Saturday, October 24, 2009
I got a Linksys WGA600N on Amazon. I plugged it in, had to connect to it manually because the wizard didn't work and started setting it up. It was pretty straightforward, setting the SSID for the router, adding the MAC address into the router allowed list, etc. However, it wasn't working right away. After about an hour I finally found that the router could see the adapter, but it wouldn't give it an IP address. I had a vista laptop, a windows 7 laptop, an ipod touch, an iPhone, a wireless printer, and 2 XP machines connected with IP addresses served from the router's DHCP. But the gaming adapter showed an IP of 0.0.0.0. I tried calling Linksys, and for the low fee of $9 they offered to take over my laptop remotely and configure the adapter. I laughed and hung up. They had a live chat feature, so I sat on that for about 2 hours with 2 different people that walked me through tons of redundant steps. They finally came down to saying that I should reflash the firmware on my router. So I did that, and still no luck. After about 4-5 hours of total time I gave up, packed it up and printed the return labels for Amazon.
So the lesson learned, is that I should have thrown in the towel much earlier. I ordered a new bridge adapter made by D-link, and hopefully it will connect to my D-link DIR-655 router. This time, it gets 2 hours tops.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
UPDATE: Apple released iTunes 9.0, which now works correctly on Windows 7 without any special settings, so you can ignore the paragraph below (don't use iTunes 8.x on Windows 7).
Firstly, iTunes and Windows 7 don't seem to play together well, at least not with my iPod Touch or iPhone. I spent many hours recovering my apps (it freaked out and deleted everything...yes, suck-o-rama), and then had to experiment quite a bit. I was getting errors ranging from "verifying device" hanging forever, to it wanting to repeatedly delete my apps and data. Finally, I got it to work by telling it to run as administrator when it starts (which causes a pop up asking if that's ok) and then also running it in XP Service Pack 3 compatibility mode (iTunes has a pop-up for this one saying for optimal performance not to run it in compatibility mode). After getting through the pop-ups, iTunes will sync with my devices. Phew. However, this causes major issues with trying to burn a CD, pretty much not working. The solution? I have two versions of iTunes pinned to my start bar, the one that runs in XP mode, and the one that runs normally. I just have to know which to start based on what I want to do. Simple eh?
My iTunes problems also exposed another problem. When I was trying to listen to music, it would occasionally freak out and slow way down, stuttering through a song. I figured it was another symptom of XP mode, but then it showed itself in the normal version. I used task manager to see an svchost.exe process sucking up CPU (and fighting iTunes for cycles, maxing the machine at 100%). Now, svchost is simply a container that windows uses to run "stuff" in, so who knows what it was doing right? Wrong. You need to have task manager show you the PID (Process ID), then you go to the services tab and see what service is using that PID. Oh, and you may have needed to show all processes in order to see the offending process (requires administrator permission). This svchost was running windows defender. I have no idea why it was freaking out, but I right clicked it, and stopped the service. Problem solved, although now I guess I'm susceptible to spyware. I thought this fixed everything, but 5 mintues later it started stuttering again. ARRRG!
audiodg.exe. What is this process you ask? Well, apparently it was introduced in Vista, and is an out of process way to mix/handle audio. It apparently has some benefits of allowing applications to pass off processing and do cool/special things. I'm guessing that making iTunes plaback sound like a slow-motion stutter-fest is not an intended cool thing. After some googling, I learned to go into the properies and tell it not to do any "enhancements". After doing that, no more stuttering.
I ran the windows experience ratings test, and was shocked to see my 2.0 for Aero Graphics staring at me. Um, no, not cool. Under Vista I had decent scores for that. Hmm, this explains why the very cool transparent/glass effects were leaving trails like I had just done several hits of acid. After MANY hours of messing around with drivers, I finally got the score up to a respectable 3.5. It's still lower than all the other scores, but is about as good as I can expect from the card I have in my laptop (verified against video card expected ratings). Turns out the NVidia "approved" driver for Windows 7 did not do well for who knows what reason. However, I was able to get the Dox Optimised 180.84 driver to work, and it's great. For optimized NVidia drivers, check out laptopvideo2go.com. If you have never messed around with video drivers before, you're treading into somewhat dangerous territory, so you may want to rethink doing it.
