Wake Up Call

We all have to stop and realize at one point just how fragile we are. We’re not made of some miraculous unbreakable material, even though it feels that way sometimes. We’re not immune to the terribly harsh things that life brings our way. Whether it be mental or physical, we all succumb to it at one point or another; we are human. Unfortunately my wake up call came in the form of a death. The death of a dear friend who I regret to admit I had completely lost touch with over the past few years.

My friend was undoubtedly one very special person. He had this way of making you laugh that just couldn’t be matched by anyone else. Some of the best times of my life were made possible because of him, and even though we might have gotten into trouble for doing some of the things we did, it was always worth it. I have so many memories that I can look back on and immediately burst into laughter because of some of the ridiculous antics involved. From setting things on fire for no reason to bowling with our cars, it was all miraculous. I just wish I hadn’t taken it for granted.

I think we hear that sentiment all too often and we grow numb to it. Don’t take your family for granted. Don’t take your friends for granted. Don’t take your job for granted. It becomes one of those things that goes in one ear and out the other; until you are waiting comfortably unprepared, only to be rocked by news that you wish wasn’t true. You just want to wake up from the horrible dream that you’re encapsulated in. You just want to wake up and get back to normality.

Well, that is what I’m going to do. I’m going to wake up and stop taking things for granted. I love my family, my friends, my job, my life, and I’m going to start acting like it. We’re all guilty of spacing out to some extent, we just need to start admitting that its true and start doing something about it. Don’t let a day go by that you don’t tell someone you love that you really love them, and mean it. Don’t let a day go by that you don’t reach out and show them you care. There are so many things that I wish I could go back and share with my friend, but now its too late. I am not going to make that mistake again.

In the midst of it all, I find myself smiling. I hope you can too.

WoW Realm Status for WordPress

WoW Realm Status Screenshot

I was looking around the other night for a WordPress plugin to display the status of a World of Warcraft realm, but came up empty.  This left me very sad, but also gave me a reason to work on a new little project!  I decided to create my own WordPress plugin that would provide me with a widget to put in a sidebar, allowing me to display realm status for any US realm.

The plugin is aptly named WoW Realm Status and can be found on the wordpress.org plugin directory, or directly here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wow-realm-status/

It is very simple to use, also.  Once you install and activate the plugin, navigate to your widget configuration page and drag + drop the WoW Realm Status #1 widget into one of your sidebars.  Then you simply give it a title and fill in which realm you’d like to display the status for.  It is as simple as that.

I plan on adding support in the future for displaying the status of multiple realms, I just don’t have the time to finish that at the moment.  I’ve also been asked about support for WoW-Europe realms and have decided to shy away from that altogether.  WoW-Europe doesn’t use the same kind of mechanism for reporting status as the US realms do, making it a pain to retreive info for them.  Maybe sometime in the future when I’m really bored I’ll attempt it, but until then, I’m sorry but you’re out of luck if you want WoW-Europe support.

If you have any comments, questions, concerns, threats, pies, algorithm books, etc. feel free to email them to: onezero DOT ss AT gmail DOT com

Weekly Playlist: March 30th, 2009

Here is my weekly playlist for the week of March 30th, 2009.  Sorry, I neglected to post one last week! 🙂

  1. We Shine by  Fee — Amazon.comWikipedia.org
  2. The Sleeping House by Cool Hand Luke — Amazon.comWikipedia.org
  3. You Are My Sunshine by Copeland — Amazon.comWikipedia.org
  4. Maybe I’m Dreaming by Owl City — Amazon.comMyspace.com : Also available for purchase in the iTunes store

Presto, A Very Fast-booting Operating System

About a week ago I came across a product called Presto while I was browsing the interweb. The first thing that caught my attention about Presto was its claim that you could “start your computer in seconds — like magic.” “This thing just has to be awesome,” I thought to myself. I mean, who doesn’t like magical operating systems that allow your computer to boot in mere fractions of a minute, providing you with practically instant access to an array of commonly used applications? That may sound sarcastic — well, I did mean to write it that way — but in truth, Presto is everything it claims to be.

PrestoI received an email from Presto yesterday informing me that the beta version of the product was available as a free download until April 13th, so I set off to download it and see what kind of trouble I could get myself into. It was a mere 400-and-something megabytes to download, a little bit less than your typical Linux LiveCD download — not bad at all. The installer was pleasantly painless and installs Presto by default into your Program Files directory, also adding info to the Windows bootloader that allows you to boot into Presto. Once the installation is finished you simply reboot and choose Presto at startup rather than Windows. On my machine (AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+, 4GB RAM, Barracuda AC-1 sound card, NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT graphics card) it took Presto a mere 13 seconds to fully load once I chose it from the boot menu.  Now that is impressive, but could it deliver the functionality it promised?

The short answer is yes.

The long answer is… once you boot into Presto you are greeted with a delightfully bright user interface with a dock/panel on the left side and plenty of screen real-estate for all of your applications on the right.  On the panel you’ll see various icons for applications like Firefox, an IM client (Pidgin), Skype, File Manager and one icon that takes you to the Presto Application Store (more on that later).  Toward the bottom of the panel are the Window List and Shutdown icons, followed by the system tray (i.e. sound, network, etc.) and finally the clock.  In addition to the applications listed on the panel, Presto comes with OpenOffice.org 3, Adobe Reader 8 and RealPlayer pre-installed also.  If you need a fast-booting OS with instant access to instant messaging, web browsing, and document editing, Presto is for you.

PrestoOne of my favorite features so far is the Presto Application Store.  When you launch this, it brings you to the Presto App Store web site providing you with a slew of applications available for easy installation, as well as a list of recommended web sites and web applications for you to check out.  Want to listen to music with Last.fm?  No problem, install it in a few easy clicks from the app store.  Need Picasa or The GIMP for some creative work?  You got it.  Xandros Incorporated certainly had simplicity and functionality in mind when developing Presto, and it seems to have worked out very well.

I am writing this blog post in Firefox running on Presto, listening to music with Last.fm and chatting with people using Pidgin.  It took me less than a minute to install and even less time to boot into.  For those of you who play many games or need specialized software not available in the Linux world, Presto probably isn’t for you.  For those of you who just want your computer to turn on in a decent amount of time so you can check your email or browse the web, Presto is perfect.  I can only imagine how wonderful it would be for you netbook owners who are tired of wait times.

I have to say that I am very pleased with this beta version of Presto.  It is a product that promises fast boot times and great functionality, and it certainly delivers on that.  If you are at all curious, I recommend you give it a whirl before April 13th while its still free.

[ Click here to download Presto ]

Weekly Playlist: March 16th, 2009

I had the idea to start posting a weekly playlist of the music (albums) I’ll be listening to at work, in the car, etc. I’ll also be posting links to Amazon.com’s page for the album if you’d like to listen to a sample of the music, and Wikipedia.org links for more information.  For bands that don’t exist on Amazon or Wikipedia, links to whatever web-presence they have will be included.  This post will be the first of many, so I hope you enjoy it!

  1. Burning Empires EP by VNV Nation — Amazon.com : Wikipedia.org
  2. Common Existence by ThursdayAmazon.com : Wikipedia.org
  3. In Rainbows by RadioheadAmazon.com : Wikipedia.org
  4. The Walls Have Ears by VearaMyspace.com