experiences can vary between manufacturers and models!! I've seen many problematic models of laptops, abused models, etc. It is hard to honestly say what is junk and what is not junk! I can read a review of a laptop that gets 9 out of 10 stars, but then get a "lemon"!! I can read reviews on another laptop that then a year later has a lawsuit is filed against that laptop and company? It's a crap shoot and something that is extremely annoying to me. However, customer support is a very good indicator, right? I have been suggesting HP / Compaq laptops at work for about a year now and I really don't know if that was a good decision. I bought my laptop 7 months ago thinking I bought quality and expected "decent" customer support. Doesn't happen! I will note that after all the "fighting" with Indians, I spoke with a Canadian that was VERY helpful! Only bad thing is I was then transferred to an Indian that was a complete JERK! I'm not at all trying to be racist or anything, just providing the details of my experience. I have NO problems talking to anyone and I generally like everyone, but some of the people I talked to from HP / Compaq were JERKS. Anyways, I hope to have my laptop back within the next week or two.

The data disaster was the worse though!! With all the activity with the "donation rally" things were worse. I have no problems being honest. If I was an idiot or dumbass, I will admit it! Basically I made a few mistakes. I had been very busy with the donation rally and been very busy at work. I fell away from my normal bi-weekly backup routine and made a HUGE mistake when trying to clone my HDD to a new one. Luckily thanks to FREE tools, I was able to recover most of the files I hadn't backed up recently. I want to throw a HUGE shout out to MozBackup and PhotoRec for being FREE and just WORKING as expected!! I've been using MozBackup for quite some time and it's always worked great! I'll admit that it's sad that only NOW after a disaster I personally finally had the thought of donating to them. TestDisk / PhotoRec is a great tool if you use them properly and thanks to those tools, I recovered several important files I really needed. I made a donation to them tonight!

Thanks again to everyone that has donated to our current "new systems" rally. I trust that within a week or two, we will have enough money raised to complete the rally!!

9/6/07    -Been pretty slow

Big thanks to everyone who has donated so far, no matter how much you donated it's greatly appreciated!! There seems to be a few minor issues with NewEgg Gift Certificates. I've received a few emails and there has been at least one post in the forum from people mentioning they wanted to send a NewEgg Gift Certificate. The problem is that we do not receive them. It's not that the user is being charged and we do not get it, it's basically that users think the process is complete. I did not realize until today that after a user completes the first page of information they must then "login" or create a new account. I apologize for not knowing that sending a gift certificate required a little additional work on the donators end.
So please, if you have not received a "thank you" email for your gift certificate from me....please email me so I can verify if a gift certificate was received or not.

Like I mentioned in the title though, things have been slow. In the last week and a half we've received just under $200 and that was from about 14 donations. I do not want to sound like I'm complaining because I really appreciate everything so far, but I just hoped for this to go a little better and faster. Just makes me think our user base is smaller than what I thought? To be honest it's been a little depressing for me personally. I would rather see 6,000 $1 donations (6,000 because of PayPal fees) than a bunch of $50, $100, or $200 donations. Just because that would help show we have a big user base that appreciates the work and time we put into UBCD4Win. There are about 50 different variables that play into this though so I'm really not taking the slow results too much to heart. I'm probably just being a weirdo anyways.

Thanks again from everyone who has helped so far. Like I've mentioned before, if you are not financially able to help we understand. I will keep you all updated and am really anxious to announce that we have reached our goal.

     NewEgg     

8/27/07    -Going well and getting closer

First thanks to everyone that has been generous towards our need. We have purchased our first system and it is performing quite well so far. I haven't really had much time for testing because we are still "swamped" at work and my regular duties for UBCD4Win have kept me quite busy. I am currently testing Vista Ultimate 64 and am not really ready to say if I am happy with it. Initially I ran into a few issues that I attributed to drivers but at this point I'm still not sure. I have installed Vista twice on this system and at least with this install and the drivers I've used I have only seen a BSOD once so far. I started over because I had seen about 6-8 before and the system was acting funny. Basically this is what I wanted to do, test! I want and need to make sure that my hardware choices for our systems will work well together and I really think they will.

