Time for a change… aka I’ve hit my breaking point…

21 10 2008

I’ve been using computers or some sort or another since I was around 10 or so.  I’ve seen different operating systems and used all types of development environments as well as computer applications.

You would not have thought it would take so long…

I have finally hit my breaking point.  I just snapped at the sheer crappiness of windows.  I’ve had enough. 

It was trivial enough; I was trying to do the extraordinary task of creating a folder using file explorer and when I clicked on the create new folder command I waited… and waited… and waited….

It was only a 20 second or so wait… and it’s not like it’s the first time this has happened to me on a variety of PCs but this time it was enough.  I had just had it.  I just want to create a folder and get on with what I’m doing… why does it take so long to do this?  Why does the application seem to freeze when I want to do such a trival task?  It’s completely unacceptable and I just had enough.  I shut down my computer without finishing whatever it was I was working on and went and did something else as I was just that frustrated.  I am sick and tired of the most trivial tasks being stupidly slow and unreliable on the worlds most dominant desktop operating system.  It’s total rubbish and I’ve had enough.

I can think of numerous frustrating examples of using windows.  Ever opened excel or word and then try to traverse some folders to open a document only to find there is this odd long pause as soon as you go file->open and try to start looking around on your hard drive?  How long do you wait?  20-30 seconds sometimes and in the meantime the application is unresponsive?  Why is there always that waiting when you fire up a new application on your new $2000 PC?  The more applications you install the more messed up the registry gets and the more unreliable and flaky you computer becomes.  Why?  Poor design?  Didn’t think of that?  What’s the reason?  Is it unreasonable to install your favourite software on your computer?  I’m sure there are plenty of other examples people can come up with. 

This was all with XP.  I have not installed Vista personally but from using it on a few friends machines I am really not sold on it.  I don’t like being asked about every little thing I do.  It was irritating.

So, you ask, what’s the alternative?  Well for the number of applications, games and the like available for windows compared to other operating systems there does not really seem to be one.  Regardless I am thinking of buying a Mac notebook computer and giving that a go.  After all the garbage with using windows it must be an improvement right?  It’s alot more expensive but, if it works without all the garbage I have to put up with in the windows world, maybe it will just be worth it.

My die hard Mac friends will no doubt be all video-conferencing each other on their iPhones whilst making a recording to replay on their iPods at a later date as well as being moist with anticipation at the thought of another “convert”.  I’ve used macs a few times and they are not as “perfect” as the iTard community (of which I will be joining shortly) out there would have you believe.  The “it just works” slogan is a bit misleading but I am really ready to find an alternative to windows.  Something had to be done…  If that doesn’t work there is always linux…

Feel free to cast your vote on favourite OS in the poll below.  I did not make a distinction between the various linux distribution packages or versions of Mac OS, etc.

Any other converts out there?





Body Worlds, Airports, Tim Hortons & Good Indian Food

15 06 2008

Well I seem to be making a habit of only posting when I am on the road for some reason.  Probably because it’s a good way to wind down in my hotel room after a day of work and another way to get some use out of the $12.95 per day the Hilton is charging me for Internet usage (after doing work of course!).

My brother and his other half came up on Friday and we shot a round of golf on the Victoria course here in Edmonton.  It was his first full “proper” 18 holes.  He made the observation that it is a frustrating game, lol.  It was all good.  Wish I got a chance to play more then maybe it would not be so frustrating for me!  I still have not worked out the appeal of the game.  I think it’s that one good hole that keeps you going…

We went to the Body Worlds exhibition at the Edmonton Science Centre on Saturday.  I walked out of it with mixed feelings.  OK, the exhibitions are of real bodies (bits and whole) in various poses with all sorts of eductational tidbits about.  There were also posters explaining the historical roots of anatomy and dissection and what the beliefs were over time as well as what was discovered (it was only relatively, historically speaking, recently that public dissections were no longer carried out!).  I was impressed with the drawings of the early pioneers in this field as they were not far off from what I was seeing with my own eyes.  Some of the poses were kind of comical but they were all sad in some way as these were once living breathing people with their own feelings, etc.  It seems odd to see them now as part of a travelling exhibition.  I found it hard to decide whether the display was for educational purposes, art or if he was just having a laugh.  The gift shop at the end of it was certainly strange too.  They had a room with the remains of babies in various stages of development as well as that of a fully (opened up) 8 month pregnant woman and just outside the door they are making a fast buck off of it.  I wasnt’ really sure how to feel about that.  With what they are charging somebody is making a pretty good living off it. 

The creator of the Body Worlds exhibition (and inventor of the process used for preservation) was certainly good at self promotion too.  His name was plastered (no pun intended) everywhere in the exhibition about what a great and clever guy he is.  There were also forms you could fill out if you wanted to donate your body to the exhibition.  I overheard someone say that there was a “waiting list” of over 8,000 people.  I am not sure I would want to participate in something like that.  Still not sure what to make of it.  Anyone else seen this and have any thoughts?

I have a work trip to Boston for the next few days.  Got up stupidly early (3am) and spent the first 3 hours (of the first leg of my flight) debugging code on the plane when I realized there was something screwy going on with my demo app.  Fixed!

