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DirEttore Standard 1.5 Review

If there’s one thing I’ve always wanted to do, its to run a real radio station. Complete with actual programming, ads, promos, station idents, and everything else that real radio stations do. I tried using Winamp, but it never satisfied me. Winamp is a music player, but what I wanted was a radio program. After asking Google, I found expensive solutions such as SAM Broadcaster, but I’m not made of money. I then stumbled upon MixTime’s DirEttore software, and I was surprised at the price point: absolutely free.

2010-12-04_1139

Now tell me with a straight face that this doesn’t look professional. I’m running it on Windows Server 2003, and it’s been up for 10 days at the time I’m writing this. In those 10 days DirEttore has been playing continuously. No crashing, no dead air. (No listeners, either, but that’s my fault since my FM transmitter is in a cinderblock walled dorm. No signal can get in or out!)

2010-12-04_1154

The way that DirEttore works that makes it different than Winamp and general music players is how it handles playlists. Instead of having a list of songs to play in an order, DirEttore has a list of directories. Pictured above is the Rotation window, which handles the directory playlist that I’m currently using. Notice how rotation elements are just directories of MP3 files. In the free version, you must add each directory that you want, but in the Standard version which I’m using you can recurse into sub-directories. The list under “ROTATION” shows the playlist which I set up on day 1. Not extremely complex, eh? Didn’t take me more than a minute, and it’ll keep playing forever if I choose. With this type of rotation it already sounds better than Winamp, as your station is identified, ads play, and your music plays just fine too!

We’ve had the software running continuously for nearly a year, and it’s been pumping out non-stop music for WPLS, Furman’s radio station! Everyone’s been extremely satisfied, as in the past we used Winamp and it just didn’t compare. If you’d like to get a copy, visit Mixtime’s website to find out more.

Testing the new Windows Live Writer functions

Windows Live Writer 2011

Features Check: I’ll be inserting one of everything that’s possible to insert. Total article word count: 348

It's Home! For the next few years...
Testing the insert video function. Works pretty nicely!

Rolling on the floor laughingSmile with tongue outThumbs up

  Vanilla Chocolate Strawberry
Caramel Sauce Tasty! Tasty! Tasty!
Peanuts Sarcastic smile Surprised smile Smile
Whipped Cream

Delicious

Delicious

Delicious

Any Font I choose?

      • I would believe so.

IMG_0033

Apparently, I can’t resize the picture on the left without doing it manually. At least I can now embed pictures on the left or on the right as to further my plans for world domination as to give myself the freedom to write on one side and illustrate on the other. Underlined text.

 

 

 

 

 

The derivitive of f(x)

Pictures cannot be resized using the handles on the side. This irritates me. Perhaps its my blog’s theme, perhaps some other glitch, but I need to manually change the size on the picture controls. You can’t do picture effects with images embedded from other webpages, and while this makes sense, an option to import them and edit ‘em might be nice. Also, I don’t see a caption tool, which would be nice to have.

Pasted Source Formatting!

A Tale of Two Cities LITE(tm)
	-- by Charles Dickens

	A man in love with a girl who loves another man who looks just
	like him has his head chopped off in France because of a mean
	lady who knits.

Crime and Punishment LITE(tm)
	-- by Fyodor Dostoevski

	A man sends a nasty letter to a pawnbroker, but later
	feels guilty and apologizes.

The Odyssey LITE(tm)
	-- by Homer

	After working late, a valiant warrior gets lost on his way home.

Source – Random Fortune Cookie Generator

Hyperlink above^

Superscript is the same as Subscript? It also has a tendency to get stuck like this for no apparent reason. HELP! I’M STUCK!

No really, it does get you stuck like this.

“ARGH! Had to copy and paste something from above to get outta subscript mode. Testing the quote function!”
~Mr. Stick

  1. Get steak
  2. Get cheese
  3. Have a cheesesteak.

 

Those are about all the features I can cram into this test. Hope it looks as well published as it does in the Edit pane!

Crazy 8s Transcript, October 2, 2010

GOOOOOOOOD EVENING FURMAN UNIVERSITY! My name’s Zach Hall, and for the next 2 hours I’m taking over the airwaves to bring you the second installment of Crazy 8s on WPLS-FM 95.9!

