The eternal “Configuring updates…”

Well, I have been setting up the Vista box from a clean install so that I can get it ready for testing and/or development work. All seemed well, Vista installed fine, updated like it was supposed to from our WSUS server. After a couple of days, I decided it was time to go ahead and install Office 2007 on it. Did that. Some updates installed, that was fine.

Then, it needed ONE MORE UPDATE. Wouldn’t you know it, that is the one that killed it.
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Sabine Pass Schools and how to handle Hurricane Ike

Well, they finally made the call to evacuate Sabine Pass, which is right on the Gulf Coast of Texas without any protection from storms at all. Last night, the Sabine Pass ISD had a posting saying that school would be out on Friday, Sept 12, because they “anticipated… rising water” on the main highway in and out of town. However, they daw was supposed to be an in-service day for teachers. Meaning, they didn’t want to strand students, but teachers were OK!

However, today’s page has been updated! Both Thursday and Friday is out, except they still seem to be in-service days for teachers!

Why I don’t like Google’s Terms of Service

When Google prepared to release their Chrome browser, it seems they just copied their Terms of Service for their services like Google Docs, and pasted that into Chrome’s Terms of Services.
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The new Microsoft ad campaign

Huh? Wait, no really, huh?

I finally saw what I believe is “the” Seinfeld-Microsoft ad on youtube. First, I thought I had the wrong video, and this had to be something else, but then again, I can’t believe there are that many videos of Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld out there.
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Why has the Tablet PC failed?

Recently, I reformatted and setup a Tablet PC for one of our departments, and brought it back to them, so they can figure out what to do with it. Oddly enough, they weren’t enthused about getting it back. Its not like they hated it, just didn’t care.

Here is some of the things they (department head and their assistant) said…

“What that thing? We haven’t used that in 1 1/2 years.”
“I used to take it to meetings and took notes with the keyboard, but now that I have a notebook, I don’t need it.”
“We tried it, it didn’t work.”

The problem was, they didn’t have a compelling use for it. There was no software that made it wonderful, it was almost as heavy as their laptops, so it wasn’t easier to carry around, and most often they had to carry around the keyboard so they could type, because typing was way faster than trying to write in the software.

So, what am I getting at? Well, I know that tablets can be useful, but there is a fundamental problem with them that keeps them from just taking off. What is that problem?

Is it because developers have not written the software for it?

Is it because the vendors have not backed it enough?

Are they overpriced or not powerful enough to replace other notebooks or even just a little overpriced, and the features aer not convincing enough?

While each of these do touch on problems that the tablet industry is facing, I believe the real problem is that no one has realized what tablets should, and should not be. They should be pen or touch based, but they should not be a notebook replacement. Instead of trying to cram a notebook into something just a little smaller that has a pen input, make it a pen-based system, that could, in no way, replace a notebook. Think of it as merging together an Amazon Kindle, an ASUS Eee PC and add a pen-based screen. Don’t try to make it do everything, just try to make it do it’s one thing, pen-based input.

Skip the full text recognition. When you open a document, the editing area is written on like it was paper and the pen was a real pen. Scribble notes, write updates, scratch through things with lines. Let there be either a location on the screen, or a physical button you press to switch between pen-mode and pointer (like a mouse) mode. Stop trying to make it a pen-based laptop computer, and make it a pen-based ultra-portable device.

I had a tablet and thought it was useful, but because of how I was using it. I didn’t use handwriting recognition, the notes I wrote were just images. I could erase things like pencil and paper, highlight things, mark up things, write to-do lists, anything. If it needed to be converted, that is why I had a desktop computer.

The idea should be to make a tablet that is cheaper than a desktop or laptop, so that it is used as something that works in conjunction with one of those. You don’t expect someone to buy an iPhone and dump their laptop for it, so why should you expect the same of a tablet, think of it as a larger iPhone that gives you more screen space to do stuff on.

Windows Server 2008 Standard – Workstationed

Well, with how well Vista is going, I was wondering if we were going to try and support XP Pro for years after it is officially dead.

Then, I came across this site the other day, which got me to wondering if we could use Windows Server 2008 as an option.
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The Great Food Experiment

Recently, we (my wife and I) decided to make some changes in our (the family’s) diet. Mostly, we were looking at taking out artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. We found the Fiengold Diet to be very helpful, and we have been using their information.

Now, you might be wondering what this is all about. Mostly, we wanted to see if taking out the artificial stuff would help us overall. Maybe help the intestinal issues that the middle child was having, and help out with the youngest’s autism.

Personally, I wanted to know more about what we were taking out. Yeah, artificial flavors and colors could possibly seem obvious, but what about caramel color? Why is that included in the list, and what about this sodium benzoate we see in so many soft drinks?
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Even more Patrick Durusau fun

Well, Patrick seems to be having more problems. One posting asks Does Microsoft Have Brown Eyes? My response is a quick, “of course not, just because they are full of shit doesn’t mean their eyes are brown!”
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The 13 year old LCD monitor. What?

Well, the other day I contacted a nameless company that sells lots of computers to get an LCD monitor replaced. Seems this monitor decided that it didn’t really want to work anymore. OK, it didn’t want to work from the VGA port anymore. It would power up, show an image, then quickly go to a split white/black screen, then go to a full white screen. Using the DVI port, it worked fine.

So, I contacted their support to get it replaced. They asked for the serial number of the machine it is supposed to be attached to, and I said truthfully, “I have no idea.” See, like many large places, monitors have been moved on an as-needed basis. Heck, it is possible that this monitor was bought as part of a large order, for an existing system when we upgraded to 2 monitors per desk some years ago. After going around about this for about 15 minutes, they decided that I should give them the Serial Number for the monitor itself, and go with that.

So, I give them the serial number from the monitor, in which they reply that the monitor is out of warranty, since it was made in 1995. I was sure that this model didn’t exist in 1995; a 19″ LCD, with DVI input… yeah, didn’t exist in 1995, I’m sure of it. I mentioned this to them and they said that according to that serial number, it was made in 1995. I had them verify that serial number with me. They checked, and held to their position that the monitor was 13 years old and, therefore, out of warranty. I didn’t make a big fuss, I was pretty sure this monitor was a replacement for a different 19″ monitor which had died, and was now past the 3 year warranty period.

But still, kinda funny. I am included some pictures of the monitor, just for fun. Oh yeah, since the DVI input works fine, I have it on my desk right now.

The unnamed company\'s 13 year old monitor.

The unnamed company\'s 13 year old monitor.