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tray) was red and, on clicking it, I saw that I have an “urgent” warning that my virus and spyware definition files are out-of-date.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…

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.

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”…

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.

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.

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.

Renovation update 05/23/2007

The counter arrived today with the sinks attached. I’m kind of glad I was busy at the time (I’m working at home so I can be available for issues but *do* actually need to get my day job done..) ’cause there are a couple of places where door trim got scratched/scraped enough to need repair.

The new counter looks very nice

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The mirror still needs to be ordered and will hopefully be ready soon. We had the old mirror cut and mounted in the gym so I could do manly poses between reps 🙂

Note the handles on the drawers /doors of the vanity.

The fixtures are called Pegasus and I find them pretty attractive.

One side-effect of raising the height of the vanity is that the plumbing was still low for the original faucets/drain. So we needed slightly longer connecting pipes than expected to hook up the new faucets.

Here are the new towel bars. Man, these cost a small fortune but they look very attractive. They’re from the Baldwin Cecina collection and we picked them up from Home Depot Expo

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Above is Mich’s side, and below is mine

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I didn’t note yesterday that the safety bars had been installed in the bath area. Mich was against this at first. But a few trials of stepping into and out of the much deeper tub convinced her that, esthetics aside, this is a good idea.

We elected to have a 24″ side-bar for those times when your eyes are full of soap and you may need to steady yourself. It can also be used to help haul yourself out of the bath when you’re seated in it. Also, this configuration keeps it out of your elbow’s way when standing in the shower. I didn’t want to make things feel too narrow.

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and then one at the back to help getting in and out. Originally we were going to have it either up and down or on an angle like the one above but we did let some esthetics creep in and went with it running across like you see below. Having it on an angle was a little weird looking and up and down just seemed to be in the way when you tried to enter the tub.

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Here is the new shower head and faucet. Both made by Grohe. The faucet is thermo-balanced so it’s supposed to maintain a set temperature no matter what happens with your water pressure / hot water supply.

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It’s heinously expensive (compared to what *I* think such things should cost) but I was sold by the intelligent design. Turn the handle counterclockwise and water comes out the faucet. The further you turn, the more water pressure. Turn it clockwise and the water comes out the shower head. Most of the single handle designs I saw seem to have only one flow setting: FULL. To control the temprature there is a knob in the middle. You turn it counter-clockwise until it stops and your water will be 100 degrees. Push it in and keep turning it to go as hot as you like. Turn it clockwise to make the water colder. Wherever you leave it the temperature will be maintained for you.

Here is a picture showing the faucet in relation to the tub. Note that we deliberately offset it so that a) it wouldn’t make as much noise and b) someone can sit there comfortably without having a faucet poking them in the back of the head.

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By the way, that little white thing to the right of the faucet? *That’s* the overflow. You can actually use ALL of the tub for soaking.

Tomorrow Tommy and Larry will address a number of smaller items in addition to completing the plumbing for the vanity faucets (they came with plastic connectors to the drain actuators and they would like to replace those with steel ones). Then there will be a bit of a hiatus as we wait for the new counter for the guest bathroom and Mich has decided that she likes the cabinets so much that she wants to order our bed tables from Cherokee Cabinet as well. We’ve got a little planning to do to sort out the design for both of these.

Work on the guest bathroom will likely not commence until the week of June 4th (holidays and all for some of the suppliers involved making it hard to get supplies this coming week).

Renovation update 05/22/2007

The cabinet and vanity now have handles. I forgot to take a picture of the vanity but here is one of the cabinet

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A closer look at our casement window with the brushed nickel accents

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And our new Gerber toilet. Wow! It sure packs a wallop! When you flush it NOTHING will be left behind (pardon any puns that may come from that sentence..).

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I like it enough that I’m thinking of replacing our other two toilets with it. But I do have reservations about how enthusiastic Mich will be with flushing it in the wee hours of the morning. It is low flow and well engineered but there is no missing that flushing noise.