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10/22/2008

Is the Internet breaking?

I've noticed a lot recently that my IM client will not connect to all networks. Trying to access sites on those networks doesn't always work. Is it that large portions of the Internet stop working, or is this just testing what may be a challenge to Net Neutrality?

More likely than not, this is just a hiccup in a router somewhere, whether it be on the ISP's network, or a link in the backbone of the Internet itself. All I know is that it is highly annoying. :-) I think my wireless router is in on it too, as it's been dropping wireless network traffic a lot (requiring a reconnect to set things right). A friend's community wireless network appears to have been hacked, with accesses to popular social networking sites being served junk sites instead.

I rely on the Internet for more than just play. It's work. So when it's down, it really impacts my productivity. It's bad enough that the cellular reception in my room is so poor. I can't lose the Internet too!


10/17/2008

Earlier this week, Apple released the new MacBook. It appeared to be a worthy replacement for the 12" PowerBook G4. This was the last of the smallest "professional" portable's Apple made.

With the refresh, the MacBook was getting an advanced aluminum enclosure, all new technology, and finally graphics capabilities that didn't suck (relatively speaking, of course). I had decided that this could very well be my next portable. I could live without the modem that my PowerBook still retains and the shared memory of the video on the new MacBook, as I'd be gaining all kinds of cool stuff. A faster GPU, thinner case, much faster processor, Gigabit ethernet?wow, just a whole lot of things.

I was feeling pretty good with the tradeoffs. That is, until I discovered there was no FireWire port. Doom! Oh noes! The outcry online has been great. It was bad enough on the MacBook Air, but I wasn't going to be getting a MacBook Air, as it was missing everything else. But for the near perfect portable?it just made the discontinuation of the 12" PowerBook that much more painful. It was almost replaced. Almost. But almost was as far as it got.

These can never be perfectly perfect. I was fortunate to find the perfect balance (for me), in my PowerBook. After reading many, many pages of complaints and reasoning, I did come across a couple of posts that really seemed to put things into perspective for me. I then thought about the discontinuation of FireWire support on iPods. I still have my iPod mini. It hasn't affected me yet. No need to panic. I think I'll be fine with it now too. I have my 12" PowerBook G4, and probably will for at least a couple more years. I still have my Late 2001 iBook with its FireWire port to host certain devices that I use. I really don't plug a FireWire device into my PowerBook very often. I'll be fine. :-)


10/16/2008

I've found a new favorite TV show (for now). The original Buck Rogers TV series. Oh, and the music. I love that end theme. Guess what. It's by Stu Phillips (Yes, he did the Knight Rider theme too!). For an older science fiction program, it was pretty well done. :-)

How did I start watching it? Through hulu. A great resource for watching some older NBC programs (that are no longer on the air), as well as some more recent stuff. I think it's really great that these old shows are available to watch for free.

I'm thinking, that just because of the music, I'll have to check out Battlestar Galactica (the original). The theme sounds kinda nice.

I've seen brief bits of the new Buck Rogers series, but I'd like to get through the original first. :-)


9/10/2008

So the new iPod nano does look a bit like the Zune. Funny. But it actually looks pretty good. The colors are gorgeous. I'd love to have that blue one. Ahem? I can't help but wonder if the design was changed after the "experiment" with the "fat" nano or if Microsoft was actually on to something with that Zune design.

"iPod" is such a common word now. A few years ago, it thought it rather odd. Now it's popular enough to have several different models (and 9 different colors with the nano). Apple has come quite a ways and is now a media sales powerhouse. Hmm. And all the pretty iPods that result. :-)

I'm always envious of colors that I didn't get. When I get a particular model of something (like a car, or of course, the iPod), there's always a new one coming out with a better color (or at least a color I like better). You know I like blue. I love the new iPod nano blue. It looks so, well, you know. I still have a first generation iPod mini with that oh so pale blue.

I'm extremely intrigued by the iPhone/iPod Touch (the proper name is not "iTouch"). Of course, during Apple's September 2008 Special Event, Steve's demo made it seem that watching movies on it must be somewhat nice, but just seeing demos with cool movies makes me want to pick one up just to do that. Can I afford an iPod Touch? But I'd really prefer an iPhone for that ubiquitous Internet access.


8/2/2008

Trying to date? Find friends? Just plain bored?

Give OkCupid a try. It's got a really cool matching system that helps you find compatible people, and encourages sharing about oneself through their profile. This makes it easy to feel a connection or spark with people you view (besides just their looks).

I really like the social networking atmosphere. OkCupid really encourages the user to make contact, share about themselves with profile essays, journal entries and comments on others' journals.

The site has a lot going for it. And best of all, it's all free.


6/30/2008

Vista.

