In my last post, I recounted a year of frustration with Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system. Basically, I said that it sucked.
I did not expect something positive to happen as quickly as it did.
Over the weekend, I checked Windows Update to see what, if any, Vista fix was lurking about, just waiting for me to install it. There was one -- a big one. Windows Vista Service Pack 1 has come to the masses. I'm sure the timing was just coincidence, but it certainly seemed as though this gift from Bill Gates came in response to my lamentations.
I ran the install at bedtime and woke up to find a desktop that looked absolutely no different than it had the night before. That's good. Even better, the system has not had the problems with crashes and hanging applications as it did before. I'm digging it. If this keeps up, I am going to get to love Vista.
Thank you, Microsoft.
Monday, April 28, 2008
In my last post, I recounted a year of frustration with Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system. Basically, I said that it sucked.
Blame It On Nicko McDave um 8:38:00 AM
Friday, April 25, 2008
If actions speak louder than words, then Microsoft is admitting that Windows Vista sucks without actually saying that Vista sucks.
Let me speak from experience about this. In the past, I was never one to get excited about new operating systems. I remember when Windows 95 was released. I remember how all of the Microsoft users rushed to get their hands on the new OS as soon as they could. Most of all, I remember the furor over Win95's propensity to crash and burn with the greatest of ease. Bill Gates and Microsoft were a huge joke at the time. Things didn't improve until the release of Windows 98 a few years later. Microsoft was a bit more careful about flooding the market with that OS. Users were much more careful about installing an unproven product on their machines. Same thing with subsequent releases Windows 2000, Windows NT and Windows XP. Microsoft got smart and retained the lion's share of the computing market.
LOUVAIN-LA-NEUVE, Belgium -- Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer offered a glimmer of hope yesterday to fans of the company's Windows XP operating system, saying the company may reconsider its decision to stop selling it soon.
But Mr. Ballmer was adamant that most people who buy PCs today buy them with XP's successor, Vista.
"That's the statistical truth," he told reporters at a news conference at Louvain-La-Neuve University. "If customer feedback varies, we can always wake up smarter."
As eager as I was to get onto the Internet, it would be a while before I had the means to go online. I purchased my first new PC from Dell in 2000. It was a relatively cheap, low memory, low storage, adequate performance machine that ran Windows 98 SE. I had no problems with the system, aside from anything that I caused on my own. (Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies.) The computer lasted a good five years before entering its death throes and finally succumbing about a year ago. By that time, it had become our secondary home computer, having been supplanted by a much higher performing machine a couple of years ago.
The New Computer, as it was then known, ran on Windows XP. I deliberately waited a couple of years after making up my mind to buy it. Having witnessed the misery of the Win95 user, I didn't want to take a chance on another brand new unproven OS. It still runs quite well and I am happy with it.
My Frau started talking about getting her own computer, preferably a laptop, so the whole family wouldn't have to take turns sharing one PC. Sensible. So I rewarded her sensibility by getting her a nice new laptop. Like its two predecessors, the laptop was a Dell purchase. Not only did it come with the good old reliable XP operating system, but there was an option to upgrade FOR FREE! to the the brand new Windows Vista in a couple of months. I thought that was just swell. For the first time ever, we can have the newest and best operating system that Windows has to offer, almost to the very day of its release. So I signed up for the optional upgrade to Vista.
I should have quit when I was ahead.
The installation process was an absolute mess. I literally slept through most of it. It was still running when I woke up, but presented me with a number of problems. Some XP applications were not Vista compatible. Other parts of the old system were having trouble making the transfer to the new. When the process was complete, the desktop looked nice. That was a start. Then things really started to go pear-shaped.
Armed with the knowledge that new operating systems are constantly being checked for bugs, I set the computer to automatically download all new Vista updates. So, of course, the updates them selves were full of bugs. After three months of Vista, I had to do some amateur tech support in order to restore the system to a safe point in time before the offending updates had installed. ("Amateur tech support" is my way of saying "find a computer that works and type the error message verbatim into Google". Works every time.) I stopped the automatic download of Vista updates, too. I was spending more time working on my wife's computer than she was working with it. No need to download more bugs onto the machine courtesy of Microsoft itself.
