January 17, 2007

It’s been a pretty interesting New Year thus far (at least technology-wise) around the ol’ Gilbert hacienda. Here, we’ve finally cast aside the last vestiges of 20th century technology and plunged head-first – for better or for worse – into the 21st century. (Meaning, of course, that within 1-2 years, this post will look as if it were some sad remnant left over from the Dark Ages.)

The first to go was our traditional dial-up setup. My blogging responsibilities kinda motivated that change, as I was getting weary of navigating the web via 50K speeds over a dial-up line. My first choice for DSL provider was AT&T, as we’ve been AT&T Worldnet customers for years, and this weblog uses my AT&T personal web pages as a repository for the ‘Goodboys Only’ section content. Unfortunately, AT&T’s DSL reach doesn’t extend to the 85233 zip code, so we were forced to go with our local provider, Cox. Fortunately, the smart guys at AT&T in their wisdom offer a reduced service ($5.95/month) for those who are forced or choose to go DSL with another service provider but wish to retain their e-mail accounts and personal web pages (nice!). So that worked out well, and I only have good things to say about the super-duper speed and reliability of our Cox DSL service.

The next development was the need to provide the same high-speed connectivity to a second device – in this case, my work laptop. This was motivated by the unforeseen news that, as I mentioned the other day, I was soon to be working full-time from my home. Surprisingly enough, it all went pretty smoothly: a call to Cox technical support and a friendly chat with a knowledgeable resource there (surprise!) revealed that I didn’t need a second physical line; I could make do with a wireless router at no extra charge per month. A conversation with my boss led me to the local Office Max, where for $49 smackers I purchased a Linksys 4.2 GHz wireless router, which, after 1 1/2 hours of trying to decipher the directions and ten minutes of actual installation (!) led to a successful test.

Quick note: What was interesting (and remains perplexing to me) was that on the first day of operation, we were getting numerous outages (sometimes 2-3 an hour) that required us to unplug and plug back in the router to get things going again; then, starting the second day and since, the setup has worked virtually flawlessly. Hmm…

I wish I could say the rest of this post is as pleasurable an experience to write about as it has been thus far, but alas, such is not the case. And I place all the blame squarely on Microsoft and its damned Internet Explorer 7 browser.

I first discovered the ‘joys’ of IE7 after foolishly loading it on my parents’ computer during a weekend visit last month. Sure, the install went fine, but, as I soon discovered, IE7 has its own mind when it comes to security and displaying web content. The first thing I discovered was all this tabbing that IE7 provided (so you don’t have to open multiple IE windows when doing multiple web-browsing). To me, this was never a big deal, but evidently Microsoft thought so. And, typical of Microsoft, they also made the toolbars more confusing and cumbersome to use – something my parents definitely didn’t need.

But what really threw me for a loop was when I checked out this humble website to see if there were any presentation changes with IE7, and boy, was I in for a shock: the text fonts, sizes, and formatting were all screwed up. Welcome to ‘IE7 compatibility’. Fortunately, the good folks at Blogs-About Hosting were over it like white on rice. So, for a mere $50, you are now looking at a website 100% fully IE7 compatible. Thanks, Microsoft.

The other thing that bugs me about IE7 is its security handling and finding out that several websites I visit on occasion (no, they’re NOT porn! :-)) show up as having these things called ‘invalid certificates’. For example, my friend Jerome’s site had been unavailable to me for weeks, suddenly, in the last day or two, it’s now perfectly accessible for some reason. All I can say is, if you’re going to download IE7, I recommend not selecting their special text option, ditching the stupid tabs feature, and reformatting your toolbar. Maybe others feel differently from me re: IE7 – that’s OK – but I’m not sold on it at all.

A quick housekeeping note, re: the Blogroll. I’ve added the following websites:

* Betsy Newmark has a fine blog – why I didn’t add her originally is truly a puzzle, as I’ve enjoyed her writing for some time.

* And two cool sites for all you cats and chicks out there: Alfred Shaheen (a post is planned for later this week), and Lotta Living, another website I’ve become quite fond of. It specializes in “Mid Century Modern Lifestyle, Design, Art, Furniture and Architecture” (more on that somewhere down the line as well).

All are worth a peek or two.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:52 | Comment (1)
1 Comment
  1. […] Original post by GoodBoys Nation and software by Elliott Back Posted 16 Jan, 2007 | Categories: Uncategorized  […]

    Pingback by Blog Hosting » Tech Talk — January 17, 2007 @ 4:32 am

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