Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Service Pack 3 Delays, Download It Here!

If you are as bummed out as I am about Microsoft's delay of Service Pack 3 then you probably have no life. But all is not lost. I have just posted on the front page of BrainCase's website a link to download a torrent of Service Pack 3! That's right the update I downloaded is now available for you! A quick disclaimer: DO NOT install if you run Microsoft's Dynamics Retail Management Services (or if you think you might run it)! The reason Microsoft postponed releasing the software was due to SP3 interfering with this service. So take heart, download away, and check out Lifehacker's guide to SP3!


I am not trying to break any laws so let me know if I am before suing me. Thank you.



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Iron Man Thursday

The usual place but a different day and time. The Crew will be at the Patton Creek Rave for Iron Man at 8:00 PM on Thursday, May 1, 2008. Be sure to get there EARLY and you might consider purchasing your tickets in advance for this one. Stop by for all of the fun and excitement! If you are not already jumping up and down, check out the trailer after the jump and see you all there!



So much going on it will make you not bored!

This will be a very busy week online and out and about for myself and many others.

Today Microsoft has released Service Pack 3, the supposed last update for Windows XP. I had a direct link this morning but it looks like it was pulled down. Hunt it down on Microsoft's website at <a href="http://www.microsoft.com/downloads.
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads.<br />[Ed Note: Microsoft has pulled SP3 as they cannot pull their collective head out of their ass. Click the link for the update.]

The freebie of the week is (and for one week starting today) is to visit http://www.coldplay.com and download their latest MP3 Violet Hill. It only costs you your email address and zip code. Pretty light tariff.

Friday is the opening of the Crawfish Boil here in Birmingham. If you don't know, it's a huge music festivle where the main course is crawfish. And it all goes to a good cause.

As long as everyone's favorite Bush comes through and I get my rebate check, I should be attending with the wife. Rebate checks will be starting to be deposited in accounts starting Friday. It all depends on your last two of your social so click here for more information and a calendar of payment dates.

And finally, Iron Man, the feature film, hits theaters this Friday, but will anyone go see it? With Grand Theft Auto IV hitting shelfs today, will everyone be in a video game induced comma? Read all about it here and see when the Hoover Movie Crew plans on going to see the show!



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Monday, April 28, 2008

Confederate Memorial Day

Y'all break out your Civil War reenactments and enjoy this day off [Ed. note: I am working today] given to us by the great state of Alabama. Today is the Confederate Memorial Day and the state offices are closed in recognition of this wondrous holiday. I hope everyone enjoys it and check out the story on al.com for the official word.



My New Niece and The Longest Walk Ever

I am very happy to announce the newest addition to the clan down here in Alabama. Kloe Chyene Gallups (I am sorry if I don't have the spelling right) was born April 27, 2008 at 1:52 AM at Shelby Baptist Hospital weighing in at six pounds, eleven ounces.

View the album at http://picasaweb.google.com/buffspics/Kloe

Congratulations to Shane, Caroline, Chelsea, and Summer to their new addition to our family. Samantha and I look forward to spoiling this one rotten too!

After we got finished visiting with our new niece, Samantha, Tammy, Quintin, Paris, and I decided to head over to Oak Mountain State Park and check out the Previne falls Samantha's boss had told her about. There was a short, one mile hike to the falls and it should have turned out to be a great quick hike in nature.

And it was. But not until we had walked almost three miles with two children and almost killed each other about four times. Really the absolute worst part of the journey (and it was a journey both physically and mentally) was the first mile. It was a treacherous uphill battle with gravity and mother nature. I had a tough enough time in tennis shoes, the girls were doing this hike in sandals. We had no water and no idea what we had gotten into.

After cresting the hill and thinking I was having a minor heart attack I had an epiphany; this was it. I had reached my limit and I would not go any further up the mountain. But the girls convinced me it would be OK. And we continued. And after another 20 minutes on a much more flat trail we arrived at the falls. They were pretty and you can see the pictures below. I apologize for the poor quality but thats the best my cell phone can do. Samantha was so hot she actually jumped in clothes and all. The boys played and fun was had by all.

