May 20, 2008

Vista Day 3: The day I get frustrated by OEM installs

After the fun of Day 2, I thought my fun with frustrating things was over.  Man, was I wrong.  Apparently the bundled Lenovo Connection manager also controls Bluetooth.  Sadly, it took me 10 minutes to figure out that it did that.  Then, apparently Vista and The Connection Manager were fighting over who had the best network settings.  I blew away all the network profiles and made sure that Vista just thought everything was automatic (DHCP at least) and then things settled down.  After that,  I was back in business.

Other than the fact it is using a Low Voltage Processor, I really love the X61 Tablet.  Not quite strong enough to run Half Life 2 at a decent frame rate, but for a work machine, Vista/Tablet is rocking.

May 16, 2008

Vista, Day 2

Well, Yesterday was an interesting day in Vista Land (C). The morning was fine, and managed to work away, and test out some Pen Flicks....Very fun.

The afternoon, was a bit frustrating, but I think I have to blame the Thinkpad Connection manager software and not Vista.  The Subnet in my office does not have DHCP enabled, and I had my Wired connection set to have an alternate configuration: If it doesn't get a DHCP lease, it would assign the address I gave it.  Well apparently the ThinkPad Connection manager didn't get that message.  It took me about 30 minutes for it to finally understand what connection I wanted it to use.  IT doesn't help that the Campus-Wide Wireless network is just about in reach of my office..and The Connection Software REALLY wanted to connect to it...I even turned off the wireless, but it assumed it was still in the "roaming" profile I created...I forced to use the "Wired Office" profile, but it would still flip back to Roaming...I'll have to take a look into that later today.

Other than that, I have to say, Running Vista on recommended hardware is a lot better than on non-recommended...I think my last Vista Machine was a Dell Optiplex Gx260....yeah...Vista was mad :)

May 14, 2008

30 days with Vista

Yes, that's right. I'm taking the Vista Plunge. I decided that I had better get used to it, since it isn't going away.

My last attempt at Vista lasted about 3 days....then again I had it installed on a Dell GX280...not exactly recommended specs. This time around, I've got a new machine to test out on...


Now before you start yelling at me saying "Mark! That's just a toy! You're a gadget gouger!" let me explain.
I decided that to test Vista, I should get a laptop, mostly because I know that is how most of my users are going to end up getting it: They have this tendency to just go out and buy laptops without talking to me first. Desktops, they do come to me, but Laptops "aren't department machines..." umm...Yes they are, but that's another argument for another day.

I can test vista on a desktop and get to know all the ins and outs, but a laptop offers me the distinct advantage of being able to bring the machine with me, instead of it residing in my office, sitting unused for half a day. I figure the best way to get to know Vista, is it use it full time for a month, not just a part of a week.

So here's to Day 1: Installing all the things I forgot to install before the day started. Up first, Oracle Calendar and Twhirl

May 9, 2008

Stupid Educational discounts!

Don't get me wrong, I love the fact I can order machines for a generous discount throught a lot of different Vendors for my job...I love saving money.

The thing I can't stand is when the list of things I can buy is threefold smaller than the list of actual products they sell.

I mean, why not give me the option to buy ALL of your products, and just point out to me that I'm getting a Super sweet deal if I buy from the "Recommended for Universities" list instead of the "Recommended for home" list.  Sometimes, your home list has more up to date hardware than your University list...

Why would I want to buy a 1.5 year old machine (at a good price) versus a brand new machine that really isn't that much more??

Am I asking for too much?

May 8, 2008

Thrice (or how I justify seeing horrible movie sequels)

Here is my original post about movie sequels. Enjoy!


I enjoy Love movies. I love being entertained for a couple of hours by gripping realistic tales, amazing fantasy or uber techie sci-fi. I use movies to be thrilled, to laugh, and sometimes to cry or sometimes all three.

I began to notice a trend in movies the more I watched them: Sequels are a dime a dozen. If you make one good a movie, it means you need to make a sequel...or two. I would want to watch the sequels to know what happened to my favorite..or least favorite character. I began to realize if I watched every sequel to every movie I saw, I would do nothing but watch movies all day. If I were one Mr. Greg Belavia, well that's who I would be. Greg loves movies more than anyone I know. In fact, I think he IS a movie. That's another Tale for another day.

As I was saying, I needed to come up with some guidelines as far as what sequels I would watch. I'll explain my process and then post the rules. That way, you can come along on the journey to discover the rules of Trilogies! ...or Just kill some time.