We’ve got a jam-packed show for you tonight, full of news, the weather, and of course this week’s Randomly Assorted Music, or RAM! I’m going to read a lot of stories for you this week, and the theme of all the stories I’m going to read is that they’re all licensed under the Creative Commons License, so as long as I cite my source (thanks, Wikinews and Wikipedia!) I can read any of it. And honestly, when you have 120 minutes to fill and only about 45 or less are music, you either need to mad-lib like there’s no tomorrow or read content. I could subscribe to the Associated Press and get a license to read their stuff, but I can barely afford a meal in the PDen so Wikinews it is! Also, who could turn down free content?

To kick things off, let’s start the week’s RAM segment with a song that’s been stuck in my head ever since I heard it in the car last week!

You’re listening to RAM, Randomly Assorted Music, only on Crazy 8’s on WPLS-FM 95.9! I hope you enjoyed the first 15 minutes or so of music, but it’s time to stop for a moment to predict the future! That’s right, it’s time for your weather forecast, provided by the National Weather Service at weather.gov!

Tonight: Mostly clear, with a low around 52. Light and variable wind.

Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 69. North wind between 8 and 10 mph.

Sunday Night: A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 47. North wind between 6 and 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Monday: A slight chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 66. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 67.

Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 71. 

Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 75.

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 77.

Hopefully you’re more prepared for the coming week now that you know we’re going to have high temperatures in the mid-70’s every day! Most definitely hammock weather, as I’m sure a few of you will appreciate!

You’re listening to RAM: Randomly Assorted Music, on Crazy-8’s! Only on WPLS-FM 95.9! Or at least, you were for the last half hour or so. We’re officially done with the music segment for the show since I’ve finally finished writing my script and can now officially start the talk segment of the show! (I can just hear everyone switching their radios to all-music stations now, but if you give what I have to say a chance, you might find it’s an excellent sleep aid! Just listen for 3 minutes or so and you’re out cold.) :laugh: :laugh dies out. groan:

:back with enthusiasm: BUT OKAY THEN!! One thing on my mind, speaking of all-music radio stations, is the fact that popular opinion would suggest that talk radio is dead. I mean, where are the talk stations these days? The majority are on AM. How many portable music players sold these days include a radio on them? Most of them. The Zune, many of the iPods, as well as the vast majority of other MP3 players of which I forgot but probably are a better deal economically speaking than getting an iPod. That’s a whole other issue, and I’ll save it for later, but the point is that when you have an MP3 player with a radio, it’s almost always an FM radio, which means that most of the time, if you’re using a portable player to listen to the radio, you’re not hearing a lot of talk. Of course, even music stations have news sometimes, but the focus is on the music. You’re there for the music and you stay for the news, the weather, etc. I remember I went electronics shopping a few months ago and the guy who was helping me pick out a radio was telling me that he only heard AM radio once in the last 10 years, and that it was “by accident.” I kind-of doubt he listens to sports radio or news broadcasts on the radio, because most of what I hear on FM is one-way communication that fails to engage your brain except to sell stuff to you or give you stuff as part of a promotion. On both AM and FM they have call-in numbers, but a typical FM pitch is “Call NOW for a chance to win some expensive prize, brought to you by X Corp!” The typical AM pitch differs quite a bit, saying “Call in NOW with your opinion on what we’re discussing!” as if to say “Call us out on what we’re saying, engage your mind, and tell us what you think on this issue!” AM radio usually has that “make you think” quality to it, as whoever is hosting a show has an opinion, and wants others to share theirs. It may be more boring at times than one’s top 40 cravings, but it’s extremely important that people stay current with what’s up in the world, because (1) we won’t be able to identify names on our political science tests, and (2) it keeps your brain fresh! Listening to music all day and never reading or watching the news is easy to do but rots your brain! If I knew how to get the call-in number working, I’d totally ask you all to call me about what you think on this issue, but sadly I only know how to flip the switch to “BIG MIC” and start talking, and that I need to switch it to “iTUNES COMPUTER” when I’m done. Anyways, time to switch gears for a second and get into… the NEWS!

