A couple of thoughts that crossed my mind:
Ever since I installed Civ4 on this Vista 64-bit machine (which didn’t go all too well, if I remember correctly) I ‘ve found myself start to dislike the game: I think ever since patch 1.61 was released (or maybe it was the one before that, but 1.61 was definitely a Vista required install) the game has been behaving differently and particularly ‘less diplomatic’ so to say.
Earlier this day, I updated both IE and Firefox on my older XP machine (My 2004 Toshiba A40 machine). I figured out that since Firefox was updating to some 3.0.11 version, I might just as well do an upgrade to Firefox 3.5. Frankly, I was surprised how flawless this went. Mozilla is doing some stuff good, I guess. Talking about the A40 “Tank”: this was my second personal laptop and it ‘officially’ retired in December 2006 or so, but eventually returned back in my hands last year. I did a lot of programming on that one and indeed it made it to The Netherlands were family members more or less seem to like it only because it was blue and sturdy.
I also played ARMA2 a couple of times and I’m sort of mixed about it. I’ll probably move a review to another date, but there’s probably hundreds of people curious if the game will run on their machines: I run it in high-mode (post-processing turned off, some graphical settings set to ‘normal’) in 1280 x 800 and it’s excellent and definitely playable. My (laptop) specs are seemingly ‘old': a 2.0 P7350, 4 gigs of RAM, 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT.
On Windows, I’ve been solely using Google’s Chrome browser, leaving my Firefox copy at bay: Firefox only gets into action if I need to confirm that Chrome’s cache-loading-stuff has gone amuck again. Yesterday, for example we suddenly lost connection to the Internets and when Chrome decided to go into indefinite looping mode (it does that particularly when its internal cache is screwed up), I started up Firefox only to run into the pretty dialog shown above (or on the right). It seems that Firefox’s updater requires a persistent connection nowadays. What happened to ‘working offline’ if no connection was found?
On my Linux/Ubuntu desktop machine, I use a combination of browsers, of course: On Gnome, Firefox is the main browser and yes, Opera is good second. When I log into KDE, Konqueror is my default browser: Though, with all this Flash stuff (and the Konqueror hang-ups), I always have Firefox ‘on the ready’.
This reminds me that I find Firefox a lot more ‘faster’ on Ubuntu than on Windows (XP/Vista), even if you consider the fact that the Ubuntu machine runs on 2005 hardware (Centrino, 512 MB, yadda-yadda). If you recall, earlier Firefox 3 (beta) releases for Ubuntu were disasters mainly because obscure SQLite transactions happening in the background of a browsing session (earlier here). However, since Chrome for Linux is officially still Alpha (if you’ve seen the images you know what I mean), there’s no rush to switch browsers on the Linux platform.
A couple of days ago, I was watching Planet Earth (BBC’s award winning documentary) and I noticed one of the documentary’s crew member trying to though out a can of sardines (see photo). We used to eat that stuff too, that is, on white bread and that. I don’t recall seeing it too often in our kitchen, so I wonder if it was (regularly) part of my dad’s yearly ‘Christmas package’1. It’s not that bad as it looks like. Seriously.
I have been running Windows Vista (64-bit, represent!) lately (the last three months or so) and don’t have really much to complain about except for that, yeah, it doesn’t run some of my old stuff (Delphi 7) and it generally feels ‘unorganized’ or ‘inconsistent’. My biggest pet peeve is Vista’s Reliability Monitor: its concept makes totally no sense. What is that saying again? Lies, damn lies and statistics?
A couple days ago, I marked ‘Fandro’ as a legacy project. I have not looked at the program’s sources for months and I’m not even sure if I still remember how it exactly works. I’m currently considering in changing the license for the program, provided that I can find a way to properly clean up the code and that. After all, my Delphi 7 copy doesn’t run under Vista 64.
I’ve been steadily working on Convendro (my FFMPEG front-end). I was planning to do some extra stuff this weekend, but decided against it and started up cleaning and reorganizing the code. There are still some open things I have to set my brains on: for example, I’m considering supporting other encoders, which will require changes to the way some of my Preset objects work. But yeah, I’ve been converting older avi files to mp4s (for my iPod Touch), just to see how it holds up against WinFF, Videora and others.
1 During Christmas, Dutch employers give their employees a box of ‘goodies’.
This will probably help a bunch of people out too: Obviously, Microsoft made changes to the shared networking stuff in Windows Vista. For example, in our case a printer has been set to shared on a Windows XP computer but the regular (or rather, usual way) of detecting this shared printer on Vista always ended up giving the dreaded ‘Access denied’ message (the usual way is to install such a printer as a network printer). The funny thing is that Windows Vista does detect the ‘shared folders’ as such (after going through all the hoops of verifying and changing the settings for the ‘workgroups’ [hey, that’s a WfW 3.11 leftover thing] and firewalls on both PCs).
So, to get to the gist, go to Control Panel | Printers, Add a new printer. Use Local Printer instead. Then, create a new port (leave default of Local Port), enter the complete URI to your shared printer (\\computername\printername) and you should be all set.
I find myself browsing the web using Ubuntu’s Firefox (in a virtual machine) instead of using Windows’. Yes, but is that the real deal? Yes, it is. Notice that if you requested your free Ubuntu disks, you also get free Ubuntu stickers. Where are Microsoft’s? I hope the Solaris kit comes with free stickers. Bonus link: A CIO reviews Ubuntu.
Talking about Microsoft: you’ve probably read that many companies have their doubts about moving from XP to Vista. And then there are still issues with the XBOX 360 (rumoured price cut, Balmer decribes extra warranty as ‘painful’).
Stepping away from computers: Austrian researchers debunked the notion that full moon causes more (workplace) injuries. A team of astronomers and statisticians analyzed over 500,000 industrial incidents and found no link to lunar activities. Yes, but what about Uranus?
And last but not least, I read the transcript of an online chat with J.K. Rowlings and, well, uh, Potter-fans. Here’s a question: will the Harry Potter series ever make it to the public domain, so that our grand-grand children can enjoy it by printing it using this EBM device?
Left over stuff from the weekend:
The Neuros OSD, which claims to be the first Open Source Linux Embedded Media Center for US$ 229.00 or something. It’s the buzz around now since it’s Linux-based and (evidently) a growing community of hackers developing software for it: from FTP servers to XMMS2 streaming servers.
The other thing I noticed was the Debian Windows boot loader/Installer: it’s brilliant, although I have my doubts about it. When I have time, I’ll do a test run.
Windows Vista officially goes on sale today, but as you guessed it, don’t expect line-ups. What is really new to it? Even the beta-testers (the Windows fans as other would call them) don’t have me convinced. Better user-experience and productivity? They promised that since Windows 95, if you remember. And if Vista does break-even, what else can we expect in the future?1, 2, 3, 4 I bet that there are hundreds of discussions going on about that within Microsoft. Listen: if I’m not allowed to make a legitimate copy of a file and listen it elsewhere on my own property and on my own hardware, count me out of your ‘Digital Revolution’.