Server Fail

Posted by Robyn on Oct 12, 2009 in Technology

After its magnificent recent achievement of Mordor, my server has decided it’s had enough. The motherboard, anyway. I am backing everything up as we speak, and I’ll be heading over to Fry’s tomorrow to pick up a new motherboard.

It will be one of these two:

$79 – GIGABYTE GA-EP43-UD3L – Cheap, has most of the ports I will need. Expansion will be limited, and after filling all the PCI-e 1x slots with cheap SATA cards, I’d still be stuck with four drives on a PCI SATA card.

$134 – GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P – More expensive, but has dual gigabit LAN and firewire, which my old board had, and I would miss. Has more on-board SATA ports and a second PCI-e 16x slot, which could house a PCI-e 4x SATA card.

If their website is trustworthy (which is by no means certain), the Fry’s here in Wilsonville has both of these boards at the same price as Newegg. So, which one should I get?


Google Wave

Posted by Robyn on Oct 2, 2009 in Technology

Google Wave seems like it might revolutionize my entire concept of communication. Synchronous and asynchronous are no longer meaningful.

I have studied E-Learning concepts at length, and the divide between synchronous and asynchronous interaction is at the core of all instructional design theory. But what I’m beginning to realize is that “E-Learning” in its present form is a misnomer. The academics (myself included) have tried to dress it up with fancy terms like “distributed learning”, but it’s just the same old correspondence courses and recorded lectures recycled and dumped onto the web.

The technology behind Google Wave has the potential to change everything about instructional design. Not just from an “E-Learning” standpoint, but from every angle. As the internet evolves, the world is changing.


13″ MacBook Pro

Posted by Robyn on Jun 6, 2009 in Technology

We’re at the Apple store, looking at the new 13″ MacBook Pro! I can’t wait until someone buys our current laptops, so we can pick up a couple of these. The new LCD screen really is amazing. I hadn’t given it enough credit until I saw it in person. Viewing angles are awesome!


Attention Universe

Posted by Robyn on Apr 17, 2009 in Technology

If I wanted your software, I would go looking for it. Really, I’m a big girl. I can find applications for myself.

Microsoft: Please do not install random crap with Windows Update. And why must I LOG IN to Messenger before I can stop it loading on boot!?
Sun: No, I do not want Open Office with my Java Update for Chrome! Why would you even ask me that?
Apple: No, I do not need or want the Mobile Me control panel. I use Exchange. Thanks.



Attention Firefox

Posted by Robyn on Mar 21, 2009 in Technology


One of the main things I love about webkit browsers (Safari and Chrome) is the tabs being on top. Having the ability to detach tabs and create new browser windows is also cool. This makes it so easy to switch between tabs, and also solves another problem: bookmarks.

In Firefox, I am constantly hitting a bookmark on my toolbar, rather than clicking the tab I want to switch to. This is very annoying, and I’ve been living with it for years. As a temporary fix, I have moved my navigation buttons and address bar down to the bookmarks toolbar, and put the bookmarks further up. It more or less solves the problem, but it looks stupid.

By comparison, here is how the same window looks in Chrome.

See how much cleaner and prettier that is? So yeah, Firefox. Be a follower. Nobody will blame you.


Musing on the Topic of Netbooks

Posted by Robyn on Feb 28, 2009 in Technology

Some of you may have heard about the untimely death of my Acer Aspire One netbook. It was a beloved device, and I was sorry to see it go. As is the way of things, it has already been replaced by a new Eee PC 1000HE. I like it so far, and here are a few of my thoughts on this machine and the netbook market in general.

The Eee PC 1000HE is considered a “third generation” netbook. My original Eee PC had a tiny 7″ screen, tiny keyboard, and tiny 4GB flash drive. Limited as it was, I loved it for its portability, and got a lot of real use out of it before moving on to the second generation of netbooks.