View the album at http://picasaweb.google.com/buffspics/OakMtnHikeApril2008

Then a horrible reality began to sink in. We made it to the falls...now we had to get back. So we climbed out of the falls and got back to the parking lot. The group consensus was to try walking out on the road that lead in to the falls rather than return the way we came on the hope that a concrete road would have a much more gentle slope and less tree limbs to climb over. So we began walking again. And walking. And walking. It was about the third walk that I remembered I could use my phone to get a GPS map of where I was and how far we had to go (thank you Verizon). So I booted up the program and downloaded the map and saw nothing but green and a wavy line going through it. I zoomed out and the wavy line was name Pervine Road and the green was the state park. Pervine Road was about three to four miles of switchbacks to the main road that cuts through Oak Mountain. I think Tammy broke down at this point. It was also at this point that a stallion came to our rescue. Tammy shouted "Stop," to a Mustang that was driving by and I was chosen (I did not jump in to go swimming and there for the "driest") to ride with these strangers back to the main road, or our car, which ever came first. So I rode with the real hero's, Mark and Abbey back to the truck. Mark has a hip-hop band and Abbey was very nice. They didn't kidnap me and dropped me off curb side service. As I waved goodbye I reached into my pocket and had one last terrifying realization. After walking three miles, one of which was strait up a mountain, listening to two children complain and fight (bless you Mom and Dad, how did you do it?), and hitchhiking with strangers I had absolutely no keys in my pocket. Samantha drove us here and she was three miles back up the road I had just come down. I was screwed. My truck has one of those handy keypad locks so I quickly opened the door and found my wife's purse and frantically searched through it to no avail. Then I remembered last time we came to the Oak, she had left the keys in the door...yes now the whole world knows where our keys are in the truck (With great power comes great responsibility)...and I triumphantly cried out "Sweet". As I drove through the switch backs faster than the posted 15 mph I came across four of the biggest smiles I had seen all day. They piled in and we booked it out of that wild place. The rest of the day has been spent enjoying not being in the woods, technology, and the amenities of home.

I told my wife we were to have a month hiatus from the wilderness. No outside for us, just the wonderful joy of air conditioning and alcohol. So as I finish off my night cap of the last of the Vodka and OJ I want everyone to remember that the outdoors are great. But you can't get lost in your own house.



Sunday, April 27, 2008

Some Google Doc's Fanboy love

Check out this post for an excellent review of why you should turn over your life to the cloud!

MiramarMike.co.nz - Generating agile organisations: Google Docs ... so what - the ONE reason why you should care

I am an early adopter of stuff. I love this online boom of web based applications. I can do my homework anywhere in the world. I manage my company email, share calendars and appointments, and view my co-workers documents anywhere there is an internet connection! I can keep in touch and update information when I need to and am not tied to one platform or location. There is a trust issue with having Google keep all of your stuff on there servers, but I don't do anything illegal/classified so I am not very concerned. Plus....have you Google searched your own name lately?



Getting the most out of Tech Support

I found an interesting article over on The Cranking Widgets Blog (via LifeHacker)today and found it very pertinent to my daily life, being a technician with multiple users (about 400+). The article included 11 Tips for Better Tech Support and I thought I would re-post some of that here and expand my thoughts into the issue. We spend a lot of time at my company supporting our users. However, our main priority is not those users we support. Our primary concern is our servers and the applications we stream off of them. Without that part of the puzzle there would be nothing for our personnel to do there job. That is not to say that our users are not important. Without them, nothing would get done and I don't have any clue as to how to enter in patient information! I don't think there is any tech out there that wouldn't tell everyone the same thing but the most important thing you can do to fix your computer is to restart it. It is simply amazing!

This fact is extremely important in corporate environments where everyone is connected on a network and critical in an environment where your software applications are virtualized. A quick reboot will refresh not only the computer you are working on but the information the server has about your system will often times update. It also gives time for the server to update itself after loosing it's connection with your terminal.

Something that is not mentioned in the article is to always click log out or sign out whenever possible! The reason, from an IT standpoint, is this will clear you out of whatever server you are logged in to. There are many other reasons for logging out (such as legal reasons, avoiding pranks, and reducing overall server loads) but by logging out you are sending a signal to the server requesting that it lets you off of the server in a nice manner to the server. I know the little "X" in the corner is tempting and you never have to do that at home, but it is critical at work.

