Friday, January 30, 2009

Moving your Address Book to a new PC.....

There's an easier way than typing it out all over again....

Have a look at Dawn the mail converter and address book mover. This thing works better than Grandma's Spring Tonic!

Just a little reminder.....

If you're installing something new on your computer, like perhaps the beta of Windows 7, the very first thing you should do is make sure you have up-to-date drivers for your monitor and your graphics card (display adapter) - and you can't always depend on the latest available ones from the hardware manufacturer to be exactly right for whatever you're wanting to do.

For example, the driver that came with my Nvidia GeForce 8600 GS display adapter isn't very old - the computer was new last year - but it still needed updating. Similarly, the monitor, also new last year needed its driver updated. I never thought to check or do all that before trying to install Windows 7, and as a result, things did not go perfectly.

However, thanks to Microsoft, and Windows Updates, the problem was solved, and they found the correct driver updates for this hardware. In the case of the Nvidia display adapter, there is a newer driver available for it than the one chosen by Microsoft, but that newest one does not work as well as Microsoft's choice. So don't try to "second guess" the folks at Windows Updates. They obviously know their jobs, and Microsoft has a lot more clout with those other suppliers than you and I do, let's face it.

The proof of that is that by following Microsoft's driver choices for this rig, it is now running better than it has been while I was just winging it on my own... and sometimes, older people aren't smarter than younger ones - just older.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

There I go, tooting my own horn again....

Because if I don't, then who will ? There's only one of me in this crowd, and it's been a wild and crazy two days, getting everything back to normal again after facing the black screen of death on here not once, not twice, but several times, thanks mostly to making a few stupid mistakes along the way. So this picture tonight is just to show you that this really is all back to normal again, and has all its fancy Aero effects and cute tricks all working fine.

One of the features of this new O/S is that the background theme changes every thirty minutes - so if you aren't a "clock-watcher", you're still not going to miss lunch completely.... Speaking of which, I think it's time for a snack..... enjoy your evening, Everyone.

Tree-trimming time again.....

If it isn't our elevator-replacement crew drilling concrete in the rooftop service room, it's a crew of wood-butchers with their noisy chipping machine across the street.... Every year, they hack another few limbs off each tree, and any time now, a wind storm is going to knock those things over, probably into that expensive back porch with its "launch-pad" concrete base, and peek-a-boo roof. Would you believe, it took almost two years to get that monster built and surrounded again by some landscaping? People across the street behind them built two houses during that time.

And I didn't say a word today about Windows 7, did I ? But for the curious, I just want to say that I'm getting really, really good at re-installing it. It's called beta because you beta be ready for anything when you get into it.... And it's a great way to learn about computers and what you can and can't do with them. I'm having lots of fun ! - While doing my best not to yield to the temptation to be brutally sarcastic while composing those frequent "feedback" reports to Mr. Microsoft about my adventures while test-flying their latest cyberspaceship 'Windows Seven'.....and it's not that they couldn't count all the various releases. It's called "7" because it is Windows version 7000, not their seventh operating system. (And now, break time is over, and it's back to monkey-wrenching those pixels and packets.) Enjoy your day, Everyone.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Still up there......

Of all the bloggers named 'Ray', this wrinkled 'oldest living blogger' here is still at the top of Google's list, and I just have to say, once again, "Thank You, Mr. Google!"

Thanks for the plug, guys !

Urban Vancouver | Vancouver's community blog

26 Jan 2009 ... For a free blog, image gallery, and to post your own event listings create your free account at Urban Vancouver! ... - 42k - Cached - Similar pages
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Looking for better weather....."

It has been a lovely clear day here today, for the first time in what seems like ages, and this picture is a left-over from that long period of foggy days we had recently. I lost all the files on here when I made the clean install to Windows 7 the other day, and this was sitting in the camera until just now.... so I decided to post it even though it doesn't relate to today's nice sunny weather.

Latest update on Windows 7......

For any of those among you who are or may be trying out Windows 7, and have a PC using an Nvidia GeForce 8600 GS Display Adapter, go to the Nvidia drivers downloads website, and get the latest driver release for it. The one that you may have received from Windows Update lately, or the even older one that may have come with the hardware may suddenly start to cause your display to fade to black instead of showing that nice colorful background, after you've found it necessary to reboot the machine.

