Mostly about my amusement

Month: July 2008 (page 1 of 3)

“James Bond never had to put up with this Vista sh&^”

My Vista 64 bit OS has been acting a little flaky for a long time.  The latest symptom was my DHCP client not working.  When Dell did the free motherboard swap upgrade, I was supposed to re-install the OS then.  But I procrastinated and just waited till the pain got bad.

My XPS 700720 came with Windows XP Media Center Edition. When the upgrade came out, I purchased it from Best Buy.  I sent in the $19 and received the Vista 64 bit version DVD in the mail. For months I’ve been using the Vista 64 bit version.

My plan was to do the following:

  1. Using vlite I slipstreamed a copy of Vista SP1 onto my upgrade.  That was time consuming but worked.
  2. Backup all my data onto my WD Mybook.  I’m going to regret saying this but 1 TB is HUGE and my data fit with no problems.
  3. Wipe out my existing drive.  My registry was foobar so that was a good idea.  I did not want to upgrade from one mess to another.
  4. Clean install off the Upgrade DVD.  Worked last time, all you have to do is remember to not install the product key.
  5. Upgrade the clean install.  Redundant, but my version is an upgrade.  If I did not do this then my Vista would not activate.

That was the plan. Except the DVD would not install software, no way no how.

The bootable DVD HATED my 4 GB of high performance RAM.  I kept getting the BSOD before I could install anything.  Now Vista running has no problem with my RAM upgrade.  But the installer on the upgrade DVD refused to do anything except BSOD.  Lucky I kept the old slow speed 2 GB or RAM so I was able to get past that problem.

The upgraded DVD did not like my drives.  It’s not exactly a clean install that it does.  The target drive has to be formatted and a WINDOWS directory, or something in the WINDOWS directory, needs to exist.  If it’s not then the installer will refuse to copy files onto your disk.

I had to insert step 3.5 into my plan. I was able to get around this by booting off of my Windows XP install DVD that came with my PC and began to install the old version onto my system.  I did not have to complete the install.  Once files started to be copied I rebooted with my Vista SP1 upgrade.  Then I was able to proceed as planned.

The one piece of unexpected good news is that the fresh upgrade install activated online successfully.  I  was sure I’d have to do the 1-800-NOT-EXTORTION-EXACTLY call to Microsoft just to activate my software.

This is just crazy

Microsoft might be good with apps (debatable) but their OS’s always requires a rebuild after a period of time.  It’s just how it is since the registry just collects garbage from adding and removing hardware and software.

If my PC came with Vista then in theory I should have had an easier time of it.  Just pop in the vendor supplied rebuild DVD and off you go.  In the past that’s always what I did.  With this Vista upgrade, I should be able to install cleanly without the tricks.

The fact that I have to install an upgrade on top of a clean install that I just did is bizarre.   It shows that either the clean install was a mistake on their part or they put it in because they knew this scenario would exist.

They should include and support this for their upgrade too. A little online documentation would have been helpful.

So they want us to leave or what?

From the UK Timesonline website:

The remarks appeared to boost Mr Obama but left the White House and the McCain campaign with a dilemma. The Republican candidate’s representatives found themselves in the extraordinary position of implying that the Iraqis did not really mean what they were saying.

Iraq: we want US troops out in two years – Times Online

So what’s the story here?  Last week it looked like a German magazine caught the Iraqi Prime Minister endorsing a schedule.  Then the Iraqis via the U.S. said “No, that was a mistranslation.”

Can’t they get their stories straight?

Flickr Firefox 3 problem

Update: I re-installed Vista 64 cleanly (wiped out everything) and I am using the Nvidia video drivers from Microsoft. Flickr is still misbehaving on FireFox 3 for me.

On the upside, adding these lines to Adblock Plus’s whitelist did fix my problems with Facebook:



On some of the installations I have, Firefox 3 and Flickr do not get along with each other. Here’s a screen shot of what’s happening.

Firefox 3 problem with Flickr

What happens is that when new content comes from Flickr’s website, the whole page does not get re-drawn. I drew a red box around the new page. Switching tabs forces the page to be redrawn but this is happening often.

