29 Jun 2001 @ 7:49 AM 

Even as the Microsoft breakup ruling has been nullified, MS still makes some entertaining news. One of the long-time Microsoft-backers, David Coursey of ZDNet, has been bitten by the registration bug/feature in Office XP, and now can’t even use the legal copy of Word he needs to do his journalist job. Love it.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 29 Jun 2001 @ 07:49 AM

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 28 Jun 2001 @ 4:11 PM 

OK, forgot this one for a few days, while thinking of how to add context and failing.


Most incongruous statement during a Mensa picnic: “I’m no genius, but…”

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 28 Jun 2001 @ 04:11 PM

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 28 Jun 2001 @ 11:23 AM 

So, working for DISA, the information systems folks for the military, we send many documents around for review to various bosses (I’ve got 8 bosses, Bob – Office Space).

These documents are 40 pages and longer, and we print them out single-sided and hustle them around via sneakernet throught this 5-acre compound. After we print a couple copies for different folks to review, we make more copies of the changes and then of the changes to the revisions to the updates ad nauseum.

Why aren’t we sending this by email? Because “it’s easier to mark it up on paper” they say. And these are the IS masters for DOD? Hi, I’m a revision mark and comment in Word…
current_mood: amused

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 28 Jun 2001 @ 11:23 AM

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 27 Jun 2001 @ 12:26 PM 

For some reason I was thinking about alligators eating people today, and kind of let the mind wander a bit.

Experts always say that sharks (and most other big predators) don’t like the taste of people, and only eat us by accident. Seems like a pretty big accident, and I’m sure the victims don’t feel relieved by it being an inadvertent mistake. More importantly to my twisted mind: how do scientists know we taste bad to sharks? Is there a taste test they do? Some sort of aquatic predator version of the Pepsi Challenge? I don’t get it.

Maybe that wacky Steve Irwin would know…
current_mood: bored

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 27 Jun 2001 @ 12:26 PM

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 26 Jun 2001 @ 6:27 AM 

Happy Birthday, Rayne!

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 26 Jun 2001 @ 06:27 AM

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 24 Jun 2001 @ 9:04 PM 

Went to my first Mensa meeting this weekend. Overall, it was pretty decent. The host seemed to have some abiding hatred for families with small children. Well, he didn’t actually say that, but he didn’t want them living next door to him. Made me think of old movies or stories with the term “those people” used liberally.

Another oddity: one of the guests, who had brought store-bought fried chicken to a potluck dinner (not even KFC), wanted everyone to keep her disposable plates and plasticware, so she could wash and re-use them. Apparently she has a difficult time finding plates that fit in her wicker plate-holder baskets, and the red and blue plasticware is so hard to find, except at the beginning of July.

Just proves that smart people are not always very normal.
current_mood: tired

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 24 Jun 2001 @ 09:04 PM

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 24 Jun 2001 @ 8:57 PM 

So, the fine intelligent IS professionals that work for the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) have finally gotten around to installing Office 2000. Now we’re only one generation behind, woohoo. Simultaneously, they upgraded the browser to IE 5.5 (not SP1 yet but at least within a year of the current version) but with their security enhancements turned on. More accurately, many features turned off, such as Java (no loss), Javascript (kind of important), and VBScript (thank goodness). The loss of Javascript means that many of the sites that we are required to go to to complete our normal daily jobs are inaccessible or broken when using Internet Explorer.

The DISA “solution”? Use Netscape 4.7, which is still the official DISA browser. Good to see that the Information Systems masters are so completely out of touch with modern realities.

Firstly, if they wanted to enhance security by turning off Javascript, why leave it enabled in Netscape? Secondly, although I’m hardly a Microsoft fan, it’s absurd to pretend that all sites will work with Netscape. Does the term Embrace and Extend ring any bells at DISA, I wonder.

And these are the folks that the Department of Defense entrust with their most prized IS tools. Your tax dollars at work.
current_mood: amused

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 24 Jun 2001 @ 08:57 PM

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 15 Jun 2001 @ 1:54 PM 

Well, if can do it, I suppose I can. Check out my wishlist at Amazon. only 5 weeks until my birthday. Heheh
current_mood: silly

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 15 Jun 2001 @ 01:54 PM

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 14 Jun 2001 @ 3:48 PM 

Friday –

There have been a series of articles on ZDNet (and therefore on Yahoo Tech) about Linux and Open Source vs. Windows and Shared Source.

I am still amazed, after so long using Linux and Windows (as well as Solaris and Xenix) that the two sides are so entrenched that they can’t even have a rational discussion.

The Linux fanatics (not users, just the fanatical ones) automatically associate anyone who doesn’t call Windows Windoze or Windoofs with the evil empire. Apparently it’s some sort of requirement to put dollar signs in all things MS-related in order to show one’s disdain for the company and their (obviously) inferior products.

