Good news for Optimizing Windows fans

Last Updated on September 30, 2010 by Dave Farquhar

O’Reilly wants to release my 1999 book, Optimizing Windows for Games, Graphics, and Multimedia , under an open content-style license. I’d love to see the thing released so it can gain widespread distribution, which it never really had.
The forms for me to sign are in the mail. My understanding of the license is that it permits changes, so long as the original author and publisher are cited. This will give me the freedom to make a few changes I’ve wanted to make since the book’s initial release, which I intend to take advantage of. I won’t spend months rewriting the manuscript, but I would like to incorporate some corrections I accumulated over the past three and a half years. Not to mention the tools that have changed version numbers since then.

I’m excited at the possibility. I’ll be sure to post an update once I know something. More and more obsolete technical books are getting released in some form or another, and this is a very good thing.

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13 thoughts on “Good news for Optimizing Windows fans

  • May 6, 2003 at 9:25 pm

    Wow!!! That’s great news.

    Hmmm… Maybe it’ll jump higher than the Canadian ranking!

  • May 6, 2003 at 9:33 pm

    Great news Dave. It is also great to hear you’re enthusiastic about writing again. The Wikipedia is great, but I think you have a talent for making technology accessible. I read this site solely for the occasional nuggets you drop. Perhaps you can use the momentum from updating the Windows book, to write a complimentary Linux book. Maybe Video on Linux, or Baseball on Linux, or even R. Collins vs. the BOFH. 🙂


  • May 6, 2003 at 9:38 pm

    Excellent news… Though it seems O’Reilly is moving away from Open Source/Free Software books.


    Last I saw they were releasing a book on how to Use Windows XP, so it looks good for you.

    Good luck with the negotiations.

    (2 books shot down from O’Reilly here, so if you get through, let me know what mojo you used LOL)

  • May 7, 2003 at 12:53 am

    Alan, it is fortunate that David has shirked what his brother cannot. Alas, R. Collins lacks an essential skill required for writing a book: the ability to consistently construct a proper English sentence. It’s amazing that he can communicate even in the agrarian social circles in which he wanders. Then again, Scots are typically maladroit, while those with languages of Romantic origin tend to craft daedal prose. David is proof that there are exceptions – however minor – to every rule, even Scottish ones.

  • May 7, 2003 at 9:59 am

    Hey! We Scots are not maladroit! 😉

    I was adopted, so I’m not sure what my clan name is, but I do know that most of the blood in my veins is of Scottish origin. And since I tend to go by Aster Kendrich, I guess I most closely associate with the MacNaughton Clan.

  • May 7, 2003 at 2:35 pm

    I recently subscribed to O’Reilly’s Safari service and have had incredible success tracking down information that Google is not able to provide. I am huge O’Reilly fan and a huge Safari fan. They’re publishing model can hardly be improved upon.

    I recommend it to anyone.


  • May 7, 2003 at 2:47 pm

    My apologies, Dustin. I meant to say malignant.

    Aster Kendrich sounds like a brand of car R. Collins would procure. Of course, he is into name-dropping, and his means do not allow for custom-built vehicles in any case. Even his lawn tractor must be name brand. It is a sad sight to watch him bag his own grass. When he’s not spinning doughnuts in his yard.

    I must admit that I somewhat enjoy your associated namesake on Sunday mornings. John MacNaughton – of the MacNaughton Group, of course – is a decent provocateur, all things considered.

  • May 7, 2003 at 5:26 pm

    {More and more obsolete technical books are getting released in some form or another, and this is a very good thing. }

    For those of us who still use and like ‘obsolete technology’, eg Win98SE, your book is invaluable. Glad to see it will get a wider distro
    Cheers… /Mike

  • May 15, 2003 at 3:17 pm

    I think I’ve found what could be an interesting addition to the alternate shells section:

    I’ve been playing with this on GNU/Linux for a few weeks, and I noticed on their homepage today that they’ve gotten it to work in win32!

    Looks like I’ll be playing with that to see if it’s better than LiteStep (which, by the way, is uber-keen once you’ve gotten a clean config working for you).

