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Ok, stop laughing. Now. I know that your first question was “Why would anyone own one Dell Latitude D630?” I suck. That is all I can come up with for an answer. The whole truth is that I work for a far from competent organization. First mistake was that a co-worker bought the first D630 when he bought himself one to replace our old D600s. Now to his credit I did need a laptop that would run Microsoft Windows XP and had a PC Card slot. This laptop is mostly for me to use for testing a communications suite that requires such things. For my everyday actual use laptop I use a super sweet Apple MacBook Pro. Anyway in a strange twist of fate I have gone from having nothing when I first started a few years ago to an over abundance. My first D600 was actually out of the trash at work. So now I have this new D630, exactly the same as the other, because it was my time to get a new laptop that comes with our computer services contract which I only utilize for email service and a network connection at the cost of something like $400 a month. I could not be in business for myself with decision makers like these working with me. So what to do with this new laptop. It turns out you really can only have so many computers before they just start to bury you. The patching alone could eat up most of your time.

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Ready for iPhone

Being $ conscious I decided when the first iPhone came out that I would wait patiently (or at least pretend to) for the second version. Today I can say that I am ready. I really did want full GPS capability and was not thrilled with the original EDGE only models. I think 3G will really bring the speed required to do the things the iPhone is made for. I would not have said this a few years back but the iPhone really is going to be the future of computing. Having information a communication so easily available in your pocket. This is how a phone should work, this is how a handheld computer should work. This thing is awesome and I can not wait until July.

Mac Pro Update

After a very long wait I have finally received my two Mac Pros and my XServe. Apple did upgrade my machines to the new models since what I had ordered no longer existed so I am sporting dual 3.0GHz Quad Cores and 10GB of RAM. These are sweet machines. Now I have the long road ahead of learning to manage Mac OS X Server.

Updated: 27 June 2008 Added some new links and menu ideas.

I am back in Hawai’i for two and a half weeks, I know it is so hard to be me. Honestly the weather has been rather dreadful. Last week it rained every day with a Typhoon-like storm on Wednesday taking down trees and powerlines, flooding, it was a mess. Driving from Waikiki beach in Honolulu to Wahiawa is not terribly easy with no working traffic lights. During the height of the storm on Wednesday morning at 2am HST, I was woken by the furniture blowing over on the lanai, the hotel swaying back and forth, the wind was tearing through my room, curtains flapping out my open lanai door. If I wanted a hurricane I would just hang out at home in SC. Anyway, we survived.
What this is really about is that I found a CoCo’s Curry House in the Ala Moana Mall in Honolulu. I have had CoCo’s numerous times in Okinawa, Japan and was delighted to find one here in Hawai’i. I only wish now they would make their way to the mainland, though making it to the east coast and SC would probably just not happen. CoCo’s is differnent from what you may think of as curry from an Indian curry standpoint. One is not better than the other, they are just different. CoCo’s is basically some form of fried meat cutlet, white rice, delicious curry souce, and a spiced radish eggplant on the side. Make sure you order yours with cheese and spinach, it is awesome. They have some non-fried dishes, but the preponderence of them are cooked so.
Thank goodness for the high population of Japanese and Japanese tourists in Hawai’i to make CoCo’s available here. That is one of the beutiful things about Hawai’i is the heavy influence of not just Hawai’ian culture on the local food, but the asian, pacific islander culture as a whole. Here you can have Thai, Japanese, Hawai’ian, Vietnamese… I know these restaurants exist all over the mainland but here they seem more authentic. Maybe because English is the second language at most of these restaurants. The only thing missing at CoCo’s here in Honolulu is that they do not have mango lassis. I love a good mango lassi.
Also I would like to mention that the food court in the International Market is back open again. When I was on O’ahu in February 2007 it was closed, I believe for some kind of renovation. I do not see any renovation having taken place, though a few places are boarded up, most are open. My favorite is a Korean barbeque place that is there. It is not the Yummy BBQ, which is not even comparable to this place. It is awesome. Definately worth trying, and wash it all down with a Kona Brewing Company beer. In season right now is the Kona Coffee Stout and the Oceanic Organic. One is a 100% Kona Coffee brewed deep rich Stout the other is a Belgian style wheat that is very close to what you would get in Germany. So if you are on O’ahu, be sure to check these places out.

It seems most anything that the government touches turns to crap. Any idea successfully implemented in private industry no matter how great it is will turn to a pile of stinking poo when the government gets near it. Credit Card purchases, online travel booking, globally accessible email turns into crap by way of the government purchase card system, DTS and NMCI.

Well the disease of inability to do anything, especially actually… doing work has begun to spread to companies we deal with as well. Some would say that government contractors have been inept for some time but I fear it is getting much worse.

I have been attempting to purchase two MacPro computers from Apple since early September. The order was supposed to be finalized with Apple’s governemt contracting group in mid September. Well here it is November and I still have no computers. I do not even have confirmation that the sales number I was provided, FOR THE SECOND TIME, is correct. No one will call back, staff is getting moved around with the fiscal year change. The whole system is a mess.

I hate to say it but Dell has their act together. A colleague ordered three Dell PCs through our same contracting group at work and I can say that those PCs are installed and running RIGHT NOW. They may not be running well, or as best as a Dell can, but they are still there.

