But what do I know? I'm just a twice clicken brown shirt teabaggin tjroll. Right? --PatP

Not now. There are dirty, swaying men at my door. They’re looking for Brian. I need to go deal with that. --Thor

If Joss Wedon was near me, I'd of kicked his ass. --PaulC

Monday, June 29, 2009

Microsoft gives power-users the shaft (again)

Yay! Windows 7 is set for release in 6 brand-new(ly named) flavors! Free upgrades for everybody! Well… Okay, not everybody. Just if you buy Vista between now and October. Cheap upgrades for everybody else! Well… Okay, not everybody. Just the users who are upgrading to Home Premium or Pro. Vista Ultimate users (that’s me), you’re out of luck. Not a smart move on Microsoft’s part.

Here’s my take. I haven’t used Windows 7 yet, but from what I’ve read, the only new feature I’d be getting for my full-priced, 300 dollar upgrade is jump lists. As far as I can tell, Windows 7 is Vista, re-packaged (barely) plus jump lists.

Are jump lists cool? Sure. Am I going to fork out three hundred bones for a novelty feature? Under no circumstances.

Just for reference, here’s Microsoft’s list of “What’s new in Windows 7.” I’m not going to copy and paste the whole what’s new site. You don’t need to wade through all that just to read my comments. I’ll just summarize each bullet.

Desktop: Aero shake, peek, and snap

Okay Aero shake sounds neat, but it’s no faster or more convenient than using the keyboard shortcut that performs essentially the same function. Win+m to minimize or restore every currently open window.

Peek also has an already existing shortcut: Win+d to show my naked desktop, and again to bring all my windows back.

Okay. Snap is actually useful. Quickly snapping windows to convenient sizes is pretty handy. I’ll bet there is also a keyboard shortcut or easy tweak to make Vista do this as well. I just don’t know it.

Gadgets and animated wallpaper

They got rid of Windows sidebar and now all your gadgets just float about on the desktop. Just what every desktop needs: More clutter.

Animated wallpaper isn’t new. Vista has it. If you were really determined, you could even do it with XP. I never did it, but I saw it on the PC of one of my friends in middle school. It was cool then, and it’s cool now. But it’s not new.

Homegroup, “share with” and “read only”

Yeah… We’ve had file sharing since… ethernet? We’ve had file-sharing that works since win2k (maybe even before). The “share with…” context menu was in XP, and the “read only” file attribute has been around long enough that it’s called a file attribute. It’s been part of Windows since ‘98 at the latest. You can call it a “file-type” all you like, but I still know it’s an attribute.

Homegroup sounds like an automatic script that asks you what you want to share and how as part of the network setup wizard. While that script may be new in 7, it’s still just file-sharing.


Jumplists are neat. A jumplist is very basically a mini start menu for every app in your taskbar. The jump list for your web browser might have your ten most visited websites on it, plus a couple you want to have available on-the-fly. Is it cool? Yeah. Will I use it? Probably not after the novelty wears off.

Windows Live Essentials

I am composing this post using Windows Live Essentials. Not new in 7.

Windows Search

I could make an argument for this having been around since 95, but I won’t, because it’s a completely different application with similar purposes. It IS, however, an integral part of Vista. They claim it’s faster in 7. Well, if you don’t have 4 Gb of DDR2 plus another 4 from using a thumb drive with readyboost, maybe windows search 7 will be faster than windows search Vista. But I’ll believe it when somebody else tells me they saw it.

64-bit support

There is a 64-bit version of XP, and a working 64-bit version of Vista. The only (singular) problem I have had with 64-bit Vista is that IE 64 won’t run the netflix movie player. So I have to use the 32-bit edition. Honestly, this OS is a nightmare. I run games as old as… Diablo 2, and I have no compatibility issues. Now if people would start supporting ipv6…

Performance Improvements

Based on reports of what Vista was like on launch, I can’t imagine how anything but improvement would be possible. Based on my experience of how fast Vista runs now, and how much faster I can make it run if I beat it with my admin stick, I say they probably made superfetch a little more efficient, default disabled all those networking and admin services that the average user doesn’t need, and gave Aero a tweak. All the things most Vista Ultimate users can do with their phasers set on tickle.

Power Management

Gets better all the time. I’m sure 7 will have better power management for both laptops and desktops than Vista. I’m also pretty sure Vista users will be able to patch up to the new power saving software once 7 hits SP1.

Easier Wireless Networking

Based on their description, it’s nothing more than “prettier wireless networking.”

Windows Media Center

Every feature listed here is available in the Vista edition of Media Center (not to be confused with media player).

Windows Touch

Admittedly awesome. We first heard about this in connection with the Microsoft table, which was said to begin appearing in bars, restaurants and other commercial venues last November. I saw one in The Day the Earth Stood Still, and they’ve got them on NCIS (I think). Coolest thing to come out of Microsoft since the sound of a hovering AAT in The Phantom Menace. That being said, I’m sticking with my keyboard and trackball until I can afford to throw money at a touchscreen. Even then, I’m still sticking with Tracky and Keeb.

