Monday, December 24, 2012

My favorite song

AcousticBrony and MandoPony have been my favorite musicians for a while. It all started when someone in a chat room sent me a link to I'll Fly Higher.

At first, it was plain and simple, an awesome song. But it quickly made me realize why Scootaloo was my favorite pony. This song is perhaps what solidified that position. She has since grown to be my favorite character from any story.

The reason I like Scootaloo is because of her courage. She has a simple bravery many adults such as myself forget: the bravery to dream whatever you want. The bravery to not call yourself silly for dreaming big. The bravery to work to accomplish those dreams.

Since I realized that, I've been listening to I'll Fly Higher almost every day, sometimes several times a day. It reminds me that no matter how happy I am with what I have, I have the power to make changes. I can make a new path for myself once I choose one that suits me. With enough determination, I can be what I want to be. For a long time I thought that was a lie people told each other to make them feel better about themselves. Now I know it is truth, even though I don't quite know yet what path I want to build for myself.

The other day, I was in a chat room and a friend was very upset with himself. He was discouraged and was talking about feeling worthless and untalented. I was worried that he was more upset than he was letting out. Myself and other friends said many things to try to encourage him. To let him know he isn't the only person to feel like that sometimes. To let him know he has potential even if he doesn't know what it is, and that he will find it. It seemed to help a lot. Finally when I realized the things we were trying to say felt very familiar, I sent him a link to I'll Fly Higher and told him to listen to the lyrics carefully. That worked. He promised to keep doing what makes him happy and he promised to keep us in the loop regarding his projects. I think the song did even more for him than it did for me.

All this brings me to this: Thank you. To AcousticBrony and MandoPony both for incredible music. And another thank you, specifically to Jimmy, for such wonderful lyrics. Don't let people bring you down. If they manage to, don't let them keep you there.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Setting Windows as default after installing Jolicloud

I have played with Jolicloud a bit on my computer, and I like it.  I would not be upset at all if stores started selling netbooks with Jolicloud preinstalled.

For those of you who do not know what Jolicloud is, it is a light, linux-based operating system that is mostly cloud-based.  Most of the applications actually run in the web browser. While this means you need to be connected to the internet to use it, it also means that netbooks with built-in 3G or 4G internet access will need much smaller hard drives, and documents saved in Jolicloud can be accessed anywhere with internet access.

To make it easier to try, Jolicloud offers a Windows installer, which creates a bootable disk image and adds it to the Windows boot menu. All you have to do to use Jolicloud is reboot.  If you don’t like it, boot back into Windows and uninstall it from the Add/Remove Programs menu.

The problem with this is Jolicloud sets itself as the default OS when you install it this way.  Most people trying Jolicloud probably do not like this, since they are likely more used to Windows, and they do not want to have to manually select Windows when they want to use it, and would rather have Windows boot automatically with an option to boot Jolicloud instead, not the other way around.

Jolicloud does not make it easy to switch the default back to Windows.  However, I do.  Here is how to do it in Windows Vista or Windows 7 in 3 easy steps:

  1. Open a command prompt as an administrator
    ** To do this quickly, press the Start button, type cmd then press CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER. Select “Yes” in the User Account Control Dialog.  If you have UAC disabled, just run the command prompt normally.
  2. type bcdedit /default {current} then press ENTERimage
    ** You can copy the command above to the clipboard, then paste it in the Command Prompt window by right-clicking, then clicking Paste (CTRL+V does not work in the command prompt).
  3. type exit then press ENTER, or click the close button.

Next time you reboot the computer, it will give you until the count of 5 to select Jolicloud. If you don’t, Windows will start.  If you want a shorter (or longer) countdown, then follow these 3 easy steps:

  1. Open a command prompt as an administrator
  2. type bcdedit /timeout # (where # is the number of seconds you want the countdown to last) then press ENTERimage
  3. type exit then press ENTER, or click the close button.

If you want to set Jolicloud as default again, that’s a little bit more complicated:

  1. Open a command prompt as an administrator
  2. type bcdedit then press ENTER. Look for something towards the bottom that says “Real-mode Boot Sector” and lists “Jolicloud” as the desctiption.
  3. right-click, then click “Mark”. Click and drag to highlight the listed identifier, including the curly brackets.  Note that this identifier is randomly-generated and will be different on your computer. Press ENTER to copy this to the clipboard.Example of output showing the Identifier highlighted.
  4. type bcdedit /default then right-click and choose “paste”. Press ENTER.image
  5. type exit then press ENTER, or click the close button.

