nyankoframe: (I rock.)
It's a bit slower compared to handwriting but it can recognize my writings pretty well!

I haven't tried going out with it yet but plan to sometime soon. It has a SIM card slot for 3G access too.

For some reason I've been feeling particularly tired these few days. I hope it's nothing serious.

The Semagic UI isn't very touch friendly though.

ETA (via the keyboard as I'm sleepy): Happy holidays, everyone!
nyankoframe: (Default)
If you get anything like this in your email inbox, do not open the link or download the "ecard plugin"! It's a virus/trojan that will compromise your computer and do other nasty things to it.

The fake email, reproduced verbatim except for the actual link )
nyankoframe: (Default)
Shipped my laptop this morning using FedEx Ground. It should get to Acer by next Monday (April 30th), and I'll probably get it back around mid-May.

Today is a bit cold, though not that cold. ^^;; At least it isn't 40 F or worse

And I met my new officemate in the cafeteria, and it seems like we'd get along together quite well. ^_^

I love buffalo chicken salad for lunch (with romaine lettuce, cheese and ranch dressing) ♥~
nyankoframe: (Default)
I received a phone call this morning, and after a somewhat confused introduction, it turns out that I can ship my laptop to Acer America (in Texas) for repair. ^_^

I apparently have a 3-year international warranty, even though Acer laptops only come with 1-year international warranties... I'm not really too bothered yet how that came about, but I'm just glad that I can finally send it in to get it fixed. ^^;;;

I have no idea if I'll lose anything this time (since it's possible they may need to replace the hard disk and do a factory reinstall), but if I do, I do...

Now to actually prepare it for shipping and ship the thing...

I'm looking at using either USPS, DHL, FedEx or UPS, and so far:
- USPS seems to be the cheapest, though its tracking system leaves a little to be desired. :P
- FedEx has a location that I've been to before, so I know how to get there, but it will probably be more expensive than USPS...
- DHL is somewhere in Eastgate and thus rather inconvenient to go to
- UPS is closed on Sundays

I hope to ship (or prepare it for shipping) tomorrow after my furniture arrives. ^^;; But first I need to figure out how large the laptop is and how large the box will need to be.
nyankoframe: (Default)
Mwahahahaha!!! *laughs evilly*

This also means I have no excuse reason not to call people any more, though. ^^;; And I'm still wondering if I'll get the Comcast Digital Voice thingy...
nyankoframe: (Default)
I just got off the phone with Acer America after waiting about 13 minutes on hold, to find out that they don't have any parts for my laptop and there's nothing they can do about it.

I don't know how much it's going to cost to ship it back via DHL/UPS/FedEx to Acer Singapore, and if that's even possible...

One alternative that I can think of is to send it back to my house, and tell my parents/[livejournal.com profile] wao to send it in, and then ship it back to me, but it's definitely not going to be cheap, and it also relies on people (especially [livejournal.com profile] wao) remembering to send it in...

I'm probably going to be really hesitant about buying or recommending Acer in the future, unless it's some model that is sold/serviceable everywhere.
nyankoframe: (Default)
I went with [livejournal.com profile] itsacz to Best Buy and after a few minutes which seemed more like hours I walked out with a new HP Pavilion 1730n system that is pretty decent (2GB RAM, 320GB HDD, Vista Home Premium with a Windows Anytime Upgrade CD etc.), although it's no gaming machine. :P

After that, I dropped the boxes off at home and went with him for dinner at a Mexican restaurant he'd been to for lunch. It was great. ^_^

And now I'm typing this on my new desktop (albeit in a slightly awkward position). ^^;;;
nyankoframe: (Default)
Posting from work, which I've been trying not to do, but now that my laptop's not turning on, I don't have a choice, so... ^^;;;;

I think that something may have burnt out; the Acer end-user person specialist in the US suggested that it might have been a voltage issue, but I checked that before leaving (and was told it was okay), and in any case, it would have died sooner then...

Laptop problems )

I bought Need for Speed: Carbon and Test Drive Unlimited (both for Xbox 360) yesterday at Circuit City, while (fruitlessly) looking for desktops, nearly all of which weren't what I was looking for... They're both great games, and Test Drive Unlimited is really much harder than it looks, especially for the challenges like driving someone to a destination on time safely (i.e. without hitting anything or going off the road), and the rewards like clothing coupons and cash. And I'm playing it as a female character, so... ^^;;;

But I had a very delicious and quite filling spicy pork bulgogi for lunch yesterday at Crossroads mall. ^_^ It was a bit expensive ($6.83 after tax), but so worth it. *_* *still remembers it fondly* I am so tempted to have that again for lunch today...