This is not limited to Flickr. Facebook has problems where I click on something and nothing happens. This only occurs in Firefox 3, in Firefox 2 I never had any issue. The mozilla support forums are pretty looking but not really useful.

I hate to say it, but Flickr and Facebook are more reliable in Internet 7 than Firefox 3.

One day limo driver

This morning Lily was going to head to LaGuardia airport and catch a plane to Detroit. I was going to head to the office at my regular time and put in a fully productive day at the office.

The person who was going to pick her up forgot.  I ended up getting dressed in record time and driving her to the airport.  She was running late and had to leave NOW.

She made the flight but it was close.  I headed back home and called my boss to apologize for the last minute change in my schedule.  If I headed to the office I’d have gotten into the city almost 2 hours late and I was not sure if I had any conference calls. I don’t like making changes to my work schedule all off a sudden. Do it too often and it’s abusive.

The day worked out but the high point was my being on a call with my 6 year old son stage whispering “Daddy, can I play with the Nintendo DS?” and me pantomiming the reply of “LEAVE NOW OR FACE THE AWESOME WRATH OF DAD”.  All this while replying to people on the call with “Sure, that change should work. Let’s do it Friday after hours”.

Sign language is a parenting tool.

With Lily not coming back until the evening, I had to bathe both kids.  I need to install a power washer; did you know that little girls need hair conditioner?  Boys are much easier. Ivory soap can double as shampoo and no one ever notices on a boy.

Later on it was her turn to play a game but she kept giving the game to her brother.  She also complained often that he’s not letting her play. This is a life lesson for my son: watch out for girls.  That she just gave him the game did not stop her from trying to get him in trouble.

I’m really glad Lily came back today.

WordPress 2.6 (SVN copy not latest.tar.gz)

Well I ripped the band-aid off and did the upgrade. It feels like 2.5.5 or something, not as big a deal as 2.3 to 2.5 was.

I keep almost all of my files in wp-content so upgrading was not difficult.  I shut down my web server, renamed the old directory for the blog root, and used SVN to get a copy of 2.6 and moved the old contents to wp-content.

Once that was done, I started up the web server and ran the wp-admin/upgrade.php.  It was quick and painless. Everyone should backup their 2.5.1 installation (files and database) and do the upgrade once 2.6 is tar’ed up and placed on the web site.

Some changes:

  • The plugins management screen now lets you activate and deactivate selected plugins instead of doing them one at a time.
  • The Widgets in the design tab now work and move as you’d expect them. In 2.5.1 they would jump around when I moved them. I hardly ever play with them so that never bothered me.
  • Selecting a theme brings up a preview before you activate it.
  • Publishing via XMLRPC can now be turned off without killing trackbacks and pingbacks.
  • Atom feeds can be now turned off.
  • Post versions are now a feature.
  • Google Gears.
  • SSL admin works well! See Ryan’s post here. I’m using it now and it’s very seamless. It breaks Simple Tags suggested tags, but I’m sure that will be fixed eventually.

There are lots more changes of course; I’m just using it now.  So far it’s definitely worthwhile upgrade.

Geotagging on Flickr with

Since the Disney trip, I’ve been playing around with the camera more than ever.  Marking your photos with geographical location info is cool and I’m thinking of getting a GPS fob/software combination.

In my searching I located this discussion on Flickr.  It’s a bookmarklet (that is NOT a word) that lets you easily insert map info on your Flickr pictures.  Unlike Flickr’s map info, this one is based on Google Maps and is loads easier to search location by name.

The globe opened  up

Here is a link to Flickr map for an Epcot fire works picture I took.  Here is the additional link that the script inserted when I filled out the info.  It’s linked to and is very cool.

The website is very Firefox friendly; Internet Explorer 7 chokes on the site.

WordPress 2.6-RC1

Woo hoo, I see that WordPress 2.6-RC1 came with today’s SVN updates.

So far it looks and feels like 2.5.1 with some tweaks.  The Google Gears portion, better plug-in management, and now arranging widgets works.  When it is released as 2.6 I’ll upgrade this blog.

I’ll also get ready for the cries of support forum users who insist 2.5.1 get upgraded and maintained.