To sum up: Yeah, there are one or two cool, truly new features in Windows 7. And if I could upgrade practically for free like all the average users, I would. But I’m not shelling out three hundred bits of eight for what essentially amounts to conveniences and novelties that I won’t miss.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Most Interesting Man in the World

So I was at Chili’s with my wife this week for dinner and, since there was a wait for the dining room, we sat in the lounge.

Ordinarily I don’t like to sit in the lounge, because it tends to lead to me getting yelled at for paying too much attention to the TVs and not paying any attention to her. And that’s what happened this time as well.

On the TV this time were several things that intrigued me. One of which was a NESN show about (you’ll never guess) the red sox, in which they talked a lot about the “Red Sox Nation.” I had no idea this was an actual organization. But that’s not what I want to blog about today.

Today I would like to introduce to you the most interesting man in the world. If you’ve seen a Dos Equis commercial in the past few weeks, you now who I’m talking about. I’d seen a couple of these commercials recently and, to be quite honest, they are the only commercials that have ever made me want to drink any particular beer. Except for this one, but I already drink Guiness, so it doesn’t count.

Anyway, When I saw this particular Dos Equis commercial at Chili’s, I thought to myself (and said aloud) “that’s a guy who knows how to field-skin a moose.” And since I wrote a piece on Esquire’s list of things every man should know, I thought I would re-wake that topic to say this:

Yes PaulC, You’re right. If I’m at a party and one guy begins his story with “you’ll never believe who I ran into at the deli counter,” and another guy starts his story with “so I was out in the woods, skinning this moose…” I’m listening to the moose story.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hottest cartoon chick

So I posted this on my facebook and thought it would be good for a blog as well. My opinion is that Hayley Smith (American Dad) is just about the hottest cartoon girl ever. Now, when I say cartoon, I mean “cartoon,” not “animated.” ‘Cause let’s face it. You just can’t beat some of those Final Fantasy female leads (Tifa, Aeris, etc.).

And I don’t mean she’s just good-looking either. She’s a cartoon. Not much to see here. It’s more a matter of personality. If Hayley Smith was real, I could date her. Check out this clip from American Dad.

So I want opinions here. Who’s your favorite cartoon girl? If you’re of the female persuasion, who’s your favorite cartoon dude? And yes, that really is Patrick Stewart.

And here’s one more clip from American Dad that has nothing to do with Hayley but that I love anyway because Steve’s absolutely right. Algebra is awesome.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pwong 2

I’m still looking for a way to display my Kongregate favorites in a widget on here, but for now I’ll just announce when I find an awesome one. Pwong 2 is just such a game. Its like Pong on crack. And great music to boot. Check it out.

Now I’m off to find a solution (or at least search for one).

PS Click here to compete in my Pwong 2 challenge.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I just finished (no joke. Five minutes ago) reading 2001: a Space Odyssey. Wow. You really have to read the book to get anything at all from the movie. All that stuff with the apes makes sense now, and the first third of the movie actually means something.

If you haven’t read this book, do it right now. If I can read it in a week (and I did), you can do it in less. I didn’t realize that while Stanley Kubrick was filming the movie, Clarke was still writing the book, which wasn’t in bookstores until after the film was released.

Okay. I could just type every word of the epilogue, but I won’t. Go to a bookstore, or download the book, or go to the library. If you’re not going to read the book, at least read the epilogue. It doesn’t give anything away. It’s not even part of the story.

So… Last week I read Caves of Steel, and that was good, but different. Asimov is a great storyteller. Clarke is a great writer. Asimov tells an engrossing story of a detective in a future society where robots are third-class citizens. It’s a very complex social environment and it’s very cool.

Clarke rights about people. Humans. Every page is drenched in so much imagery that sometimes you have to read a page twice because you get so wrapped up in it that you forget what he’s actually describing.

Concerning machines: HAL is real. He acts like a computer; he thinks like a computer. Asimov’s robots… Not so much. They’re more romanticized. They’re people who happen to be made of metal. Very far-fetched and hard to relate to. When you read an Asimov book, you put reality on hold and take it on faith that these things are possible.

Reading Odyssey, I had to leave the light on. I measured my blackberry (on whom I read the whole book) to make sure it’s dimensions aren’t exactly 1:4:9 (It’s close enough that I had to measure it twice). I didn’t have to suspend reality because everything in the book is not so much “within the realm of plausibility” as it is “completely believable.” I mean War of the Worlds believable.

While I don’t mean to knock Asimov, I’d forgotten that reading a book could be this much fun. The last book I read that was this good was Dune. I wonder if 2001 is on blu-ray yet…

What recession?

I know I’ll get some comments on this, and that’s exactly what I’m hoping for.

What the hell is everybody complaining about? Okay. I can see what the filthy rich have to complain about. They’ve lost money on the stock market, and are still ridiculously wealthy. I can see what big corporations like Wal-Mart and the Home Depot have to complain about. They’ve raised their prices almost not at all, have eliminated almost no jobs, and have lost almost no business (that from my own personal experiences at the depot).

