After coming back from Gradma's 80th I headed down to St. Michaels and Harbourtowne for this years AIMS Tech Conference. I really like this conference since I get to chat with other people doing the same stuff as me and we can share ideas. A bonus this year was that I won another camera. This time it is an HP R717. I haven't had a chance to play with it, but it is pretty compact like my last one and it has a zoom lens. At some point I will have to actually pay for one of these.
April 2006 Archives
While up in Pittsburgh my parents had a few computer things they wanted me to look at. They wanted to hook up my brothers printer and scanner to their computer. I got the scanner working without issue. I then got the printer working. There was a small glitch though, the printer didn't work with DOS Wordperfect 5.1. For most this wouldn't be an issue but my dad uses it as his primary word processor. As a result this option would not work. I then went through the process of re-attaching the Citzen GX-140 that is the dot matrix work horse. To satisfy the other requirements we went out and got Canon Pixma MP500. It seems to do everything they need and then some. Hopefully it won't be too complex.
This past weekend I went up to my Grand Mother's 80th birthday. It was in Pittsburgh. The party was a surprise for her and about 40 people attended. She was really happy and had fun. It was neat meeting relatives (on my mom's side) for the first time as well as seeing some I hadn't seen in a very long time. One of the highlights of the evening was a powerpoint my uncle had prepared. It had highlights and pictures from my Grandma's life. Things like her as a kid, getting married and having kids. Then it went on to the Grand Kids such as myself and my cousins. The final slides were about the Queen of England. She and my Grandma were born on same day. My uncle replaced the face and said Queen Madolyn. It was really cool night.
Over the last few days my DSL has failed several times. It appears to be a noise problem or a loop problem between my house and the CO. I opened a call with Speakeasy to try and troubleshoot. The biggest problem is I am almost never home when it happens and the DSLAM logs roll over every 3 hours. Usually the fix is power cycling the modem. Today it happened again about 9 AM. I went home for lunch (sort of) to try and look at it. I called Speakeasy and then said line looks good. No traffic was getting through though. I power cycled the modem and still nothing. Hmm... Just in case I power cycled my switch. Sure enough that was it. Huh? After years now all of sudden the switch is wigging out. Of course I look like an idiot on phone with Speakeasy though. I will be happy if the DSL just works from now on out.
Today Seagate announced their latest 15K RPM Cheetah drive. It uses perpendicular recording tech to increase performance by 30%, which is an impressive jump. When I get around to upgrading my computer finally around Christmas this year 2 of these drives will probably be a big part of it. These drives will be available for Serial Attached SCSI and that brings me to my next note.
I did some looking on Adaptec's site and found this card. It is their "low cost" solution, at least compared to the RAID 5 cards. The one interesting thing that I didn't realize was that SAS is backwards (sideways) compatible with SATA. Apparently the two technologies use very similar cables and technology. It appears the key difference now between the two is the drive internals. The SAS drives are still touted as more reliable versus SATA. However the difference is 1 Million hours between failure and 1.4 M. When it comes down to it most hard drives will either die shortly after initial use or will last 5 years or more. The specified reliability just doesn't come into it that much.
I would like to hear from Seagate what the difference is from their perspective. Why should I pay 50-100% more for a SAS drive over a SATA one?
A couple of weeks Microsoft announced that Windows Vista would be further delayed. The oddity of this announcement was that it stated that enterprises and other volume customers would get the new OS in November while consumers wouldn't get it until January of '07. Many correctly observed that enterprises will be the last to deploy Vista due to testing and rollout plans and thus wondered why the schedule. I have yet to hear anyone give the reason I am pretty sure of. That reason is the Software Assurance plans that Microsoft got everyone to buy into a few years ago. If the product launches in '06 a whole lot of large customers will be happy because the upgrade fee will essentially be zero since they already paid for software assurance. If it slips to '07 a good portion of those customers will be upset since they will have gotten nothing for three (or more) years of software assurance that they paid for. As long as it is available in some form by December 31 2006 then those customers will get it under their software assurance plans and not feel royally ripped off.
This past weekend (and today) was a four day weekend for me. I took the opportunity to do some stuff with a friend. We left early Friday morning and headed to Philadelphia. We started the day with a 9:30 entry to BodyWorlds exhibit at the Franklin Institute.
We had originally planned to go a bit later in the day, but all entry times from 10:00-12:30 (and maybe later, didn't check) were already sold out. There was a pretty good crowd there at 9:30 but it was obvious it was setup to allow for really big lines. The exhibit was very impressive and would most likely gross lots of people out. The basic idea is to use real human bodies to display various body parts and explain body functions. Bodies are stripped and broken down into core parts to better illustrate particular portions. Due to the combination of the crowds and shear size of the exhibit it took us just about 3 hours to get through it. After that we got some lunch at the museum. Once we got some food we went around and saw the rest of the Franklin Institute. We stayed at the museum until a little after 4 PM.
We went and checked in at the hotel once we left the museum. We walked to dinner later that night at Jack's Firehouse. It is across the street from another landmark we talked about going to which is Eastern State Penitentiary. It was a really nice restaurant and good food. After dinner we walked over to Capo Giro to have some gelato. It was also very good and a nice transition from dinner.
On Saturday morning we got up and wanted to go a place called Blue and Green for some highly recommend pancakes. We walked there only to find out it no longer exists and has been replaced by an Asian Bistro. We then headed back to hotel and found another place on the way back that I can't remember the name of. It was pretty good, but not what was on the plan.
After breakfast we checked out of the Hotel about 11 AM. We then started toward home. On the way home we stopped at Longwood Gardens. We got there about 12:30. Longwood is a 1050 acre reserve that has an incredible array of plants and flowers. The place is so massive we just barely saw it all before closing at 6 PM. We did stop to eat for a bit as well. After Longwood we headed the rest of the way home. We got some Chipotle for dinner.
It was a really good couple of days. Even if it was a whole mess of walking, should have had a pedometer to see how far it was. I highly recommend both places we went too. Oh and who went with me will be elaborated on at a later date.
About three weeks ago my parents told me that my brother was planning on going to Korea to teach English. At the time he was supposed to leave very quickly, like a few days later. In the meantime there were a few glitches and delays with his work visa for Korea. Friday morning he got his final visa and he flew out Saturday morning. He sent an email from Korea Sunday to say he had made it. He has a new blog setup where he plans to post during his year in Korea.
I am still waiting to figure out why he fled the country. :)
Interesting time, just thought I would share.