You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2007.
Ah, Leona. We sure will miss you, dear.
Most of my days are filled with events and interactions that are interesting to the point of distraction to my hordes of readers.
Caring as I do about the emotional and mental health of each and every one of you, it is with great relief that I inform you that nothing of any interest occurred today here at serotoninrain central.
You can all get a good night’s sleep now in preparation for a more normal, distractingly interesting day tomorrow.
No, no. Please don’t thank me. I do it all for you.
The plot thickens: My wife informed me after I wrote this post that the scrolling issue described below appeared yesterday. This morning’s attempted blue screen of death startup was the first since yesterday’s boot, so it could very well be a result of the same problem. Also interesting: Will’s blog scrolls normally. All the other sites my wife visited (including this one) do not. Thank you to those of you who’ve responded.
A while back (like two or three years ago) I installed a Xtasy graphics card in my Dell desktop. It uses the ATI Radeon 9800 (I think) graphics accelerator. Periodically the driver would crash and we would see the blue screen of death.
Today we had one of those crashes but my usual hard reboot didn’t fix the problem. Having exhausted my reservoir of expertise, I called ATI and got this totally imperious jerk on the other end. Maybe he was having a bad day. Anyway he just about yelled at me for not having uninstalled the ATI graphics driver. I eventually did and restarted the computer, keeping him apprised of my progress.
As I was waiting for the computer to reboot, he hung up on me! I regret to confess that I used a nasty word to describe him right then.
The computer rebooted okay. But then I had trouble when I turned it off (the correct way) and turned it back on again. Eventually I got the thing to where it starts up and displays properly, but all the graphics acceleration is gone now. The most immediate sign of this is that scrolling is not smooth. The whole screen gets redrawn with every wheel turn or use of the scroll bar.
Out of the box, this machine scrolled smoothly. I was hoping when I disabled the graphics card that I would be at least back to where I was. The computer is usable, and the jumpy scrolling is really just an annoyance. But if any of you have ideas about getting me back to where I was, I’d love to hear them.
Remember how I was all wistful about R5. Yeah, well, that was when I thought I wouldn’t be doing it for a while.
So, I was working R5 today and it was an exercise in frustration. One of the regular carriers was gaming the matrix [that's the system which determines who works what route using seniority and route assignment preferences] so he could get an extra day off on Saturday. The result of his shenanigans is that Doug (who I sub for) agreed to work Saturday and so I’m relegated to routes 8 and 9, which means a much shorter day, and therefore a lot less pay, for me. Plus, Jim Regular’s new sub did the route on Saturday and left me five feet of mail to case, that’s what I saw when I got in this morning. Then there were the flats. Lots of flats. I took over 30 feet of mail (not counting parcels) to the street. Not a record on R5, but having to case almost 30 of those feet in one morning might be.
Out on the route, it seemed I went slower with each passing hour. I can usually deliver R5 in about 3 hours plus a few minutes (on a Monday). It took my almost 4 hours today. I think two of those hours were spent on the last 50 boxes. No, that’s an exaggeration, it just felt that way.
Even so, the day that would not end eventually did. Now I get to do it all again on Tuesday (Jim Regular called me today and said he has “stuff to do” tomorrow). File this under “be careful what you pray for.”
P.S. — one good thing about today. The schedule for next week and the week after was posted, and there’s a whole row of x’s next to my name for the second week, meaning that my vacation (at least the first half of it) has now been publicly displayed. Still no signed leave slip, but this is almost as good.
Late last night at a Microsoft server farm somewhere, a tech looked at the power cord laying on the floor and said, “Hey, who unplugged this?” His buddy on the lateshift replied, “Oh, that was me. I needed a place to plug in the coffee maker.”
Apparently the Windows Genuine Advantage crisis has now been rectified. You may update at will.
If you are a windows user like me, this is something you should know:
Microsoft is having some sort of major melt down of its Windows Genuine Advantage verification service. The biggest headache for those of us who
are stuck with use windows is that if you try to install any software that demands verification by WGA, your computer could get tagged as having an invalid copy of windows. That could be bad.
Here’s what ARS has to say…
If you use Windows, do your best to avoid anything that requires a ping to WGA. That means you should stay away from patches and add-ons until the coast is clear. WGA will not reach out across the Internet and deactivate your copy of Windows, but you should avoid talking to a WGA server for any reason.
For those of you doing installations and upgrades this weekend, we recommend that you avoid activation at this time. Remember that you can run Windows legally for 30 days without activating.
If you attempt a validation and it fails, your install may be marked as non-genuine, which could lead to several annoyances. First things first, do not reboot a Windows machine that has been marked as non-genuine. Once you do so, you will lose functionality and the Aero interface. It would be best to wait until this problem has been resolved.
The Aero interface for those of you who (like me) are clueless, is the graphical interface for Windows Vista.
I’m not altogether certain that this outage affects XP users, but I’m not taking any chances. I’ve turned off my Automatic Updates service until the coast is clear.
If any of you readers with a higher Geek IQ than myself want to chime in/correct me/vent at me regarding this situation, please use the comments and I’ll update this post accordingly.
And as for all you Mac users: don’t even start.
So there I was, having finished R9 (they called me at 5:43 this morning to do the shortest route in the PO), staring blindly at the iPod in my hand. It said, “Now Playing” the song “Finally Woken” by Jem. But nothing was playing, and nothing was happening when I pushed the button, any button. I sat and looked at the thing, waiting for it to wake up from its silicon slumber. The display would not change.
I drove off. Periodically, on the way to Java’s Brewin’ in Limerick about 6 miles away, I would glance at the display to see that nothing had changed.
At the coffee house I fired up the notebook, launched iTunes and plugged the sucker in. The thing crashed my iTunes!
After restarting the computer and relaunching iTunes I discovered the 5 Rs. All I had to do was
restart reset the thing and now it’s working fine. I had no idea you could turn the thing off or restart it. Now I know, and the world is a much happier place.
So here’s a randomization celebration* (the links are samples from amazon.com and require a windows media player plug in)…
Girl U Want (Devo)
Pour Me Out (PFR)
We Can Work It Out (PFR & Phil Keaggy)
The Way (Fastball)
Epoca (by Gotan Project from The Truth About Charlie soundtrack)
Once Again (Matt Redman)
Driving Sideways (Aimee Mann)
Mentira (Manu Chao also from The Truth About Charlie soundtrack… I wish I knew what the lyrics to this song meant).
Off the Ground[Live] (Paul McCartney)
Hanging By A Moment (Lifehouse)
*Most random pod lists go to 10, but mine goes to 11.
Forget sugar! You already did, didn’t you.
Well, now it looks like you’ll be able to power your electronic thingamajig with your hand, or I suppose other available body part(s).
The HumanTouch iPod with the Rick Springfield action figure tie-in probably won’t be available for next year, however. Try to conceal your disappointment.
Here’s an interesting multi media article about “The Loudness War” in modern music.
Have you ever wondered why one song on your pod might be way louder than the previous one, causing you to drop your blackberry and spill your mega-mocha mula-mula as you reach in a panic for the radio’s volume knob and swerve into three parked SUVs? Me too. This article will explain why.
If you want the full text version of the article, which is much more technical, that is here.
Be careful out there.