Who’s bad? :)

Okay, just kidding. I’m writing this post from my kickass Nokia E71x phone. There are quite a few things i love about this phone, but the best feature is the built-in Wifi capability. I’m quite serious. Well, this is my first Symbian-based smartphone and I have to say I am quite happy with my choice. It syncs up nicely with Microsoft Outlook and I couldn’t ask for more. ‘Nuff said.

Posted by Wordmobi

My official HP giveaway declaration. :)

So, I’ve thought long & hard about this and I’ll write it on this personal blog. Currently, HP, Microsoft and BuzzCorps LLC are running a promotion (the HP Magic Giveaway) where they are giving away ~ $6 000 worth of computer goodness. They gave 50 sites this same prize package to give to 50 different winners and each site has their set of rules. Some of those sites participating in the giveaway are Moosh in Indy, Down-to-earth Mama.ร‚ย  ๐Ÿ™‚ The items that are up for grabs include:

  1. Electronics:- HP TouchSmart IQ816 PC, HP HDX 18 series Premium Notebook PC, HP MediaSmart Connect, HP Pavilion dv4 series Entertainment Notebook PC (with Windows Live) and the HP Mini 1000 (with XP), HP Photosmart C6380 Wireless AIO (printer) + HP 564 Photo Series Value Pack
  2. Software:- Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate/Home Premium or Microsoft Windows XP pre-installed on all units (Mini 1000 runs XP), Microsoft Office Home and Student Edition 2007 (Student-Teacher Edition) รขโ‚ฌโ€œ 1 DVD with 3 licenses, Microsoft Windows Live and Corel VideoStudio X2.
  3. Entertainment:- Kung Fu Panda (2 widescreen DVDs; 1 widescreen Blu-ray disc)

As you can see, that’s a lot of stuff and 50 lucky people are going to each get these items. Of course, lots of people will bring out all sorts of things they’ll do if they win and I can’t possibly hope to top any fantastic stories. However, a lot of these sites are (thankfully) leaving the decision making to a random draw provided all entrants followed the rules to a Tee.

If I should win this giveaway, I’ll give the bulk of these items to the following people:

  1. Athens Area Homeless Shelter: I briefly volunteered before work issues forced me to quit doing that. You can tell what their mission is from their title and I would like to give them the HP wireless printer, the photo pack as well as the KungFu panda dvds. During the time I volunteered there, there wasn’t much by way of entertainment and I think the families housed there (particularly the children) would appreciate these gifts.
  2. UGA Center for Teaching & Learning: They will be getting the Touchsmart PC to further their mission. I am big fan of using technology to educate and enlighten students & administrators. This will help introduce the university community to cutting edge technology.
  3. My nuclear family: the HP dv4000 series laptop, Microsoft Office 2007 software and Corel VideoStudio X2. My family has been my rock and I would be nothing without their prayers & support.
  4. My father-in-law (Bill) will get the HP mini 1000 netbook because it will be the perfect starter computer tool to introduce him to the digital world. lol. He’s running an ancient computer and I fear it’s on its last legs:)
  5. My husband (Matt) & I will be keeping the HDX laptop & the MediaSmart items. He will “inherit” my dv9700t laptop and I’ll assume ownership of the HDX beast. ๐Ÿ™‚ The MediaSmart will be mostly for his use because he is a big music buff and I’m frankly tired of all his CDs laying haphazardly all over the house/apartment. This kickass MediaSmart Connect will be the music & video repository in order to free up space in the house. ๐Ÿ™‚ You bet I’ll be having a CD burning party if I win this contest!

Even if the actual order of giving may change, I know for sure that the only things that will remain in my possession will be the HDX and the MediaSmart. ๐Ÿ™‚

Update: Just in case this blog goes down, I’ll be cross-posting to my tech blog at Jane Talks Tech!