Other problems popped up for which we had no solution. Outlook stopped working. Then it started working again. Then MS Word stopped working, never to return to the land of the living. It was a veritable comedy of errors. My wife once attempted to call Microsoft tech support and ended up having a very frustrating exchange with a rude bastard at a call center in India. She'll never do that again. (I took care of her problem using the aforementioned Google tech support method.) The system began suffering frequent crashes and I had to hear about it every day.
A minor household tragedy that took place a few months ago turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Without going into details, I will just say that the computer stopped functioning. I didn't want her to go without, so I bought her a new computer for the second year in a row. Another laptop, physically identical to the first one, was my gift to her. Not wanting to relive the previous year's nightmare, I made sure that it ran on Windows XP. Since XP is no longer state of the art, I bought it from Dell for slightly more than half of what I paid for the other one -- and with double the gigabytes of storage. It runs happily. My wife is happy with it. That makes me happy.
At the same time, I decided to turn my XP over to the kids and get myself a nice new desktop. Vista had been out for a year, so it couldn't possibly have any bugs left undetected, right? Besides, I was buying a brand new computer that didn't need a system overhaul. It was a Vista virgin.
Sure enough, it didn't show any signs of performance problems -- initially. The desktop display looked great, and everything ran smoothly and quickly. Then I started to install software on the computer than did not come with the machine. It seems as though some applications do not like running at the same time as others. Firefox started crashing. My genealogy program is the slowest thing I've used since I was puttering away on an old 486 back in 1996. It is also prone to frequent crashes when running with Firefox or Internet Explorer.
That's bogus. I can run a nearly unlimited number of applications on Windows XP and not have any problems. Try to run 3 or 4 simultaneously on Vista, and system performance becomes an issue. I still have confidence that all of Vista's bugs will be wiped out over the next few months. But there is a part of me that wishes I had gone with XP again.
Not long after acquiring this machine I learned that Windows intended to stop selling XP. Why, as Steve Ballmer says in the above quote, do more people buy Vista than XP? Maybe it's because marketing is pushing Vista to the exclusion of its superior predecessor. Maybe because Microsoft is encouraging vendors like Dell to make it harder to buy XP systems. It would be nice if Microsoft kept XP on the market for at least another year before scrapping it entirely. Getting rid of XP now completely ignores the concerns of a large portion of Microsoft's consumer market.
In other words, I've been loyal to Microsoft for years due to the high quality of the company's product. If Vista continues to suck, and rivals such as Apple can compete with Dell's prices, I may just have to switch brands for any future purchases. There are many more users, I am sure, who feel the same way. And Apple knows it.
Blame It On Nicko McDave um 5:00:00 PM
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Yesterday was not a happy Election Day for me. It has nothing to do with who won or who lost. It has to do with the fact that I ran into some delays during the afternoon and had barely enough time to get to the polling place. Yes, I voted, but I didn't get to have fun with write-ins the way I normally do. There's no enjoyment in voting for unopposed candidates. It almost feels...irresponsible. Like I say every election day: No one deserves a free ride.
The only write-in I had time for was in the race for State Representative. The Republican candidate, whose petition I signed several weeks ago and whose name is listed on several web sites, was not even on the ballot. I don't know why he wasn't there, but I was prepared to vote for him anyway, so I did. Pittsburgh City Councilman Dan Deasy won the Democrat primary, so it can be assumed that he will have a free ride into office come November.
There was a choice for President! As I promised, I voted for Ron Paul. Voting for Ron Paul makes Rauterkus happy. That's a positive thing. Why would you want to upset the man? Also, there was the delightful symbolism of voting for Ron Paul in the very church in which he was married, way back in 1957. Call it a belated fifty-first wedding present.
