Register at PowerTogether.com, watch three webcasts about Windows Vista, wait six to eight weeks, and you'll get a free legit copy of Windows Vista Business in the mail. You can do the same thing to get a free copy of Office 2007 as well.
Good luck registering. The site's hammered. And yep, it's legit.
Of all the versions of Vista they're making, it really seems like Business is the one that everyone should get. Home Basic is crippled and doesn't even include the new UI, Home Premium has completely superfluous 'media center' junk thrown in, and Ultimate is complete overkill.
Microsoft has a vague and un-helpful comparison chart on their site, but Paul Thurrott's done a much, much more comprehensive job on his own. Home user or not, Vista Business is the one to own.
I've never been looking through my friends' friends on MySpace and found someone I'd recognized. I guess I somehow expected to one day be like "No WAY! Shaun knows Tavis TOO!? What a small world this is! My darling Internet, you hold such wonders!"
The King of Jingaling is back for what I think must be the third year of posting mp3 rips of old vinyl Christmas albums at FaLaLaLaLa.com.
Once there, click the 'Featured Albums' link on the right to go straight to the downloadables.
This year's releases are crippled by RapidShare's stupid countdown system, but you can grab the past two years' releases direct from the server with no wait at all.
Remember in Pee Wee's Big Adventure how he wound up riding his bike through all those sound stages to escape security? He rode through some Christmas shoot and yelled "Merry Christmas!" That cracks me up whenever I think about it.
Thursday we went to Tammy's parents for Thanksgiving. My parents came and we celebrated the coming together of Native Americans and their white oppressors with a turkey feast.
Friday our friend Denise turned 30 so that night a big group of us went to The Melting Pot. It's a fondue restaurant. It's expensive. In fact, The Melting Pot is what I call "stupid expensive" - expensive for no good reason. The food was great, but there's no reason to ever pay that much for a meal. It wasn't merely a case of sticker shock - it was sticker spit...as in, the sticker spit in my eye and made me angry. It was fun and a neat place to eat once, but I'll do my best to never go back.
Saturday we attended Tammy's boss' son's bar-mitzvah. That started at 9 in the morning and ran nearly three hours. Then at 6 that evening we attended a bar-mitzvah party at the Marconi Museum. That was some event. I guess bar-mitzvah parties are big things! They rented out this huge place...there were balloons everywhere, a DJ, one of those cartoon sketch artists, an open-bar, a huge buffet, an ice cream bar, a fondue dessert bar, and about 200 people. It could have been a wedding for all the money they spent on it. We had a great time.
Sunday morning we woke up at 4 so I could drive Tammy to LAX. She's in Puerto Rico and Chicago this week. I got home around 7AM and slept a few more hours. I spent the rest of the day in front of a computer working on a website for my brother's wedding. Yessir, my little brother is getting married. I'm the best man! I like to think that I'm always the best man in everything I do, but a wedding makes the title official.
Why pay to download classic games from the Wii's virtual console when you can run your own emulators for free?
Thanks to the Wii's backwards compatibility with GameCube titles, you can boot up the GameCube flavor of Action Replay to launch SD Load, an application that lets you run any GC homebrew from an SD card.
On the GameCube you'll need a separate SD reader, but on the Wii you can just use its own built-in SD slot.
I predict that within a matter of months we'll use this boot method to install the Wii equivalent of the DS's FlashMe - custom firmware that lets you run pretty much anything you want. It'll happen. Just you wait.
I stopped by Target last night to pick up some new icicle lights for the house. The last two years I've always gotten screwed by waiting too long to buy Christmas lights, so I took care of it extra early this year and got the lights with the WHITE wire.
Does anyone even buy icicle lights with green wire? Seriously. Unless you're Bilbo Baggins and you live in the side of a grassy green hill, those green wires are gonna look pretty ghetto hanging off of your stuccoed house.
Right next to the store entrance were a few tents. It turns out that there were half a dozen people camping out for a chance to buy a Wii:
They weren't there for the PS3. They were wearing home-made Wii shirts. I bet this is because Target had their launch-day inventory numbers leak onto the internet last week. I also drove by Toys R Us, EB Games, and Best Buy...they didn't have any campers!
So far Red Steel, Wii Sports, and Zelda have all been released online. They're not playable yet, but give it time!
We really had no plans to go, but last week Tammy found out she's got two full days of meetings in Orlando in December, so we figured out how to go by spending next to nothing.
Tammy's flying there and back for work, so her plane tickets are paid for already.
One of her vendors offered to comp our week-long hotel stay, so that took care of that.
That really only leaves my plane tickets and a rental car, and cashing in a few frequent flier miles will pay for those.
In the end, the only things we end up paying real money for are theme park tickets and food. I'm pretty sure I could survive one full week on a backpack full of granola bars and water, but we'll see about that.
While we'll spend three days together in theme parks, this also means I'll be stuck in a hotel room by myself for two days while Tammy's in meetings. Maybe I'll venture out for a round of solo miniature golf somewhere.
edit: Looks like one of Tammy's vendors just comped our theme park tickets too! An upgrade from granola bars to chewy granola bars may be in order!
I have it on good authority that the Earth is currently home to several time travelers from the future. We don't know they're here because they dress themselves in period clothing and they've printed up enough of our paper money to be able to blend in to their surroundings without raising too many questions.
The real question is how many of these time travelers are there around the globe? Thousands? Hundreds? One?
