Category: Rant

Avengers II

We saw the new Avengers movie last weekend. While I get that it is really hard to make a movie with that many main characters and not get muddled, this one was really a step down from the first. More galling was the fact that it struck me as the exact same movie as the first one, just more vague.

In both movies:

  • Apparently, fighting bad guys is not enough, so for some reason, 2-3 of the Avengers fight amongst themselves
  • After that, everyone goes to a home place to hang out and talk amongst themselves, for some reason. Some boring “character development”/exposition happens
  • The Avengers start arguing amongst themselves
  • One of the big strong guys just leaves/disappears
  • The bad guy who wants to conquer/destroy the world, for some vague unspecified reason, starts his plan which ends in an invasion
  • The big strong guy who ran away earlier, reappears just in time
  • All the Avengers fight an army
  • Iron man makes a grand gesture, seemingly sacrificing himself but doesn’t, proving he is not a self absorbed, narcissistic asshole, even tho he spends the entire movie showing that he is

My Integra is a Texan

Well it’s official. After 12 years, my car has given up its Californian citizenship and become a Texan. While it’s still a little hard to get used to, I don’t mind so much the Texas plates.

What really bugs me is the registration sticker. While California has a small inconspicuous sticker that goes on the corner of the license plate, Texas has *two* big-ass stickers that go on the corner of your windshield. They are ugly and very obvious from the outside. However worse than that, they are colored dark blue from the inside and emblazoned with the message “Check the date, love your state.” It is impossible to ignore, and frankly, I am just not yet ready to love this state (not that it’s a bad state mind you, I am just not ready).

One step in the grave

In the past couple of weeks both Gary Gygax (the creator of Dungeons and Dragons) and Arthur C. Clarke (the author of god know how many science fiction novels) died – it is pretty embarrassing to think how much influence these two had over me in my formative years.

Outside of whatever crap they made us read in school, I quite literally read nothing by sci-fi and D&D rulebooks… man, I’m getting old. On that note, I found the first white hair in my beard the other day. Combined with the 1-2 white hairs I have on top of my head, the long straggly hairs I now have growing out of my ears and the one nasty mole thing that appeared on my back (that I picked and picked at until I scraped it off), I am definitely getting old!

Vista sucks redux

Also see, Windows Vista Sucks!

Some more things that have come to mind:

  • While not as bad as Win2K, the startup and shutdown times are really long in Vista (much longer than in XP)
  • My attempt to burn a DVD was a miserable failure. After wasting several disks, I decided to buy a portable hard disk and wait till my Win2K machine came out of storage
  • I still have programs that have compatibility problems. This is just annoying
  • The suspend/sleep/hibernate is flaky
  • It takes forever for the wireless to resume when coming out of the suspended state
  • Is much harder to get details from Windows Update about what the update actually does. The top level description generally is “update for windows” – you know, because when I launch an application called Windows Update, I am still confused as to what it might contain. Moreover, after you click down a level you still only get a really high level description and have to click again (and hit the internet) to get a real description of what the update actually does. I wouldn’t be so angry at this except for the fact that I have had so many MS updates make things worse that I don’t like to just apply them willy-nilly
  • The mouse/touchpad “sticks” when it hits the edge of a window. This is freaking annoying, almost anytime your mouse path happens to cross a window boundary, the mouse stops whether you intended to or not. This took me forever to figure out how to disable (admittedly because I was being dumb)

Windows Vista Sucks!

I picked up a new laptop several months back and of course it came preloaded with Windows Vista. Not having heard much about the new OS, I was excited to try it out. After months and months of pain, I am convinced that Vista is NOT ready for general consumption and should not even be considered until Microsoft releases service pack 1 (until then, demand XP!).

Specifically, here is a list of why you should avoid it (at least everything that comes to mind):

