Does This Mean I’m Bored?

Yes, very yes.

I’ve just spent the last thirty minutes or so importing all the old entries I made from various old blogs I kept (and by various, I mean my old blog and my Xanga). It was really rather easy once I got everything working, and now I have all my internet writings compacted into one place.

If you wanna go back and see some of the entries I made in my long-forgotten past (actually, about two years ago), you can go here for the WordPress stuff and here for the Xanga entries.

I’ll forewarn you, though, especially if you’re wanting to look at the Xanga stuff: that’s some of the longest content I’ve ever put finger to keyboard for. It also means that my XHTML compliancy on those pages are shitty (Xanga’s “editor” makes it look soooo bad).

A New Vista

As I write this blog post, I am in the midst of Microsoft’s newest operating system endeavor know to some as “Longhorn” and to considerably more as “Vista.” I’m sure there are mixed feelings among my readers out there. Some are probably like, “OMG, dued! L13k t3h pwnsauce!” Others will probably be like, “You traitor ;)” and yet others (probably a considerable mainstream of those interested in the topic) will be like, “What’s it like? Is it better than XP?” The latter of the questions will be what I focus on in this post.

So. First of all, I’ll have to say that although I’ve had it for roughly two weeks now, I really haven’t been able to sit down with it yet, and get into the “nitty-gritty” of the OS. I usually like to do that when I get something new, whether it be Windows or Linux-based. So although I have had the time to mess around with it, I haven’t yet had the time to “look under the hood” so to speak.

Now, the first thing that I noticed when I installed it was that it didn’t take as long (or seem to take as long) as a comparable XP install.

So, when I finally got into Vista itself, I was mildly surprised that nearly all my drivers were installed. When I installed XP, I had to install at least six or seven drivers to get my computer fully operational. Not to say that there weren’t problems with the drivers. First of all, my video card on my laptop sucks. Balls. It’s an ATI 9000 IGP, which means it’s an ATI 9000 card (already quited agèd) that shares the main system memory for the video memory as well. So, although I upgraded my laptop memory to 1.25GB, 128 of it is still dedicated to video. Anyway, for the IGP series, ATI doesn’t release a driver themselves. You have to depend on the system manufacturer to release a video driver tailored to their integrated chipset. Suffice it to say, Toshiba has yet to release a driver for my video card for Vista. I’m not saying that Toshiba is a bad company (in fact, I love my laptop), and I doubt Vista was recommended to be run on this model, but it would be nice if there was a driver for Vista. But I digress. After much fussing and manual driver installation, I finally got the XP driver to work under Vista.

So then, after I got the video to work, I tried to install Alcohol 120%. It was quite an old version, and I didn’t even think about checking to see if the version I had was compatible with Vista. It wasn’t. So, as soon as it tried to install the virtual CD drive drivers, Vista would instantly bluescreen. Not a pretty site after you just spent about two hours installing Vista and fussing with the graphics driver to try and get it installed. I tired to restart, it still tried to install the driver. I tried safe mode, it still continued to want to install the driver. Luckily, the Vista boot DVD includes some really good recovery tool, and System Recovery is quite the lifesaver.

After all the crap with the drivers, I haven’t had too much trouble. All the applications I use on a regular basis (Firefox, Windows Live Messenger, Xchat, Google Talk, and Office to name those that come to the top of my head) all work perfectly. The only application problem I’ve had (besides Alcohol) is that Komodo (a programming IDE) doesn’t seem to want to find the respective programming interpreters (PERL, PHP, and Python) and didn’t want to debug. So, it was pretty much rendered useless. ActiveState does have a new version out, and I haven’t been able to try it yet to see if it works better with Vista or not, though. I’ll get around to trying that out, and give you an update sometime (probably attached to some other post in the future).

Other than a few mishaps along the way, my transition to Vista was pretty smooth. Now, for some of the UI/way of thinking changes that have been made that I don’t quite like. For one, the User Account Protection. I can’t express in mere text how much I loathe this piece of shit. When you perform an action that requires administrative permissions (read: just about every fucking thing you do while running Windows), you have to wait for an annoying popup to come up, hit “Continue” to give the program/action the permission to perform this act, and possibly rinse and repeat. Sure, it might save grandma from fucking something up majorly, but if you get bugged by a little prompt asking the equivalent of “Are you sure you want to do this?” every time you have move a file or install a program, it gets rather annoying rather quick. Suffice it to say that I turned it off the first day of using Vista. Also, the networking system is a bit weird. Wireless and LAN networking isn’t too bad, I suppose (unless you want to make some “advanced changes” like assigning static IP addresses), but if (God have pity on your soul) you have to set up a dial-up connection and need to change a setting, have fun. I think you have to go through about 3 (very well hidden) dialog boxes just to get to the dialup configuration box you could get to in XP by right clicking the connection and clicking properties.

