Wednesday, February 27, 2008

First Mac Software Purchase - Popcorn 3

I admit that I usually don't buy software, only because most commerical software is functionally poor, full of bugs and does offer good support. The one good thing about PC's are that there are lots of varieties of Windows software that do the same thing and alot of it is freeware. Unfortunately for Mac's it's hard to find share/freeware software simply because it takes different and less prevalent technical skill to write software for a Unix operating system, especially software with a user interface.

So under the belief that what Mac compatible software lacks in variety it should make up in quality. That's one of the principle reasons of my decision to invest in our iMac. This may not be 100% true...

I needed some software to backup Adian's DVD's. DVD's are expensive and he's not exactly careful with them, discs are ruined by the littlest of scratches. I purchased a product called Popcorn 3 , cost me $49 (by Roxio, a well known name in both PC and Mac software). We'll it didn't launch when I installed it :-( !!!! After an hour of searching their support site for answers, I found a bunch of disgruntled customers with the same problem on a MacForum, fortunately they found a fix. Anyways I got it working so now I can backup DVD's and also transfer them to my Nano to view my movie rental when I'm on the road (since we never seem to have time to watch them at home).

I can say however that it's a great product. It can compress a 9Gb movie onto a 4Gb DVD disc with little noticeable loss in quality, and it's fast. It has the functionality I need and its simple to use. The only thing I didn't like was the initial problem (show stopper) and the crappy support. It's really Roxio's fault not Apple, but it just goes to show you that nothing is perfect Macs or PCs.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Solution Architect

Last week I accepted the a promotion to the position of Solution Architect.

I've been with Scotiabank for a little over 10 years now so it's been a long tenure in my current position as Advisory Analyst but it has a been a valuable learning experience leading up to this role. I have been working as an SA for a number of projects but the official position I hope will lead to broader challenges and opportunities.

'Architect'  is an overly used word in the IT field. Most of the time it's largely a technical position but I see it as a balance technology and people. Fortunately my employer sees it the same way.

See you all at the next Rational conference :-)


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Family Day

So what did we do for Ontario's first family day? We went to the AutoShow. As expected the show was expensive, crowded and tiring. But it's really not about the the cars but more about spending time and doing something fun together.

We all had lots of fun jumping in and out of cars, and Aidan managed to lock himself into a Mazda pickup truck, I thought they disconnected the batteries on all cars so it this couldn't happen. Luckily after about 5 minutes he managed to press the power window button so I could reach in and unlock the door. (The people on the floor were pretty useless because they didn't have the keys).

I saw my dream car but I think it will continue to be a dream for a while.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Auto Headaches

I got a flat tire while driving home in this past Tuesday's snowstorm. It was absolutely terrible outside. I heard a noise outside the car but I didn't suspect it was coming from my car until too late.  Rather than wait for a tow which could have taking 3 hours, I decided to drive on the flat. I really needed to get home.

Anyways the losers at CAA never came that night to tow my car to the dealer. I called them at 8pm and they said it would be about a 2. hour wait, no problem because I wasn't going anywhere anyways. 2am rolled around and they never called. When I called them, they said the tow truck couldn't make it down my street. BS.

The next evening, I called them again to simply come by to put on my spare. I could have easily done it myself but I figure that is what I'm paying them $60 a year for. The idiot operator did come by but he didn't even bother to tighten the lug nuts. In fact one nut was only threaded on a couple of turns. 

Needless to say I wrote a complaint letter to CAA advising them their practices and crew are unsafe as unreliable. They said they will investigate and let me know the findings.

I ended up taking the car to have the tire replaced at the Mazda dealership. It was more that I wanted to pay, but at least I got an oil change and car wash and courteous service. 

Monday, February 04, 2008

Winter Fun

Winter is at the halfway point now. We went to York University Arena for an indoor skating event. Aidan did very well on his first skate. He was a little shaky at first but I think he got the hang of walking towards the end. You'll notice he's wearing an official ITech hockey helmet. When I was a kid I remember falling face down on the ice at the Don Mills arena without a helmet and being carried off.
We also built our first Queensdale Fort. Marissa says it looks like a foxhole. I think it looks like a hilltop machine gun bunker. Adian actually added a lot of the reinforcements!