I assume they're historians, and that their intentions are noble. But what of those miscreants who would abuse the time traveling system to further their own agendas? How many are here to influence the future rather than observe the past?
These are real questions that we someday may need to deal with.
It all started Friday morning when my car wouldn't start. She's an '02 Camry V6, pretty much the most reliable car ever, so this was unexpected!
It had been taking two or three seconds to crank the starter lately, whereas it usually takes less than one.
Turns out the battery had died so I called my roadside assistance people to come out and jump it. That got me out of my garage and I drove straight to Pep Boys for a new battery.
I picked up my car that afternoon and it was working fine. Then I got to a stoplight and it stalled. I started it up again, but as it idled the RPMs would drop to zero a few seconds later and the engine just shut off.
I had to have my car towed. You have no idea how distressing that actually is until it happens to you. Granted, I was within walking distance from my house, but my car was stalled out in a left-turn lane and all I could do was stare at it from the street corner, trying to call my roadside assistance people in a cellphone dead-zone.
It turns out I had a dirty throttle body. I have no idea what this means other than my car has a throttle, and the body part was dirty. I also know that nothing actually broke or wore out, and I didn't have to buy any parts. It was just dirty!
I guess after four years and 85,000 miles things can get pretty messy in there. The Internets say I should have had this done at 75,000 miles. The Internets also says this is partly my fault for always buying the absolute cheapest gas possible with the lowest octane. Eh.
So anyway on Saturday the mechanic cleaned my throttle body and now my car rides good as new! The idle is super quiet and BLACK LIGHTNING feels like her old self again.
The stress of that whole episode pretty much killed any chance I had of enjoying my Friday off, though.
BUT! Tammy saved the day and surprised me with tickets that night to the newish Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park on Friday night. I was looking to drown my sorrows, and the pirate wenches did not leave me hanging. A few drinks later and I didn't even care about my car. I was like "Car? What car? Oh that? Throw it off a cliff, who gives a shit!"
When I wear it people think I'm promoting DRM and online music rentals.
Except I'm not.
I bought it back when Napster was cool - when there was only one true P2P network. Now Napster is the laughing stock of the online music scene, and I'm stuck with this shirt. Well, it's a good shirt. I'll probably keep wearing it until it wears out.
This is why tattoos are such a bad idea. Getting a tattoo is like wearing an old t-shirt you can't ever take off.
It's a little late, but Windows Vista hit RTM today. Build 6000.16386 is THE ONE.
It launches to 'Microsoft Partners' (enterprise customers) November 30th, and to the public at large sometime in January.
As a convenience to software pirates, Microsoft is including the five main Vista SKUs on a single disc. This is supposedly to facilitate legal upgrades through the new Windows Anytime Upgrade service without a complete OS reinstall.
In reality it'll be exploited by pirates to unlock the $399 version of Windows Vista - "Ultimate".
Can't say I'm too excited about Vista. I was excited for XP back in the day, but XP is really solid and good! I get a bluescreen maybe once every year, and a hard crash once or twice a year.
Now that I am less of a computer nerd I find it hard to get excited about a release of an operating system... Unless you're a Mac user.
Gears of War hits the streets today. I've been keeping an eye on this game over the past few months, if only because the PR machine behind it seems unstoppable. I never thought it would be able to live up to all the hype, and I was looking forward to reading all the horrible reviews on launch day, but they just don't exist!
I've been spending the past few months trying to mold my Web 1.0 mind into something that can generate valid XHTML 1.1 without thinking twice. For the most part it's pretty straightforward and I've been doing a decent job of it.
But you know what sucks? <form> tags are much less flexible than they used to be. As far as I can tell you can't place *any* text within a form tag anymore. inputs, textareas, and selects - those are all valid, but spans and divs are not allowed!
If it's a block-level or inline element and it's not an element defined in the form module, it's invalid.
The only solution is to use a <label> tag to label your inputs. That mostly works fine, but what happens when you've got a script that generates error text and isn't necessarily a label? Yep, it has to go into the a label tag as well, and that usually turns out to be pretty ugly. I guess error messages should be a little ugly to grab the user's attention, but not that ugly.
XHTML 2.0 will do away with the <form> tag entirely in favor of XForms.
The XForms draft looks pretty scary...and it's been four years since it was written, so there's bound to be changes and fun times ahead. Current browsers don't even support XForms.
Of the modern browsers that do support form styling, their support is varied and inconsistent. Just try assigning a background color and border style to a checkbox. Yeah.
Have you seen Stickam yet? It's just like MySpace, except it lets you embed a live webcam feed into your profile!
All you have to do is browse their "Who's Live?" list, click a profile, and BAM! There's a live a/v feed of that person staring back at you! I was not expecting this the first time, and it made my shoes fly off.
I'm not really big into the whole social networking scene, but Stickam sure makes things interesting for people who are!
Well last night wasn't as irritating as I was afraid it would be. I took some advice from Mary Poppins and turned my job into a game!
I decided that if I was going to fly solo at Halloween this year I should really pay attention to how many kids come by. That way I'll have a better idea of how much candy to buy for next year. (I always get way too much.) So I started collecting some demographic information on last night's trick-or-treaters.
I had 78 trick-or-treaters at my house last night, with an average number of three trick-or-treaters per doorbell ring.
I whipped up some Excel graphs late last night that should help you to visualize my data! And also help you to see how ugly Excel graphs are. (Excel 2007 fixes this.)