Browsed by
Category: Interesting or Cool

Cars like the Subaru Crosstrek

Cars like the Subaru Crosstrek

I like my little Subaru Crosstrek. It’s the right amount of offroad utility and daily driver. I’ve taken it up to the mountains to go snowboarding, through rough forest roads and trails, as well as use it as my daily driver. My only grips are that it lacks in storage space and is pretty underpowered. The later is a fair tradeoff considering the MPG I get from it.

But I was surprised to learn how many other car makers are now trying to capture that same form factor. Enter cars like Nissan Kicks, Mazda CX-30, Honda HR-V, and others. Unfortunately, it looks like a fair number of them aren’t really good for off-road use. I guess I’ll stick with my affordable Crosstrek for now, but good to know there are other options. I hope they get better and give Subaru a run for their money.



Do you have lots of Thanksgiving leftovers? The Mad Mex in Pennsylvania is at it again with a Thanksgiving favorite: The Gobblerito. I made my own version last year with my Thanksgiving leftovers, and it was great. It looks like they have tweaked it a little by making them square and flat.

It seems like they’re still made of turkey, corn, black beans, stuffing, and the wrapped in a burrito and smothered with gravy with a dollop of cranberry. I can confirm they are Mmmm delicious!

No drives found when installing Windows 10 on new NVME drive.

No drives found when installing Windows 10 on new NVME drive.

I have a nice MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI motherboard with my shiny new Intel 12th gen i9-12900k processor. Recently, I tried to upgrade my 1TB Samsung 960 EVO M.2 with a 2TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2; but ran into a hitch. When I booted from the Windows 10 installation USB, the NVME drive would not show up in the list of drives for installation. Running Windows repair tools didn’t help.

The process I used was to first use the Windows installation media creator to make a bootable Windows 10 installation USB. Then, I turned off the PC and replaced my 1TB drive with the blank 2TB drive. When I booted off the USB device and tried to install Windows 10, Windows setup claimed it could not find any drives:

Hmmm. I tried running the installer repair tools – but it would give a unhelpful errors and no drives would appear. Even though I had 1 NVME drive and a standard old SATA drive as well.

I read around a bit and found something helpful from Majekk who also saw his NVME drives disappear.

This is probably because you have Intel Rapid Storage Technology enabled. If yes, I would suggest keep using it, because it will let you get as much performance as possible, from you NVMe drives, on Windows 11. You need to run W11 installer (with VMD enabled) and the load Intel drivers. It will make your M.2 drive appear in the Windows installer. Remember that the drive will never be visible in BIOS when using VMD. It is normal.

If you rather don’t want to use VMD (not recommended) – disable the Intel Rapid Storage (or Intel RAID – don’t remember how it’s called in BIOS).

When I went into BIOS, I noticed VMD (RAID) was indeed enabled in my BIOS because I had a set of RAID 5 drives on my previous installation. For an experiment, I turned off VMD (RAID), booted from my Win10 USB install key and sure enough I could see my NVME and other drives during Windows installation. If I turned VMD back on, the drives would disappear.

So, the solution came from something I should have realized earlier. The Windows 10 installer (and apparently Windows 11) didn’t know about my fancy Z690 chipset and drivers – I needed to download and unzip the Intel Raid storage controller drivers on my Windows installation USB and then manually load those drivers at the drive selection page.

So, here’s the two solutions (but solution 1 is best)

Solution 1: with RAID support

  1. Create your USB Windows 10 install stick.
  2. Download and unzip the MSI Intel RAID storage controller drivers onto the USB stick you created in step 1.
  3. Turn the system off and install the NVME M.2 drive
  4. Boot to BIOS, turn VMD (RAID) on
  5. Save BIOS settings and boot off the Win10 install USB stick
  6. When you get to the drive selection, there will be no drives. Click the ‘Load Driver’ button.
    • Browse to the USB stick, select the directory where you unzipped the Intel RST drivers. Be sure to point to the proper sub-directory with the floppy version of the driver files: <unzip root>\VMD\f6vmdflpy-x64\
    • You should see at least two Intel devices listed. You don’t need to select anything, just hit ok and Windows will load the drivers
  7. You’ll be returned to the drive selection page and you should see your NVME, RAID, and other drives listed!
  8. Pick the boot drive you want to install too, and hit OK.
  9. Windows 10 will install and you should boot normally after that. You should see all your drives – including any RAID sets you already had.
  10. Be sure to run Windows Update and download/install the latest Intel RAID drivers.

