More of them have occurred. Uninstall/copy/reinstall … it’s so much fun, but I wish I could take an entire week off so I could get everything just right.
This is the shortest day of the year and it’s stupid. Who picked a Sunday to be the day you turn your clock forward one hour? If any real thought had been given to this decision, we’d all turn our clocks forward at 3:30 PM on a Friday. It would be the best day of the year.
Meanwhile, the other half of the Daylight Savings Time clock-change-day cluster occurs in the fall, when you “gain” an hour. Leave that where it’s at. That one works on a weekend.
In unrelated news, I own a piece of glass and metal that, when touched in specific ways, makes people come to my house and do things for me that I need to have done, but don’t want to do myself. (Pretty cool, right?) I used it the other day and an old man arrived to fix the garage door. He informed me that he’ll have someone put a piece of paper in the box at the end of my driveway. It’ll say that I owe him some money for it. I’ll touch a different piece of metal and he’ll have it. I love how everything works these days, but sometimes, it does scare me a little.
I’ve been here before: post disgustedly about taking two weeks off, then proceed to take a month plus off before posting again. Not Daam Gud.
I’ve gotten the laptop fully set up the way I want, and it runs Windows 7 really, really well. It scored the same, if not a tenth of a point better, on the Windows Performance Index thing as my Alienware desktop. (Is that regarded as a worthwhile tool for measuring performance?) Granted, the laptop is barely a year old and the desktop is 5 years old. Still.
Time-consumers on the horizon include SimCity, Guild Wars 2, reading iOS books (I finally have some good app ideas) and well, all kinds of other random stuff. I do plan on posting more frequently. The contents will continue to be just as random.
On that note, our garage door is malfunctioning. It’ll only open about 20% of the way, then it stops and the light blinks. It appears one of the long black horizontal springs mounted on the wall above the door has broken. Stupid door.
“Duck Dynasty” is playing in the background. I don’t hunt and probably have very little in common with anyone on the show, but for some reason, I really like those guys.
Nothing like a little two week break. Most of it was caused by a little experiment I decided to undertake with my MacBook Pro laptop. Ultimately, the experiment was successful and achieved its desired result. But it sure was a pain in the ass sometimes on the way there. Here we go.
When I think about it, what really caused the idea to materialize was receiving an email from the company creating a remake of SimCity, one of my favorite video games from the early 90′s. They had opened up the game for beta testing (I had signed up to be a possible beta tester long ago) and I had gotten “chosen” along with probably hundreds of thousands of others. The catch: while the game will be released for both PC and Mac, the beta was PC only. I have a more than capable desktop PC connected to my large TV downstairs. But, for some reason, I didn’t want to play it down there. I really wanted to try it out on the laptop. At the surface, this was the end of the road. I booted the laptop and started poking around through some of the out-of-box tools… Boot Camp Assistant. What’s this?
For those that don’t own a Mac, Boot Camp and Boot Camp Assistant are Apple tools that allow you to set aside a chunk of your hard drive and install Windows on it. Afterwards, at startup you can hit a button to choose which of the two you’d like to use, or set a default that will start if you don’t do anything. Pretty sweet. This seemed like a solution to my problem. Even better, I have a 64-bit Windows 7 disk that I figured I could use to install Windows on the chunk that Boot Camp sets aside. So, good to go! Right?
Obstacle 1 – Partitioning: I run the Boot Camp Assistant and it tells me the first step is to create a partition in which Windows will be installed, as well as burn a CD with some Windows 7 drivers for Apple hardware components (like the trackpad, graphics card, etc.) Simple enough. I burn the disk beforehand and set it aside, then go back and start the partitioning process. It presents a nice little slider bar to let you size out how much you want for each OS. I allocate a couple hundred gigs for Windows and continue. Well, I tried to anyway… it stops and says that it can’t create the partition because certain files can’t be moved. No real details on what files are causing the problem, but I don’t have a whole lot of stuff installed on this machine. I forget what (if any) steps they might’ve given to try to resolve it, but I believe updating system software was among the steps.
So, I launch the updater and it finds some non-critical updates. Install those, reboot, and try again — same issue. At that point, my decision-making turns nuclear. I have spent far more time dinking around with Windows machines than Macs, so I think I’d have many more steps that I know I could take on a Windows machine before resorting to this kind of stuff. With Macs, not so much. Anyway, I back up the Mac to an external drive and decide to reinstall the OS. After all, if it can’t repartition a fresh copy of it’s own OS, when is it ever going to work?
Oh, yuck. Re-downloading Mac OS X is a 4 GB download. Many of the sites I’d Googled during this process suggested downloading it once and burning it to a DVD, since the installer destroys itself after installation is complete. After a couple hours of downloading, I performed this step, thankfully. The installer does it’s thing and the laptop reboots… and all my files are still there! What the hell! This is not what I wanted. I run Boot Camp Assistant… and get the same message. Shit.
