windows vista beta 2 impressions – part 2 of ?

June 30, 2006 under Computers, Software, Windows Vista

The first thing that I noticed about Vista once I had it installed was that there was an update available for it. Howerver, gone are the days of visiting the Windows Update website; it’s now finally built into the operating system.

Screenshot of Windows Update for Windows Vista

So with some updates out of the way, I becan to use Vista for normal file mangement tasks. WinKey+E is what I did next (for those unaware, it’s the keyboard shortcut to launch Windows Explorer). Windows Explorer looks familiar, but different nonetheless. The top menu (File | Edit | Tools | etc) has been replaced by a ribbon bar. The ribbon bar changes dynamically, presenting buttons for various tasks that changes depending on what you have selected such as a folder, a drive, an AVI file, a PNG file and so on. Actually, the first implementation of a ribbon bar that I saw was in Mastercam X. In a separate sets of posts, I’ll talk about Office 2007, which also makes extensive use of ribbon bars.

A lot of talk about Vista resolves around how Microsoft has aped a lot of visual accoutrements from Mac OS X, I can agree that there is some truth to that. However, one of the coolest things about Vista is how it will automatically scroll the left pane in Windows Explorer for you, should the folders/sub folders extend beyond the width of the pane (hey Microsoft developers, is that a souped-up Tree Control or what?!). I’ve recorded a small movie showing this functionality.

Stay tuned for more about my encounters with Windows Vista.

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i think like a teenaged boy?

June 26, 2006 under Computers, Internet

The Demographics Preditor at the Microsoft adCenter Labs aims to predict the demographics of those who visit given web sites or perform various queries. It appears that my site appeals to males under the age of 18. For giggles, I investigated other sites to see what it found. Apparenly, Pat is nearly as juvenile as me and so is Jen. Barry is after Gen X women; Chico even more so.

I’d really like to see the logic and lexical analysis that powers the Demographics Preditor.

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windows vista beta 2 impressions – part 1 of ?

June 25, 2006 under Computers, Software, Windows Vista

A couple of weeks ago, I installed build 5384 of the second beta for Windows Vista. Yeah, you can find plenty of reviews on and screenshots from “credible websites” but I’ll post my findings from my point of view.

First, I’ll start with the installation. I wasn’t planning on wrecking my computers by installing Vista on them; relying on a beta for an OS isn’t up my alley. Instead, I created a VMware virtual machine for it. Microsoft makes Vista via a 3GB ISO that can be burned on a DVD. As such, the install is long and slow. Even by virtual machine standards, it took pretty frickin’ long.

What was nice to see during the installation process was a GUI. Gone is the DOS-y setup interface used to prepare drives and start the installation. Bye-bye blue screen, gray text, and yellow progress bars. After eons pass while Vista installs itself, you’re presented with a wizard-type setup for creating users and connecting to a network, much like in Windows XP. I sorta flew by this, as I was still in an impressed daze from the setup GUI.

Next, I’ll get into configuring Vista to my liking. Stay tuned.

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p-u-tting

June 24, 2006 under Golf, Sports

This morning, Dena and I played Grand Valley and we both had a pretty good round. She shot a 90 and parred 2 holes. I shot an 85 and parred 5 holes. However, my putting left a lot to be desired. A great example of this is fourth hole; a 280 yar par 4. It’s a slight dogleg left so while I was on the tee, I aimed as close to the bend as I could without going OB. With the help of what I could only guess was the cart path, I managed to put my drive on the green. I missed my eagle atempt, albeit the pin was on the opposite side of the green. I missed my birdie putt, too but thankfully saved par. As was the story for the round, on the greens in two (or 1 for the par 3s) and then atrocious putting took over. Maybe a trip to a few of the local mini-putts is in order 😉

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flagged down

June 22, 2006 under Life, Sports

With the World Cup well underway, it’s hard to avoid. TSN and Sportsnet are broadcasting plenty of games. Even if you never watch TV, surf the Web, listen to radio or read newspapers and periodicals, you should still be aware that the World Cup is going on right now. How? Stand on a street corner, that’s how.

At the moment it seems like most cars have a national flag on them. You know those little flags people attach to their car doors. I’m usually accustomed to seeing (ick) Leafs flags, and sometimes (determined by the season) Hockey Canada flags. In Kitchener and Waterloo, the most common flags are Germany’s and England’s. In Cambridge, there’s plenty of Portugal flags – a change of pace from those silouhettes of the province of Newfoundland that are usually commonplace there 😉 I actually saw someone with a full-sized Portugal flag hanging out of their car. A full-sized flag! Not one of those little car flags. Canada came close, but didn’t make the cut for this year’s World Cup. But aren’t the majority of the people with these flags on their cars Canadians; either natural or new? North America is unique in the world in that the ancestry of everybody here is from somewhere else. Case in point, me…

My mom was adopted, so I’m clueless as to any ancestory on that side. But her family were all from Quebec (and possibly France if you go much further down the line). People on that side of the family spoke french; Quebecios-style, mon amie. So the ties to France are pretty loose, at best. It’s safe to say that my mom’s side of the family, is deep-rooted Canadian. On the other hand, everybody on my dad’s side of the family in the generation before his is from Italy. From my dad’s generation onward, we’re natural Canadians. Should I run out an get an Italian flag for my car? I wasn’t born in Italy. I don’t speak Italian, save for the usual expletives that everyone should know. I don’t follow Italian politics and very few customs. I didn’t grow up playing soccer; I played hockey (and to a lesser extent, baseball). I love the food, but I really can’t identify with Italy on any level as close to Canada. I’m not the only one here with this kind of background. Yet every World Cup, people fly the flag of the country that their relatives come from. Since everybody is hooking up with everyone else, the next generations will be 1/8 this and 1/16 that and those slices will continue to become smaller. Who will be the first to fly the mutt flag on their car? I’d rather wait, no matter how long it takes, for Canada to qualify for the World Cup again and cheer for them when they do 😉

