Friday, May 30, 2008

Exams Are Over!!

The Exams are over! I'm very glad. How do I think I've done? Well in a nutshell, I think that I was okay with the Database Techniques module. Who knows how Ive done in the Software Engineering module? Advanced Programming may have been a pass but I was too late on discovering a fantastic book from SAMS Publishing called Teach Yourself C++ in 21 Days which was loaned to me by a friend. The Networking and Enterprise architecture module might just be a big fat fail. I have had a hard year this year, and I hope I've passed the Quantitative Methods module because I would actually have to leave University if I had to do another seven module year because I struggle with a normal workload. To keep up with everyone is a big challenge, and then they attached a failed first year module onto my work load so this year I have been bodging everything, and after Easter I just cracked and stopped doing anything useful..

On a ligher note I have been thinking a lot about cars. It's funny but in Bradford, you won't ever see a Rover. In fact the closest thing you'll see to a Rover in Bradford is an MG - you won't even see a dog named Rover. If I had a dog, I wouldn't call him Rover, I would call him Leyland, so then he would own Rover. Now where did I know that cat called Austin from? Oh never mind, I digress. Noiw you're probably wondring "Where have all these old British cars gone?" I can tell you they all turned up in Hull. If you go round the University campus, Salmon Grove or Hallgate Road in Cottingham, you'll find then all there. You'll even find the old Austin Metro, but mainly it will be Rover 25's of the 2002-2004 era. This had me thinking. When I look back on my childhood, say from when I was three years old to when I was about seven or eight, all the cars that I remember apart a few were all British, or more to the point, they were mainly all Austins. I remember being at Firecliffe nursery in Bradford (which is now just a family centre) and being taken home in an Austin Metro, being taken to school in an Austin Maestro, and when I was seven, my taxi driver swapped his Peugeot for an Austin Montego in British Racing Green. Personally, I think that was a very very wise switch, as the Peugeot is French, and I'm not the biggest fan of French cars. It's a shame our mass-production of cars has ceased, because it would be nice to look at cars on the road and to say "Yes, that's one of ours". OK I know we still have Vauxhall but they are all just rebadged Opels, which are built in Germany, so that REALLY doesn't count. I get a good feeling when I stop and think for a minute that the Mercedes McLaren SLR was engineered in, yes you guessed it, England's Green and Pleasant Land! So we CAN still build cars! That's probably why why the McLaren SLR isn't a boring Bovarian faceless slug like the rest of Mercedes. I know they aren't engineered in Britain either but given the choice between a Porsche 911 and an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, I would go for the Aston every time, just like Jeremy Clarkson did in the Top Gear Christmas Special in 2005. That was probably the cleverest thing we'll ever see Clarkson do, so if you want to see the episode in question, it is Series 07 Episode 06/

Friday, May 23, 2008

Outcasted by the version of Windows I run

I have just realised that in Chez Student, I am the only person who still runs Windows XP on any of my machines. I have just reinstalled WIndows XP Professional on my Ergo Ensis removing the Windows Media Center/Ubuntu 7.10 setup I had before. My MacBook also runs Windows XP Pro under Parallels and also as a stand-alone OS. Everyone else in this house runs Windows Vista on their laptops, apart from one very sensible housemate that runs Mac OS 10.4.11 on her G4 PowerBook. I like being the only one who runs XP. Personally however, I do like Mac OS 10.5.2, which is the primary OS on my MacBook. I like how you can plug in anything and it will work. I was at my friend's yesterday. I plugged in my Nokia N95 and it worked straightaway as a modem. All I had to do was to enter the phone number to dial onto the 3G/GPRS network, and the APN for the network - an option that Windows doesn't have by default, and then I was online thanks to my new unlimited data plan courtesy of Vodafone. Very impressed

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Dual-Monitor Setup

Yesterday, I bought myself a new 19" Widescreen monitor yesterday. I have made a dual-screen setup with my old monitor. It works quite well

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Ironically Enough however

If I drove (which I unfortunately can't because of my vision) I would probably have a Golf GTI. I would like to know however why did VW not let Top Gear take the Veyron round their track. I would love to see a lap time for that. Oh and I'm glad to see the Bora has gone! In my opinion it IS Maserati and it should stay that way. OK OK It's really a Citroen but let's just gloss over that. Close your eyes for one moment and just imagine if Ferrari had made the Bora – ah yes that's much better. On the flip-side however VW do make some very nice and affordeable family cars, so keep up the good work.

