/2020chronicle

Archive for 2009

BAd DaY YEsteRdAY

I dont feel good.  I might write later but I took a big punch from a mini van yesterday.

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Windows 7 is actually sorta fun.

Now that I blasted Citrix for loosing their way I can write a post about how Microsoft found their way back. I was an early adopter of Vista. That lasted for about three weeks. I was an instant hater. Too many prompts, to much incompatibility with existing applications and the hardware just wasn’t up to the task at the time.

Knowing how much I loathed the Vista experience I wasn’t that enthusiatic about Windows 7. I read it was just a tuned up version of Vista with a little eye candy. It’s a lot more than that. It installed smoothly, it’s fast, has some cool features that are very compatible with IE8 and the eye candy does come close to rivaling Apple’s Snow Leopard, which I played with extensively last week. The main thing is that Microsoft got off their security scare and quit prompting the user into a suicidal mindset.

One of the few benefits of a down economy is that I have a desk full of returned laptops. I grabbed a three year old Dell D820 with 4GB of RAM and a 256MB NVidia Quadro video card to take the Win 7 Professional test drive. I’ll be using this laptop for a while now. It’s mine. They can’t have it back.

To sumarize the experience I’d say Windows is back. Unlike the Vista release that was poorly adopted, and rightfully so, I think users will finally abandon XP. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say I’m enjoying using a Windows OS. I modded XP as far as it could go and I was still bored with it. Windows 7 isn’t frustrating like Vista was, it’s kinda refreshing.

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The new Citrix ICA plugin clients suck

The latest Citrix plugin 11.XX.31560 or whatever release number they’re on now – it blows. Especially if your organizations still using Presentation Server. Let’s face it, that’s most of us. Despite Citrix’s futile attempt to create a revenue stream though forced updates to “XenServer” (the dumbest name ever for a product release) most organizations have sought ways to abandon Citrix verses adopting their expensive, required server upgrades.

I’ve been administering Citrix servers since Winframe, their first real product. Lately Citrix is just flat out falling behind. They’re getting squashed in the virtualization market by VMWare, which is keeping EMC afloat, and many companies are looking for ways to get off Citrix servers if possible. And while GoToMeeting was a good idea, the interface and cost was poorly executed compared to LogMeIn, who dominate the remote support market because their product works better and provides more functionality for less.

To really kick their customers where it hurts Citrix decided to yank legacy clients from their download site and admins are forced to struggle to get “web based” and the newer virtualization style ICA clients to connect to legacy Presentation servers that may not have a Program Neighbor Agent front end server. We have a PNAgent server and I still can’t get the damn thing to connect half the time. And just forget and walk away from your old Citrix Access Gateway with these newer clients. You’ll want to drive to Florida and scream in the face of a Citrix executive.

Anyone thinking about buying stock in Citrix should re-consider. They are failing in their new endeavors and they are leaving their long time followers behind if they don’t upgrade to the next clooky, bug filled release they engineer to keep reinventing the wheel. Wheels Citrix needs to just leave to the other companies that make them a little more well rounded.

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Bad Driving is Genetic

“Unfortunately, a test to determine whether someone has the gene variant is not commercially available.”

via Blame genetics for bad driving, study finds – CNN.com.

That’s too bad because I’d certainly like to see the insurance companies get to raise or lower rates with this information.

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NC Board of Elections is holding an unnecessary $30K runoff

“The State Board of Elections decided Wednesday that the race for the District 2 Board of Education seat should proceed.”

via Wake school board runoff will proceed :: WRAL.com.

“Truitt, asked for the runoff following the Oct. 6 election, in which she received 24 percent of the vote to contender John Tedesco’s 49 percent. Last week, she conceded the race and withdrew her request for the run-off.

Because state law doesn’t cover instances where a candidate tries to withdraw such a request, the Wake County Board of Elections referred the matter to the state elections board.

Ballots have been printed and absentee and early voting have started. The election will cost taxpayers more than $30,000.”

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Dumping my LG Incite

I should begin by explaining that I haven’t paid a phone bill in over seven years. We don’t have a land line at home and Amy and I have benefited from being the recipients of cell phones on corporate or personal calling plans that are not our accounts. So as a beggar I can’t be a chooser. Well, as the IT Director, responsible for the corporate AT&T mobile account, I can pretty much choose any phone I want with one big exception, an iPhone (it’s a long story about a contract).

