Troubleshooting Windows sucks

Looking at a cousin of mine’s laptop and I have been trying to clean out some virus/spyware issues on it. The key word is “trying” as Windows XP loves to throw up random cryptic error messages when you least expect it. Now Automatic Updates service won’t turn on and all the web sites I find talking about the error talk about fixes that don’t work on this laptop.

Days like this remind me why I like Mac OS X and why even Windows Vista is better then Windows XP. It is true that Windows Vista has its share of issues, but I have observed that it is much more secure then past versions of Windows. The crap that is on my cousin’s laptop is much less likely to show up on a Vista machine. Simple as that and none of this stuff happens on Mac OS X. That is why I have used only Macs at home since 2005.

At work it is a different story, my day job involves almost all computers using Windows XP. But the computers are locked down enough and well protected that I don’t remember the last time I ran into a computer with spyware.

Windows XP at this point = great OS for corporate users. At home? Please, upgrade to Vista or better yet, the Mac.

Mileage

Since I started hypermiling, I increased my Subaru Forester’s mileage from ~24 mpg to ~30 mpg, a 6 mpg increase. Pretty amazing for a car that is basically an SUV. The hypermiling tricks I use is going about 60 mph on the highway (instead of ~65mph)  and I try to coast to stops instead of using my brakes all the time. That is it…not that difficult.

I also found a slightly modified way home that takes advantage of a $0.40 decrease in the highway toll thanks Exit 11 on I-93. Instead of paying $1.44 cents a day for tolls, I pay $0.84 a day in tolls, a $0.60 cent decrease. That adds up over 20+ days of paying a toll each month. Add bonus of driving this route: I avoid 3 stoplights and the 1 stoplight I do take on this route is directly next to where I live (and requires a simple right turn to navigate). Practically no stop and go traffic to worry about now.

That town called Unity

If you have been paying attention to the news, you probably know that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will be making their first joint appearance Friday in a little town called Unity, NH. The Concord Monitor has a good article about the town and event.

It is pretty amazing that any presidential candidate is going there. I grew up in the next town over (Goshen), a town that was even smaller then Unity. No one of any importance ever goes to small towns in that area. There is just nothing there and no money either (thus pretty hard to get people to donate much). The bigger towns and cities in the area get visited occasionally (Claremont, Newport, Sunapee, New London) in the primaries, with Claremont seeing a sitting President or Presidential nominee occassionally. But a town like Unity? Never. Not even in the primaries here. Most candidates looking for a small town to visit go up North.

I just find it real funny that it is happening there. This is a town with no stoplights (at least Goshen has a blinking light or two), 1 general store, no high school, no high speed internet or cable TV, 1 main road in/out of the town, few if any businesses, etc. It is the type of town where they will put a town historical event marker in that spot where the rally is held, because in hindsight it will be so remarkable that it happened.

Pretty neat. Wish I could attend.

A few extensions for Firefox 3 on Mac OS X

Firefox 3 has gigantic improvements for Mac users, but they left out a few things that would have made it fit in better. Here are a few extensions I installed to make Firefox 3 on Mac OS X a little more Mac like.

  • Fission – Combines the address bar and progress bar like Safari. I like this since it is easier to notice when a page finishes loading.
  • firefox-mac-pdf – Ever wanted to view PDF’s in the browser like Safari? This extension is the first PDF viewer to integrate into Firefox on Macs (Adobe Reader works if your lucky and if you like bloat). It uses PDFKit (the part of OS X that handles PDF’s) and works just as slick/fast as Safari when it comes to handling PDF’s. For an early version, this works very well.
  • Favicons on Firefox 3 for Mac – Mozilla for some reason does not like having favicons on the bookmarks toolbar for Mac versions of Firefox. This fixes it.

There are also themes for Firefox 3 that look more Safari like.

Add Favicons on Bookmarks Toolbar for Firefox 3 [Mac OS X]

Great tip on Lifehacker for how to add favicons to the bookmarks toolbar in Firefox 3 for Mac OS X.

One of few things I do not like in Mac versions of Firefox is the fact that there is no favicons on the bookmarks toolbar. I am a visual person, so having favicons on the bookmark toolbar really helps me pick out bookmarks quickly. This resolves that issue.

If your interested in voting for the bug in Bugzilla regarding this, the bug # is 348719.

Even candidates for President have credit card debt

It does not make me at ease to know that Senator McCain and his wife have $225,000 in credit card debt. How the heck do you get that much credit card debt? I have roughly $700 left on my lone credit card that I don’t pay off every month, an amount that should be paid off in a couple of months.

Yeah, that is who we want to run our country, a guy who can’t even keep his plastic card paid off. I am sure that is a good omen for our national debt.

R.I.P. Tim Russert

One of my favorite journalists passed away today. Tim Russert, famous for his tough interviews on Meet the Press, passed away today from what appears to be a heart attack. He was one of those few journalists who you could genuinely believe that he had no agenda except to find out the truth and that you could trust what he said. One of the best things on TV was to see him catch some politican in a lie, with a video clip ready at hand to prove that the politician lied.

Watching him during the coverage of this year’s election was fascinating. He looked so excited to be witnessing a historic election between Obama and McCain. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to report on the conclusion.

Unfortunately these days, there are precious few of these journalists anymore. Now there is one fewer.

Watching everyone on MSNBC right now trying to report on the news is heartbreaking. The anchors are crying or trying badly not to, the guests have wonderful stories, etc. 

R.I.P. Tim.

Obama in 2008

For the first time since I became interested in politics, I am 100% proud that I voted for the person who turned out to be Democratic Party nominee. Senator Barack Obama matches everything I have ever hoped that a politican could actually be. He has wonderful ideas, a vision to carry them out, and the will to do it.

The contrast between McCain and Obama cannot be any greater. There is no excuses when you vote in November…these candidates are not the same and represent two distinct directions that this country can go in.