Yep, it's going to be one of those kinds of entries again. I had a client whose Boot Camp install of Vista got hosed due to improper shutdowns with Parallels. That's one problem, but apparently this particular problem (booting into a black screen after the Windows "Welcome" message) is semi widespread.

Anyway? I needed to fix the install. I tried a few common fixes (startup repair and System Restore) without success. Can I just reinstall Windows? I might break a few apps, but it shouldn't be too much hassle. After booting from the disc, all I see is the option to Install. I figured I should figure out what that means. It seems I don't have an option to "Upgrade" because I'm not booted from Windows. Say what? But I can't boot from Windows because it's broken.

After some reading, I came to the understanding that this option would wipe out all user data and installed applications. This meant that I'd have to do a manual backup first. I did the best I could and started the process. Quite painful.

I should have been ready for such as a month or so prior, this same machine needed an upgrade from Vista Home to Vista Business (I won't say why). I couldn't simply update from the install disc because the version of Vista already installed didn't have the latest Service Pack. Yeah, I had to update the copy of Windows I was going to wipe out with an upgrade to a newer version before I could do that?all in the name of saving installed applications, documents and user settings.

While I've never had to reinstall Mac OS X (yet), losing installed apps and documents is never an issue (a few settings here and there, or apps "lost" due to some incompatibilities, but never the wiping out of user documents!).

What made this whole process even more insulting is that the Windows Vista installer does make a backup of the previous (now practically worthless) Windows installation?


5/10/2008

I've gotten some really good candy from a small company called Artisan Sweets. They have candies, honeys and sweets from all over the world. I'm loving the Orange & Honey French salted caramels. :-)


5/5/2008

I just came across an article on how to customize the Ribbon in Microsoft Access 2007. It's lot's easier than what you had in previous Office versions. Silly me, thinking you couldn't?

An XML file! Are you serious? That's understandable for custom work, but how about built-in functions? How do you add those? Granted, I'm no Office 2007 expert, but I found no way of fitting in other "frequently used" items on the Ribbon. Just that Quick Access menu/thingy. *sigh*


5/3/2008

Well, I think Mucinex is working. It just needs lots of water. I'm horrible when it comes to drinking enough water.

I have more to say, but I'm finished bad-mouthing people who have turned on me.


5/2/2008

Marketing and advertising. Pretty interesting, and amazingly, it works! Yes, that's right, yours truly has given in to the advertising campaign for Mucinex. I've just taken a dose, and we'll see how well it works.

Why am I taking it, anyway? Well, obviously, I've got a mucus problem. Chest congestion and chronic coughing. I've been having some odd dreams that involve blaming all my problems on a friend?or Access. (Yeah, how is Access going to be causing me to cough? Something about never resolving a link, keeping it open?something like that. The friend just kept calling me and waking me up one day?) Anyway, the tickle in my throat (and now, more so in my bronchial) triggers my coughing fits which in turn wake me up. It's incredibly annoying. Right now, my chest actually hurts either from too much coughing or congestion.

It feels like I've got something stuck in my throat. Incredibly uncomfortable. And these coughing fits make me feel like I'm hacking up a lung. Ouch! Mucinex, do your thing!


4/3/2008

All the world is depressed. And that includes me. Each rude, disrespectful or careless individual only adds to that depression, frustration and hurt. You've got to love the television commercial about the computer/Internet problem that results in a chain of progressively more negative actions propagating through an office.

I wish I could say more, but I think I'm grouchy, from inconsiderate people, disappointment, hunger/lack of appetite, and a day wasted trying to get my Internet to work correctly after a move. But let's not dwell on that negativity, okay?


3/19/2008

Well, looks like it's pick-on-Microsoft month. Ha ha.

This is a problem that has come up before. It was a problem with Windows 2000/XP and it's still a problem with Vista! (At least with older Office programs.) The Temporary Internet Items folder. What's wrong with it, you ask? Yes, it's a great place to store all those temporary files, like web pages and images, documents you download to view in another program or whatnot. And what really makes it so special is that those files can quickly and easily be removed to clear up disk space, because, well, they're only temporary!

Now, I'm ranting about this for a reason, and it's not because I want to exalt the virtues of this setup. On the contrary, I want to complain about it. Not the feature itself, however. My issue is with those programs that open files that have been "temporarily" downloaded to the Temporary Internet Items folder, to be viewed and then forgotten. You see, if a program (such as Word or Excel, for example) are used to open one of these downloaded documents from the Temporary Internet Items folder and is left open after closing the file, the next time you go to save a newly created document, guess where the file browser is going to take you. Yep, right back to the Temporary Internet Items folder.