== Jingle: It’s news and opinion time on Crazy 8’s, only on WPLS-FM 95.9! ==

HOW MANY TIMES DOES THIS HAPPEN TO YOU? You’re watching your favorite TV show and it’s a bit quiet. You turn up the volume… 8, 9, 10, all the way up to 11! Now, your show goes to a commercial break and all of the sudden, BLAST! Full power screaming about how if you have a headache from how they’re blowing your ears out, you should get one of their fancy painkillers, so CALL YOU DOCTOR RIGHT NOW at 11:30PM to ask him/her if it’s a good idea. Well, did y’all hear about what’s going on in Congress this week? Both houses voted unanimously on a bill that forces TV networks to turn down those extremely irritating LOUD commercials! Great, eh? The networks sure haven’t done anything about it, and people have been complaining about this problem for over 60 years! Well, however good this legislation sounds, I don’t think it’s all that good. Why’s this? I like the idea of giving my ears a break just as much as any of you, but I feel that it’s just another way our federal government is trying to grab more power from us! Well, not from you and me, exactly, but from the networks. I don’t think it should be ILLEGAL to be annoying, though I don’t think it’s RIGHT if networks are making their audiences deaf. I think it’s up to the viewer to turn the volume down or not watch a show if they don’t like the commercials to that extent, but I’m also a bit torn over the issue because it’s not like most networks and stations aren’t guilty of this volume blasting, so just not watching any TV, while a valid protest, is highly impractical, especially with such “gems” as The Bachelor on TV… seriously, that show and The Bachelorette are the very definition of rubbish. Just seeing ads for those two shows makes my blood boil. 20 or so people competing in all sorts of silly competitions to try and win the “love” of one person. I mean, how desperate do you need to be? I can’t imagine that anyone on those shows is looking for a very meaningful marriage, or that they’re particularly deep individuals, but that’s for another time. To keep it simple, this law doesn’t really protect us from any type of injustice, except perhaps ear annihilation, but it’s not really the type of thing I’d like in the law books.

Now, time for some straight reading from a news article. The following piece is free of any of my own opinions, except that it sounds pretty awesome what’s going on. The entire article is available on Wikinews, which is basically Wikipedia’s news section, and provides the world with all sorts of free, Creative Commons licensed news. The fact that I just cited my source means I can read the text on-air! Let’s begin!


“NASA’s new space capsule to be ready for test flights by 2013”

‘NASA’s Space Shuttle replacement, the Orion spacecraft, is anticipated to be ready for test flights by 2013.

Orion, part of the original Constellation program proposal, would be used in a NASA initiative to return astronauts to the moon. However, United States president Barack Obama cancelled the program in his 2011 budget. He instead advised NASA to focus on a manned mission to an asteroid, and then to Mars.

Obama supports the development of the capsule only as an emergency escape ‘lifeboat’ for the International Space Station.

The end of the Space Shuttle program will see many contractors out of work. The United States Congress is debating a bill to add one more shuttle mission in the gap between the currently scheduled last shuttle mission and the first manned flight of the capsule, in order to alleviate concerns over job loss and the gap between the end of shuttle missions and the entry into service of a replacement American vehicle.

Despite uncertainty about the future and usage of Orion, Lockheed Martin, the craft’s manufacturer, continues to work on it and plans to have a fully-operational model ready by the end of 2012. The company is also drawing up flight plans for possible missions.

In the original Constellation program proposal, the capsule would have been used to transport a six-member crew to and from the International Space Station, and a four-member crew on trips to the moon. Although Obama’s newly proposed plan involves missions to asteroids and eventually Mars, Lockheed Martin officials still believe that Orion would be a prime candidate for the job.

“It’s possible to make Orion compatible with other launch vehicles,” said Josh Hopkins, a Lockheed Martin official. “It doesn’t actually look all that hard.”‘

SOURCE: http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/NASA’s_new_space_capsule_to_be_ready_for_test_flights_by_2013?dpl_id=209282

Well, there we go! I was interested in what would happen to NASA ever since I heard they weren’t going to be doing any more manned missions for a long time a few years ago. Guess I need to wonder no longer. I personally think space is a great thing, and deserves a proper exploration, but I’m a bit hesitant on the idea of spending a lot of money on it in the situation this country is in, over its head in debt.

