Win7... eventually

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So I finally bit the bullet and upgraded my primary desktop to Windows 7 last night:


I had downloaded the RTM from Technet the day it became available, and had already upgraded my Thinkpad and done a fresh dual-boot installation on my desktop to check hardware compatibility, but I had been waiting for a Win7-compatible update to Norton Internet Security 2009 before upgrading my primary Vista partition,  The NIS update came through over the weekend, and there was no WoW guild raid tonight, so tonight it was.

The upgrade went very smoothly, though it took a whole lot longer than any other Windows upgrade I've ever done - over three hours from initially inserting the DVD to finally booting to my new Win7 desktop.  Apparently this time around it exports all your user customisations, programs, and settings, and then re-imports them all after it's performed the upgrade.  I guess that may help clear out a lot of old "dead wood" from the registry that would otherwise just get perpetuated, but damn it's slow.

Before actually performing the upgrade, the installer advised me of several programs that would potentially have (or cause) problems under Win7, and suggested I remove them beforehand.  It also flagged which ones I could safely reinstall after upgrading.  Most of them were old stuff that I no longer use anyway, but one was Backup Exec's admin client which I use to control BEX on my server.  I removed the old ones, but left the BEX client in place, figuring it probably only flagged it because it looks the same as a full BEX server installation.

After upgrading, sure enough, it won't let me run the BEX client:


Since BEX 11d is no longer current, I doubt that Symantec will be resolving that issue, so it looks like a perfect candidate for Win7's "Virtual XP Mode".  I'll tinker with that later in the week.

Thus far, everything else that I've tested is working perfectly.  It also feels a little faster, but that may well be the placebo effect.  But at this point I'm happy to give it a tentative thumbs up from the upgrade and compatibility standpoints, though the lengthy upgrade process is gonna cause some fallout, I'm sure.  I've no doubt it's directly related to the amount of crap I have installed - my lightly-loaded Thinkpad took only around 40 minutes from go to whoa - but man, over three hours is a killer!  I wonder how much places like Geek Squad are going to charge for doing the upgrade.

It just occurred to me that I failed to update on the status of Joi's prematurely-demised Kindle.  True to their word, a replacement arrived from Amazon later that week without any questions asked.  It took but a few minutes to unpack it and place the dead one in the packaging, apply the supplied return postage label, and drop it off at our local UPS store.

Job done, and Herself is now reKindled.

Ding-dong, the Kindle's dead

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I bought Joi a Kindle 2 for her birthday.  She was a little ambivalent at first, but gradually seemed to be warming to the idea, and was looking forward to using it on our 10th Anniversary vacation.  We bought a nice faux leather case for it, and she loaded it up with a bunch of books including historical volumes about French Polynesia and its peoples.

Joi enjoyed showing it off to folks while we were in Australia, and was really looking forward to using it while lazing on the beach on Moorea, so you can imagine her (indeed, our) disappointment when we opened the case and discovered this:

Dead as a doornail; bleedin' demised; hopped the twig and joined the choir invisible; get the idea.

A bit of web surfing found the procedure to "hard reset" the Kindle (disconnect external power and hold the power slider for 30 seconds), but nothing could resurrect it.  Further surfing suggested that this was not an isolated problem, but that Amazon support would ship a replacement without question.  However, I didn't think they'd likely ship one to the South Pacific, and even if they did, there was no Whispernet coverage to reload Joi's books onto a replacement, so we sadly buried the Kindle back in our suitcase and waited until we got back home to call it in.

So on Monday I called Amazon support, and after a few minutes on hold I got a support rep who seemed somewhat unsurprised when I told him the symptoms, and arranged for a replacement to be overnighted to us, along with a return shipping label for the dead unit.  I asked him if this was a common problem, and whether it had been resolved or if the replacement was likely to suffer the same fate - he would/could only say that there had been "less than one percent" that had had this problem, but could not give me any details whether it was limited to early production models.