Another caveat (that I was extremely pissed at) was that because my graphics card sucks so much, I can’t use Aero (the fancy-effect Windows theme). And I can’t figure out how to change this color scheme from this gay almost-baby-blue.

Overall, I’d say Vista is a pretty good operating system. Good enough to upgrade from XP right now? Not likely, but if you’re getting a new computer, and it comes with Vista, then by all means, it’s a good OS to have. Wait for about the first Service Pack (apparently, it’s due for a release later this year already) to upgrade from XP if you’re not getting a new computer would be my advice. If you get it with a new computer, for free (like I did), or you just have some money burning a hole in your wallet (though if that’s the case, you can certainly send some of that moolah to me… just arrange it through the contact form on my user page :P), then go ahead and get Vista. It’s pretty good.

Snow Day

First, I’d like to apologize for the semi-lack of postage for the past few days. First, I’ve been amazingly busy with school on one hand (I had three tests earlier this week), computer stuff (I installed Vista on my laptop [that’s fodder for another entry, however], finished [sorta] Gentoo on my desktop, and helped a friend set up a website [which is still under development, so I can’t give out a link just yet]), and other random stuff that I’ve forgotten about. So, here’s an update!

Yes, last night it snowed, so today school was let out. (It wasn’t much snow, but in Arkansas, just about any snow whatsoever is enough snow to let school out.) So, today was a fun day.

I slept in fairly late (about noon), at which time one of my friends came to the door, and asked me if I’d like to go with him to lunch, to which I agreed. After that, I went up to the second floor of the dorm and played on the LAN with some people in Halo 2. That’s always some fun shit.

Then me, my roommate, and some friends from the second floor went to Wal-Mart, ate at Long John Silver’s, and then went to Hastings. At Wal-Mart, we bought so much random shit that you wouldn’t believe (the 88 cent clearance bin in the toy section = win). Long John Silver’s chicken is pretty awesome, and one of the guys from upstairs bought some Hi-Def cables for his PS3 (yes, he is one of those kind of people ;P ).

The we came back and played even more Halo on the LAN, and it was a blast.

Now, I’m back in the room, writing this blog post when I should so totally be writing this homework assignment for KPED (a class that is like PE and Health combined into one) that’s due tomorrow (based on current weather patterns and the conditions of the road, it’s almost guaranteed that class will be held tomorrow) that is completely stupid. Oh well, it’s only midnight. Procrastination for the win.

Exciting New Stuff in the Realm of Computers

Or at least for my desktop.

I recently decided on a whim to install a new Linux distribution. Well, really, I’ve been planning it for a while, now (at least for my desktop… I think my laptop’s going to stay Ubuntu, at least for a little while longer). So, after much deliberation, I narrowed it down to between Gentoo and Debian. I decided to try Gentoo out first, because I’d heard that Gentoo was for the masochist Linux users who like to compile every program with the tiniest little optimization available, and I figured I would end up giving that one up and installing Debian instead.

However, my assumption turned out to be wrong, and I actually like Gentoo right now. So far, however, all I’ve really done is installed the thing (which turned out to be much easier than planned), and started to update Portage (Gentoo’s package manager). My main gripe right now is that it takes forever (and I mean that) to update the Portage package trees. I mean, sure this is updating a CD from last year, but still… It’s been going for at least three hours now. And that’s just updating my computer so that I can install other updates. I haven’t had to mess with the nasty USE flags or anything like that, yet, so I haven’t quite used it enough to warrant a full review. That’ll probably be saved for another entry. As it stands right now, though, I really like Gentoo, and it seems to work quite well.

Tune in later for more Linux-y goodness.

P.S.: Slackware is the distro of choice for those Linux masochists. ;P

College Stuff

So, I’ve finally been to all my classes I have this semester (other than my Biology Lab), and I think this semester is pretty much going to suck. If you don’t know, you can see what stuff I’m taking this year in this older post.