Over the past few days though donations have slowed, so please consider donating if you can. We have built one out of the three systems that we need. I will continue to post news on the site and will immediately post when we hit our goal. If I haven't posted new news here a week from now do not assume that we are doing good with donations or that we have hit our goal. I am very happy and proud that our users are willing to help us and cannot wait to announce that we have all three systems built!!

Please check out the links below the 8/21 news to send a donation through PayPal, Gift Certificate from NewEgg, or to contact me for alternative methods. Thanks to all!!

8/21/07    -Great donation rally so far!

Great first 5 days everyone!! I thank you all greatly! It's pretty awesome that in less than a week we are only only $200 away from building our first system.

I want to take a moment to help explain the NewEgg gift certificates and other ways you can help us. First if you can not afford a monetary donation, please visit our sponsor links which are generally on the right side of the pages on this site. NewEgg gift certificates are about the best way for us to reach our goal. They generally have the best prices and I plan to order a majority of our hardware from them. The biggest benefit though, NO fees! With all transactions through PayPal, there are always fees. With gift certificates we get every penny you sent to help us. I have added a link below to the gift certificate page on the NewEgg site. If you need to know who/where to send send the gift certificate to, click on the "contact me" button below to find out my email address. I would list my email address here but I already receive too much spam. Bots scour web sites all the time looking for email addresses to spam and I apologize for the inconvenience to you, but I do not want to take any chances on getting more spam!
Finally, alternatives to PayPal and NewEgg gift certificates. I understand that some people are not comfortable with putting their credit card information online. So if you would like to donate and do not like PayPal, etc., please contact me and we can discuss alternatives. Thanks again everyone, I really appreciate your great support for our need!!

     NewEgg     

8/15/07    -What can you get for $1?

How about a few computers?? I think most users of UBCD4Win understand that UBCD4Win is freeware run by volunteers. We do our best to help as many people as possible by providing our hard work at no cost. All we have ever asked for is donations to help us recover hosting, license, etc., costs that we have had and currently have. It's an unfortunate fact that several members of the development team are currently in need and I am asking all of you for some help. About a year ago I started talking about upgrading my system, at the time it had been close to 2 years since my last upgrade. Now it is going on 3 years and I am basically still talking about it but unable to actually do anything. My computer has been acting strange lately so I'm afraid that it's about time for something to die in it?? I've been trying to figure out a way to save the money but with 3 boys and just regular bills, I can't figure out a way to do it. 2 weeks ago Tom's (pcuser) computer died and I've been trying to figure out a way to help him also. Then I thought about the Athlon 750 that John (hilander999) is running in his system. I've been thinking for the past week, what can we do???

So I turn to you. Is it unreasonable for me to ask the users of the project for help with getting new systems for a few members of our development team? Will a "donation rally" be successful? We have over 5,000 registered members in the forum, so if only half the members of the forum donated just $1 we would have enough money for the systems. I think most people have appreciated our hard work on this project enough to donate a $1. I do not expect donations from users but greatly appreciate them, donations keep us going by paying our bills. I understand that some people cannot afford to send anything and that is fine. I've been between jobs and I have a family of 5 so I understand completely.

I was contacted by a user a few days ago asking if we needed any hardware or software. We exchanged a few emails, like I mentioned above I've been trying to figure out a way to get a new system so I had created a "wish list" at NewEgg last week, so I sent it to him. To my surprise I received a "gift certificate" for NewEgg in the amount of $250!! All I can say is WOW, that is amazing. So I am confident in starting a new "donation rally" to help us get new systems. I am sure we have enough users that are financially able to help us out in our time of need. Please if you are able to, send us a donation or a gift certificate for NewEgg. As always with "donation rallies" I will post news on the site as soon as we reach our goal. If you have any questions, suggestions, etc. please feel free to email me. I will start a post in our forum soon listing what I have spec'd out for our systems. I thank you all for your past and future donations to help keep this project going.

8/4/07    -3.06 released!!