How about one more news story… this one’s also from Wikinews:


“UK animal welfare group prosecutes woman who threw cat into bin”

‘A woman who was recorded throwing a cat into an outdoor rubbish bin has been charged with two counts of animal cruelty. 45-year-old Mary Bale, from Coventry, West Midlands, England, United Kingdom, was recorded on a security camera allegedly giving the tabby cat — Lola, aged four — a stroking and looking at her surroundings before taking the animal and dumping it into the wheelie bin before walking away from the scene.

The cat was discovered in the bin fifteen hours later by her owners, 24-year-old Stephanie Andrews-Mann and her husband, 26-year-old Darryl. She appeared to be unharmed. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals — otherwise known by the abbreviation RSPCA — have now brought charges against Mary Bale under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Judith Haw, a spokesperson for the RSPCA, has stated: “The RSPCA has taken the case to court as two alleged offences have been committed: of causing unnecessary suffering to a cat and of not providing the animal with a suitable environment. As criminal proceedings are now active the RSPCA will not be issuing any further statements or completing interview requests until conclusion of the court case.”

Having received a court summons from the RSPCA on Sunday, Bale is anticipated to make an appearance at Coventry Magistrates Court on October 19, 2010 at 1000 BST (0900 UTC). Bale had previously released a public apology. “I cannot explain why I did this,” it read. “It is completely out of character and I certainly did not intend to cause any distress to Lola or her owners.”

In a video available on Sky News Online, Stephanie Andrews-Mann spoke about this incident and explained that “we thought it was probably someone coming from a night in the pub that thought it’d be hilarious to put a cat in the bin. We didn’t expect to find what it was we found.” When asked what she thought about the woman who committed this act, Stephanie commented: “I don’t know. I don’t know what could possibly go through her head to want to put a cat in a bin.” Stephanie’s husband Darryl explained: “It was basically after we’d found Lola in the bin that we played back the video footage and seen, obviously, what had gone on, what had happened.” Describing this act, he expressed: “I think it’s disgusting. I don’t know how anyone could treat, um, a harmless animal that can’t defend itself, just do something like that to it.”‘

SOURCE: http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/UK_animal_welfare_group_prosecutes_woman_who_threw_cat_into_bin

Lastly, one more Wikinews article and I think we’re outta here! Or at least I’m outta content.


“World’s oldest leather shoe found in Armenia”
‘What is believed to be the world’s oldest leather shoe, over 5,500 year old, has been found in a cave in Armenia by a team of archaeologists.

The Armenian shoe is in a perfectly preserved condition and is a few hundred years older than the one found on Ötzi the Iceman, making it the oldest piece of leather footwear in the world, and the oldest footwear yet found in Europe. Researchers published details in the journal PLoS ONE.

The leather shoe was found in a cave dubbed Areni-1, near the village of Areni in the Vayots Dzor province of Armenia, on the Iranian and Turkish borders. “I was amazed to find that even the shoe-laces were preserved,” recalled Diana Zardaryan, the Armenian PhD student who made the discovery.

According to researchers, the shoe, made of cow-hide, consists of only one leather piece and was probably customized to the wearer’s foot. It was relatively small, measuring the corresponding to European size 37 or US size 7 women, however, it could have been worn by a man.
It was kept in excellent condition by a thick layer of sheep excrement, which acted as a seal, helping it survive the millennia. The shoe contained grass, although the archaeologists were uncertain as to whether this was to used to maintain the shape of the shoe and/or prepare it for storage.

“We thought initially that the shoe and other objects were about 600-700 years old because they were in such good condition,” said co-author Dr. Ron Pinhasi from the University College Cork in Ireland. “It was only when the material was dated by the two radiocarbon laboratories in Oxford and in California that we realized that the shoe was a few hundred years older than the shoes worn by Ötzi the Iceman”.

The shoe and the cave will continue to be researched. “We do not know yet what the shoe or other objects were doing in the cave or what the purpose of the cave was”, said Pinhasi, “We know that there are children’s graves at the back of the cave but so little is known about this period that we cannot say with any certainty why all these different objects were found together”.

Currently, the oldest known footwear are sandals made from sagebrush bark, found in Fort Rock Cave, Oregon in the United States. These shoes were discovered in 1938, and have been dated to about 10,000 years before present.
Discoveries within the cave move early bronze-age cultural activity in Armenia back by about 800 years. Additional discoveries yielded an extensive array of Copper Age artifacts dating to between 6,200 and 5,900 years ago.’