Can’t understand the Vista loathing

Okay, let’s me just say this: I’m clearly a biased dyed-in-the-wool Microsoft user and I cannot fathom transitioning to Apple’s world. Nevertheless, I have used Macs and I will allow that they are definitely cuter than Microsoft’s offering. Still, I do think that their latest OS (operating system) stands head & shoulders above XP. I cannot get enough of how snappy my system is and I’m completely sold on their instant desktop search function. I no longer have to dig for programs or my files. I guess the difference between someone who would hate Vista and myself is the fact as much as spending hours troubleshooting can be frustrating, it’s incredible rewarding to me. With Vista SP1, I haven’t put in as many troubleshooting hours as I have put into my XP computer. I love Vista’s ability to self-diagnose issues and it gives me the feeling of complete control over my system. I don’t care that they ‘cribbed‘ some design elements of Macs. Heck, imitation is a form of flattery, no? ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyhoo, I just wanted to add a consumer voice to the fray and tell Microsoft that I think Vista does rock. I am not a ‘regular’ user and yet not quite a ‘power user’. I do think the User Access Control needs to be toned down a bit because I can see how irritating it gets. I have it turned on right now, but for software installations, I tend to have it turned off because I know/trust the programs I install on my laptop. I love the improved version of Outlook 2007 so much so that I didn’t even bother installing Mozilla Thunderbird on my laptop. I don’t have any third-party media players (VLC, Creative MediaSource Player, etc) installed because Windows Media Player does a fabulous job of cataloging my modest music collection. Enough of my rant. I just wanted to say that I am really looking forward to their next version of the Windows Operating System dubbed “Windows 7“. My plan is to put this laptop through its paces and give its dead or dying body to Matt (lol. Kidding). I definitely see myself upgrading this laptop, but not anytime soon. I need to recover from the, ahem, financial mayhem. ๐Ÿ™‚ There are a few issues withร‚ย  my laptop that are mostly cosmetic. For instance, my mouse cursor is really small and Vista has made it supremely easier to personalize your PC. So, right now, I changed the color to something other than white and made the cursor larger. I would like to give my cursor a special color so I’ll root around my PC and find that option.

Enough of my mini-rant. My weekend has been relaxing and just sleeping in. I did worry a little bit about work and things I needed to do, but I intend on making this week a highly productive one. I’ve got a supportive work place so there’s nothing stopping me. With that, cheers!

What’s up? :)

Well, well. It’s been a long while, dontcha say? What have I been up to? Other than working, I’ve been playing with my two babies (Matt and my laptop). ๐Ÿ˜€

  1. I finally bit the bullet and activated Bitlocker Hard Drive Encryption on my HP dv9700t laptop. It is not as bad as I feared and I’m actually surprised at how smooth it has been. The process of encrypting my disk took place overnight and I was ready to roll the next morning. I haven’t noticed any performance issues. If anything has been wonky, it’s the encryption file system that I’d been using to protect some of my files. What Bitlocker does is whole disk encryption and this pretty much renders your computer’s actual disk useless to someone who wants to know what’s on the disk, but doesn’t have the key. I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps needing my USB key before my computer can boot up is not such a bad idea and probably more secure. One of the scenarios that has played out in my head is if for some reason, my laptop gets snagged by a less than trustworthy TSA agent, they can’t do squat with the laptop.
  2. The other thing that I finally got around to doing was testing out the ReadyBoost feature of Windows Vista. I purchased a SanDisk 2GB Extreme III SD Memory Card (SDSDX3-002G, Bulk Package) and I can say that since I already have 4GBs of memory, I don’t think my computer’s any faster. To my jaundiced eye, methinks the card I got is bogging my computer down. Hmmph. Anyhow, I got the card for less than $14 so I’m keeping it for good luck. lol.
  3. My cheapo mini-mouse finally died on me and I didn’t waste any time in getting a ‘real’ mouse from Logitech. It’s a good old-fashioned USB mouse because I’m done trusting newfangled items like bluetooth mice(?), etc. Remember my experience with the Logitech bluetooth mouse?
  4. I’m having a hard time with Nvidia’s apparently buggy drivers for my 64 bit Vista laptop with the Nvidia GeForce 8600M GS graphics chip. How hard can it be to produce something that won’t cause my computer heartburn? The drivers on their website won’t work for me and HP’s website doesn’t have any information on this issue. One more bluescreen because of my Nvidia GeForce 8600M GS graphics card and I will be calling HP technical support for an upgrade. Trust me, I’ve become an expert at knowing my rights when it comes to these things. Right now, I’m just waiting for HP’s premium headset to break again on me and they had better be ready to put up with me.

That’s pretty much about it. I’m looking forward to having a great week and I wish you all the same!

