Category Archives: computers, video games, internet

new toy!

Not very long ago, my desktop of seven years finally went the way of the dinosaur. Thankfully, the hard drive was not the issue; it seems like the motherboard just fried. So one hard drive enclosure later, I had our files “backed up”.  But that left me with the need for a new computer.

We have always been a two-computer family. Well, aside from Kelly’s iPad, on which she does most of her daily activities.  I have had a laptop in our bedroom for email and web browsing, and the desktop was supposed to be the “serious” machine for telecommuting if necessary, and for my own personal programming.  But I had ended up using the laptop quite often for those tasks anyway. As an example, I had the flu earlier this year, and while I was contagious yet felt well enough to do something I was working in bed.  Meanwhile, the desktop really hadn’t been used much at all in months. If I wanted to get online downstairs, I found myself taking my laptop down there to do it.

So I decided to get another laptop, ordered it online, and it came in yesterday.  This is my first foray into using Windows 8, and my initial impression is that I’m looking forward to July 29 and the free upgrade to Windows 10. But the machine itself has been performing pretty well (at least once I removed some of the trialware that came along with it). I’m not doing a whole lot of setup on it until I do the OS upgrade, but once I do, I think I can reasonably see this machine lasting me for a good long while. I love the smell of a new computer in the morning!

twitterrific!

Hey, I’ve actually joined a social network!

In this case, it’s twitter. I figure that it’s easier for me to write about stuff if I have to confine it to 140 characters or less. With big entries, I pore over spelling and grammar and other stuff (is this as funny as I think it might be? Is it saying what I’m really trying to say?) With this, there isn’t a whole lot to think about, which is good for me.

Of course, when I have something more substantial to say than what I’m currently doing, or if I post pictures of London and Austen (oh, yeah…I owe you all some pictures of the new dog), I’ll still post on the main area. But at least you can look at the twitter feed on the left-hand side to see if I’ve microblogged recently!

new server!

For the third time in 1122 history, we’ve moved servers. This new one seems to be much faster, and we have a gig of server space, so we’re good to go for a while, I think.

We’ve been working on migrating everything, so if something doesn’t look right, let me know…

step right up…

So I was just about to go to bed about 30 minutes ago, when I decided that I’d check out a web site that I hadn’t been to in a while. The webmaster put up a note about a video game conference they had been to recently, and in the midst of reading about a bunch of games that I knew I wouldn’t really be interested in, he mentioned Rollercoaster Tycoon 3.

3? I didn’t even realize that they had 3 in progress. I still had 2 on my wish list.

Now, as Kelly can certainly attest to, I loved the original RCT. I beat all the scenarios (many of which she played co-manager in 🙂 ), unlocked Mega Park, had a good old time. But when I got the new computer, I never really bothered to put any of my old games on it. Partly because of the hassle, partly to keep myself from being too distracted from my work. But recently, I pulled out my old CDs…and came this close to putting them back on.

Anyway, seeing the info this guy had on his site piqued my curiosity about what the game was going to look like, so I went to the official RCT site to get the low-down.

Oh, man. It looks awesome. 3-D graphics of everything in the park, including the peeps themselves. (They all look different now!) Rides you can test out yourself. Night-time views of your park. “Sandbox” mode for those who’d rather do that than scenarios (I fall into this category, but I really wanted Mega Park in RCT1…). Even fireworks shows that you can choreograph!

I’m not really one of those fanboy types who has to rush out and buy a game they’re interested in as soon as it comes out, especially if it doesn’t seem like much of an improvement over a predecessor (RCT2 fell into this category for me). But I make this vow here and now, for the whole reading population of pressing on (all six of you) to read…this game shall be mine. Oh, yes. A whole new generation of peeps to amuse, with my beautiful co-manager by my side.

Okay, I’ll go to bed now.

stupid, stupid spam

Well, the day finally came.

First, my sincere apologies to all of those who came to the site today and saw a new comment pointing to a web site not endorsed by yours truly. I had to clear my browser’s cache to delete the images; this irritates someone who visits a lot of websites and will have to get all of their associated graphics reloaded.

Furthermore, in getting rid of the offending comment, I somehow lost all of the other comments associated with the entry! Go ahead, try it…it says 9 comments, right now, but if you click on it, you’ll be the first to post a comment. This is infuriating to me.

I can’t stand spam. I have one of the best e-mail spam filters available (and it’s even free) on my main e-mail accounts, and as a result it doesn’t bother me much on that end. But going on my website and spamming it with links to sites of ill repute that I am certain are of no interest to any of my normal visitors really makes me mad. Especially when deleting it inadvertantly takes out multiple good comments. A note to all smut spammers: I have your IP addresses when you post. Consider yourself blocked from now on.

Jerks.

the laptop

This thing has already been a blessing for me. I have already used it to study for a final, work on one of my projects, and check my e-mail.

I went ahead and picked up a wireless card, not realizing when I bought it that it didn’t come with XP drivers on the installation disk. After getting my first Windows XP BSOD, I found out that that was the problem. So a quick trip to the card maker’s web site later, we’re ready to go! A laptop and a wireless card are a wonderful thing.

I’m still in the process of setting everything up on it so far, and I haven’t had as much time as I’d like because I’ve been so busy. But once I get it like I like it, I’ll be good to go for at least a few years, I hope. 🙂

Here’s some of the specs on it: It’s an HP, with an Athlon 1800+ processor (I went for more processing power for my buck), 512MB of RAM, a 40GB hard drive, internal Ethernet port (which allows me to make this update from the comfort of my recliner while I watch the Indiana-Maryland basketball game and wait on some software to download), and some other fun stuff to boot.

The only thing that I have against it is the touchpad. I like trackballs better myself, but I’ll get used to it, I’m sure. 🙂

Well, I need to wrap up…I’ve got a long night working on my PLP project. Good thing that it’ll go a lot quicker now with this thing…

accessibility check bookmarklets

If you are interested in designing accessible web sites, you might find these bookmarklets helpful. They use Bobby to check your browser’s current page for accessibility issues.

Just click on the link(s) that you’re interested in and drag it to your bookmarks or links toolbar and it should be added automatically. I’ve tested these with NN4/Win, IE5/Win and Mozilla – they should work in all three. Please let me know if something doesn’t seem to work correctly or if you test them on a different OS/browser combination.