Ingoal and Windows 8

Just as Microsoft was realising windows 8 to the public I thought to myself: oh well, let’s give it a shot…a brand new microsoft os for 29.99€ (upgrade offer 32/64bit) and available via digital download – I like.

So I started by downloading and generating and install images afterwards and then I started the upgrade process (Windows 7 –> Windows 8) with the options to keep both files and programs. Upgrade itself went smoothly up to the point where the “windows based part” of the installation (aka configuration) should have been started. I was staring at a blank screen, but the computer itself was working (blinking leds for hdd etc).

Then I made a big mistake, I didn’t think about the situation and thought the upgrade was faulty and that I should do a clean install. But in the clean install I wound up at the same point. So I thought about what it could be…and the only reasonable explanation was the graphics-card or the monitor…but as the monitor worked fined (post-screen and all), i was left with the option graphics card. You gotta know that I have a custom mini-pc that I built a few years back featuring an mATX-Board with integrated graphics cards (Nvidia Geforce 6150) with an DVI-riser card. So I searched in my box of “old cables” and got myself an old vga-cable (blue plug) and *drumroll* I had a picture again.

To make a long story short, I had similar problems with Vista and Win7 as well, but in those I could get the dvi-riser card running with a few tricks…no such luck in windows 8. So for the time being I worked with the analogous connection, but quickly checked Amazon to see what was out there for cheap. Suffice to say that I hadn’t been keeping uptodate with the pc hardware developments like I used to – so I was pleasantly surprised to find a “low end” Gainward GeForce 210 with 1GB of ram for under 30€…how times have changed!

Yesterday the shipment arrived and I installed the new graphics card in under 5 minutes and *drumroll again* now I’m back with a digital connection dvi/hdmi and everything is running smoother than ever (you gotta remember that the old integrated graphics were a few years old)…I like! And with ClassicShell installed, the windows “standard part” just looks like Windows 7 again…best of both worlds!

…and that is my only caveat with Windows 8 – why in the world would you take away the Start button without an inbuilt option to choose whether you wanted it or not Microsoft? That is lame…

My new metro start screen
New gimmicks like pause and visual stats for explorer copy
New taskmanager

iPad crazyness and stupid people

I mean okay, the iPad seems to be way cool and in all honesty, I’ll probably order one once they become available over here in germany (depending on the price which is yet to be determined), but what the hell is going on?

Over here there’s a new crazyness about this “new” auction format where there’s an item, e.g. the ipad, which starts at 0.01 Euro and an amount of time x. Every time someone bids, the time y is added (e.g. 10 seconds) and the price increases by an amount z (e.g. 0.01Euro). The ultimate winner of the auction will pay the end price, but wait, there’s a kicker. Every bid in an auction costs 0.5 Euro (0.675$).

So, there’s one winner and x people bidding, in the end there’s the lucky winner and x people having payed for nothing…and even the winner might really be a loser.

See the following example which I witnessed this afternoon:

crazy

crazy

So, let’s do a little math:

1. The iPad has a value of 499$
2. There were 4986 bids for 0.675$ (0.5Euro) a pop, which equals 3366,25$ for the site running the auction.
3. The “winner” of the auction is the ultimate loser, 1524 bids + the final price = 811,87 Euro or 1.095,79$

Wtf is going on here? This auction platform is like printing money, I guess there are more and more idiots getting up every morning, you just have to find them and they’ll hand you their money…sad..really sad…

Twitter updater


UPDATE: Please head on over to the new home of my plugin: TWITTERUPDATER.COM this post here will not be updated any longer!!!

So, I found this cool plugin posting updates to twitter once you wrote a new blog post (or edited an old one). It’s pretty nice and can be found on the authors, Victoria Chan, site here (v1.1).

Jonathan Dingman then released an update adding tinyurl support (v2.0) which can be found here.

