The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Back To The Grind

We now resume your regularly scheduled NHL season...

From now until March 10, practically every team in the NHL is going to be part of trade rumors - should they stay or should they go? And right now, the two biggest rumors involve the Predators - one with Brendan Witt, the other with Olli Jokinen.

Jokinen, because of his success in the Olympic tournament, may have played himself out of the reach of Nashville - a pity, because he would be a huge addition to this team, on the level of the Sullivan trade.

Witt is the lesser of the two trades right now, and it's far from 100% that he's heading to the Music City. Rumor had it that he was heading to Nashville back in early February, but something happened that stalled the trade. Now, it's less than 50/50 that he's leaving Washington.

Right now, if there's going to be a trade, Witt is the more likely candidate - but it wouldn't surprise me a bit to turn on my 'puter the evening of the 10th to discover that the Preds made no deals. Poile isn't the type to make a trade just to make a trade (unlike SOME general managers); he wants something he can use and work with in return - and not just a "rental" player.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Symantec No More

The last straw with me has been achieved by Symantec and Norton Anti-Virus.

Last night, innocently trying to get caught up on NHL stats and Olympic curling results, NAV said that Live Update needed to update my virus definitions. Not a biggie, done it many times in the past. It checked to see if there was anything available, and notified me that there were new virus definitions available. No biggie; just click on "continue" and let it download them and we're set, right?


LU went a bit, and then gave an error message: Live Update cannot find any files on the server. When you click the little "click here to see more information about this error" link, it took me to a webpage that called for you to delete some of the core files of LiveUpdate, then restart the program and "rebuild" the definitions.

One little problem: the files in question can't be deleted because they're protected.

Guess what their next suggestion is if that step doesn't work - yep, uninstall and re-install the programs. I decided to do the first part - after downloading a copy of EZArmor from Computer Associates - and ignore the second part.

After all my headaches with Norton on my old Gateway, this one's a no-brainer: Symantec's history with my computers. And that means my iBook, too - if I ever get around to finding another Anti-Virus program that works on the Mac...

Saturday, February 18, 2006


I have officially surrendered.

The attempt at resolving my issues by doing a reinstall of SP2, and then by restoring my backups, failed miserably.

I was left with two choices: reinstall windows, or consider getting a new computer.

I went with the latter.

I'm staying with the cow company, though - a Gateway GT4010.

More info as it becomes available.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Words You Don't Want to Hear

There are several words you do NOT want to hear when you take your computer in to be serviced.

They are as follows:

"You are going to have to reinstall Windows."

They are the eight words that are the equivalent to "your car is totalled" and "you have six months to live."

After I picked up my computer from the Geek squad, they noted that it appeared that everything was working as it should - until I had them boot it up. Norton wouldn't refresh its opening screen (where it says how each area of NAV is operating, including when the last scan was). The GS guy also couldn't change something in Internet Options. That was when he uttered the infamous words above.

I do believe that I can try two things to get around this: first would be to possibly just extract rundll32.exe, or maybe just re-install Service Pack 2. Either way, I wouldn't end up having to nuke everything (and the hassle of trying to re-install all my stuff, and all my documents).

Either way, this looks to be a long weekend for me.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Viruses, Sleep Studies and Janet's Betting Habits

I officially reached the surrender point yesterday with my computer. When your Anti-virus program crashes in the middle of a scan, you know you're screwed.

When it come back up and tells you "Please re-install Norton Antivirus", you know you're really screwed.

When you can't even log back in to your own account to even try to re-install your AV – well, it's time to take it in to someone with more experience and more tools. Okay, at least more tools.

The old Gateway is now sitting at the Brookfield Best Buy's Geek Squad center, under the "experiencing virus-like symptoms" category. Hopefully, they'll be able to get it back up and running in short order; if they don't, I'll at least have a means of restoring a recent backup to my external drive.

The old adages are still true here: even if you think an e-mail is "safe", if you can't determine the sender, or the subject line doesn't make sense, trash it and don't open it. That's probably what happened to me; an e-mail claiming to be from H&R Block (which is the company that makes the software I use) was sitting in my Junk e-mail folder on MSN, and I thought it was a legit (or semi-legit) e-mail. Unfortunately, when I opened it, it had two big red-X picture holders. Guess what it really was.

And the other one – backup everything – is even more important. Ever since my buddy Eriks lost his hard drive due to a physical crash – mostly due to cramming TMS onto his computer – I've done backups regularly onto my ACER External drive. It's going to be a key feature for me to get back to 100%.

Right now, though, I'm stuck between two laptops – one Mac, one Windoze machine; one that's mine, one that's my wife's. I could do worse with my Mac, of course; I've got enough toys that I could very easily just run things using my iBook. Only thing, of course, is my dislike for how the Mac handles Excel. I'm so used to the shortcuts in Office 2003 in Excel, doing things on the Mac would be like pulling out hair. And I actually prefer my image editing on my Windoze machine – heresy, I know – but that's only because SuperPaint never made the jump over to OS X. A sad thing, that.

Anyways, lots of other fun things have been happening in the sports world since I last made comment:

Friday, February 10, 2006

Lots Of Stuff Going On

One day, you sit down in front of your computer, and it happens: one little thing on your computer stops working.

It could be a single program; it could be a connection with a hard drive or MP3 player or a hand-held computer.

You try and fix it. Unfortunately, the fix turns out to make things even worse. You start getting into the world of crashes - your computer doesn't shut down properly; it takes forever for the desktop icons to appear.

