SMIs Are EEEEVIL (Part 2)

In Part 1, I discussed a bit of the history and function of SMIs.  How does this make them EEEEVIL, is the question? Essentially, SMIs are the final word in what happens on a CPU, outside of removing power.  They cannot be interrupted, even by a Non-Maskable Interrupt (NMI).  Also, since they are not assertable…

0

SMIs Are EEEEVIL (Part 1)

As a quick introduction, SMIs were introduced to the x86 world by the 386SL.  It was created to allowed systems designers to have access to the CPU while unspecified software of any type was running.  The reasons for this are obvious when you look at the market the 386SL was aimed it.  It was Intel’s…

1

Favorite Hardware Bugs <CENSORED>

Want to know why I started posting again just now?  Adi Oltean posted a great entry about his favorite hardware bug.  This prompted Larry Osterman to post his favorite, and I started feeling left out.  I have a ton to choose from, after all I deal with new bleeding edge hardware on a daily basis. I’m…

0

Back from a long hiatus

Well, I sort of had to stop blogging for awhile there because I moved on to a slightly different role.  I have the same job at the end of the day, but now I support more general portions of the OS, and of course one of the things I enjoy most: storage.  This has always been…

2

NUMA and you, perfect together (Part 1)

I know this is a slightly more esoteric topic, even for me, but I want to address cc:NUMA platforms, and how they matter to Windows and Windows applications.  What is NUMA you ask?  NUMA stands for Non-Uniform Memory Architecture.  (The cc: stands for Cache Coherent, by the way, because there is non-cache coherent NUMA as…

6

The Frustrations with Social Engineering, Even in Support

I just got another first-hand experience in the difficulty of trying to affect computing through social engineering.  Our fax forwarding people do their forwarding based on the cover letter.  Whoever is listed on the From: line gets a TIFF of the fax forwarded to their e-mail inbox.  Normally, this works great.  However, just a few minutes ago,…

2

Support is not Manufacturing: Part 2

Ok, my arm is warm now.  Time to start tossing some theory bombs out there, and hope none get picked off.  They said Italians couldn’t quarterback, but look at Vinny Testaverde!  (Err…no, don’t.) The reason treating support processes like a manufacturing endeavor fails is because it doesn’t take into account the sheer mass of uncontrolled…

4

Support is not Manufacturing: Part 1

Ok, I know I said when I started this blog that I wouldn’t be going into the support aspects of my job much, but I lied.  I can’t resist being an armchair quarterback, so I am going to warm up my arm today, and start tossing Hail Mary’s tomorrow.  Just remember, this is coming from…

2

Self-Monitoring and Diagnosing Hardware

This is something that most people in the mainframe business have taken fom granted for decades now.  To the PC world, it’s relatively new…and to the PC OS world, even newer. Starting with the Pentium and Pentium Pro, Intel introduced the Machine Check Architecture (MCA), which was a way for the CPU and other components…

0

How a Bluescreen Button (NMI) can Save Your Bacon

I know, another title that seems ridiculous.  Why in the world would anyone want a button that intentionally bluescreens your system?!  When you’re confronted with a hard hang though, (no mouse or keyboard) you’re in for a heck of a time trying to figure out what’s wrong without one.  That’s where the NMI button can…

3