Getting back to my roots. :)

Sorry, this post is not going to be deep contrary to what my title says. lol. By my roots, I mean my neosoul-loving former self. l have not been able to get enough of Vivian Greene’s “Emotional Rollercoaster” or Floetry’s “Say Yes”. Those songs sound awesome on my Creative I-Trigue system which I got for a steal at $50 and even better through my HP premium headset. Those songs pump me up while at work and are the secret behind my ever-present smile(s) at work. I’m sure I’m already a constant fixture in many people’s minds for my bouncy walk and ever-ready smile. It makes me feel good to just smile even though I have problems. It’s totally worth seeing the smiles get lit within people when they see me being all infectiously happy. ๐Ÿ™‚ I really love the environment at my workplace and that makes all the difference because it makes me want to haul ass free of charge! lol.

In other news, I sustained a mild injury at work. I’m inclined to call it a major injury, but the learned bosses and my smart husband have concluded that it’s “not a big deal”. Try telling that to my hurting left hand which got all swollen up to the size of a small egg. ๐Ÿ™ Anyhow, I put an icepack on it and it kept the swelling down. My diagnosis (by the 4 DVMs or doctors of veterinary medicine) was that I had busted a blood vessel. One of these days, I’ll regale my children with tales of their mother’s clumsiness.

In yet other news, my HP premium headset broke. I got that blasted thing on the 20th of September and it’s broken already! Matt can attest to the loving care I bestow on my electronics so it was definitely not operator error. I say that HP has a defective design. Accordingly, I called the warranty line (HP Premium Digital Stereo Headset manuals) and got told that they couldn’t help me because I didn’t have the box which had the serial number on it. Why HP doesn’t engrave the serial numbers on the headsets? I have no earthly clue. Well, this is where Matt, my knight in shining armor, comes in. He simply took it to the returns department at a certain unnamed retail store and they gave us/him a brand new HP premium headset. At first blush, I was ecstatic, but I’m now extremely suspicious because I might not get lucky a second time. So, when I get home from hanging out with Matt, I’ll scan my receipt that documents the exchange of the defective HP product for the new HP product and write down the relevant numbers and such. I knew it paid to be paranoid. Now, I’m 100% certain it does. From today, I’ll try will scan all receipts that show purchase of heavy duty items like electronics and other precious items. lol.

With that, have a happy friday! Lawdy, ya’ll, I was slogging at work today! I couldn’t stop yawning and it felt like the day had an extra hour tagged onto it! I’m relieved to be off work and just chilling out. However, knowing me, I’m also up to something that’s pretty cool if I may say so myself. ๐Ÿ˜€ I am giving Remote Administrator a trial. What is Remote Administrator? It’s basically a way of remotely administering your home/work/whatchamacallit computer. I have successfully connected to my HP pavilion desktop pc from my laptop using Radmin 3.2 Remote Control and even Matt was suitably impressed. The best thing about having this type of control over my home computer is that I won’t have to constantly carry the same files on both laptops e.g. I can keep things that I’m not ready to dispose of, but might have a need for on my home computer. Sadly, I had used my local address to connect and now that I’m away from the house, I need the external IP address. So, I’m just listening to my music library on Windows media player and sipping on some Hennessy. I kid about the alcohol part, but I am in that kinda mood, feel me? ๐Ÿ˜€

Which brings me to the topic of media on the PC. On my desktop PC, I use the Creative MediaSource player for listening to my music and video files. However, I decided to give Windows Media Player 11 a whirl on my Vista Ultimate Laptop and I have to confess that I wonder what had been stopping me from trying it all this while (at least on my laptop). If you recall, I had to reformat my laptop and Creative MediaSource had been a minor irritation on my system. So far, I’m loving the way it integrates with my Creative Zen Sleek Photo player seamlessly and its organization of my music files is to die for. I can’t imagine going back to Creative MediaSource just yet. Still, some small part of me feels like giving up Creative MediaSource for Windows Media Player is an admission that sometimes it doesn’t pay to fight the power, if you get my drift. I mean it’s often best to use things made by the PC manufacturer for the maximum compatibility i.e. instead of Thunderbird, learn how Microsoft Outlook works and make it work & instead of some alternative media player, learn to love Windows Media player. lol. I’m tired of fighting. ๐Ÿ™‚

Last but not the least, the reunion (representing Matt’s maternal side of the family) is tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it.


An Update on my HP dv9700t.

