January 25, 2008


I've been on the phone with HP support no <10 times in the last 3 days. Tomorrow will probably be the last straw. Please don't ever buy from them. Their support is the worst. Everyone wants to pawn me off to someone else. One evening I went from tech support to order tracking and back, I spoke to each department 4 times.

My roomate bought short grain sushi rice while I was gone to the mainland. I think short grain rice is great for one thing: Sushi. Otherwise I enjoy long grain jasmine rice. Every pot I've made since I've been back has turned out wrong, chewy or dry. ugh.

I removed the reader applet from my Google start page because I thought it was interfering with my productivity. Now I go the entire week without remembering to check my feeds. I sign in today to find 112 posts. Yikes.

I did a house call yesterday, I borrowed my boss' truck to get there. I did a simple install for this lady. Answered all the start up questions on her new Vista laptop, installed the printer, set up a Gmail address, showed her how to print and attach pictures and walked her through the basics of Word, Exel, One Note and Powerpoint. As I was leaving she said "Here's your money and I have a bag of citrus for you too." I got a bag with 4 oranges, 2 avocados, 2 limes and a bottle of water.

I used Whiist to change the picture on my WHS webpage to a picture of Penfold. He's so much more fun than than the frolicking family.

January 22, 2008

Another gif

Kev and I biked up to imaloa observatory today to take pictures of some plants for the Wikipedia.
It's a steep hill and lots of fun on a bike. As soon as I started down behind Kev I pulled out the camera and started clicking off shots. There's a certain thrill to riding down a hill with no hands looking through a camera snapping away.

It's not amazing, but it's a fun little gif.
It weighs in a just under 9mb so be patient.
The Wikipedia articles are: Schizostachyum and Osteomeles anthyllidifolia.

January 15, 2008

Hand me that tweaker bag

WHS says my desktop hasn't been backed up in 84 days, which is how long I've been stuck solely on my laptop. Laptop keyboards are smaller, there are less keys, the use of the Fn key becomes essential. I've come up with a guide for your laptop and Internet. Here are some ideas you can try to experience something new.
  1. Change the color scheme to silver. This isn't all that amazing and comes default with many computers, but the truth is I just figured out how to do it myself. So I did it and it makes a big difference. Right Click on the desktop, Properties, Appearance Tab, Color scheme -> Silver.
  2. Add some XP Power Toys.
    1. Since I just started messing around with photography, I found it incredibly nice that MS provides support for RAW images. Until now I've been stuck shooting in .jpeg which just hurts my geek heart.
    2. ClearType Tuner. I haven't noticed a night and day difference but when I installed it I saw what I could be seeing.
    3. Alt tab replacement also added a slight change to the interface. It's not terribly exciting but a nice change.
    4. Stay away from Virtual Desktop Manager. It says 'up to four desktops' when it really means 'always and only four desktops that you can't configure very easily and whose background we will mangle.' I was excited and veyr let down.
  3. Buy some memory! Newegg's prices on laptop memory is dropping by the day. 2GB of DDR2 for <$50. This is probably the best upgrade you can make to your laptop. Installing is a cinch, if you want it but don't know how and are afraid to try shoot me an email and I'll be glad to walk you throught he steps. After this upgrade you'll wonder how you ever survived without it.
  4. Windows / Microsoft Update and Driver updates. This shouldn't really be on the list, but I come across so many machines that haven't done much of either in a long time. If you're an IE user be sure to upgrade to IE 7 for the added tab support. I recommend upgrading to Microsoft Update because it will also cover your Office install and more MS software in the future. Driver updates are essential for the smooth running of your PC. Particularly pay attention to the video and chipset drivers.
  5. Uninstall any McAfee, Symantec / Norton system manglers you have. Certainly don't pay for it. I use AVG, it's free and auto updating and it doesn't bring my PC to slug's pace.
  6. StumbleUpon. When you join let me know so that we can be friends with each other. You can set up hot keys too so you don't have to struggle with a touchpad. I use Alt + Z to Stumble and Alt + UpArrow for I like it, Alt + DownArrow for I don't like it + Stumble .
  7. Take your laptop to the head. You haven't joined the information age until you've written an email on a commode.
  8. Take apart your computer and dust it. Especially if it's out of warranty you have nothing to void :). The panels on the bottom are probably fine to take off and look at without hurting anything. Buy a can of compressed air, read the directions and spray out the insides. Cleaning out the fan on the bottom can really help increase the battery life because the fan doesn't' have to work so hard to spin. Also a good time to check what kind of memory it has and see if it can support more. If you don't want to open the case to exam your RAM, head to Crucial's site and use their Scanner Tool, it'll tell you everything you need to know.
  9. Find a forum regarding your laptop. There are enthusiasts everywhere for everything. Who knows, this junk PC could be a DIY dream. People have some incredible ideas for the hardware sitting under your finger tips. Google your model number and forum and you're likely to find something good. I once stuck a hot screw driver into the PCI Express slot at the suggestion of a forum.
  10. Backup your data right now. Not tomorrow or this weekend. Do it tonight. Hard drive failures are the worst. Don't be that teary eyed person that has to explain why all your children's pictures are now lost forever.

Vely solly

I got to work today and in typical fashion I was asked to tackle a problem even before I put my bag down at my desk. A Japanese fellow had been waiting for 1/2 hour for me. His laptop wouldn't connect to Internet. It had been doing just fine in many other places and cafes, but not ours. His laptop was installed in Japanese, not English. Awesome.

I was able to diagnose the problem and fix it without reading any of the text, only the symbols, icons and memorization of common tabs and buttons. Turns out the ethernet card was disabled and a static IP address had been assigned for a 192.168.1.xxx network and we use 192.168.0.xxx. My guess is that the previous visits to other cafes used a .1 subnet and so his static address worked fine.

After I fixed it, I pulled up his browser, Yahoo loaded. He vigorously pumped my hand and then gave me a deep bow (my first). When he was done he gave me a $5 tip and promised to come back tomorrow.

January 10, 2008

Fire inside

I don't like sitting still for terribly long. I have a lot of brains and I enjoy using them to create and develop ideas. I don't mind making small things, but as long as I've contributed something I feel good.
My new schedule at work leaves me with most of the day time to my own devices. A couple of days ago I made this fancy .gif of an ice cube melting.