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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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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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Blizzard of 2010 
This past Wednesday, we had out first true blizzard in ages. After getting significant snowfalls on December 18-19th, February 5-6th, and February 9-10th, the winter of 2009-2010 will be one of our snowiest in years.

For the first major snowstorm back in December, I had quite an adventure which left me and my car spun out into the median on a major US highway because I had two final exams on that Saturday morning. Also, my grandfather had a heart attack that day shoveling snow. He was left in the hospital for nearly two weeks.

The next major storm, which was just a week ago, had me racing home from school on a Friday afternoon in order to make it home before the snow started accumulating on the ground. I made it home at 4:30, right when the first flakes started laying on the side streets.

And the latest storm, a true blizzard, just happened a few short days ago. It started snowing on Tuesday afternoon, at about 4:30 again, and didn't stop snowing until about 4:30 the next day. By 1:30 on Tuesday afternoon, Tuesday evening classes were canceled, and at around 8:00 Tuesday night, classes for Wednesday were canceled (my first snow day since an ice storm in 2008). At about 4:00 pm Wednesday afternoon, they canceled classes for Thursday, because many of the roads in the area were simply impassable. On Thursday night, I had the pleasure of digging my car out of about 20" of new snow. Myself, and two others got it out from the snow in about an hour.

The forecast is calling for more snow on Monday into Tuesday, my roommate and I are taking his truck back to school instead of my car. Many of the side streets are still in very poor condition. On my drive home today, I had to be detoured around the side streets of a small town, and the streets were barely wide enough for two cars to pass.

I really hope spring comes soon...

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