  • Vista is dog SLOW – my 4 year old laptop and 6 year old desktop (both running Windows 2000) both run faster (do you have *any* idea how much faster processors have gotten in 6 years???). More specifically:
    • File actions, copy/move/rename are intolerably slow. It takes upwards of 30 seconds to copy a lousy 100 MB, and upwards of 30 minutes to copy 2GB
    • The control panel takes *forever* to just display the damn icons
    • Windows media player takes literally 10-30 seconds before it will play an MP3 (thankfully, it is instant when you play from WinAmp)
  • Networking hell:
    • I can’t connect to wireless networks with Vista that my Win2K box could – I either won’t connect or will connect and get “access local only” where I am technically connected to the network, but I can’t see outside (to the Internet)
    • The built-in wireless network detector just doesn’t work that well. It often doesn’t detect all available networks and doesn’t necessarily refresh when you tell it to.
    • From home, plugging directly into the router I get “local access only.” At least I get full access over the wireless
  • User interface – it’s brighter, it’s shinier and the changes add NO value *whatsoever*. It doesn’t make things easier to use and just serves to confuse/annoy existing users:
    • The way the file pane updates relative to the folder pane is annoying and WAY counterintuitive – the files displayed don’t necessarily correspond to the highlighted folder
    • Periodically, for no apparent reason, a window will take forever to open
    • They’ve changed the meaning of some keyboard shortcuts and removed others. One that bothers me specifically:
      • In explorer of previous version of Windows, [ALT]-[Left Arrow] was “back” and [Backspace] was “up.” Now in Vista, [Backspace] is “back” and there is no keyboard shortcut for “up.”
    • It’s much harder to turn off the folder pane in explorer (if I want a window with *just* icons, I should be able to have it, dammit!)
    • It doesn’t show keyboard shortcuts for the menu until you hit alt – WTF, *this* is an improvement??
    • Aero transparency and previews in thumbnails are cute but sooo not worth the performance hit
    • Endless queries for confirmation, and for dumb things…
      I wanted to rename a lousy file, a simple operation, right?

      • You need to confirm this operation, continue? [yes]
      • (everything freezes) Windows needs your permission to continue, continue? [yes]
      • Access denied, try again? [yes]
      • Access denied, try again? [yes]
      • Access denied, try again? [yes]
      • Access denied, try again? [yes]
      • Access denied, try again? [drop kick computer]
        [punch computer in the nose]
        [Fly to Seattle, punch Bill Gates in the nose]
        sigh… [yes]
      • Access denied, try again?

      Arghhhh!

To be fair, there are some improvements in Vista.

  • Better security I suppose, tho based on my experiences with Win2K, if you run the appropriate countermeasures (anti-virus etc) and are careful (don’t blindly click yes on everything), I never really had a problem.
  • [Windows]-[Tab] is the *only* new feature of value… it is a neat effect and does make the system more usable, but this SO not worth upgrading the whole OS!

The New Jersey Express

I just took the New Jersey Express from Penn Station in New York City to the Newark Airport (EWR), it was one of the most painful transit experiences I have ever had in the U.S.

japanpush
There was a monumental herd of people all packed into the waiting area. Everyone was waiting for trains that were all running late. As soon as a train’s platform was posted, there was an immediate stampede to that platform. Invariably there would be some sort of bottleneck – a doorway or stairwell in which a large pack of people would get stuck behind in which a large herd forms. It was only 1 step away from requiring these “pushers” that they have in Japan to make sure everyone gets on.

I have 2 beefs with this situation:

  1. It is totally avoidable – there is no reason for this situation to be so utterly disorganized, give one of the managers a 3 week course in basic operations or find any person with half a brain and they will be able to clean up the flow of people to make sense.
  2. There is no reason for people to behave like animals. The train is there; it’s not going anywhere. There is no reason to push and shove, you won’t get there any faster.

When society does finally break down a la Lord of the Flies, it will start at a place like this.

Brrr…

frost120706
Ok, yes it’s November, but dammit I live in California and I don’t have to deal with frost and snow. Or if I deal with it, it’s only at a time and place of my choosing, I don’t want it thrust upon me. Yes, it’s pathetic, but what can I say… I’ve grown soft here…

That being said, I am pretty freaking proud of myself for having a frost scraper in my trunk ready for the occasion!

Dumbest company of the *decade*!!

Just cleaning out some old papers, came across this note we got in our apartment this past summer:

comcasttag

This is a note telling me that over ten years after the fact, Comcast has *FINALLY* come to the realization that they were giving me cable service that I did not order.

TEN years!

Ten YEARS!

Ten EFF-ING years!!!

In related news

Rip his leg off and beat him with the bloody stump!

I just got back from today’s Stanford football game… maan we suck!! I began wondering, is it too much to ask to live in a place where I can feel hopeful rooting for the home team???

Reviewing my life from a football point of view, is really quite sad… I did my undergrad at Tufts University – Tufts football is not only a division 3 team but a bad division 3 team. Then I moved to San Francisco, several years too late to enjoy the Montana/Young dynasty but just in time to enjoy the 49ers sucking it up for the the next 10 years. And lest I forget the year I spent in Canada – three words about that… Canadian Football League – ’nuff said! Now I am at Stanford where the biggest cheers I heard from the crowd was for the lousy field goal we scored near half time (and towards the end of the game, the visitors cheers were beginning to drown out ours!).