Archive for category Computers

The Possibilities…

…are endless.

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No Such Addiction

It seems that it is still the drinking that’s the problem and not the gaming! 😉

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Déjà Vu

I know I have said this before, and I know that I will probably say it again. I also know that unless I CHOOSE to change things, I will ALWAYS have to deal with this. That still is not going to stop me from complaining about it…

If I worked in the financial industry, I would be expected to have a solid understanding of finance (HA!)

If I worked in the Construction field, I would be expected to have a solid understanding of construction.

See where I am going here?

Now why is it that people who work in the computer industry (hardware & software) seem to lack the basic understanding of a computer?

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Six minute video that is worth watching. Trust me.

…..damn programmers…..

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R&R vs. Vista

It has been just under seven months since I was thrown headfirst into the Wonderful World of Vista, and I am going through my first system rebuild. Hopefully I backed up everything I needed….hopefully.

So after a bunch of Outlook OST corruption checks, multiple Temporary Profile warnings, it was the fact that my dual monitor setup would switch screens after unlocking the laptop that became the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’.

Here’s to a fresh start!

Maybe I’ll hit the lottery and not have to worry about it anymore…..or maybe I’ll get hit by a comet…..

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I <3 Google

Just to be clear, if Google walked up to me tomorrow and asked me to implant a mini-computer in my head to help the internet flow directly into me, I’d have the surgical dressing gown on before they finished their request.

I don’t know what it is, but I have the kind of cultish attraction to Google that most shrinks would call unhealthy.

All this stems form this article.

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To iPhone 3G or Not to iPhone 3G?

It’s out. The fancy new iPhone that has 3G capability, GPS, less mass, and of course Corporate Subsidy.

So it looks like if I want one, I am going to have to do the same thing I have been doing for years and sign my life away to a cellphone carrier to get a discount on the phone.

I am slightly disappointed in Apple for going this route. I was so pleased that I did not have to renew a contract to get the Wife one. But now, to get the features (speed, GPS, Exchange Connectivity) that I have been holding out for, I am going to have to go back to the old way of things. Oh and pay a bit more for the data plan.

I guess I will miss the idealism and freedom of it all. But oh well. It’s a quality piece of technology, and I cannot get anything similar without doing the same thing anyway.

I guess I could rant away at the apparent injustice of it, the lack of balls from Apple, the tragedy of being at the will of these corporate bvehmoths. It’s quite the Quixotic endeavour and I just don’t have it in me to be the crazy guy charging at a windmill right now.


Three days in and what a week! Monday Mayhem

As I sit at my desk Monday afternoon, preparing to pack up and go home, I see a Gmail notification pop in. It is from Blizzard Support and it states that my password change has been successful. That’s great….wait……WHAT???

Password change….I hadn’t changed my password! Hell, I hadn’t even been in the Account Management page for over a month!

I immediately goto the Account Management page and what do you know, I cannot login. Panic immediately struck me….my World of Warcraft account had been hacked! Right at that moment some unscrupulous ass-hamster was probably sharding all my epics, stealing all my gold and deleting all my characters. Over three years of work probably down the drain in no time flat. Plus the possibility of this tool bag using my characters to gain access to the Guild Bank and run off with items that were contributed by other people. Son of A…..!

I reply to the email and tell the Blizzard Support people that I DID NOT change my password. All I get is an automated ‘Thank You’ response. I call the 800 number and after my second attempt to get through one of the most aggravating menu systems on Earth, I am told the directions on how to reset my password using a Secret Question I had created upon initial setup of the account.

A few clicks later and I have regained access to my account. There was nothing more that I could do being at work, and I was cutting it close to missing my train if I did not leave soon. Just to be safe, as I still did not know how it happened, I logged into my bank account (successfully) and reset the password there. I also left a message on my guild forum explaining the situation and telling them to revoke any access my characters might have to prevent possible theft. If my home laptop had been hacked and had a keylogger installed on it, I was in for a world of hurt.

Once home I was able to quickly log into the actual game from a completely different machine and found that nothing appeared to be missing. I fell that I dodged a really big bullet this time. I know folks who have gotten hacked and it’s a pain to try and get everything restore successfully. Usually takes a few weeks as well.

At that point, I decided it was time to secure my laptop and then the rest of my network. I immediately unplugged my laptop from the network and powered it on without any network connection. I logged into my router and changed the password, downloaded the latest firmware, updated it and changed the wireless encryption form WEP to the more secure WPA2 – Personal. If some jackass living nearby thought it would be funny to hack into my network, I wasn’t having any of it.

