Sunday, January 28, 2007

University Guy Steals Microsoft's Invention, In Advance

Oh, the shame. The Ignominy. The several other words I just picked at random from the dictionary.

On one side we have Microsoft, poor, innocent, predatory monopoly Microsoft inventing a brilliant new way of doing programming stuff. Poor poor Microsoft scrapes together just enough cash to file a patent application in the hope of someday profiting from its genius engineers.

On the other side, an evil, power-mad, commie university guy Steals Microsoft's Idea, travels back in time, puts it in his own no-doubt-inferior product, then complains on his evil power-mad commie weblog that Microsoft has stolen his idea.

It makes me ashamed to be a weblog writing guy.

Monday, January 22, 2007

10 Reasons not to get the 10 reasons not to get Vista article

"Cogs Can Think" has published a rebuttal to APCMag's "Ten reasons not to get Vista", but it seems as though the author has never truly looked up "rebuttal" in the dictionary. Of course, neither have I, but there you go.

As pointed out almost unanimously in the comments the Cogs rebuttal failed to rebut. Therefore it falls to I, as Windows advocate #1, and in the hope of getting one of those free laptops, to put paid to the shameful lies and half-truths of the APCMag article. Ok, maybe not half truths, exactly - let's say 95%. .. Therefore it falls to me to put paid to the shameful lies and 95% truths of the APCMag article.

  1. "You don't actually need it": Oh, I need it alright, man. I have the shakes. My brain hurts. I need it sooooooo bad I am just going to burst all over the place like a ripe pimple if I don't get me some Vista soon. Now, as to the whole "Vista doesn't do anything you can't already do with XP" bit; well, you can't just go quantifying needs like that. Needs are much more complex, much more spiritual, much more... you know.... dammit, it's so hard to think right now. If you throw me just a bit of Vista, I'm sure I can get it together enough to finish this... Arrrrrrh, that is good shit, man. So, listen - Microsoft needs us to buy Vista for the sake of their profits. What's good for Microsoft is good for the consumer. Therefore, we do indeed need Vista.
  2. "Cost $$... You already have XP, and alternatives like Linux are free.": Time is money. Money is money. Time is relative to one's movement in space. Space is infinite. Therefore Money is infinite, so what are you worried about? (Economic theories courtesy of the US Federal Reserve)
  3. "It's outrageously overpriced": When something is this good, it doesn't matter the cost. For further details see item #1. Also, see #2 for a discussion of the ultimate abundance of money. I mean, how can it be overpriced, if money is infinite?
  4. "Upgrading Hardware": Now this is just lunacy. Upgrading hardware is fun. Buying new things is fun. I mean People really really like buying new kit. Therefore this #4 is an argument for Vista, not against.
  5. "Driver Support": What does Vista have to do with golf anyway?
  6. "Applications that don't work": This is merely an opportunity to buy more stuff, and people love buying stuff (See #4).
  7. "It's a big fat target": Now this is exactly the kind of insensitive, prejudiced rubbish I'd expect from APCMag. I believe the correct term is "big horizontally challenged target." Anyway, Vista is easily within the acceptable weight range for its height. Besides, if Linux were as popular as Windows, and made it impossible to get anything done without being administrator, and integrated Internet Explorer with the operating system kernel, and included gigabytes of legacy code and nasty hacks just to make sure stuff written for Win95 would still run, then Linux would be a pretty damn easy target too.
  8. "UAC": Look, all UAC means is that the user has to click "OK" a few more times than usual. What's the big deal - users are used to clicking "OK" anyway, what with Windows having wizards for every damn thing, and pretty soon users don't even think about it, or read the dialog or anything, so it's really not much of an inconvenience, once the user is properly trained. And the extra security of having that enormous "OK" button to click on is very much worth it.
  9. "DRM ... nothing more than a liability to you, the user": Now, hang on a minute. I may not know what big words like "liability" and "to" mean, but I'm pretty sure you're saying something bad about DRM, and I for one won't stand for it. DRM is a philanthropic effort on the part of movie studios and record companies to ensure that the consumer gets the best possible product for their money - none of this nasty pirate stuff. They are just looking out for our best interest. Also, remember, what's good for Hollywood is good for the consumer.
  10. "The Draconian License": Hey, it's not easy to eke out a meagre living as a predatory software monopoly, on the bones of your arse, scratching in the dirt for some meagre crumbs, and along comes the callous, uncaring user who suddenly wants to buy/build a new computer without buying a new copy of Windows. Shame on you. Shame. Bill Gates desperately needs that revenue. Remember, What's good for Microsoft is good for the consumer.
And that, Mr Cogs, is how you write a rebuttal. I hope you learned something from this such as, I don't know, how great I am and how like a lowly worm you are, but in case you didn't I will just point out here that I am a great computer guru guy who knows lots and lots about Vista despite not having a copy yet because my free laptop from Microsoft seems to have been delayed in the post but it's sure to arrive any day now and then I will be a happy little Vista user forever and ever or until Vista+1 comes out sometime around 2020.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Super Grub Disk

KDE has this thing where you can select which operating system you wish to reboot into. When logging out there is a drop-down labeled "Restart Computer". Click and hold this and you'll see a list of options for rebooting, depending on your Grub/Lilo configuration. This option itself is configured via the KDE Control Center (System Administration/Login Manager).

The other day I thought it might be nice to boot into Windows to play a bit of Titan Quest, which is a kind of a Diablo clone with nicer graphics, and I thought I might try the aforementioned KDE feature.

Hilarity ensued.

Well, it was funny to the degree that Grub failed to boot windows, indicating instead that it could not read the disk. Bugger. Just like that I said "Bugger", except possibly with an exclamation point or two.

At this point I figured that the ancient 80GB drive on which Windows was located had failed, and rebooted into Linux. Well, attempted to. Same error. Bugger. Again. Probably not a hardware failure then.

I briefly cursed KDE for somehow hosing my Grub installation, then set about fixing it. In the past I have repaired this kind of thing by booting a live cd and running grub-install from a chroot. This works just fine, but is not entirely trivial unless you're some kind of brilliant computer guru such as I. Well, I don't like to brag, but.... Actually, I do like to brag, so cancel that last bit...

Anyway, it just so happened I had a copy of the Super Grub Disk lying around. Oh, no reason; just because I thought it looked interesting and definitely not on account of my having recently needing it to fix a Windows installation I had accidentally destroyed. No, no, nothing like that at all. Did I mention I am a brilliant computer guru guy and totally unlikely to do anything stupid like that?

So, in goes the SGD, ctrl-alt-del to reboot, up comes the Super Grub Disk menu, select the option to boot my Linux installation, wait, log in, type "grub-install /dev/sda" and it's all fixed. Dead easy.

In fact it can be even easier, on account of the SGD includes an option to automatically restore Grub on the MBR, for those less capable than myself. Did I mention I am a brilliant computer guru guy? Well, I may be a brilliant computer guru guy (and I am) but those blokes who dreamed up the SGD are, like, rad man. Check out the features here if you don't believe me. At 1.7MB for the download, and fifty cents for a CD, can you afford to be without it? (The answer is no, in case you were wondering, because I know many of you are a bit thick.)

BTW Notice how I have bravely resisted any mention of superheros (Super Grub Disk - get it!). This is because I am all mature and stuff, like a fine wine, or a turd.