Archive for November, 2010

Vista SP1 kills ntoskrnl.exe, seriously?

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Bought a new hard drive and started rebuilding one of the PCs at home; even found the original OS restore discs that came with it. Got Vista installed and started the update process. All went well for the first two days of updates, but then I got the box to the point it wanted to install Vista SP1. No problems for me, go ahead I’ll check on you in the morning. Oh look, it’s a pre-blue screen error on bootup about ntoskrnl.exe being missing or corrupt.

And of course neither repair nor rollback look like they will fix the problem. Time to see if I have a 32 bit vista box that has successfully applied SP1, and can ‘borrow’ it’s copy of the .exe.

sigh.

Disneyworld and more (part 1)

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Spent last week on a whirlwind tour of all the Disneyworld parks in Floirda, and the Universal Studio’s Orlando parks as well. Didn’t do any of the waterparks, it was only 80.

Day 1 started with the Magic Kingdom. Stop one was Space Mountain where the regular wait time was listed as only 10 minutes; if probably took most of that just walking through all the empty switchbacks. The ride itself was all the fun I remembered from Disneyland 20+ years ago. Definitely going to go back and volunteer for a lights-on ride =) On the way to Space Mountain, Mom pointed out the Stitch’s Great Escape ‘ride’, warning that you got spit on and how disgusting it was, so of course I had to check it out. You go into a ‘stage’ with a group of people, with animatronic robots cracking wise for a 5 minute ‘show’, then move on to the real show, where everyone gets seated around a central column. When it comes, the ‘spit’ is light but unexpected.

Next up was Big Thunder Mountain railroad, a more recent ‘classic’. A traditional steel tube rollercoaster, again with a really short regular wait time. We did that one twice in a row, the line was so short. Small World was a nice relaxation break, wait time 10 mins. Then on to Pirates and the Jungle Cruise, not in that order. This mid-week, off-season stuff rocks, both rides less than 10 min wait times. Still haven’t needed to use a FastPass yet.

Mom had something to do, phone calls to make or something, and she skipped out on Haunted Mansion, another classic just as I remembered it. We had a couple of times where they had to stop the ride (wheelchair people getting loaded, and then unloaded) that meant I got a good look at a couple of place you normally don’t have enough time to study.

All the important rides hit up once, it was on to Epcot for the second half of the day.

I was majorly psyched to find out that Captain EO was making an encore appearance. I have no idea how faithful the theater and pre-theaters were to the original, but the movie itself was untouched, as I understand it. It isn’t too long before you realize that the Borg were ripped off from this short film. It’s a strange moment when the Queen comes down from the ceiling in all her tube-y glory and you have that WTF moment of recognition.

We hit up Soarin’, which had the longest line of anything that day, somewhere around 25 mins as posted. That is one impressive ‘ride’, reminding me of Cirque du Soleil’s KA in terms of the engineering required to hold up so many people on a moving platform. The screen had some really noticeable dirt streaks on it that my mom says aren’t usually there. I had a nasty stopped up head, but she says there’s scents as well.

Test Track was our last in-park activity, and had the second longest line of the day at 20mins. It is an OK roller coaster. No loops or swirling really, just speed and bumpy bits.

Day 2 started in the Animal Kingdom, with 3 back to back rides of Everest. There was a moment of surreality on our last ride, when mom and I noticed a group of 20 Buddhist monks in orange robes, waiting for their turn on the ride. We did the Safari ride, saw lots of animals, including an ostrich that started to follow our truck.

We checked out the Lion King musical show, which was quite acrobatic.

Lunch was had at the Rainforest Cafe; the soup is tasty.

Afternoon two was Hollywood Studios. Starting with the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, a fun ride if the line is short, a too-short ride if the line is long. We did the backlot tour, getting to take part in the filmed ‘scene’ as Wild and Wacky Deck Crew. We also checked out the stunt car show. It was impressive and ate up a fair bit of time.

After a quick ride on the Rock n’ Roller Coaster, did another couple rides of the Twilight Zone, then off to dinner on top of the Contemporary, with an excellent view of the fireworks. And a birthday cake.

(see next post for days 3 and 4….)

Galaxy/Android grr

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

I dunno who to blame, the Galaxy Tab, or the Android OS, but the auto-brightness feature sucks ass, so it was one of the first things I turned off. Well it turns out that every time you open the camera, it turns auto-brightness back on. Fracking jerks.

Larry

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

First it got dark
Then it got scary
But then it turned out
That his name was Larry
So everyone sighed
A breath of relief
That all would be well
And held to that belief

Attachmate aquires Novell

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

I had heard the rumors, and now it turns out they are true. Should be interesting times ahead. Heck of a day to get back from vacation. Heck of a day for my boss to be out on her vacation.