My thought process goes like this:

I see the first part either in the theaters, at a party or through Netflix. I enjoy the first part and say to myself "that wasn't bad, I wonder if they'll continue this and make a series of films." I flesh out my ideas of where the story could go, day dreaming about it for some time.

A second part comes out. I say to myself "I would like to see that. I wonder if it will be better than the original. (note to self: most of the time, it's not.) I might or might not see it at this point in the theaters. This is largely due to interest or lack thereof in anyone else I know wanting to pay 10 bucks to see it. If I can't find one other person to go, I'll just wait for it to come out on DVD. Usually, as I'm waiting for the DVD to come out, I begin to hear rumors of a possible third movie. I say to myself "if I see the second, I'll see the third."

When the second movie finally arrives on DVD, I give myself until the third one is out in theaters before I've broken the trilogy cycle. I usually have at least six months to watch it. After watching the second, I'm usually left feeling like my dreams for the movie project have been dashed; thrown upon the rocks of horrible scripting and poorly trained actors. I feel dejected, and downtrodden. At this point, I feel like the director/writer have made this movie deliberately to make me feel some sort of connection to the movie, as if they want me to write them and say "hey dumbelina! what did you do to my movie? you destroyed it by killing off Bob! 'What about Bob' isn't 'What about Bob' without Bob! I can't believe you did that!"

After a few hours of cooling down, I begin to scour the Internets again to see if there's any word on when the third part will be done. I usually find myself only a few short months away from release. It's here I begin to plot. If I read pre-reviews, and it looks like the movie won't be half bad, I'll begin the PR push of a lifetime. My wife is usually the lead test subject in my attempt to rally the troops for a full on theater viewing, but considering the last trilogies I watched were outside her rules of movie-watching, I usually lose.

I then try to spin the campaign from "let's go see this amazing ending to a great story" to "Let's go watch this trainwreck and laugh at it the entire time!" Suffice to say, I usually don't see the third in the theaters, but I think there may be an exception to this rule on the horizon. If all of my campaigning fails, I'll usually just end up renting it on netflix. Sadly, as with the last one linked, I felt as though the series let me down again...but with the Trilogy rule completed, I can sever ties with the movie series knowing I did my best. I did all that I could for it, but sometimes, it's just never enough...

So without further ado, here are "Mark's Rules for watching Sequels: Trilogy Edition"

  1. I must see the first part before seeing any other part.

  2. I must "want" to see the second part in the theaters.

  3. I must see the second part before the third part hits theaters.

  4. I must see the third part if the above rules are met.

There you have it; my rules on how I see Trilogies. The rules could be applied to a movie dynasty or two, but generally if I see three I'm going to see all of them. I mean come on, who didn't watch all the Rocky movies?

Robocop 2: Or how I wished I had more beer

Seeing as though I have my rules about movies ( a post I will re-create later today), I had to watch Robocop 2.

I can't tell you how much I wished I had more than 1.5 beers to make it through this movie.  Don't get me wrong, for a "turn off your brain" flick, it was good. I had a good time watching Robo blow the crap out of Nuke Dealers, but there were a few things that I couldn't get past.

  1. That stupid like Punk.  I honestly did not care what happened to him.  I didn't really find him to be a believable character.  His first line of "can't shoot a kid" made me wish this movie would interact with my zapper so I could take him out.  At the end, when he died, I was actually glad that meant I didn't have to see him on the screen anymore.  I didn't buy his conversion, or his fears.  And he was so totally not enough of a dick.  When he was holding out on the nuke addicted (...hooker?) lady, why didn't she just pimp-slap him and take the drugs and kick him out of the car?  He's Twelve!

  2. Cain as a robocop wanna be was not very good.  He has superior armaments, but "was addicted to drugs" and couldn't do anything without nuke...yet when the psycho Psychologist dangled it in front of him, he just believed what she said and attempted to take out the Mayor.  Why not just nod your head in agreement, and then when she turned her back, snap her neck and take the Nuke???  You weapons and strength, use them!

  3. The mayor's voice really got on my nerves...almost Bobcat Goldthwait nerve level.  And who let him have some Jolt before shooting?

I guess I really should have found more Dog Fish Head before watching it....I'd better get a case before Robocop 3 shows up tomorrow...

May 1, 2008

Good idea!

The exact opposite of my Last post...drinking and Robocop...Best Combination!!!!!

not a good combination

Let this be a lesson to all you kids out there:

NEVER drink and leads to frustration and lost blog posts...with only your flailing hands and Boot camp trackpad drivers to blame...


Kids these days....