Showing posts from June, 2007

PC, follow up

I finished the installation tonight, sans new video card.

It is great to see my PC running at Mach speeds. However, it is funny to see all of this on a simple VGA card with only 2 megabytes of memory. It can only display at 800x600 and is chocking pretty bad on some of the graphics.

If anyone is conversant with Vista's User Experience ratings, my PC is now scoring 5.2 to 5.9 (out of a maximum possible of 6.0) with the exception of the two video ratings-- both of those score at 1.0 (the lowest possible). I have a feeling that will increase when I get the rocking new video card I ordered. ;-)

I may have to pick up a cheap 6.0 PC speaker set, too. This new board is 6.0 compatible and it seems dumb to have my three speaker set plugged into it. We'll see-- sound isn't the most important thing to me.

PC Parts

I ordered some new parts for my PC from two different companies in order to upgrade to something a little better able to handle Vista and the games I like to play. And, frankly, because I wanted to.

I ordered the motherboard, CPU, and memory from, which is a California company that always has great prices and quick turn around, but I have to pay sales tax. On the same day and about the same time, I ordered a new video card from online (I would have bought it or done a pick up from the CompUSA across the street from me, but it closed), which has higher shipping rates but no taxes.

I wanted at least a dual-core CPU. My new laptop at work is dual core, as is my wife's home machine, and I am impressed by the differences that makes in a system. Being a gamer, I like all the power I can get, too. However, when looking at the new motherboards, to service the dual core CPU I had keyed in on, I discovered a subtlety: none of those boards accepted my DDR ram (184-pin)…

A Sad State of Affairs

George W. Bush has consistently lied to and cheated the American people. His politics have destabilized the world in general and our nation and its economy in particular. He has elected people who have lied to, cheated, and stolen from the American people. Dick Cheney has consistently lied to and cheated the American people. Their policies have created the biggest deficit this country has ever had and put is into a war with no plan, no exit strategy and, at this point, little hope of any lasting success.

Now the Vice President thinks he can claim he is not part of the Executive Branch of the government and that, although they created and passed the laws that are putting them in trouble right now, they weren't meant to be included in it. Hello? If you didn't intend to include your own offices, shouldn't you have stated that in the law you passed and then amended and passed again a few years later? If I claimed something similar on, say, murder, I would be laughed out of the …

Decidedly Unhappy

Sunday was a bad day for immigration related endeavors. First, I walked across the street to see if the Target Photo Studio could provide me with the four near-passport pictures I need. Their camera for taking such pictures is broken until Tuesday. Next I stopped and got my mail. Noticed an evelope from the California Department of Justice and got a little excited-- I was hoping it was my clearance letter. However, upon opening it, they had returned my form and money order to me with a letter stating that I had to include fingerprints. The original form and instruction sheet was fairly unclear on that, so I took a chance and turned it in without and paid the price. Now I have to stop and get "Live-Scan" fingerprints done and then resubmit everything. I'm getting a little tired of the one step forward, two steps back progress we're making on this procedure. Hopefully I can get the fingerprints this week, though, and we can move on to the last step -- the doctor's …

Psycho is Right!

Driving to work this morning, I had just started out and was heading east on Bryan toward Culver. The new light at the high school was green in my direction, so I certainly wasn't expecting the black VW bug Turbo with the license plate "SYCOBLN" to suddenly come out from the lane on my left and turn in front of me, causing me to hit my breaks. The crazy blonde woman then proceeded to tailgate, change lanes erratically, talk on her cell phone, and drive well, well over the speed limit when we both turned south on Culver. The irony is that I wound up behind, beside, or in front of her at every red light, proving yet again that speeding on surface streets just doesn't get you very far. I believe strongly in truth in advertising and I was strangely pleased that her license plate reflected the reality I saw-- a psycho blonde with no regard for her own or anyone else's safety on the road. I'm just happy that I was quick enough to avoid her making me one of her vict…

White Seraphim

As long-time readers know, my favorite PC game is City of Heroes. I have posted many times about my enjoyment and exploits within the game. One of my last posts was about the fact I finally reached level 50 and "opened" the epic archetype in the game, called a Kheldian. Kheldians come in two flavors-- the peace-loving Peacebringers and the antagonistic Warbringers.

Kheldians are, to this game, as Superman is to the rest of the DC Universe. They have more inherent powers, more abilities, and more uses than the average archetype within the game. However, also like Superman, they have a strong weakness in the form of Voids and Quantums, a type of villain that is all too common and one which, even at levels well-below that of the Kheldian, can kick its ass.