Most of my teachers this year are… eccentric, at best. My Bio teacher is definitely of the strange type (it’s not a “describable in words” type of thing, though, so I won’t go into that one). My Speech teacher is another of the types like the Bio teacher, but he does voices, if that tells you anything. The Geography teacher is pretty cool, but whenever he says something regarding another religion/culture/etc., he says, “I’m not saying it’s good/bad, right/wrong, that’s just how it is.” And he says that quite often. It gets a bit annoying.

My writing teacher, though, has to take the cake. Her strangeness is describable, because it’s a physical weirdness. Whenever she’s giving a lecture, when she looks to the side of the class, or when she looks down at her notes or the computer, her eyes are open and fine, but whenever she looks towards the students in the class, her eyes are about 90% closed, and they twitch like crazy. It looks like we’re causing her to have a seizure or something. It’s definitely one of the weirdest things I’ve seen.

This semester is going to be interesting, for sure.

A Blast from the Past

I was recently going through my some of my old content on my StumbleUpon account, and I discovered this gem of a rant I wrote way back in the day on the website Jesus Is Savior [dot] com. Now, I know what you’re thinking already, “How can he be ranting about a Christian site?” Believe me, unless you’re very extremist, when you look at this page, then you’ll probably think (roughly) the same. This is exactly the kind of people that do not need to be on the Internet. I hope you enjoy, especially those of you who’ve been asking for me to write up a rant (you know who you are :P ).

Wow. That’s all that really needs to be said about this page, but that would be no fun. This is the perfect example of the crazy radical version of Christianity that wackos have created in which everything but what they believe in (which is limited to their wack interpretation of the Bible, and not much else) is of the devil.

Public Schools are the devil, Television is the Devil, Queen is the Devil, Johhny Cash is the Devil, Dolly Parton is the Devil. The Backstreet Boys, n*SYNC, and Brittney Spears are the Devil (though I tend to agree with that :D ).

They then go on to say that the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is of the devil. Are these people so blind? TL, TW, and TW is basically a re-telling of the story of Jesus’s crucifiction. Think all that stuff with the Stone Table was there for looks? Gah! But it has mythological references, so it must be of the Devil! Good grief, is it of the Devil to have an imagination, as well? If it were up to these people (and I use the term loosely), then yes, it would be quite illegal. Oh yeah, Walt Disney is a Satanist and a pervert, too. They say this because of some coincidence in the artwork. (If you want to see some examples of the stupidity, look here, and scroll down to the Walt Disney section.

And apparently there are only nine commandments and Catholocism is “The Biggest Cult in the World.” And it, of course, is of the Devil. News flash: your “religion” has its roots (however distantly) in Catholocism. And I apologize to the Catholics for even suggesting that these crazies are even remotely related to Catholocism.

Also, on their “How to go to Heaven” page, they have plenty of Biblical quotes on “Man is a sinner” and “There is a price on sin, eternal death in hell”, but they couldn’t find a single one for “By faith in Jesus Christ we can be saved.”

If you feel like it, you can contact those involved here. I don’t really imagine what you would want to, though. I’m sure you’d get an email back saying something like, “ZOMG!11!1one L13k Ur g0|ng t0 |-|3ll”. Some people just don’t need to have any contact with the outside world… On the subject of people involved, at least you know that good web designers aren’t of the wacko “Everyone is Going to Hell” variety of “Christian”. The page design almost wanted me to gouge my eyes with a spork. (A dull spork…from KFC!)

Wow… that turned out to be much longer than I anticipated… Well, I guess (if these people are right) that I’m going to Hell. Well (if they’re right), I suppose everone else on the planet is going there, as well, so I won’t be alone, at least. :P

Internet Explorer 7 on Linux

It seems that someone recently got Internet Explorer 7 to run under Linux. Now, my first thought is, “Why?”

I personally use both operating systems on a regular basis (Ubuntu being my current Linux distro of choice, though I’m considering moving to Debian, or possibly one of the BSDs [I’m looking into FreeBSD at the moment]), and I believe both have their strengths and weaknesses (I don’t think I’ll go into that at them moment, it could surely fill up a whole blog post).

Now, I’m sure this could be useful in some fashion to web developers who want to test their work in the operating system they’re most comfortable with, but still, there are many pit falls when using this method:

The following documents the relatively short process needed to get Internet Explorer 7 running on a Linux system. So far, I have found one (two) problems with this method: it seems transparent GIFs appear as filled-black boxes in IE7, and secondly (this is actually a good thing for me), this won’t give you the IE7 interface running in Linux, but rather the IE7 rendering engine inside the IE6 interface. What this means is that you won’t be seeing IE7 tabs or the RSS reader, but you will be able to debug webpages and fix layout problems.