Solution 2: No RAID without complete reinstall

  1. Create the USB Windows 10 installation stick.
  2. Turn the system off and install the NVME M.2 drive.
  3. Boot into BIOS, and turn VMD (RAID) off
  4. Reboot from the windows installer USB stick.
  5. Install Windows like normal. Turning off VMD will let you see all your attached drives during the installation phase (all but any RAID drives) and install Win10 on any of them.
  6. You will not be able to use hardware RAID of your motherboard unless you completely re-install Windows. If you turn VMD/RAID on later, the system will ‘lose’ the NVME drive and refuse to boot. If you set it up with the RAID controllers, then the Windows bootloader apparently makes sure the drivers for the VMD device are always loaded. This is why it’s recommended to use solution 1, because it lets you use RAID later if you want.
Christmas Ghost Stories

Christmas Ghost Stories

The British have an intriguing history of telling ghost stories at Christmas. The most famous one is probably Dicken’s Christmas Carol with the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future who haunt Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas eve. The immensely long running play Woman in Black starts with the protagonist Arthur Kipps being asked by his children to tell a ghost story on Christmas eve.

Here’s a collection of wonderfully 70’s era BBC productions of traditional ghost stories from the likes of MR James, Dickens, etc. They hardly classify as what we would considered horror today, but are a wonderful look back into what scared and intrigued people 100 years ago. I recommend listening to audiobook versions to give them a fair shake. They were originally designed to be told out loud compared to produced into plays (which often mess up pacing/lack description of the experienced horror of the characters).

You can find other productions like Mr. Humphrey’s and His Inheritance. Full of epic 70’s experimental theatrics and music:

Update: Here’s an even bigger collection of videos that includes everything above and more.

The Colonel’s Bequest

The Colonel’s Bequest

The Colonel’s Bequest is an old school graphical murder mystery adventure game made by Sierra in 1989. It features the budding sleuth and Tulane University student Laura Bow. She is invited by her flapper friend, Lillian, to spend a weekend at the decaying sugar plantation of Colonel Dijon. The reclusive and childless Colonel has gathered his quarrelsome relatives for a reading of his will. Tensions explode and the bickering leads to murder. You play Laura and try to solve the mystery as the body count goes up and up.

It is notoriously difficult the first few times you play because it uses a pseudo-realtime clock that advances whether you are ready or not. It’s tremendously easy to miss important details and key character interactions. The first time I played it, I barely knew what the heck was going on. It’s the sort of game that requires a lot of experimenting and replays to catch everything you need.

OneShortEye does a great job revealing some of the more esoteric things that happen in the game, secrets, bugs, as well as finds some interesting industry folks to talk about the game. He covers odds of certain events as well as issues created by emulators and the fact early cracks for the game broke the random number generator which caused the game to act incorrectly.

In revealing secrets – he looks at code and unpacked game resources. He uses information from The Sierra Chest. This site is a tremendous resource of archival and historical information about the creation of The Colonel’s Bequest – including original design documents. It also has information on other Sierra games. Definitely worth checking out.

I personally love this genre of murder mystery game and wish we had more games like this. The game itself sells itself as a murder mystery play in several acts. I think the industry has made many (even recent) attempts at murder mystery games over time, but I don’t think we’ve really figured out good mystery mechanisms that aren’t too difficult, esoteric, or capture links/events in a way that are fun. It’s an area I hope developers and designers keep exploring.

If you’d like to watch a full walkthrough of the game with many of these secrets shown and full score, I recommend Dilandau3000‘s walkthroughs. He does an excellent job – and his channel is full of great playthroughs of older classic games.

About the best video on modern memory

About the best video on modern memory

Any CS/CEE program worth its salt uses the Computer Architecture book from Hennessy and Patterson. Besides the operating system chapter, the chapter on memory was one of my favorites. Enter Branch Education that created this really excellent video on how computer memory works.

Definitely worth the 35 minutes. It starts slow, but around section 8 it starts going fast and furiously through a lot of different concepts. Each builds on the previous, so you may need to pause and really make sure you grock what they said.

Gerrymandering – Its something Oregon apparently does very well

Gerrymandering – Its something Oregon apparently does very well

Princeton University’s non-partisan Gerrymander Project report on Oregon:

Brian Smith, a Democratic campaign consultant and member of the Muscogee Nation who works to elect Democratic candidates of color, agrees with Schrader.

“I joked with some colleagues the day after the election that Oregon Democrats can’t even get their gerrymandering right,” he said.


The Mill created The BLACKBIRD, the world’s first fully adjustable car rig, that allows movies to film and insert any CG car. The Blackbird’s frame can adjust to mimic the dimensions and driving characteristics of any real car chassis. It captures accurate reflection and environmental reflection data while filming to allow the virtual re-skinning of almost any car in CG over the original modular frame.