UPDATE: And the snow is coming down this morning. It would be interesting if no one could make it to the office the day they make a major announcement.

Free Lost Fingers

Friday, November 12th, 2010

A big thanks to the Kirkland Performance Center for giving me free tickets, front row center, to a Lost Fingers show tonight. They do an energetic cross of 80’s pop with Django Reinhardt-esque acoustic guitar freakishness. And sometimes straight-up franco jazz swing standards I’d heard before from Frank Vignola. I came down with the start of a headache on the drive over, but once the show started, I was too entertained to notice. Three guys, two guitar and one stand-up bass. One of the guitarists was primary singer, the other was primary talker. The speed at which they all could play was quite impressive. The banter was witty, and the crowd receptive. There was one change of outfits during the intermission, and one encore. I think I heard they were staying around to sign and chat, but I really wanted to make sure I got to Chocolati before it closed, and the headache was making itself known again.

Samsung and the Galaxy Tab

Friday, November 12th, 2010

I’m a few more days of usage away from writing up my thoughts on using the Tab, but I can sure as heck share how annoyed Samsung has made me trying to get support for it so far. In fairness to Samsung, Apple does no better at updating their website in time with their product releases; with apple, there are several pages where the dropdowns don’t include the current release of the OS or iTunes, with samsung, galaxy tab support is iffy at best. Trying to register, you get stuck at a drop down that never fills in with any options, but is required. Trying to get support ends much the same way.

It seems like one of those things that I don’t understand how you could have someone tasked with product QA, who failed to notice the bugs.

Connector Comparison Closeup

Friday, November 12th, 2010



Connector Comparison Closeup

Originally uploaded by Xymon

The connectors for the iPad and Galaxy Tab look very similar, but they aren’t compatible.

Tmobile and the Galaxy

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

So, I love my iPad, but I have been wanting a Galaxy tablet as well. There are so many apps for Android that will never be available in Steve Jobs-land. I saw that T-Mobile is supposedly selling them starting today, and figured I’d see what there is to be seen.

First off, while the tablet is prominently listed on the t-mobile front page, it’s not actually available for purchase in their system. If you hit the “buy” button, you get taken to a list of available devices that doesn’t include the Galaxy. If you chat with t-mobile support, they say “it’s not in my list either, try again in two hours”. OK, fine, I want it today anyways, I’ll try calling a local t-mobile store. The landline to the Seattle downtown t-mobile store is such terrible quality, crackling with static, I didn’t bother trying to talk to anyone. The store in Lake City doesn’t even bother to answer the phones. I guess they don’t want a sales commission today.

I suppose I’ll just have to walk down to the store at lunchtime.

UPDATE: No one answers the phone at the Lake City T-Mobile store. Lucky me, they do answer the phone at the downtown store, and were willing to hold the 1 they had left for me, if I got there in 30 mins. When I got there, turns out they had not actually saved me one, but no one else had come in asking yet, so all’s well that ends well. They didn’t have any soft cases, only a hard case, which I declined for now. Kinda surprised the sales guy forgot to try and sell me a microSD card. Luckily, the device has 12gb free out of the box, so no worries yet. Annoyingly, the t-mobile.com website while letting you ask for accessories for the device, isn’t properly configured for it yet, and gives back irrelevant results. The connector looks like it would be compatible with the ipod connector, but it’s not. The device comes with DoubleTwist sync software, which automatically starts scanning your iTunes library once installed. Lucky for me it’s not a modal operation, so I was able to test sync a music file and listen to it. It is going to take a really long time to add everything in my library though.
Looks like some apps I have on my android phone are no longer available. A pity, I would have liked to play pac-man on the bigger screen, but even if I wanted to pay for it, NAMCO disappeared it from the store. Maybe there’s a way to sync apps between devices.

UPDATE2: It looks like the phone number they assigned to the device (they are a phone company, and it does support SMS) was recently owned by a bankruptcy lawyer. I just got a message from someone at the U.S. Trustees office calling the lawyer back. I can’t figure out how he managed to leave the message though; when I call the phone number, I get an automated message that says “this subscriber doesn’t accept incoming calls” and then the phone just rings forever. Maybe it’s the last message the lawyer’s phone was supposed to get, and it’s been waiting in cyberspace for who knows how long. Seems like a serious enough issue, I called the trustee back and left him a voicemail to let him know the message didn’t get to who he wanted it to get to.

Free Food

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

As a kid, I have…I dunno if I’d call them fond…let’s say favorably nostalgic, memories of eating dinner at church. Every wednesday night, we’d go eat at the baptist church. It was always the same 3 things, a salty beef dish, green beans, and mashed potatoes. I think the church in texas also had fried okra, at least sometimes, which I would not eat.
I am curious what gets served at similar functions in Seattle.