One of the things that makes the Kheldian archetype so interesting is two power selections you get before and at level 20. You create a normal "human" hero as you see fit and you get the powers available to the Kheldi…

Atypical Politics

The G8 countries are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Together, these 8 countries represent about 65% of the world's economy. At the recent summit of the G8, an addendum item involved these countries pledging 60 billion US dollars of aid to Africa, to help fight disease and HIV/AIDS. While Bono may not think that is enough, it is still 60 billion more than was earmarked before and certainly no drop in the bucket. What disappoints me is that the US is pegged to provide $30 billion of that total.Now, granted, that the US has the largest economy of any of those 8 countries. However, Germany and Japan in particular have strong, thriving economies and Canada, UK, France, and Italy are no slouches—they just don't have the same population as we do. Russia's economy comes and goes, but they are still pretty solid. So why is the US taking half of the burden?When the world asks for UN help or peacekeepers to assist them, the…

A Job Well Done

Most of my time at work is spent revising existing documents, maintaining existing help/source files, or occasionally creating new source documents for a product, feature, or whatever. For these tasks, the only person who really ever acknowledges the job I do is my immediate boss, as she's the only one who is aware of that. It is somewhat ironic to me that the things I get praised for the most, the loudest cheers, the biggest thank yous, are the tasks that are the smallest part of my day or the easiest to do. Recently, the manager in IT needed to write a quick and dirty manual to train his people how to use a new little web-enabled log he had created. He was struggling with it, then said, "I'll ask John if he can give me some pointers." I talked it over with him, asked for access to the application, and within 30 minutes had a nice document, well-formatted, with screen captures and a step-by-step instruction guide and definitions. He was so enthused that the next time…

WoW Support Follow Up

Well, I did send an email back to Tom in Support at WoW. I didn't expect much, but was pleasantly surprised to receive the following: I apologize for any miscommunication on my part.

If they are bugs the game masters will make that call and collect the data for our testers.  Technical support does not do that, we exist only to your game running on your computer.  If the game Masters did not collect any bug data then the bug you report may be an intended  change to the game, in which case you can access the forums to let your opinion heard about the changes.

If you already reported this to the game masters that's all that needs to be done as they will make the call about whether to report it as a bug.  Any changes you want to see can be made as suggestions on the forums. So, basically, I still wonder why the in-game help menu system does not state this fact more conclusively and clearly. However, it is nice to see I guessed correctly on the reasons for the response I got.

Another Step Closer

I just put two envelopes in the mail at work, to go out today. One is to the California Department of Justice and the other to the FBI and both are for the Police Clearance letters that the Canadian Immigration process requires. Both State and Federal say that it takes 3-6 weeks to process (shorter if you have no record, longer if you do, apparently) and return via mail to me. This means I am down to two final steps I need to do before we can collect everything and send it in: I need photographs of a specific size/style for the application and the official medical examination. I still find it a little funny that Canada has such a limited number of doctors who can perform these exams in the So Cal region. The nearest ones are in LA and San Diego, so I will likely have to take a half or even a full day off work in order to do this. I also have to take 5 recent photos, my passport, and any medical information I have with me for the tests. Which I really don't have something official


In WoW there is a button with a red question mark on the main toolbar that, when clicked, displays a window with the various in- and out-of-game support options. I was experiencing some minor issues with my Druid, Lorent, and thought it would be a good idea to provide a bug report to Support so that the two items could be looked at and possibly fixed if it was determined they were indeed bugs. I scanned through the list of associated errors and who to contact about them. The only one that seemed to apply was Technical. However, the window for Support said that Technical issues could not be resolved by the in-game GMs and provided a website to go to in order to see if others have discussed the issue, a phone number to call (ironically in the same area code as I am-- their main support building is the building next to mine at work), and an email address to send the bugs to otherwise. I tried using the website first. However, in the two months I've been playing the game I have never …


So a friend was playing World of Warcraft (WoW) and I wanted to play online with friends, so I downloaded the free install and played for 10 days. We decided to continue playing so I payed the fee and registered the game.

I'm having fun. I have created a Druid who is by far my favorite character, but I also have a Warrior and a Paladin to play around with as well (all on The Scryers, a Roleplaying server). I am thinking of creating a Mage and a Hunter here shortly, just to see how much I like them.

The cartoony nature of the graphics is visually appealing but a bit over the top. What stands out to me is that the game almost never needs to load. I play City of Heroes (CoH) pretty often, and I love that game, but you have to load for every zone change and instance. I am very curious how they programmed the game to so rarely need to load.

It is funny because, when people think of City of Heroes and put a mental image in their heads, I'm willing to bet that it is predominantly what t…


I am having a bad arthritis day in my left foot. The center of the foot, just behind the toes but in front of the arch, is swollen and sore. Because of this, I am slightly limping around as my foot fits uncomfortably in my shoe and it feels like I'm walking with a small orb in my foot right there. A woman at work who doesn't know me very well, she's one of those people with whom I do little more than share pleasantries when we meet in the halls, was walking behind me through the cubicles. I guess she feels comfortable enough with me and our working relationship because she followed me to my cubicle and said, "You have a sexy walk today." I smiled, as this woman knows nothing of my issues and was only commenting on what she was observing. She went on, "Sort of like The Duke or Cary Grant used to walk." I thanked her and she went on about her day. It is true what they say about one man's garbage is another man's treasure. I thought I was having a po…