SOURCE: http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/World’s_oldest_leather_shoe_found_in_Armenia

Now that I’ve gotten all the news out of the way, I got nothing more to talk about, and… all of this time. Time to play some music! I think we may need to end this a bit early tonight, as I don’t have much else to say! Thanks for listening to Crazy-8’s on WPLS-FM 95.9, and enjoy the rest of your night! This is Zach Hall signing out.

First Show Transcript

GOOOOOOOD EVENING FURMAN UNIVERSITY! My name’s Zach Hall and for the next 2 hours I’m taking over the airwaves to bring you talk, music, and news! It’s CRAZY 8’s on WPLS-FM 95.9!

Random Assorted Music (or RAM) is coming up in just a few minutes, but since this is the first time I’ve ever done a show, I’m going to take a few minutes to tell you who I am and what the show’s about. Crazy 8’s started a week or two ago, not on WPLS, but on a homemade internet radio station that was available to everyone on the Furman LAN. The name was derived since I gave away prizes to people on my hall at 8PM on Saturday to encourage listenership.

When I showed up at the WPLS training session a few days ago, I was presented with the opportunity to pick a timeslot, and, pleasant surprise, Saturday 8-10PM was available! I took the time and decided to keep the name (although it won’t do me much good in an hour!) Crazy 9s, anyone?

Anyway, the fact that I have two hours to fill is going to make it difficult to stick to any one thing without an extreme amount of stuff to discuss, so for tonight it’s going to be a pretty free-form show. I have a few stories to talk about today and some news, as well as the weather and a lot of music to play so that I can re-gather my thoughts while it’s going.

Even though I’ve only officially been on-the-air for about 5 minutes, I’ve already learned a lot about being a LIVE talk radio host. For one, there’s no room for error. If I lose my train of thought, dead air WILL ensue. This being a non-profit station, I can’t well go to a commercial break. So what’s a host to do when there’s no commercials to fall back on and nothing left to talk about? MUSIC! Speaking of which, the first music portion of the show is coming up in a few minutes, so stay tuned!

Each week I’m going to have at least a half hour of music to play, but the reason I call the music segment “Randomly Assorted Music” is because (1) it has a cool acronym that reminds me of trucks, memory, and animals, and (2) I’m going to try and mix up the genres each week. I’ve never understood those people who say that they’ll listen to any type of music EXCEPT genres x, y, and z, or those people who say they’ll ONLY listen to one genre. That’s not to say that I think people should like all genres of music, or that people can’t really dislike songs of one genre, but I think the only reason someone should dislike a song is simply for the reason that they don’t like it. To put it in Lamen’s terms, don’t knock it till you try it. If you begin listening to a song and think you won’t like it before you even press play, you’re being unfair to yourself.

I’m gonna leave it at that for the moment. This week’s RAM is trance music, so let’s get into it right now!

Welcome back to Crazy 8’s on WPLS-FM 95.9! The next RAM segment is coming up in a bit. I hope you’re enjoying the music and having a great Saturday evening. I’d like to stop for a second to give you current weather conditions and your weekly forecast, provided by the National Weather Service at weather.gov.

Tomorrow: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Highs in the 70s. East wind between 5 and 8 mph. 90% chance of precipitation with rainfall amounts between three quarters and one inch possible.

Tomorrow evening: Showers. Low around 60. Northeast wind between 8 and 11 mph. Same 90% chance of precipitation, but even more rainfall amounts, with between 2 and 3 inches of rain possible.

Monday: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm before noon, then showers and thunderstorms likely after noon. Highs near 74. Calm wind becoming south between 6 and 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is a bit less than Sunday, now at 80%, but still between 2 and 3 inches of rainfall possible.

Monday Night: Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Cloudy, with a low around 62. Chance of precipitation is 60%, but they’re predicting the rain is going to start to clear up by about then, as new rainfall amounts between only a half to three quarters of an inch are possible.

Tuesday: A chance of showers before 8am, but then partly sunny, with a high near 77. Chance of precipitation is  quickly dropping, now at 30%.

Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 60.

Wednesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 77.

Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 80.

Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 79.

and finally next week Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 75.

That is your weekly weather prediction for Saturday, September 25! Before we get back to RAM, Randomly Assorted Music, I’d like to take the next few minutes to talk about something that is dear and true to my heart: the eternal war between the three heavyweight consumer Operating Systems!

