Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Notebook Feature - SplashTop

SplashTop is a new "feature" or program that is starting to appear on some laptops and noteboooks. It appears as a Web button on the computer that you would press instead of the power button. Pushing this Web button tells the computer to boot this new special program or OS instead of going to Windows.

The benefits according to the SplashTop website are as follows:

Fast - Be online seconds after you turn on your PC. Why wait for Windows to load when you could be surfing the web right away! (True, pretty fast boot)
Safe - Surf the Web safely, immune from the malware that targets Windows. (True)
Eco-Friendly - Give your PC a rest when you do not use it. Splashtop boots quickly so there is no reason to leave your PC on all the time. (This is a load of hooey)

What are the problems? Some people have complained about YouTube issues and it seems easily corruptible. The major issue is if your computer is no longer bootable it is not supported directly from the SplashTop website but only from the OEM vendor. In the example I'm referring to, Sony Vaio uses it under the OEM name of Quick Web Access. There is little to any help available from Sony if you are having issues and SplashTop itself won't help you because they are selling the program to Sony, so you are not the customer, Sony is.

Do the benefits outweigh the pains? I believe so. If it stops working and it's beyond you or your poor computer geek friend who you rely on and abuse and don't pay, then you can just not use that button/feature anymore.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

HP TechForum 2010

Well it's actually Day 2, I'm exhausted already. Last night I didn't get back to the room until 9pm, and no, it wasn't because I was gambling or at a strip club. I have to admit that HP really knows how to do it up and I know from other attendees that this is scaled back affair. Yesterday evening was the opening of the Expo and the reception. I learned so much in just that short period of time and I did it all with a glass of wine in my hand and prime rib in my belly, all courtesy of HP.

What I've learned thus far:
  1. There are waaaaayyyy more geeky people than me.
  2. The $20 "sandwich" is a valuable tool in Vegas where money talks.
  3. 4G is not fully in Las Vegas, that's just bull$hit
  4. The Luxor really does suck, just like people have told me.
For those of you not in the know, a 20 dollar sandwich is where when you have some cheap a$$ hotel in Vegas and you are checking in, you slip a $20 in between your credit card and your ID. Then you innocently ask if you could possibly get an upgraded room. Sadly, I found this trick out after I checked in. The fellow I met has a beautiful suite in a tower including dining and living rooms, me - a crappy room on the 3rd floor of the pyramid with a view of the Starbucks on the first floor and all the noise that goes with being in a major traffic area, all night long.

Tonight, I finally got dinner during this blog post. It's been a long day. I had to eat my lunch in 15 minutes between sessions. Perhaps I've just overbooked myself. Me? Do too much? Never....

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Irony of it All

The other day one of my many bosses walks into my office with his wife's new Costco laptop and a bag full of software. He says, "Dawn, can you load this up and make sure it all works". "Sure" I said, I mean, what else was I to say?

Normally any computer geek is happy as a clam to fiddle with something shiny and new. I fired up the Sony Vaio and went through the typical Windows 7 setup screen. I typed in the password that his wife wanted, very simple, Password123. I let Micro$shaft load its millions of megabytes of critical updates and then the computer was ready to reboot. Yes, please reboot yourself. Back at the log in screen I type Password123. Invalid password. What? Password123. Invalid password. I typed if very carefully - P a s s w o r d 1 2 3 ---- Invalid password. OH MY GOD! As I stared open mouthed at the laptop I felt my heart drop into my stomach and the bile rising into my mouth.

How did this happen? Wait, maybe because the keyboard is strangely skewed to the left on this model and I didn't have my fingers on the home row? I would have had to type the password in wrong twice though, as a confirmation. How could that be? One long sheet of paper and about 100 iterations of Password123 later, still no go. He's been in my office now about 10 times looking at his laptop and seeing how it is coming. I feign casual indifference but inside I'm freaking out.

Four hours later thanks to the hacker community, bit torrent and my helpdesk guy we've procured a hack to wipe the password from the laptop. I'm back in! Whew. Then I start with an older Adobe CS3 package which is not Windows 7 compatible. 8 hours later and with the help of the Experts Exchange (which I contribute to and have achieved Master status on ) I've finally beat that program into submission.

Total cost = 12 hours of labor,
25 new grey hairs,
1 sleepless night
and happy Senior VP
- Priceless.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Afghanistan Is Rich!

In report released just last week mineral reserves of copper, gold, oil and most importantly lithium have been discovered under the ground in various regions of Afghanistan. China has already won a major contract for mining copper in one of the regions. That just pisses me off. The United States goes over there and fights for over a decade trying to bring peace and democracy to the region costing untold billions of dollars and 1000's of US soldiers lives and China gets a contract. That's just horseshit. By default, a US company should get that contract and the lion's share of the others.

I'm sorry if you don't agree with my opinion but there should be no bidding it should be awarded to the US. We will share but we should be making some of the billions back we pissed away in the bloody sand in Afghanistan. It's only fair. If you're going to be the world's policeman and the world's target all at the same time I would think that you should get at least some quid pro quo. And who exactly discovered all these riches? Well, it was a Pentagon geological team. Frankly, I'm so ticked off right now that I think the USA should just kick the government out of Kabul and take over. Make Afghanistan a US territory and take over. Why pussy foot around anymore. It's obvious that it's a corrupt terrorist country that will never be able to manage this kind of wealth except to use it against the US who has saved their ass.

