atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#1522: Anime!

So here's the current playlist:

Ikkitousen Great Guardians
Minami-ke Okaeri
Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu
Yozakura Quartet

The clear winner on the list is Yozakura Quartet, at least as of ep 2. I'm liking it a lot even though it's a "monster of the week" show with the hints of a bigger plot (so far) lurking around the edges. (Kotoha FTW even if I can never remember her name.)

I've only seen eps 1-2 of YQ and Minami-ke Okaeri, though. (And I've seen Potemayo in its entirety on a prior occasion; that's the rerun for this list.)

NHnH is charming, and I like the eponymous character, as it's meant to be.

Ikkitousen I am watching for the fan service, again as it's meant to be.

And it's all good.

* * *

So yesterday I finally dug down into the registry and eliminated four programs which were auto-starting. I disabled them in MSCONFIG about 1,000 years ago but that's not supposed to be a permanent fix and I got tired of having to close the little craplet in the system tray every time I rebooted the computer.

One of them--Gateway's asinine BIGFIX--would not uninstall, which is why I had to disable it; well, I finally dug into the registry and removed that, too. It's not a big program and I don't mind it taking up space on the hard drive so long as it doesn't freaking run.

Every time I work on someone else's computer and see fifty billion icons in the system tray I have to wonder how the hell the processor has any time to work on useful tasks. I do my best to keep the programs down there to an absolute bare minimum. I don't mind WinAmp taking a few extra seconds to start; since I only use it once in a while I'd rather wait than have some piece of it always running and sapping processor cycles. The same thing goes for about 90% of the programs out there that want to install some kind of craplet in the systray, and every time I am given the option I disable that when I install the program. No thank you.

I don't mind saying it: I cut my computing teeth on a Commodore 64, which--this will startle some people--was even less user-friendly than DOS. If the GUI OS went away tomorrow and we all returned to using command lines, I'd be right at home.

So perhaps I am a bit over-sensitive about software running in the background; but the convenience is not worth the trouble.

I recall how my tendency to do this fixed a problem I was having. Back when Roxio was Adaptec, their EZ CD Creator program came with--and autoinstalled--a background applet, the name of which escapes me at the moment. This applet auto-started at boot...and if it was running you could not make CDs with the main program. None of the documentation mentioned this little fact.

I had had this problem myself, disabled the craplet, and forgot about it, until a friend of mine--a devout Mac guy--bought himself a new Windows PC. He was embarassed by it, but did it mainly because of the software availability issue: there was just more out there for Windows, and the hardware was much less expensive.

Anyway, he couldn't burn CDs; and one night I happened to think of the problem with that stupid craplet and asked him if he'd tried disabling it--he hadn't, he did, and it worked.

EZ CD Creator sucked anyway because when you wanted to make a CD you absolutely could not have anything else running at all. People thought, "Well, this program is auto-installed and defaults to auto-run, and it's made by the same people." I thought that, my friends thought that--and it was wrong. Yes it was part of the package and it was the default, but it didn't work and none of the documentation said so.

This is why I won't wipe my butt with EZ CD Creator.

I discovered Nero Burning ROM and was pleasantly surprised to learn that I could burn a CD, surf the internet, and convert video at the same time, instead of having to set the computer up to burn the disk and walk away from it for half an hour. (This was back when 2x was as fast as CD-R drives could go. Or at least, as fast as they could go on my budget.) I could actually multitask on a computer which was supposed to be able to multitask! Would the insanity ever end?

It did: the next version of Nero, which included DVD support, sucked balls. It crashed all over the place approximately at random whenever I tried to make DVDs with menus--prompting me to save my project after each screen of the creation wizard--and clipped 2 seconds off the beginning of each audio CD track. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't; when it didn't it was highly frustrating, and when the planets were aligned correctly and the tides weren't too far off and it actually worked it was still a usability nightmare.

Which is why I use freeware now. After the Vista upgrade I wasn't about to buy another version of Nero, not after the experiences I had with it. And since this machine can dump video right to the DVD recorder I don't need to make DVDs out of anime on the computer, anyway.

The punchline to all this is that I still have two copies of the UPS software run at startup--no idea where the hell that one came from--but after my mighty struggle I didn't feel like digging down into the guts of the OS to find that problem. Since I usually put the computer to sleep instead of shutting it down, I only have to deal with it when I reboot the machine, and it's a quick detour into the task manager to end one of the two processes. It can wait another year.

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