Windows Vista, as you all know, didn’t live up to most people’s expectations, proving to be slow on older systems, unreliable, and prone to many errors that, although they were eventually fixed, didn’t give early adopters a very good impression. I remember it was during the day of Vista in which I got a Macintosh, partially because Apple’s flagship video editor, Final Cut Pro, was only available for Mac, but also because I was still using Windows XP, and while I think Windows XP is still a solid OS, I wanted something that was more modern, and Vista wasn’t an option at the time since I’d heard complaints about the upgrade to Service Pack 1. Being the cheap individual I am, I bought a Mac Mini, partially because I already had an okay PC, and also because of the fact that, no matter how you slice it, Apple’s products ARE more expensive than a generic PC with similar components.

After a year of using Mac almost exclusively, I came to a different conclusion than most hardcore PC users who I’ve heard over the years. I feel that Macs do indeed have their place in the world, but I also feel that without creative professionals and college students, everyone would be in Microsoft’s camp. Sure, there’s an Adobe Creative Suite for PC as well as for Mac, but on our campus computers, PC’s are the real losers in the speed battle. I’ve seen it in my old high school and here at Furman. The stock model PCs designed for Vista or Windows 7 and running XP with all sorts of creative software on them that takes forever to load. I was in my First Year Writing seminar the other day and someone was making a PowerPoint presentation on the PC in the room. I counted the minutes and it literally took about 5 minutes to get from the logon screen to the Windows desktop. I know that security software is required on PCs, and it really should be required on the Macs, because the “Macs don’t get viruses” argument is really a bunch of bologna, but whether it’s just an issue of out-of-date hardware or overloaded startup sequences, it shouldn’t take 5 minutes to log on to the computer.

The campus Macs, on the other hand, perform a lot quicker for stuff like Adobe’s Creative Suite, but I still wouldn’t use a Mac outside of the Library where they provide them to use. Even though game distribution platforms such as STEAM are starting up Mac clients and many developers are starting to make Mac ports, the MacBook Pro, (a college student’s best friend, apparently), is not a gaming machine. The hardware they put into a 2000-dollar or so MacBook Pro is not tailored to high-performance gaming. I looked on Apple’s website today and found that the hardware in my 1200-dollar ASUS laptop is about as good as a top-quality MacBook Pro, but for 800 bucks cheaper.

Now, having a PC for cheaper than a Mac may seem like the best choice, but for many, I’d say that those extra bucks would be well-spent buying a Mac. The Mac Operating System IS indeed built with the intention of being easy to use, and Apple’s iLife suite (which IS included free with the Mac, if not part of the purchase price) is a pretty nice set of stuff that can make even an amateur with no prior experience into someone who can get the task done without needing to mess around with drivers and CD’s. Just plug in your camera, press the button, and you’ve got a photo-book, etc. Apple’s iChat was one of the first simple video chat applications, and is still one of the only free and easy ways to do video chat with multiple participants. Its integration with AIM makes it simple to communicate with Windows and Mac users as well. All of the features that Apple packed into the Macs are useful, I feel they are targeted. They aren’t targeted, I believe, at gamers, but more to those who use a computer but don’t need or want to know how it works. Many Mac users who I’ve met aren’t the coffee drinking, stalking hat wearing stereotypes that they’re made out to be, but people who don’t want to think about defragging their hard drive all the time.

Now, Windows 7 is much better than Vista. It’s basically everything that Windows Vista was supposed to be, just as Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” wasn’t. I upgraded my Mac to Snow Leopard and their all 64-bit push wasn’t all it was hyped up to be. I had all sorts of problems with it, but thankfully Microsoft was there to save me from the wreckage with Windows 7, though I couldn’t get the 64-bit version to boot on my Mac. Microsoft also brought some new tools and tricks with it on this new release, such as a little software suite that wasn’t even included on the CD: Windows Live Essentials.

[ I’ve talked about these earlier in the blog. ]

Well, we only got about a minute left here, and I ran out of stuff to play a long time ago, so let’s end it here. You can catch podcasts in the future at SNHub and semi-incomplete transcripts each week at sosguy.net! Until next time, friends!

