One Care Live not updating AV and Spyware Defs

*Update 5/30/2007* Got home this evening and all appears to be well again…

I keep all of my systems up to date. This morning I noticed my One Care Live icon (in the system tray) was red and, on clicking it, I saw that I have an “urgent” warning that my virus and spyware definition files are out-of-date.

Clicking the “Update Now” button did nothing, nor did clicking the “Check for updates” hotlink to the right of the “Protection Plus” section.

Checking Microsoft’s web site (oncare.live.com) I see they have a community section where folks are discussing this issue . The last entry at the moment is the stalwart soul who has been on hold for over 104 minutes with MS’ tech support.

Interestingly, the laptop what was in standby overnight *seems* OK. I just brought it out of standby and explicitly checked for updates and it’s claiming that all is well. Maybe the issue is to do with the automated update (bad def file??)

I expect it’s a Microsoft glitch but I’ll be a little happier once the issue has been resolved…

Posted under Tech Stuff

This post was written by Marc
on May 30, 2007 at 9:32 am

Bottled water has its uses

I recently saw an episode of “Bullshit!” where they addressed the issue of bottled water. I have no real issues with tap water except that it occasionally picks up an odd taste the day after a rainstorm. And my refrigerator water filter eliminates that quite handily. I see no value and a rather an incredible expense in purchasing bottled water.

I am not a conspiracy theorist and can not bring myself to believe that all of the municipalities throughout North America are quietly colluding to poison or otherwise harm us through suppression of testing results on our drinking water.

That said, I do buy bottled water now and then. I find it really handy to have a disposable container that I can use for exercise or at work until I feel that it’s probably no longer really sanitary and then I can chuck it and start using a new one.

I think folks’ perception of what is sanitary vary widely and many would disagree with my take on it. But for me, I typically reuse such bottles for about 1-3 months before I feel the need to swap them out.

On my desk at work they are much better than open containers for keeping dust out of my water as it can sit there for days between sips. When I exercise the handy nozzle keeps it from sloshing water all over as I’m trying to take a swig while running or cycling (or even staggering around after X reps of free weights).

In the past I used sports bottles and those would get REALLY grimy before I’d do anything about them – but they are a nuisance to wash and I’m pretty sure that they are largely impossible to sterilize without either melting them or imparting the sterilizing agent’s taste to them. The bottled water is actually MUCH cheaper than buying new sports bottles, much more flexible so they’re easier to squeeze water into your mouth with, and you don’t feel bad discarding them after you’ve reused them 30, 60 or 100 times over.

My current exercise water bottle I started using when we had relatives over here in the middle of April. I exercise 3 out of 4 days and use that bottle every time. Maybe in another month I’ll feel the need to replace it.

Posted under Fitness, Opinions

This post was written by Marc
on May 29, 2007 at 7:41 am

All (known) Bodies in the Solar System Larger than 200 Miles in Diameter

All (known) Bodies in the Solar System Larger than 200 Miles in Diameter: Just saw this courtesy of Phil Plait’s “Bad Astronomy” blog and thought it looks AMAZING. I think it’s really worth noting exactly how sad Mars is as a contender for supporting human life unassisted. *Sniff* so much for “The Martian Chronicles”…

Posted under Astronomy

This post was written by Marc
on May 28, 2007 at 9:18 am

Thousands of Jellyfish

I don’t know where this is but it looks pretty amazing to me.

I wonder how big they really are? Isn’t it astonishing the things you can share in without having to actually be there? Our breadth of experience versus folks who lived even a generation ago has increased incalculably.

Posted under Science

This post was written by Marc
on May 27, 2007 at 11:32 pm

Superheated water for breakfast

The day after any significant rain here in Cobb County, Georgia, the tap water acquires a taste that I can only describe using a product from my Canadian past – Ozonol. It has a medicine-y taste that really doesn’t complement my morning oatmeal breakfast.

Our fridge came with a filter for the water dispenser that effectively gets rid of that taste and so I use it whenever I’m cooking.

The side-effect of such a filter seems to be that the water has a lot fewer particles or nucleation sites and can lead to superheating of the water as I boil it.

