Joe's New Blog

Nothing special, this is just my third effort at writing a blog about my life and what goes on in it: Hobbies, cooking, work, maybe the occasional book or DVD review, and so forth. Nothing really noteworthy, but this is sort of a little subset of my world...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

So, despite having the new computer, I haven't been updating my blog very much lately.  In part, that's because it had Vista on it when I got it.  Thanks to some help from friends on the web, I now have XP reinstalled on it.  It took some doing, because Dell doesn't supply any of the drivers or anything for XP on this machine.  Fortunately, has a nice set of drivers and a step-by-step tutorial for installing XP on the Dell Studio 1537.  I actually have the 1737, but the screen size seems to be the only major difference.  All the drivers seem to work great.  Whenever I get a new job, I plan to donate a little to the site, because they definitely saved me a huge amount of frustration with Vista.  That's one dog that I'll never have on a computer again.  It's like Millennium Edition for the next generation or something.  Some really cool features, but the fact that more than half of my software and hardware wouldn't work, plus the fact that I could never get the networking to work worth a crap, made it far more of a problem than any of the neat new features were worth.

Now that this machine is working again, I have no real reason why I shouldn't be updating my blog more often.  I've been installing all the software again.  I've also been going through a bunch of my old data backups and such, trying to figure out what I have on all of those couple hundred CDs and DVDs.  That's been taking quite a bit of my time, and most of what hasn't been taken up with that has been going to trying to find a new job.  Anyway, I'll try to stay a little more current, but that's it for now...

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Vista, Round Two.

Well, fortunately it didn't take a whole lot of time to get the DVD drive problem fixed on the new computer. Dell had a link to a fix on the Microsoft site, and running the little automatic fix program did actually get the thing back available on My Computer. Of course, the fix said that things like iTunes and similar programs might not work without being reinstalled, so I'm not sure what will happen with the DVD burning software which I haven't tried out yet. Of course, the software they have for that is part of Windows itself, so it should work properly. I hope...

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My Vista experience. Round One.

So, four days into the Vista "Experience," the first bomb drops. I woke up this morning with the computer's little power light blinking at me. I wasn't sure why, but when I started it up, it told me that it had installed an update and had to turn off the computer when it did. Okay, that was a bit annoying, because I don't know if it finished copying all the files I had it copying before it rebooted. That's not really something specific to Vista, but happens with pretty much any of the operating systems since Autoupdate has been available.
Anyway, I figured I'd just check the folder where I was copying the files against the CD I was copying from and make sure they were the same sizes and such to tell me if the process finished. But, wait!, there's no DVD drive in My Computer. It was there yesterday. So I restarted the computer, thinking that if it did a reboot while installing updates, it might have had some little kink in the works there. No, rebooting doesn't help. I try logging off and logging in as a different user, but that also doesn't help.
I went to the control panel, and it told me that it couldn't load the driver. I reverted back to my old tech support thoughts and tried uninstalling the driver and letting it find the device again. But it tells me the best driver is already available, so it doesn't update it. Of course, it can't load that best driver. So I tried rolling back the updates it did last night. So far, no luck with that. If this is how Vista regularly works, I guess I can understand why so many people despise it so much. I wish I'd just ordered a damned computer with XP on it. Maybe that move to Linux isn't so far off after all. Fucking Microsoft...

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Spamming bastards...

I woke up to a shitload of spam, most of which were autoreply and bounce messages back from the mailbox at, which can't actually send out any outbound mail. So somebody decided to use my domain name in the reply-to field of their damned spam attack, and leave me to get the crap that comes back from it. Bastards. There were a total of 578 messages in the spam box, plus probably 30 in the inbox that weren't caught by GMail's spam filter. I hope they catch some of those bastards and hang them by their nuts...

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Thoughts about StumbleUpon's forums

Almost three years ago, I joined StumbleUpon. It took me about a year before I really started getting somewhat active on the forums on SU. I've never really been all that much of a forum poster, but I've enjoyed myself. I've enjoyed the slight sense of friendly anarchy that has pervaded a number of the forums.

One thing I never really understood though was why the developers of the system felt the need to limit any thread in those forums to 1000 posts before locking it automatically. As a database developer, I don't believe that there is any kind of performance reason to create a limit like that. And for space, it's useless to create that limit, because there's no limit on the number of threads that can be created in a forum. So, rather than have one thread with 10,000 entries, users simply create ten threads with 1000 each.

On a few of the forums, people have found some ways around this 1000 post limit, mostly by opening multiple tabs in Firefox which point to the end of the thread in question. This allows you to enter something in one tab, post it, close that tab, enter something else into the next tab, post it as a new forum entry, and so forth. There was no real checking to make sure the thread wasn't closed, so that trick allowed some threads to extend into the multiple thousands of entries on some forums. It was basically just a good-natured sort of challenge to see how far we could push that particular envelope. I've not noticed any particular performance problems or anything in any of those extended threads.

Now the developers have implemented a change on the forums which prevents any post beyond the 1001st. It just drops anything else quietly. Not a really huge deal, and I suppose it's their prerogative to set the rules and enforce them, but it really seems that they've been taking a fun place to play around and enjoy myself and turning it into somewhere that I'm no longer quite enjoying so much. Why do they think that a fun little site like that needs to be ruled in such a hardcore manner? And, more importantly, why do they have to spend the effort stopping something like that instead of trying to prevent the spamming and crap that goes on in the forums and in people's inboxes on a daily basis?

Oh, yeah, it's because eBay bought them, and eBay is all about trying to turn everything for a profit...

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Weird little Firefox tip...

I was playing around on the web the other day, not surprisingly, and I figured out how to fix one of those little things that annoy me sometimes. I always have a bunch of tabs open in Firefox, and at some point or another they are inevitably not in the order I want them to be in. In the past, I've just dealt with it. Now I come to find out that if you click on the tab itself, you can use Ctrl+Home to move the tab to the first position in line, Ctrl+End to move it to the last position, or Ctrl + the left or right arrows to move it one position in the respective direction. That makes it very much handier for me when I'm switching back and forth between two tabs, but they didn't start out being adjacent.

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