CPX 2.0 
Friday, 22 May, 2009, 20:36
Posted by Administrator
We're heading over to CPX (www.cpxsports.com) tomorrow to have some fun ... by "have" I mean "shoot," and by "fun" I mean "people." Paintball ... what great stress relief! Nothing like running around and painting your opponents white.

I've upgraded the A-5s with response triggers, bringing the upgrade count to three -- the previous two upgrades were collapsible stocks and Apex-equipped barrels. They look pretty sweet, and when I tested them they appeared to perform nicely too. I don't have the response triggers turned up too high at all, so nobody needs to be worried about getting relentlessly beaten with 15 paintballs per second.

I wish I could take a barrel-mounted camera in there, but CPX doesn't allow those on the field and I don't have one, so that's not going to happen.
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Windows 7's XP mode 
Wednesday, 6 May, 2009, 20:41
Posted by Administrator
... so people are all up in arms about how not all hardware will support Windows 7's XP mode, griping about how Microsoft sucks and things of that nature. How very typical of the community to start bitching about this stuff.

Let me take a step back ... x86-64 hasn't made it into every household just yet, and the 64-bit operating systems that can take advantage of the architecture haven't fully filtered down to the consumer. The architecture first hit the market with AMD's Opteron processor (which targeted the server market), but it's been around since 2003. Hardware and software manufacturers have been given plenty of time to get their act together and ensure compatibility. Yes, I know there were previous 64-bit implementations, but let's see what happens when Joe Consumer buys an Itanium-based workstation and attempts to load his copy of Windows XP Home on there ... not gonna happen.

If something that has been around since 2003 can't make it into each and every PC-owning home, then AMD-V and Intel VT-x sure as hell won't either -- they came out around 2006. People who go out and buy a grossly overpowered machine to handle their Word docs, Youtube browsing, and Excel files are probably covered here and should be glad. But, as I said, if you go get a $250 clearance machine at a big box retailer that's probably been sitting on a shelf for 18 months, you're pretty much guaranteed not to have the latest technology.

With the above said, we can't say that all CPUs have the 64-bit extensions, and we also can't say that all CPUs have hardware-assisted virtualization capability. But if you want to use these features and you have a pile of crap computer, don't you think it's time to upgrade?

Also, if you don't want to upgrade, Microsoft Virtual PC has been available for free since 2006. No, it doesn't look as slick as Windows 7's XP mode, but it serves the same function and does so without the need for hardware virtualization support.

Anyway ... have fun chewing on my rambling there.
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Yardwork Season Has Begun 
Saturday, 2 May, 2009, 23:58
Posted by Administrator
... actually, it started last week but rain + lawnmower = :(

So ... Julie uprooted dandelions while I took care of the edging, bushes, and grass. As I was finishing up the backyard Julie's mom and brother showed up. Then, not long after that, her aunt and uncle showed up as well, and all hell broke loose. Bushes were cut down, garden boxes were removed, plastic bags laid down and covered in rocks (it'll help keep water out of the crawlspace).

Very productive day overall. If this is how productive it is when I go outside while on call, maybe I should do it more often!
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Windows 7 and Me 
Wednesday, 8 April, 2009, 20:09
Posted by Administrator
I like Windows 7, don't get me wrong. There are quite a few features of Windows 7 that I've gotten used to in the month or two I've used it -- I love the ability to drag maximized windows between my two monitors without having to resize them first, and the way the taskbar works is so much nicer than previous versions. However, the fact remains that Windows 7 is still a beta, and it will eventually expire ... that, and like all other Windows desktop operating systems, virtualization support still requires additional software. As we only have one server that can handle any sort of virtualization, and that server is quite heavily utilized at the moment, I figured I'd need to take matters into my own hands, so I loaded Windows Server 2008 Standard on my desktop machine. After a few tweaks here and there, it looks exactly like Windows Vista, but it allows me to use Hyper-V instead of Virtual PC 2007 or the free version of VMWare. Good stuff.
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The New Office 
Wednesday, 8 April, 2009, 20:02
Posted by Administrator
Gene told us that, when Fountainhead moved from their Bensenville location to the Wall Street building, it was a step up. Moving from the Wall Street building to this new one in Schaumburg, then, is a gigantic leap. Gone are the wild temperature fluctuations and inevitable server thermal alarms that went with them. We are no longer scared to enter the elevators -- the freight elevator in this building is nicer than the general-use elevators in the old.

The new office is only one mile closer to our house, but my drive is 12 to 15 minutes shorter thanks to the new office's proximity to 53/290/355 or whatever it's called here.

Things are still settling down from an IT perspective. I've got a 1000-foot spool of CAT6, hundreds of ends, a couple of wall jacks, crimping tools, and cable testers ready to go. I've found that it's a bit of a pain to crimp CAT6, but I've got some CAT5e ready to go for machines that don't need the 6.

All in all, good times.
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