Monthly Archives: March 2008

So Sick of Vista — Downgrade #2

I built my Media Center PC about 1 year ago, for the most part, it has set dormant because Vista would not work. A few weeks ago I tried it again, and I thought everything was working fine, until last night, I got 4 blue screen of deaths. It also seems that it does not remember my HDMI monitor too well. I have to tell it to switch to HDMI everytime I load the comptuer.

One Note: I did not have so many issues with my Dell D820. I think this is because hardware has not caught up with the OS, in any case I have to now downgrade a Windows Ultimate to Media Center XP.

Update 3/19/2008

I went to Install Service Pack 1, and guess what, it error’d out. So I decided to install XP Media Center from my MSDN subscription and all of the ISO’s are missing required install files. So I went to install UBUNTU, it failed, and I went to install FEDORA8 and it failed. I am thinking the hardware on this machine might be the root of my problems. I will start removing hardware tonight and get to the bottom of the problems… Maybe I can install Vista after all…

Google Reader Update

I have removed some boring bloggers from my reader subscription. Off the list:

  • Guy Kawasaki – How To Change The World Blog
  • Seth Godin – Seth’s Blog

I added these two because they were popular, I am not sure why, though I might revisit in a few months to see if they got exciting again.

VMWare Another Great Thing…

I have been building PC's and transferring information around for a long time but over the past few weeks I have been reading about some free VMWare products and one really awesome product called VMWare Converter. We used this product to convert my wife's old XP machine to a VMWare machine, so she could run it on her Mac with VMWare Fusion.

I also installed and started to use Ubuntu JEOS (Just Enough OS) on a VMWare Server instance. I think I will use these to replace my older Athlon XP Machines (they will die soon I feel.)

So if you want another machine, but don't want to transfer it, I recommend these steps:

  1. Strip down old machine (i.e. remove media files, and uninstall unneeded software.
  2. Download and run VMWare converter.
  3. Copy virtual machine image created by converter to another drive.
  4. Install VMWare Player on new machine, and then run your old machine. (Warning: Windows might require you to reactivate your machine because the hardware has changed significantly.
  5. Install UBUNTU on your old machine and turn it into a server or spare browsing machine.

Computer Book Market

I found a really cool article at the O'Reily Radar that talks about computer languages. It confirms what I was thinking for sometime about trends in the industry. If you want to learn a new language, go for the green ones, or uber green ones.


Word Automation with Groovy

I have been working with Ruby and PHP for a bit of automation, but I thought I would give Groovy a shot. It turns out Groovy is just as easy.

First follow the steps at CodeHaus to install Scriptom. Then create a groovy file and paste this in.


import org.codehaus.groovy.scriptom.*;

def write_word() {

	def word = new ActiveXObject("Word.Application");
	word.Visible = 1;
	word.Selection.PageSetup.LeftMargin = '2"';
	word.Selection.PageSetup.RightMargin = '2"';

	//Setup the font
	word.Selection.Font.Name = 'Verdana';
	word.Selection.Font.Size = 8;

	//Write some text
	word.Selection.TypeText("This is a test document");

	//quit and release COM resources
	word = null;



Language Uses & Editor Struggles

I was struggling for a bit on languages, which one to use, there are so many, do I use PHP, Ruby, Groovy, Python, or Jython or JRuby. I have settled on them let me summarize:

  • PHP - All my web programming will be in this language and my own custom framework.
  • Java - All my AI & Robotics programming will be in this language, one because of legacy code, two because of editor support (Eclipse) and three because of performance.
  • Groovy - All my robotics scripting will be in Groovy since it’s essentially Java and it’s easy to do simple stuff in Groovy.
  • *Ruby - All simple scripts, basic automation, parsing of CSVs creating & manipulation of text, etc.

The problem though comes in an editor, I am struggling a bit because I like Eclipse IDE. it’s easy to do stuff in CVS or SVN, it’s great at organizing my Java & Groovy projects, and PHP support is OK in the latest version of PHP Eclipse, but Ruby support via the DynamicTools is not so good and the code formatter looks/works better in Easy Eclipse. Also I want to start using VIM but I think I am stuck in this IDE mindset and I find it tough to shake it…


* The more I use Groovy, the more natural it feels. I think I will do this. I will use VIM for Ruby and other languages.