Looking Forward

December is almost past, and still little to show for it here. It’s not that one wanted it to be this way, but it just happened. Now into the first full week of “Winter Break” , one would think there would be time to do things that could not be done in the semester. However, thanks to some interesting projects one is part of, the free time will not show itself for yet another week or two. That brings us to January 2009.

There will be no Breadcrumb NavXT 3.0.3, no critical or minor bugs have been reported for 3.0.2, so this month’s release would be pointless. Comming January, Breadcrumb NavXT 3.1.0 will feature some changes in the way default settings are loaded. This may cause a change in the anchor templates, but will allow localized default settings. The Tabular plugin will be removed, and its usefull parts integrated into the Administrative interface.

Berry will be updated with the Build 100 Cran-Berry code. There will be a design refresh either in late January or in late March. No code names yet, but it will probably be a red color scheme again.

A new, previously unannounced navigation plugin will rear its head near the end of December to early January. It is dependent on theme setup, and has been tested to work with Berry and the WordPress Default theme. More on that next week.

The Weblogs.us transistion to its new apache server is suspended until later this week. We setup the new server. Now a process of testing, transfering, and opening up ports on the firewall must take place before things go live. Expect the transition to take place near the end of the year.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Daylight Savings Time Ending

Vista now warns you when Daylight Savings time is going to end.

Vista’s little time clock/calender is much better than the one in XP. Not only does it make checking dates easier, it also warns of impending doom (err. Daylight Savings Time starting/ending).

So it’s that time of year when signing up for spring semester classes begin. Once in upper division once every two semesters a one year plan must be filled out and a meeting with an adviser must occur prior to singing up for classes. Today, I was assigned my advisement date and time, and I went to check what day of the week it would be–they only gave a date and something about it seemed wrong (turns out they sent the wrong time and date). Upon clicking on the taskbar clock, I was greeted by a message warning that Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday, November 2nd. This was a surprise as XP did not even warn when it would work its DST magic–Windows 98 would warn after it automatically changed the clock.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Refreshing Vista

The installation went fast, the updates, on the other hand did not. Rewind a bit, back to a few weeks ago. Some troll over at Digg was spamming links to shock sites. One of them causes thousands of popups of shock images to display. It also happens to take advantage of some security flaws in many web browsers. That was last week, but going back a bit further the real odd behavior began.

It began with Adobe Flash security warnings. They were triggered by advertisements (flash based advertisements should be illegal for more than one reason) that are part of the Microsoft Mojave campaign. The warning stated that code in the flash object attempted to redirect about:blank to some other address. One would think a large corporation such as Microsoft would keep its advertisements out of the realm of malice, but then again they are still spamming stats with fake arrivals from their live search service.

Even though the Flash warning was odd, it was not the thing that was really bad. Out of nowhere no execute bit errors start killing Firefox. Most of the time on a website with an Adobe Flash based advertisement. Did I mention I believe Flash based advertisements should be outlawed–and all websites that have them should be added to the malware harboring website lists?

Well, after having enough of the stupid NX bit errors, Firefox and Flash player were reinstalled. No luck, the problems still occurred. Time for drastic measures, reinstall Vista time. After backing up the few files not on my home server (running Gentoo Linux), the Vista DVD made its way into the DVD drive. After rebooting and clicking through some options, the installer did its thing. Fifteen minutes later–surprisingly fast–the familiar welcome screen appeared. First order of action was installing the WiFi driver. Rather than before I let the additional intel tools to be installed. Surprisingly, I’m connecting at 802.11N speeds all the time now (verses when ever Windows felt like it before). Next up was the graphics driver. Previously, the dell driver did not allow the one distributed by intel to be installed so I was running a year old driver.

Then Windows Update in its infinite wisdom decided to try grabbing over 30 updates. Naturally, there was no dependency handling causing numerous blue screens of death at boot. To compound the issue I had at one time tried to install about ten of my commonly used programs. After the first blue screen of death, and doing a system restore, they were all missing (System Restore shadows many more things than it used to). Instead of trying to reinstall the programs again, I focused on the Windows updates.

That is when things became fun. Not only does Windows Update not properly handle dependencies, it seems to always have problems installing more than twenty or so updates at a time. Even worse, it seems to generate error codes that are random when encountering this situation. Another fun fact is Windows Update seems to not check the hash sum of the updates it downloads until it attempts to install them. If the hashes at that time do not match it returns an error code instead of redownloading and trying again as it should. Installing only four or five updates at a time, along with the oldest first seems to help. However this is taking forever. If I wanted to spend two full evenings working on this I would have installed Gentoo, which I would be done installing by now as well.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Back From Elevation

Going into work this morning was less than desirable. After a week in Colorado, the humidity of Minnesotan summers seem unbearable. The trip was nice, even though it rained on us just about every day, and no I’m not talking about the typical 5:00pm rains.

We made it up to the ~14,000ft summit of Mt. Sneffels. There was a nice 100ft patch of melting snow near the summit that we climbed through while ascending. While my old ASICS GT-2100 running shoes were fine for most of the climb, they lacked proper tread for snow. Thus, it was necessary to use both hands and feet to keep climbing without sliding down. Luckily, a few other groups knew a much better route, which completely avoided the snow for the descent. In its place, was a nice two-foot-wide shelf above a 50ft or so cliff. It was not snow, thus was not a problem.

There are many more pictures from the trip. I’ll eventually get a pictures page up with the pictures from this trip and from Moab, Utah last year.

I found the manual mode for the SD850, which really helped with the grainy image problems I was having before. Tweaking some other settings further reduced the graininess to the point that point-n-shoot auto mode produced pretty good pictures. All-in-all, the camera is pretty good, it is just different from the previous PowerShots I had.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]