The article is spot on when he reviews recreating the error for tech support. It is critical for you to be able to communicate to the person helping you to fix your computer what is happening. A lot of the help desk is guess work and, honestly, we don't always fix things, we just make them stop giving you that error message. I have been luck enough to be able to remotely log in and view what is going on to the afflicted computer when something is going terribly wrong using VNC (Virtual Network Computing) software. This ability is worth it's weight in gold to the technician. The technician can view the problem and in most cases, fix it on the spot. There are even solutions for home users. If you need help from that geeky friend/family member (which is me or my Dad in my family) there are many free services which let you do this from your home PC, including just using VNC. And (if you can excuse the selfless plug) you can contact BrainCase to log in to your computer and fix it from where you sit.

My only point of contention with the piece was that he suggested fixing the problem yourself. I am all for creative thinkers and do-it-yourselfers out there in the world but there are a lot of people who don't know when to quit! Often times the issue in a corporate environment can not be fixed by the average user. Most of the time you have to have our higher level of access to address the issues going on or check something on the server and I fully do not expect your average individual to fix those things. But this is a quick check list of things that you can do (other than reboot as listed above) that will make your tech support experience better. Do not take offense by these. I am not trying to berate anyone but we actually get calls about these things.

  1. Check ALL connections! This includes the power cord, network cord, mouse/keyboard connections, and the monitor cable. I get too many calls of people not checking the basic things like this. All computers need power to be on and a network cable to communicate with the outside world (i.e. your corporate network, the Internet, etc.).

  2. Make sure there is paper in the printer, it does not have any status lights/error messages, and it has toner/ink. At least one call a month is on this subject.

  3. Ask the nearest tech savvy person in the office or the closest young person. I am not ageist but there is a trend with older people (40+) to have no clue as to how the box on there desk works. Grab that young person who's checking out YouTube video's and Twittering his friends about what he is up to and find out what is up with your computer.

  4. Finally, the best thing you can do in a network situation is to simply do nothing. Go grab a coffee refill or a snack and see if the problem goes away when you are back. Often times the issue was not your computer but the slow network connection or those crazy techs working on the system.

I hope that my generalizations didn't offend anyone to much but I notice these trends in my day to day life and understand that they are not a universal constant. If I did offend you, let me make it up to you by providing you with a way to circumnavigate those pesky proxy blocks on your network and let you check that blocked website from work. If nothing else read it and click on the link to download the free software that can help you fix your own computer at home or work and turn you into a power user. Good luck and enjoy your work day.



Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Finally, a crack down

Last weekend police in Jefferson county have cracked down on bad drivers, issuing over 4,000 tickets during the Take Back our Highways campaign. And it's about time.

I have driven all over the U.S. Now I'm not saying I am an expert or an traffic angel, but in my experience, Alabama has some of the worst drivers around. Turn signals are a mystery device, cell phones are up to everyones head as if sucking the drivers brain's, and a general lack of understanding of the common driving rules. The citations ranged from speeding violations to driving under the influence. What number amazed me, however was the 847 tickets for not wearing a seatbelt. When I went to follow up on what constitutes as a seatbelt law here in Alabama (I took my drivers test in Idaho) I found this:

Alabama’s safety belt law requires that all front-seat occupants, regardless
of age, be restrained.
Alabama’s child restraint law requires that children through age 14 must
be restrained when riding in motor vehicles in Alabama. The law applies to
occupants of front and back seats of passenger cars, pickup trucks, vans
(with seating capacity of 10 or fewer), minivans and sport utility vehicles.
Violators will have points assessed against their driver record, in addition to
incurring a fine of $25.
Source: Alabama Drivers Guide, http://www.dps.state.al.us/DriverLicense/manuals/DriverManual.pdf

That is it? Twenty-five bucks? No wonder no one wears seatbelt! According to Car-Accidents.com 63% of people killed in auto accidents are not wearing a seatbelt. I see this kind of stuff all over Birmingham.

Really I am hoping that more people slow down, pay attention, and get off of your cell phone while driving. It's not that important and before there were cell phones you didn't make calls while driving so you can live without it.

Who else can't stand driving in Birmingham? Comment below.