I went through two Aspire Ones, both with 9″ screens, larger keyboards, and the shiny new Intel Atom CPU. The A110 ran off a painfully slow 8GB flash chip, so it was quickly eBayed and replaced by the A150, which included a real 2.5″ hard drive. The ability to actually store data on the machine revolutionized the way I viewed my netbook. That machine served me well (until I accidentally killed it).

So here I sit, typing this from my new Eee PC 1000HE. This one has a 10″ screen, and really doesn’t bear much resemblance to my original 7″ Eee PC, other than its name. It’s larger, has a truly touch-type-able keyboard, and impressive battery life. I used it all day today, and as I sat down to write this, my battery finally hit the 10% mark (and it still had 40 minutes left)! I probably got a solid 6+ hours of “typical” usage out of it.

But at 3.2 lbs and a good 2″ wider than the original Eee, I can’t really carry this in my purse anymore. But since getting my iPhone, I had been carrying my netbook less and less. As smartphones become more advanced, they fill the niche of “portable net-centric devices with limited storage capacity” very well. At the same time, many of the shortcomings that originally “defined” the netbook genre are being overcome with each new generation. They have morphed into small, inexpensive, but fully functional laptops.

And that’s a good thing. But I still want a convertible tablet netbook with multi-touch screen that weighs less than 2lbs and will go at least one full day on a charge. Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?


RIP Netbook

Posted by Robyn on Feb 12, 2009 in Technology

My netbook died today. It won’t even POST. And the warranty is invalid because of all the upgrades I did on it. I am very sad.

I know, I know. Two journals in one day. But it’s not like any of you cared about the complaining ones.


Windows 7: Try, Try Again

Posted by Robyn on Jan 16, 2009 in Technology

So as it turns out, in my haste to snag Windows 7 bits at the earliest possible moment, I ended up with a checked/debug build of the beta from my MSDN account. Now something called “debug” might sound good, but it’s not a fully compiled version of the operating system. In other words, my WIndows 7 install was probably unstable because it was designed to be. The debug builds help Microsoft pin down potential errors and eliminate them.

I am currently downloading the actual beta from MSDN, and plan to try again with it on my Aspire One netbook and MacBook Pro this weekend! I have heard good things about compatibility on both. If all goes well, I might even try it on my desktop again.


Goodbye, Windows 7

Posted by Robyn on Jan 14, 2009 in Technology

See you soon, I hope!

After playing with Windows 7 for a few days, I must leave it behind. I was hoping to make this the primary OS on my desktop, but it’s just not quite there yet. I really do love all the new features it has, but I am having hardware issues that I can’t seem to get resolved.

I’ll miss you, Windows 7! *sniff* See you next Beta?


Windows 7: First Impressions

Posted by Robyn on Jan 12, 2009 in Technology

I installed Windows 7 on my desktop today. So far, I think the OS has a lot of promise, and I am looking forward to the final release. Naturally, it is Beta software, so it doesn’t have all the kinks worked out yet. But I like it so far.

The new taskbar layout is really appealing, not to mention long overdue. You can pin programs to the taskbar, and it just works a lot more like a Dock. Once again, Microsoft is playing catch-up to Apple in some ways, but this still has a very “Windows” feel to it, and really fits very well into the OS. I also like the way it organizes your system tray. GONE are the endless icons that like to take up space there. You can still access them if you like, but they are ALL hidden by default. Two thumbs up.

They seem to be taking networking and file sharing in the right direction as well, though I am anxious to see where this new “homegroup” feature goes. So far, it appears to be compatible only with other Windows 7 computers, so that could be a real issue in most households. UAC has also been vastly improved, as there are now levels of security to it that you can set, rather than only having the option to turn it completely on or off. Good progress there.

The new Libraries feature is also pretty sweet. I love being able to keep my files organized the way I like, then TELL Windows where they are. I can still use things like “Documents” and “Photos”, but also keep them organized in my Dropbox. It’s about time!

Overall, I’m pleased with it so far. If I can get some of the hardware glitches ironed out, I’m ready to make this the primary OS on my desktop. Yes, even though it’s beta. It’s that good.

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