I have an idea for a new internet meme. :D

Right, so it goes like this, someone else has made a right ass of themselves or failed REALLY BADLY. Let’s take George Bush, for an example, he lost his job as being the president of the US.
HE COULD’VE BEEN A CONTENDER, HE COULD’VE BEEN A SOMEONE! CAUGHT UP IN THE RAT RACE, HE’S FEELING LIKE A NO-ONE! APPEARING IN THE PAPERS WITH THE MONEY AND THE GIRLS, HE COULD’VE BEEN THE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD!

YES! Open-mouthed Awesome! Another example:

Bill: What’s up with you, Joe?
Joe: Ah, I never got that interview for that job I really wanted.
Bill: Sucks. YOU COULD’VE BEEN A CONTENDER, YOU COULD’VE BEEN A SOMEONE! CAUGHT UP IN
THE RAT RACE, YOU’RE FEELING LIKE A NO-ONE! APPEARING IN THE PAPERS WITH
THE MONEY AND THE GIRLS, YOU COULD’VE BEEN THE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF
THE WORLD!

It works so much! Open-mouthed There are a few special conditions, though, if you fail to switch the "I" that was in the original song with a "YOU" or a "HE/SHE", you have to shut up while your opponent points and laughs at you, and can then counter with their own attempt at singing the song. Example:

Bill: What’s up with you, Joe?
Joe: Ah, I never got that interview for that job I really wanted.
Bill: Sucks. YOU COULD’VE BEEN A CONTENDER, YOU COULD’VE BEEN A SOMEONE! CAUGHT UP IN
THE RAT RACE, I’M FEELING LIKE A NO-ONE…
Joe: AHAHAA! YOU COULD’VE BEEN A CONTENDER, YOU COULD’VE BEEN A SOMEONE! CAUGHT UP IN
THE RAT RACE, YOU’RE FEELING LIKE A NO-ONE! APPEARING IN THE PAPERS WITH
THE MONEY AND THE GIRLS, YOU COULD’VE BEEN THE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF
THE WORLD!

And if Joe feels like it, he could sing it twice, like the dual-chorus at the end of the actual song. Open-mouthed

However, if your opponent’s counter fails, because your opponent forgot to replace the "I" for a "HE/SHE" or a "YOU", another person has to counter you both… and if they fail, someone else has to come along and counter all three of you… and so it goes on, if everyone keeps failing. Tongue out Example:

Bill: What’s up with you, Joe?

Joe: Ah, I never got that interview for that job I really wanted.

Bill: Sucks. YOU COULD’VE BEEN A CONTENDER, YOU COULD’VE BEEN A SOMEONE! CAUGHT UP IN
THE RAT RACE, I’M FEELING LIKE A NO-ONE…
Joe: AHAHAA! YOU COULD’VE BEEN A CONTENDER, I COULD’VE BEEN A SOMEONE…
*Bob is walking past*
Bob: HAHA, you both suck, Y’ALL COULD’VE BEEN A CONTENDER, Y’ALL COULD’VE BEEN A SOMEONE! CAUGHT UP IN
THE RAT RACE, YOU’RE FEELING LIKE A NO-ONE! APPEARING IN THE PAPERS WITH
THE MONEY AND THE GIRLS, YOU COULD’VE BEEN THE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONS OF
THE WORLD!

I’m so gonna start using this from now on. Open-mouthed

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Windows 7 Screenies!

As requested. Open-mouthed There aren’t that many cosmetic differences, but trust me, it runs MUCH faster than Vista ever could. Tongue out You’ll need to click the blog title to view these without having them trimmed off at the right. Open-mouthed

The desktop! Not much different from Vista’s, apart from the new Taskbar.

Taskbar:

(People who are cool and use Firefox can right-click that image and press "View Image". Open-mouthed)

You can rearrange the icons on there and pin programs to it, so you can open them with one click. Kinda combining the Quick Launch bar and the Taskbar. Open-mouthed

Got a lot of windows open and need to look at the desktop?

Move your cursor down to the bottom right of the screen… and…

They disappear! Yes, I personally can’t see ANY technical benefit from this, but fools who use the resource-eating desktop-hogging Sidebar and it’s useless modules could find use in this. Tongue out

Got a word processor open and need to write a report whilst researching on the net?

Grab one of the windows, and push it against the side of the screen…

Then let go!

It’s tiled, and ready to rock!

Then you can do the same thing with the other window:


And you’re ready. Open-mouthed You can pull the windows away from the side of the screen, and they’ll revert to their original size! Open-mouthed Pretty handy.