Meanwhile, the Windows fanatics (same disclaimer) portray all Linux users as programming geeks, with some strange communist or socialist bent. They further seem to believe that Linux users are like children, and should be shown the error of their ways, since they obviously don’t understand how business works.


I think it’s all quite apparent. The two sides have nothing in common. I don’t mean that completely literally, since they obviously both are looking at the prevalence of their favorite operating system in the market (or community, depending on your bent). When I say they have nothing in common, I mean that they are approaching computing from two completely different philosophies, and neither set of fanatics is capable of seeing that there may be others who don’t find their views completely transparent as soon as they’ve been explained forcefully enough (preferably with cursing or semi-random spelling errors).  

Linux is a good OS, and it keeps getting better. It is stable, although not as stable as BSD. It is fast, and it has decent support for hardware and various filetypes. Its adherents are generally propellorheads, but not exclusively. They know it is a solid system, and it can do great server things and decent desktop things. They also are unconcerned with market share, because it fits their needs now, and they don’t care if grandma uses it or not. Basically, there is no desire to dominate the marketplace. To Linux adherents, there is no marketplace

Windows is a decent OS, with an amazing amount of cruft built up over the years of backward-compatibility. Linux does not need to be backward compatible, since it has no “market” to worry about, and there is no company running the show. Windows is slow and unstable, but supports every file format around, and is easy to use. The Windows zealots are sure that Linux is run by some secret communist cabal, and the sole purpose of any software is to own the market. The fact that Linux is not trying overtly to conquer the desktop market just means they don’t have the strength to do so yet.

Where it gets entertaining is when people talk about the “ease of installation” problems with Linux vs. Windows. HA! Linux takes me 30-45 minutes to install, and Windows 2 hours or more. The reason people can continue to get away with claiming Linux is a bear to install is because almost nobody outside of powerusing geeks ever installs Windows. It came on your machine, and it stays there.

But, you must install Linux on most machines, and so you can see how annoying installing an OS can be.

Other fun things to think about are when folks claim that there is no problem with GNU/Linux as an OS, the problems are all in poor support from hardware and software vendors. Sorry to tell you zealots, but that’s irrelevant to Joe User. If he can’t watch 405 the Movie on his system, he doesn’t care that the real blame lies in the patents behind the Sorenson codec. To him, Linux sucks.

That’s about all I can come up with today. Hope you enjoyed this short primer on Linux-vs-Windows.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 23 Feb 2006 @ 02:38 PM

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 08 Jun 2001 @ 9:45 AM 

Am I the only one for whom IE5.5 automatically resets to “Smaller” for font sizes at random times for no apparent reason?

Is this a bug or a really stupid feature? With Microsquishy, it’s a crap shoot.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 08 Jun 2001 @ 09:45 AM

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 06 Jun 2001 @ 9:59 PM 

OK, so now (or actually it has since the latest re-install), the machine will take a five-second siesta every minute. This is most noticeable during high-speed gaming sessions, when it is (naturally) the most important to not have a random hesitation pop up.

Anyone know of something that causes a five-second period of sluggishness every minute (or 70 seconds), like clockwork? Very annoying.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 06 Jun 2001 @ 09:59 PM

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 05 Jun 2001 @ 11:30 AM 

OK, it looked like the RAM that came with the machine was at fault, and the new RAM I bought (from the same company) was fine and dandy, no crashes for a full day.

And then…


Now, when I hit the power button, I get a green power light, hear the drives spin up, and that’s it. No BIOS info on the monitor, nothing. Hell, the monitor is not registering a video signal from the machine at all. Six months old, still haven’t paid for it yet, and the machine appears to be a paperweight. Oh, I don’t think so.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 28 Oct 2005 @ 10:52 AM

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 01 Jun 2001 @ 7:44 AM 

OK, so now my “new” computer (all of 6 months old) is going down more than a bargirl. Windows ME is crashing with such regularity I can almost set my watch by it. I can rip 2 tracks from a CD before a BSOD, or I can try to talk to someone on AIM at the same time as I download my mail. Now, since I’ve got a 1 Ghz Athlon with 384MB or DDR RAM in a Micron machine, I’m assuming my hardware is not an issue.

The big question is: Do I go back to Win98SE (the machine was preloaded with WinME but it blows), or should I go to Windows 2000? Either one requires much time-consuming backup and restore stuff to bring ICQ and such back from the dead, but which is better for a normal home user that plays a few games? I’m kinda leaning toward Win2k right now, but if I install that, will I be able to dual-boot with Linux later? NTFS5 is supposed to be a bitch file system, from what I hear.
current_music: A Perfect Circle – Nom De Mers
current_mood: bitchy

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 01 Jun 2001 @ 07:44 AM

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