Plus, as Jim Quinn said this morning, voting for Ron Paul send a message to John McCain. Do all of these Pennsylvania Republicans vote for McCain because they seriously support him, or are they just jumping on the bandwagon because he has the nomination locked? Like I said above, no one deserves a free ride.
Statewide races, Congressional...unopposed, blah blah blah.
Then there were the convention delegates. I had no idea who most of these people were or what candidate they supported, so I voted for the two names I actually recognized and randomly pressed buttons for the rest. Now that's exercising my privileges!
Next stop -- November 4!
Blame It On Nicko McDave um 7:55:00 AM
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
(Audio file here. "Hillaryvania! Yi! Yi! Yi!")
In Pittsburgh, the act of introducing the former
presidentset off a small storm when Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato -- both prominent Clinton backers -- took the stage and began their introductions of the former president.
They overlooked another prominent Clinton supporter on the stage, Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll, who wrested the microphone from Mr. Onorato and let fly with a complaint picked up over the loudspeaker.
As Mr. Clinton mounted the steps to the stage, Mrs. Knoll said: "They never recognize the lieutenant governor. These two men can't stand women. You know what? I have loafed with this
presidentand with Hillary and their beautiful daughter Chelsea for 25 years. That's long before he was the governor -- that's governor of Arkansas."
She later said she apparently had been overlooked for introductions by a campaign staffer.
"It wasn't their fault. It was the guy in the back room. He doesn't know yet who I am. They forgot," she said.
It would have been a perfect moment if she had snapped with, "Damnit! This tears it. I'm voting for Obama!"
Blame It On Nicko McDave um 7:40:00 AM
So my wife finally got so sick of people coming to the
Well...not entirely. I was amused to find "DO NOT DISTURB" stuck to the
She still hasn't committed herself to a candidate, but I get the feeling that this slick move may discourage her from voting for
We weren't the only victims, either. This sort of thing was happening all over the commonwealth. It was a concerted effort, no doubt carried out with the blessing of Barack Obama himself. What a rat bastard. If I had been home when when the Obama volunteer dropped by, someone would have been walking off of my property with fewer teeth than when they set foot on it.
Yes, I would have proudly struck such a blow in the cause of freedom.
Blame It On Nicko McDave um 7:36:00 AM
Monday, April 21, 2008
This morning I took a rather circuitous route to work. After dropping my car off for some minor repair work, I took an alternate public transportation route that required me to switch buses in downtown Pittsburgh partway through the journey. I caught the second bus about a block outside of Market Square, which was blocked off by sawhorses. Across the street from my stop, some people were carrying humongous "Hillary" signs. It could mean only one thing: Clinton is in town today!
Actually, it's a BOGO deal: two for the price of one.
If I didn't have to work today, I might have hung around to observe the proceedings. I'm not a protester; if someone from the other side is speaking, I don't boo or heckle. I might keep my arms folded when everyone else applauds, but that's as far as I will go to express dissent.
Even so, I would have felt awkward joining the crowd at a Clinton rally, just as I would at an Obama rally. The last thing I need is for someone I know to spot me and get worked up about me being a Hillary! supporter. Most people with whom I associate on a day to day basis do not know that I am a Republican. If they think I'm supporting a Democrat, I'll have to set them straight, and the days of sunshine and roses will be over. They are not fond of right wingers.
This election is not much easier for someone who actually is a Democrat. My wife has gotten bombarded with mailers and phone calls on behalf of both candidates. She admitted several days ago to having trouble making up her mind. She still hasn't. A girl at my workplace is surrounded at home by a coven of Hillary! feminists. She hasn't made up her mind either, and her housemates are causing her some serious grief. I told her the same thing I told my wife the other day: When in doubt, go with the one you know best. Write yourself in.
The election is too serious for them to take my facetious advice, but I have done so myself in moments of doubt. Heck, if Ron Paul wasn't so tenacious about remaining on the ballot here, I'd probably vote for myself for President.
