This is the tax-free holiday weekend in Massachusetts. I didn’t realize this until about Thursday and on Friday, I had a brilliant idea! Its time for a Nintendo DS. I’m not much of a gamer. In fact, the last system I got was a Gameboy Advance circa 2002 on ebay. I have an SP, but I did not pay anything close to retail value for it. There was some ridiculous sale at a KB the day after Thanksgiving and I had a friend pick it up for me.
After being at Otakon, it was hard not to notice the sheer number of people toting the little device around. They would casually take it out to waste time while waiting in some of the incredibly long lines or pass time at a panel that wasn’t particularly interesting. The turning point was just before the awful Transformers panel. There were 3 girls sitting in the back of panel before us, all playing MarioKartDS against each other. I knew then that it was merely an eventuality that I would get one.
So after a night of merriment, I groggily awoke at 8:00 AM EST. I got my things together for the rest of the day including my frisbee, work pager, and suitcase to return to my parents. I knew I wanted to be at Toys R Us early because of the sheer crowds that come out for this holiday, but I also knew that TRU doesn’t open until 10:00 AM EST. So I went about the house gathering all the empty cans and bottles and put them neatly in the kitchen and wiped down the half of the table the bottles were not occupying. After I finished, I was on my way to TRU. The actual act of getting the DS was uneventful and trivial, albeit quite exciting. I picked up MarioKart DS and New Super Mario Bros. to start my gaming adventure with. I do wish in retrospect I had gotten a small padded case and some screen protectors, but in no way does that mean I regretted any part of that trip.
I put my prize in the car and headed to my parents house. After lugging the suitcase in, jokingly stating that I’d need it another month, my mother told me I should just hold onto it and I lugged it back out to my car. I then brought in the DS to show my mom how cool it was. After she looked at it, she said, “You know we still don’t know what to get you for your birthday. Can we give this to you?” I’m not sure she was finished speaking when I said, “Yes!”, but I was pretty excited.
I posted some gadget pr0n after the jump and I also added a gallery here.
Shortly after upgrading WordPress to 2.0.3, I had a number of entries I wanted to write, but first I decided to reload my main desktop computer because it was periodically freezing on me. I wasn’t able to leave it on during the day to download files or leave a scheduled job to run because I couldn’t rely on it staying stable. Thinking Windows was the problem, I reinstalled. Naturally, 21% into formatting the harddrive, the computer freezes. It appears that Windows was in fact not the culprit. This means it was a hardware issue. Man down.
5 installs of Windows XP and service pack 2 later, I have returned the victor!
To make a long story short, it was the graphics card driver. I uninstalled it in safe mode restarted and it went right into Windows without so much as a pause. I’ve loaded up some of my applications including those necessary to get the Zen Vision up and working. I only meant to watch the first few seconds of the episode of Battlestar Galactica I loaded, but ended up watching all 45 minutes of it. I’ll post a review of the Zen player at another time, but needless to say I am pleased with it.
Now I can get some sleep and get back to work.
To better the chance of success with the reload of my system, I am writing a ‘script’ of procedures for myself to follow. I have started with a fairly extensive list of the applications I use now that I would like to re-install in addition to a few other apps I am using to replace some I was unhappy with.
So here is my application install list so far to install on Windows XP:
My big birthday/holidays gift for 2005 was a Creative Zen Vision. First, I would just like to say that this thing is one kick ass video player. Now that I have said that, I must now say that I only know this from watching the default videos on the player. Here’s why.
At first I thought I left the software at my parents house where I opened it first. It took me a day to realize I should check the cardboard cushion that the screen was resting on in the box. Sure enough, hiding underneath was the software, drivers, and manuals. First crisis averted.
I just loaded the drivers cd into my computer, eager to get everything up and running so I could watch the latest episode of Battlestar Galactica on this marvelous video player. To my shock and horror, the autorun software popped up saying that my version of Windows is not compatible with the Zen Vision. Feeling my irrational fury building, I checked the box. Sure enough under Minimum System Requirements it says ‘Microsoft Windows XP’. Yep thats right, no other operating system is listed. I am currently running Windows 2000. I’m running Windows 2000 because its stable. I know. You must be saying to yourself, “But Windows XP is stable and better,” and to this I will agree but only the latest version with the latest service pack. I add to that the amount of time I spend online and the all the crap I download. It can sometimes cause some instability in many systems and has on other boxes. Not this one though. This one has remained stable since its last upgrade, ridding itself of the plague called Windows Me (though ironically the only OS that ever ran my multimedia keyboard correctly). As the saying has always gone, if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it. Well, it ain’t broke, but I got a new toy I can’t play with, so it needs some fixin’.
I am sitting here migrating 80 GB of data from my harddrive to my server in preparation of a system wipe and reinstall to XP. I am less than excited about the thought of having to reinstall all these applications. On a side note, though, it will be nice to finally get remote desktop on here and I think I’m going to skip the Office re-install and instead opt for the OpenOffice.org suite and give it a run. No time like a reload to test new software.
Creative has put up a page for their new Zen Sleek offering on their website.
Check it out here.
I’ve mentioned the Zen Sleek before.
In my quest to make my wishlist more dynamic and easier to update, I had an epiphany in the middle of the day today at work.
Amazon has a lot of extra features that many people don’t even realize. My thought was that they may offer as RSS/XML style version of their wishlist. If this was the case, I could then use CSS to manipulate it and make it look like every other page on this site.
Sadly though, this is not an option in Amazon. Leaving me to still manually update this list as best I can.
I had mentioned to one of the guys at work how I was trying to setup a testing region for this blog on my server at home last Thursday. I also said how I was having trouble getting everything setup properly. Right away he told me to check out XAMPP.
Here’s a brief description from their site:
Many people know from their own experience that it’s not easy to install an Apache web server and it gets harder if you want to add MySQL, PHP and Perl. XAMPP is an easy to install Apache distribution containing MySQL, PHP and Perl. XAMPP is really very easy to install and to use – just download, extract and start.
In all seriousness, it really was that easy. I’ve never had an installation for any type of server/database software as smooth, easy, and fast. Once it was installed, it has its own control panel that can start and stop each of the services, in addition to, I believe, a couple other things.
The installation itself took under 10 minutes and the setup for my testing region took maybe another 20 since all I needed to do was import my database and move my web folder to the server.
If your interested in playing with Apache webserver, PHP scripting, or MySQL databases, I highly recommend giving this a go.
Ah Creative. Just as I am starting to write a blog entry that completely slams you and your ineffective ability to market your products, you show us another nugget of gadget goodness.
I will share my complaints before I go into their latest offering.
Creative has some top notch, quality products in the portable audio market. They have declared war on Apple and it’s dominating market share.