And now you have the default OS you want!  Doing this in XP is very different, so I’ll put up those instructions a bit later.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My take on Windows 7

I’ve been playing with the Windows 7 release since a few days after it was released to the public. So far, it’s living up to the hype. Here’s a brief comparison between XP, Vista, and 7 (in my opinion):

Windows XP Windows Vista Windows 7
Bootup time Good
Varies with the position of the moon
Appearance Good, but got old quickly
System requirements It runs on my dad’s computer unmodified
Brings the most advanced technology in the galaxy to its knees
Somewhere between XP and Vista
Performance Speedy with a decent system
Speedy with top-of-the-line system, liquid nitrogen cooling, and live human sacrifice
Does this thing read my mind or something?
Ease of use Confusing transition from 98, but easy to navigate after a month or so
Confusing transition from XP, but easy to navigate after years of therapy
Confusing transition from XP, slight behavioral modification needed with transition from Vista
Reliability First version of Windows I used that could run for more than a couple hours at a time (actually had it up to three solid weeks)
Frequent blue screens and freezes upon trying something new
Less blue screens than XP. More random crashes of individual apps.
Have not had a single blue screen. OS has not frozen. Individual apps crash less often
Backwards Compatability Broke some pre-XP programs. I only had one game that no longer worked in XP. Many of my Windows 98 DirectX games ran better in XP
Most of my Windows 9x games no longer run. Some XP apps do not work.
64-bit edition no longer has any legacy 16-bit support
About the same as Vista, slightly better
Overall 4/5 2/5 4/5

I heard that Microsoft also reworked the way the graphics are handled. The experience index ratings show the effects of that. Here’s a comparison on my laptop, before and after:

Vista (64-bit) 7 RC1 (64-bit)
Processor 4.8 4.9
RAM 5.9 5.9
Graphics (Aero) 4.1 4.1
Graphics (Gaming) 3.6 5.1
Primary HDD 5.3 5.3

Everything’s pretty much the same… except look at the Gaming Graphics score. Before, 3.6. Now, 5.1. Five point freaking one! The Gaming Graphics score is no longer the one dragging down the curve. Now it’s my Aero Graphics. My base score has shot from 3.6 to 4.1! I fail to see any improvement in the Half-Life 2: Lost Coast Video Stress Test benchmark, however.

Even in the places where performance hasn’t improved statistically, it feels snappier, which some attribute to the reworked graphics “sharing”.

So, In all, I like Windows 7 about as much as I liked XP in its heyday. Of course, Windows 7 is better. Also, somehow, Microsoft figured out something that’s going to win over a lot of people. Windows 98 had a colorful bootup screen with animation. Windows XP had a simpler boot screen with with just the logo and a scrolling bar animation. Vista had an incredibly boring boot screen, with just the scrolling bar and copyright text. Yet, 7 has the most impressive boot screen I’ve ever seen on ANY operating system, and yet it boots slightly faster than Vista’s lackluster splash. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it, hit play below.

I am looking forward to Windows 7’s release. It may be the first version I actually want to upgrade to since XP (rather than just stick with the old version until I have to buy a new computer preloaded with the newer version).

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Microsoft Bob to be included in Windows 7

I have a close friend who works at Microsoft, who told me yesterday that starting with the next beta release of Windows 7, the traditional Explorer GUI will be made optional. By default, the new Microsoft BOB 7 will be the GUI on capable computers (Experience Rating index of at least 6.2).

The new BOB 7 GUI will feature the reappearance of Rover (last seen in Windows XP as a search assistant), as well as the rest of the original BOB cast, as well as many new characters. They will all be rendered live in 3D, taking advantage of DirectX 11's new features.

According to my friend, he hear Melinda Gates say "Maybe BOB will actually have some users now that it'll be shoved in their faces. Then maybe my dream of conquering the world through my husband's brainchild using cute yet obnoxious helpers and clunky, unusable interfaces... Maybe BOB's prophecy will be fulfilled." She followed this comment with maniacal laughter.

I think this is a great idea. I really need an anthropomorphic yellow lab to help me balance my checkbook. I can't do it myself.