If I were a paying mobile phone user I would definitely be carrying an Android phone. Not an iPhone because let’s face the obvious, AT&T’s mobile coverage sucks. There’s no way to sugar coat it, the service is just bad. Not long ago my Samsung Blackjack II got stolen. I made a big mistake and replaced it with a Windows Mobile 6.0 LG Incite touch screen. I doubt I can explain how bad this phone performed but I’ll try.

To start the phone looks like a cosmetic case. It even comes with a mascara wand (the stylus) which doesn’t attach to the phone. It just hangs from a little string. How gay. So I threw out the stylus and learned to navigate the painful Windows mobile touch OS with my fingernail. Until the screen froze. It froze a lot. Each time I had to take the battery out to restart the phone.

Add to all this that the phone wouldn’t respond to attempts to answer it and it was a waste of time. So I got another phone. This time I put criteria in place to be met. The phone had to 1. Make and receive calls. 2. Have respectable battery life. 3. Browse the interwebs and 4. Be easy to type on for email and texts.

So I got a Samsung Jack. So far, so good. The phone certainly looks pro business, almost identical in style and size to a Blackberry Curve. I like QWERTY keyboards a little more than softkeys. Windows Mobile 6.1 is better than 6.0 and plays better with non touch screen phones. I’ll see how the Jack does for a few weeks. If I don’t like it in 30 days I can send it back for something else.

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Knuckle-Cracking Gets (Ig) Nobel Prize | LiveScience

“This year’s winners included Donald Unger, a doctor who received the Medicine Prize for cracking the knuckles of his left hand — but not his right — for sixty years to see if the habit contributes to arthritis (it didn’t).”

via Knuckle-Cracking Gets (Ig) Nobel Prize | LiveScience.

I have a new goal in life:  To win the (Ig) Nobel prize in chemistry.

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Public option would lead him to filibuster, key senator says – CNN.com

“Republicans oppose a public option, saying it would drive private insurers out of the market and eventually lead to a government takeover of the health care system.”

OK.  So where’s the problem?  I trust the government to handle health care benefits far more efficiently and morally than a private business with a profit motive.

via Public option would lead him to filibuster, key senator says – CNN.com.

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Pilots who missed airport…

… were working with laptops and missed the runway by 150 miles and lost contact with ground control for over an hour? Really?

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/27/us/27plane.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

No. They were asleep. You’ll never convince me otherwise.

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We’ve known how to fix our economy since 1933.

As part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first inaugural address in 1933 he said

“Finally, in our progress toward a resumption of work we require two safeguards against a return of the evils of the old order; there must be a strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments; there must be an end to speculation with other people’s money, and there must be provision for an adequate but sound currency.”

These actions fixed a much worse economy than we are experiencing now. Our failure to pursuit these sound and responsible advisement’s will result in a worsening recession, greater job losses, a continuous fall in the value of the dollar and a decrease in the living standards for all American’s. Following his inauguration Roosevelt closed all US banks for four days to evaluate their strength and permanently closed those found to be insolvent. Compare this to the weak evaluations recently performed on the mega banks of today that produced mere warnings for some seriously distressed institutions.

Today’s politicians don’t have the stomach necessary to stand up to the bank and corporate lobby’s. The do not have the will to impose “strict supervisions” on an out of control investment banking sector who have resumed their sport of extreme speculative risk taking with other people’s money.

Until regulators are prepared to do their unpopular job on Wall Street no one should begin to feel safe about the future of their savings, investments or the value of the dollar. Contrary to the argument that a lower dollar is better for US exports, the reality is the US manufacturing sector has declined to a point where a weak dollar does very little to offset any trade imbalances with China, Japan and Korea.

Today Mervyn King, The Governor of the Bank of England, paraphrased another 1930’s leader, Winston Churchill, who said

“Never in the field of financial endeavor has so much money been owed to so many by so few.”

He was talking about the banks who took huge risks because they knew they would be bailed out with public funds because they considered themselves “too big to fail”. There has been little change in behavior and little reform. A very few are getting enormously rich by risking investor dollars while taking on little risk of their own. Will it take another full depression and 25%+ unemployment for us to impose the sound solutions of the past?

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