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if it could happen in springfield, it could happen anywhere

June 20, 2006 under Computers, Internet, Kitchener, Life, Software, Waterloo

In the Simpsons episode, “A Tale of Two Springfields”, Springfield runs out of phone numbers in the 636 and needs to create a new 939 area code. Homer becomes irate because those with the 636 area code are in the “rich side of town”, and his number is changed to a 939 one. Who wants to be a 939 scrub?! In a Seinfeld episode, Elaine freaked out on the phone company when her area code switched from 242 to 646.

Beginning now, people in the 519 (which includes those of us in KitchenerWaterloo) now must dial all 10 digits for local calls. This October, we’ll have a new area code to worry about in southwestern Ontario – 226. If you didn’t know already:

519/226 area codes Wikipedia entry

The CRTC’s 519 relief plan

All the more reason to use Internet telephony like Skype. That is, until we have to transition from IPv4 to IPv6 and this whole problem of running out of numbers rears its ugly head again. Maybe The Who will come to our rescue 😉

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i c-u-p

June 19, 2006 under Hockey, Sports

I haven’t mentioned anything at all about this year’s NHL playoffs, so I guess that I ought to now that they’re over 😉

Even though they were the long-shot 8th seed in the West that barely made the playoffs, let alone to game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals and never had home ice advantage, the Oilers shot themselves in the foot; plain ‘n’ simple. Roloson was a prime candidate for the Conn Smythe, but getting injured in game 1 of the final series dashed that idea. Markkanen stepped in and gave an amazing effort, considering he hand’t played since like January, and he kept the Oilers in the hunt for every subsequent game. Yet for whatever reason, the rest of the team forgot how to pull the trigger when they needed to. They unleashed some fancy passing that never amounted to anything. They’d always wait for a perfectly clear lane before shooting. And on many occasions, they’d still drop it back to the point, even when that lane was clear. When they did get in close and decide to shoot, they’d miss the net or put it over the net. On the powerplay, the ‘Canes were obviously doing whatever it took to shutdown Pronger, so why didn’t Edmonton get the puck in deep and let the forwards do the work? It boggles the mind, especially after the amazing playoff run that the Oilers had; they were definitely the most entertaining team in the playoffs. It think Edmonton were squeezing their sticks too tight in game 7. In other words, the Oilers own nerves and youthful exhuberance may have got the best of them. Congrats to Carolina – they have a lot of old guys that waited a long time for this.

Regarding my team’s early exit from the playoffs in the first round this year, the Flames were built for the old NHL; ready for bashing and grinding. The new rules this year really made that obvious. It’s pretty amazing that they managed to finish first in the Western Conference’s Northwest Division, but Calgary definitely looked out-of-place in the playoffs. Hopefully something is done over the summer and young speedsters like Lombardi and Kobasew play a bigger role next season.

IMO, the Stanley Cup was Buffalo‘s for the taking, if it weren’t for their defensive core being ravaged by injury and that stupid new Delay of Game rule for skaters clearing the puck over the glass.

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not having an average weekend

June 19, 2006 under Life

Friday, our company had a release party for the latest version of our flagship software. We had an all-expenses paid evening consiting of Yuk Yuk’s and Ali Baba Steak House…with drink tickets!!! 😉 The headlining comic at Yuk Yuk’s was Pete Zedlacher, who is frickin’ hilarious – Dena loved his Comedy Now! special on the Comedy Network.

Dena, my dad and I went to cousin Christine’s place in Etobicoke yesterday to visit my cousins and my aunt and uncle who were down from Timmins. It was a little sureal to be at the first sort of family gathering without my mom. But it was nice to see everyone, since it’s been a while.

PS: Plug for Paul: check out Hellbound at the Second City tonight (June 19, 2006) where he’ll be performing.

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i got a hole-in-one…

June 11, 2006 under Golf, Sports

…in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2006 on the 8th hole at TPC Sawgrass 🙂

I’ve witnessed two hole-in-ones IRL; Pat‘s on the renovated 8th a few years ago at the Hollinger and a guy in the foursome behind us at Beaverdale last weekend.

This weekend, Dena and I played nine at Brookfield (we had a wedding to attend so we couldn’t play more). I managed to put my tee shot about 6 feet from the pin on the 7th hole on the blue course. The goal is to match my virtual self. If that’s not a weird sign o’ the times, I don’t know what is 😉

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hack up a pga tour stop

June 7, 2006 under Golf, Life, Sports

This Monday, Dena took part in a golf tournament at Rockway put on by the Waterloo Law Association. By some stroke (pun totally intended) of luck, she won the door prize. Said prize happens to be 4 green fees for a round at Glen Abbey in Oakville. Yes, she and 3 other lucky people can play on the course that was designed by Jack Nicklaus and is known as the most famous venue for the PGA‘s Canadian Open; Hamilton Golf and Country Club is hosting it this year, though. Who else will join her? Will she invite me, her ever-so wonderful and loving husband? 😉

BTW, happy Clean Air Day, folks!

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