Look for a driver released just on January 22, 2009, identified as follows:-
181.22 GeForce_winvista_32bit_english_WHQL.exe - file size = 77.9 Mb, and as it is being installed, it will be identified as a Windows 7 32-bit driver. It works or you wouldn't be seeing this long story here....

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Speed Test - Windows 7 Beta......

I just did a speed test on Speakeasy - Seattle with this new O/S, and the numbers are better than I was getting with Vista Home Premium, by a noticeable amount.

Downloads at 2766 kbits/sec = 345.8 Kb/sec.

Uploads at 693 kbits/sec = 86.6 Kb/sec.

This is much more like it :)

And just an 'FYI' here : A scan of this PC using Belarc Advisor, the excellent tool for learning all about what's inside your computer, and the serial numbers, versions, license codes, etc., tells me that this "Windows 7 Beta" is officially known as "Windows Vista Ultimate (Build 7000)" and it certainly acts like the 'ultimate' version - Aero graphics and all. Very nice! And so far, it is very well-behaved, with its only problems being related to conflicting 3rd-party programs, which of course aren't the fault of the Operating System. Maybe all us whiners howling about Vista have actually been heard. This answers a lot of 'requests', such as for a solid base on which to hang 3rd-party software which enhances the 'factory equipment' and improves our enjoyment of the whole experience. I also appreciate how the User Account Control has been made less invasive, and more servant than master. That was a major annoyance in Vista as we quickly discovered. Thankfully, it has been modified in Windows 7, and is easier to live with.

More about Windows 7 Beta.....

Worth waiting for, Folks.... it's a keeper!

I finally figured out why I was getting a black screen sometimes while trying to wait until the installation process had finished. While "trying everything" to restore it, I hit the "Sleep" key, and suddenly it woke up and so did I.

Out of the box, so to speak, Windows 7 Beta comes set to turn off its monitor after about ten minutes of inactivity, and the computer itself after about 30 - so there I sat, watching the clock and waiting for the download process to finish up, and the monitor went to sleep. So then when that went, the computer had less happening, so it shut down about 20 minutes later, and that explains why the download didn't finish the first couple of times ( make that 7 or 8) that I tried to do it. Once I got onto that sleep mode thing, and reset the power options to never shut off, everything has been going just fine.

So if you haven't tried Windows 7 Beta yet, and you have a computer you can test it on, then I'd say "go for it". This has all the makings of another 'old reliable' like good old XP except that it is more modern and does more things more conveniently, including working with older programs more easily. So don't throw out your favorite ones from XP and Vista.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The last couple of days....

....I've been busy, downloading and installing the Windows 7 Beta on the Vista PC. I guess that tells you what I think of Vista, doesn't it?

Anyway, if you're the adventurous type, know something about computers, and have an extra one you can play with, this makes a good pastime. It'll be interesting to see how the final release compares to this trial version, which already looks better than Vista, in case you are wondering.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A picture really is worth a thousand words...

A historic moment, and I'm glad that I've lived long enough to see it. When I was a kid in the 1930s and 1940s, this would have been an impossible dream, and today it is reality. God Bless America!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Not as much snow up top today....

The top picture is today's, and the one below it is from one month ago, on December 19th.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Signs of Spring....

Walking around here today, there are some signs of Spring.

The fog finally lifted....

Looking toward the waterfront, there's still lots of fog, but the rest of the area is fairly clear of it, after about a week of being socked in solidly. It's nice to see the sky again... especially on such a nice day.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Now you know things are tough all over....

In the news, Google cuts 100 recruiters and you know things are serious when one of the industry's most solid companies does this.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Another tape from Osama Bin Missing.....

What happened to his video camera? Is he even still alive? Or are these messages being faked using elements from his old messages?

This latest one calls for a jihad or 'holy war' against Israel. And 'holy war' is an oxymoron; a phrase that is a contradiction in terms. There has never been a holy war, no matter what you've been told.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The 2010 Olympics are in the news again...

Back when this idea first hit the fan, it was loudly touted as costing us $600-million for the whole thing, and there would be no deficit to worry about. At the time, I said this was a lot of obvious 'BS', and not according to what usually happens with Olympic Games.

Today, Keith Baldrey, famous for reporting on the political goings-on at the Legislature, writes this article about costs and that $600-million was only a fraction of the final total, just as we suspected. And once again, just as we suspected, the taxpayers get it you-know-where.

Monday, January 12, 2009

In the news....

