[Thanks to Carbonman for the morning chuckle!]
Archive for November 29th, 2008
My old version of XP was long overdue to be reinstalled. At almost 4 years old it was cludging like mad, and desperately needed cleanup. I’d been considering switching to Ubuntu ever since I’d installed it on the surveillance system DVR, but was concerned some of the more usefull applications residing on my desktop wouldn’t have comparable version in Linux.
Dual-booting seemed to be the perfect solution, use Linux for my surfing and day-to-day stuff (as it’s a little less virus friendly) and keep an operating version of Windows XP accessible for those specific applications.
Visually there is little difference, Ubuntus GUI is almost identical to windows (and comes standard with their own version of MS-Office – for free) and for email and surfing there is no significant difference (in fact I often forget I’m in Ubuntu until I go to move some files around, where the differences become more pronounced).
XP is as easily accessible as rebooting the machine and selecting “XP” from the boot menu. I’m in the process of reinstalling the applications I’d come to rely on, and will no doubt begin filling the HD up with useless clutter almost immediately.
At this stage in the game however, it appears things went almost exactly according to plan (the ONE problem I’v encountered is making the “shared” partition truly shared. Right now XP can read and write to it, and Ubuntu can only read from it. I’ll keep plugging away at that, I’m sure theres an easy solution somewhere).
Yes, before it is commented on there is a bit of a Fallout 3 theme at work here, but it seemed fitting as my desktop for the past 6 years or more has been the same;
The other night the phone rang after 8:00pm, a scrambled phone number showing on the caller ID. “Great, another telemarketer using VOIP…lovely” thought I to myself as I braced myself for another helpful denial session…
I don’t ignore telemarketers, I figure they owe me some entertainment for the intrusion, so I simply answer the call and tell them that I don’t use the product they’re selling.
Credit cards? Don’t believe in them.
Car Insurance? I don’t drive.
Lawn care? I don’t have grass.
Duct cleaning? No ducts.
Cheap long distance rates? Nope, no phone..sorry.
You get the idea. With the more persistant ones I transition to inquisitive, asking them questions about the item the product is intended to be for, and ducking all efforts to discuss the product itself. The downside of course is that this technique requires effort, but I figure the time I waste is time they’re not bugging someone else.
This call was different. A survey on finances? Loans, lenders and banks? This is a survey I was going to enjoy. I denied almost all knowledge about anything financial, but threw in some nonsense to skew the results, and took a moment to bash CitiFinancial for their 30% rates (I know this one, I just paid off my loan with them – initiated specifically to improve my credit report, and taken with completely open eyes and it still irritated me to think of the money they charged).
Meh… truthfully, there was nothing on TV anyway.
I’ll be honest with you here, I just purchased my very first set of brand new snow tires. Yep, despite the twenty some odd winters I’ve been driving in Canada these are the first snow tires I’ve ever purchased. I always managed to muddle through the winters with all season tires, a good portion of defensive driving and a substantial increase in commute time. My usual nod to winter consisted of buying NEW all-seasons at the onset of winter, which I s’pose is better than nothing, but only just.
Within the city all-seasons are fine 98% of the time, it’s that 2% that was causing me more and more concern, and finally I caved.
Peace of mind is kinda nice too.
The virus that claimed our machine affected the boot sector of the old HD, making recovery of the data on it difficult. After much too-ing and fro-ing I succeeded in extracting approximately 5gig of pictures, tax records, resumes and financial spreadsheets (this thanks to an 8gig usb stick I picked up for $20 for my car stereo yesterday).
The new machine (with a much larger HD – 320Gig compared to the previous 40Gig, and upgraded RAM) has been set up as a dual-boot (WinXP and Ubuntu) with a common partition for moving data between the two. This took some doing (although it’s painfully simply, much easier if you ACTUALLY INSTALL SP2 once you’ve installed XP), but now works ok.
I’ll be mucking around with the two desktops a bit, but the clean install of two operating systems should keep us going for a while.
We’ve got Jillians 4th birthday party shortly, otherwise I’d blather at some length about this. I did want to let ya’ll know I was back online, and things were returning to normal.
So last Thursday on the way home the car began acting strangely. When accelerating away from a dead stop hardly any power would reach the wheels, after two or so similar malfunctions I had to conclude that the vehicle had some sort of transmission problem.
Friday was spent off work and waiting for the diagnosis from a local transmission shop. Finally, later that evening they called… $1400 to get the old Taurus up and running again. Being absolutely clear with the shop I told them to stop any further work and I’d get back to them on Monday.
Vehicular triage. If after $1400 the car would be tip-top I’d have no problem dumping more cash into it, but truthfully we were hoping to limp the car through the winter and find another one come spring. The decision was an unhappy one, but not a difficult one.
We have a new(ish) car now, and I’d post more about it except that last night (having just gotten home from collecting the new car) my computer died, the victim of some sort of massive virus. I have a new hard drive and I’ll be fixing the computer tonight, so hopefully proper pics and a description of our vehicular adventures will follow soon.
I’m not going to repost In Flanders Fields this year, instead I’ll just post that bumper sticker that always gives me pause.
“If you don’t want to stand behind our troops, you’re welcome to stand in front of them”
Something to that.
I’ve received about $40 in referral fees from ING Direct (use my referral orange code and both of us receive a bonus $13 when your account balance exceeds $100). That’s cool, free money is always good and I have no trouble (money or no) recommending ING Direct to those trying to save, here’s why.
- There are no fees – Yes, perhaps the most important reason to use them is that they charge you NOTHING. So if you save only a little bit of cash each payday your savings won’t be eroded by the usual list of fees charged by the big banks.
- They pay relatively high interest (currently 3% but better than the big banks). There are online or virtual banks that pay slightly higher interest rates, but they are not as user-friendly as ING and are not recommended for the less techno-savvy.
- Their online banking interface is user friendly, intuitive and allows you to push/pull money into other (less user friendly) high-interest accounts with ease, even for the less computer savvy.
- They unlimited accounts within your main account to sub-divide your money, and each account can be “nicknamed” so it’s purpose is clear.
- Automated savings plan – have them withdraw a specified amount from your main account at specific intervals (bi-weekly, weekly, monthly or daily), make this coincide with your payday and you won’t even notice the money disappearing from your main account.
Most importantly you can use the online banking system to increase, decrease or cancel the automated savings plan at any time (with a few clicks of the mouse). I usually contribute more mid-month than I do at the end of the month simply due to the bills I pay, but your mileage may vary.
You will also receive a bank card for this account, although if you are serious about saving I recommend that you cut it up. It’s important not to think of your savings as money waiting to be spent, and accessing it should be just difficult enough that you don’t explore that option each time you see something shiny.
The money takes time to build, for example $25 saved every paycheque will add up to $600 in one year, hardly enough to retire on but $600 more than you would have saved without it, and at the cost of $25 every two weeks it is hardly lifestyle changing.
So I have finished my first game of FO3, I ended up ignoring a bunch of side missions and ruined a few more with my random exploration of the Capital Wasteland (I also launched a nuclear strike at one point, then went back and restored a savegame just before the strike and continued playing from there – anyone know what the strike hits?),
Excellent game, some minor problems with the game crashing if the PS3 was left running during the day, but otherwise an entertaining romp through a post-apocalyptic nightmare (lacking in some of the black humour and random encounters I remember as my favorite part of FO1 and 2 however).
No regrets here, except perhaps that I don’t have the time to commit to a marathon session like I would have in the good old days.