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Windows XP Service Pack 2

If any of you out there have been using Windows a while, you're probably aware that Service Pack 2 for Windows XP is out. I have two computers here at home. One is what I call my "widget" server (just for files and stuff,) the other is my main computer I use all the time.

Small note: I highly recommend that if you use your computer at least once a day, you should have a secondary computer. It doesn't matter if it's a piece of crap. Having that second box is good for backing up stuff, storing things and so on. With a router (available at your local Radididididio Shack,) Windows is easy to network so you can share files to/from your boxes.

Anyway,

First I'll talk about the install process.

The Service Pack 2 update seems to be easy. You install and reboot. I figured I would try this on the widget box first. Blew it up. Completely. Blue-screened everything on next boot. Had to reinstall the whole thing. I was pissed.

On my main box, I held off loading SP2 until I was sure I could do it safely without blowing up the box. I cleaned it up and bit and ran the install, installed fine. My widget box most likely blew up because I was attempting to do it remotely (yeah I know, dumb idea..)

Next I'll talk about what I immediately notice about SP2:

Service Pack 2 is supposed to address the (ever prevalent) security issues among other things with Windows XP, particularly with networking and the Internet Explorer web browser. One word can describe this whole update thing: "Nannification". This is word I saw used in Motor Trend magazine a few times, and it very accurately describes what this update does: It's "nanny's" your browsing and network habits. For people like me, this is very, VERY annoying - because the first thing you want to do is TURN IT OFF - which isn't easy to do.

I'll explain:

1. Pop-up blocker now in Internet Explorer.

One would think this is a good thing, right? Not really. The pop-up blocker does a lot more than just block pop-up's, in a bad way. It makes some sites cease to work entirely - like citicards.com (credit card provider). When you attempt to use their Virtual Account Numbers feature, it simply doesn't work at all because that system requires the use of one safe pop-up.

Because of my distaste for the pop-up blocker in IE, I went back to my old blocker, Google Toolbar. Works great. Always has. It blocks about 95% of what I don't want to see, and allows me to see everything I want to see.

2. Software-based firewall put in Windows for stupid people.

Anyone who uses fast internet should have a router. It acts as a great firewall, truly. However, most people are outright stupid and just run their computer "wide open" to the 'net, hooked up to a cablemodem with absolutely no protection whatsoever. Windows Firewall is a software-based solution to this. My opinion? It sucks. It constantly pops up warnings everywhere like "Are you sure you want to view this site?" or "Are you sure you want to download this file?" Yeah, stupid Windows. If I didn't want to I wouldn't have clicked it in the first place.

If that isn't annoying enough - it's not easy to find out WHERE to shut it off. Nowhere in the new SP2 install does it mention "Oh by the way, you have a new icon in your Control Panel called Windows Firewall." I had to find this out myself.

A software-based firewall is a dumb idea because someone eventually will find a way to break through it. This is exactly what happened when the Blaster Worm virus hit. Everyone who had software-based firewalls got hit, and hit hard. I had two friends that both got nailed so bad that they had to reinstall Windows. One of them had to do it twice. Those of us with hardware-based firewalls (like a router) never got hit, at least I didn't. I think that's proof enough that a software-based firewall just doesn't cut the mustard.

3. Auto-updating rammed down your throat

A part of SP2 that is a bit of an annoyance is the constant reminder to turn auto-updating ON. I don't like it ON. I have it set to OFF, because I will update my computer when I feel like it, not when Windows tells me to.

4. Another stupid icon in the taskbar

There's either a red or green "shield" icon in the taskbar for "Microsoft Security Alerts". I hate having icons down there. I have only 3. One for my messenger, one for my Sound Volume control and one for Steam. I don't need any more. And no you can't just right click and get rid of it. Hell no, that would be too easy! You have to disable your Windows Firewall, a few other things, and then it goes away -- AFTER A REBOOT.

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The only positive thing about my SP2 install is that it didn't blow up my computer, thank God. Every time of of these Service Packs comes out, I just cross my fingers and pray that my computer starts up again properly.


**Gibson guitars (Les Paul, SG, Explorer and more) for less are right here


b3L.net

I have a new web site for my CZ (Condition Zero) stuff, it's at www.b3L.net. That is all, carry on. ;-)



100

Wow, my 100th post. Who'da thunk it.

