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ARCHIVE: June, 2006

----- 06.27.2006 --------
Last week I was thinking about the animated mug shot of myself (top left) and realized it was a little dated. I shouldn't say a "little".... I did it in August 2004! So I decided to update it! Last week, on Monday night, I set out to shave my head to commemorate the first day of summer.... and of course to create a new animated mug :) So, I took tons of pics so I would have lots to work with... after all, while shaving your head, there's no room for "re-takes" if a shot doesn't turn out right. So, the past 3 nights I've been working hard at assembling what you see. Believe it or not... that's 58 pictures! If you click on it, you'll see the whole collection... which STILL cracks me up when I look at it. Why? Sometimes I feel a creative urge to do something different... something you don't see very often. As you can see by the progression of them, you really have something sweet to look forward to in the coming years.

Anyway... since I'm leaving to go to Windsor on Thursday night and then straight to Algonquin for camping, it was now or never. Sure, I could have "done it when I got back"... but realistically, that probably never would have happened. So, it's not a perfect animation by any stretch, but it's fun. You should have seen it in it's 6.3 megapixel full glory.... now that hurt my machine trying to display it! Anyway, it's very late... but I just had to get something new up here. And I'll have a bunch more... just wait for all those photos I'll have from camping! Take it easy everyone... and oh ya, Happy Canada day! Cheers!

----- 06.25.2006 --------
It's been a pretty crazy weekend. It all started on Thursday when Jen's brother Steve (from MTL) & his girlfriend Naz (from Malaysia) came down to visit for the weekend. Thursday we at a nice dinner, had a few beers and called it a fun night. Friday was a full day of work, followed by a stag for my buddy Mike Shore. A stag being a stag, there's no need to tell you there was quite a bit of drinking involved. Normally I don't mind, but Saturday Microsoft put on a big conference at the MTCC. It was called "Energize IT". The main reason I wanted to go was to hear Mark Russinovich speak. I heard him last year and was excited to hear him again! Unfortunately He only spoke a bit in the morning (which I caught), but had to leave early and one of his coworkers gave the presentation in the afternoon session on Recovery Manager & Protection, both very cool products from Winternals. Anyway, the conference was a big success and I had fun and learned a bit too while I was at it. I enjoyed tinkering with ISA 2006 Beta they had setup in a massive lab session. I couldn't believe all of the effort that went into a free event. And since it was a Saturday, it's safe to say that people weren't there just to skip work, which seems like why some people attend the other events. This doesn't apply to myself of course.... or I wouldn't have given up a Saturday... a very hung-over Saturday... for it. Anyway, it was a pretty awesome event and there are some really kick ass new technologies coming out. I think 2006/2007 will be Microsoft's largest wave of releases yet!!!

So after the Engerize IT conference, it was off to meet up with my buddy Blake and go see the NIN (Nine Inch Nails) concert. It was AWESOME!!! I coulnd't believe the effects!!! And they were soooo good in concert! The crowd was pumped and I couldn't get over the energy that you could feel all around you. They had this kind of curtain/cage that lower in front of them that was full of multi-colour LED's. With screens behind them and effects in front, the visual affect was to cool. At one point they looked like they were in some kind of lava aquarium, with red liquied and bubbles behind them, and red LED's tricklying down in front. Too cool! After that I met up with Jen & her brother again and had a few more pops. Needless to say today was pretty low-key! It's off to bed soon, and then it's a 4 day week ahead of me. Thursday night I'm off to Windsor to attend my buddy Kevin's stag on Friday night, and then early Saturday Laura and I are driving back up this way to grab Jen & Trixie, and then it's algonquin park for a week of camping. I can't wait!! Anyway... that's all for now. Hope you're all doing well... cheers!

----- 06.18.2006 --------
Wow, it's been a while since my last update! Apologies. Things have been quite busy lately. I figured I'd make a last update on this install of XP before I blow it away and install the Beta 2 of Vista - the "customer preview" edition. I should be able to update my site, but for a while, I may be without many tools. I have the beta 2 of office 2007 as well, so I'm looking forward to installing it to. It's time to be running tomorrow's desktop so that when someone (you?) has a question about new technology, I'll continue to have an answer. Atleast that's the plan. So... here goes nothing.... and I'll be sure to update you as I got to let you know how it goes. Cheers!

----- a couple hours later ------
[GEEK ALERT] OK, so I took the plunge and installed Windows Vista - Beta 2 (build 5384) as my primary OS on my machine. Actually... there's no dual boot... it's the only OS. I could run it virutally, but really, if I hit any snags, I'll resort back to what I know & trust: Windows XP. This way, if I hit a snag, I'm forced to work through it. Over the past few hours, I've had quite a bit of fun... you techies may enjoy this, but I have to warn you, the rest of you may not follow. You've been warned.

