Monday, April 21, 2008

Elevator Video, Journeys, April 21st Issue, 2008

In 1999, a man in New York was trapped in an elevator for 41 hours. This is a time-lapsed video of the recently discovered surveilance video taken from that event.

WiFi Addiction or is it the Chicken?

I really think that I have a bad case of WiFi addiction. I'm here at the Chick-fil-a mooching off the WiFi from Starbucks next door. The bad thing about this is that I paid $10 to connect to the WiFi.

Sure, I could've gone somewhere else for lunch where they offered free WiFi since I'm usually the last person to pay for anything that is available for free. But today, I was weak. I had this need to check my email while I was in line to buy my chicken sandwich. So, I paid the idiot toll and it cost me $10.

The reason for my craving to get to my email is that I am bidding on a project that could net me some serious monkey money. If I win this project, then I might be able to buy that Asus EEE PC that I've been eyeing. Hell, I could probably buy ten of them. LOL.

Well, it looks like they haven't posted the project winner. I guess I'll have to continue torturing myself by shutting off the laptop and eating my chicken sandwich.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

"Their Passion is XP"

I was going through the Associated Press web site to get my fix of current events and news, when I came across an article titled "Their Passion is Windows XP" by Jessica Mintz.

Apparently, there are people all over the world that is fighting to keep Windows XP alive. Various online petitions and letter campaigns have been continuously churning since Microsoft announced that XP will eventually have to retire. It would seem that people just don't like Windows Vista and some are holding out for the next version of Windows. Now, Microsoft has already postponed ending full support for XP twice to keep everyone happy, but I'm not sure they'll extend it one more time.

Now, here's my problem with this. All the people I know complain about how they want their systems to be secure. So, Microsoft actually gives them a more secure system through features like the security prompts in Vista, but they complain that it's annoying. "They never had this in XP" they tout.

Well folks, that is the price of security. You either know what the hell is going on in your computer or you don't. And when you remain ignorant and let your system decided things for you, the you end up with unintentionally opened ports and your hard drive becomes the Noah's ark for computer viruses. IT'S WHY YOU WERE HAVING VIRUS PROBLEMS WITH YOUR SYSTEM IN YOUR XP SYSTEM.

I have Vista on my new laptop and I have nothing to complain about it. The interface is nice and 90 percent of my old programs work. The last 10 percent required an update from the publishers, but that was because I was too lazy to actually upgrade when I was told that there were updates available. This wasn't something that I couldn't fix through. All I really needed was a free weekend.

Now, if you want to buy a new computer, you'll have to accept the fact that you won't be able to buy an off-the-shelf machine with XP on it. Some of the machines currently out there weren't designed with XP drivers, so if you decide to down grade a newly purchased system, you'll probably go mad trying find something the totally works.

PEOPLE! You need to accept that things change. If you're happy with your XP system then keep using it. No one says that XP will stop working when MS stops supporting it. You just won't get any high level technical support for it anymore. The operating system will continue working for years and years until you realize that you're the only one using it and you look like a tech-troglodyte.

If you decided that want to put XP on a system that was designed for Vista, please don't call this monkey. Seriously. I'm tired of saying the same thing over and over again. If you want XP, buy an old computer! Don't expect me to help you put XP on some 64-bit quadra-core system that has documentations that says that they do not have drivers in XP. Because if you do, I will smack you with my tail.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Playing with Zippers

Recently, I've been made to do some research into finding a cheap (read: free) alternative to the now commonly used file compression utility, Winzip.
My company is trying to cut down on expenses and every little bit of savings helps. One of the things that we evaulated was whether we needed to keep buying new licenses for Winzip as new staff is added.

So I did some digging around and came across 7zip. This program is an open source file archiver with a high compression ratio. Aside from being free, this utility is apparently free to use in a commercial setting which means you can use it at work without violating the end-user license agreement. Certainly, we would be saving $50 per new work station.

More digging led to me to discover that Windows XP has it's own file compression tool. (I didn't know this because my station already had WinZip which I guess overrides the native zip utility). By doing a little research, I found out that this zip utility is based on a Winzip 7 codec. Basically, Microsoft licensed a watered down version of Winzip to use in XP.

The only catch to using the native MS Zip tool is that you can't control the compression level. If that doesn't bother you, then I don't see a point in getting another zipping program.
As for me, I'm lobbying for 7Zip. This monkey likes to have control on how much compression he can use.

That's all for now. ByteMonkey signing off...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Future Without the Smell of Poop

I was reading the Pensacola News Journal's web site this morning and one of their featured articles is about the begining of construction of a new Escambia county wastewater treatment plant.

This means that we're one step closer to having our Downtown area not smell like a sewer during certain days in the hot summer.
"By June 2010, a new plant in central Escambia County is expected to be up and running, a massive $302 million project that Sorrell said should please anyone concerned about Escambia County's economic and environmental future. It will replace the old Main Street wastewater treatment plant downtown."
If you want to read the article click here. It should be live for about a week. After that, you'll have to go their archives to read it. Unfortunately, the archives aren't free. And yes, I know that sounds crappy.

Monday, April 7, 2008

My Twitter is Back!!!