I dug out the restore disks for my laptop. At first I tried to reconnect my laptop via wireless and try downloading a spyware removal tool to see if it worked, but Vista was too fucking stupid to realize the encryption had changed and to make the connection correctly. So i proceeded to wipe the machine clean (after several failed starts because Dell is just as fucking stupid as Microsoft).

Last night I finally finished updating the laptop (55 Windows updates FTL!!) and begin the re-installation of programs. First was World of Warcraft (which I am still not done with…1 DVD, 4CDs, 800mb+ in patches equals SUCK!) and Firefox. I rebuilt my bookmarks from a backup file I had created in April. I still need a bunch more programs, but at least I am getting there.

You’re probably wondering how this happened. If so, join the club! Because I have no idea at all. I stay away from sketchy sites (for the most part) and the one thing about Vista/IE7 that I do like is that you are ALWAYS notified when something tries to get installed. And I hadn’t noticed anything like that poking it’s nose around.

The only thing that I can think of is actually related to WoW. I had recently downloaded and installed two add-ons to the game. One was a threat monitor that I had used in the past and the other was a Quest Helper that has been raved about by a lot of people. I have a feeling that one of those had a key logger embedded in them. But that still does not sound right, as both are well regarded add-ons. Perhaps it was a goof on the part of Blizzard and one of their DBs had a mental moment.

All I know is that after too many hours of chaos, I seem to be back online for the most part. I guess I ma going to have to go back to being a WoW purest….running with no add-ons at all.

We’ll see how it all goes. I’m just really happy that no one ran off with my imaginary OR my real money. God forbid they got a hold of bank account or Credit Card info….I don’t think I could spend years trying to recover from Identity Theft!

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Six Months of Vista

It has been approximately six months since I started the new job. In that time, my company has aggressively pushed an upgrade to Windows Vista. That in turn means that my exposure to Microsoft’s latest iteration of an operating system has been intense.

My only real experience with Vista before this job was my home laptop, which is more of a platform to play WoW on more then anything else. And the only issue I ever had was with the video driver. Turns out it was a ‘clerical’ error that marked the video driver as incompatible when that wasn’t the case at all.

That is not the case with work. I have run into several incompatibilities with software and hardware, and as with any aggressive business plans (well funded at least) money is thrown at the problem and it is steamrolled away. Thus all the glaring problems with the operating system (lack of backwards compatibility, stability, and an annoying attempt at ‘security’) are ignored.

So it is to my displeasure that I have begun to have issues with my own machine. Random crashes of programs (including Explorer.exe the damn shell itself), sluggishness, excessive load times, and file corruption (of the Outlook ost). A 2.0ghz chip with 4gb of RAM should not be acting this way. I recently went into the msconfig app and disabled a load of programs that did not need to run at startup and I also disabled the UAC. To my chagrin, after the required reboot, my profile was screwed. Another reboot seemed to fix the error, but I was then required to re-add all my MSN contacts in Trillian. That does not bode well, as it is indicative of other profile issues that will rear their ugly heads in the future.

I have contemplated the standard computer rebuild. Something that many Windows users have had to do since Windows 2000 Professional was out. For those that don’t know this, it basically boils down to re-installing Windows every six to nine months (sometimes twelve if you are a light user). After that period, so many updates have been installed, patched , removed, and re-installed that the OS becomes flaky. That doesn’t even take into account any programs the user might have installed, patched, uninstalled, re-installed, etc..

I dread this. Mostly because, as a system admin, I have a lot of small apps and tweaks that I need to do my day to day stuff. And also like a system admin, documentation is scarce. So for me to do a complete rebuild takes about a week, and I am not fully functional for almost a month as I go through my daily tasks and realize I missed a program.

Another thing is, that aggressive Vista upgrade by my company also includes the setup of Bitlocker. Part of that security feature ties into the Computer Name in Active Directory. My rights in AD are limited, so I may not be able to delete my old computer account. Thus I would have to rename my laptop something new and create a new key. It’s just one more thing to heap upon the hassle.

It is not so much that I want to avoid having to do the rebuild as do I have the time and energy to do it now. I know that the longer I wait, the more issue are going to crop up. I just need to bite the bullet and re-install.

Too bad I cannot install XP. Although, even if I could get an exemption, I’d still be up the creek as apparently Intel doesn’t have the correct SATA drivers for XP for the chip in machine. Either that or they didn’t even bother making a XP compatible version.


Music Video of OS X and Other Morning Wackiness

Here is the link to the Gizmodo article. They list out most of the apps that are demonstrated.

Check out the Video at the bottom poking fun at the artists of the song used. It is a bit from Flight of the Conchords on HBO. I’ll link it here as well.

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