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Ah, vacation time.

It never seems to last long, and ends far too quickly.

But it was a good time had by all, taking a week and spending my birthday in Las Vegas.  Lots of things happened there, good meals, taking in Cirque du Soliel's "Ka", visiting the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay and getting some time with Larry (Dixon) who we hadn't seen in years.  Of all that happened there, the show and Larry tied for best happening.

With Miss America having moved back to Atlantic City, it means that visiting Las Vegas is going to be less often.  Unless it's a special occasion, I don't expect to go back for a little while.  Instead, we'll be aiming towards Europe, take Aki off to France and Germany for a week or two.  Now THAT would be a fun trip, with a wide range of places to go visit.

But work calls tomorrow, and I know I'll be inundated with things to do...

Welcome to Summer

Please leave your melted brains at the door.

Ah, summertime, that time of year when Mother Nature is doing her best to turn you into a puddle of goo from the heat and humidity.  Living along the Gulf Coast for as long as I have, it's a definite condition you either get used to or tolerate in misery.  In my case, it's the latter, all of my tolerance towards the heat having been removed over the years.  A few years living in arctic climates will probably do that to a person.

And of course, the other downside to summer... having to run the air conditioner.  And the electric bill.  *sigh*  Ah well...

It never felt this bad when growing up, you know?

Rain, rain, go away...

...but not until you've broken the drought here.

It's been raining most of the afternoon, but at 7pm the real storm arrived.  We're talking rain at the rate of 1" every 10 minutes, and pea to dime sized hail.  Whee!!  Love storms like that... as long as I'm inside safe and sound.

Still raining right now, and Mother Nature is putting on a nice light show.  Ah well...

Fun with Hardware

Well, I actually now have a notebook.  Not a netbook, I already had one of those for a couple of years now.  The Samsung N110 is still functioning well, it's just reaching a point where the demands of some software and web sites cause it to stumble.  It'll still be around, as I'll use it for around the house or taking to the laundry room to work on writing while waiting for the laundry to finish up.

But the new notebook is a different breed.  It's an Acer Aspire, model V3-571G-6407 that I bought straight from the Acer online store.  I had my eye on it at Newegg, but when I was just about to pull the trigger, Newegg claimed it was now discontinued.  *grumble*  Newegg's done that to me now twice.  But I found it over at the Acer Store, on special for $499 (plus tax, this being Texas.)

And it's a good notebook.  Let's see... the specs:  Intel i5-3210M processor, 15.6" widescreen, 500GB hard drive (replaced with a 240GB SSD), 4GB of memory (soon to be 8GB), Nvidia GT 630M chipset with 1GB of memory (no, I won't do the Intel graphics), DVD drive built in, USB 3.0, SD card slot, full sized keyboard and number pad.  Definitely worth the money, and I've already decorated it with a number of Shuttle patch stickers I've got.

I know, I really didn't need to buy a notebook.  But with trips coming up, I wanted something with some oomph! to it, and this fits the bill.

[I know, I haven't written anything here in a while.  Sue me.  *GRYN*]

More !Fun with Windows 8

I have found the absolute show-stopper as far as Windows 8 goes with me.  I've already talked about the previous problems I have with the OS, how it behaves and how god-awful that interface is with it.  But this is the absolute last straw in my mind...

Windows 8 is constantly doing updates with the "live" tiles.  And while you can limit the updates on a wireless connection, you cannot do the same on a wired connection.  So you get to watch Windows 8 eat up your bandwidth, and your usage caps like mad.  I discovered this by accident, checking my usage using UV Realtime, and seeing that the usage was through the ceiling.  All during the time I was running Windows 8.  The usage prior to Windows 8 was my usual levels... but while running Windows 8, the constant updating literally drove me crazy.

So Windows 8 is no more on my system.  Until Microsoft fixes this issue (which is in my mind a very critical issue) folks should stay on Windows 7.