This morning, I watched "Dark Water", a 2001 Japanese film (with English subtitles/dub track available) that's 100 minutes long by the director of "Ringu" and "Ringu 2". It's (very briefly) about a divorced woman who's raising her 6 year-old daughter, and she's having a really hard time, and water starts dripping from her ceiling onto everything. There's a lot of suspense in the movie, but to me, it was also really interesting looking at how people cope with depression. ^^;; And the ending reminded me a lot of Silent Hill for some reason, although it was slightly different...

It's been licensed for R1 by ADV, so it shouldn't be too hard to find. I recommend watching it, though maybe not alone. ^^;;;

If I don't get a desktop, I'll be "offline" for at least 2 weeks. I can check email from work, but in terms of LJ comments/posts, I'm trying not to get into that habit...
nyankoframe: (Default)
Last night I finally decided to clean install the Vista Ultimate which I'd bought about 2 weeks ago on my laptop, deleting the existing partitions and repartitioning it better. I backed up the things that I wanted to keep, reformatted and installed, and everything was going smoothly. Great, right?

Except for the fact that I somehow managed to not backup my Trillian settings (logs, downloads, updated contact list with groups), as well as other things like my favourites (some of which are hard to find, but...). Most of this can be replaced or recreated, but I still feel rather sad that I lost 6 years' worth of logs and downloads. I'm sorry, but if you sent me something on AIM, ICQ or Y! before, it's almost certain I won't have it now, and some of the things that were there are from people who are no longer online...

I was really frustrated this morning, around 2 am when I found out that I hadn't copied the logs, but after sleeping it off for a while, I now think losing the logs is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, I can no longer refer to them, and there was a lot of useful information in there that helped me, such as talking with various anonymous people. On the other hand, it's an opportunity for a clean start... I think.

And no, I didn't lose my MSN logs. :P

I'll probably spend a large part of this weekend installing and configuring stuff.
nyankoframe: (Default)
College Saga
Astor Piazzolla - Adios Nonino (Live)

I think both Youtube videos can speak for themselves. The first one is just jaw-droppingly hilarious, so much so that I think I fell off my chair more than once or broke out into loud, raucous laughter (at 3 pm). ^^;;

The second one is a live performance of Astor Piazzolla and his Second Quintet (I believe - someone correct me if I'm wrong?) performing Adios Nonino live, with him on the bandoneon (the organ grinder-like instrument). Adios Nonino was dedicated to his father (Nonino) who had just passed away, and who introduced him reluctantly to the tango genre.

It Ought To Be Simple: I'm an Idiot...

I saw this article referenced on Slashdot as Is a Bad Attitude Damaging the IT Profession? and read it. Having been on both sides of the field (both as an end-user and as someone involved in supporting others), I can understand where the article's viewpoint - about how users are ridiculed for being unable to have the same skill level as techs - comes from:

But making a decision governed by a code of ethics? That would be a challenge. IT is objective – either a program works, or it doesn’t; either you can ping the network, or you can’t. Ambiguity is antithetical. You can’t assign a value to “special care.” There’s no network protocol that supports it, and no function call that returns it.

So start with the basics: Don’t call users idiots. I don’t know if that qualifies as “special care,” but it is common courtesy. That’s a good start.

On the other hand, I also agree with some of the comments expressed in the comments on Slashdot, such as this one:

You have people who are forced into using IT because everyone needs to use it for their job nowadays, only some people don't want to so they purposely make moan and make out the situation is worse than it is just to satisfy their own technophobic paranoia - people like this are extremely frustrating to work with.

Then there are people who treat IT workers as their own personal slaves, requests such as "change my printer cartridge too" - things that frankly, even a monkey could be trained to do, this type of thing is completely demoralising. If you had a mechanic out to look at your car, what do you think their reaction would be if you turned round and say "Oh go and fill it up with gas for me too".

There's the people who simply ask too much, most IT departments are staffed okay for looking after the business but there are those that seem to feel that the IT staff should deal with the home too... There's plenty more reasons, but it seems more generally that IT has an identity crisis - users aren't entirely sure what we actually do, where the line is drawn as to what a user issue is and what an IT worker issue is.

as well as this quote:

This is the biggest bunch of nonsense that I've heard in a long time. Virtually every time I try to get help from my helpdesk on anything beyond pulling a cable or rebooting a server, I'm told that they can't help me, even when what I'm trying to do is required by policies that the IT people have put into place in the first place. My favorite reason for not helping is that I don't have a "supported configuration", even though I'm running name-brand hardware and software. My feeling about my IT people is that they're really great at running the network and server farms, but beyond that they don't care about their customers.