To start with, I've got a franken-PC Dell box. It's a P4-1.8GHz box with 1.5 GB's of RAM. Most of the original components aren't being used, such as video card, because better stuff's been added over time. Video card is ATI Radeon 9800 Pro... runs DirectX9 and supports Aero Glass effects in Vista (which have been pretty cool). I've got 2 internal HD's: a 20GB & a 120 GB drive. This is where it gets fun. I have a cheap 3rd party RAID card in there and have all my discs on seperate channels. All discs being the 2 HD's, plus a DVD-ROM & DVD burner. C: drive was my OS and D: was my data drive in XP. C: is a basic disc, and D: is dynamic (this was interesting... and unexpected... read why later). I also have a 160 GB external USB 2.0 drive that I back up to. Why external? I leave it off. As long as the physical power switch is off, no hacker can turn it on remotely... same goes for viruses. Yes, I know theft & fire are an issue since they are located in the same room so I have some offsite DVD's of my photos... but they only get updated every 6 months or so. When I looked today, I noticed my pics are up to over 30 GB's.... which would take about 7 DVD's to burn so I couldn't be bothered. I digress... The idea was to make sure that A) I don't lose any "custom" data... the stuff that's irreplaceable... photos, vids, docs, HTML, code, etc... B) I wanted to fall back to XP in a bind. If something goes wrong at work, I want to be able to VPN in. So, here's what I did first:

1. Make sure backup is up-to-date by running my script off the external drive, then checking most important data for integrity & existance. Detach external drive and put it in safe place.
2. Shutdown PC, open it up, detach D: drive (120 GB). Boot off C: drive (20 GB) to make sure I can get into XP, access the Internet, attach to work via VPN, remote desktop to my work PC. After that succeeded, I would keep the 20 GB inside, but disconnected. It will be my fallback disc if Vista eats everything else. It was key that I could use it without the D: drive since so many programs were installed to D:, I had to make sure none of these programs left my OS dependant.
3. Shutdown, detach C: drive from power & data ribbon, then connect D: drive. First I used my RAID card and Vista's setup couldn't see my disc!!! I guess WinPE 2.0 doesn't like the cheap RAID cards. In fact, after install... this device remained "Unknown"... but I'll touch on that later.
4. Shutdown, disconnect everything (again), open PC, connect larger HD to onboard IDE controller, then put it all back together again & restart Vista setup.
5. Now Vista sees the disc, but won't let me do anything with it. It's a "DYNAMIC" disc... and VISTA won't touch it. No option to delete the volume or wipe the MBR... atleast not from the GUI. XP could do this... I find it strange VISTA doesn't. My guess is it will on final release, but for now, they want to keep their audience a little more technical by making it harder for average Joe? Although that doesn't make sense since everything is easier for average Joe to find inside the OS. Oh well...
6. I needed to convert the dynamic disc to basic. Without being able to run to the Internet, I plugged away, old school. Sure, Jen's PC is in the other room... but that's far... atleast 15 feet!
7. From main setup screen (inside WinPE 2.0), choose "Advance Recovery Tools". Then choose command prompt.
8. CD to x:\windows\system32 and run DISKPART
9. DISKPART> List disk
10. DISKPART>Select Disk 0
11. DISKPART>Convert Disk
12. Create Partition Primary Size=500
NOTE: This was a mistake of sorts. I wanted to later enable "BitLocker" (ie. Entire Disk encryption), however the minimum is 1500 MB, not 500 MB. Microsoft recommends taking this off the end of your partition, using SHRINK (see that later)
13. DISKPART>Create Partition Primary - this created a 111 GB partition.
14. DISKPART>Select Part 1
15. DISKPART>Format
16. DISKPART> Select part 2
17. DISKPART>format
USE EXTREME CAUTION. Make sure you select your disk first, then verify the partition using "list partition". This is why I am keeping my 20 GB XP disc disconnected... I am not any expert with these tools (yet) and don't want to make mistakes

Once finished, I exited my command window and had a disc to install to. I chose the larger partition and proceed to let setup do it's thing. Vista has some amazing deployment technologies built in!!!! First of all, it contains a large image file (.WIM) that you can modify and use for your own deployement using "IMAGEX", microsoft's new imaging & deployment tool. I was at an MS technet conference on Tuesday and they showed it off. Quite powerful! In fact, this coming Saturday I am going to an "EnergizeIT" conference that should kick ass. My hero Mark Russinovich will be speaking... I can't wait to hear him again! Not only does he know his sh!t, but he can present great as well! Anyway... back to my vista install....