I did not go to work today because of a stomach bug. I think the worst of it is over and I can go back tomorrow to finish up the week. Kinda sucks I'll be losing a day's pay because of it.. but what ya gonna do. When you're sick you have to take care of yourself.

I have been working on my CZ server and it's running the way I want it to now. For those into the tech-side of the whole CZ thing, I had a problem with amxmod admin access on the server. Seems that after the map changed a few times around with the bots running, I would lose amxmodmenu entirely. However, I found a fix for it - and now I have amxmodmenu all the time. Good deal. As far as my playing habits are concerned, I only play CZ on my server, I don't venture out to other servers anymore. Too much drama. Besides which, I never started having fun with CS/CZ anyway until I had my own setup. :-)

I'm also starting to pick up the habit of talking with old friends again. Feels good. At work I'm also getting new friends there also -- this is a good thing because where I werk, this is my "ilk" so to speak. Nothing but tech-heads, musicians and regular office-type people.

Some tidbits on blue-collar vs. white-collar (this should be a completely separate post, but whatever):

I am a white-collar person and have been since 1996 (officially). This means I work in the office. I do this every day. Ever since I've been in the office, I always notice the dirty looks given by the blue-collar people. It's unavoidable and inevitable no matter where you work. Contrary to what anyone would think, there is a large social difference between the blue and the white.

Fortunately for me I do have some credibility as a blue before I went to white, here's a few blue jobs I've had:

I've had summer jobs doing landscaping for cemeteries - not easy. Cemeteries are large and you can't just get on a ride-mower and cut all the grass like that. You have to go around each tombstone with a gas-powered trimmer and do each one manually, avoiding flower beds, small flags (for the buried military) and other things. It literally takes about 2 days to do a whole cemetery correctly. The hot summer sun does not make it any easier. If you don't think it's hard werk, try holding a gas trimmer all day. Your shoulder will be ready to fall off before the day is through. There isn't a soul alive who can wear something like that and not feel it at the end of the day.

I've also worked for UPS as a "driver helper", during the Christmas season (heaviest volume of the year). Anyone who would say "yeah, that's easy", try it. Imagine a delivery truck piled TO THE ROOF with packages with no set order whatsoever, of all sizes, shapes and weights. When you stop to make a delivery, you have to literally climb/swim through packages to find their package, sometimes 30 pounds or more. Then you have to usually climb up two (sometimes three) flights of stairs to get to the person. Half the time they aren't there, so you have to swing around before the end of the day and do it all over again. You also have to avoid angry dogs, pissy people who don't want to come to the door and lots of other "interesting" things about the job. Very demanding, and 100% physical - all blue. There are a few friends that have told me "that ain't nothin'" - sure, sure.. keep talkin'. You wouldn't last a day.

Now on to the white:

The largest difference between blue and white is mental stress. White has 10 times more mental stress than blue ever could. How do I know? I'll compare the UPS job above to my current job at the help desk:

UPS Driver Helper: Help driver deliver packages. Lift boxes and bring to the customer. Deal with pissy customers and dogs. That's it, there's nothing else to that job.

Help Desk Rep: Perform 100% phone support for a 10,000+ employee based company. Have intricate knowledge of Microsoft Windows backwards and forwards. Also know popular apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access and so on. Have working knowledge of how a mainframe works. Know how to use a Meridian phone system, including how to transfer, conference, pick up, delegate, forward and so on. Must be able to type at least 50wpm (I do 75wpm). Must know how to use a Remedy Call Ticket System. Must know how to escalate procedures effectively. Must have a good customer service ethic and deal with every type of customer from plant worker to CEO. Have excellent documentation and phone skills. Must be able to troubleshoot LAN, Windows, Remote Access connections, some WAN, and..... (here's the kicker,) be able to resolve all your calls in 7 minutes or less, in rapid repetition - all day long.

There's actually about 20 more things I could put above, but you can immediately see the difference compared to the blue. Blue is all about simple directions for simple tasks that require physical action in order to perform them. White is all about complex directions for mutiple tasks that require mental ability in order to perform them.

I personally don't have any friends that can do my job, nor would they want to. Where I work, the turnover rate is so high that when someone actually stays for more than 6 months, they're considered a "veteran". I have seen people come in, work for a week - then quit. And I don't mean going to the boss and saying "I quit". It's "I'm outa here." They just leave and never come back (cowards!!)

If you should ever pose the question "Why do white-collars make so much more than blue-collars?", just examine the stress level - you tell me if you
could do it.