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I’m not a mechanic

Well, I always knew that I’m just not that interested in being a mechanic. It just never interested me that much. I just drove the car, and on occassion do the extremely simple stuff like change wiper blades, refill the windshield washer fluid, replace light bulb, fill up gas :)

Last night just proved how inadept I am at car internals. It took me almost 90 minutes to replace 1 front light bulb !!! in freezing temperatures (it was -19C windchill outside, so in the garage probably close to 0C ?)

You could split the time pretty evenly, about 45 minutes trying to figure out how to pull out the damn thing, and another 45 minutes figuring out how to put it back into its cage. And OMG, the layout designers for the car really should be congratulated by mechanics all around the world. After all, it is them who made the location of these bulbs so hardly accessible and impossible for a regular joe like me to change, that all the mechanics can do this for $40 – $80 an hour :)

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Dell USA All you can upgrade !

Well, not to be outdone by Walmart’s sub $500 laptop, Dell has decided to offer something similar on their Inspiron 2200 line. [Link]

Dell also has this offer where you can add up to $600 worth of upgrades for free (well, I tried configuring the Inspiron 6000, and it didn’t offer me 1 GB of memory). The best one to configure would be the Inspiron 9300, as it allows all the ugrades, including 1GB of memory. [Link]

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US$378 HP Laptop in US Walmarts’ Friday Nov 25 2005

For those of you in the US, Walmart is supposedly going to sell these HP Pavillion ze2308wm ’s for $378 or $488, depending on area; this Friday in-store only (ie, no online purchases, although I can’t confirm this).
It’s a pretty basic configuration, but still quite useful for those needing a laptop urgently. Hopefully someone can get a good deal out of this.

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Parents suing game maker for boy’s death

Apparently a boy in China became addicted to the World of Warcraft online game, tried to replicate a scene from it, and jumped to death from top of a building. The parents are angry and are trying to sue Blizzard, the company who developed the game. [Link]

I personally think this is quite ridiculous. Although I admit that games have sometimes grown out of hand with their content, subscription prices and addictiveness, it is still actual people who make the decision to buy and play these games.

In this case, the boy was allowed to play the game until he became addicted. Can you blame the developer for something such as this? Shouldn’t it be the parents’ responsibility to supervise and monitor their child, ensure that he doesn’t play too much, and not get addicted to these kinds of games? Shouldn’t they have given him a talking to about his apparent overindulgence in online gaming? Shouldn’t there be limitations from his parent on the amount of time he could spend online?

I believe that although gaming is a good way of relieving stress and enjoying life, too much of it is quite bad for your health and life; it makes you become enclosed and lack social interaction skills. The parents of this boy are trying to shift the blame to other people, when they should’ve realized that there’s nobody to blame but themselves.

The answer to kids becoming addicted to online activities isn’t shutting down all and everything that is online; it’s having responsible parents who explain the disadvantages of being cocooned up in a virtual world, and enforce rules to make sure these kids go out, enjoy other activities, do their homework and be around other people. It is the responsibility of parents to keep track of what their children are doing, instill moral values in them and make sure of their well being until they are ready to be on their own.
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Thank God it’s Friday

Wow, this has been a really long week. I’ve had a project at work that had to be demo’d today, and it took me days and days to get certain things working. I actually came in at 7.30 this morning to get some things done. Then, the meeting got postponed till 1.00 pm, meaning my coming early was quite a waste of sleep time :)
At least the demo went better than expected, a few glitches in the system showed up when it shouldn’t have (what’s new, bugs show up at the most opportune time), but at least I’m done for this week and pressure’s off for now.
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MSDE tips

I’ve installed and used MSDE enough times to realize that these 2 steps / options are quite important to me, and often forgotten during the command line install.

1. Allow mixed mode authentication
By default, the MSDE setup allows only Windows authentication, even though a strong password is supplied with the command line install.

Modifying this after install requires a change to a registry key. Depending on whether or not you specified an instance name, it would require a change of value from 1 to 2 in:
HKLM\Software\Microsoft\MSSqlserver\MSSqlServer\LoginMode (if default instance)
or
HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\Instance Name \MSSQLServer\LoginMode (if named instance)

To avoid this, I use the SECURITYMODE=SQL parameter in the command line.

2. Allow TCP/IP connection
The default install actually prevents any TCP/IP connection to MSDE, meaning you cannot remotely connect to it from another computer in Enterprise Manager, nor connect to it from applications outside the local computer. I understand that MSDE is just for development purposed, but sometimes I just need to test application connectivity from a remote machine.

To change this after installation requires you to run a file called SVRNETCN.EXE within
C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\80\Tools\Binn (if default install, otherwise similar directory based on your install), where you add the TCP/IP protocol

To set this up at install, I use the DISABLENETWORPROTOCOLS=0 parameter in the command line.

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So my usual MSDE command line installation goes like this:
setup sapwd=”” securitymode=”sql” disablenetworkprotocols=”0″
Saves me the time of having to do those extra steps afterwards.

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Funny joke

I was listening to the radio yesterday, and they broadcast a joke. It was quite funny, and so I searched the web for it. Here it goes:
A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinary surgeon.
As she lay her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and
listened to the bird’s chest. After a moment or two, the vet shook his
head sadly and said, “I’m so sorry, your Duck Cuddles has passed away.”

The distressed owner wailed, “Are you sure? “
“Yes, I am sure. The duck is dead,” he replied.
“How can you be so sure,” she protested. “I mean, you haven’t done any
testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something.”

The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room, and
returned a few moments later with a black Labrador Retriever. As the duck’s owner
looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front
paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom. He
then looked at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head.

The vet patted the dog and took it out, and returned a few moments
later with a cat. The cat jumped up on the table and also sniffed delicately
at the bird from head to foot. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its
head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room.

The vet looked at the woman and said, “I’m sorry, but as I said, this
is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck.” Then the vet turned to
his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he
handed to the woman.

The duck’s owner, still in shock, took the bill. She cried, “$150
just to tell me my duck is dead!”
The vet shrugged, “I’m sorry. If you’d taken my word for it, the bill
would have been $20, but with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan, it’s now
$150.00.”
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Interesting links

Another very good article on improving traffic to your site

10 things to do with Technorati
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Layout change

I’ve always known that my design skills left much to be desired, and after awhile decided that I’m just gonna scrap that old design that I tried on my own, and use some existing templates.

I’ll be doing a few changes here and there during the next few days, and hopefully the site will look better without my attempts at design :). Thanks to my brother who did the logo you see at the top right corner.

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Birth (un)preparation

It just occurred to me how much different it is between now and when my wife was pregnant with our first child. When she was with our first, at about 5 or 6 months, we were busy reading articles, watching videos and in general scrambling trying to get ready for the delivery.

Right now with the second pregnancy, it’s just a happy go-lucky attitude in general. At 7 months, we haven’t rehearsed the breathing techniques, haven’t prepared anything and are quite care-free. Not sure if this is a good thing, but my wife assures me that all the techniques we learnt during the first pregnancy just went out of the window during delivery anyway :).
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