The great thing about saving a file there is that it's easy to open it again using the recently opened items list from within the program that saved it. (Yes, that's sarcasm.) Now, should you open a whole bunch of other documents, that item gets flushed from the list. Now you've got to find that file. But where is it? (Here's a hint, it's in a hidden folder. So, unless you're the kind of person that doesn't like Windows to hide such things from you, you're going to have to venture into your Folder Views Control Panel to show these hidden items). Try opening another file via Internet download. Save in that location, then try opening. Perhaps that will take you to the directory housing your lost file. If so, open it and save to a permanent location!

Now, say you've gone a few days of opening and diligently saving that file. Then one day, you can no longer open it. What's wrong? Can you say "clear my Temporary Internet Items"? That's a common troubleshooting step when you have troubles accessing or using a website. Now your document is gone. Oops.

What's the lesson in this? Aside from certain programs learning better than to save into a temporary file directory, users need to learn to watch where they're saving their stuff. They're gonna want to know how to find it later, after all. When you save your files for the first time, always, always check to see where you're saving. You can avoid the heartache of a lost file (along with lost work and productivity) if you do so.


3/14/2008

Can I also just say that I hate Hotmail/Live email? Yeah, they consider most of my messages to people to be spam. It sucks! You're not even allowing folks to see and determine for themselves if something is spam.

Is this really something that should be hidden from the user? I can email once, but when I reply, like, after a certain threshold of quotes, I get considered to be spam. It's gotten worse as of late. Now on my first reply (with a quote or even without a quote, I get rejected). Come on! I'm a real person here! Please note that the user of the account has already replied to this address about this particular message.

Microsoft Live: Keeping you safe from your friends with "spam-like characteristics" or "reputation problems."


3/13/2008

Microsoft Access. It's a trip, really. What's really great about this software is that it will tell you you can't have two of these, only one. Well, when you get rid of one and add another, it informs you that you can't do them all in one go, but must first remove one, save, then add the other. That's some pretty sophisticated error checking/handling. Too bad they couldn't just do it for you in the first place?

Where did this problem come up? Oh, in a table design. What was the feature? Autonumber. You can only have one in a table. Yeah.

And as I start this rant on the Office "Key" just let me first acknowledge that it's a pretty powerful program to use. What is with record update tracking breaking with linked tables? What do I mean? You use an external database, for example, MySQL. Now you've got records in a form by means of a query. You change nothing, yet when you move from one record to another, ther's a Write Conflict error. A conflict? Caused by what? A write? When did I try to write something? Or was it with VBA? No and yes? Aargh!

Inconsistent software has always been frustrating for me. Why does attempting to access the Expression builder in one database/form/field cause a crash, but not in another? Even when there's no data? *sigh*


2/27/2008

Dunna, dunna, dunna
Dunna ? Dunna
Dunna, dunna, dunna
Dunna ? Dunna

Yep, Knight Rider made another return this month on NBC. Since I don't watch a whole lot of TV, I totally missed this one. Thanks to a conversation with a new friend, I heard about it and watched it online.

Awesome!

I was totally excited about this. Until I saw that KITT was a Ford? Yeah. A bit of a disappointment. The show looked like a return to the original series, the original formula: One man and his car?

Well, it looked mostly like that, but with a different KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand) and slightly updated for modern show formulas (more of an ensemble cast?). But with no back seat, how are they all gonna go on the road together? They kept a lot of the same KITT & rider interaction which I found to be hilarious; not too over the top.

While I miss the Trans Am, the new Mustang Shelby Cobra, is an okay car. With KITT's new camouflage abilities, a more common/less flashy base model makes sense. Let's keep that in mind for now.

I was super psyched when the original theme began playing, but then they nearly obliterated it for the rest of the opening (only keeping some of the chord changes). I really hated the big thumping ending.

The very last scene of this pilot movie pays great homage to KITT's occasional method of transport, but with a bit of a twist? Priceless.


2/21/2008

It's been a while since I've had the "pleasure" of working in the classic Mac OS, but I did give an old feature a try in the current OS (Mac OS X ? 10.4 to be specific). This feature just so happened to be stationary. No, no. I mean the feature is called stationary. You know, like templates for office productivity suites. So, anyway, I give it a try.

I double-click on the newly initiated stationary file. A little dialog pops up and a progress bar whizzes by. I'm a little confused, and more frustrated when I see that I'm back in the document I'd just opened previously. I try again, but with the same results. Then I start to notice all the extra copies of these files next to the original.

Then, upon checking the application that kept showing up with that stationary document's title, I realized they were actually the copies of the document saved to disk. Now, I'm used to stationary opening up an untitled unsaved copy of a document. Why would I want to save it right next to original with the original's name with "copy" added to the end? Makes no sense if you ask me?


2/11/2008

Simply put, I think more people should be vegetarians. I mean, not only have their been claims that being vegetarian could help solve a lot of the world's environmental issues, but there are lots of good meat alternatives out there.

