War On Bushes 
Sunday, 7 June, 2009, 14:13
Posted by Administrator
If some people had their way, certain houses would be completely surrounded by bushes. Lawns would be replaced by bushes. Trees would be replaced by bushes. You wouldn't be able to pull into your garage without hitting a bush. You wouldn't be able to get your lawnmower into the backyard without having to step off the sidewalk to avoid hitting friggin' bushes.

The gratuitous use of bushes ends now. The bushes on the north side of my house have been removed -- they've been gone for weeks now. The bushes on the south and east sides are still present (and they'll stay there as long as it's raining, as it is now), but they're going. There are a couple of reasonable-looking ones on the west side of the house so they may be worth keeping -- but three bushes happen to look a hell of a lot more tasteful than a completely-surrounded house.
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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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