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

New year new install

Hehe…I managed to screw up my windows installation today, so today is reinstall day. Thanks to my ssd configuration the reinstall is pretty quick, but it’s still a hassle to remember all the stuff you had on your computer and reinstall it all…oh well…almost done and the system feels extra snappy again – not that it was sluggish before or anything, once again thanks to the ssd as my system drive.

Upgrading day and how twitter messed up my blogging…

So, it was time again to do some upgrading…WordPress 2.8.4 it is from now on. All plugins updated as well…it’s been a while since I did a major upgrade, but as usually everything went dandy, thumbs up WordPress!

So…half a year with no post…I didn’t even realize I didn’t post here in ages…really weird, but hey, ever since I started using twitter, I tend to post little tid-bits there instead of posting a new post on here…maybe I should change that again…and post at least a wrap-up of what’s been going on around here…we’ll see…I wonder if anyone is still reading this anyway ;-)

I hate it even more when…

…I get no support at all for an original product, genuine baby, that I bought from this company. What do I get instead? “Support” from a russian call-center basically telling me “click here, click there, oops doesn’t work, good day sir”. Wtf is going on here? Is there no qualified staff anymore where cases like mine could be escalated to? Wtf is going on…I’m so mad right now, you wouldn’t even believe it.

Note to self and anyone else out there pondering a Vista install for one reason or another: If you’ve got the “old version” (without SP1), make sure you use this version in the install process and install SP1 after the install. Why? Because Vista+SP1 is not Vista and then SP1…sorry…can’t activate your install…thank you very much M$…that’s what you get for buying your software instead of stealing it…thank you very much….

Edit #1: It seems that even the gurus at Technet can’t help…so I guess I’m in for a reinstall, yet again…

Edit #2: Still waiting for my new external hard-disc to show up…grrr….I hate delays….

Edit #3: Almost there, system up and running again…with official activation and the whole she-bang…still need to install some updates and then I’m good to go again…wheeeeeeeeee.

I hate when computers go poof

Today was one of these days. Sit down at computer, do some small stuff…get the feeling that it’s totally sluggish. Hmmm, it’s windows after all and has been running for two weeks straight now…oh well, let’s reboot. Poof. Bad idea. System doesn’t come up again and throws the black screen of death. This or that driver is missing or damage.

Okay, let’s do a repair. Repair done – same problem.

Okay let’s do a restore to system restore point “yesterday” – not working.

Okay let’s do a restore to system restore point “two days ago” – not working.

Okay…all system restore points aren’t working. Groovy. Why did the system do them again? Sigh.

Okay, let’s do a repair install. Errm yeah, (upgrade aka repair) only possible when started from within the “old” install. Errm yeah, genius…I need the repair out of pure desperation…not because my system isn’t coming up you dumb***…sigh.

Oh well…burned up the whole afternoon and evening and now I’ve gotta do a clean install anyway…bad beat right there…

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…

Firefox 3 first impressions

Today was the day that Firefox 3 was finally released.

Firefox3

My first impressions are:

1. Compared to the old version Firefox seems to have an improved memory handling (or bluntly put: less memory leaks)…with the same tabs open and everything 85MB looks much better than 214MB….

2. The “Awesome Bar” is a nice feature….

3. Speed-wise I can’t see much different…

More impression after a longer time running it on a day to day basis…

This is NOT a paid review…(Antispyware Tool)

I just wanted to give a big shoutout to the makers of SuperAntiSpyware as their software did a really great job on cleaning my system. It all started a few days back when some nasty spyware infected my system. No big deal I thought, so I fired up all the usual tools (e.g. Adaware, Spybot S&D, HijackThis)…to no avail…not even a safe-mode reboot and cleaning-procedure could get rid of it.

Bring in SuperAntiSpyware – Free Edition. Installed it, auto-downloaded the newest updates and definition files, ran it once, rebooted once and my system is clean. Awesome.

So once again, this is not a paid review, it’s just a message from me saying: Great software and if you’ve got problems with a spyware-infected system, give it a try!

How to start the new year on the wrong foot…

…just try to do a quick update of your server management software (Plesk) and watch how shit hits the fan…then try to fix it and make things even worse…curse…then try to get it back up and finally succeed (partially)…

So sick…so…if you’re seeing this, it means that part of the server is back up on it’s feet…happy new year…and please stand by while I try to fix the rest…

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)

Hunt for a new notebook

I’ve been in the hunt for a new notebook for ages now and I’m finally getting tired of it. There are just so many models to chose from and it seems that “the perfect one” just isn’t out there, or at least I can’t find it.

If it got everything I want (nice screen, at least 1GB ram, DVD burner, 80GB HDD, Windows Vista), it’s battery life sucks – how come that a NEW super-duper notebook with kickass technology has a battery life of 2 hours?! Are you serious…my 6 year old notebook used to run that long…sigh.

Then again, if the battery life is awesome, something else just doesn’t seem right. Sigh.

This is really getting annoying and I think I finally settled on a model. 14.1″ WXGA (1280×800) seems the perfect match for me as I don’t like the cloggy 15,4″+ screen models…either I want a notebook or a desktop-replacement…and I don’t see myself hauling a 15,4″ notebook around. Downside: 14.1″ WXGA screens are not the norm (which would be 15,4″ these days) and so those models are usually quite expensive. Sigh. So I had a long look around all the different models and I ended up with the Samsung R20-Aura line. Now the only question left is…go with the highend (2x2GHz Core 2 Duo) or subtract a little cpu power and 1GB of ram (same chipset, same mobo, same DVD, same hdd, but 2×1.83GHz Core Duo) and save 500 Euro…decisions, decisions. I’m leaning toward the Core Duo model though…yes, it’s not the latest cpu, but hey, it’s more computing power than imagine myself using on the road anyway and saving 500 Euro, seems like a good thing to do…

Now I only need to wait for the Samsung people to get back to me as the specs are screwed up on their sites and flyers…one is saying that the CPU is 2×2.16GHz, which can’t be right, but no shame in asking, same goes for the battery…there’s a normal battery (38,48Wh) and a longlife battery (76,96Wh)…but there’s no mention about which battery is included? The normal one, the highcapacity one, both? I guess I’ll find out soon enough if their email-support get’s their behinds into gear…