But seriously, as an animal lover, it's hard for me to be ridiculed for not sitting on an animal skin seat. I can't even tell my story about refusing a higher valued car for the same price as a lower cost model simply because of the fact that it had leather seats ? without feeling self-righteous.

I considered a job at PETA recently. At least then I could put some of my skills to good use?


2/9/2008

I had a terrible scare this evening. My poor bunny ripped out two of his nails! I was afraid when I saw him struggling with his paw(s) hung up on some wire mesh I'd set up to keep him away from dangerous areas (wires, etc). I just knew that this could be bad. I tried to calm and assist him, but you know how panicked animals (and sometimes people) can be.

When he was finally free, I checked on him to make sure he was okay. He was "limping" (as best as rabbits can do considering that they already hop?).

As I'd feared, he'd injured himself and was bleeding. With the assistance of my roommate (bless her heart!), we were able to get Lance calmed down, and temporarily stopped his bleeding (a couple of times) and I was able to trim most of his remaining nails while she held him. (She's very good at holding bunnies!)

After letting him go, he had to do the run-around-lick-and-shake-your-paw dance. His pen looks like a crime scene. A CSI unit could have a field trip there (bloody paw prints, blood splatters?you name it, it's got it). He didn't like the blood (or corn starch we'd used to help stop the bleeding). I've got lots of blood on my shirts and pants.

The bleeding has mostly subsided for now. He did a pretty good job of getting it stopped, I guess. (I think we helped some?) He munched some greens, hopped around a bit and used his litter box.

I took the time a few minutes ago to look up the local emergency animal hospital. If you've got an exotic pet, make sure you find a vet in your area that knows how to handle them and has had experience.

Dogs can be pretty helpful too during times like this. Eager to lick the wounds and clean up the blood and stuff? They were fascinated with him. And speaking of such, I'm rather fascinated with the nails he left embedded in the mesh. They were cleanly ripped out/off. Reminds me of elephant tusks. I know, it's kind of unpleasant to think about, but yet fairly fascinating.


1/21/2008

Have you ever noticed how much "cereal" and "Cheerios" sound alike? Yeah, it just came to me while I was trying to remember what was in my cabinet (Apple Cinnamon Cheerios). It made me wonder just a bit about the origin of the name. Perhaps it was from a small child mispronouncing "cereal." Just a thought?

This brings to mind "Fruity Cheerios." Yeah, yeah. Kind of fruity, but that's what it's called. This of course, reminded me of "Fruity Pebbles," which, I believe, started out with only Cocoa Pebbles. Now there's got to be the requisite mentioning of Froot Loops.

Talking about this cereal has gotten me all sentimental now. I still miss Kellogg's Nutri?Grain cereal, particularly the Almond Raisin flavor. That was so yummy. *sigh* Then there's Double Dip Crunch. Mmm. I looked for some Honey Nut Chex, but could find none.

Speaking of lost/missing/discontinued products. My local NOB Hill Foods store doesn't have Grillers Crumbles. I can't remember if I saw a "discontinued" note on the last batch at Raley's, so I'm not sure if it's a lack of retail space or a lack of production of the product. *sigh* There really should be a database for all these products, current, past and future?


1/15/2008

Well? I think I've gone and done it. I attended a Scary Cow Informational Meeting to learn more about this filmmaking coop. It was actually quite cool! You get to work with others of various experience (from beginners to experts) to make movies in the process of learning how to make movies. It's quite fascinating.

I had the opportunity to be an extra back in December for one of the films being shot. It was very interesting and kinda fun! I learned quite a bit.

We'll see if anything comes up.


1/9/2008

Moving in the rain sucks. I mean it really sucks. It sucks even more when you're moving alone in the rain. It also sucks when you're rushed and trying to take everything of value (or non-value?).

So, now that I'm mostly moved, I have too much stuff in my room (with still more sitting in my car) and a storage locker fairly packed with more stuff.

If you noticed my site was down until now, it's because of the move. I've just now got my iBook up and running again on my host's WiFi network (until I can get my own installed (it takes too long!).

Anyway, that's about it from me. I'm cold, hungry and a little lonely. Ha ha.


1/4/2008

Acceptance by your "own kind" is so important. To be taken in by others is good and all, but when you need acceptance by someone with a particular perspective or experience, nothing can replace it. I try to be accepting of others, but if I'm not coming from the same background, I'm merely being tolerant of them.

One day, I hope things are different. Where all these competing factions no longer exist. Where I will no longer feel like a snob or that I'm better (or worse) than anyone else.


1/2/2008

I can hear the sounds of moving? bumps and scrapes and plops and drops. I should be making those noises too. But moving is scary on my own. I do believe I'm the type of person that would invest in a moving service. The last time I was "moved," there were several men to do all the shifting from one place to another. Now I'm on my own?