Alright, dad, I know you’re sick of me talking about my laptop, but I just wanted to provide a status update because I’ve gotten a couple of google queries to certain posts I’ve written concerning my laptop. Several things have changed since I wrote posts like this, this and this. In those posts, I wrote about the fingerprint reader royally sucking. I whined about the Windows Mobile Device Center not working with my Palm Treo 750 and I complained about the lack of a TPM-compatible BIOS on my laptop & not having a TPM to begin with! I’ll start with the first biggest change:

  1. I reinstalled Vista Ultimate on my laptop. When I first got the laptop, I didn’t uninstall certain programs correctly like Cyberlink’s Cybercrapware, et cetera. I also installed a bunch of programs that weren’t 64 bit compatible and they ended up making my laptop rather buggy. So, I called up HP and told them to send me my system restore discs because I was unable to make mine from the laptop. They graciously obliged me and it took about a day for everything to be restored to normal. It was rather painless too. My initial Windows Experience Index score was the same as the first time I received the laptop (i.e. a 4.6). I installed the usual suspects: Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007, Adobe Acrobat Professional 8.1.2, et cetera and updated them all. After installing my essential programs, my WEI score popped back to a 5.0. A quick tip for software updates: always make sure you update the programs by running the builtin HP Update (I’m using version A lot of my troubles came from bypassing that easy way to update the programs and I went directly to theร‚ย  manufacters’ websites where I got the latest, but notร‚ย  necessarily guaranteed to playร‚ย  nice with my HP Laptop.
  2. My fingerprint reader by DigitalPersona is now my Best Friend Forever (BFF). lol. You see, they had released an update to make it compatible with Firefox 3.0 and Internet Explorer 7.0 and now I’m totally spoiled. Granted, I’m not a finger-scanning expert like Matt who gets it on one try, but it’s worth not tasking my fingers too muchร‚ย  and not to talk of the increased security i.e. not having to type my username & password for anyone to see.
  3. Vista and Bitlocker Drive Encryption woes: Well, at this point, I’m sort of resigned to the fact that HP technical support staff is deliberately playing dumb on this issue. All they have to confirm to me is that they do not equip their consumer dv9700t with the TPM chip and I’ll be fine. Right now, my system is set up to enable Bitlocker Drive encryption, but I’ll have to be inconvenienced by using a USB key all the time. Anyway, I think I’m better off without Bitlocker for now. I’ll probably be better served by simply securing my laptopร‚ย  better and perhaps investing in remote control software like RealVNC, etc.
  4. Windows Mobile Device Center is my second BFF now.ร‚ย  I can sync my information via bluetooth and the cable that came with my laptop. I didn’t have to install any updates or anything. I simply followed instructions and everything went smoothly. The first time you want to connect your phone, use the cable provided. Vista just automates everything and really, just follow the on-screen instructions. ๐Ÿ™‚
  5. TV Tuner brouhaha: I don’t need no stinkin’ TV tuner! ๐Ÿ˜€ Okay, it’s theoretically nice, but in reality, it was a bunch of extra cords and baggage that I definitely didn’t like one bit. I’ll just stick to watching my favorite shows on Hulu like The Office, Hell’s Kitchen, Monk, Kitchen Nightmares, etc.
  6. I’ve made up with Microsoft Outlook 2007. I’ve promised to not start clicking on things while it’s still loading and she seems to be alright. She keeps clashing with the “Send to Bluetooth” addin and lately, has had some trouble with the Outlook Connector addin. Still, I’ve kept those two enabled and keeping my digits crossed. ๐Ÿ™‚
  7. I have had some major peeves though: cases in point: Firefox and Gizmo. Firefox 3.0 has been rather unstable and slow on my system. I don’t understand it, but I clearly too invested in it because I’d rather keep using it than use Internet Explorer or install a newfangled browser like Google Chrome which caused me some trouble prior to my OS reinstall. *sigh* And as for Gizmo, don’t get me started. I use it a lot to call Nigeria (my homeland) and it is rather buggy on a 64-bit Vista system. I don’t blame them. It just got too much for me to take and I had to request a refund of my Gizmo Call Out minutes. I’ve currently got Skype concurrently installed with Gizmo and I get a better call quality with Skype even though the main reason I used Gizmo was the cheaper callout rates compared to Skype’s. I definitely see myself still using Gizmo for chat, et cetera. However, until they improve the software for Vista 64-bit systems, I’ll have to use a more mature program i.e. Skype.

And that’s about it on updates. More personal stuff to come later. Ciao!