The mushroom cloud gets bigger. I don’t remember the exact steps I used (I believe at one point I was booting the laptop from the copy of OS X I had downloaded earlier) but I ended up completely wiping out the laptop, completely fresh install, everything deleted. This got me back to the day one installer screens, and at that point, I held my breath and ran Boot Camp Assistant… success! It starts chugging through the partition and asks for my Windows 7 installation disk. I throw in the 64-bit disk and it the laptop reboots after a few moments… to Windows. This might be straying into ultra-nerd territory here (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) but it was really, really weird to see the familiar Windows 7 logo and branding on my screen a few inches above the MacBook Pro labeling on the laptop. It just wasn’t a sight I expected to see.
I don’t really know how long the installation took, but it always seems to take forever when you really just want to move on to the next step. Before too long, it’s asking me to enter a user name, password and the like, and then
Obstacle 2 – The Product Key: it wants a Windows 7 product key. I had written down my Windows 7 product key, and entered it in. After thinking for a couple seconds, it presents me with bad news: the product key isn’t valid. Shit. Shit shit shit. Perhaps Windows 7 is a lot more strict on product keys than XP ever was. Maybe it’s truly one PC to one key. That’s fine, I’m still willing to slash-and-burn my way to success. So I decide to deactivate my desktop computer downstairs. My thinking was that should free up the key, and then I can use it on my laptop. The desktop, meanwhile, will probably stop working in 30 days since it won’t be “genuine” software anymore. I can figure that one out later, or just download another copy of Windows 7. Right?
I head downstairs and, much like previous versions of Windows, the computer doesn’t give you a shiny red button that lets you uninstall the operating system. I get it. However, I need to reclaim the key. If that means converting a computer I don’t use a lot into a non-genuine copy, then it’s worth a try.
I start Googling furiously and find a few command-line switches that let you manually uninstall the key. I run it and it appears to work, presenting the appropriate pop-up confirming the key has been removed. I reboot the machine and Windows throws up all kinds of drama about not having a license, and that I should really be a good person and buy a genuine copy. So it definitely isn’t using the key any longer. Back upstairs to the laptop. I enter the key, it thinks a few seconds… still not valid. What the HELL?
At that point I went back downstairs to the desktop. I started playing around with some of the command-line switches on the tool that let me uninstall the license key, and discovered one of the attributes of my license key: it is an upgrade license key, not a “fresh install” license key. Grrrr. Smart bastards. So I can’t run around installing fresh copies of Windows 7 from scratch, but I can upgrade an earlier version of Windows (like Vista) to 7, which is what I had originally done on the desktop a few years ago.
I pause at this point. Now what? At this point I have a non-genuine desktop, a fresh install of OS X on the Mac half of my laptop, and a copy of Windows I can’t activate on the Windows half of my laptop. I did debate reverting everything back to normal – blowing away the Windows partition, restoring my Mac from the external drive, and reactivating the desktop downstairs. I should just be able to buy another key, right? Or can I just download a fresh copy of Windows 7 from online, just like I downloaded the upgrade key I’m trying to use now?
Obstacle 3 – Microsoft: it didn’t take long to realize that there was no way for me to buy a new key directly from Microsoft. Pretty much every link I could find that seemed like it would lead me to an official space for purchasing Windows 7 keys ended up redirecting to a Windows 8 page. While I appreciate the fact that Microsoft is very interested in pushing their new OS, I don’t see why it would harm them so much to quietly continue selling keys or downloadable versions of the old software when it’s still clearly being supported. It’s not like we’re asking to download Windows 95 here. Although, if we wanted to, and wanted to pay for it, why would THAT even be so bad?
After finding nothing online, I decide that I despise the next 20-30 minutes of my life and want to get rid of them quickly. What better way to waste that time than to call Microsoft support? I figured it was worth a shot. I could probably write an entire article on just this phone call, but let me sum it up this way: the net result of this phone call was Microsoft giving me two choices. One, go on Microsoft’s support site and look it up myself, or two, get transferred to a different Microsoft help desk and possibly get charged for assistance. No clear criteria on what constitutes a charge, mind you. Needless to say, after making sure that I really did just get told to figure it out myself when calling for help, I hung up and decided to keep looking. I must have another copy or version of Windows lying around.
I dig around downstairs… do I still have it? Did my desktop come with one? Sure did. I dig out the Windows Vista recovery disk that came with my AlienWare desktop, purchased in 2008. Will the Boot Camp Assistant tolerate installing Vista to the partition? There definitely weren’t any indications within Boot Camp that this was OK. But, it wasn’t explicitly disallowed, either… hey, worth a shot! Reformat the partition, size it out, throw in the Vista disk… and it takes it!