You actually succumb to calling tech support for your little toy... er, I mean, portable device. They're about as helpful as a hammer to your thumb. About halfway through your conversation, you realize that the problem isn't necessarily with your hand-held, as much as it is with your computer.

That happens right after your good friend on the other end of the line tells you to shut down all non-Microsoft services. Which is like telling you to strip down to your skivvies and go run out into the middle of the freeway to try and grab a hubcap that flew off of your car at 70 mph.

Meanwhile, all sorts of other little things start to go wrong. In trying to fix your previous little problem, you shut down your anti-virus program. BAM! It goes absolutely haywire when you try to restart it, and guess what you have to do?

Yep, now you have to re-install your anti-virus program. This, unfortunately, is about as easy as trying to solve algebraic equations by chewing gum.

Finally, you get your computer running close to what it had been before all this happened, and you then feel brave enough to try and re-install the software for your "peripheral" (that's a Mac term, for those of you who are in the Windoze world, for things like MP3 players, printers and hard drives).

Anyone care to take wagers on what will happen next? (No, Mrs. Gretzky, not you.)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Something Different on Sunday

Instead of my prognostications about the Super Bowl, I figured I'd share a few things I managed to dig up about... the Interstate Highway System.

The five state capitols that do not have an Interstate running through their city limits: Juneau, AK; Dover, DE; Jefferson City, MO; Carson City, NV; and Pierre, SD.

There are 46,773 miles in the Interstate Highway System; the longest interstate is I-90 (3,020.54 miles from Seattle, WA to Boston, MA); the shortest two-digit Interstate is I-73 (12.27 miles, from Emery to Greensboro, NC); the longest North-South interstate is I-95 (1,919.74 miles, from Miami, FL to Houlton, ME; goes through the most states – 16, including Washington DC).

The longest three-digit Interstate is I-476, running from Philadelphia to Scranton, PA (as the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike), a length of 129.61 miles. The shortest "signed" three-digit Interstate is I-375 in downtown Detroit, MI. The spur goes from I-75 to Jefferson Avenue, along Chrysler Drive.The entire length of the "tail end" of the Chrysler Freeway is 1.06 miles.

The shortest "unsigned" three-digit Interstate is I-878, a short "connector" ramp between I-678 (The Van Wyck Expressway) and the JFK Expressway, which is the beginning of the Nassau Expressway. The Nassau Expressway runs from Cross Bay Boulevard near the Aqueduct Racetrack to Rockaway Boulevard, running essentially parallel to the Belt Parkway; the entire length is about 3.9 miles.

The largest metropolitan areas that are not served by an Interstate highway are Fresno, CA and Mesa, AZ. I-5 runs Southwest of Fresno, about 30 miles away; the city is serviced by CA Route 99 (old US highway 99). Mesa, AZ has the Superstition Freeway (US 60) and the AZ Loop 101 and 202 in its environs, but the nearest Interstate is the I-10, three miles West of the 101 on the Superstition.

Four Interstates are not "continguous" – that is, they have sections that are separated by non-Interstate highways. They are: I-76 (OH to NJ/CO to NE), I-84 (OR to UT/PA to MA), I-86 (ID/PA to NY) and I-88 (IL/NY). The primary reason for the "gaps" are due to the re-numbering of lettered freeways (I-80S, for example) in the 1980's. The Western portion of I-88 in Illinois was recommissioned from Illiniois Route 5 (also known as the East-West Tollway) in 1988. In 2004, it was renamed the Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway for the former President (whose hometown of Dixon, IL is located off of the Interstate).

Interstate 238, connecting I-880 (the Nimitz Freeway) to the I-580 (the Arthur H. Breed Freway) in San Lorenzo/Hayward, CA is the only three-digit interstate without a "parent" interstate (there is no I-38). The freeway actually continues South as CA Route 238 (Foothill Boulevard) in Hayward. The section was named Interstate 238 out of convenience, due to the extension of CA-238.

Interstate 99, completely located inside the state of Pennsylvania, is the only Interstate Highway that is located "incorrectly". The highway, which extends from Bedford, PA several miles south of I-70 to US-220 in Tyrone, PA, is actually located between I-79 and I-81, but was given the designation I-99 by an act of Congress (hence the unofficial term "Bud Shuster Highway", since he was the primary congressman involved in getting the freeway built). The freeway is currently scheduled to connect North to State College, PA and Interstate 80 at Bellefonte, PA. In the future, I-99 will connect I-80 via Williamsport and US-15 to I-86 outside of Corning, NY.

In my home state of Wisconsin, there are actually seven signed Interstates within the state, including I-43 (which is completely within the state of Wisconsin). They are, from Southeast to Northwest: I-94, I-894, I-43, I-794, I-90, I-39, and... I-535 in Superior.

And finally, there is the unincorporated town of Breezewood, PA. It is the location of the Northern terminus of the Eastern section of Interstate 70, before it joins Interstate 76 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Due to a conflict between the Pennsylvania Turnpike commission and the Federal Government, I-70 ends at US 30 in Breezewood, and there is a separate entrance to the Pennsylvania Turnpike located a quarter-mile East of the terminus on US 30. Due to this little quirk of three main highways connecting, the "strip" of US 30 from the turnpike entrance to a mile West consists of numerous hotels and motels. The village of Breezewood has a grand total population of about 100.