That window display when you hover over a button on the taskbar has been improved, too:

Now, when you hover over a display window, it’ll make all other windows transparent, so you can easily see the contents!

And you can close windows using the display, too!

Aaaand, that’s all I can think of showing off. Open-mouthed As I said, not much visible difference, but my computer boots a hell of a lot faster than it used to, and NOTHING has gone wrong yet. Open-mouthed User Account Control is less intrusive, too, sometimes it won’t even ask for confirmation if you’re running on an admin account. I like that button in the bottom right, too, because it completely replaces the "Show Desktop" button that I constantly had to have in the Quick Launch bar on XP and Vista. Now I can just move to the bottom right, click, and I’m at the desktop. Open-mouthed

Anyhoo, if there’s anything that I’ve missed that you want screenies of, just yell. Open-mouthed

Haha, I just stumbled upon something quite cool.

(Click the blog title to read this entry! Otherwise a couple of images might get their sides cut off. Tongue out)

Yeah, so, I was modifying my desktop slideshow and adding a few new images to it, mainly of some dragons in the most awesome poses you’ll ever see. Open-mouthed As I was editing these images to match my screen resolution so they wouldn’t look crap, I remembered a search I did a while back. It was a few weeks after finding those images, when I kept seeing more of the exact same style of dragon in random places on the internet… like when I remember on an ad, there was a head of that same dragon poking out of a monitor that I’d found while searching for something to replace my own (crap) monitor.

So… because it was all over the place, and the dragon was definitely a 3D model and not painted or photoshopped or whatever, I assumed this model was freely available, and searched the ass off Google for about an hour, trying to find it. Unfortunately, no luck, all I could find were models that looked nothing like the one I was looking for (they looked MUCH worse), and they cost $400 or something ridiculous. Sad So, I forgot all about it.

UNTIL TODAY! Ya, today, after upgrading my desktop, I decided to search the internets again, to see if I could find this model. And… I did! Open-mouthed

Ohhh yes, after years (well… years since I first started Tongue out) of searching, I’ve finally found the model! It’s called the Millenium Dragon, or MilDragon. Which is kinda fecking annoying, because one of the images that I have is called "MilDragon"… so… the answer’s been staring me in the face for years. Embarrassed But what the heck. Tongue out

The version that I found first was the LE, the Limited Edition… which doesn’t mean it’s rare… it means it’s limited, to um… basic matte white textures. A matte white dragon for $9.95… okay, basic, but functional. However, if you want the Millenium Dragon 2 package, which includes the textures, a LOT of poses and two extra models, that’s $100… and it can’t really be used outside anything other than a program called DAZ Studio… which is hands down the best animating package I have ever used. Open-mouthed And the program’s freeware too… just the models cost a lot. Then again, it is a lot of stuff compared to what you’d usually get for spending $100 on a different 3D model package.

I would have gotten the MilDragon2 package, because I have a few plans for it… but I honestly don’t want to spend THAT much money on some 3D objects. I have other stuff to pay for, like university, and I’m not all that into art, anyway. Tongue out I instead got the package through… "other"… means. I’m merely "trying it out before I consider buying". Wink

And it’s the coolest thing since… since… um… <insert something big that’s happened in the past that’s really cool here>! Open-mouthed Yeah, seriously, it is ULTRA-cool! Open-mouthed

DAZ Studio is so… fecking… easy to use, I couldn’t believe it. Usually modelling or animation packages require something like a 793-step process just to understand them… but not DAZ Studio. Simply go into the Explorer, find the model you want, double-click, BAM. Fully boned, fully rigged, fully posable dragon in a default pose in the scene instantly. Textures? Go into the explorer, find the texture you want, drag it onto the dragon, BAM, dragon looks awesome. Want to pose him? You can either do it yourself by using the translation and rotate tools, which take some getting used to, or you can go into the Explorer, find a preset pose you like, drag it onto the dragon, BOOM, done! Want other features, like a tail fin? Double-click the dragon, find a tail fin/spike/crazy-mad weapon in the explorer, double-click on that… and… okay, admittedly, that only goes "BAM, done" only about 60% of the time. Other times it’s like "BAM… what the focking hell?!" because you usually see the tail fin bigger than the tail and in the wrong place. Open-mouthed

When you’ve gotten used to the manual controls, it’s so much fun to pose, because it’s so easy, and (forgive the clichĂ©) because the possibilities are endless! And if you REALLY pull your finger out, the results can look pretty spectacular:

(Full 1680×1050 resolution version here, to satisfy you peeps with a super-large screen! Open-mouthed)

And that’s only the first one I’ve ever created. Open-mouthed You don’t want to see him from the back, though, because of the crap job I’ve done with his wings. They look fine from the front, but they look crap from the back. Tongue out Folding the wings was much harder than I thought it would be. Confused And it’s amazing what a small eye adjustment can do to the expression of the dragon. It’s ace! Open-mouthed

This is the best model I’ve ever seen! It’s not like they’ve skimped on the textures, either, because they are pretty damned detailed, even up close!