So now I’ve got Vista installed on my Windows partition. In goes the Windows 7 disk to upgrade…
Obstacle 4 – can’t upgade Vista unless it’s on SP1: before Vista takes a messy shit all over my progress. Oops, you can’t upgrade unless you have Vista SP1. Immediately I figure I’m screwed — if their other product availability is any indication, no way in hell will I be able to find SP1 on the Internet. Naturally, I found it two or three links down on my first Google search. After burning that to disk (the Vista side would not connect to the Internet, yet) I get it installed.
Trying again… but Vista doesn’t like the 64-bit installer. It doesn’t recognize it. But it happily accepts the 32-bit disk.
Am I getting my point across? This should have been relatively simple. Instead it turned into a Frankenstein-ian mish-mash of steps, possibilities and failures. In conclusion, I installed 32-bit, got cock-blocked by Boot Camp regarding the drivers disk (has to be 64-bit to install them) before finally getting the 64-bit version installed. After that, I restored my Mac disk, and now have a dual-bootable laptop. Neat.
Had I known beforehand that it would require all this…? Yeah, still would’ve done it.
I could probably devote a MUCH longer and more thorough post to this topic, but I’ll keep it short for now. I do wonder how such a post would look 10 years ago. I can safely say I didn’t possess any of the first-hand experience with the topic that I do now.
That topic being: “reality” television. I’ve watched enough of a few different shows to kind of see what they’re doing. It’s not difficult; I’m not claiming to have some insight that any random person couldn’t come up with after a couple episodes. But, it is entertaining to a degree. I obviously don’t derive the same entertainment from it than most of their target audience, but.. I’m watching, aren’t I? That’s really all that matters.
Virtually all of the blame for my introduction to these shows lies with the Wife. She has also pressured me into continuing to watch many different iterations of the shows. However.. I can’t escape culpability. As I said, I do find them entertaining. I could bolt out of the room, but I usually don’t. It is fascinating at times to watch not just the characters on the show, but also the slick editing they do with the pre-commercial “coming up” segments and previews for the following week. They bait and switch like I’ve never seen, all of them.
So here are some of the shows, with some salty comments about each.
The Bachelor – not really sure how many “seasons” of this I’ve watched, but it’s that many more than I EVER thought I’d watch. This show and it’s evil twin, The Bachelorette, are easily the show that I’ve watched the most, that most surprises me. However, as strange as this might sound, the characters on this show are probably more “real” than any of the other reality shows. This is like saying that a double murderer is “nicer” than a triple murderer. But, it’s true. And considering some of the things that come out of their mouths, it’s… really amazing that they’re all single! However, there do appear to be some decent human beings in the bunch. But that only makes you wonder why they need to go on a show like this to find somebody.
Although all the shows do it, this one is probably the prime offender for misleading “Coming Up” segments. For example, they have been teasing some quick shots of a girl awkwardly laying at the bottom of a flight of stairs for the last couple weeks. As a voiceover, they spliced together some quick sound bites of girls talking, and made it seem like someone had pulled a prank on her, pushed her down the stairs, something dramatic. And then this week, the big event! Oops, klutz just fell down the damn stairs. All the fire truck and ambulance drama? She refused medical attention like an idiot. Swait and bitch.
The Bachelorette – see The Bachelor, just throw in a bunch of random beefchunks and take away all the girls. In a lot of ways this show is one iota superior to The Bachelor because I get to watch and listen to women’s reactions to some of these guys. Many of the ones I’d expect to get favorable reviews really don’t, and some of these nerdsticks who just look weird end up getting fawned over. Where the hell was THAT attitude when I was a teenager?!
Jersey Shore – what I can I possibly say about this show that hasn’t already been said? Yeah buddy. Ron-Ron juice. The Situation. Just utterly ridiculous, all of it. It’s given birth to what, two spin-offs? It’s practically spawned a race of shows. I got drawn into this one before their season in Italy, when a commercial showed Deena trying to explain power converters to Pauly. I can’t even paraphrase her. Let’s just say she misused pretty much every word that came out of her mouth. That actually sounds like a decent description for the show – everything that comes out of everyone’s mouth in every episode of this show is a mistake. Misused.
This show also uses quite a bit of the bait and switch method, but they’re also very guilty of teasing an event, like a big fight or confrontation, and literally teasing it for an entire season. It’s so ridiculous. They show the footage in every “Coming Up” type segment and almost expect you not to realize that you’ve already seen this in the previews for the last month. It’s insulting.
