It's that time of year again. 
Tuesday, 30 October, 2012, 21:09
Posted by Administrator
Yes, Halloween is upon us. Adam has decorated the house while Julie and I are at work, Mario and Julie have matching costumes, my costume is delightfully simple and frightening to some citizens of the Internet, and Adam's Michael Myers costume is ready to go.

But that's not the time of year I'm talking about. Last year I participated in Movember, growing a moustache to rival the shadiest trucker's. I had originally planned to grow a winter beard starting the morning after Halloween, but I have postponed that plan until ... uh ... Decembeard, at which point I will shave the 'stache and start anew for the winter.

You can track my progress at the same page as last year -- The picture I've uploaded as a starting point is pretty old, but let's face it, I look pretty much the same all the time so it's no biggie.
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Monday, 22 October, 2012, 01:21
Posted by Administrator
Mario's second birthday was three weeks ago, and the rate at which he learns words, phrases, and actions has accelerated noticeably. He can name the animals on the flash cards we show him, and can name different types of vehicles; he has gained the ability to say things like "of course I can" and "want Whyatt" (when he wants to play the Super Why video game on Julie's phone); he can mimic the faces I make when crunching ice cubes, and knows that "time for a bath" means "we need to go upstairs, fill the tub, remove your clothes, and get in the tub."

The end of October is also upon us. I've decided, based on my participation in Movember last year, to grow a winter beard starting November 1st. I don't know if this disqualifies me from Movember -- after all, it shouldn't matter what's on the participant's face, as long as awareness (and funds) are raised -- but it will be cool.
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Windows 6.2 
Saturday, 8 September, 2012, 00:42
Posted by Administrator
I work with Windows. Comes with the territory of working for a Microsoft Gold Partner. I'm eyebrows-deep in Windows all day, from Server 2003 up to Server 2008 R2 and from XP to 8. It gets cumbersome to name all versions of Windows, so I refer to anything newer than Vista as 6.x: Vista itself was 6.0, Windows 7 was 6.1, and Windows 8 is 6.2. Same goes for Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2, and 2012, which are their respective server counterparts. Makes it much easier to distinguish between modern Windows operating systems and everything older, as Vista introduced many concepts that didn't exist in previous versions.

Given that this is the environment I work in, it is vitally important that I stay on top of the latest developments in Microsoft's operating system. I read articles, watch videos, listen to podcasts, and so on. It came as absolutely zero surprise to me, then, that there were all sorts of doom and gloom predictions for Microsoft's latest offering. They were there when XP was released because it had the Start menu with the now-familiar frequently-used list. They were there when Vista was released because of Aero's heavier requirements and UAC. They were there for Windows 7 because it really didn't look that different to Vista. The doom & gloom is much louder now, though, because Microsoft has done away with the Start menu entirely.

I'll skip to my impression of this: it's no big deal. I had no idea how much I didn't use the Start menu until it was taken away. I guess that means I rely more heavily on my keyboard than the doomsayers, then. Other operating systems don't have equivalent menus anymore either -- I'm posting this from Ubuntu 12.04 LTS right now and it has a full-screen menu, but it doesn't have the same level of functionality as Windows 8's Start screen.

My favorite Windows 8 feature is the multi-monitor taskbar. I bought an Ultramon license back in my Windows XP days and used it until Windows 7 Service Pack 1 was released. The Windows 8 taskbar gives me the functionality I really used in Ultramon without having to install a third-party application to handle it, which is great.

Also, Internet Explorer 10 is faster than ever at downloading Google Chrome.

So, overall, my work hasn't been impacted by the switch to Windows 8, despite all of the negative press the OS is receiving. I'd recommend going into it with an open mind and a clear head -- you'll probably enjoy the different experience.
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Becoming what you want to destroy 
Tuesday, 4 September, 2012, 20:58
Posted by Administrator
Yep, this is another Mass Effect 3 post. What can I say, it's a good game, and the recent addition of the Leviathan DLC was quite welcome. If you don't want spoilers, stop reading here.

I have now finished my second Mass Effect 3 playthrough. It took over 26 hours this time around because I knew what I was getting into, and that there was meant to be an order to the events. This allowed me to be more thorough with my investigations and such which, in turn, allowed me to maximize my war assets.

This time around, I chose the Control ending -- hence the subject of this post. I have all but forgotten the original ME3 endings since Extended Cut was released, so I'm looking at the latest iteration of choices here, and I have to say, despite being colored Paragon Blue as I noted two posts ago, it's really not a nice ending. Basically, Commander Shepard sacrifices herself to gain complete control over the Reapers and, in doing so, becomes a Reaper herself. The consequences of this action are explained in a somewhat mechanical fashion, which isn't particularly surprising given that Shepard is now a Reaper, but it has no emotion. The Synthesis ending, on the other hand, is narrated by EDI and is nicely done.

So, despite being Paragon Blue, the Control ending left me feeling pretty empty.

I have started a fresh Commander Shepard in the original Mass Effect now. This playthrough will lean completely to the Renegade side of the spectrum. I suspect I'll choose the red Destroy ending this time around, hopefully after maximizing the chance that Shepard will live through it ... but we'll see how my thought process progresses as I go through the series.
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Happy Anniversary, Julie 
Saturday, 18 August, 2012, 18:13
Posted by Administrator
Happy 5 years, Julie :)

I had a long, drawn-out post typed out that criticized the early detractors of my relationship with Julie, but I figured I'd better leave that off for today, given that this marks the beginning of my 6th year of marriage to the most excellent wife a man could ask for.
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