What other features are there… oh yes, there’s also a timeline, so animation is possible… although that can take a loooong time. Wink The best part, though, is the lip-sync feature, and I’ve been messing around with it for hours ever since I found it. Not recorded anything of myself just yet, I’ve been using the preloaded sounds and marvelling at how realistic many of the mouth movements are.

Haha, I’ve just had an idea! One sec… well… maybe more than just a sec. Tongue out

<about an hour later>

Right, I’m done with the animating, and I’m just about to start rendering a preview of the dragon saying something now, uno secundo. I bet you’re gonna like this when it’s done. Open-mouthed I’ll be back later with a vid of awesomeness!

<a few hours later>

I’m back! Open-mouthed Took a while, but well worth it. Smile Here ya go, hopefully this embed works:

…Okay, so maybe dickhead Microsoft won’t let you embed anything, even though it WAS working in preview mode. Meh, whatever, you can just have the link. Open-mouthed

Lip-Sync Test!

I swear to God, this dragon must be alive. Tongue out The lip-sync was done automatically, but the head movements were done by me, just to make it seem more realistic. Open-mouthed Don’t scroll down past the whitespace (or greenspace, hehe Tongue out) just yet, it’ll give away what’s in the vid. You go and watch the vid first. Open-mouthed

AHAHA! He’s never gonna GIVE YOU UP! Open-mouthed I’m sowwy, I couldn’t resist. Tongue out

Anyway, sure, some bits of the lip-sync look a little off, but it works pretty damned well! I tried importing a clip of the original song at first, just to see if the dragon could lip-sync to that, but that didn’t work as well as I wanted it to. DAZ Studio did a freaking good job of it, but it wasn’t accurate in places, the dragon looked like he was singing bits of the instrumentals. Open-mouthed So… I had to break out the microphone and sing the chorus, just to get it to lip-sync properly… so you’re basically watching me sing as a dragon with Rick Astley singing over the top, haha! Open-mouthed You should be grateful that I dubbed it with the original music, anyway. Tongue out

I love this program so much. Open-mouthed Methinks I shall be having a lot of fun with it for quite a long while. Smile

Oh, by the way, weren’t you interested in animation, Aaron? This is the program for you, probably not as flexible as other kits out there, but it’s a damn sight more fun. Open-mouthed

Anyway, I’m off for now, see yas! Open-mouthed DAZ Studio roolz. Open-mouthed

UPDATE!!

I made a new image. Open-mouthed I’m getting into this a little more than I think I should. Open-mouthed

Blue Teenage Dragon says "ROCK ON, MOTHERF’ERS"!

He’s supposed to be a hatchling, but I messed with a few morphs, and I say he looks more of a teenager now. Open-mouthed Gotta tell you, these look FOCKING AWESOME on my desktop. Open-mouthed

Have I mentioned I love this program? Tongue out

Okay, so maybe Windows 7 is starting to become really impressive.

I see your face go Surprised because I just said that. Yup, I’m starting to really like this version of Windows.

Today, I tried to install the drivers for my keyboard’s LCD display, and it failed, saying my version of Windows was not supported. Wasn’t really annoying, because not many things have actually been made for Windows 7 yet. So, I right-clicked on it, and saw an option: "Troubleshoot Compatibility". I tried that, Windows scanned for problems with the program, and set the compatability options automatically (strangely enough to XP Service Pack 2, even though the app was designed for Vista. Confused). I said "what the hell, worth a try", and started the installer, not expecting it to work.

IT FREAKING WORKED! Surprised

Immediately, I said "HOLY CRAP, Windows just did something INCREDIBLY SMART!"

Another thing! You know how the pic on your desktop can sometimes become a bit boring after a while, so you change it? Well, Windows 7 lets you have a slideshow on your desktop, instead of a single picture! It’s a nice little feature, because when I first turned on the PC, I had one image, and then after a while, I went back to my desktop, and it’d changed! It’s AWESOME! Open-mouthed

Also, the icons in your system tray can be organised so they don’t look out of place! If you want to hide an icon, you don’t have to go into a menu like you did with XP and Vista, instead, you simply drag the icon out of the system tray. Job done.