I am very interested in the Mercedes S-Class with it's radar assisted brakes. This will enable the car to drive itself at the speed of the car in front. It goes faster, you go faster, it goes slower, you go slower. If Mercedes advance much further, then I may be able to drive one day. Please do it, Mercedes. Driving has been my dream since my parents (ironically) bought a Volvo 240 Estate (Wagon if you're American) and I fell in love with the car (I wouldn't drive one today). Please Mercedes, make me a car that I can drive. I have a rating of 6 in my left eye and 3 in my right. If anybody can get me legally driving on the roads, the Germans can. I'm counting on you!

.......... after I Bitched about Volkswagen :-s

Unanswered (And probably unasked) questions about Volkswagen

  1. Why the heck won't you let the Stig take a Veyron round the Top Gear track and grab a time – I mean come on!!!! When the Bugatti Veyron was created in 2005 it was the fastest road car available – it's not like it's going to be a crap time or anything!! Come on VW Please don't annoy me!
  2. Why is the Lupo so girly?
  3. A mid-engine van? Give me a break!
  4. Why do your 2001 minibuses sound like they are going to blow up every time you reverse?
  5. Whilst on the subject of minibuses – what the flip is with that ANNOYING park assist – A more subtle sound please????
  6. Is the Veyron pregnant? Why so bulbous?
  7. The Bora is a 1970's mid-engine Italian Supercar from Maserati which looks very nice – I'd buy one any day – not your rebadged Skoda Octavia!
  8. Why is the Golf so expensive? What do you think makes it so special?
  9. The Beetle was crap the first time around so what makes you think it won't be this time?
  10. I'm sorry but why do you make the older Passats look like Audi's. BE ORIGINAL PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fixing Computers

On Sunday I was out fixing Denise's computer. I needed to make Lego Star Wars work on Windows Vista and then install an Epson C60 printer. I made Lego Star Wars work by setting the compatibility mode to XP and running the game as Administrator. This works – but if you want to quit mid-game and restart the computer blue-screens and restarts. The printer installed easily enough. I installed Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and the printer installed itself the minute it was plugged in. It even can detect ink levels. It was nice to be on the job again fixing computers. I've not done this since I fixed My Mum's Friend's Daughter's PC last summer. At least here Denise has Broadband Internet so it was done very quickly.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A follow-up on ZoomText

I rung up Ai Squared in America a few days ago and asked if I could install ZoomText on Windows x64. Unfortunately they said that they don't support Windows x64. I asked if they had any plans to support it and they said no.
I'm very disappointed with Windows!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

64-bit Windows discriminates

After a stress-free Easter vacation with only my MacBook to use as my main computer, I am now back in Hull where my Vista workstation is. Coming back and installing The Sims 2 I found that the graphics were unsatisfactory. The card crashed on Need for Speed Carbon, and Zoomtext is being er, well, Zoomtext really. Unlike Zoom on the Mac, Zoomtext offers very jerky screen magnification. NOT what I needed really. I decided the time was ripe for a new graphics card. I decided on the purchase of an nVidia GeForce 8500GT. This card (apart from the uber-noisy fan) is a good card. I can now see every single strand of hair on my Sims' heads (well I can if I zoom right in on their hair), and the graphics in NFS Carbon are as smooth as the engine of the Alfa Romeo Brera that I drive on the game. There was still one problem however. Windows Media Center decided to struggle with videos, causing Jeremy Clarkson to pause for a long time in his Merc SLR, and then suddenly go at about 1,000MPH - out of sync with the sound of the car's engine. Also, ZoomText's performance was very very poor. I decided then to throw another sexty quid at my computer on upgrading it from 2 to 4GB of RAM. The reason it cost so much is because i bought 3 1GB modules to match the original 1GB module I installed when I built the machine. Also, I could not lay my hands on a single 2GB stick for love nor money. I decided to buy three 1GB modules and install them in a dual-channel configuration so that I would recieve a performance hit. Unfortunately as I am running 32-bit Windows, it will acknowlledge my full 4GB of RAM but it won't address it. System Information tells me that I have 4GB installed but I only have 3GB available. I was looking at upgrading to 64-bit Windows because of this, and that's where the problems started. ZoomText 9.1 will not work with 64-bit Windows, and neither will Dolphoin's Lunar magnifier. I'm sorry but just because I'm visually impaired doesn;t mean that I shouldn't be able to use 64-bit Windows. PC is completely garbage if you are disabled. Mac OS X 10.5 is completely 64-bit but I have absolutely no problems either running 32-bit software or even magnifying the screen. I am sorry dear readers but once again I'm outraged.

On the flip-side however now I can do something about it. Hopefully I will start third year in September and my third year project is a screen reader/magnifier, and I want to try and haveit run on Windows x64. I feel I have my work cut out for me. the fact that I am visually impaired means that as long as I choose to use Windows, I can only ever utilize 3GB of my RAM. Thanks Micro$oft. I don't suppose you'll give me a £20 refund for that 1GB module that will never be used :-(