After several days of testing and yet a few minor mix ups, 3.06 is finally released. We did find a last minute problem with HashCheck so a few of the mirrors have a version of 3.06 with a different MD5 than the one published on the "downloads" page. I have contacted those mirrors and hope they get the files changed soon. Mirrors also provided a slight delay in the release. Contacting people on a Friday night isn't the best time for most people to be reached. I don't like to announce a new version unless most of the mirrors are up, just so their servers don't get overloaded.

Version 3.06 is more of a maintenance release. Since HashCheck was updated we couldn't release a patch. No tools were updated but several other things were fixed or updated. Most notable is the NOD32 issue that was present in 3.05. The BTS drivers were updated and Joshua's nVidia NIC package was added to the build. For more information check out the Version History page.

7/31/07     -3.06 release coming soon!

Well, NOD32 users will soon be happy again. Due to a lot of emails/posts from NOD32 users we have taken the time to try and figure out why this is happening. It took several hours of testing and checking hundreds of lines of source code, but Tom has figured it out!! Seems there was ONE line of code that NOD32 did not like. Luckily it wasn't something we needed and was just an old line that we forgot to remove. So we shouldn't have any more false positives from NOD32.
We are double checking a few things but I am confident that we'll be able to release a new 3.06 "false positive" free version by this weekend.

7/14/07     -More downloads and Feedback

I posted news about this in the forum and completely forgot to update the site! In the last few releases of UBCD4Win we have trimmed away a few useful tools. AntiVirus companies prefer to scare their users (and potential UBCD4Win users) by stating we have Viruses and Hack Tools in the project. It's really sad because we've removed some useful tools from the UBCD4Win because of this mess. In the past we tried our best to inform users as to what is really going on, but some just do not take the time to read and understand. It's not fair that we get negative comments or ratings on sites because a user doesn't have or take the time to understand what is really going on.
So, www.UBCD4WinDownloads.com is here! I have been promising users for a few months now that any tools removed from the project would still be available for download. I was trying to figure out the best way to do it. It finally struck me one day, buy another domain and setup a "cheaper" hosting account for that domain! I just hope that hosting account can handle the traffic that it receives. Please if you have any problems downloading, email me so I can check into it and fix any possible problems. Also please post any "requests" for plugins in our forum, we will gladly point you in the right direction. If you need a plugin hosted, please contact me and I should be able to help you out. At the moment I do not have an elaborate plans with the domain, I probably won't even create viewable pages for it? Right now it is only going to be used to provide direct download links for plugins listed on the "downloads" page of this site. After time though I could possibly setup a "downloads" page for that domain, but I only see that happening if a lot of users would like me/us to host plugins for them. So I hope you users understand that we do our best to provide you all with easy options and quick updates. It's unfortunate that sometimes it requires us to spend money to provide something free for everyone.
So now with even more monthly expenses now it more important than ever that we receive donations to help with these costs. If you have ever thought about donating, please think about it again because it is more important than ever. I'm sure the project has saved you repair costs so please just send a fraction of what you would have had to spend at a "shop" to us to help us pay our bills.

Lack of feedback from my 7/2 news. In a way I'm surprised that I didn't receive any email about that news post? Then again with all my rambling, maybe I'm the only person who could even understand what I was trying to say??!! I apologize for some aspects of that post and it's a reminder as to why I do not do any "professional" writing. I have the tendency of getting a little fired up with topics that I strongly believe in. When that happens it seems I cannot focus on getting the point across. So I apologize for my rambling and hope you can figure out and understand the points I was really trying to get across. Maybe someday I'll revisit that subject and take a little more time when writing it.

