Archive for the 'Computer Stuff' Category

Love Those Internets

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

I’m enjoying the internet more than ever. Over the years it’s gotten more human. There’s less need to be a geek in order to enjoy its riches. It’s growing up.

I joined Twitter a few months ago. And we had our over-Tweeted honeymoon phase. Then I backed off and found that it has true sustaining value for me. It’s a great source of news (if you follow those who publish news and not shit). And it’s a great way to keep up with the incidentals in my Twittering friends lives. They Tweet about going to the dentist, about the kid being sick, about the hangover, about the dog barfing on the bed. Just the kind of shit I’d want them to tell me about if I bothered to pick up the phone to call them. Follow me on Twitter or don’t.

Yesterday, without any thought, I joined Momentile. I joined because I like the name and because someone on Twitter offered me an invitation. I didn’t even know what it was, except that it had something to do with posting photos online. I’ve only posted two photos but already I feel I’ve found a new form of expression. I can post a photo there without explaining anything about it. It’s meaning and relevance are entirely up to the viewer. All pressure is off. Nice. Stalk me on Momentile or don’t.

Recently I’ve found some blogs that I’m really enjoying. This is largely due to things I’ve seen Re-Tweeted Twitter.

Cake Wrecks – This is a blog that I won’t explain except to say that there’s a picture of a cake in every post. I find this blog to be a lovely vacation from all those blogs that think they matter. And I like looking at pictures of cake wrecks.

Margaret and Helen – Their tag-line is Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting… I love their politics and I love the way they write. I hope I’m that out-spoken when I get to be that age.

Flowing Data – I like this blog, if you can call it that, because it makes me feel smart. I worked for years for a company where part of my job was to take data sets and make them both interesting to look at and useful for making sound business decisions. Those fucks laid me off, but I still get off on visualizing data-sets.

Clusterfook – This is the personal blog of Lisa Kelly who is a cancer ninja. She’s detailed her battle with ovarian cancer in her blog and she’s currently in hospice care. She’s a great writer and has taught me a lot about having a proper attitude toward life and death. She’s a star.

Enjoy the Internets all.

Upgrading My Best Pal

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

A few weeks ago I decided to bite the bullet and finally upgrade my aging Dell desktop computer. Call me weird but I really dislike moving into a new computer, it always takes a full week to download all the programs I want and set everything up the way I like.

I’ve been making my living in the computer industry since 1990, so it’s not like getting a new computer is anything novel anymore. Yeah, the new one is always nicer and faster and better than the old one. But after having so many computers I’ve come to just wish that the industry would quit with all the technology improvements and slow the fuck down. Just let me buy a computer that will last for 10 years! I do that with cars and blue jeans and household appliances and I want to do that with computers too. Enough with this faster all the time stuff.

And from what I’ve seen new PCs are shipping with Vista, which I’m just not interested in switching to yet. I’m waiting until people stop bitching about Vista before I think about using it. I’ve used Microsoft Windows since version 2 (!), I’ve put up with a lot in that time and given that I’m perfectly happy with Windows XP for now, thank you.

Also, next time I buy a new computer for work I will have to buy some expensive software packages because the versions of them that I own now are so out of date that I can no longer get upgrades. So my next computer will be accompanied by at least $1500 USD in software purchases. Needless to say that dramatically increases the cost of a new machine. But to do my work I need those programs, so that’s what it is.

So anyway, I bought a new monitor. And some RAM and an adapter card to help my old machine keep up with modern times.

The monitor arrived today from Dell Mexico. And when I opened the box I began to get really happy. Everything in the box was perfectly packaged. The directions were in English and MADE SENSE. There were little bits of foam covering all the cable ends, and they were held on with cute little rubber bands. It was all so perfect and so logical and so, well just so perfect.

Then I set up the monitor and plugged it in, et voila, it was just yummy right out of the box! So now I’m writing to you from my yummy new monitor. And I feel like I have a whole new computer. Nice, nice.

So Typical

Monday, August 25th, 2008

The Democratic National Committee Convention (DNCC) started in the U.S. today. And being that I’m in Mexico and have essentially pathetic TV cable service (Can you say Cablemenos? Menos means less in Spanish.) I decided I wanted to watch the opening night speeches over the internet.

So first I dug around on Barack Obama’s (lovely) site looking for a link to a live video stream, but that was a fruitless search. Then I got with the program and made my way over to the DNCC’s site. I found the DNCC video stream link, but when I got to that page I was informed that I needed to install 2 plugins in order to view the live video (they were Microsoft’s Silverlight and the Move Media Player). Now I don’t live under too big a technological rock, but I had not heard of either of these programs before.

When I have a web design client who wants to deliver video on their web site I always tell them that we need to provide video in the formats that are commonly used. I tell my clients that it’s bad form and that it’s a usability obstacle to force your viewers to install a plugin in order to see content. If you want to reach the widest possible audience you deliver content that users can see without doing any extra work.

But why on earth would the Democrats do that? Why would they make it easy for us to view their video when they can complicate things by making us download not one, but two plugins?

Now it’s possible, maybe even likely, that this combination of plugins provides better quality video than other programs would. If that’s the case then I guess I’m happy to have installed them. But I’m still upset that I couldn’t just arrive on the site and see the video stream without doing the work of installing something first. And if these two plugins were widely used I’m certain that I would have encountered them by now, so now I’m annoyed that I may have just installed two plugins that might not get much use once the Convention ends.

Something about this feels typical of the Democratic Party. It’s an example of what we Democrats always seem to do wrong. We make things complicated when they should be simple. We make people work to hear our message when they shouldn’t need to.

That being said, I did enjoy watching the opening night speeches. And Michelle Obama’s speech made me a little misty…

It’s Almost Like Having A New Computer

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

Just today I finally got sick and frickin’ tired of putting up the Firefox web browser. Don’t get me wrong, I love Firefox, but my computer does not. In fact on both of our computers Firefox takes ages to load and pages are often slow.

I love Firefox’s user interface, everything makes sense to me, it’s fully logical for me. But the constant slowing was making me nuts. And recently it’s been crashing daily. I’ve re-installed and I’ve eliminated various plug-ins that could be to blame. But things continued to get worse.

Using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7 is not an option for me because, well, because I DETEST it. That AND it’s just as slow as Firefox athough it doesn’t crash AS often.

So what I did was I fired up Opera. Opera is a very mature browser (Opera was the first browser with to bring us tabbed browsing), it’s on version 9.24. I’ve had various versions of Opera on my computer for the last 5 years, and I’ve tested in it. But I never actually moved my bookmarks into it, until today.

When I look at the system resources that Opera uses while it’s running they are fully 1/3 of what Firefox uses to show me the same web pages. Opera is using less memory and is responding faster. And it almost feels like I have a new computer.

Now I just have to convince the husband to switch. He’s been variously switching between Internet Explorer and Firefox, and cursing the lot of them. I’m hopeful that Opera will make his life on the web more pleasant. Find out more about Opera.

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