Monday, November 27, 2006

Did you ever wonder why you go to the "Start Menu" to put your Windows PC to sleep, etc.?

Here's a rant about the unusability of the Start Menu and how it could be fixed: Choices = Headaches.

Here's a salient description of how the aforementioned rant was made possible/inevitable: The Windows Shutdown crapfest. (With a brief follow-up)

Addendum: The Design of the Mac OS X Shutdown Feature

Friday, November 24, 2006

I hope that y'all had a happy Thanksgiving day and are safely comatose (or near enough, since you're surfing the 'net ;^). Drive safely and remember that turkey meat can make you sleepy. So don't eat (leftovers) and drive!

Here's some Black Friday news: Apple slashes prices on Macs and iPods for 24-hour sale.

And their stock is going up... :^)
It's about to get a lot darker in the world...

Thanks to the research of an assistant professor of optics at the University of Rochester (NY), blasting metals with lasers for extremely brief periods of time has yielded highly light-absorbing characteristics.

Black gold? An end to anodizing? The article seems to be saying that the properties are permanent, but I wonder how long the "nanostructures—pits, globules, and strands that both dramatically increase the area of the surface and capture radiation" will last when absorbing radiation so efficiently.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Why is Apple no longer "beleaguered" or "dying" as was often pronounced in the not so distant past?

Well, first, because tech writers are paid to make dire predictions - most of which won't come true and...

While HP and Dell’s market share can grow and shrink dramatically based on pricing fluctuations and the outcome of few big deals, Apple offers its customers a unique product with no direct equivalent in the market, making it harder for PC makers to poach Apple’s sales.
. . .
Now that Apple is a PC vendor with growth exceeding the PC industry at large, it is in a position to convert Windows users to the Mac. For the first time ever, Mac users can run Windows natively if they choose, so there’s no remaining risk or barrier to switching to the Mac left.

Apple is by far at its strongest competitive position in more than a decade, right as Microsoft is at its weakest, struggling to cope with legacy problems, architectural flaws, and security issues, and hoping to sell its user base on a long overdue and expensive upgrade to the new and unproven Vista.

Read "Leopard vs Vista 3: A Risk Strategy" from Roughly Drafted for more insights.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wish: That blogs other than my own would let me know when conversations in which I'm participating are added to.
If you just stop to think... Sometimes you realize just how absurd some people's fears and actions are.

This isn't going to be really deep, but I hope that it causes you to think.

So, on to the topic at hand: I was listening to Laura Ingraham's show one day and she goes off on a rant about someone who didn't wash her hands after using the restroom. And it starts me thinking...

(Why am I sharing this with you? Well, blame it on the anonymity of the internet, but that's another topic.)

Do you wash your hands after you're done with the facilities?

Do you only wash your hands when someone is in the bathroom with you?

Do you touch the knobs with your dirty hands to turn them on and with your clean hands to turn them off?

Do you use a towel to both turn them on and off?

Would it make more sense to turn them on with the towel (thus cleaning them) and off without - or vice versa?

Do you use a towel to open the door on your way out? Do you throw the towel away in the bathroom while holding the door or dispose of it elsewhere?

Did you realize that, on the way into the stall, you touched some of the same spots that previous users touched on their way out of it? You put your fingers on various parts of your clothing. Your pants lay on the floor. You pick them up and put them back on.

Wouldn't it be much more sanitary to wash your hands before you put your pants (skirt/dress for women (and others))? Wouldn't people think you quite strange if they saw you standing at the sink with your clothes around your ankles?

Do you still care? Thanks for your patience. :^)
Today is the official release of the absurdity that is "Zune."


UPDATE! CNN reviews the Zune (video link) This is funny and sad.

ANOTHER!! Zune is not Vista(tm)-compatible. (I couldn't have made this up if I wanted to.)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Do NOT attempt to install Internet Explorer 7 in a PC that has ZoneAlarm on it. It won't work.

