Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Enabling Broadcom USH Fingerprint reader on Windows 7 64-bit for DELL Latitude E6500

I recently upgraded my Latitude E6500 from XP to Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. One of the 2 drivers that was not recognized out of the box was the one for the fingerprint sensor.

My first stop was obviously the Dell Latitude E6500 Drivers and Download page from DELL Suport, selecting Windows 7 64-Bit as the Operating System:

I tried with and without my Service Tag. After googling for a while, I found out that the driver is included in the "Dell Security Device Driver Installation Package for 64-Bit Operating Systems". It was hard to find a link to download the latest version of this pack which was compatible with the Latitude E6500 and Windows 7 64-bit, but I finally found it here.

The latest version as of 8/24/2010 was version 1.4.056, A18 released 6/28/2010 and the downloaded file name was: Dell_ControlPoint-Security-D_A18_R269916

You will need to download and install the Dell ControlPoint Security Manager, which includes the EMBASSY Security Center required to use the fingerprint sensor to log into Windows. That too was difficult to find

Latest version as of today was version 1.4.00004, A18 released 7/28/2010 and dowloaded file name: DELL_CONTROLPOINT-SECURITY-M_A18_R276445.exe

You may also want to update the ControlVault firmware (the installer recommends it). I did it just to be safe, though I'm not sure if it was really required. Latest version: 14.x.132.0, A17 released on 5/3/2010

I'm not really sure why these versions and not listed on the Window 7 64-Bit drivers page for E6500, but it sure took me a while to find them on the DELL Support site. I was ready to give up on the fingerprint reader, but I can now confirm that it works prefectly using Windows 7 64-Bit on my Latitude E6500!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Blockbuster and Netflix queue availability comparison

It's been over 3 months when I reactivated my blockbuter.com subscription and kept my 1-DVD netflix subscription to keep the online streaming option. I'm really glad I did this. After the delay of WB movies, Netflix introduced the same 4 week delay for Century Fox and Universal Studios movies. Redbox also agreed to the same delay, so if you wanted to rent Avatar on April 22nd the only option available to rent from was blockbuster.

Thanks to my dual subscription, I'm able to provide you with a side by side comparison of availability for 10 popular releases. Four of these titles (Avatar, Leap Year, It's Complicated and Crazy Heart) are not yet available in Netflix due to the 4-week delay. Netflix CEO claimed that one of the benefits for the delay to customers was to have more copies available on day 29: "The most practical reason is that the savings derived from this deal enable us to be in stock completely on day 29", well Sherlock Holmes was released on 3/30 on Blockbuster and was not available on Netflix on 4/27, ironically it has a long wait on Netflix while it is available on Blockuster, makes you wonder.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Blockbuster vs Netflix DVD subscription comparison

I recently switched from Blockbuster to Netflix DVD subscription because new release DVDs were taking 2-3 days to ship in some cases, but I'm finding out that Netflix is even worse. I have a 2 DVD subscription with Netflix. Netflix received DVD #1 on 1/31 and DVD #2 on 2/2. I have not had any DVDs shipped this week at all. Today (2/5), I called customer service and they said they will not be shipping any of the DVDs on my queue for this weekend because those titles have not been returned by other customers, so in summary I had no DVDs shipped in one full week. Here is what my DVD queue looks like:

  1. Movie 1: Very Long Wait (Released on 1/19/10)
  2. Movie 2: Very Long Wait (Released on 2/3/20)
  3. Movie 3: Short Wait (Released 12/22/09)
  4. Movie 4: Very Long Wait (Released on 2/12/10)

With the exception of "Movie 2" I've had these movies on my DVD queue for at least a week. One of these titles was released over a month ago. Shouldn't Netflix stock more copies of unavailable movies? I know that will erode profits, but if this is a common trend for most customers they are risking losing customers which will also eventually hurt profits. To make matters worse they recently introduced a 4 week delay for Warner Bros movies. Not to mention that they charge ($2-$4/mo) extra to get blu-rays. The only reason why I'm keeping their subscription is because of their streaming option, which is great, I have a Roku player and love it. In terms of DVD subscription I'm reactivating my plan with Blockbuster which seems to be better in terms of availability, not charging extra for blu-rays and no 4-week delay for new Warner Bros releases (so far).