I just edited this v2.0 and replaced the tinyurl-support with support for the new url-shortening service ZZ.GD which results in even shorter short-urls saving more space in the tweet in case a post title is longer…

My new version (v2.07.1) can be found here (please read edits below for more information!!!): Twitter Updater v2.07.1

Known Issues:

  • None atm

Feature requests:

  • Possibility to include post’s category in tweet

Installation:
1. Download the plugin (see above link.)
2. Unzip the compressed file to your hard drive.
3. Upload the “twitter_updater” folder to your wp-content/plugins folder.
4. Browse to the Plugins page under wp-admin and activate the plugin.
5. Setting the options: Browse to Manage->Twitter Updater.
6. On this page, you can set any options you would like to.
7. IMPORTANT: Make sure you enter your Twitter username and password, then click on “save login”
8. That’s it! Now your Twitter.com status will be updated every time you publish a new post.

Edit (July 15th 2008): Just a quick note…the recent release of WP 2.6 has messed something up. While the plugin continues to work fine in WP version 2.5.1 and older, it keeps firing two updates (one with an invalid zz.gd-short-url) in WP 2.6. I’m going to investigate…stand by for news…and hopefully a quick fix.

Edit #2 (July 15th 2008): I’ve identified the culprit…WP2.6 uses post-revisions (saving multiple instances of the post using autosave)…hence the multi-tweet…working on a fix now…

Edit #3 (July 15th 2008): It’s indeed the post-revisions thing, but the quick workaround I tried (disabling post revisions after all) has had some major side-effects (namely edits of posts were not saved anymore)…so I really need to address this issue by checking the post status and ignoring revisions…fix probably coming tomorrow…for the time being please just manually delete the first auto-tweet.

Edit #4 (July 17th 2008): Sorry about the delay, but my computer fried itself today, so I had no time to fix it yet…exciting news forthcoming…as hopefully the fix…stay tuned.

Edit #5 (July 17th 2008): This little plugin has it’s own twitter source parameter now…so it’ll say “from Ingoal’s Twitter Update” instead of “from web” from now on…you can grab the latest version, version 2.02 above…version 2.03 with the bugfix (double-tweet) is still forthcoming…

Edit #6 (July 22nd 2008): Sorry about the delay…but I had something else going on, so it took me a while to write the fix. I deleted some of the options, from now on out you’ll have the update choice to auto-twitter when posting a new post (with or without link using zz.gd) and auto-twittering when editing old posts…that’s it. Compatible to WordPress version 2.6! So if you’re running WP 2.6, please update to version 2.03!!! …and if you’re running WP 2.5.1 or older, please continue to use version 2.02!!! Hat tip to microkid for his hint about identifying WordPress post revisions and auto-saves!!!

Edit #7 (July 27th 2008): Fixed the post-title issue. In the prior version post titles were truncated if they included an ampersand ( & )…this is fixed now…please update.

Edit #8 (July 29th 2008): Introduced alternative method to retrieve the shorturl from zz.gd (using curl)…please update if you had problems (error message, empty shorturl) and make sure you have a look at the twitter updater page (manage) -> check the new checkbox! If you didn’t have problems you don’t need to do anything…

Edit #9 (August 04th 2008): Introduced a cascading in the shorturl generation. After zz.gd was down the last two days due to server issues, ppl using the plugin were stuck with empty shorturls. To rectify that situation and keep it from happening in the future the cascade of zz.gd — tinyurl.com was introduced. If zz.gd is down, the shorturl will be generated using tinyurl.com. Other cascades might be added in the future, but for now, this one seems to be more than enough.

Edit #10 (October 18th 2008): So…Marco “Saphod” Luthe put up a modded version of the 2.06 version that fixes the future post (and save post) issues. I took the liberty to rename his modded version 2.06 to version 2.07 and I’m officially releasing it here. Thanks again Marco! All you users and readers out there feel free to drop by his site to thank him for the fix…and happy tweeting/twittering….