I always boil my half cup of water in a measuring cup for 2 minutes (the microwave isn’t that powerful only about 550 Watts) and this normally works fine. Sometimes, when I haven’t observed the water actually boiling while in the microwave, when I pour it over my oatmeal it will fizz up and release a bunch of steam which tells me that it had managed to get to a temperature above boiling yet wasn’t triggered to change state until it was introduced to the oatmeal. It’s kind of cool and not dangerous to me as the measuring cup is between my hand and the scalding steam that’s coming out of my bowl.

I believe this phenomenon tends to scald tea drinkers who would be holding a tea bag on a short string right over a superheated cup of water. That would be a most unpleasant shock.

Anyway, about a week ago I was preoccupied with a problem from work. I’d been up into the wee hours working with my team on an issue that we thought had been resolved and I woke to find that there were still more issues. So I put my water in the microwave and set it for two minutes. When the microwave let me know it was done, I peered inside, didn’t see it boiling so hit the “Minute Plus” button and went back to work. The microwave chimed again, I pulled myself away from my work task to see that the water still was not boiling – I absently hit the “minute plus” button once again turned to Mich and commented that I thought the microwave must be having issues ’cause it’s not boiling my water.

Then I heard a definite “Whump” come out of the microwave. Mich said “There’s something oozing out of it” and I turned to see water dripping out from around the microwave door.

Opened it up to see that nearly all of the water was out of the measuring cup. And the entire inside of the microwave was wet.

Not a big deal but a cautionary tale. If you use filtered water, you can’t necessarily trust the the water to bubble to indicate that it’s hot enough. Trust that, if you’ve heated it long enough, it’s warm enough.

Posted under Science

This post was written by Marc
on May 27, 2007 at 10:26 pm

Renovation update 05/24/2007

Got a bunch of little things done. Also, since we’re now waiting on the new mirror Tommy and Larry took some mirror pieces that they had and fashioned a make-shift one that would serve until June.

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We’re also waiting on the mirrors for the medicine cabinet doors, but here is a pic showing my toothbrush charger as I try to sort out its new home. Mich is happy ’cause these things no longer need to reside on the counter to be near an outlet.

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Also, ‘though we haven’t yet cleaned out all the sawdust from construction, here is the hair dryer in its drawer with a power strip. So you can open the drawer to use it plus any other electrical appliances that you may need. Then rest them in the drawer and push them out of sight. And no, there are no curling irons or anything similar to that that we use that could stay on without us knowing about it.

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In the water closet, the towel racks and the toilet paper dispenser were mounted. The original toilet paper roll holder that we’d purchased we quickly discovered would not be able to hold the double-sized roll that is so common nowadays without having it press against the wall. We were pretty disappointed. But then we noticed that one of the hand-towel holders which we were not going to be using since we’d purchased the smaller towel racks now mounted in the vanity areay, hold the roll very nicely. So that’s what we’re using now.

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Here’s another gratuitous picture of the window with the bed in place. New end table design is in process so we’ll be using the old bureaus until that’s complete.

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Finally, here is a cool door stop that I found at Woodworker’s Hardware and purchased through Amazon (to use some of the Amazon gift certificate money that I’ve accumulated from my Amazon Visa card). I had ordered some grommets from them to finish the holes in our cabinet (to allow wires to pass out the back and between the two main sections of the cupboard) and they sent their great catalog full of very niche solutions to problems you encounter every day when trying to finish renovations or new construction.

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The head contains a very powerful magnet that mates with this piece on the door

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and will not only prevent the door from bumping the wall (primary purpose) but will also prevent the door from swinging shut when you have a window open.

Posted under On the Home Front

This post was written by Marc
on May 27, 2007 at 10:43 am

Slow Motion Water Balloon Pop

I am such a sucker for both slow motion and time lapse photography.

We have a perception of the world that is determined largely by our perception of time. To slide either forward or backward along the scale between short-lived beings such as insects or long-existing objects such as stars can dramatically alter your appreciation of reality.

The universe is a dynamic and ever changing place. If you think anything stays the same for more than an instant, think again.

Posted under Metaphysics, Science

This post was written by Marc
on May 26, 2007 at 9:44 am