I Think I Have the Swine Flu

If Swine Flu means you are sick of Janet Napolitano, then I’ve got a raging case of it.  But seriously – aside from the occasional urge to start oinking, I’ve never felt better.

Pork farmers are not too happy with the latest craze that has everyone asking “Should I quit eating pork products”? I’m considering converting to Judaism, Islam or Vegetarianism (or perhaps all three)  just to be safe.

The numbers don’t lie.  We’ve now had a possible 159 deaths worldwide.  This is cause for great panic since this is nearly 1/2 of 1 percent of those that normally die of the flu every year;  and I’m quite sure that no government agencies have exaggerated these numbers.  Of course, every death from now on will be Swine Flu related.

Considering that the infamous Bird Flu epidemic wiped out nearly .00000001 percent of the global population a few years ago, I just don’t know how civilization will go on.

I’m told that flu inoculations are on the way.  Side effects of the shots may include dizziness, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, loss of consciousness and an aversion towards bacon.  Get to your county health department before you don hooves.


Samsung Omnia Initial Impression

Two days ago I replaced my damaged phone for the new Samsung Omnia through my Verizon carrier.  I wanted to submit a review as to my initial impression of the phone.  Later, I may resubmit a more informed review as I learn the finer and not so fine points.

The first thing to note is that this is my 3rd successive Samsung smartphone with a version of Windows Mobile – the Omnia sports version 6.1.  For those who have owned phones made by Samsung, you know that they a packed with great features, but always manage to have a few extremely irratating traits which keep you from unequivocally loving it.  The Samsung Omnia is no different.

The beautiful large display is the first thing that stood out.  Images are sharp and bright.  The screen rotation works well all the way around.  There is no such thing as upside down or sideways.  Touchscreen functions are very accurate and typing is at least as easy as the iPhone if not better.  The builtin 5 megapixel camera sounds impressive. Video Review of Kenmure LakeSamsung Omnia    There is a ton of free space on this device. My memory manager shows 35MB free for storage, 39MB free for programs and 7.8GB free in storage after downloading a few of my favorite apps.

I haven’t noticed many bad things yet, but one thing is so annoying, it’s almost a deal breaker.  When using the phone touch keypad, a touchkey lock pops up every few seconds.  Cycling through voice mail doing the usual 7 delete, 88# call back, etc. requires continually hitting the action key before you can hit another touch key.  I’ve time it’s frequency and this pain-in-the-ass pops up every 2 to 5 seconds.  If you already own this phone, you will no doubt arrive here as you look for a remedy for this annoyance.  I’ve searched.  Officially, Samsung offers no change to this setting.  Unofficially, there are code crackers already offering patched DLLs with limited success.

My initial impression can be summarized as this:  Samsung continues to offer great electronics with a lot of great features.  They also continue to have the most irratating shortcomings in the industry.  With a simple update, Samsung could solidify their place at the top of the smartphone market.

Optiplex 755 remote desktop problem solved

First and foremost, I am not taking credit for the solution to this problem.  What I am doing is restating the fix for remote desktop in hopes it will help someone else.  Enough said – see below:

Recently I configured 2 new Dell Optiplex 755s for remote desktop using custom ports 3393 and 3394.  I can do this in my sleep, so when it didn’t work, I was puzzled.  Basically, you adjust the port in the registry, turn on remote desktop, add an exception to the firewall if enabled and you should be off and running.  (Static the IP and configure port forwarding in the router for WAN access).

The weird part was that the remote desktop connection app would not return an error; it would quickly flash and sit there waiting for me to click on it again.  I noticed that if I typed in the wrong port, it would give me a connection error, but ports 3393 and 3394 for their respective machines just flashed with no error.

We looked at group policies, network security, login accounts, etc. with no avail.  A little Googling, however, returned the solution.  The new Optiplexes both came with dual monitor capable ATI Radeon 2400 video cards.  Apparently, there is a glitch in the video driver that ships in the new Dells.   A quick trip to http://game.amd.com/us-en/drivers_catalyst.aspx to download the updated driver immediately fixed the problem.

I wonder how many IT support people have had to waste time on this problem with the amount of Radeon 2400 video cards Dell is currently shipping.

Update – May 14, 2010

This same problem occurred with an Nvidia 8800GTS video card using a driver from 2008. This computer had been working with remote desktop for at least a year on this driver and something recently caused it to stop allowing connections.  Updating the driver, fixed the remote desktop as well.  So apparently, this issue is rare, but not limited to Dell Optiplexes.