Windows 7 is just so LIKEABLE. Open-mouthed If you’ve got your own PC and have full responsibility of it, I’d recommend you get the Windows 7 RC and try it out. It’s a hefty download, but worth it. It actually feels like the finished product, and there are even updates for it through Windows Update, too. Smile I’ve only had a compatibility problem with one program so far, and that’s OneCare… and I haven’t even tried using Troubleshoot Compatibility, yet! I’m just gonna try that now, just a sec. Open-mouthed

Aw, it tried, but it didn’t work this time. Sad Never mind, there’ll be a Windows 7 version of OneCare at some point. Open-mouthed

The only thing that’s wrong at the moment is this damned Kapersky Anti-Virus, constantly asking me what it should do and saying every installation is suspicious. I don’t even see why I need anti-virus, it’s not like I download files from dodgy sources, and I’ve not had a virus for the past God-knows how long. Well… at least it doesn’t have that focking ultra-loud pig squeal sound every time it finds a virus or something suspicious. That was on a previous version. It’s nice to see that they found some intelligence and figured out that people hate loud, sudden sounds. Open-mouthed

Anyway, get Windows 7 RC, it’s cool, and it works, unlike Vista. Open-mouthed I’ll see yas later!

I are running Windows 7!

Yep, the Release Candidate actually WORKS! And ONE SECOND, my keyboard wooden slideout thing that has my keyboard on it feels extremely loose. Tongue out

Okay, maybe that’s worked… ya, good, now it doesn’t feel like it’s gonna fall off while I’m typing. Open-mouthed

Anyway, this Windows 7 RC… it feels… completely stable. I’m even running the 64-bit edition, the edition that can use a lot of RAM but can’t run anything, and it’s installed everything I’ve needed to so far – Firefox, Thunderbird, Microsoft Office, Daemon Tools… without any problems! Hell, it even knew what my graphics card and screen resolution was before I even installed any drivers!

Well, there IS one thing that didn’t install – OneCare. Kinda annoying, because I like OneCare. Instead, I’m installing a Windows 7 Edition of Kapersky… and I don’t like Kapersky after it almost destroyed all my data not so long ago. But what the hell, I’m running a pre-release of an operating system! SOMETHING’S gonna go wrong at some point. Tongue out

Right, I gotta restart my computer to enable a couple of things, but I shalt be back in a jiffy! Smile

<Ten minutes or so later…>

I’m BACK, and Kapersky is annoying me already. FIREWALL CHANGE PROCESS CHANGE PROCESS CHANGE SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY FIREWALL CHANGE FIREWALL CHANGE PROGRAM CHANGE every freaking few seconds! There’s this thing that’s known as "being OVERPROTECTIVE"? Kapersky, you need to chill out a little bit. Tongue out

Seems to have shut up for now, though, which is nice. Smile

Anyway, yeah, Windows 7, what’s new? Well… from what I can tell as a "normal" user… It’s not TOO much different:

BIG Screenshot Link!

(WHOA, Windows Paint is a LOT different, now. Looks like it incorporates the Office 2007 ribbon menu now. I like it, it looks pretty modern. Open-mouthed)
(Also, no, that’s not my normal background image, that’s the best of the Windows 7 preset ones. Mine’s not THAT weird [although that one does look relatively cool]. Tongue out)

It looks shiny, just like Vista was… oh, and there’s that new taskbar which is quite weird at first, as it seems to merge the Quick Launch bar and the Taskbar together, but it’s a nice idea. Eg: I can hover over the Windows Explorer button and see a display of all open windows, and when I hover over these displays, all other windows go invisible just so I can see the window I want to see. Neat! Open-mouthed I can also pin applications to the taskbar and start them just by clicking on them!

It also seems faster, smoother and less stupid, although that might be a side-effect of having to wipe my hard drive to be able to partition it like I want to, without having to wait several decades. It boots a little faster, and everything I ask it to do, it does without question and without stalling. So yeah, I can’t complain about it right now. Smile

Aaand, one second, DAEMON Tools is asking me to reboot. Be right back.

<About five minutes later>

I’m back again! And there’re some more Windows updates for me. Open-mouthed They sure do update this quite a lot, given that it’s just a pre-release. Open-mouthed Anyway, what else is there… oh yeah, there are some cool new window controls. If you’ve got a load of windows open on your desktop and want to minimise all but one, easy, just grab hold of the window you want, shake it, and all other windows will minimise! If you want them to come back, just shake the same window again! Pretty sweet!
If you want to tile two windows on different sides of the screen, say you want to have a word processor on one half of the screen and a web browser on the other, you can just grab each of the windows and push them against the side of the screen, and they’ll automatically tile against the sides of the screen! Not a bad idea, in my opinion. Smile

So yeah, I can’t really fault it at the minute. It doesn’t contain much more than Vista or XP did, but maybe Microsoft have finally figured out that adding more features is… well… not more, because "more" to most people sounds like they’re making progress.