Thursday, April 17, 2008


As promised here are the trailers:

The Forbidden Kingdom

Smart People

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

88 Minutes

Vote for your favorite and we will see you on Saturday, April 19th!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Movie Night 4/19

This is very late but I have posted a poll which will be open until 4/18 12pm so vote soon for what we will see. I will try to post trailers tonight. There is the veto at the theater if no one shows up we will decide to see whatever we want to see. I hope to see everyone there. Get a hold of me by clicking on the Call Me icon to the right -->

Puppy Tricks

This is what Lucy has been learning:


Hello World!

I have been meaning to do this for a while. I am slowly moving away from using other services to post updates to and trying to centralize everything with my Google services. So if you don't know me, my name is Brian and I am living in Hoover, Alabama. Before moving to Alabama in 2006 after a four year stint in the US Navy, I moved with my wife (of two years today!) from San Diego, California. Before that I hailed from the small town of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. I work at a local company in the Health Care industry doing IT support for their systems. I also moonlight, working on building my own company, BrainCase Inc. (http://www.braincase.biz), repairing home and office computers in the Birmingham area. I really love technology and enjoy working with computers.

In my free time (what's that?) I like to watch movies (check out my other project Hoover Movie Crew),target shoot, camp, read, playing Call of Duty 4, and general laziness. I hope this will be the one stop shop for what I am up to. If you use RSS (click to find out more about RSS), subscribe to my blog. I should post to this blog more often than anything else.



Sunday, April 6, 2008


We hadn't had a bite to eat so we stopped at Wendy's. Who knew you couldn't eat a double cheese burger combo in 15 minutes? So we were a little late to the theater and missed Superhero movie. But the movie we did see was excellent! 21 was fun! Great action and such a fun story. I reminded me of Girl Next Door without the porn stars and it's set in Vegas. And Kevin Spacey was a blast. His performance was excellent as an asshole. What a versatile actor.

Stay tuned for whats coming up for April 19th and don't forget to do your taxes!



Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Hoover Movie Crew

[UPDATE:] I am officially moving Hoover Movie Crew to the dead list. The active interest isn't there, either for myself or those participating. I will leave all the posts and continue talking about movies but the meet up are, as of now, over. As anything else this can change if anyone has any interest in trying to revive HMC.

Brian Bufalo 12/23/2008

[googleapps domain="www" dir="calendar/embed" query="showTitle=0&showTabs=0&showCalendars=0&height=400&wkst=1&bgcolor=%23ffffff&src=eg1cu5h55fvuejubomv6ikstr4%40group.calendar.google.com&color=%23B1440E&ctz=America%2FChicago" width="450" height="400" /]The Hoover Movie Crew meets every other Saturday to see the latest Hollywood premiers.Click here for the latest Hoover Movie Crew posts.We meet at the Patton Creek Rave Theater about half an hour prior to the start of the show in the Patton Creek Shopping Center. Check back here for show times. If you come early, though, look for us at the Cajun Steamer for drinks.Click on any of the links above for a map.Click here to send me an email for any more information or if it will be your first time coming out. You can also click on the Call Me button to talk to me in person!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

About Me

After four years of sailing the seven seas with the best Navy in the world, I have settled with my wife and puppy in suburbia Alabama. Currently pounding out a start up computer repair company bootstrap style with a friend, holding down a nine to five at a local health care company doing system administration, and still planning on full time college in the fall. Busy is an understatement. You can find me unwinding at the movies, blasting away on Call of Duty 4, or surfing the various net waves late at night when most of you are asleep.  Please use the links in the sidebar to explore where I hang out online and feel free to connect with me in the virtual world. If you are looking to find me in the real world come hang out with us on movie nights! Learn more about me by reading my adventures at http://bmbufalo.blogspot.com for what's new with me and where I can be found, online and in the real world. View my resume here.

Superhero Movie (2008) Trailer


After much deliberation (rock paper scissors) we have decided to see Superhero Movie on Saturday, April 5th! Show time is 9:15 pm at the Patton Creek Rave. If you want to come an hour early (and are of legal age!) stop by Cajun Steamers for a couple beers before the show! Check out the trailer and visit the website if you don't already know about this one!