  • May 29, 2003 at 5:53 pm

    And now something for page 152 – Ultima VII (and Other Anomalies):


    It is a reverse engineered rewrite of the Ultima VII 1/2 engines. Both games and expansions are fully playable under Windows (natively) now, and you can even play them in GNU/Linux! The original diskettes (or CDs, if you bought after 1996) are still required for the datafiles, though.

  • October 17, 2003 at 11:22 am

    The 1st book was EXCELLENT-should be a text book for Windows.

  • January 9, 2004 at 11:11 am

    Great news about the book – I still use my copy pretty constantly.
    I have 2 questions I’d like to ask you and the readers. Perhaps you can answer or post in a more appropriate space ?

    I’m helping my wife and a colleague set up a small computer lab in the school they teach at. The machines are mostly IBM PC 300PL type 6564 with dual boot linux & win98SE.

    After years of neglect they are needless to say in pretty bad shape and need lots of varied kinds of work on them. High school students will be high school students ……:-)

    I am stumped on a machine by 2 seemingly simple problems that I cant get past, perhaps you can point the way ?

    1. “splashscreen”
    Just prior to the win98se desktop appearing, a graphic is displayed for a while – it’s an orange/yellow devil-ish cartoon character with the following type on the screen” welcome to hell, population:999999….recurring…..”. I ran a virus scan which didn’t pick up on anything. Is there is a boot/screen ‘order of appearance’ somewhere I can edit – registry? Or perhaps something in one of the msconfig tabs? Or perhaps there’s a way to get the ‘filename’ to enable a search & destroy (there is no right-click available)

    2. Post error.
    I get the following post error on boot. ‘error:8603 pointing device’.
    I’ve enable mouse support in the bios.
    I’ve tried updating mouse drivers in the device manager. I’ve tried deleting all mouse and com port entries and re-installing them. The ps/2 mouse has the yellow exclamation in device manager.
    The machine has two serial and two ps/2 ports.
    The keyboard works ok in it’s ps/2 port.
    The ps/2 mouse doesn’t.
    A serial mouse works ok.
    I need both kinds of mice to work as they’re constatly swapped in the classroom situatiion by students.

    A newsgroup post says the only possibility is physical damage to the mouses ps/2 port or the controller on the motherboard?
    I question that because this is the 2nd of about 10 I’m trying to get in shape for the school (pro bono not paid) and the same problem exists on the other machine.

    If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them:-)

    p.s. if i can find my way, i’ll try and post this elsewhere on your site for more visibility

  • January 9, 2004 at 11:47 am

    As far as the first problem, I’d run msconfig and remove any unfamiliar program from startup. I’ve never heard of a virus that does what you’re describing; sounds more like a prank program.

    Better yet, just use an identical computer without the prank program to create an image to overwrite the problematic computer’s hard drive. Symantec/Norton Ghost is what all the cool kids use, but SavePart works pretty well and it’s free. Just put both drives in one machine, keep the source and destination disks straight, and let her rip.

    As for the POST error, it’s been several years since I worked on true-blue IBMs regularly, but whenever I saw a pointing device error on POST, it was either because the mouse had gone bad or the PS/2 port had gone bad. It was a true hardware error, not just a software problem. Unfortunately, that can happen when PS/2 mice are plugged in and unplugged a lot over the course of a few years, especially with the power on. I know Windows 2000 allows you to hotplug PS/2 devices, but the port really wasn’t designed for that.

    I remember reading somewhere once that the PS/2 ports on some machines are protected by a tiny fuse that can be blown by hotplugging, and the author suggested bridging that fuse with a small piece of wire really wasn’t all that dangerous. But I wouldn’t have a clue where to locate that fuse on a 300PL, if it exists at all (you know how misinformation can spread and live forever on the Internet.)

    If you want the ability to safely and easily plug/unplug mice, USB is a much safer option, but having done projects like this myself, I realize you’re probably working with a budget of zero. In your situation, my inclination would be to put a sticker on the back of the two computers that don’t work noting that the PS/2 mouse port doesn’t work, and cover the dead port with black electrical tape.

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