My MacPro only exists on paper and in my dreams.

I know Apple has always had trouble dealing with business sales, and I suppose government sales go along with it. I just don’t understand why they would neglect this sector and do such a terrible job with the staff that they do have. To make my purchase I worked with the Navy agent in the government sales group. Well he was terrible, could not keep track of this simple order, and at one point lost the order until I contacted him. He was then moved over to the Army team, so screw the Navy. I would think the sales agent would make sure the order was being filled before cutting off all his account ties. Call me crazy for thinking I should finish what I start. I currently have a new sales agent working the issue, I can only hope it is resolved soon.

For further purchases I will either have to go through a contractor or order through an Apple partner such as CDW. I wanted the custom configured machine but the system in place at Apple just doesn’t make it easy enough to support that. The cost to me in my billable hours that have been spent working this purchase have not been worth it. I love the Macintosh and it is what I use at home and professionally. I jumped at the chance to get the Dell I was given off my desk but even I can only do so much.

Come on Apple, these are government employees you are selling to here, they aren’t known for backbreaking labor. If Dell makes it easy and you make it so hard that a devout loyalist just says “screw it” who is going to win?

So I got home last Thursday to find my Wii alerting me, beckoning me to come listen to what it had to tell me. I hurried to turn on the TV to find what Wii wanted to tell me. This is when I learned of the new Wii Remote Jacket, or the Wiimote condom. I can say that I was very impressed by Nintendo’s loyalty to its customer base to supply these to existing owners of Wii Remotes. I immediately got on my iMac and placed an order for 4 new shiny jelly jackets. Well it turns out that most of the US came home from work Thursday to find their Wii calling out to them and did the same thing. When I submitted my request to nintendo.com the confirmation of order page failed to load, my guess being that the actual back end script to process the order pooped out. Checking my nintendo.com account showed that I had no orders. I sent Nintendo an email allertring them of this problem and went to bed. On Friday I discussed the issue with my fellow Wii owning co-workers and they had the same issue. Nintendo let me know that they were aware of the problem and hoped to have it resolved before the October 13 ship date. Hopefully they do. I think what would have been a better user experience would be if you could have processed the order on the Wii. I mean why not, if it has internet access and it knows its serial number, why should I have to enter it into a text box. Really Wii should have been able to handle the whole thing, they could have queried the Wii, asked it how many Wiimotes it currently had configured and then sent than many jackets to my registered address. I still commend them for giving them out for free, but it could have been automated a little better.

Maybe I’m an Idiot

Google is too smart for itself, or at least too smart for me. When I travel abroad Google likes to automatically redirect me to the Google it thinks I really wanted. This means www.google.com turns into Google in the language of the host country I am in, such as now it automatically redirects to http://www.google.co.jp/. I am sure they thought this was a nice feature for people who are not in the US to be directed to the Google they can more eaily interect with but for me it is really difficult. Luckily there is usually a link on the bottom the says “Google.com in English” which puts me back to www.google.com in English where I wanted to go originally anyway. It seems that Blogger which is now a part of Google does not do this, or I cannot find the link, and it should be obvious when most of the page I am writing this in has strings like, “によって下書きが自動的に保存されました”. So it should stick out. It does point to Blogger.com’s good clean design that I can still use this page even though I can read nothing on it except my login name and the title of the page at the top.

iMac 2007

I have to say that the new iMac is stunning. I had been waiting to purchase one because there were some features of the old iMac that I did not like, mostly the 3GB memory limit. So when the new iMac idea started buzzing around I figured this would be the time to get one. I did not like the glossy screen at first when I saw it online. I have to say though that I do love it. The glossy screen does not bother me. I do not notice the glare on the screen as much as everyone talks about. I wonder how long before the 24″ display will seem small to me, much like my 19″ CRT seems small next to the iMac. I’ve heard people talking about not putting the new iMac next to a window but I am not having any trouble and it has been between 90 to 100 degrees with 90% humidity here sincei I got it and it is installed next to a window.

The iMac was purchased with 1GB of RAM installed but 4GB has since been put in replacing the 1GB factory SO-DIMM. Installing the new memory was a little tricker than I would have thought especially for an iMac. I have had PowerMacs previously and a memory install is no trouble in those but pulling the little plastic tab to remove the old memory had me for a second. I wasn’t sure if the tab would pull out or if it just was lifting the memory out of the locking tabs.

Georgia had it coming

The Gamecocks played a hell of a game against the Georgia Bulldogs last Saturday. We pulled off the win holding them 16 to 12. It could have gone either way at the end and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

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Go Cocks!

I can’t believe it but it is time for the best thing ever, College Football. I can admit that I was not really into it until I went to college but now I gladly had over my $2000 a year, smiling, for the priviledge of watching us win a few games. Hopefully we will really do something this year. Under Coach Spurrier we have been making some progress and for the most part I like the players I see on the team. I am not a Blake Mitchell fan and I would rather see Chris Smelley brought up to play this season opener with the Louisiana-Lafeyette Ragin’ Cajuns. I’ll see you out there tomorrow. Let’s Go Gamecocks.

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