Credit to St. Kate’s Computing Services

A while back, I about an annoyance in update scheduling on the computers at St. Catherine University. While my experience was disrupted for that one night, I don’t think I made it clear enough that overall, the St. Kate’s IT department runs things very well. Because of when that incident occurred—during —I wasn’t in the best of moods, and I think my writing the following day reflected that. Compared to other institutions at which I’ve had the privilege of computing, St. Kate’s actually leads the pack in most areas. Augsburg College provides an especially good contrast to St. Kate’s: Operating…

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A Thought About Efficient IT Administration

I’m kind of calling out St. Kate’s Enterprise Computing Services department in a way, because I want to know why they would schedule a restart-required software deployment an hour before the computer lab is to close. Can anyone with experience in Information Technology and management of company/school computer networks tell me why the times chosen to deploy new software are chosen? My experience last night of a new software deploy completely disrupting my very limited time on the computer happened at Saint Catherine University, which has a generally great library (unlike Concordia University in Saint Paul, though Concordia used to…

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Windows Vista: Problems and Advice for Microsoft

I’ve been sitting on this post idea for a while, since about the beginning of last month, if not a few days before that. In that time I’ve tried to come up with some good answers to the question Chris Pirillo posed at the end of his “Windows Vista’s Rants” video (it starts around 16:30 into the clip). Here are my thoughts on Vista (rather than ) and, if I’m lucky, a few good ideas that Microsoft would do well to take to heart. The Complaints Don’t take this post the wrong way; I haven’t forgiven Vista in the least…

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Internet Explorer Upgrade Nags

Fortunately, Microsoft hasn’t pushed out a required upgrade to Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP yet. They’re definitely trying to get people to upgrade, though. A few times now, I’ve had the Internet Explorer download page from Microsoft.com open on me, instead of my homepage (iGoogle over HTTPS). At the moment, it says, “Upgrade with confidence,” right under the first heading (normal text, below “Internet Explorer 7 downloads”). Sure I have confidence in how much better IE7‘s rendering engine is, but I don’t like the new interface or their implementation of tabs. That’s why I still use Internet Explorer 6.…

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Windows Update Reboot Prompts

No, I wasn’t recently annoyed by one of these, but I thought I’d mention them while I’m out of town and unable to keep up on the latest news. So every PC user has probably seen a restart prompt by now. Windows pops them up every ten minutes after installing updates, trying to get you to reboot the computer and apply the new code. What Windows doesn’t take into account is the fact that you might be in the middle of something that takes more than ten minutes. Granted, there are workarounds (like using the Group Policy Editor), but it’s…

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Funny Randomization: Microsoft Downgrades Vista

Found a little site called isyournewbicycle.com, which allows you to plug in any word before the domain (such as I did for this with microsoft.isyournewbicycle.com) and get back a randomized phrase. On the third or fourth try, I got this little gem: Great fit for the company that made the worst operating system I’ve ever heard of, eh? Just thought it was funny. Any takers? Beg-to-disagree-ers? Hit the comments; I’m waiting to hear from you!

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Q4 2007 Site Stats Review

As , I’m reviewing the browser and operating system statistics for this site again. All data is from the period 2007-10-04/2007-12-31. So, on to business. First up is the overall browser chart. Firefox leads with 57%, followed by Internet Explorer at 29% and Safari at 10%. I also got some negligible visits (less than 2%) from Mozilla, Opera, Camino, Netscape, and Konqueror, plus a very few hits from what appear to have been mobile browsers, such as HTC_TyTN_II Mozilla and Palm680. Drilling into per-browser version information, Firefox had a pretty good spread of versions, even getting about 80 hits from…

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Internet Explorer Patch Fix Released

Microsoft has released instructions for fixing the Internet Explorer installations by an update. The fix entails editing the Windows Registry, that hulking configuration database that is the bane of all consumers (due to how often it gets corrupted). Apparently, the problem affects certain customized installations of IE6 on WinXP SP2. While Microsoft didn’t say what customizations caused the problem, users of some newsgroups speculate that the problem was related to antivirus software, seeing as how users of Norton (Symantec) and McAfee users who experienced the problem were able to solve it by uninstalling the patch, uninstalling the antivirus software, reinstalling…

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IE7’s Blocking of prompt()

I haven’t experienced the supposed goodness that is IE7 first-hand as of yet, but I have heard plenty about its shortcomings and annoyances. Another I just read about today is the default settings that blocks websites from using the built-in prompt() method in JavaScript. It wouldn’t be super annoying if Microsoft handled user permission intelligently, though. As it is, IE7 displays the by-now familiar Information Bar (introduced in IE6 with Windows XP’s Service Pack 2) and the user can allow “scripted windows” on the page. Unfortunately, the scripting engine simply ignores the prompt and moves on through the rest of…

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Cool Stuff: XsX Alpha-Blended Cursors for Windows XP and Vista

A little idea got to me through Google Reader today. About an hour ago, I installed the XsX alpha-blended cursors on my computer and already I’m loving them. It’s neat because almost all the cursors are the same shape, just with different colors. They’re bigger than the default Windows set, and they look almost Mac-like, which is generally a plus. I suggest you try them, if you’re on a PC. There’s an “untested” pre-XP instruction set for those willing to experiment. I highly recommend them. You can find instructions and the self-extracting download at Tiensivu.com.

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