After firing a few rounds of email messages to my mobile phone service provider, Cellular South, I finally have my Twitter service back up and running. They didn't say precisely what was wrong but they did reply saying that they had fixed the problem, so I'm inferring from their statement that it was something on their end. Either way, I'm happy it's now working again and I'm pretty happy the Cellular South took care of it pretty quickly.

Now I can start back up again and keep my stalkers posted of what I'm doing and where I am at this exact moment. Yay!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Victory Declared!

I'm declaring victory over one of my more stubborn personal computers which refused to update its system files without ruining something on the system.

For some odd reason, doing a normal Windows Update caused my ATI TV Wonder card to go on the blink. So I went to Google to look up my problem and see if anyone has anything that resembles my issue and maybe have a quick and easy solution. What I found made me mad because there were literally hundreds of different causes to error code that I was getting. It turned out to be a generic catch-all code which could really mean anything.

I tried several of the suggested remedies but none worked. I tried doing a system roll-back but that only solved the problem until Windows started to update itself again.

After hours of arguing with my computer, I decided to uninstall the software and try to reinstall the original software. This usually fixes things 90% of the time but it didn't do anything but cause more problems. So, I had no choice but to go to the ATI web site to look for new drivers, but to my joyful surprise (read: sarcasm), found the site has now been assimilated by the AMD web site.

Apparently the AMD chip makers had bought out ATI at some point. I do recall reading something about the acquisition on Google. Now, I don't care about this merger/buy out/whatever. What I did care about is that they didn't preserve the ATI web site. All the knowledge base links on the CD that may had held the solution to my problem now all point to the main home page of the AMD web site.

After hours of reading, I found what I needed and reinstalled the software. I managed to get almost everything running right. I can't change the skins/appearance of the players but at least they are now playing video files and the TV. After spending 10 hours on this, I am declaring victory and overlooking the small glitches. Sure that decision will probably bite me in the ass later, but I'm tired now and I really want a cold beer.

So, I'm shutting down and wishing all of you a good night.

Ciao! ByteMonkey singing off!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Twitter on the Fritz

I think is on the fritz. I just noticed that a bunch of my twitter posts never did post to the site. I'll have to check to their site and see if they're having any problems at the moment, but this really bites. I had a bunch of funny posts that is now lost in the giant Internet void.

Neglecting my Blog

Whoa! It's been more than a month since I actually blogged. That is something I did not mean to do. Life just has habit of getting in my way when comes to posting online.

So, where to begin? Since my last post, I have managed to buy two laptops. I bought one for my parents to replace their old desktop that was running Win2k. The machine finally reached a point where it could not be updated or upgraded, and the only prudent thing to do was to convert the thing to a print-server and get them a new system. When I managed to find a good deal on a Toshiba Satellite A205-S5804 at Best Buy (They were down to $449 last time I checked) that I decided to grab one for myself. The system isn't cutting edge, but it's more than good enough to do word processing and surfing the web.

Here's the specs for all you Tech Monkeys out there:

  • Intel Pentium Dual-Core processor T2330 with 533MHz front side bus, 1MB L2 cache and 1.6GHz processor speed

  • 1GB PC5300 DDR2 SDRAM for multitasking power, expandable to 2GB

  • Multiformat DVD±RW/CD-RW drive with double-layer support records up to 8.5GB of data or 4 hours of video using compatible DVD-R DL and DVD+R DL media; also supports DVD-RAM

  • 15.4" WXGA TFT-LCD widescreen display with TruBrite technology and 1280 x 800 resolution; native support for 720p content
  • 120GB Serial ATA hard drive (5400 rpm)

  • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100 with 128-251MB dynamically allocated shared graphics memory

  • 2 high-speed USB 2.0 ports for fast digital video, audio and data transfer

  • Built-in Realtek high-speed wireless LAN (802.11b/g); 10/100Base-TX Ethernet LAN with RJ-45 connector; 56 Kbps high-speed modem
  • Weighs 6 lbs. and measures just 1.6" thin for easy portability; lithium-ion battery and AC adapter

  • Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium Edition operating system preinstalled; software package included with Microsoft Works 9.0, Ulead DVD MovieFactory 5, Adobe Acrobat Reader and more

So, like I said. This isn't the latest and greatest but I'm a big fan of Toshiba. They tend to
make very sturdy systems. My first laptop was a Toshiba that I bought back in
2000 and it's still in working condition.

The other reason for buying me a laptop was that I needed another Vista machine that I could do some testing on. I really didn't want to kill my only other Vista machine in doing some of my compatibility testing and system tweaking experiments. You would be amazed at how many people ask me if some old program that they bought will work on Vista and you'd be more surprised to know that many of them do work. Many of the software companies out there just tend to encourage you to spend your money to buy the latest version when in reality
you really didn't have to.

Since, using these computers I haven't had any problems with them. I did have to do quite an extensive "decrapifying" on these machines since it does come with all the usual crapware that comes with brand new systems.

Aside from my new tech toys, this monkey is in the middle of researching whether to buy a house or rent an apartment. Both have their pros and cons and all I that I have come to realize is that I need to do more research.

As usual, ByteMonkey's work life is mind-numbingly busy and his social life is still killed-in-action. Trust me. You would know if anything interesting happens to me. It's the reason I have a blog.

Well, that's all for now.... ByteMonkey singing off.