Bleah!  Ptui.

The !Fun of Windows 8

Well, I went ahead and installed Windows 8 on my computer.  Which in and of itself is not so special, after all I have enough technical savvy to know NOT to install it over my existing Windows 7 installation.  So instead I had a spare 120GB solid state drive, and did a custom install.  Yes, I downloaded the Windows 8 Pro upgrade, but Microsoft secretly made it so that you can do a clean install with it for the most part.

As most everyone knows by now, Microsoft really screwed the pooch with Windows 8.  Trying to graft a tablet OS and a desktop OS into one, and then require the user to wok in the tablet UI to start was a bad, bad mistake.  From a usability scale of 1 to 10, the existing Windows 8 experience is a -4.  Far too inconsistent for most users who'll be baffled and confused at what they're supposed to do.  And don't even get me started about the tablet UI wanting a constant internet connection for all of that "live" content Microsoft seems to think people want.  This is about the most social media I tend to do, and that's just within bare minimums.

So I downloaded a ClassicShell package that gives the user a start button and a real menu once again (and keeps you within the desktop instead of having to switch back and forth like mad just to find an application).  I also disabled hibernation (it wanted to create a 20GB file... and on a 120GB drive, that's a level of insanity that I don't need).  There are good things about it, file functions are faster, network connectivity is a little more robust... but that interface.  Gods, it needs to be junked as the junk it is.

Ah well... more later.

March thoughts

Let's see, is it 'in like a lion, out like a lamb?'  Because here in Houston, it's the reverse so far... March arrived very quietly and boringly, but this weekend's been stormy as one could expect.  Thunder, lightning, rain, just what's needed to keep me inside here at Casa LocoLobo.  Ah well, it seems to match the previous week's insanity at work, lots of issues hitting all at once.  @Whee!

Not going to make any comments about politics, I do enough of that elsewhere.

Ah well, back to the grind.  Or something...

This is winter???

The last month and a half here in Houston has been warm and rainy.  Very rainy.  Which is fine, last year we were in the middle of a nasty drought.  But tonight, well, along with the drizzle and the cold temperatures, Mother Nature was tossing little tiny bits of ice down as well.  Sleet, or ice pellets, take your pick... it was quite amusing to say the least.  I know it was sleet as I took a hard drive plastic case, held it out in the open, and watched things going *plink* and bouncing.  Rain doesn't do that.

So it's not snow.  It's still some kind of wintery stuff, even if it melted after a few seconds on the sidewalk.  I'll take it, although I'd still love to have some real snow.

So, here we are on Pismo Beach.

Six hours until we head to the airport for Las Vegas.  mshollie is being her usual self here, last second packing, last second panic, while I'm just sitting here minding my own business.  Nothing new there, folks, welcome to the kind of life I generally lead.

It should still be a fun time for us both.  Just feels odd for me, since I just went through the winter break at my workplace, a week's shutdown for the end of the year. First time I've ever experienced that, at the old workplace in Fort Walton Beach, we'd be working through the holidays for the most part.

Ah well... here we come, Las Vegas or busted.

Where does the time go?

Well, here we are... the end of the year.  Only this holiday season's a little brighter, as I'm happily enjoying my life in Houston and my work with the Space Exploration division.  The people I deal with are happy with what I do, my manager's happy that I'm able to handle issues quickly, and I don't have the pressure to constantly be *doing* something all the time.  And of course, we've got the Miss America Las Vegas trip coming up.

The next few weeks are going to be interesting...

19-22 December, I work.  I'm off from the 23rd until Jan 3rd of next year (paid time off), then I'll work from the 3rd until the 6th... leave for New Orleans/Las Vegas on the 7th, come back on the 17th.  8 days of work in a 4 week period, and paid time off otherwise.  The question is... what am I going to do with so much free time?

I'll think of something... of course, once I get to New Orleans and then Las Vegas, that'll be a different story.