Once I finally booted into the OS, I had my choice of backgrounds and stuff. All of them are very "inspirational" and are bound to boost my productivity & creativity.. lol. I stuck with the mountain image reflecting on the lake. First thing I notice... no Internet. Why? My wireless card has no drivers! I couldn't find the disk and I know I have it on my external drive, but I am not ready to let it touch the beta code of vista yet since it has the only copy of some of my data... I got to get used to this and know I can attach/remove USB keys without loosing data before risking data that counts. So, I used Jen's PC to dl the XP drivers, toss 'em on USB, and poof! They installed fine and I connected to the Internet.

So after reading a bit more about BitLocker (no pun intended ;), I realized I need another partition of atleast 1500 MB. I go into Disk Manager hoping for an easy way to do this. Well, I sort of found it... but not really. I right-clicked on my large disk and chose Shrink. Specified 1500 MB and voila! Instant!!! Now that's a huge improvement! However, I can't expand my 500 MB partition. So I right-click, delete it. Then I have a 500 MB and a 1500 MB "unallocated" chunk of disk on either side of my active partition, but I can't join them. Would a defrag let me push them together? I know that I needed to change my offset from 501 MB to 1024KB, but I wasn't sure how and since it's getting late and it's sunday night, I decided screw it. I went to CMD to run DiskPart again and I got ACCESS DENIED! How could I get at it? There may be a command line method, but instead, I elevated the rights on a new cmd session. Made a shortcut on my desktop, right-click, run-as administrator privledges. Run Diskpart, shrink by 500 MB more, then created a 2000 MB partition, and formatted it. Then I rebooted....

CRASH! My first Vista crash.... only an hour or two into it!. And no, it wasn't a blue screen this time... it was a black screen of death! I got the following
File: \windows\system32\winload.exe
Status: 0xc000000f Info: The selected entry could not be loaded because the application is missing or corrupt.

I boot off the CD and when I chose "System Recovery Options", it took over for me. After a couple minutes, I got a popup:
Windows found problems with your computer's startup options. Do you want to apply repairs and restart?
I was given a View Details link, and two buttons: REPAIR & RESTART and NO. Details tell me:
Path: Windows
Windows Device: Patition=D: (1998 MB)
I assume my MBR got moved with the diskpart stuff. Anyway, I hit "Repair & Restart", crossed my fingers, and I was back up & running. Painless. VERY painless! I don't know why it happened, but I am impressed that it fixed it by itself! Good vista :)

My overall experience is going well... but some things are a little annoying. For example, admin functions require me to click Yes. After a clean install, almost everything I do is admin-related and all I do it blindly click yes to execute stuff. Why? A few reasons. At this point I'm not very far in, so there's not much to lose if I do screw something up. But really it comes down to being human: I'm impatient and a little ignorant. I can't be bothered decided if what I'm doing is "dangerous". I would prefer to turn on admin mode for 10 minutes or so, then go through and do everything instead of training myself to click through the nags. It's these nags that beat us everytime... we should head warning... but it's too much effort. Lol.

Well, it's well past midnight and I have to work in the morning. My experience has been quite limited, but did include this update (in notepad of course). The gadgets on the right are cool... I added gauges for CPU & memory and I like the way Vista keeps busy. Even when I'm doing nothing, it's ramping up CPU for things like indexing and stuff while my computer would otherwise be in idle. Well, if you read this far... I hope some of this can be handy for you. I'm really anxious to get office 2007 beta fired up, but I think I'm best going to bed now as I'll have another long week ahead of me at work. Take it easy everyone...

----- 06.07.2006 --------
First off, I'm glad that's it's 6.7.6 and yesterday was uneventful. I feel better knowing that there are far fewer wackos out there then I had anticipated. What a relief :)

So this is pretty weird. I'm sitting at my computer, a little bored, and surfing for just about anything. First I go to Google Video and start watching all sorts of video. So then one thing leads to another and I'm looking for really geeky videos and stumble on some funny "nerdcore". And the segway from there has me searching for geek tattoos since I haven't searched for any lately. Naturally, the first hit in google takes be to BMezine.com, which is actually where I posted my binary tattoo back in 2003. So I'm flipping through the pages of nerdy tattoos and I especially decoding the binary tattoos. I'm trying to stay sharp enough so I could read one on the fly if I had to. Wearing one yourself, it's only right you could read someone else's, right? Anyway, I come across this one:

In no time, I decode it to read "Girard". How ironic is that??? And from the looks of it, these are 2 people with it (my name in binary!) on their arms... and neither is me btw, in case you were getting suspicious. And even stranger, if I didn't know any better, I'd say that top arm was mine! Skinny arm with skinny geek fingers attached. Not that that's a bad thing... ;) I even had to check my own arm just to see if last night was wilder then I thought... he he he. But then I realized the nails were too nice and not all chewed up like mine. On the site where I found this, the caption below the picture, which most often is the literal translation (and ruins the fun of translating) was "Respect For One Another". And under the caption was the credit: by Justin, American Skin Art, North Tonawanda, New York. So far, a bit of googling has left me with no leads... yet.

