MS Office 2007: Activation?

Recently, as readers of this blog will know, I installed the Windows 7 RTM bits on my laptop, removing everything else that was on there (including Windows 7 RC, Windows Vista Home Premium, and the Kubuntu install I never use). Of course, as part of this I had to reinstall Office 2007 Ultimate, which lead to an interesting problem: Whenever I tried to activate Office, it would give an error stating there was no connection to the internet. Strange, to say the least, because I was surfing the web at the same time.

It gets stranger, though. When I tried to use the “Activate by Telephone” option, the Activation Wizard would dump me out, not even loading any data relating to phone numbers or giving me the lengthy set of numbers I would need to give their computer for activation. Finally after tracking down Microsoft KB 919895, I was able to fix the problem. Below the cut, step-by-step instructions for fixing this rather annoying problem: (more…)

Optimizing Laptop Drive

By now, I’m sure most people have heard of the release of Windows 7. Those more in the loop know that the final releases were placed on TechNet on Thursday morning. Fortunately, I got on the downloading wagon before most people on that day, so I now have the Gold edition of Windows 7 Ultimate running on my laptop.

The road has been long and hard, though. (more…)

I’m Baaaccckkk!

Wow, it’s certainly been a crazy ride, right? Especially considering the last time I actually penned anything here was nearly 5 months ago. I’d be surprised if I had any readers anymore, other than spambots and stalkers… but I digress.

I have goals. Short-term, long-term, and in between – I have them all. One of the things I’ve realized, though, is that many of my goals are currently undefined. One of the reasons I haven’t even touched this site in months is because of a lack of stated goals concerning the site, which has lead to a lack of motivation. What this means for you is that you definitely have less motivation to read my writing, and in the world of Web 2.0, that’s commiting suicide.

So here’s the bottom line: I am stating a goal to write a blog post every week from here on out. Any more than that will be a bonus. I think the current state of the world brings me no shortage of things to write about. I also intend to finish the “quick” project I started over two years ago to bring my websites into the 21st century, by recoding into PHP and potentially linking content in from all of my online sources. Long-term, I will probably look into redesigning my website. The modular design of my PHP-driven code should help in that.

My writings will also probably become more personal, about things that affect me on a day to day basis. This means that occasionally, this blog might host stories about virtual chickens, the Geek Squad, and computing technologies in general. This blog will hopefully become more well-written. I reserve the right to kill off old, poorly-written entries, although things like the outing of Bill Smith Auto Parts (who it occurs to me now that I sent the CEO an email about the quality and quantity of posts by one if its employees here, and nothing appears to have come of it) will stay until the end of time so people can read about these types of business failures.

Blog of helios Is Tweeted As Anti-Geek Squad

As seen recently on the Blog of helios, there have apparently been some issues with some techs believing they are being pushed out of their jobs by open source software.

Of course when I see this post referred to on Twitter and various other social networking sites, original posters are referring to “Geek Squad-style techs assaults open source advocate”. Which leads directly to posts claiming “The Geek Squad brutalizes open source advocate”. It goes further, but you get the drift.

My issue with this type of thing is that the original post, made on the Blog of helios, makes no allusion to The Geek Squad – or to any other company, for that matter. In addition, I can tell you that The Geek Squad does not automatically schedule recalls, as indicated in the article. The affair is against the entire character of The Geek Squad, and I would expect anyone who has made it up through the ranks as any Geek Squad Double Agent to execute on the values of the company and leave us in a much better light.

One of the mottos of The Geek Squad is “any computer, any coordinates, any time”. Even if Microsoft Windows disappeared off the face of the planet tomorrow, the vast majority of computer users would still require assistance – and The Geek Squad would still be assisting them. Users transitioning to Mac OS are a good example – yes things are still done in roughly the same way as in Windows, but there are enough differences that people has needed help transitioning. Geek Squad is still in the infancy of supporting alternatives to Microsoft Windows – but support them they will, and they will do it admirably in response to the kinds of challenges and changes found within the computer support market today.

Disclaimer: mattfast1 is an Agent in the employ of The Geek Squad in the United States of America. The views expressed in this article may not be the same as the views held by Geek Squad/Best Buy. For any official views or opinions, please contact Best Buy at or The Geek Squad at

New Policies Regarding Comments

Due to repeated abuses from someone styling themselves as “George Obrien” (relating to my two previous posts about my bad experiences with Bill Smith Auto Parts, ebay ID billsmithautoparts), and my anti-spam defenses not being crafted to work against manual spam, I am now requiring that all comments are approved by me before they can appear on my blog. I am hoping that the WordPress setting isn’t overridden by Spam Karma 2. If it is, I’ll have to investigate moving to a different anti-spam solution on my blog.

If you are curious about the type of spam I have been receiving, it began with comparing me to devices used to introduce water to the human body, various comments of a sexual nature, a few racist and bigoted remarks, and of course the ever-popular name calling. In practice, these comments have only been degrading to the one posting them, as well as the company they work for. I realize anyone could type an arbitrary email address and name into a form on the internet and think they could get away with it, but with the multiple abuses including the particular email addresses used, the IP addresses used, the comments received, and other info, I feel confident in saying that these are mostly, if not all, from the same human being, presumably one who works for Bill Smith Auto Parts.

If you have anything constructive to say about this situation, I am open to hearing it. If not… your comment will hit the dung heap. I’m sorry that’s the way it has to be, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Cleanup Done!

I have cleaned up the posts on my site – it has gone from 375 public posts to 29. There are a couple reasons for this cleanup – 1, I noted that there was some fairly strong language in most of my “angry teen years” posts from High School and shortly beyond, and I wanted this to become a more family-friendly blog. 2, it was a necessary step for me to realize my vision for this blog, which does not involve complaining about school or jobs which I do not have any more, or be riddled with lame memes.

I also plan to move the blog to a different address, and this will cut down the work – don’t worry, when I do change addresses, I’ll make sure the current address redirects to the new one.

New Features

In addition to this blog being automatically updated from the WordPress Subversion Repository on a nightly basis, installing new features almost as fast as the WordPress team adds them, I have changed the \’default\’ avatar that appears when a comment is made from someone who doesn\’t have their email address tied to a Gravatar account. It used to be the \’mystery man\’ default avatar, that everyone\’s probably used to seeing on blogs that have Gravatar enabled.

Now, I\’ve changed that \’mystery man\’ to Wavatar, which will automatically generate an avatar for you, based on your email address. As an added bonus, any other Wavatar-enabled sites will give you the same avatar!