Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

It’s the holidays again (so soon?) and I hope everyone has a wonderful time with friends and family. It’s been a tough year for many, but there’s finally some light at the end of the economic tunnel. Good things are in store for 2010!

Soon, it’ll be time to wrap up this decade and move on into the next. Y2K doesn’t feel that long ago, and about the time I became interested in technology, which set me up on a path to where I find myself today.

Tomorrow, I’m off to Prince Edward Island. It’s been several long years since I’ve seen some of my closest friends. With many of us graduating and heading off into the wide world this year, I’m uncertain when I’ll see everyone congregate in the place I still call home, after so many years.

Nostalgia reigns supreme these days. Recently, I had a vivid memory of walking with my best friend through his old elementary school playground, on the way to our high school, and seeing his younger brother. He’s at university now. I watched that kid grow up. Gosh, I feel ancient. I’m going to be like that uncle who thinks his nephew has forever stayed 8 years old.

Tackling Vista (Amongst Other Things)

I’ve spent the better part of the weekend setting up Windows Vista Pre RC1 and ripping my hair out in the process. The biggest thing is still drivers, drivers, drivers. They’re either not mature enough or unavailable. Take for example the video drivers. Sure Windows Update installed ‘some’ driver for the nVidia card in my laptop, but it wasn’t even enough to run Aero Glass. So I had to do some searching to find the latest driver, which was unfortunately not available for laptop cards. So I had to get a modified configuration file to be able to manually install it. That did the trick and I’ve been running the Aero theme with no problems. Unfortunately, that got rid of the nVidia control panel so I’ve been using a hack and slash way to get dual monitors working between the laptop and this LG 20.1″ LCD. Sometimes it works when I boot up; other times it fails horribly.

Then I ran into problems with the audio driver. At first the audio device could not be initialized with the default Vista driver so I had to find a newer version. Unfortunately, that install didn’t work so I had to manually update the driver again. I got sound after that, but the Realtek updater service would crash everytime at bootup so I tried uninstalling the Realtek software. That caused the driver to uninstall as well. For some reason after that, no amount of uninstalling, disabling or updating the driver would get the sound to work. Keep in mind, it had been working, with the exact same driver not 10 minutes beforehand. I ended up finding yet another driver, which is now working. I definitely won’t be tinkering with those drivers any more.

So I received that parts I mentioned I ordered this past Friday. I started setting up Friday night (yeah, what a loser I am) and finished up Monday morning. You may also remember that I had gotten a new CPU in from Intel, replacing the old one, which I believed to be defective. Yeah right, ends up, it’s probably motherboard’s problem. I’ve now switched power supplies, video cards, RAM, hard drives and CPUs and I still get the same damn error. ASUS got a stern email from me earlier today after I tried everything in my power to resuscitate that machine. I’ve spent basically the time I haven’t spent on frigging with Vista frigging with this motherboard. How fun.

Shamefully, I’ve been attracted by Facebook recently. It really is quite viral. I’ve all but caved into the pressure. Don’t judge me by it. I still hate MySpace. 🙂 I also realized I haven’t actually posted about my visit to PEI. I mostly remembered this because I had a dream that I was still on PEI visiting. Twas very weird to say the least. I’ll have to prep some pictures to post on here. Prepare to be embarrassed.

Wrap Up

I’m currently sitting in the Halifax Airport waiting for my connection flight back to Toronto, where I first began this journey. The past 9 days have flown by and after what seems like an extremely short visit, I’m already heading back to Ontario and very soon, my co-op job.

I have to say, the biggest thing I noticed was, well, nothing. Nothing really seemed to have changed. Sure some people grew and some people didn’t (moi peut-etre?) but generally, the people I knew are still the people I knew. Sure, there were a few surprises here and there, like oh you know, a marriage and a pregnancy, but other than that… No, seriously, the close friends were all pretty much the same. Some traveled around the world, but aside from some new experiences, I don’t think there was anything drastically different. Old habits were still there.

It felt as though I hadn’t really been gone for a year. I definitely have a greater appreciation for Island courtesy however. It’s still a unique feeling to be able to walk down the street and say hello to everyone and anyone without getting a weird glance or two. It’s also pretty cool to be able to walk through downtown Charlottetown and bump into people I know left right and center. It really is a small and connected place. With that said, I’m not exactly looking forward to the Ontarian ‘hospitality’. We’ll see though; I’m sure I’ll adjust quickly to avoided greeting random people lest I get dirty look…

The past week and a bit was filled with lots of laughs and good memories. I also did a few things that I’ve never done through the whole of my life on PEI. It’s amazing what peer pressure can do to you eh? I sort of learned how to swim during my visit and got this messed up looking tan, which I’ll definitely have to even out by lying outside when I get back to Niagara Falls. It look quite atrocious right now.

Well, I definitely need to go use the bathroom before I board this plane to Toronto. Ahhh, I’ll be ‘home’ soon, although I have to say, PEI still feels much more like the real home to me.

Busy Busy

Oh, I can’t tell you how great it feels to be back on the Island. It’s been 4 days already (going on 5 today) and I haven’t really been stationary for an extended period of time yet. Nick’s out at a master class right now, so I decided to take this time and write down a thing or two.

First off, I’m much happier with the amount of photos I’ve taken this time around. I haven’t actually counted, but I’d say I’ve probably taken about 100 photos already on my camera and I’m going to get photos from other peoples’ cameras as well. There are some pretty great photos in there and I’m sure I’ll have some good laughs when I look at them in the future.

Not only am I staying at Nick’s place, but a friend he made during his exchange trip to Austria is also staying at his place. We’ve gotten along mighty fine and it’s been some great times in the Howard household. It’s sort of sad, but this was like my home, even when I was still here on the Island during high school. It’s just so welcoming and friendly. I don’t feel even the least bit awkward.

I’ve got quite the sunburn, but it’s worth it. I told myself that I was going to get rid of this damned farmer’s tan and I fully intend to do so. We went to Basin Head to swimming and bridge jumping. Let me tell you something, it’s that much more scary when you don’t actually know how to swim. (ashamed) Still it was tons of fun. We also went out on a boat yesterday to do a little bit of fishing and swimming. Then we camped out at Brudenell last night. It was crappy for a little while because it rained, but it cleared up pretty quick and we were able to get a fire going. I also got a chance to talk to some good friends about their university experiences over the past year. One is attending Mount Allison and the other is at McGill. Let’s just say, they’re not quite like UWaterloo…

Okay, enough sitting around. I’m going outside. 😀


One year, one month, one day.

I have returned.

(Warning: Post may sound more epic than it actually is)