Now what? Not sure... but at some point, I will find who has my name tattooed to their forearms. I tried googling for "girard binary tattoo", and sure enough, the only hit I got was my own page. lol. Anyway... weird, ironic, small world... whatever you want to call it, I'm sure it's a clue to the bigger picture. This puzzle we call life... will anyone ever solve it? More importantly to me... will I ever solve it? Well, I'm off to bed... too much excitement for one night! Cheers all!

----- 06.05.2006 --------
So, I'm a little worried. I have been for months. Why? Tomorrow is June 6, 2006. So? 6.6.6. So? Well, every religious nut out there who believes that 6.6.6 is the beginning of the end is going to make it so. The self-fulfilling prophecy. And this shit on the weekend? The "terror suspects"? They're up to 17 now, and believe there are more. And the 3 tons of ammonium nitrate they had? That's 3 times what was used in Oklahoma!

Here's the worst part: Part of me says "Yah, we got the bad guys before any harm was done". Another part says "OK, so we got some, what about the rest?" And the other part of me says "Bull Shit!". It's pretty easy to make up a story about saving the day. It'll get you in good with the States and the rest of the world, letting them know Canada is on board in the anti-terrorism game. But the real result? All of the citizens are walking around in fear. On my way into work (remember, I live downtown Toronto, beside the dome and under the CN tower...), I saw extra cops everywhere. All types of security guards were doing walk arounds, inspecting under stairs, etc. And after work when I went to the Dome to work out, they checked my bag for bombs/weapons. Normally they only do that if a game is on. So what do these security guards know that we, the public don't? Were they issued warnings we weren't? And secondly, why is the police force so unprofessional that they would even let the public know they stopped anything?T their moment to shine? And what details did they release? On the news I heard this "Where were they going to bomb".

"I can't tell", the officer says.

News woman "Can you tell us when?"


"Do you know when"?

"Of course we know", he gloats with an ego. "We have all their plans and we stopped them. But I can't tell you anything".

Good job buddy... egg them on! Show some professionalism and keep a lid on it! If you stopped it, why are you scaring the public? People are now so nervous that there may have well been some kind of attack. Same result... and even better... it keeps us civilians in line. Fear is power.

OK... now I'm going on too far. But, the other parts of me are nervous... these are the thoughts that have been playing over and over in my head for months. And to see this on the news only makes it worse. I hope we get though tomorrow. I hope we all do, world wide. However, my prediction is a fear of the worst, and I think we'll see attacks all over the world. Let's just hope I'm wrong and 6.6.6 is only a number used in fairy tales....

----- 06.04.2006 --------

Wow, June already! I was about to post my onto the previous page when I realized we are already in a new month! Wow, time flies! And it seems to be going quicker & quicker as I grow older. Speaking of growing old, Jen's great grandmother lived until she was 98!!! To imagine the things she's seen in her life.... she would have even remembered a time before there were cars!!! What will I see in the future? Will I stay with it, or will the youngsters blow past me, thinking I'm an old fool? Time will tell... Anyway, we are back now from Vancouver. We took off last Monday & came home on Thursday. The funeral was as nice as one can be. Jen & I enjoyed ourselves, hanging out with her family.

I took some pics I hope you'll enjoy. Here they are, posted HERE. The pics of the eagles were taken with my digital camera (Fuji FinePix F610) through a telescope! I put my camera in macro mode and Voila! I couldn't believe how great they came out! As you can see from my pics, there's no way I could have caught anything without the help of some serious zoom! One pic is no zoom, and you can barely see the tree, let alone the eagles. The one after it is fully zoomed, 3x on my camera. And then the rest are with the telescope. They were 6.3 megapixel originally, and some were cropped, and others were simply shrunken to display better online at 800 x 600. If you see any you like, let me know and I can email you the originals (1.6 MB each). What all these pictures really do is give me the itch for a digital SLR. I'd love to be able to mount a huge zoom lens on my camera, mount it on a tripod, and take some incredible nature shots. One of these days you'll be on here looking at those types of amazing shots. Anyway.... it's nice to be back.

What else? Oh ya, this afternoon Jen & I took Trixie for a walk. The rain finally stopped and today turned out to be quite beautiful out. Afterwards, we went and saw X-Men III - The Last Stand. It was really good! I enjoyed the special effects! Well, I gotta run. We got ribs in the oven and I have to flip them & baste them a little more. Mmmmm... Ribs... :) K, taker easy....


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