Sunday, November 30, 2008

My "Move" to Windows Vista!: part deux

OK, it's not really a 'move' but If any of you have been reading my blog for some time, you may remember when I
upgraded my Dell Optiplex GX260 from Windows XP to Vista (if not, check that post out here). Well, I quietly reverted back to Windows XP about 3 months later (check out that post here), mainly because of a combination of small hardware and software incompatibilities.

(Fast forward to now where I am comfortably using a Macbook Pro (MBP) which is very fast and has some up-to-date hardware.) Even though I am using my system with virtually no concern of vicious spyware, adware, malware, viruses, trojans and worms, I still have the curiosity (and desire) to learn about the Vista operating system. Thus, after I recently updated my VMware Fusion on my Mac to the latest 2.0.x version, I had the prime opportunity to replace my Windows XP virtual machine (VM) and start fresh with a brand new, clean install of Windows Vista Home Premium, 64bit edition.

Well, I ran into an issue from the start. Evidently most (if not all) Vista x64 DVD media discs have some EFI booting logic burned into the disc which is not recognized by my MBP. Why did I choose the 64 bit (x64) version of Vista? Well, from what I've read and heard, x64 offers a bit more security and is where the Windows OS is eventually heading across the board. Back to to my EFI issue: I scoured the net and found instructions posted by cpcarrot here on how to get by this problem. Basically the instructions had me create a new Vista x64 boot DVD, stripping out the EFI information... So after a few hours of figuring that out, burning a DVD and testing it out, I was on my way to loading Vista on my Macs' Bootcamp partition!

Going through the Bootcamp setup and installation was fairly straightforward. I did however run into another snag when it came to installing Windows drivers within Vista for my MBP hardware. The supplied Bootcamp installer failed/errored/hung up in a few places, so I had to search (yet again) for what was going on and how to fix. After finding this post, I was able to download some 'hacked' drivers and get my system loaded with all devices recognized by Vista.

The last issue/hangup I ran into was enabling the use of dual monitors when I booted into the Vista/bootcamp partition. Essentially, I was not able to use my external monitor port on my laptop. It wasn't even being recognized. <Ahem>Knowing a thing or two about Windows</Ahem>, I immediately focused on the driver set I had. I knew those 'hacked' drivers would not be supported by Apple but after much internet searching (with no solutions) I gave a shot and called apple support. BOY, WAS THAT A MISTAKE! I basically got the run-around like no tomorrow on the issue I posed to them. I even got escalated to a 'senior tech' whom suprisingly told me they don't support Windows drivers. By the end of the call I was fuming. They don't support drivers for Windows on their hardware?  Why would one need to install the bootcamp application then? THE REASON YOU INSTALL BOOTCAMP IS TO GET WINDOWS TO INSTALL COMPATIBLE DRIVERS FOR APPLE HARDWARE! Sorry. It still gets me mad to this day. Eventually I found this set of unsupported drivers, which when installed, allowed my to use my external LCD as a separate additional monitor. I was in business!

Aside from these few hangups, the system has been running great both in VMware Fusion and via the Bootcamp partition for well over a month now. As a matter of fact, I've just installed Steam and am downloading Counter Strike Source, Day of Defeat and Battlefield 1942 for an upcoming LAN party in January!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

RawkHosting move

I am almost out of the clear. This past weekend I had a server move/upgrade for many, many websites I current host and manage. After a few security breeches on a few of the sites, I requested to be moved to a server with the most updated MySQL, PHP and many other back end web services. Not only should this be more secure but it should also provide more reliable and faster web page rendering.

Although I had a few hang-ups, mainly e-mail related, most of the web sites I oversee are up and operational, including this one you're currently on! I may have to tweak a few things here and there during the week but overall my MySQL database moves went smooth (I was most worried about those).

Oh and I was pretty happy with the support from my server provider. The few times I ran into question, I was just a call away from getting some help.

Friday, November 7, 2008


So you have more than likely heard of it. And you'll probably be surprised who is using it.

Unlike MySpace, Facebook is a social networking site that I really like. I use MySpace (although not as much until recently) but I use it for a much different purpose. I use MySpace is for music-oriented gatherings; checking out bands and music. I use Facebook in my day-to-day life which gathers many friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. If you don't know what Facebook is, let me attempt to describe it for you:

Facebook is a FREE website in which you create a online profile of yourself. This profile includes information about yourself such as your name and where you live; you can be as specific or generic as you want. Most people include their hometown, high school graduating class, college, place of employment and birthdate; the common stuff. OR you can leave things like this out and just have your name. While on Facebook, you add "friends", who can anybody from old high school buddies to current/former co-workers to complete strangers if you want (I don't encourage that though). Once you are 'friends' with people you have a "Wall" which shows what other Facebooks 'friends' are doing, writing, etc. Every person on Facebook, can post things such as what they are up to, post video links, post photos and much, much, MUCH more.

Whats even more cool, is that Facebook ties in with other things in my life, such as being integrated into my iPhone, captures and posts via my Twitter entries, etc. This is a great place to have somewhat of a blog without needing to have the technology, resources and know-how behind you... Just signup and go! (Shhhh: Don't tell anyone but I can tell you I've slowed down a bit with my blog posts here because of Facebook.)

If you're not currrently on Facebook, you may be worried about your online identity, right?, Well, here's an excellent resource that has recommended Privacy Settings to keep your Facebook identity safe and visible only to those people you want:

Overall, Facebook is pretty cool and is a great place I check throughout the day; just as much as e-mail. It's a nice way to see what your friends and family are up to without sending an e-mail, calling etc. If you have any interest in this type of stuff, I highly encourage you to sign up and add me as your friend! Be careful though, some people get caught up in all the groups, games and non-stop tom-foolery that is out there as well!