It's going to be a long line in which I will have to wait my turn to vote tomorrow.
Blame It On Nicko McDave um 2:15:00 PM
Friday, April 18, 2008
Someone recently used the keywords
I couldn't help but notice this result on the same page:
One wonders whether this doesn't have something to do with my shocking discovery on
Blame It On Nicko McDave um 10:47:00 AM
Thursday, April 17, 2008
The news is all "Obama! Hillary!" these days. Let's not forget
He is giving me a good reason to solidly support him come November. Now he just needs to go an extra step and propose permanent reductions in gas taxes.
Blame It On Nicko McDave um 11:20:00 AM
I'm not going to make an endorsement. The 2 or 3 people who read this blog already know that I'm casting my vote for
I am going to say that the Republican Party needs to listen to
And another thing --
Blame It On Nicko McDave um 11:10:00 AM
Way back in 1996, I proudly voted for
Of course, it was just the primary election and the uninspiring Bob Dole won handily. Well, there's always 2000...
So in 2000 I looked forward to
Along the way, Dr.
That hasn't stopped
Here's a question: Given my past support for
The answer is "No".
Alan Keyes has already lost one election to Obama. Why does he want to do it again?
Blame It On Nicko McDave um 8:45:00 AM
One of the benefits (if you can call it that) of being married to someone from a different political party than oneself is being able to see what kind of campaign advertisements are being sent to one's spouse during a heated primary campaign. My Republican eyes really do not care what Democrats are sending to their party members, but when the mail shows up, I just have to look.
Yesterday two different pieces arrived from the campaign of one Mr. John Paul Jones, a man who must certainly feel the weight of history pressing hard upon him, considering that he bears the name of not just one but TWO figures of major historical import. One wonders why Mr. Jones doesn't stick with John (too Martian?) or just go by Paul (too evocative of a sports entertainment legend?). Name recognition in politics is everything in a primary election where the voter can't just vote straight party. Smart move, then, using his full name.
Mr. Jones is running for State Representative in the 27th District of Pennsylvania, located along the western border of the city of Pittsburgh. The first mailer was basically "yadda, yadda, yadda"; family pictures and some text outlining his reasons for running. I barely looked at it, as he is not of my party, and I have seen far too many candidate mailers with family photos over the years. It's all just so "yadda, yadda, yadda".
I nearly passed over the second mailer when something caught my eye. This one was a little more hardcore, to say the least. What, or who, is Mr. Jones running against? A rather harsh collage of a weary George W. Bush, flanked by images of rising gas prices and bad news headlines, made the message clear:
Elect John Paul Jones to the PA State Legislature, and he will oppose the policies of George W. Bush and Big Oil!
Erm, no. Unless the legislature is dominated by moonbats who have lost complete sight of their jobs, you are not going to Harrisburg to work against the President of the United States. If that is your goal, then run for Congress. Using images of the President, rising gas prices, and war might have some appeal to the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Psychosis-Gazette, but to a rational human being, it makes no sense.
Speaking of the PG...guess who gave Mr. Jones an endorsement this week? Birds of a feather, my friends, birds of a feather.
Blame It On Nicko McDave um 8:00:00 AM
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
This statement should really be tucked firmly away in the circular file marked "Who Cares?", but the arrogance is too blindingly bright to ignore. It seems that the owner of a local major league sports franchise has felt the need to trumpet his feelings about this year's presidential campaign. Let's tear this bastard a new one:
Dear Fellow Pennsylvanian,Fuck you, asshole. As far as I'm concerned, you and I don't even belong to the same species. Don't try to make it sound like I have anything in common with you.
Based on the experiences that I have had in my seventy-five years and my assessment of what I think our nation needs to make real the change that is so needed, I am proud and now feel compelled to endorse Senator Barack Obama.Bad move there, bringing up your age. John McCain is younger than you, and Democrats are suggesting that he wears adult diapers, is senile, and is a good argument for setting a maximum age for running for office. (I know this because I read the Internet.) Do you think they are going to take your endorsement seriously?
