Dell Inspiron 9400 ATI x1400 driver

Update: this driver is reported to work under Windows 10

Since Dell is unable to provide a recent Catalyst release for its Dell Inspiron 9400 for Vista or Windows 7 and explicitly forbids ATI from distributing one, here it is.

Download Catalyst 8.12 for Inspiron 9400 (32-bit)

Note: The Inspiron 9400 is also known as Inspiron E1705 in some countries.

Catalyst 10.2 has a bug related to laptop panel scaling which is why I’m providing 8.12.

N95 unlocking and battery extension

Following up on Vodafone’s inability to unlock my Nokia N95 I bought from them, I decided to use other ways.

First, there are tons of “online unlockers” websites who claim to be able to unlock phones but nobody explaining how they do it. I tried 2 of them and they weren’t successful, even though they advertise handling the N95.

The first one was E Distributions UK Ltd. They reimbursed my Paypal payment the same day with “unlock code cannot generate full refund”. Fair enough.

The other was a bit more problematic. I ordered an unlock code for my girlfriend’s LG KU990i from MobileUnlocked which is really Unlockingonline. After 2 days they claimed to have found the unlock code which was: “NO UNLOCK CODE”, which obviously was of no use for me. I complained to them asking for a refund and 2 days later they did so.

My guess is that those online unlockers probably work for older phones which have key generators available for them, but these companies also advertise that they can handle new phones for 2 reasons:

  • be indexed by search engines
  • be able to provide the service as soon as a keygenerator appears

Unfortunately this is just going to waste your time. You can try, but if you do make sure you always use Paypal as they have a reimbursement policy if the merchant fails to provide the service (make sure you keep copies of mails and website results).

I ended up unlocking both phones from a local store. No problems whatsoever.

Now on to fix one of the most annoying problem of the N95, and any modern smartphone: the limited battery life.

The N95’s original battery is a 950 mAh li-ion battery and has the amazing property of lasting about one day with moderate usage. Even worse, if you use your N95 to listen to some music, it dries out in 2 to 3 hours.

So I ordered a 2400 mAh li-polymere battery from mobiltec24. Unfortunately the phone was constantly switching itself off and crashing.. weird! I mailed them and they quickly sent a replacement battery which works fine so far. The phone lasts about 4 days with moderate usage, at last! This was the N95’s biggest problem and newer phones seem to have that problem as well. The battery is bigger and heavier (needs a modified battery cover, which is supplied) but the trade off is really worth it.

Voipbuster sucks

For years I used the services from on my Nokia phone for international calls. They had good pricing and it worked fine.

2 days ago I had to make a call from my laptop. I went to their website and downloaded their VOIP client, which seemed to work ok.

Now comes the problem. Their client has an option to import contacts from MSN and Skype, the contacts appear in a list and you press ‘Ok’ to import them.

What the client doesn’t tell you is that it does the following in the background, without you noticing:

– sends a skype message to all your contacts with:

<your_voipbuster_login> wants to talk to you with VoipBuster!

get this free software to instantly communicate online with friends, family, coworkers or anyone you choose! click here to download VoipBuster to get started.

It also sends an email which is faked as coming from you (including the headers) with a similar content to all your MSN contacts.

Was it so hard to have a checkbox with “Invite friends to use voipbuster”? Why do they have to do that silently in the background?

Let’s see, voipbuster is owned by, their website says:

Betamax was founded in 2005 in Germany by a group of marketing experts.

Marketing experts? More like a bunch of morons.

So that’s it. voipbuster.exe can be classified as a spyware, sending advertising spam without telling you.

Gnucash sucks

So I just tried Gnucash, the accounting software. After spending some time reading the docs on how it works, I started creating some accounts and populating them. Then I close the program and open it later.

There was an error parsing the file c:\users\zapek\gnucash

What the.. I try to open all 4 backup files it did.. Same error message. Great, so gnucash 2.2.9 cannot open files it writes itself. And all my work is lost.

I try with gnucash 2.3.5 then, which is marked as unstable. I create just one account to test, saves and it does a wonderful crash “error in sqlite3 blabla”.

