XP vs. Vista Again, XP Drivers, Jefferson County Wiki, Cellphone Scams, Strange Lost Notes and Numbers!

Been awhile since I’ve posted anything here. Winter’s not exactly exciting in the “new stuff” department.

XP vs. Vista Again, XP Drivers on Newer ‘Vista’ Computers

In my home office when faced with the choice between Vista and XP; despite all efforts to switch over or at least give Vista a chance – I still go back to XP. Officially, when it comes to customers – I give them the options and let them make the choice without trying to bias them.

On my new laptop XP blazes, Vista lags despite having gotten rid of any unnecessary programs and such, and after lots of tweaking. I think, as I mentioned previously, your regular Windows user isn’t going to notice all that much with a brand new machine. Or isn’t observant enough to notice the speed differences.

Now all I need to do is get the 64 bit version of Windows XP (the proper one as there’s technically two versions that MS calls “64-bit”).

One of the biggest problems in switching back to XP from Vista on newer computers, it seems, is getting a driver that will work. A number of Vista drivers do work fine in XP, and if you have an older computer (i.e. more then five or so months old, heh heh) then you’ll probably be able to readily find the drivers labeled for XP for your device. For the most part the people’s computers that I have been stitching back to XP have been moderately easy to find drivers for.

But the newer stuff can be more of a headache. And some of the devices, either smart ones or “dumb” ones, need to be installed in various obscure orders. Lots of time involved, and this seems to be getting more involved as the XP-equivalent drivers aren’t referenced on manufacturer’s websites or driver-download sites.

I’ve yet to find a coprocessor driver for my laptop while running XP. But without it the computers still renders photo-realistic landscapes at an incredible rate and makes Vista look sluggish.

If you have an Acer 5520-5334 and need XP drivers for it let me know. I’ll eventually put a list of them (and maybe downloads) here, as others have for their retro-installs for various computers.

Cooling.

It’s amazing how much getting a laptop up off a desk, or your lap, can go toward keeping it cool. Even a cheap laptop stand or a homemade one helps a lot. And the ones with fans are great.

Remember – heat is the enemy of almost all electronics.

Picked up a positively antique device – a LAN modem. Fun to play around with.

Cellphone Scams

Geez, I got whacked with a $9.99 bill for “data downloads” on my cellphone. The phone company took care of it but I did some investigating anyway.

It seems that this company ‘New Motion’ has a thing where you sign up, they send you a confirmation number in text messaging, and then they sign you up for some sort of bidding thing where you can win stuff. Bidzforprizes or something like that. Like hundreds of other sites.

Except, well, I never signed up for it, I never sent them back their confirmation number and yet I still somehow got signed up for a $9.99 download that I didn’t even receive.

Some more research discovered lots of other people in the same boat, including lots of related problems with phone companies who insisted the person DID sign up.

Some people are trying to get some class action suits against them since no one else seems to be stopping them. How many other scam are there like this, and how many more will there be if someone doesn’t make a stink a bout this?

Another example of technology getting ahead of law and the ability of the law to deal with it.

Jefferson County Wiki

I love this area. A lot of times I don’t like the people, but I love the area and it’s beauty and its history and the things that can be done in it.

I have a Jefferson County history page and a Jefferson County History and Genealogy mailing list and such. I’ve done a lot of research and writing about the area, especially the history of it.

And I thought a wiki where others could add their own research and pictures would be great. So over time I set a couple wiki’s up, but none of them really took off. I didn’t have the time or the support to get them going to work on them much.

A local webboard, the Jeffcowebboard.com (which I started so many years ago and handed off to others, and haven’t had anything to do with for quite a while), has some organizers who had the same idea.

While e-mailing them on an unrelated note the main admin there (Mr.EddieLarue) let me know that they had started a wiki up on a free hosted wiki website.

I took a look at it and a lot of people had already done a load of work with it, even though it hadn’t been opened to the public yet. But there were also a lot of limitations to the free hosted version.

I suggested that I could set them up a real wiki with the ability to do everything they’d ever want to do with it.

My offer was accepted and I began evaluating wiki software and installing it. At one point I had four wiki’s running at once (using prefixes in MYSQL databases is the greatest thing since white bread – you can share a database with any number of pieces of software without setting up more databases).

I finally settled on Tikiwiki, which is a full CMS program with leanings toward the features for a wiki. Nice program, but very very complex from the admin’s side.

So many features, but a great program. I did a little hacking to get some of the features the way I wanted them, lots of research on more hacks and mods, and put quite a lot of work into the logo and display and such, not to mention working out some good practices for those entering data.

I plan on continuing to help until the rest of those who will run it get used to the features, then back out. I’ve also added and edited a number of items for it and plan on continuing with that indefinitely. Hopefully there will be a number of people adding their research over many years time.

It will be opening to the public tonight and we hope it will be a great success. As long as it is not abused I think we’ll eventually have a number of people who will both have an interest in it as well as will want to help build it by adding entries. We’ll have to see how it goes. Here’s the address for this wiki.

(Note – delaying this post for a little later. I doubt many people are reading this blog but I don’t want to release the website address for the wiki until closer to the time when it will be officially opened.)

Strange Lost Notes and Numbers!

I have a number of note keeping programs and files on my computer.

There’s customer stuff – notes about them and sometimes idiosyncrasies, notes about their computers and what I’ve done on the computers, contact info, log-in stuff for their websites, website address, whether they paid on time, etc.

Then there’s my business stuff. How much to charge for this, how much to charge for that.

And my personal stuff – passwords and log in info, notes on this or that.

It’s all pretty well-organized and indexed.

But sometimes I come across things that I have no idea about.

Like a bunch of IP numbers in one file. What website were they from? I assume they were from a website I set up for someone and that these are a bunch of banned members or spammers. But I’m not sure. Why did I keep it? For future reference? Because I just needed a temporary place to store them or because I thought I would need them in the future? Should I keep it, delete it?

Here’s another one. A large number of number sequences in groups of two. I have a certain ability for pattern recognition and they seem to mean something (or maybe the reason I kept them is pushing at the back of my mind). But I’m just not sure.

Or this one. A short sequence of mixed letters and numbers. A serial number? A registration number? Something important or not? Who knows?

And this – a person’s name, address, telephone number; but I don’t ever recall contacting the person or calling her or what it’s in reference to. Should I keep it?

If I keep every scrap of data I’ll have a filled harddrive eventually.

Another – what looks like GPS coordinates. Now this one I can check out. Ah yes, some measurements I did of some ruins. Already have transferred these to my GPS database but hadn’t deleted the original file. With a little trigonometry (or the right program) and a couple overlapping checks you can figure out the area of an object or the size of any object with your GPS.

Perhaps I need to make notes about my notes. 😉

A weather guy in Syracuse wants to have me stand in front of my webcam and talk to him on the air via my cellphone. Kinda strange – a poor man’s remote.

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