Ultimately, I think it's down more to individual tact (or the lack of it) and CRM (customer relationship management) on the part of IT workers, and a willingness to learn and go outside one's comfort zone on the part of end-users. Where that balance lies depends on each individual organization/group.
nyankoframe: (Default)
I totally forgot that I could do that until this morning. :P

So... A SSH connection into b with a port-forwarding (tunnel) mapping of local port: 8995 remote port: pop.gmail.com:995 later, I'm able to download all my emails. Even the monster 11 MB one and two other emails that contained singing drafts. ^^;;

The only problem is that this, of course, sort of defeats the value of SSL, since now the CN (complete name) in Google's server certificate doesn't match what was passed in (the local cert + tunnel). But since I trust [livejournal.com profile] testing4l, that's not a major issue at the moment. Also, this is only meant to be a temporary solution for me to check my emails (LJ comments, visa/work-related emails, etc.) until connectivity returns to normal.

I haven't investigated whether web access to Gmail could be similarly forwarded, but perhaps it's possible (maybe not over port 80, though).
nyankoframe: (Default)
What happened to all the "dark fiber" and datacenters you have? Or the plans of becoming an ISP? </sarcasm>

  8    93 ms    96 ms    91 ms  p16-0-2-0.r21.tokyjp01.jp.bb.gin.ntt.net []
  9   202 ms   202 ms   201 ms  p64-2-1-0.r21.sttlwa01.us.bb.gin.ntt.net []
 10   200 ms   202 ms   197 ms  if-1-0.core1.SEP-Seattle.Teleglobe.net []
 11   202 ms   210 ms   199 ms  if-7-0.core2.SEP-Seattle.Teleglobe.net []
 12   209 ms   207 ms   213 ms
 13   257 ms   256 ms   255 ms  if-7-0.core1.CT8-Chicago.teleglobe.net []
 14   495 ms   436 ms     *     ix-8-1.core1.CT8-Chicago.teleglobe.net []
 15   405 ms   406 ms     *
 16   442 ms     *        *
 17   429 ms   422 ms   423 ms
 18   417 ms   435 ms   430 ms  nz-in-f111.google.com []

Or perhaps I should be thankful that it even works in the first place, and grumble at people who send 11 MB emails use the equally slow web interface wait for it to sort itself out.

Edit: proof that the web interface is just as slow:

 8   107 ms    94 ms    94 ms  p16-0-2-0.r21.tokyjp01.jp.bb.gin.ntt.net []
 9   203 ms   208 ms   208 ms  p64-2-1-0.r21.sttlwa01.us.bb.gin.ntt.net []
10   198 ms   197 ms   200 ms  if-1-0.core1.SEP-Seattle.Teleglobe.net []
11   204 ms   204 ms   206 ms  if-12-0.core1.SQN-SanJose.teleglobe.net []
12   207 ms   203 ms   205 ms  Vlan3.msfc1.SQN-SanJose.Teleglobe.net []
13   442 ms     *      378 ms  Vlan154.msfc1.SQN-SanJose.teleglobe.net []
14     *      380 ms     *
15     *      378 ms   367 ms
16   386 ms   371 ms   376 ms
17   381 ms   367 ms     *     cw-in-f83.google.com []
18   376 ms   365 ms   379 ms  cw-in-f83.google.com []
nyankoframe: (Default)
As of 11:55 pm on the 27th, most sites are working, though perhaps slightly slower than usual.
nyankoframe: (Default)
Earthquake in Taiwan results in slow internet service in Singapore

So... yeah. I don't know when it'll be restored. Lots of things are intermittent and I'm not going to bother signing in to anything until it's fixed.
nyankoframe: (Default)
Searching for "ubhelper.sys" reveals that it may be actually part of spyware? o.O In which case it's really strange that, according to the creation date, I've had it for 2 years and not seen any ill effects until I upgraded to Vista...

That still doesn't excuse Mustek for writing scanner drivers that require Administrator privileges to use, though. <_<
nyankoframe: (Default)

I was finally fed up enough this morning to let my laptop complete dumping memory when it blue-screened yet again about a minute after I logged into my laptop. 1 gigabyte of dump file and a reboot into Safe Mode later...

The culprit is identified in gory detail! )

The solution was as simple as running this command in an elevated Command Prompt (while in Safe Mode) and then rebooting:

C:\Windows>sc config ubhelper start= disabled
[SC] ChangeServiceConfig SUCCESS

I can add my voice to [livejournal.com profile] itsacz's criticisms of Creative hardware, and in addition, criticize Mustek for writing bad drivers. It's somewhat frustrating that it took so long for these bugs to be exposed when everything appeared stable on XP and below...

Now that everything's stable, the laptop actually runs quite a bit faster than it used to, and I was able to go online from a food court in Tiong Bahru (where I went with [livejournal.com profile] wao while accompanying her on her photo-taking adventures) during lunch using the new Wireless@SG initiative from the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore. The speed is actually quite good, even at 12:30 pm on a Wednesday afternoon. :)

And yes, I believe I still have a Cluedo set at home somewhere. ^_^
nyankoframe: (Default)
I plugged in my scanner because I need to scan my transcripts and my passport for my visa application, and that started the whole nightmare...