Real World/Road Rules Challenge – I’m totally botching the name of these shows and I don’t care. I loave it. I think each iteration of these shows has a different name or sub-name, but the product is largely the same. It’s basically Real World (where everyone lives in the same house, gets drunk a lot, has sex a lot, and fights a lot) plus some physical challenge activities that flush people from the house like the turds that they usually are. The host of this show is an annoying little schmuck. He doesn’t do any one specific thing that particularly irritates me, but he just seems a little too relaxed. I think that he thinks he can just breeze through all of the shit that he’s watching everyone else go through. Maybe he can. In that case, act like you’ve been there, schmuck. I really only like watching the last 10-15 minutes of this show. The physical challenges usually involve them beating the crap out of each other in some fashion, and I won’t complain about that.
Pauly D Project / Snooki & J-Woww – Hang on, I think a small part of my brain just exploded due to typing that.
These shows are the bastard children of Jersey Shore. And they really are just like their whore of a mother! Snooki & J-Woww will probably be more successful long-term because I don’t think any of the supporting characters on Pauly D are compelling in the least. Sorry, a couple of fat nice-guy friends from home and a dude who likes to drink and start fights? Boring. Don’t wake me up. Plus, Snooki & J-Woww features two name-brand train-wrecks, and despite his inclusion in Jersey Shore, Pauly D actually seems like a relatively normal guy. I mean really, it was easy to see the severe mental issues resident in people like Mike, Ron and Sammi. Meanwhile, Pauly’s claim to fame on the show was yelling “Yeah buddy” at strange times, coining inventive catch-phrases such as, “Cabs are here!” and generally wearing no less than 35 pounds of hair gel at any given time.
There are so many more to cover, but I think this is as good a start as any. I suppose now I should end by promising absolutely scandalous topics and revelations in my next 4 posts, before finally confessing 8 posts later that there was nothing going on and everyone should just relax. Coming up…!
- Site-related things I don’t like, in no particular order: the sort of burnt orange color of the element that shows when I post. Oh, WordPress will let you change it and many other things about the site – for a price. Lame. This was definitely an advantage of the old-days DIY method for daamgud.com. But, convenience has a price, I suppose.
- I don’t know if I ever got used to titling posts on any of the journal sites I’ve used. I never used to restrict a particular post to one topic. Adding a title (other than Random) to a post makes me feel like I can’t wordvomit about anything other than the title. And I don’t like that. I suppose I could take advantage of the fact that titles are optional in WordPress. But, basically, I want each entry to have a primary key. So Random X will probably show up quite a few times here.
- As I mentioned last time, it’s gotten just ridiculously cold over the past few days. This isn’t your brief shiver and throw on a shawl type cold. This isn’t some kind of “let the car warm up for a minute before heading to work” type cold. This is cold that makes your skin hurt after mere seconds. This is cold that makes you hope your car doesn’t explode into a pile of worthlessness when you try to start it in the morning. This is cold that makes you wonder why the hell anyone would ever live here. This is cold that bestows the knowledge that North Dakota was almost certainly settled in the summer. Speaking of the cold, I still get a kick out of anyone who thinks it helpful to give someone else the advice of, “Dress in layers.” Really, don’t we already dress in layers all the time? Is there another way to do it? Can you dress in bunches?
- The Wife just inquired as to my activities. Do I tell her?
- I think I tried once or twice before on other blogs or sites, but I really want to compile a real-life, practical “rules of the road” guide. With an appropriate level of sarcasm added, of course. I would venture a guess that most people who live in North Dakota have lived there for a long time, probably all their lives. The level of driving on display sometimes, especially during the winter, would make you think that for some of these people, every time they’re driving on a snowy or slushy road is the first time they’ve ever tried it. Just pathetic. I hope to document some of the noticeable patterns and key behaviors.
- I finally got everything redirected over. You can now access this glorious page of nonsense writings at daamgud.com, instead of daamgud.wordpress.com. Then again, I completed the updates and verified they were working before I started typing this, so I suppose by default you’re already reading it here. Did I mention this page will contain copious amount of glorious nonsense??!
- “A Perfect Murder” is playing right now… on the TV Guide Channel. I always liked this movie and was glad when The Wife caught a few minutes of it one night and decided she liked it. Viggo Mortenson and Michael Douglas are both in a number of pretty Daam Gud movies, this one among them. A separate discussion can commence later about how ridiculous it is that anyone would ever watch a movie on a channel that uses half of the screen on a scrolling list of what’s on other channels.
- It’s going to get really, really cold out in the next few days. It gets cold enough to make you wonder why anyone would choose to live here. I sometimes wonder.
- So many different directions. Current cycles, dependencies, card houses. Have to stop one to stop the other. Maddening.