Two excerpts from the article:

At the same time, American officials fear resource-hungry China will try to dominate the development of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, which could upset the United States, given its heavy investment in the region. After winning the bid for its Aynak copper mine in Logar Province, China clearly wants more, American officials said.

The corruption that is already rampant in the Karzai government could also be amplified by the new wealth, particularly if a handful of well-connected oligarchs, some with personal ties to the president, gain control of the resources. Just last year, Afghanistan’s minister of mines was accused by American officials of accepting a $30 million bribe to award China the rights to develop its copper mine. The minister has since been replaced.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

More on Mitel Stock and IPO's

I love that even on a stock market up day my shitty a$$ Mitel stock drops. Down to $ 9.60 and dropping a whopping 32% since it's IPO less than 6 weeks ago. This article says it'll be bullish in about 12 months if their first Quarter public financials show profit. Mitel hasn't shown a profit for years on its quarterlies, why should this quarter be any different? The article continues to state that a long position will be beneficial to the investor with the stock price estimate at approximately $14 by year end. That's what the stock IPO's at so woohoo! I could break even after 8 months if I'm lucky. On the flip side, why sell it, I have 85% less shares that I had before they went public due to their reverse stock split.

So that's my little rant. It's highly disappointing to be sure. People talk about the hey day of the dot com boom and how so many people got rich on stock options. I think that number is probably significantly less than we like to believe.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Little Capitalism is Good for the Soul

As some of you may know over the past 18 months or so Dena and I have been cutting back just like most Americans are doing. Only really buying the necessities, cutting where we can, not really buying any new clothes or electronic goodies (my weak spot) and generally watching what we spend. Over the past month I've just felt the urge to spend. It's been so long and I'm tired of being frugal and careful. I WANT SOMETHING NEW! Preferably shiny and bright but hey, at this point I'll take anything.

I was in Costco the other day and couldn't pull myself away from the new generation of flat screen TV's. I was mesmerized by the new LED LCD Side lit technology and the thinness of the new models. I was dazzled by the new feature of web surfing as a PIP feature. Matter of fact, I was so lost in it all that Dena and I were supposed to meet at a certain spot in the store and I forgot. She was very ticked off at me.

So this weekend after hearing some great things about these "Fit Flops" and the Reebok Easy Tone runners (Tennis shoes for you yanks) I just had to go check them out. With all my foot issues I thought these may be the ticket for me and with summer approaching who doesn't need a new pair of sandals? After trying these shoes and the fit flops on I was sold. Certainly not for the magic toning I was going to get but for the comfort. The fit flops especially were so squishy that my feet feel like they are walking on air. They also come in lovely styles that are "in" like the new roman look made popular by Sex in the City 2. I bought 3 pairs. And you know what? It felt good. It felt GREAT to spend money. I was happy for hours and even wore my new sandals home. Of course the guilt set in the next day when I realized how much my June credit card bill was going to be. I guess retail therapy is good but only in small doses.

Side note: The difference between side lit LCD TV's and Back lit LCD is size and quality. Side lit makes the panel extremely thin however, you lose the deep blacks and depth of color. Here is a great article explaining the differences in local dimming, side lit, back lit, etc. It's short and easy to understand as well as a valuable tool if purchasing a new TV.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Another Doctor's Trip

For the 3rd time in 4 weeks I went to the doctor. I had already self-diagnosed and determined that my problem was a sinus infection (from the 1st doctor's visit) that wasn't quite wiped out by the first course of antibiotics. This is because it was so severe. The 2nd doctor's visit was not with my regular doctor and it turns out her colleague is so against antibiotics that he will not prescribe them no matter what. Nice.

Dr. Vasquez confirmed my self diagnosis today with the caveats that if I'm not 100% feeling awesome after a 3 week battery of Augmentin starting today that I would be off for a CAT scan on my sinuses and probably at least another 6 weeks of antibiotics depending on the results. Since I've never had a sinus infection before and NEVER want to have one again after that incredible pain I am adhering to every letter of the law. I'm on such an extensive battery of drugs that I'm thankful for every pharmacy visit for insurance.

Advair, Augmentin, Nasonex, nasal lavage, prednisone and singulair. Impressive and a little bit scary. I look forward to 3 weeks from now when these can all go into the trash can or drawer never to be seen again. I'm am hopeful.

Thursday, June 03, 2010


I'm very frustrated with my body today. As some of you know I had just gotten over a serious sinus and lung infection. I was on a 2 week course of antibiotics and Tuesday was my last day. Also had a doctors appointment Tuesday and received a clean bill of health. Yesterday (Wednesday) I was exhausted, so tired I could have put my head down on my desk and fell fast asleep. All night I was up repeatedly with coughing and a very sore throat (and yes mom, I gargled with melalucea).

This morning I feel like crap. I'm hacking and coughing up lovely things and I have that sick taste in my mouth. Off to the doctor I go. I will beg for another course of antibiotics because I think it wasn't quite done. I do not want to be sick anymore. I would really like to get back to the vibrant, happy, energy filled me. Is that too much to ask? Come on body. Buck up! Kick that immune system into overdrive and beat this thing.