Zone38 Presents...
Letters to the World

31-Oct-2001

Well, I admit it– I’m

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 7:50 pm

Well, I admit it– I’m one of that (perhaps overzealously) geeky bunch who actually preordered a copy of Windows XP. And yes, I did read the reviews before I bought it; I didn’t want to waste $90 (the discounted academic price, of course ;-)) on something that I’d absolutely hate afterward, y’know.

And, well, I actually like it.

OK, before you Linux freaks shoot me, I will admit that it has certain shortcomings. Indeed, I dislike the little monopolistic nuances that show through in some parts of WinXP (most noticeably, the infamous Product Activation and those recurring prompts to register for a Passport account). But as an actual operating system, WinXP isn’t bad at all, and in many ways is well worth the price.

How so, you ask? Well, for one thing, it is a lot more stable than Win9x/ME, something to be expected since XP is based on the Windows NT kernel. That’s the thing that most reviewers laud about it– if you’re sick of Blue Screens of Death, you’d probably be quite well off upgrading. (I remember that when I used Win98, I got a BSoD simply by disconnecting my Pocket PC’s docking bay; now, I can actually move the computer away from my desk without having to restart it!) Since Friday, I’ve only had one major incident in which a program crash ended up bringing down the entire computer– and that was an old DOS-based program which tried to use a video mode my laptop’s display can’t handle.

And then there’s ClearType font smoothing. If you use a laptop display, you’re going to love this; even if you’re using a regular old CRT, it should make text quite a bit more readable. Jagged edges– who needs ’em?

There are plenty of other enhancements, including the reorganized Start menu (which actually seems quite logical in its design), the new task-based folder views (which I love), and the revamped Luna interface (which I’m pretty much ambivalent about), but they’re not really worthy of devoting an entire blog post to, and besides, they’ve been covered in numerous other reviews anyway, heh.

As for the bad aspects of WinXP? Well, you’ve all heard the deal about Product Activation by now; if you recall, I even blogged about it several months before XP was released. Don’t get me wrong; the process of activation is actually quite easy, especially if you’ve got an Internet connection– it’s just that I wonder what Microsoft will do when XP is no longer supported. There’s also the aforementioned MSN Passport integration, which I’m not all too keen about, as well as the general promotion of other services from Microsoft and its business allies throughout the operating system; thankfully, unlike activation, you can at least find ways to circumvent these if you know your way around Windows fairly well.

My rating? Eh, I’d say 8 out of 10. The stability and interface improvements are what bring it such a high rating, and I’d even go so far as to say that it’s one of the best operating systems MS has put out– but still, some parts of the interface just strengthen my concerns about Microsoft’s business practices…

Oh. And here’s a screenshot of my Windows XP desktop. (Yes, I’ve obscured both my username and my AIM list; OK, I admit it, I’m paranoid…)

And also, I found a rather minor bug, but it’s still worth noting because I’m a fontaholic and because I’ve some obsessive-compulsive tendencies: Where’s the zero in the font preview character set?

21-Oct-2001

Why does everyone act as

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 5:07 pm

Why does everyone act as if driving is so easy?

I mean, really, anyone who says such a thing isn’t really thinking about it. Not only do you have to be extremely adept at maneuvering the car and have extremely fast reflexes in case anything goes wrong, you must also be highly observant, able to notice the most seemingly insignificant things on the road, in order to succeed. And you must be able to do all these things at once.

And not only that, you must also have a “feel” for the road, so to speak. You need to be able to intuitively tell what speed you’re going (and, for that matter, whether it’s appropriate for the road you’re on). You should also be able to quickly identify where you are in relation to the road, preferably without even looking down at the front of the car to verify. You must be able to glance in many directions within a short span of time– through the windshield, toward the rear-view mirrors, down at the speedometer for a second, and let’s not forget those infamous blind spots–just to successfully carry out the most mundane maneuvers such as turning and merging.

Then there are all the rules you’ve got to keep straight in your mind as you do these myriad things. You can turn right at a red light, but not left— both of these cases, of course, having certain exceptions clearly marked on signs. And in the case of some red lights with special turn lanes, there’s no need to stop at all when turning. Then there’s the confusion involving who has the right of way at a 3-way or 4-way stop sign or at certain configurations of traffic lights; don’t even get me started there. And let’s not forget about those turn signals!

And these people say that driving is easy? I beg to differ…

18-Oct-2001

A new classic video game

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 12:07 am

A new classic video game font (is that an oxymoron?) posted on my fonts page: Manaspace, the font used throughout Squaresoft’s Secret of Mana.

15-Oct-2001

If you’ve never heard of

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 9:24 pm

If you’ve never heard of the legendary Portuguese-English phrasebook English as She is Spoke, I urge you to follow the link and read some selected excerpts that have been posted on the web. Seriously, this phrasebook was to the 1880s what Zero Wing was to the 1990s. Or at least “this is that I have think” about it, anyway; “how do you can it to deny?”

08-Oct-2001

Yet another video game font

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 9:10 pm

Yet another video game font churned out while I should’ve been doing schoolwork: Return of Ganon, the font used for dialogue in The Legend of Zelda for Super Nintendo.

07-Oct-2001

I recently got this piece

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 1:56 am

I recently got this piece of spam in my inbox. I’ve munged the addresses to protect the guilty, but still…badly translated English and pure falsehood at its finest. (Even the domain names are misspelled!) Anyway, enjoy…

From: "Admin" <admin@winprise.com>
To: <codeman38@yahoo.com>
Subject: Your password
Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2001 01:09:03 +0500
Reply-to: "Admin" <admin@winprise.com>

Dear Mr/Mm!
If you receive this e-mail, you're a winner.
This e-mail was sended to only 50 randomly e-mail
addresses. You is one of this 50 winners, which
have now opportunity for guaranteed receiveing
$500.000. Additional
information you can request
from web-mail form on http://postofis.[!@#].com .
Your password for access to the information is:
psH9F4kM
Password is case sensitive!
We're apologize for inconvenience if you not
interested about this. In this case delete this
e-mail. We are not store your e-mail address.
Thanks for your attention.
Admin

Is it just me, by the way, or does that last bit remind anyone else of Zero Wing? “We are not store your e-mail address”…”we’re apologize for inconvenience”… I guess all our spam are belong to– erm, never mind. 🙂

And oh yeah, the headers state that the message was sent from Poland, just in case anyone was wondering what specific form of badly translated English was being used.

01-Oct-2001

I got hit by a car

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 11:20 pm

I got hit by a car today.

No, that’s not a typo. That’s exactly what I said. I stepped directly into the path of a moving automobile this afternoon while walking in front of the student center. And I lived to tell the tale.

Granted, it wasn’t any major impact. The car was moving rather slowly, so much so that I could have sworn it was beginning to brake for me–an assumption I probably shouldn’t have made in the first place. It turns out that not only was the driver not slowing down, she didn’t even see me to begin with. Hello?! The shirt I had been wearing all day was colored a shade of orange which can be described as “more than moderately loud”, closer perhaps to that hue used for roadside cones and warning signs. And yet the driver claimed she didn’t even see me. Of course, it doesn’t help that, at the time of impact, that same driver seemed to have been in a quite engaging conversation with the three people whom she was giving a ride, oblivious to her surroundings…

Anyway, though, I survived. Though my leg still smarts quite a bit from the impact (and whose wouldn’t?), nothing was fractured or broken in the course of the accident, thank whatever natural or supernatural powers need to be thanked. And, well, I can only hope that my location on the fourth floor of an elevator-less dorm won’t be too much of an inconvenience… ::sigh::

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