Edit #11 (November 1st 2008):Corrected tinyurl api url, so that if you’re using tinyurl instead of zz.gd you’re getting the correct short-url…

New Photoblog…

…not that I had an old-one, lol, but as I got myself a new digital camera today, I thought I’d start a photoblog as part of ingoal.info. It can be found here. Let’s see how long I can keep it uptodate with photos…my plan is to post a photo every day, let’s see how that works out. If you would like to follow my photoblog, check in regularly or subscribe using your favourite feedreader…

Ride with the wind…

Well, if the new MSI Wind will really hit the market with a price tag around the 399$ range, I’m soooooo going to get one. Why? Not because I desperately need one, after all I’ve got a regular notebook ( 14″ ) and an Apple iPhone already, but because I think this could be a nice gadget in between those two devices. Ultra portable and yet a full computer…

MSI Wind

Boosting Laptop endurance

You might remember that I bought a new laptop back in april. I’m still really satisfied with my choice, although the battery runtime is not really up to par. The small, standard battery is just a little too weak to support the dual core cpu and ati video card for a long time. That being said, it still lasts for up to 2h, but that’s not really fly, so I decided to get myself the high capacity battery…

The original standard battery is 2600mAh…this baby is 6000mAh…so more than twice the up time…sweet…

High Capacity Battery

Ingoal goes next-gen

Well, well…after waiting for a long time, Sony made my decision easier today. Dropping the price of the PS3, while introducing the “new” PS3 (40GB model without PS2-backward-compatibility)…

As I’m a fan of the first edition (60GB) and a fan of added value, I went with the 60GB-model including two games and two wireless gamepads…499 €…still a lot of money, but a good bang for the buck if you consider that it includes the console itself, two wireless controllers, two games and a blueray player…now all I need to “fully” enjoy it is a sick HDTV…hmm…maybe come christmas I’ll work on that one…

Sony PS3

Repair and update

I decided to give repair of my good old Laserjet 5 a shot and it worked out pretty nicely. After getting the new toner cartridge and printing some dozen test prints everything is back to normal. Groovy. To celebrate the “success”, I decided to upgrade the printer…so I fired up ebay and started looking for a duplex-unit, the last available upgrade for my printer. I found one pretty quickly and I’m happy to say: not only is my printer up and running again, no, it’s more than that. It’s a fully equipped printing beast now ;-)

Speaking of updates: As you might have noticed I decided to get a new theme…Ingoal’s Insight is about to hit the three year anniversary…so I thought a new look would be a nice touch…hope you all like it…

To repair or not to repair

R.I.P. LJ5n?!

Yesterday something ugly happened. My trusty old network printer, a HP Laserjet 5n, bugged out on me. I printed some documents and there was a paperjam. Usually that would be no big deal, but this time it was. The toner cartridge thought it was a good idea to spill loads of toner onto the paper in print. Combine that with the paperjam (in the fuser) and you have the ultimate ugly ugly ugly result. The toner pile on top of the jammed paper melted into the fuser. Did you ever see how some grams of toner look like after they’ve been cooked? Me neither…until yesterday that is :-(

So now the big question for is: should I try to repair the damage or should I buy a new (used) printer to replace the whole thing?

I think there’s a chance that I can clean out the fuser…if that was the case I would just need a new toner cartridge and it would be as good as new. But if not…it’s really not worth the effort as the fuser unit is the most expensive part of the whole printer and what’s even worse, you can get one of it’s successors (e.g. the 4050n, sometimes even the 4050dn including the duplex unit) for less than 100 Euros these days…

New laptop arrives, the joy

So, today the UPS man dropped off my new laptop and I started to play around with it. This is really one fine machine:

1. It looks terrific with the black piano finish on top (I hope that I can keep it from getting majorly scratched by using a tucano second skin, which is like a diver suit, neopren, fitting the laptop like a glove)

2. The display is nice…1280×800…more than enough screen real-estate for my needs

3. It’s light (2.39kg)…

4. It’s fast (I didn’t grab a screenshot of the windows performance ranking, but the lowest score is 3.8 on 3D, everything else is well above 4 (4.6, 4.8, etc)), I like! High-five!