This is not something that I do regularly but as I listen to the candidates in this race, I am struck that we continue to hear about the problems and the same challenges that we have been talking about for decades. Protecting jobs here in Pennsylvania, breaking our dangerous and costly addiction to foreign oil, making health care accessible and affordable -- these are neither new issues nor new ideas. And yet we have failed to make real progress.In contemporary politics, "progress" is another word for "communism". Rooney wants government to be involved in everything. Government involvement created most of the problems that the nation faces today. "Progress" isn't going to make things better; it's going to make them worse.
As a grandfather and a citizen of this community I think Barack Obama's, thoughtful, strategic approach is important for America. When I hear how excited young people seem to be when they talk about this man, I believe he will do what is best for them which is to inspire them to be great Americans.Grandpa's listening to the kids. How charming. When Dan Rooney refers to "excited young people", I can't help interpreting this as "potential future season ticket holders". He's a rich guy, and rich guys are all about money.
The Founding Fathers were inspired to be great Americans by their leaders, too. They were so inspired that they took up arms and shot the government in order to create a free society. No wonder Obama is afraid of people "clinging to guns".
This time, we can't afford to wait. Our country needs a new direction and a new kind of leadership " the kind of leadership, judgment and experience that Senator Obama has demonstrated in more than 20 years of public service, and in a particularly impressive way in this campaign. Senator Obama has rejected the say-and-do anything tactics that puts winning elections ahead of governing the country. And he has rejected the back-room politics in favor of opening government up to the people. Barack Obama is the one candidate in this race who can finally put an end to business as usual in Washington and bring about real change for Pittsburgh and the country as a whole. He has inspired me and so many other people around our country with new ideas and fresh perspectives.Like most Obama supporters, Rooney says a lot about Obama without actually saying anything about Obama. Yes, we know who Obama is and what he symbolizes. But what is he, really? What does he really stand for? If Rooney's football coaches came to him to tell him about the hottest draft prospects in college football, he wouldn't settle for crap like this. He would want to know stats, see films, find out what the players have actually accomplished, and what they have the potential to accomplish. The whole paragraph is stupid, meaningless, and a rehash of the empty platitudes regularly spouted by Obama's mindless minions. Did Rooney even write this himself?
True sports fans know that you support your team even when they are the underdogs. Barack Obama is the underdog here but it is with great pride that I join his team.Barack Obama is the underdog? Are you kidding? Doesn't matter; "true sports fans" are going to take Dan Rooney's word as gospel, since he and his family are revered as religious figures here in Pittsburgh. I, on the other hand, have not been able to take professional sports seriously in years, so I am unswayed by Lord Rooney's pronouncement.
When I think of Barack Obama's America I have great hope. I support his candidacy and look forward to his Presidency.I look forward to paying off my mortgages and being able to start saving money so my kids will have something when I die. Meanwhile, Rich Bastard Rooney looks forward to using his power and influence to elect a President of the United States. The rich really are different, you know.
Daniel M. Rooney, Owner and Chairman, Pittsburgh Steelers
Pay attention to the sign-off; this is very important. He doesn't sign off as a private citizen. He signs off as "Owner and Chairman, Pittsburgh Steelers". (More accurately, Pittsburgh Bitchbeaters, if you follow some players' off-the-field antics.) The tone of the endorsement suggests that he speaks only for himself; but by signing off as owner of the Steelers, Rooney creates the impression that he speaks for the entire organization. Every single individual on the Steelers' payroll is complicit in this endorsement, unless they come out and state otherwise. I can't believe that every Steeler is a Democrat, or an Obama supporter. Those who are not need to disassociate themselves from the Rooney endorsement.
I doubt they will, though. Money, money, money, baby. Mr. Rooney controls the purse strings. Money is power, and so is the word of the owner of the Steelers in this city.