Windows loves its services. When you get a fresh install of either Vista or Windows 7, you'll have lots of services running that aren't necessary. They shouldn't really affect you, unless you're geeking out and just want to make sure there aren't any cycles being used on things you don't care about. However, there is a service you will want to know about. By default, the Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service will be running. What this does, is basically start shouting out across whatever network you're on that it has media files and who wants to see/hear them?! If you care about privacy, you're going to want to disable this service. I discovered this in Vista when my DirecTV DVR got a software upgrade, and then all of a sudden told me that my laptop was no longer connected when I turned it off. Imagine my surprise that my TV is telling me it knows about my laptop, and I hadn't done anything to make this happen. If your computer is only ever on your home network, and behind a firewall (likely built into your router), then you may think this is super cool. However, if you use your computer at work, do you really want everyone watching your home videos?
Last thing, is more of an annoyance than a big deal, but for some reason they removed the standard stock gadget that was in Vista. It was even in the Windows 7 RC1, but in the RTM it mysteriously vanished. Whatever, but it was a slick gadget.
Hopefully this info will help if you find yourself with Windows 7 and strange symptoms.
Overall though, Windows 7 is the best OS Microsoft has put into the market to date. Once you get it running smoothly, you're going to love it. (I expect that once Windows 7 goes GA, Apple will put out a new version of iTunes that fixes my problems).
Monday, May 11, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
However, sometimes my typing speed is to my detriment. I have noticed that I tend to use the same phrases quite often when I write, as I'm sure most people do. A phrase I use a lot is "about it". An example is, "I would like to hear about it." In and of itself, this is a perfectly normal, mundane phrase. However, when I get into speed typing mode, at least half the time my thumb decides to hit the space bar at the wrong time with those two words. So instead of "about it", I end up typing "abou tit". A simple mistake, but resulting in a somewhat embarrasing situation (especially when IMing to a woman, and you can't hit the backspace to correc tit before she see sit). :)
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
So, I end up playing "who will sit next to me" roulette. I am one of the first people on a plane, having status. So that lets me make sure I have space to put my bag in the overhead and get settled in my seat. Then, as I sit there I watch all the people coming on the plane. Since I now know that the odds of having an empty middle seat are close to zero, I hope for a "small person". I don't care if the person is male or female, tall or short, but what I do care about is width. I want someone without wide shoulders, and especially without a wide middle. Bottom line, I want space so I don't feel like I have to lean away from them.
As people walk onto the plane, I'm watching them and in my head saying, "no, no, please God no, liveable, no, yes - bummer, no, no, no, liveable, liveable, no". You get the picture. Clearly, I have no real choice in the matter, but it's my little game I play in my head and it makes me feel like I have some bit of control.
Today, I got liveable twice in a row for each of my flights. I'll take it. So as you walk on planes, watch the people watching you and see if they're mouthing anything to themselves. Hopefully you get a yes when they look at you...
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I set up the DVR to grab Castle last week (after seeing that Nathan was starring in it), and all I have to say is WOW! Not only is that a very well written show, but Nathan brings the perfect touch to it. I'm already hooked and look forward to being able to watch many episodes to come.
I have realized recently that there are 4 actors that have played roles that seem to have a theme to them that I very much enjoy. They are Nathan Fillion, Richard Dean Anderson, Ben Browder and Joe Flanigan. They have all played characters that are tough, yet very sarcastically funny. 3 of the 4 were in Stargate shows, which sure doesn't hurt since I love that franchise. If you know of other actors that fit into this grouping, please let me know and I'll pick up their works.
In the meantime, we need more of the other guys in new shows. I hear rumor that Stargate Universe may actually happen, so hopefully I'll get weekly doses of a few of those guys, plus bonus for David Hewlett.
Speaking of scifi, are they going to create another Star Trek show or let the franchise wither into dust? Yeah, the new movie is coming out, but I want to be back in the nirvana of 3 trek shows on the air at the same time. Having STNG, DS9 and Voyager on was mucho happiness.
So, much like how old people say they can feel the weather changing in their bones, we of the Boulder area know the weather is changing when the air smells like poo. Yes, I had to say poo yet one more time.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
The disturbing part is why it needs to be updated. Google is now going to track where users go and build up a database about them. It will then assign a type to that person. The example they give is if someone visits a lot of sports sites, they will be labeled as a "sports enthusiast". The reason they are doing this is of course for advertizing. The more specialized person that Google can promise to see someone's ads, the more they can charge for them.
This reminds me of the early days of Tivo. There was an article from back in 2002 in the WSJ (subscription required for the link, sorry) about a man who's Tivo thought he was "gay". Turns out he had the audacity to give a thumbs up to shows like Will & Grace. Tivo decided to start recommending (and recording automatically) anything they had labeled as "homosexual".
