CER uptime and session count stats

You can always find interesting stuff if you poke around in the registry. For example, the Customer Error Report (CER) mechanism logs some basic usage stats into the registry, under the keys like

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Softimage\SOFTIMAGE|SICORE Engine\C:|Program Files|Autodesk|Softimage 2013|Application|bin\ProductInfo

  • calUptime is the cumulative amount of time that Softimage has been open. By cumulative, I mean it is the total uptime for all Softimage sessions, ever.
  • upTime is the process uptime (not including any idle time). Again, this is a cumulative total.
  • crashCount is the number of crashes caught by CER.
  • SessionStartCount is the total number of Softimage sessions.
  • SessionCleanCloseCount is the total number of clean exits with no crash. You’ll notice in my case that the crashCount + SessionCleanCloseCount doesn’t equal the total number of sessions. That’s because CER doesn’t catch all crashes, and CER doesn’t catch things like the XSI.exe process being ended in the Task Manager.

* I believe that the uptime totals are in 100-nanosecond intervals.

Friday Flashback #86

December 1994
Canadian Business Enterpreneur of the Year
Daniel Langlois

Incorporates in 1986 to create animation software geared to intuitions of artists and animators. Raises $75,000 by mortgaging house, cashing out pension and maxing out his credit cards.

Backers In 1987, 35 investors pledge $350,000 for one-third of Softimage Inc.

First Sale In 1988, weeks after launch of hte Creative Environment software, Ciné-gorupe Inc. of Montreal buys the $120,000 package.

Breakthrough Actor software module launched in 1991, enhancing animators’ ability to simulate natural movements in 3-D.

Read the full article (PDF)

Wizard of Awe
A genius with a computer, Daniel Langlois
impressed jaded Hollywood with his extraordinary
special effects. So what did he do for an encore?
Merely dazzled the daylights out of Microsoft’s Bill Gates

Sorry for the relatively poor quality of the PDF, but back in 1994, photocopies were pretty low quality.

The image captures are actually more legible, if you don’t mind the small type:

Tip – Using the * wildcard for filtering in the ICE preset manager

[see also this tip: Using the ? wildcard]

While typing part or all of a word is often enough to narrow down the possibilities, sometimes you may want to search for all compounds that start with one string and end with another. For that, you use the asterisk (*) regex wildcard.

After you use a wildcard once, there’s no more automatic partial word matching. “G*P” won’t find anything, you need to add another * at the end.

“G*P*” is a little broad, so you might want to be more specific:

Note that you can categories to further filter down the results. Here, I selected just one category (Deformation), but I could have CTRL selected two or more categories.

Entering the right product key during installation

Ever wonder how the installer validates the product key?

No? Well I did, because that’s the kind of thing you wonder about in tech support, because sometimes cases come in about “the installer won’t accept the product key”.

I did a little checking with Process Monitor, and I found that the Setup includes a SoftimageConfig.pit file, and that pit file contains the valid product keys. During installation, setup will extract Setup\SoftimageConfig.pit, write it out to the %TEMP% folder, and use it to validate the product key entered in the installer.

During the actual installation, SoftimageConfig.pit will be added the ProductInformation.pit file on the local system.

The pit file contains product information like the product key and the license feature names (read more about the .pit file here and here).

For Softimage there is the regular product key 590E1, as well as all the different Suite product keys.

Putting a customized setenv.bat in a deployment

You can’t actually customize setenv.bat (or any of the other files in the distribution) when you create a deployment, but you add a SiteDeploy.bat file to the install. setenv.bat is set up to call SiteDeploy.bat:

rem Verify the existence of the SiteDeploy.bat file
if exist "%XSI_BINDIR%\SiteDeploy.bat" call "%XSI_BINDIR%\SiteDeploy.bat"

To add a SiteDeploy.bat file to a deployment, you need to configure the Softimage deployment:

In the Additional Files section, expand Application\bin, and then click Browse to locate the SiteDeploy.bat file (which must exist somewhere already):

ERROR File not found in SPDL registry during render

A customer recently reported that random machines on the farm were reporting this error. They have custom shaders installed in a workgroup, and the workgroup lives on a network drive that is accessible to all machines on the farm.

So, what is this SPDL registry thing?

It’s a file named spdl.xsiindex, and it’s a cached index of all the shader spdl files. Softimage creates/updates this SPDL registry at startup (so you can delete it to force the recreation of a new file).

You can find the file in %XSI_USERHOME%\Application. Actually, the file is named “spdl.MACHINE.xsiindex”. We had to add the machine name to the file name to prevent issues with concurrent access. However, I would think that if you ran multiple instances of xsibatch on the one machine, you might still have problems.

There’s also a MTL2UA0150CWY.xsishaderdefcache file to deal with the new-fangled, non-SPDL shaders.