Blame It On Nicko McDave um 9:21:00 AM
Monday, April 14, 2008
Friday, April 04, 2008
Nothing says loving like meaningful search terms that people use to find your blog. I know that I have a weird sense of humor, but some of these searches are wayyyyy out there. Some of the more recent interesting discoveries:
clown porn joker (Someone must be looking for Heath Ledger slash fiction)
tigh mccain (I get the feeling that I will be seeing a lot of this over the next few months)
lets see what you havein your pants (I'll show you mine if you show me yours. But only if you're a hot chick)
iron maiden has religious overtones (Steve Harris is GOD)
civil rights charlie brown comics (Franklin was always being kept down by the MAN)
who is pittgirl (If I knew that, I would SO own her ass)
the only good pig for dead pig (Some sort of porcine necrophilia fetish, apparently)
gangrene in metaphorical literature (This one is too deep for me...reminds me too much of college)
ronald reagan stole aquarium white house (He did???)
obi wan and his twirling lightsaber (Damn you, Mary Beth Ellis!)
observing a very sexy woman (Not here...you could always try The Bastardly)
nicko roben sex pornos von one piec (I have some cognizance of the mother tongue, but I'm a little afraid to translate this one)
she made her mothernaked (Might be worth a looksee if she's haughter than the daughter)
mcdave cuting horses in texas (Yes, I have the ability to go to the Lone Star State and make horses cute)
co/workers thong shows (The girl who worked for me last year had this purple...I'd better not say any more)
get chicks to notice me (Not if you spend your time on the internet looking up fifth-rate blogs like this one)
If this is what people are coming to my blog to read, then perhaps I should shift my focus a bit.
Blame It On Nicko McDave um 9:12:00 AM
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Some of my favorite television shows are coming back to SciFi channel on Friday nights. It's about time, too! Between the yearlong wait for Battlestar Galactica's fourth season, and the rather less lengthy but nevertheless seemingly interminable wait for new episodes of Doctor Who, I've been bored to tears with nothing to do on Friday evenings. The only other new television program that I view regularly is Heroes, and that's not supposed to come back until the Autumn. Stupid writers strike....
Since I have a habit of viewing everything through the filter of politics NO MATTER HOW HARD I TRY NOT TO, I will refer the reader to this excerpt from Rob Owen's review of the premiere episode of BSG, season four:
The new season may not begin with the resonant parallel to our own world as season three's Cylon occupation of New Caprica (re: Iraq) did, but the series remains as tense and gripping as ever.Somehow the "New Caprica as Iraq" allegory wasn't obvious to me. Maybe it wasn't supposed to be obvious to me. It just seemed like a tense, gripping story arc meant to entertain me and keep me hooked. I didn't jump up and say, "Ha! I get it! New Caprica is Iraq and the Cylons are the Americans!" One can well imagine BSG's target audience (which does not include me, apparently) whooping it up and high-fiving one another with the hand that they are not masturbating with while discussing the deeper political meaning of the latest episode down at the Vegetarian Fruit & Marijuana Bar. Or whatever it is that Democrats do for fun after they turn off the TV set.
When the BSG miniseries debuted back in 2003, many politically right-wing types assumed that they were the target audience. The Cylons' nuclear attack on the 12 colonies seemed like a cautionary tale about what could happen to the United States of America if Islamic terrorists obtained nuclear weapons. BSG's head honcho, Ronald D. Moore, vehemently denied that he was trying to create such a scenario, and has been trying to throw thinly-veiled criticisms of the United States, and particularly of George W.
You get the idea. I love the show; it's one of my all-time favorites. Awareness of the bias doesn't hamper my viewing enjoyment. In fact, it makes me laugh because it's so silly. RDM doesn't impress me with his attempts to base his ideas for the show on current events and his personal politics. The show would be better off without it, but I'm still watching. He'll have to try harder than that to alienate me.
Blame It On Nicko McDave um 4:37:00 PM