I wish I had a nice sunny picture to go with this, but I don't. For any of us who liked yesterday's weather around here, you'll simply love it today. It's the same only moreso.

In the news, Barack Obama apparently has decided that his first foreign visit to another country will be to Canada, and our news services were all a-twitter at the announcement. Hell, let's face it, Kiddies: we're in a recession, the American economy is in the dumpster, and our capital, Ottawa, is a lot closer to Washington than any other. It's just good sense and wise economics that Barack should opt to come here instead of some far away place.

Moving along, today's Globe and Mail highlights Dubya's final news conference in which he almost fesses up. Reminds me of something that George Orwell once said:- "Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac." George Orwell was obviously smarter than Dubya.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The weatherman says "Fog"....

It started earlier today from about halfway down the mountainsides, and now it's just about here.

Gondola on Grouse Mountain through the fog

Not the best picture I ever took, but it isn't the best day for it either. The mountain itself is hidden in the clouds just now, from about halfway up. This shot is stretching the zoom to its limit, and that's why it's a bit fuzzy. This was at 24x plus a doubler.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

If you'd like to switch email programs, but...... don't like the thought of having to tediously type out your whole address book list into the other program's format for it, then try this little program which converts your Address Book from one format to another for use in other email programs. A few clicks and you've saved a lot of typing.

Today in the 'banana belt'....

In today's Globe and Mail, Rex Murphy's column goes on and on about our balmy climate, comparing it to the more pleasant parts of Newfoundland on the other side of the land. It's just too bad that Rex doesn't accept email, because I'd like to show him this picture of what our 'banana belt' looks like, even after nearly a week of steady downpours melting this snow. Actually, though, he's right about this being the best climate in the country. It just happens to get a little wet now and then....

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Now that the clouds are clearing...

....we can see there's a lot more snow up there.

Today in the paper....

Once again, they've revised The Joy of Sex which was originally written back in 1972.

Thinking about all that, I wondered what the world's population was in 1972, compared to now. As I learned from good old Google, in 1972 the world's population was 3.86 billion. In 2008, the world's population was over 6.7 billion, or nearly double the 1972 figure. So today's "Question Everything" is: "Do we really need more instructions on doing what comes naturally?" And my next question would likely be: "When do we reach standing room only around here?"

This brings me to 'Global Warming', which, we might assume, is being caused by too much hot and heavy breathing. That's my theory, and I'm sticking to it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Websites you'd like to block...

If you use Firefox as your browser of choice, and you find a particularly annoying website, such as one which has pop-ups that you can't stop, there's another solution. Look in Firefox Extensions for one called Blocksite 0.7.1 and add it to Firefox. With that, you can add the offending website to a blacklist which means that site will be blocked from loading into your browser. You can also unblock it later if you wish.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Another useful program....

Today, while looking at the list on MajorGeeks on about page 7, I found this handy freebie registry cleaner and decided to give it a try. Using one of these is not for the faint of heart, especially when it finds over 400 obsolete and incorrect entries in your Registry.

The good news is, MajorGeeks is right, and it does know what to look for and remove, and the proof of that is that this XP Pro is still working just fine, thanks. So if you'd like to clear out the junk in your registry, this works.

And just a reminder, for managing your photos, Picasa 3 is now available.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

After the snowfall...

It still looks a lot like Christmas out there.

Today's weather - Snowing

Attack of the Snowflakes...

About blogs and bloggers....

Here's an interesting article on the subject of blogging and bloggers that you may want to read.

Friday, January 2, 2009

As the clouds clear....

This is the view as the clouds clear away over the nearby mountains.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Speaking of handy programs.....

You should try PC Wizard 2008 if you'd like to get current information on what's going on with your computer. It's freeware, and it can show you things that other programs don't, like internal temperatures and fan speeds, for example. It works on Windows, including Vista SP1.

Another very useful program is Belarc Advisor which will itemize all the programs, updates, and whatever that are on your computer, including license numbers, version numbers, and key codes. If you've ever wanted to know about everything that's in there, this can tell you, and it is also freeware. You may not believe how handy this program is until you try it. It even tells you if your security updates are up to date.

Welcome to 2009.....

This was the view, looking up the hill earlier this morning. The fog is now lifting, but it isn't a great day here today.

These 'hard times' have one advantage, though - at midnight last night, there weren't any gunshots or fireworks blasting off, nor anyone howling at the moon just because they were now one minute older than they were one minute ago. There's a silver lining in every cloud.