The install of the scanner unexpectedly failed with a "Not enough storage is available to complete this operation" error, and that puzzled me, so I removed the scanner and rebooted. Big mistake.

Every time I logged in after that, regardless of which user account it was running under, it would immediately bluescreen after a few minutes. There was a lot of fun that ensued trying to debug that (various combinations of Safe Mode and enabling/disabling services and startup programs), and in the end, the solution I adopted was to just uninstall the scanner. I could've done a system restore, but I wasn't sure and I wanted to find out why this was happening. There was another issue but I'll need to plug in a network cable to see if that one still exists...

And I'm definitely buying a new scanner after all of this. I'm tired of having to always run-as administrator any program that I want to use to scan because the scanner drivers are brain-dead...
nyankoframe: (Default)
If this suite's a success, why is it so buggy?

The myth of open source rests on two improbable assumptions. The first is that a significant proportion of users can fix bugs. That is true at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where the concept of free software was first formalised in the 1980s by Richard Stallman and others, and it is true in some of the geekier corners of the internet. But on programs intended for use by the non-programming public, it's a very different story.

This is important because of the second crucial false assumption: that even if not all users can fix a bug, they can help find them. They can't. Most users just think: "The computer isn't doing what I want."

The problem(s) with OpenOffice

But that doesn't mean open source is somehow infallible. Sometimes the comments here read like a devout Catholic thinking I've started a smear campaign against the immaculate conception. Keep in mind that it's just software and that it can always get better. Things get better as we find their bugs and improve them.

Having actually used OpenOffice (more specifically, 2.0.3) in a certain green uniformed office environment, I agree with the both articles. OO (in short) is particularly buggy and crashed a lot (much more than 1.x), and a lot of things that should work either don't, or work in a completely different way from other programs that people are used to. I think it also didn't help that it was imposed by fiat and training was provided after the fact for a limited group of people.

Yes, people are lazy and may not want to re-learn things, but since OO decided to "challenge" Microsoft Office in this aspect, it has no excuse for not trying to at least support the standard key combinations or provide useful feedback/help. Which was another gripe I had, since the programs were installed but not the help files. That's very useful. :P

Oh well. That time is now over. :P But I still can't recommend OpenOffice to anyone unless they really have very basic needs. I think even my mother's book would have had problems with it.
nyankoframe: (myu~)
I got my laptop repaired for free on Tuesday after waiting for about an hour. It needed a new motherboard, so all my files are still here. ^_^;; I should make a backup soon, though. Maybe when I have a little more time.

On the way home after buying some computer and audio cables, I stopped by the side gate to my condominium complex to see whether the cats were there. For those of you who haven't heard this before, there are three stray cats that live outside my condominium and they are absolutely adorable. :) Two of them are black, and one has a white patch of fur on its underside while another has a clipped ear, while the other non-black cat is a black and white one.

Anyway, the cat with the white patch decided that it liked my bare foot and nuzzled it with its nose. That was ticklish, to say the least, but more was to come.

I squatted on my legs to stroke the cat, and it attacked my side with its nose! ^^;; That was really too much for me to contain and I started laughing and backed away from the cat a little so I wouldn't hurt it. I don't know what it thought of the whole experience, though. Perhaps it was thinking "I will never understand these humans..." :P

Later that night, I went with my sister and cousin for an ice-cream treat at Haagen-Dazs in Holland Village (which is open until 12 am, not 10:30 or 11 pm like I thought) because my cousin was leaving on Wednesday afternoon, but we drove there and back and so I didn't see the cats. It was a very delicious treat though, as I had a Black Forest-themed ice-cream consisting of one scoop of brandied chocolate and another of chocolate together with some cherries, two chocolate sticks and lots of whipped cream. :)

When I came home today, all three cats were there again. The friendly one nuzzled my leg and rubbed itself over my boots while purring, and the other black cat decided it wanted to sharpen its claws on my boot. o_O Fortunately I was able to persuade it not to, and then I bent down again to stroke the cats. I guess I should have seen what was coming. :P

The friendly one attacked me with its nose again in my side. This time though, it aimed at the...softer part of my side. ^^;;; I really couldn't resist laughing and I nearly picked up the cat to cuddle it in my arms and stroke it endlessly. I didn't though, because it was already dark, being after 8 pm, and I was hungry.

I came home tired and somewhat worn out from a very long day, but lightened by the experience of being tickled by a very friendly black cat and by some other things that happened, although this entry isn't really the place to talk about them. :P
nyankoframe: (Default)
Apparently my other laptop's hard disk (the one that I use most often) has died, and I didn't really back up very much of the things on it. Most of the things I do have there can be replaced, but I'm worried about my e-mails and music, some of which I can't get any more.

I hope that it will work soon or that I'll be able to recover my data from it...


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