Archive for Life of Brian

Apr
01
Filed Under (Life of Brian) by on 01-04-2008

Wow…I can”t believe i”ve been awarded my MVP in Directory Services again!!!  This is my third year in a row and i”m honored again.  It really does go to show that karma is alive and well.


 Brian

Jul
24
Filed Under (Life of Brian) by on 24-07-2007

I read a few weeks back that Microsoft extended their warranty on the XBOX 360 for an additional 3 years. I was kind of surprised that Microsoft did that since it is rare to see a company react that way to customer complaints. Not that I think Microsoft is a shady company, but it does show how much they care about their image.

Most of my friends have 360s but I haven”t heard a single complaint about this Red Lights. To be honest I hardly ever play my 360 now that I have my Wii. However we do use it as a DVD player for the girls to use to watch their movies. The girls don”t actually put the movies in as they are still a bit too young to give that responsibility too. My friends play the heck out of their 360s!

Well just the other day Sami turned it on to put a movie in and sure enough we had the infamous Red Lights!!! I quickly did a search on the Internet and knew that it wasn”t looking good. I ended up calling them up and they are now sending me the UPS shipping info to have me ship it back for a replacement. L

My 360 is not the only device I”m having problems with. For the longest time my Wii also has had a 1 pixel horizontal line all the way across the screen of my TV. I called them up and they also have sent me the shipping info. L

For the next few weeks the McCann family will be without all console joy!!! Hopefully they hurry up and send them back home.

Apr
18

Now that my home theater room is 99% complete it is time to update my computer. The reason being is that my current computer is too large and not powerful enough for what I need. Let”s start with power… How does an Intel QX6700 Core 2 Extreme sound?


QX6700
One of the great benefits of working at Intel is that we get CPUs at about half off. (No I will not buy one for you!) This should allow me to run several virtual machines and not run into a CPU bottleneck. I”m going to have to get some more RAM but the 3 GB I have now will work. Of course Windows Vista Ultimate x64 will be installed on it. I could have gone for huge drives but currently don”t have the need for it. My total storage space will be around 500 GB. Shame on me but I went with an ATI 1950Pro video card. The big reason was that I didn”t need to get a high performance GPU but instead was looking for a low power GPU that will still allow me to game if need be.


But wait…I said my original computer was too large. My new computer is going to use a Shuttle XPC and specifically the SD39P2. This will fit perfectly in my component stand for in my home theater room.


Shuttle
Love to hear if anyone has any thoughts on the system.

Apr
01
Filed Under (Life of Brian) by on 01-04-2007

I was pleasantly surprised to get the email regarding my MVP renewal. This is my second year and I”m just as excited and thankful this time around as the first! I have to say the MVP summit really got me excited about wanted to work with technology even more and then to share that knowledge with the community.

Hopefully Microsoft picked up some really good people this year and of course kept some great talent. Congrats to all those others that got theirs.

Mar
18

Just got back from the MVP Summit and all I can say is that it was GREAT! There were so many great people there so much sharing of knowledge.


During the Keynote which was done by Bill Gates a former co-worker of mine got up to ask a question. He went out to talk about how he had a copy of MITS Altair BASIC 4K and wanted to know if Bill would sign it, which he did. One of the best things was that in manual there it stated that if you had support issues to call the software department and that Bill Gates, Paul Allen and Monte Davidoff will be glad to assist you.


After the keynote I went up to Lorin and took the following picture:



I have to say that I”m extremely jealous of Lorin since I myself am a collector of old Microsoft software. My earliest box is Windows 286. The Altair BASIC is the holy grail of software products since it was the first. Great job Lorin!!!

Feb
10
Filed Under (Life of Brian) by on 10-02-2007

Quick little update on the happenings of the room.


Matt came over today and helped install the fan and mount the TV to the wall. I can”t stand installing fans and this one finally went up after dropping each of the screws at least twice off the top of the ladder. It took us awhile to try to figure out how to put the mount up and also how to mount the TV to the mount. However the most time consuming part was trying to figure out how to take the stand of my Westinghouse LVM-47-1. Apparently you have to remove the four screws on the bottom middle of the TV that are on the outside of the center part that sticks out. I admit we had to call tech support for that but it was Matt that gave in and mentioned that idea. J


Here is a status update of the project:

























































Item


Purchased


Installed


TV


Yes


Yes


Mount


Yes


Yes


Fan


Yes


Yes


TV Stand


Yes


No


Carpet


Yes (due 02/19)


No


Stereo


Yes


No


Speakers


Yes


No


Couch


Yes


No


Remote


Yes


Configured


Cables


Yes


No


Fridge


No


No


Microwave


No


No


 
As you can see the carpet is really holding me up. If the carpet was here and installed I could at least enjoy the room. As it stands now my garage keeps filling up with space and my car is awfully lonely outside by itself.


Finally here is a picture of the TV up. Not much is there and it looks kind of bare without everything else.

Feb
09
Filed Under (Life of Brian) by on 09-02-2007

You know it”s about time I write about a concern I have with Google and some of the services they provide. Today”s rant is on Gmail.


Google first introduced Gmail back in March of 2004 to 1,000 people and was available by invitation only. Gmail touted some pretty impressive features which included a total of 1 GB of storage used for email (currently they offer almost 2.8 GB) and promised to make searching through your email easier. All of this was and still is absolutely free. Back then other popular email providers were allowing for anywhere from 10 MB to 100 MBs. Sure you could get more space but you would have to shell out some cash for it. Other email providers eventually raised their limit to compete with Gmail and the world is a better place for it…well except now I have way too much email saved up.