The Linux Conundrum

ubuntu10_no_mail 

Ubuntu Linux and I go way back, and we’ve had a love-hate relationship with each other that ultimately goes as follows: (1) a new version of Ubuntu is released, and I’m interested, but remember how the experience was last time, and I stay away from it as long as I can. (2) My curiosity gets the better of me and I give the new version a try, taking a liking to it almost immediately. (3) I come across some big issue that makes it completely pointless for me to use Ubuntu, or I just realize that most of the things I want to do still give me a better experience on Windows, and thus (4) I abandon Ubuntu yet again, until step 1 rolls around a few months later. This cycle almost continued with version 10.04, but this time it was partially my fault. Either way, I’m a bit ticked off about it, so here’s what happened: I used the fabulous Wubi installer to install the 32-bit version of 10.04, thinking that it would probably be the most compatible version, and in about 30 seconds I was to the CD’s installation script, which went okay until the end when it froze. I rebooted, and found myself at a kernel panic. I retried and I guess 32-bit Linux just doesn’t like running on a Core i7, or there was some other hardware issue, because the same kernel panic occurred. I decided to try the 64-bit version, against the opinions of my friends and even the Ubuntu website which states that the 64-bit version is “not recommended for daily use.” Even so, it installed correctly and I was brought to a nice dark-themed Gnome desktop. I was extremely pleased to hear the logon sound, see an extended desktop on my HDMI output, and to be able to simply open Ubuntu’s new Software Center and install Chromium without needing to configure my internet connection, but the good times turned rotten when I opened up Evolution Mail and tried to bring up my email. Evolution saw my e-mail address and assessed that the best server to use would be “imap.aol.com” (yeah, so I still use AOL’s email… so what? Unlimited space FTW!), and I said OK, sounds good. I should have paid more attention, but hey, Thunderbird also uses the imap server by default, as does the iPhone’s Mail.app, so why should I have to check and make sure that Evolution isn’t going to connect to the IMAP SERVER BUT USE THE POP PROTOCOL?! Well, it did just that, and by the time I knew what had happened, all of my 3,000 emails were gone from the server and neatly filed on a virtual Linux partition in a program I wasn’t even planning on using. Just. Great.

Who even uses POP anymore? With services like Dropbox making it so easy to share files and Microsoft’s SkyDrive giving you 25 GB of storage for simply signing up, who needs to send large files via email? Not to mention the fact that most e-mail providers give you a ton of space to store attachments and whatnot, and that you could probably store thousands of text-only emails on a mail account if you really wanted / had to. If you’re at work and it’s part of your company policy to keep all important emails, it would make no sense to me that they’d store the mail on a workstation that could break or be replaced rather than storing it on a backed up server. POP is the reason I’m always hesitant to reinstall operating systems on my client’s computers because they’ll tell me they have 10 years worth of mail on their computer and it’s all stored in Outlook Express (which I really hate backing up) and that they couldn’t do without it. USE IMAP, PEOPLE!

Anyways, I slowly started moving messages back onto the server, but the server really hated this and bumped me off every 5 minutes because I had too many connections or something, but after turning off auto-fetch and any other background server interactions the server still fussed about too many connections, and thus I’ve only copied back 3/4ths of my mail. Oh well, at least I have a clean inbox now 🙂

After this whole email fiasco, I decided to move on to another problem: getting my email. Huh? Yeah, my university uses a FirstClass server for all email communications, and while I’ve taken a liking to the client, I dislike its webmail interface and am not too pleased with the fact that they make you use the client if you want to read email in other “conferences” than your own private mailbox or send mail. Sure, they let you forward email to another address, but it’s kind-of like watching a TV program that was captured by someone’s webcam pointed at the screen, then compressed to 15MB and uploaded to Youtube: it’s better to get the mail from the source. So I went to my good friend Google and found the client available as a .deb, installed it and it’s dependencies, started it up, and… nothing. Apparently FirstClass didn’t like the fact that I was running 64-bit Ubuntu, and so it refused to load until I got a few more libraries. Well, at least it’s working now, but wouldn’t the package manager notice this? It seems to do quite well every time I try and install a package and it alerts me to the fact that the package is the “Wrong Architecture.”

I could make a long story longer, but to kill it while it’s still slightly interesting (I hope), I’m still running Ubuntu quite often, and I can do a lot of fun things with it, some much better than on Windows, but I still prefer Windows for getting work done and playing games. Windows makes my life easier, and at the end-of-the-day, isn’t that what computers were designed for?

