Saturday, October 04, 2008

Highlights in Red

A couple of things: this Times Union headline jumped out at me from the weekend edition of the paper: "Wachovia's woes hit area schools" (subheadlined "College of St. Rose, Skidmore among local colleges with investments partially frozen by embattled bank") - I was under the impression that there was government protection from this kind of stuff. Financially-wise I think I (and maybe you) have been under a lot of false financial impressions! I had a discussion with a co-worker about purchasing some stock that had fallen to about a nickel a share. It's a common practice for investors to scoop up a bunch of shares in a distressed stock because, you know, what goes down must come up. WRONG! My co-worker assured me that should the company plunge into bankruptcy, the stock would become worthless, as in ZERO value!

For something "not that important" which "has no meaning" and "won't factor into the way Americans vote," The Biden-Palin debate sure shook a lot of people up! If it so doesn't matter, why does it matter so much?

Last night I was testing out wi-fi on my laptop and downloaded several episodes of "Xiaxue's Guide to Life" off YouTube. Xiaxue, if you're reading this, how can I get my hands on one of those "fake iPhones from china." Anybody else know? And Wendy, if I ate the meal you prepared in the cooking episode, I'd get 5 punds fatter before I left the table. My favourite ep is the photoshop one, where Lady X reveals the secret intricacies of image manipulation. All of the above can easily be Googled.

If you can read Chinese, you'll enjoy this one from Xu Jinglei's blog: 《开啦》第31期——HIGH,上线!!(多图)

While we're in Asia: mojix at Zope Junky Nikki writes about Heiankyo Alien [平安京エイリアン], a video game developed by the University of Tokyo's Theoretical Science Group in 1979. mojix explains that the game, which consists of dropping aliens into holes in Heian-kyo (ancient Kyoto), can now be downloaded and played without even installing it

One of my network computers was really pissing me off. Not only was it getting slow, the internet connection would "break" after about 5 minutes. It wasn't really broken, though. For instance, let's say I was on a blog, reading an article fro a few minutes and then wanted to post a comment. When I would try, I'd get that "Internet Explorer cannot connect" or whatever it is display instead of the page I wanted to go to. That was the start of a 5-day quest to give the old PC new life.

First thing I did was grab a free copy of Avast Anti-virus. Boy o Boy, you wouldn't believe the number of worms, trojans and virusses that had gone right by McAffe's sentry! I also downloaded a trial copy of NetLimiter so I might have a better view of traffic in and out of my PC.

Then I ran EasyClean to get rid of bad and old reg files and temporaries. Next it was ScanDisk and Defrag. And darn it all, after all of that, and after running HiJack This and other programs, the computer was still S-L-O-W and still breaking the internet connection.

My next door neighbor took one look and told me "here's your problem" ... it was something I'd put on the computer long ago and forgotten about. A program that tracks and reports cookies. But it was doing more than just that. It's name: STOPSIGN. Once it was disabled, the PC ran smoothly; the internet came at me (on dialup) as fast as neighbor's DSL! The moral of that story: after all else fails, invite a neighbor over to have a look!

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