Gas prices seem to be fairly stable, my electric bill has only gone down since I moved out of Troy two (three?) years ago, and I still don’t pay taxes. Okay, this year I’ll be paying taxes, but that’s not the point.

I have two questions here.

1. What the hell is everybody going off the wall about? A couple of companies that had no sense of how to operate in a free market went under. Somebody call the waaaaaa-mbulance. Yeah. I know that cost people jobs, but GM ond… (I’ve already forgotten the other one, that’s how upsetting it is)… didn’t have a lot of factories in this country (correct me if I’m wrong), and the two largest employers in the world (Wal-Mart and Home Depot) are still hugely US-centered, and are HIRING! The Home Depot is desperate for people! The amount of money they’re throwing at their employees, pretty much just for showing up, is extraordinary!

In three years of being officially classified as “poverty” (meaning I paid no income tax), I never once felt the “sting” of our “faltering economy.” In the past year, I’ve bought a 37” LCD television, a blu-ray player, a Nintendo Wii, and most recently, a PC that will eat yours for a light snack. And I saw Star Trek in DLP four times. In short, I’m making “barely enough money to live on,” (a little over 30k between my wife and me) and I’m living like a king. What is everybody whining about?

2. Why don’t I pay any taxes? I’m not saying I want to give somebody my money, but it’s really not fair, is it? It’s not fair that some people give up to thirty-five percent of their paycheck to the federal government and I don’t give them anything. I think the illustrious Sam Seaborn says it best:

Henry, last fall, every time your boss got on the stump and said, "It's time for the rich to pay their fair share," I hid under a couch and changed my name. I left Gage Whitney making $400,000 a year. Which means I paid twenty-seven times the national average in income tax. I paid my fair share. And the fair share of twenty-six other people. And I'm happy to 'cause that's the only way it's gonna work. And it's in my best interest that everybody be able to go to schools and drive on roads. But I don't get twenty-seven votes on Election Day. The fire department doesn't come to my house twenty-seven times faster, and the water doesn't come out of my faucet twenty-seven times hotter. The top one percent of wage earners in this country pay for twenty-two percent of this country. Let's not call them names while they're doing it is all I'm saying.

That was nine years ago and numbers change, but the point is still valid. I dunno. MY first question was the important one. It just led to this one.

So I honestly want to know what’s going on and why I should care. Somebody please comment. And yes, I’ve been reading the news, and I know (roughly) what things are happening on a large scale. I guess my larger concern is “umm… So?”

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Help me Anthony Hopkins, you’re my only hope.

First of all, this isn’t happening, anymore than film adaptations of the holy trilogy.

Here’s the article from io9 about how to reboot Star Wars. Despite the author’s optimism, this will not happen while George W. Lucas is alive. Or gets bored with Indiana Jones (please God let that be soon). At this point in SW history, Lucas is just playing in his sandbox. Everybody else is all “hey. c… cool. More Star Wars. That’s… That’s great George. Thanks.” (translation: “*Sigh*… Well, it’s Star Wars, and I like Star Wars, and Revenge of the Sith wasn’t horrible, so maybe this won’t be either.”)

I’ll admit, I was excited when they announced the live-action series. But that was before I moved out of my parents’ house, and I (and televised science fiction) have grown up since then. Bottom line: as long as there’s still sand in “the Dune Sea” (that’s what he calls his sandbox), Lucas will not reboot Star Wars.

On the other hand, he is just the douchebag to pay somebody else to do it and just take all the money himself.

That being said, and having seen how well Star Trek’s reboot went, I got excited reading this article. I got right up to the point of casting it in my head. So everybody post your cast list. Or just one or two people you would love to see. I’ll post mine tomorrow-ish cause I am dead tired. My husband’s got me running all over the place while she’s at work all day.

Verizon, Comcast and Republicans! Oh my!

First, here’s this note that Ashley (who has still not visited my blog) sent around. It’s about the Republican take on freedom of religion and why we need coliseums in every state capital (to feed republicans to the lions). Just briefly, here’s my opinion on that.

This country was founded on a single principal: liberty. The founding fathers had this crazy idea that I should be able to do or say anything I want, as long as it doesn’t prevent you from doing the same. I can worship whatever I want, however I want, at a reasonable volume, without raping or murdering anybody. If you disagree (and I’ve said this before), get the f@#& out of my country. I don’t need to convince you of anything, and you’re too stupid to be swayed by a reasonable argument. There’s a sign on the door that says “no fascists.” Beat it. No discussion. Just get out.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system

Yay Verizon! Yay Comcast! Go Red Sox! Every day! Woooo!!!!

As may be evident from the above nonsense, I am very happy with my new service providers. I’m online, I’ve got my crackberry, and I’m happy. I don’t have to wait eight days to watch Burn Notice (oh my God! They killed Doctor Jackson!) on Hulu (just what the hell is a “Bing-a-thon,” and did that little girl get a puppy?), I can watch South Park again, and I get NESN. That’s right. All you New Yorkers can kiss my butt, cause I’m watchin’ Red Sox reruns (they do that, right?).