Earthbound Savefile Chronicles

earthbound 

You know that feeling you get when you close a time-sinking application such as a web browser or game, and then not 10 seconds later you’ve opened it again? I feel that I either have horrible time management skills, or a general lack of things to do these days, and thus I’ve decided to continue my Earthbound campaign. I have a short attention span when it comes to games, so it usually takes me a few years of playing on and off (mostly off) to finish a game, and I tend to overestimate my progress and forget my place in the story, so it was to my dismay when I started up the copy on my Wii to find out my level 80 character was actually level 1, and that he didn’t exist yet. This can’t be right! I cried in anguish as I have very clear memories of almost defeating Diamond Dog many months ago. As it turns, my ZSNES save files aren’t compatible with the SNES9x-based Wii SNES emulator I was using. As much as I’d love to play Earthbound on a TV like it’s meant to be played, I’m not spending 50+ hours to work my way back to where I was over an incompatible save file. To the computer I go!

earthbound2

After an exhaustive search of my HDD, I came across 3 different copies of the save file, but none of them were up to snuff with where I thought I was. One of them was my first time in Saturn Village, and the others were earlier. I decided to cut my losses and go with the Saturn Village one, and proceeded to spend the next 3 hours killing foppies (I can’t help but think others have done this before me… they’re weak and offer 2600 EXP if you can corner 6 of ‘em) and by the end they were even running scared when they saw me coming! I kinda felt bad for them after that, I didn’t really want to genocide an entire species, I just wanted to get strong enough to fight Master Belch! Honest!

earthbound3

I went to bed that night with the sinking feeling that all that time had been spent in vain, as there was one place I still hadn’t looked: my external hard disk. I took a look the next morning, and sure enough, I found yet another copy of ZSNES and another save file. (How many copies do I need?!) Anyway, I got back my level 80, and braved the mystical land of Magicant, went back to Saturn Village, and got into the time machine. I thought I was completely unstoppable when I single-handedly defeated my own nightmare, but I found there was still a lot of training to go. Oh well, at least I can now that I have my save file back.

Moral of this story: ORGANIZE your files!

♪ Every time I try to leave something keeps pulling me back

If you’re a frequent headphone user, I’m sure you’ve all had this happen to you at one time or another! On another note:

Reddit vs. Digg: My Opinion

I don’t think you can do an exact comparison of these two popular link sharing sites because the way each is laid out and run is so different. Digg has fixed categories for items of interest that are moderated by its administration team (and of course the users through thumbs and reporting). Reddit lets you create your own categories for anything, and while they have admins and moderators, founders of these categories (aka subreddits) can moderate as they see fit. Digg and Reddit function in much the same way, with upvoting and downvoting, but as far as I’ve seen, burying a story on Digg is a lot more of a hassle than downvoting on Reddit, which would lead me to believe that the majority of Digg users don’t bury stories they don’t like, they just don’t Digg ‘em up. Burying a story also doesn’t appear to subtract from the Digg count, and appears to be more of a reporting tool since in the past you’d have to specify a reason for why you were burying it. On Reddit, downvoting simply appears to mean you don’t like a story (e.g. 147 points (64% like it)), and will reduce both the total score of the story but also the user’s general score. Another thing I’ve noticed is that while Digg has always been plagued by Power Users (those who submit the majority of the popular stories and whose stories get dug up simply because the users are popular) while for the few months I’ve been on Reddit I haven’t noticed the same problem. Perhaps it is an issue, but I rarely hear a lot of drama from Reddit about power users unless it’s in regard to Digg.

Personally, I use both and like ‘em, so I don’t really have a strong opinion, but I’d probably go with Reddit over Digg if I was forced to choose. Reddit seems to give everyone a stage whether they are new or old, but on Digg it seems to depend more on who you are than what you submit.

Even More Cruise Photos

I like how Windows Live handles photos already… Microsoft has certainly outdone itself with the new Live programs, so much so that buying a Mac for iLife seems irrelevant. I wouldn’t find iLife so bad if MobileMe was free, but $99-149 for the same stuff Microsoft is giving away for free?!

Anyway, here are all the cruise photos. There might be some videos in there too!