3G and mobile phone batteries 
Ever since I got a new mobile phone (a Samsung SGH-A777) in May 2009, I've noticed that whenever I'm in an area that has 3G, my phone's battery seems to deplete faster when when I'm in an area that has no 3G.

When I'm at home, like I am this week for Spring Break, my phone can stay at a full five bars of battery life the entire day (from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep, about 16 hours later).

While I'm at school, where there is 3G streaming through the air, I notice that by the time I'm about to go to sleep for the day, my phone is always down to four battery bars. The only variable that changes is the 3G. I don't use my phone any more or any less at school.

I don't necessarily find it surprising that 3G seems to shorten battery life, I do find it interesting nonetheless.

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Year 2010 bug (and other VCR ramblings) 
I just dusted off my old Magnavox VCR (I want to record something next week), and when I went to set the date in a DD/MM/YY format, I attempted to enter "10" for 2010, and it the screen simply showed a ? for the year. I then did some playing around, and I've discovered that only 9 and 0 are supported for the first number of YY, thus meaning only 1990-2009 are supported. So in order to use the timer, I had to set the date to 1999, because 1999 and 2010 are identical calendar-wise. I believe the VCR was manufactured sometime in the early or mid 1990s. I guess Magnavox didn't think that their stuff would've be used this far into the future.

Also, earlier in the evening (after I had discovered the date issue and solution), I was about to junk this VCR. Whenever I would enter a tape, it would make some clicking noise, and then eject the tape. I took the cover off, and cleaned the heads (surprisingly the inside of the case was dust-free). That did nothing. I then remembered that a few months ago, I had to move the VCR to clean my bookcase off. I figured that I might have jarred some internals around and that's why it might have not been working. So I simply picked up the VCR, lifted it about a foot off the ground, and dropped it a few times onto carpet. Afterward, I inserted the tape, and success, it didn't spit it back out. It's amazing that analog recording is so picky like that, and just something being jarred would make it work or not work.

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R2! 
No, not that R2, this R2...

After considerable thought, earlier tonight, I finally got rid of my 33-month old Vista x64 install on my desktop. Like anything else, the circa May 2007 install of Vista Ultimate was starting to signs of age. Certain things within the OS were broken, some programs liked to hang, and I've noticed a general slowdown as I had installed more programs and saved more files over the years.

Why did I chose to install Windows Server 2008 R2? Because I got it for free through Microsoft's DreamSpark program. Otherwise the software would cost me in excess of $400, which I don't have right now.

Windows Server 2008 R2, being based upon Windows NT 6.1, is fundamentally the same as Windows 7, but with a few changes. All of the consumer "goodies" in client Windows are missing, although some, such as Windows Media Player, Windows Defender, and all of the Windows Aero eye candy can be re-added into the OS through the "desktop experience" feature in the server manager console. 2008 R2 also doesn't include the wide range of drivers that Vista and 7 do. After I installed the server OS, I needed to hop online to find audio and video drivers.

On top of all that, there are some pressing application compatibility issues present in Server 2008 R2 (and most other versions of NT Server). In order to install a conventional client anti-virus program, like Avast, you have to hack the registry. I've also had some problems with video editing software, like Windows Movie Maker not cooperating properly with some file types I throw at it.

Despite those issues, I've had a generally positive experience thus far, but I feel like I may need to dust off my Vista DVD once more in order to run programs not compatible with Server 2008 R2. I may either dual-boot Server 2008 R2 and Vista, or simply install Vista inside a virtual machine and run it that way.

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Fallen into disrepair, again? 
Well, once again, it looks like I've completely forgotten about my blog. It might have just been the end of the school year, and I hope that is the case, but now that it's now summer break for me, I hope to post a lot more often here.

Now on to something a bit more interesting... How difficult is it to find blank VHS media these days?

My adventure started yesterday, when I went to Wal-Mart. I checked the electronics section, where I had gotten some blank tapes before, and there was no VHS to be found. Only a wide variety of blank DVD and CD media. I then take a trip across town to the mall, thinking I'm certain to find some blank tapes there. I walk in the the first place, Radio Shack. No VHS tapes. I then go to Sears, again to find no tapes. I ask an employee in the electronics section, and he points out an empty place on the shelf where the tapes should be and says they're sold out. He then suggests that I look at Wal-Mart. I tell him that I've already been to Wal-Mart and they had none. On my way out of the mall, I stop by the only other place that might sell VHS tapes in the building, FYE. Unsurprisingly, they had none.

So today, I get the bright idea that one of the many discount/dollar stores in town may have blank tapes. I first stopped at the Dollar General here on this side of town. I walk around the store for nearly 10 minutes looking for blank VHS tapes. I see many old videos and movies on VHS, but no blank tapes. While I'm walking the exit of the store, I spot a section with blank CDs and DVDs. After I stopped and stood there for a few seconds, I finally spotted a few two packs of TDK VHS tapes on the very bottom shelf. Since I rarely ever buy blank VHS tapes, I don't really know what a "good" price for them should be, but nonetheless, I pick up two packs, for three dollars each.

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Windows Vista Service Pack 1 
Today, Microsoft finally released the long-awaited first service pack for their newest consumer OS, Windows Vista. Being a Vista user for nearly a year and a half, I was eager to give it a whirl. After checking Windows Update nearly every hour today, I've come to the conclusion that my Conexant High Definition Audio drivers on my laptop are the cause of me not getting the update. Why?

When I checked Paul Thurrott's WinSupersite, I discovered that five audio drivers were causing issues with SP1, and at the end of the list was my driver.


What went wrong?

You may be curious about which device drivers were causing issues with SP1. (I certainly was.) The list includes certain versions of five audio drivers (RealTek AC'97, two versions of SigmaTel, Creative Audigy, and Conexant HD Audio), two biometric fingerprint sensors (AuthenTec and UPEK), Intel Display, a Texas Instruments Smart Card Controller, the Sierra Wireless AirCard 580 with the Watcher.exe application, and the Symantec software driver for the Symantec Endpoint Protection and Symantec Network Access Control clients. The complete list is available on the Microsoft Knowledge Base.


So like Microsoft tells me, I check "Chdart64.sys" and I see version 4.15.0.0, which is well below what is listed in the Microsoft KB article. So I head back to Windows Update, and I find an updated driver for the Conexant High Definition sound driver. I install the new driver, reboot, and check the Device Manager, and the driver version is 4.33.1.60, so I figure I'm clear to install SP1...

I once again head back to Windows Update, and check for updates. No SP1. WTF? I check "Chdart64.sys" again. What do I see? Version 4.15.0.0.

If I updated the driver via Windows Update, and the Device Manager lists the newer version, shouldn't the SYS file get updated as well?

So no SP1 for me for now. I hope the update process on my desktop will be much smoother.

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