And personally, if I’m in Linux, I don’t even want to see any traces of IE (I barely want to see it in Windows), and I’m not even one of those “Hardcore” Linux users. Give me a browser that supports the standards (by and large) instead of that piece of crap IE. I do realize that IE is the dominant browser (even with all the inroads Firefox has made into IE’s market share), and that if it doesn’t work right in IE, then there’s a lot of people who, if the site doesn’t work right in IE (even if it’s written by the standards to the book), they’ll just move along to the next site.

Personally, I think Microsoft should give up on IE (at least in its current form). They should just scrap the current code base, and re-write it completely. Maybe not the interface, since that’s what a majority of the people are familiar with, but the rendering engine needs to die a quick death. The likelihood of this happening?

Almost nil, but one can dream, neh?

The Pirate Bay wants to buy Sealand

And I’m not talking about some water-based adventure theme park either.

In case you don’t know, Sealand is an autonomous collective roughly ten kilometers from the coast of Brittain. It is populated by the family members of one Paddy Roy Bates, and is ruled by him and his family.

Sealand’s claims to sovereignty and legitimacy are not recognised by any country, yet it is sometimes cited in debates as an interesting case study of how various principles of international law can be applied to a territorial dispute.

Now, apparently, this man-made island has either gone up for sale, or the members of the Piratbyrån, the Sweedish anti-copyright organization that runs The Pirate Bay have decided that they just want to raise enough money to buy it from ‘ole Paddy.

They’ve set up a website (who, in an interesting, but off topic tangent, went up from 44 to 51 comments in the roughly 3 minutes between when I first opened the page to when I refreshed it. That’s more comments in three minutes than my whole blog has received since inception…) that details their plans.

It would be quite interesting if this plan came to fruition. Though, I wouldn’t want to lay data cable to that platform to run TPB’s servers. :p

Moar Movies! “The Good Shepherd”

Yesterday, again Clent and I went to the movies (along with some other stuff). We went and saw The Good Shepherd.

But first, some other stuff. We went to Conway, and ate at this wonderful new Italian place on Dave Ward Drive called “Due Amicches” (I have no idea if I butchered that, or not, but it’s at least phonetically right), and it’s definitely a really good restaurant. And (at least for now), the prices are very reasonable. I got Chicken Parmigiana (chicken with spaghetti topped with a marinara sauce and cheese), and not only was it extremely good, but it was only about $7 (usually, at other Italian places, it’s about $10-12).

Then we went to the Home Depot to pick up some supplies for a “secret” project we’ve been planning for… I dunno… probably at least two or three years. Hopefully there will be an entry on that (maybe with some pictures) in the future.

Then, we went to Hastings, where Clent bought a single CD from The Shins, and a Shaun of the Dead action figure (don’t ask, I don’t know, either… it’s just like his favorite movie of all time, or something like that). We also ran into CmdrTaco at Hastings (no, not that CmdrTaco, it’s a nickname for one of the teachers that was at our High School). It led to an interesting conversation.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! The movie review!

So, yes, our movie of choice for this excursion was The Good Shepherd. It is the tale of a CIA agent (played by Matt Damon, and loosely based on two real people), who must find out who the “mole” is inside the CIA after the Bay of Pigs Invasion fails. This is not, however your regular “spy games” movie. Though the main plot line is to figure out who is the mole in the CIA, most of the movie is about flashbacks that slowly show more and more about his life, and all happen to relate to the “main” plot in the end.

The story was very well written, having many small, seeming unrelated thread, that in the end tie together in the end of the film. The actors were very good, and I think Damon did an extremely good job with his character. The music was well-composed, and fit the movie well, too.

However, there were a few drawbacks, mainly the length of the movie. It’s a 2 hour and 30 minute movie, but it seemed much longer than that to me. Another was the “strangeness” of the movie. Though it was well-written, sometimes the plot would suddenly change, or otherwise make you go, “Wait… what just happened?” Which, I suppose it’s supposed to do, as it’s a “spy movie”, but it just threw me off.

Overall, it was a good movie, and if you haven’t seen it, then you should definitely check it out.

Rating: A-