Trying to stop ZA doesn't help. It just makes all your actions "go on walkabout."

To remove ZA, you must start in "Safe Mode." Either uninstall or drag its folder to the trash.

Does my C++Builder work yet? Nope. Dunno what bolluxed it, but I wasn't having this problem before IE7.

Checking the disk is a painfully long task, too. Bah!

More later. argh.

More: So, I've tried to uninstall IE7. No love. Reinstall IE6? No skittles. Fix C++Builder installation? No va. Reinstall C++Builder? Na da. Fix Win XP? No nothing.

Reinstall? TBD.

Oh, and I have now heard other evidence (anecdotal, by definition, of course) that IE7 is pretty much a Vista(tm)-only thing (Microsoft auto-installer advice notwithstanding). :^/ A co-worker's son, also a programmer, had his system buggered by it.

Later (11:24 14NOV06): Almost everything successfully reinstalled. C++Builder still a non-finisher. Will have to go back to files few days old and take a running start at it. Hmmmm... *sigh* At least I fixed one thing.
From "What Would Charles Martel Do?":
Re-examining Islam as Heresy and Blasphemy

I have been toying with this idea for some time, and will expand on this post or in another larger one altogether. The term "mohammedan" is usually objected to by Muslims based on their claim that the worship Allah and not Mohammad...

I like the term, myself, and really like the blog's name. :^)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Here is a compilation of uncommon sense from a legend: Col. Jeff Cooper.
January 1975--"One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that 'violence begets violence.' I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure--and in some cases I have--that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy."

June 1990--"It appears that the Soviets are now going to allow prayer in school. One wonders how soon the United States will catch up."

February 1988--"Considering the amount of fancy equipment now seen in competition, some readers have complained loudly that the 'average guy' does not have a chance. It might be pointed out that this average guy never has had a chance. Competition is held to determine what is best, not what is average. And if all the equipment were standardized, the man who won would still not be in any sense average."

June 1990--"It appears that the Soviets are now going to allow prayer in school. One wonders how soon the United States will catch up."

November 1993--"Fight back! Whenever you are offered violence, fight back! The aggressor does not fear the law, so he must be taught to fear you. Whatever the risk, and at whatever the cost, fight back!"

Follow the link for 5 more pages. :^)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I'm cheap.  I don't talk a lot on cell phones when I have them.  I hate the idea of paying > $30 / month for a service that I'm not going to use to the point of efficiency...

So, when AT&T offered to give me a free phone and not charge me anything but for the minutes that I used (15¢ off-peak and 19¢ during peak hours, plus applicable federal, state, and local taxes, fees, surcharges, etc. - of course), I jumped at the opportunity.  I got one.  I got another for my wife.  The second one died, so I gave the first to my wife and got two more (so that I could use one as a battery charger).  Some smart, yah? :^)

Well, fast-forward to the present.  Cingular has taken over AT&T's cell phone service.  They're cutting the old TDMA service off in 2007 or so and charging $5 / month for the luxury of keeping the old account open.  OR we can turn in our phones for subsidized GSM phones that cost $60+ / month for the family.

So, thinking I would just use my company issued cell, I shut off mine and left the wife's on.  Then we got rolled over to a new company and the old company wanted their cell back.  The nerve! ;^)

So, I'm without a phone, right?  Yep.

Well, they didn't ask for 'em all back, so I got one from a co-worker who had cancelled his service months ago and am going to try something another co-worker told me about:  a FREE International GSM SIM card

Sure, it seems a bit steep at $1.50 for US calls and $1.75 for incoming calls, but I don't think that I'm going to accept calls.  It should be good enough for emergency use and I won't have to pay for 911 service, etc...

Your mileage may vary, but if you're interested, let me know, because I can get 10% off of my charges for successful referrals.  S'allright?

As Joe Bob Briggs would say:  "Check it out!"

(This almost seems bloggish.  Perhaps I'll do some more of this...  ;^)