Maybe I should just use a pen and paper.

Vodafone sucks

About a month ago, I switched from Telefonica to Vodafone because the former was starting to get expensive, 75 € / month for a 10 mbit/s link, and their uplink was only 300 kbit/s which is really annoying as I also upload stuff to my servers from time to time.

Anyway, so Vodafone sent me the following piece of hardware.

It’s an Huawei EchoLife HG553

At first, vodafone offer you to connect through their 3G network for free until the ADSL link is working. So far so good. Once the ADSL link was up, I switched to that.

But I experienced frequent problems with DNS queries, that is, from time to time I would get the famous “host not found” error, and from all my computers. I first thought that there was a problem with Vodafone’s DNSes so I changed them in my computers, but it didn’t work any better.

Strange! At the end I started to suspect that Vodafone might be filtering DNS requests on their network but I didn’t see why, as hosts like ‘’ or ‘’ failed all the time.

I called their (useless) hotline. They made me change the DNSes on my local machine, without results of course, then changed the DNSes in my router and rebooted it. Hum.. So they’re accessing the router eh? ‘’ resolved once after that.. Then it failed again. They seemed clueless about the problem. They also said something that got my attention: “when I’m pinging from your router, it works fine”.

All right.. How are they accessing the router? And most importantly how can they ping from it as the default web interface doesn’t allow you to do so.

I remembered I was once able to access the router through SSH using admin/admin. So I did that and to my surprise, it didn’t work! So they must have been tampering with my router since I got online?

So, after hacking around, this is how to solve the problem.

First, you need to reset your router to default settings. Turn it off, insert a pen into the ‘reset’ hole, turn it on, wait 10 seconds, turn it off, remove the pen.

Disconnect the ADSL link, you don’t want your modem to reconfigure itself and remove the admin account again. I’ll shortly explain how they do that.

Turn on the modem. Its IP is, the admin account’s login is ‘admin’ and its password is ‘admin’.

Go to the web interface using admin/admin then reconfigure what you need to. You’ll see that you have much more options available than with the vodafone/vodafone login. Don’t touch the ADSL stuff, it is preconfigured properly.

Here’s a list of a few stuff you might want to do:

  • Advanced Setup/NAT: Enable UPnP. This is useful for Peer 2 Peer applications or stuff like MSN Messenger, Skype, VOIP or file transfert in chat programs
  • Advanced Setup/DNS/Dynamic DNS. If you want to use services like to have your router available anywhere
  • Important: if you don’t want vodafone to reconfigure your router and remove your admin access as soon as you go online, go to Management/SNMP Agent and Disable it
  • Management/Access Control: Here you can disable vodafone’s ability to access your router from the WAN interface. Just turn off everything except ICMP on the WAN side, and enable everything for you on the LAN side
  • Management/User Management: Change the password of your admin account. support is used by vodafone and the password is ‘support’ as well. Their access only works for telnet and ssh, not the web interface

Now do a SSH to the modem (with the admin account). If you need an SSH client for Windows, I can recommend PenguiNet.

Type the following:

iptables -t nat -D PREROUTING_IN 1

And that’s it! The DNS screw up is gone. Now make sure you configure your computers to use some other DNS than your routers because it is bugged and doesn’t work properly. You can use the vodafone DNSes:

You can now plug your phone line into the router’s ADSL port. If you disabled the SNMP services, the router won’t be reconfigured and rebooted by vodafone.

There’s still a caveheat, though. You’ll have to type the iptables command everytime you reboot your router. I’m trying to find a way to change it permanently.

I wonder if the vodafone support people realize how silly it is to tell users to change their DNSes when the router will intercept the queries anyway… Oh well.. Big corporations…

Google Chrome

Google Chrome

A few days ago, Google released its own browser, Google Chrome. As the author of a web browser (Voyager), I think they did it right. Here’s why:


This is something I always wanted to implement within Voyager but it was too difficult because of GUI issues (the toolkit used was a mess to use from threads). As far as I know, the first browser implementing rendering in its own process was Internet Explorer but when they implemented tabs, they left that out. Apparently they fixed that in IE 8. The advantage to such a design is that the main GUI isn’t locked anymore when rendering CPU hungry website, and you can even switch to other tabs meanwhile. It is tricky to implement such design and I noticed some refresh problems in Chrome when writing in TEXTAREA fields for example. Scrolling speed can also become slow because the refresh is asynchronous then. But overall this is a very good idea.