That can be somewhat funny and annoying when it's only happening on your personal Tivo. However, in this instance, we're talking about major privacy infringement. Lots of people have Google accounts, so it's not like Google won't know who is visiting which sites. Heck, I clearly use Google and I have a my account page with my name, age, etc. Google may claim they aren't associating this data together, but it's all there and would be very easy to do.
Google will learn quickly that I'm a geek, and I expect to start seeing lots of ads for Star Wars the Clone Wars, technology gadgets and the like. What do you think? Is this going to make the ads more appealing, or is the privacy infringement simply too much? What happens if you are incorrectly labeled?
I have a feeling Google's biggest label category will turn out to be "porn enthusiast".
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
OK, firstly, I stole the cool death star image from wired.
The point of this post though is to pontificate on AT&T's 3G network. I am truly baffled by the behavior I have seen with my iPhone. Of course, being completely in love with the iPhone, I blame all the problems on AT&T, and will continue to do so until proven otherwise.
Problem 1: Phantom incoming call
This issue has to do with a scenario which keeps happening lately. I will have my phone sitting on my desk, mere inches from my hand. If I glance at it at any particular moment in time, it will show me somewhere between 2 and 5 bars of 3G connectivity. However, said phone will all of a sudden play the standard iPhone voicemail sound seemingly for no reason. I think to myself, "What? I can't have new voicemail, my phone didn't ring." I look at it and low and behold, I have new voicemail. I think, "wait, how can this be possible, I didn't miss a call did I?" Looking in the recent calls list confirms that no, I didn't miss a call. My phone had no idea that someone was trying to call me. So for whatever reason, the network didn't have my phone registered for the exact moment of that call.
Problem 2: Network strength all over the place
Possibly the cause of problem #1 is that the signal strength will vary greatly, even without moving the phone. Let me emphasize that the phone is 100% stationary, but I can watch the signal strength go from 5 bars of 3G, to 4 bars of edge, to 2 bars of 3G, to no signal, to 5 bars of edge...you get the picture. Now, how can the signal possibly be changing like that when the phone isn't even moving? I'm guessing that the "no signal" times are what are making me miss calls.
Problem 3: 3G data not working
There are times when my signal changes from edge to 3G where the data doesn't work. The phone will say it has plenty of 3G chocolately goodness, but any data app I try to use returns an error. If I change the settings to NOT use 3G, then things work. However, if I want 3G speed I have to cycle the power on the phone and then 3G works again. What the heck is the deal with that?
Solution: I found that if I leave my phone on edge all the time, I don't miss calls, the signal doesn't go up and down like a yo-yo, and I can consistently receive data (VERY slowly). Obviously this is not ideal, as edge speeds really suck.
So, the real solution is that AT&T needs to clean up their "largest, most reliable 3G network" to actually be reliable. Come on AT&T, I know you're not motivated to do squat for me considering that I have no other choice than to use you if I want my iPhone, but don't you still want your customers to be happy?
Friday, March 6, 2009
I truly enjoy talking with the members of this group, as their insights and global awareness make for very stimulating conversation.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
I'm thinking that a Rogue Wave alumni reunion is in order, for both past and current employees. I'll send a feeler out on the linked in alumni group, but also comment here or email me if you're interested.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
OK, I'll admit that I'm a bit of a Starbucks junkie. This situation only worsened when my local Starbucks closed down in lieu of the new one built down the street with a drive-thru. It is simply too easy now to stop there on my way to work and make sure I get my venti skinny caramel latte.
One thing I noticed right away though with the drive-thru was the way they greet you. When you pull up to the little speaker-box, you are greeted with something very much like, "Good morning and welcome to Starbucks, how are you today?"
At first, I was very irritated by this greeting. I wanted them to ask me what I wanted, not how I'm doing. I blamed my grouchiness on the fact that I didn't have my morning coffee yet, so of course I couldn't possibly respond in a friendly manner. However, after discussing this with my wife, she suggested that I "go with it" for a week and see what happens.
I did just that, and low and behold, I actually enjoy it now (yes, my wife was right, which she usually is about these types of things). Since I see the same people there several times a week, they recognize me and it makes for a more pleasant experience. So now instead of being irritated that I have to make nice with the coffee people, I get to start out on the right foot with a smile and cordial greeting to some genuinely nice people. Slowly but surely my gruffness is being eroded away. Pretty soon I may not even recognize myself...
Nah, don't get your hopes up.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Come on United, I know the times are tough, but even though oil is amazingly cheap now, your prices haven't gone down. Step it up and keep your frequent flyers happy.