Had a short connection time to make my next flight and found myself being thwarted by American customs and the huge queue I found myself on the back of.  I did take some consolation in noting that all of the carts that people had their luggage in had ads for holidays to Cuba.  Oh the irony.

Finally got through customs and found out the flight was delayed as the pilots were delayed.  I sat down in the lounge relieved that I was going to make my flight and started to people watch.  After a few minutes I noticed that there looked like there was a pilot in the queue at Tim Hortons.  I saw him wait for about 20 minutes until he loaded up on coffee and donuts.  And… yep you guessed it… that was out pilot.  Glad to see our flight was a high priority.  Would not want him to miss out on his sugar fix.

Ah well.  At least the night ended up nicely with a brilliant Indian dinner and a bottle of Argentinian red wine.  Great way to round off what was a long day. 





Dell joins the war on terror!

4 12 2007

I was looking up the specs for the CDRW drive on my work Dell laptop.  I found a Dell support site that gives the information I was looking for.  Fortunately, for our safety, they also had an interesting clause at the bottom regarding “export” regulations.  It reads as follows:

Customer acknowledges that these Products, which may include technology and software, are subject to the customs and export control laws and regulations of the United States (” U.S.”) and may also be subject to the customs and export laws and regulations of the country in which the Products are manufactured and/or received. Customer agrees to abide by those laws and regulations. Further, under U.S. law, the Products may not be sold, leased or otherwise transferred to restricted end-users or to restricted countries. In addition, the Products may not be sold, leased or otherwise transferred to, or utilized by an end-user engaged in activities related to weapons of mass destruction, including without limitation, activities related to the design, development, production or use of nuclear weapons, materials, or facilities, missiles or the support of missile projects, and chemical or biological weapons.”

I’ll sleep much better at night now knowing my CDROM won’t be used in the design, development, production of nuclear weapons, WMD, etc.

You can see the original site here





Technology & Pets

3 10 2007

Well this last weekend was an entertaining one.  I was trying to upgrade my computer for various reasons. 

Basically the scenario worked something like this:

 I have a computer setup in my living room hooked up to my stereo/TV that acts as a jukebox.  I have iTunes on it with all my music so I can pump that out through my stereo.  The computer is also hooked up to the TV so I can do things like browse the net, listen to internet radio, watch youtube videos, etc.  Basically a home media centre (that I set up years before Microsoft came out with the “Media Centre” edition of XP).  Unfortunately the hard drive in the computer is full of music now so I need to replace it with a larger one to facilitate more tunes as I’m flat out of disk space!  I also wanted to upgrade my regular desktop computer from XP-Home to XP-Pro (so I have IIS and I can do some work at home.  Some of the work I’m doing in my day job uses web services which XP-Home can’t cope with.  Am I a dedicated employee or what?).  So as my desktop computer has a hard drive twice the size as my entertainment computer it seemed to make sense to buy a new hard drive, put it in my desktop computer and install XP-Pro on it, take the old hard drive from there and pop it in my media/jukebox PC.

 First lesson, look inside your computer and see what you actually have before you make plans like this 🙂  I just picked up a run of the mill IDE 320gb hard drive at staples and thought nothing more of it but it turns out the one in my computer was actually a SATA hard drive (different connector).  Not a big deal but it won’t fit in my jukebox PC as it’s pretty old (apparantly you can get SATA/IDE adaptors so this may not be as big an issue).  My desktop PC has IDE slots in addition to the SATA capability (which is to be expected) so hooking up the new drive wasn’t an issue.  Nonetheless I installed my new hard drive, played the PC internal dust bunny game, played the shuffle the wires so nothing is touching anything that gets hot or spins game, popped in the XP disc, formatted and installed XP-Pro.  Went through an hour of installing windows, started to poke about seeing what I needed to install driver wise onto the computer to discover my hard disk drive was H: and not C:.  Turns out the USB card reader I have installed takes up the first 4 drive letters (starting at C: as A:,B: are reserved) and my DVD/CD drive took up the next one.  Very weird.  Aftering puzzling and experimenting with this for awhile I discovered I had to physically disconnect the USB card reader from the mother board and go through the formatting/installation procedure again and it worked.  Popped in the SATA drive and configured it as the secondary drive, reconnected the card reader and I’m off.  I can copy my data off my original drive and then just use it as a 2nd drive if I can’t find a way to put it into the other PC.  <sigh>.  Oh well, it’s not like hard drives are expensive.  I could also just use the orignal SATA drive for XP Pro once all the data I want is off it and put the new IDE drive in the jukebox PC but I’m too lazy to go through that again 🙂

 To top of the weekend my girlfriends guinea pig got ill on Sunday and we had to go to the emergency vets and, ultimately, put her down.  Ginger the guinea pig was (by our estimation) more than 6 years old so she was ancient in guinea pig terms so at least we know she had a longer than average life.  It was still pretty sad all said and done.  We now just have the one sugar glider so we’ll just have to spoil her extra (if that’s possible).