So I guess we'll see.  The replacement will be here Wednesday (called too late to catch the Monday shipment cutoff), and we'll reload Joi's books from her archive.  Of course, now that we're back in the rat race, it may be some time before she finds another opportunity to sit down and spend any decent amount of time with it.
In the first collision involving two intact satellites, the Russian Kosmos 2251 and American Iridium 33 collided two days ago, about 500 miles above Siberia

Two things struck me from the various reports:

  • The Iridium folk reckon that their satellite "was hit by" Kosmos, and
  • "Russia has not commented on claims the satellite was out of control."

Now as I understand it, Kosmos was launched at least a couple of years prior to the Iridium bird and was decommissioned a couple of years later - and furthermore, it had no maneuvering capability to begin with.  So I'm left to wonder how a non-maneuverable dead satellite can ever be described as "out of control" - surely it'll keep going on it's existing (and thus well-known) trajectory until that orbit decays (again, something known and predictable) or something else hits it?

Furthermore, given that Kosmos was already up before Iridium launched, and that the Iridium bird was the only one that could maneuver, surely if either "hit the other", then it was the Iridium bird that "hit" Kosmos, no?

It seems to me that whoever is supposed to be "watching the road" at Iridium has been grossly negligent and is trying to shift the blame.

But I guess Iridium is, after all's said and done, an American company - the land where, if you drive your car into a tree, you sue the person who planted the tree!
Today we celebrate the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America.

The Fifth of November is also the day that folks in the United Kingdom celebrate Guy Fawkes Night, in memory of the man who led a failed attempt to blow up the English Houses of Parliament on this day in 1605.

It has been said that Guy Fawkes was "the only man ever to enter Parliament with honorable intentions."  Four hundred years later, President Barack Obama may prove to be the second.

What Bush Meant

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Good article by Ron Suskind over at Esquire.  Couple of quotes:

"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heckuva lot easier. Just so long as I'm the dictator." --George W. Bush, December 18, 2000

"If I decide to do it, by definition it's good policy" --George W. Bush, 2001

"President Bush was unmoved by any arguments that challenged his assumptions. Debate was silenced, expertise was punished, and diversity of opinion was anathema, so much so that his political opponents--other earnest Americans who want the best for their country--were, to him and his men, the moral equivalent of the enemy."

"A common thread running through all of these discoveries is a basic misunderstanding of--or disregard for--the limits of presidential power. Indeed, this ahistoric president seems to have never appreciated just how hard-won are the institutions of American liberty. Article II of the United States Constitution grants stunning power to the president, power almost beyond imagining to be entrusted to one man. But for George Bush and Dick Cheney, it wasn't enough. And so, with a level of secrecy that betrayed a basic mistrust of the American people, they proceeded to expand the awesome power of the presidency and in the process upset the balance of powers designed by the founders. And in this, the president and vice-president found their greatest success." [Emphasis added]


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Ahoy, me hearties, it be International Talk Like A Pirate Day.



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Someone sent a link to Stormpulse to our neighborhood mailing list today.  Pretty cool stuff.

Vista doesn't suck

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Since I was replacing the core of my PC's hardware, I decided rather than restore the full system from backup and deal with all the hassles of incompatible drivers, etc, that I would take the opportunity to start afresh without the hassles - and without all the cruft that had accumulated over the past 3-4 years.

I decided to try Vista-64; I'd been thinking about going 64-bit for a while, and since Vista's been out for a while now - and MS has been pushing the hardware manufacturers to support its new baby - I suspect there are fewer driver problems with Vista64 than XP64.

Sure enough, it all installed with no problems whatsoever.  As I've been reinstalling all my old apps, I'm finding just the odd one or two that won't run in Vista (or at least 64-bit Vista), but I'll probably just keep a 32-bit XP installation in a VM in case I really need any of them at some point.

I have to say I was sceptical at first, but after using it for several days now, I have come to the conclusion that much of the Vista paranoia is FUD, or perhaps the early-adopter pains have been addressed by recent updates (the version I installed included SP1).

Thus far, I'm lovin' it.

If Sarah Palin were a Democrat

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Interesting piece over at Scholars & Rogues on the apparent hypocrisy of the conservative Republican faithful.