Archive for March, 2010

Our silly kids.

Friday, March 26th, 2010

IMG_5868

And more…

Month Three

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over two months since R joined the family. Time flies when your lacking sleep.

IMG_5834

R is somewhat consistently responding to human interaction now, and if you’re lucky she’ll flash you a pretty convincing toothless grin… complete with sparkling eyes.

We haven’t managed a good picture yet, because the camera doesn’t produce quite the same reaction as our faces do.

In any case, here are a few hints of what’s to come…
IMG_5840

IMG_5854

Windows 7 Thoughts

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

As I mentioned previously, K’s new machine is running Windows 7. So far, I’ve been pleasantly surprised and slightly impressed. To put this in perspective, note that we never bothered with Vista and have been content WXP users for some time.

The primary reason I upgraded was because A) I got the upgrades cheap in a pre-purchase deal last July and B) 64-bit support is included with the license. By building a new machine, compatibility wasn’t an issue, so what better time than a fresh build to try a new OS.

With the exception of two installation problems, the install was quick and easy. Both issues were in the operator error category. The first, was the fact that I installed the OS onto a freshly formatted drive… blowing away the XP install needed to register the upgrade license. Oops.
The second was a BIOS issue where I installed everything with benign (read as: maximum compatibility) settings, and then AFTER installing changed the access mode for the hard disk. This confused the boot loader pretty severely, and I had to repair the install to fix it.[1]

The interface is largely intuitive, and the window preview features for the taskbar are quite handy. My understanding is some of these features were introduced in Vista, but I never experienced them. The Control Panels and help are actually helpful which is pretty remarkable to say the least. I like how they are organized by Topic and subtopics. For example, “Hardware and Sound” has commonly used sub-tasks, (i.e. View devices and printers, and Add a device) explicitly shown. If those are the actions you want, you can click to them directly, otherwise, they give a reasonable idea of what sort-of activities are to be found in the “Hardware and Sound” control panel. If you click the main link, several new ‘main’ topics appear each with sub-topics shown. From a user interface point of view, I find this marvelously self documenting.

I’m now playing around with the Windows XP Mode Virtual Machine. Apparently K’s Palm Centro has no support for Windows 7 and even less for 64-bit machines. Accordingly, I’m trying to install the synchronization software into the virtual machine. The beauty is that from a user perspective, once installed, the applications running in this virtual environment appear as any other application on the main Win7 desktop. Of course it needs to interface with Outlook too, so now I have two installations of Outlook,[2] one in Win 7 and one in WXP to allow the Palm to synch. Both Outlooks point to the same user file, so they will be in synch automatically. The Palm software is not impressing me with its modularity. Perhaps this is why they are getting their lunch eaten by Blackberry, Microsoft and Apple.

  1. The BIOS would start the OS load, then the OS load would puke after about 5 seconds. []
  2. Which of course is driving the Windows online validation to fits, so we’ll see how long it is before the WXP virtual install disables itself… or the Microsoft goons come crashing through the windows(!) with stun grenades. []

Thumbs, Sleds and Bowling

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

These are what are children are enjoying in our latest gallery updates.

IMG_5813

IMG_5810

IMG_5821

Enjoy.

Attached!

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

It’s about freaking time somebody implemented this! Thunderbird 3.0 just noticed that I had the word “attached” in my email and put up a reminder to check if I had intended to attach something to the message.

Sweet.

It allows you to add the attachment immediately, or “Remind Me Later” so that it prompts you if you try to send without the attachment in place.

Fireworks?

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Why is someone setting off fireworks at 12:18AM on a Wednesday morning?

Carry on.

New PC Research

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Although it is too late for any commentary on this research to impact my purchasing decisions (the PC is already built and I’m using it right now), I’d still like to get it up before it is completely obsolete. So let’s go…

As always, building a new PC requires the integration of a few primary components which are listed in the order I generally consider them. Although in this case, I bought the power supply first. The same unit I used to replace the noisemaker that was my previous PS, the 500W OCZ supply from NewEgg, was once again available for $39.99 after MIB. Anyhow, the list goes…

  1. CPU
  2. Motherboard
  3. Memory
  4. System Disk
  5. Video
  6. Power Supply
  7. Case
  8. Optical Drive
  9. OS
  10. Peripherals

Much detail and rambling on after the fold… you have been warned.
(more…)

The Schierer Snow Park

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Since the Central New York weather has finally cooperated to produce a significant snow fall.[1] In fact, prior to this event Baltimore, MD, was actually ahead of Syracuse for most snowfall in a US city this year. [2]
After piling all of the snow from the driveway next to the driveway, the temptation to carve out a fort and some tunnels was overwhelming. With Nate’s ‘help’ we constructed a pretty decent snow park with canyon-like paths, a tunnel, a fort and a slide.

Here are some highlights:
IMG_5687

20100226_5701

IMG_5709

No snow park would be complete without a snow-bunny… [3]
IMG_5722

More fun in the snow in Nate’s gallery.

More pics of Rachel added too.
IMG_5740

  1. We’ve been getting steady amounts which have amounted to very little significant accumulation. This was finally a storm that dumped a significant amount over a few days. []
  2. A population of over 100,000 if I recall the bracket. []
  3. Who has since melted enough that it lost its head. Apparently this was the cause of some significant distress for one of Nate’s playmates. []

R pics as promised.

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Only about three weeks late, here is R’s one month pic.
IMG_5660

And another for you to enjoy.
IMG_5661

As always they are all available in the gallery.

A little bit about many things…

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

With a new member of the household, it’s been pretty busy around here. I have much to report, but haven’t had time to do any reporting.

Here is a list of what I’d like to take some time to write about… as a promissory note and a to-do list.

  1. R is growing fast. We have a 1 month growth chart pic and many more. I will get these online soon.
  2. N continues to be a joy. He’s learning so fast now I’m not sure school will be ready for him in two more years. He’s working on reading and spelling simple words. He’ll be 3 in May.
  3. Snow! We finally got real winter weather here in central NY. Pics of outdoor snow constructions will be coming soon.
  4. New PC research. With our tax returns burning a hole in our bank accounts, I’ve begun the process of specing out a new machine for K. We also need to get Win7 installed before N wipes out our much-more-difficult-to-secure WXP household PC.
  5. New PC constructed. I’m using it now to write this post… and will use it to edit the pics to post them. I owe you comments on Win7, and performance of the new machine. Not to mention the build process itself. Must keep installing stuff if I’m going to get into a position to clear out this list.

Ok. Must get back to installation.