My issue with Gmail is that this service (along with many others) is still to this date in BETA!!! It has almost been 3 years and this product has not been lifted to Production status. The core functions have been working flawlessly for sometime so it troubles me that it is still in beta. Is Google afraid of something or are there issues behind the scenes that Google is hiding behind the interface? If there is one thing that bugs me it is products that never move from beta.


Google seems to be trying to tie their products together into an online application suite that will deliver a fatal blow to Microsoft. For what it”s worth I think they are doing a good job providing these services online but they will never be taken seriously in the enterprise if they can”t mature a product through some type of lifecycle. This is why Microsoft is winning and will continue to win in the enterprise.


As of today Google finally opened Gmail up to the public so the masses could enjoy the benefits of it. I wonder how other companies would be looked at if they had a product stuck in beta for 35 months and allowed anyone to use it but provide limited support. For all the products Google has their support options are limited. Good luck ever talking to anyone that supports a product at Google. You”re lucky to find a product that provides more than an online FAQ page.


I”m not a Gmail hater, in fact I use Gmail as my primary personal email. I have to give credit where credit is due and Google”s Gmail did raise the bar when it came to storage space and searching capability. I also love the conversation based view. I just wish Google and all it might, could pull this product out of Beta.


I welcome your comments.

Jan
29
Filed Under (Life of Brian) by on 29-01-2007

Last night around 11:30 I went to Wal-Mart because I heard they were going to get 20 Nintendo Wiis.  When I got there, there were about 30 total people waiting in line.  I felt pretty good because there were several families and at my count I was about 19 in line if everything went smooth.  Promptly at midnight 3 men and 1 woman came out pushing a cart of the prized possession.  After the line started moving I realized too things. First, more people were buying in pairs with their family and finally they didn”t start out with 20 but instead 16!  I knew know my chances of getting a Wii were slim.  🙁

When I got to about the 4th person up I did the calculations and realized that I was in fact number 17 in line and that there really was only 16 available.  The lady in front of me who was an older Asian lady asked if I had any kids.  I said I have two girls. She wanted to know if they were a factor in me buying the Wii.  It absolutely was and is a factor in me buying a Wii.  I love my Xbox 360 but it really isn”t family oriented.  Regardless, she gave up here spot for me to get the Wii and I”m now a hero to my family.  Thank you lady!

I bought Zelda and Wario World and both are a true blast.  However the game we currently play the most as a family is Wii Sports.  As for controllers, I bought an extra Remote and NunChuck along with a classic controller so that we can download some of the older games and relive our past.

Bottom line is that my arm hurts…along with Sami and Sue”s.  I don”t know if Alyssa”s does since kids never get sore from such activities.  I have to say that,, if you are looking for a fun workout this is the device to get.

Jan
27
Filed Under (Life of Brian) by on 27-01-2007

Thought it was time to give another update to the Home Theater Room.

The couch (black) has arrived at the store and I”m trying to figure out when I want to have it delivered to the house. I still have a TON of work on the gutting the office. I hope to get started on that this weekend. First thing I need to do is start boxing things and storing them in the closet. Then I hope (fingers crossed tightly) to take the desk out of the room. This will suck taking it down stairs. It sure was a pain bringing it up.

I got a 12% coupon in the mail from Best Buy so the girls and I went tonight to purchase the TV and stereo. We ended up not going with our original idea for the TV but instead stepped it up a notch at went with the Westinghouse 47in 1080P LCD monitor. I really don”t care that it doesn”t have an HD Tuner built in since I will have a COX HD DVR up there. Oh and now the bad news. For now I have decided to keep the Xbox 360 downstairs.

We also picked up a Sony HT-7000DH AV Receiver. This model comes with a DVD player that upscales to 720p and 1080i…I know no 1080p yet. One of the main reasons I went with this one was because of the inclusion of the DVD player and the fact that it has two HDMI inputs…one for the DVD player and the other will be used for the HD DVR. Oh yea it also came with an $80 gift card on my next purchase. I”m planning on spending that on the cabinet that will store the receiver, DVD, and HD DVR. The cabinet can be seen here but the picture makes it look like crap. With the $80 gift card and the 12% coupon the guy gave me back to use again J it should be just under $300 for it.

Wow what is next? Carpet and Paint. I”ll leave that for another update.

Jan
14

For quite some time now I”ve been neglecting my office. I”m not really sure why that is. Perhaps that I”m in love with Sami”s Dual Core I-Mac running XP or it may be that I really hate going upstairs to work…I admit with age comes laziness.


Sami and I have discussed using the room as Entertainment/Game room. Well today made it official. We went ahead and purchased a two seat movie theater couch (We got it in black). I know, you”re thinking why so small, why not a three seater… Two reasons:



  1. We are restricted by the size of the room

  2. The seats are for us. The kids can sit on the floor if they want to watch a movie with us J

The next purchase will be the TV. As Sami sits next to me she says “YIKES!!!” We are going to go with a Westinghouse LVM-42W2. I honestly can”t wait to see some of my Xbox 360 games in 1080P (as my close friends now laugh out loud at my latest hiatus from Xbox Live).


I”m going to be looking for several thinks to finish out the room. I need to find a decent priced Mini-Fridge and Microwave. I also need to replace my rather large desk with a much smaller one however it still needs to fit my 26in LCD. Any suggestions on those please feel free to comment.


Here is what the floor plans look like currently.


Media Center Room


The only thing that is final is the couch and TV, everything else still needs to be planned. I”m also debating what type of flooring I want to use. The room definitely needs new carpet but Sami wants wood floors…does she not care about those poor girls of ours and how uncomfortable it will be. J


I would love to hear what you all have to say. Any advice or past experiences would be great. I”ll keep you all up to date and include pics of the room as we go down this path.