5. Battery life could be better…it ships with a 4 cell battery so the actual runtime is somewhat limited (roughly 3h)…maybe I’ll get the highcapacity battery (double capacity, 8 cells) in the future…for now, I’m fine though as it’s not going to be “on the road” (without a power outlet in reach) for an extended period of time…

So…I’m exited and looking forward to using this bad boy to do some (semi)mobile writing and playing in the months (and/or years) to come :-)

New laptop selected, ordered and shipped

I finally ordered my new laptop today. I was looking around for months now and it seemed that I just couldn’t find “the” perfect model. My requirements were:

1. max 14.1″ screen…15.4″ screens are fine, but having a 15.4″ screen means that the things is at least 16.x” wide (15.4″ + frame)…usually models sporting a 15.4″ screen are heavy (around 3+ kg)…and due to the big screen the battery runtime is usually low(er) too…

2. decent vga…integrated intel and stuff is cool, but not really…especially as I tend to hold on to laptops for quite some time (I bought my current laptop, an IBM Thinkpad, 6 years ago), so it should be at least up to par now so that’ll still be “okay” in a few years…

3. at least 1GB of ram…better 2GB…dual channel…yadda-yadda…

4. don’t care much about hdd size but 80GB would be fine and a DVD burner would be nice too…

5. shipped with Vista

6. not the most expensive one out there

7. service…at least two-year warranty with at pickup service or better…

8. screen resolution of at least 1024×768…but preferred would be some widescreen format (e.g. 1280×800)…

Given those requirements, it was a real hard task to find a compromise between some of them – 14.1″ models are usually far more expensive than 15.4″ models as 15.4″ is the biggest seller these days, so I guess the panel prices are way cheaper. Some models are still only available with Windows XP. Other models have 14″ screens, but only a 1024×768 resolution. Some models are looking good in pictures, but when you touch them in real life, they feel cheap and not really fit for everyday operation. etc etc

To make a long story short, I finally decided to go with the new Samsung R20-Aura line. There are only two models available in that line, so not much to chose from, but they are exactly what I was looking for. The difference between the models (Deva / Declan)? They’re exactly the same…except for the CPU…so chipset, ram, video card, hdd, dvd burner, software, everything is the same…

Deva – Core 2 Duo T7200 (2x2GHz, 4MB Cache)

Declan – Core Duo T2350 (2×1.86GHz, 2MB Cache)

Now, I always want to go with the newest stuff and all and a Core 2 Duo system would be nice, but I decided to go with the Core Duo model. Why? Let me explain…

Yeah, Core Duo isn’t the current line of Intel mobile processors, but it’s a kickass CPU and probably more CPU power than I’ll ever use (as this notebook will be used as a mobile computer, not as a desktop replacement) and you just can’t beat the price difference. I ordered it with 2GB of ram, 120GB HDD, DVD burner, Vista Home Premium, the whole shebang…and what’s the price difference between the two models (which are exactly the same minus the CPU)? 400 Euro (that’s roughly 545$)…you can keep your 2 between the Core and Duo for that fellows ;)

…the best thing is that I ordered it this afternoon and they called me up five minutes after I had placed my order to confirm everything. The said it would be shipped tonight and earlier on I received a mail with the UPS tracking code…wheee…it really left their shop tonight and now, in the middle of the night, I just rolled into the UPS depot for my area…so…I expect to be playing on and with it tomorrow…the excitement :)

Specs:

T2350 – 1.86GHz Core Duo

2GB Ram

Ati x1250 video card (max 256MB, which will leave me with 1.79GB of ram)

120GB HDD

DVD-Burner

Vista HomePremium

14.1″ Widescreen WXGA screen (1280×800)

Piano-style finish (shiny black)