7/2/07     -Embracing PE

I think I must mention a "disclaimer" before even starting my thoughts, and even before that a little more information. First, I have tried very hard (and failed on a few occasions) to keep many of my thoughts and feelings off this site. The main focus of this site is to talk about this project (UBCD4Win) and basically that is about all. I've tried to keep my personal opinions and personal issues from the "news", because I worried that some users would find it unprofessional? However have thought that some users would like more information from me? I'm not the super smart guy working for Google, MS, or cNet.....but I'm no dumbass either. I do have a lot of knowledge built up regarding computers. I have had thoughts of turning this news page into more of a "blog" so users KNOW that I am extremely active with this project. Do my thoughts really matter and will anyone care what I think? That's a good question, one that I surely cannot answer! Will users visit the site on a more regular basis because I post news/thoughts a few times a week rather than once a month? Does that really matter anyway's? Ok, now I'm getting too "goofy" so I'll just start with my disclaimer. The following paragraph contains my opinions and is not meant to offend anyone. These are what I see and what I perceive is going on, based on a lot of information. I frequent several forums, read many email newsletters, magazines, etc., so I think I know what is going on in our computing world.

The subject at hand is Embracing PE. I have had issues with this for years!! I thought after SpyBot S&D added the ability to it's software to recognize it was booted in PE over 2 years ago, everything was going to get better. I thought that after contacting several other software companies requesting features in their software to help it work better in PE, things would get better? UBCD4Win has gained a lot of popularity since it first started, we have helped get additional features added to numerous software titles. We have worked out "deals" with good software companies to help make us (UBCD4Win), their software, and your abilities better! We have worked with NirSoft, and Grisoft to name a few. We spend our time trying to help make all of our lives and UBCD4Win better!
While we are still successful in getting some things done, there are just too many to address. With SpyWare, Phlishing, etc., killing our ability to even attempt to "surf the net", why aren't more companies willing to REALLY help?? I'm not trying to only point one piece of software out, but then again maybe I am?? AdAware 2007 in my opinion is a piece of garbage. I could understand some of the "bloat", but only if the software actually WORKED!! The free version is now bloated with a service that isn't used in the free version, so maybe it's punishment to those of us who do not want to pay for it? They did NO work towards making it work in PE, and actually BROKE it so we can't even get it to work when booted in Bart PE or UBCD4Win?? What is up with that?
I and thousands of others have realized that the only GOOD way to remove spyware, viruses, etc., from a system is to boot PE, hopefully UBCD4Win! It is almost the PERFECT platform to remove all that crap from our computers. I'll even give you a real example to this. I have cleaned hundreds of computers using UBCD4Win and a lot of time it is NOT perfect. That is only because AdAware, Asquared, SpyBot, Kaspersky, AVG's, etc., honestly do not even attempt to remove some "hard" items. SmitFraud is the example I will use now. I think it is SpyBot that is the only tool that will even attempt to find it, but fails to remove it. All of these tools are built to run in WINDOWS. They know that some of these bad boys cannot be removed, so why bother attempting to remove it?? It really ticks me off that these tools DO NOT take into consideration that it CAN be removed if you are in PE. Why not code/create your tools to where they will know they are in PE so everything can be removed?
Money!! Honestly, I hope that is the only reason. I don't know, I mean at least most of the companies I've mentioned do have "paid" versions so it's not like they are starving. They do not drive a '94 crappy Buick and live in a crappy 50K house. I appreciate what I have and the (most of the time) low bills I have. I didn't start UBCD4Win to get rich and I understood that 80-90% of our users would not have a conscience. It's a sad fact, people use free software all the time and save themselves $50-$150 if a "pro" fixed their computer. How many actually appreciate that or feel that they should at least give a fraction of that to the software that helped them, maybe 10-20%, if that. I'm not telling you to go out and buy the paid versions of these software titles because I doubt that it will make a difference. There are several tools that I do stand by because they do kick some butt. Kaspersky is just honestly the best AV software you can buy. I'm at a mix between AVG AntiSpyware and Asquared. AVG AS has found a lot of stuff for me in the past, but so has Asquared. At the moment I'm not liking aSquared though because it promised that it worked with Vista and after a week of problems, I had to get rid of it. I have to mention again the fact that SpyBot did attempt to go above and beyond the others years ago by adding the functionality of recognizing when it was booted in PE. However I had to wait for them to get a Vista compatible version of their software released before I continue to talk them up too much.

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