Well, I’m impressed by the speed. The browser chews tons of HTML without problems. This is not just a minor speed gain but it’s really noticeable on usage. And most important, the browser launches in less than a second, without preloading files or anything. I was quite getting fed up of MSIE and Firefox taking more than 5 seconds to launch. Their JavaScript engine uses JIT techniques, which is the first time it is in a browser I think. Although I don’t think JavaScript execution speed is really a burden in most common webpages (yet) this is a nice addition.

Nifty features

The tabs drag & drop, search in the address bar (without search words being recognized as URLs or other nonsense), uncluttered GUI, automatic fullscreen mode, URL completion that actually works, all plugins working without hassle.


Not a single crash as of yet. Perfectly usable as a main browser.

So there, Chrome is now my default browser. I was getting fed up with Firefox’ bloat and MSIE had too many annoyances. Nice job Google. Chrome is how I always wanted to make Voyager like. Now good luck fixing all the quirks 🙂

Indexing on Linux not ready yet

Beagle Tracker

On the Linux Desktop there are at least 2 ongoing efforts to try to bring indexing support to the platform. That is, a way to quickly search for files spread around the user’s home directory. One is Beagle and the other is tracker.

But both projects have a major flaw: they can’t properly track file changes. To do that, they use Linux’ inotify feature which allows to watch directories and files. Although you can watch the content of a directory, notifications do not recurse, which means that you have to watch every single directory of your home.

So what happens? Upon startup watches have to be put on every directory and that requires quite a significant filesystem activity. Beagle seems to defer this when the system is in an idle state so it is less noticeable.

The proper solution would be that the Linux kernel provides an inotify that does recurse. This shouldn’t be a performance problem as indexing softwares would only need one watch then.

Gnome creating problems


Funny how instead of trying to solve problems, Gnome apps are actually creating new ones, all by themselves, without any outside factor. They must be really bored or something.

All modern desktops have an area called a systray which is a small area where apps that keep running in the background but still provide an interface that is accessed from time to time can be found, usually by displaying their icon here. Such apps are usually music players, instant messaging software, news aggregator, mail clients, etc.. This is useful because the app doesn’t get in the way by being too intrusive. For example you don’t need an instant messenger to take unecessary space when no one is messaging you. Same for a music player, you don’t need it to display anything once you did your music selection and it’s playing.

For these apps, when you press the close button, they go to the systray.. or so you’d think. Because some people think that the close button should be used to close apps, and that for minimizing to systray you should use some obscure keyboard shortcut (ctrl + w, the ‘w’ stands for ‘wankers’) or press the icon in the systray again. Of course, the former behaviour is still available in other apps.

So what happens is that when pressing the close button, some apps will go to the systray and other will just exit. A good example is Rhythmbox which exits when you press the close button. How many users are really running Rhythmbox to play a few seconds then actually quit the app? Probably very very few. How many users said “oh shit” when pressing the same close button? Probably many.

But as usual I bet they’ll spend years and years on that “problem”..

How to change the date display to international format


On an Ubuntu system:

  • cd /usr/share/i18n/locales
  • sudo cp en_US en_INTL
  • sudo vi en_INTL
  • change the d_fmt line to: “<U0025><U0059><U002D><U0025><U006d><U002D><U0025><U0064>”
  • sudo vi /var/lib/locales/supported.d/local
  • add the following line: en_INTL.UTF-8 UTF-8
  • sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales
  • sudo vi /etc/environment
  • add the following line: LC_TIME=”en_INTL.UTF-8″

Reboot/relogin. Now you should have dates displayed like this: 2007-01-18.

Who says Linux is not ready for the desktop? Er.. right.