If people who are trying the Windows 7 Release Candidate don’t think it’s any good and think XP is still better… then, well… you’re a bit dim. Tongue out There’s nothing wrong with Windows 7, and it’s faster, smoother and feels better than XP, they haven’t just made it "shiny" this time. Trust me on this.

Keep it up, Microsoft, don’t mess up now, you’re onto something here with Windows 7. Smile

Anyhoo, I’ll get back to setting my PC up again. See you all later! Open-mouthed

Oh, how ironic. About Windows 7 RC.

Right, so a few days ago, my secondary hard drive failed, yeah? Amazingly, today, I’ve just heard about the new Windows 7 Release Candidate. And now, I want my other hard drive to be NOT broken, so I can install it on there and try it out without having to remove Vista and start my computer all over again from scratch. GAH, typical! Angry

Oh yes, Windows 7 RC has been released, if you didn’t already know. Sounds pretty sweet, they say they’ve listened to our views on what was wrong with Windows Vista (ehe, not much rly lol… [extreme sarcasm]) and they’ve made Windows 7 faster, smoother, safer… but then again, companies like Microsoft SAY a lot of things. Never mind, I’m still trying it, but I’m a bit worried about that "Release Candidate" bit. Installing an unstable operating system onto your PC is basically like getting the government to build your house for you. No matter how good it seems, it’s gonna mess up at some point and end up damaging you and/or your stuff. Tongue out That’s why I want my other hard drive back, so I can install Windows 7 RC safely onto there, and if it screws up and corrupts all the data on the drive, it shouldn’t do anything to my OTHER drive. SHOULDN’TThinking

Since I don’t have two drives though, I’m willing to take a risk on my only drive just to get away from gay Vista for a while. I would partition my current drive to be able to get Windows 7 on there, which should sort of make it safer… but firstly, I kinda don’t trust an operating system that’s a release candidate, because it’s likely got a zillion bugs that will eat all the data on my drive… and it needs 20GB of space.. and the most I can shrink down and partition is, for some reason… 12GB. Even though… I have 117GB of space free, but oh well… Tongue out

Still downloading it though, and I’ll find a way to get more space. Open-mouthed This HAS to be better than Vista, otherwise Microsoft are seriously having some sort of nervous breakdown. ANYTHING’S better than Vista, damnit! Let me talk to MS for a bit about Vista: I don’t care if it’s shiny, Microsoft, it just doesn’t work properly and takes a thousand years to start and stops me from using any program without confirmation, and then when I lose patience and turn User Account Control off, it has a spaz attack and keeps nagging me to turn it back on! Please tell me, that in Windows 7, you’ve given me full control over my PC again…?

Ahem. Sorry, I had to let that out. I dunno why, it’s not like they’ll read it or anything. Tongue out Ah, well, we’ll find out soon enough whether they HAVE given me back control of my PC. In about 12-14 hours (would’ve been around 6 hours, but somehow I’m in the top 2% of O2 bandwidth users in the UK for this month AGAIN, and so they’ve cut my bandwidth. I swear other people who sign up to O2 don’t even USE the Internet. Tongue out) I shalt have an extremely buggy version of Windows 7! Open-mouthed

If you’re feeling brave and adventurous, you can get it here. Smile Just… for God’s sake… only get it if you know how to use a computer, it tells you the minimum capability you should have somewhere in the FAQ. And I suggest you backup your stuff if you do try it… although you probably already knew that. Open-mouthed

Anyhoo, I’ll sees yas laters. Buh-bye! Open-mouthed

SHIT!

Ooh dear, one of my hard drives has failed for no apparent reason. Confused Ironically… it was the backup drive, LOL. Open-mouthed It did have a few episodes of TV Burp and Top Gear on there, but nothing vital, thank God. It was that same drive I removed from the external case after the fan stopped working, I wrote about that a while back. I was expecting it to fail at some point anyway, it is a fair few years old.

But still, that’s kinda freaked me out a little. I’ve just realised that if the computer makes just one little mistake, one bad positioning of the needle inside the hard drive, it’s game over, and bye bye all 250GBs of data I’ve collected, including the two most important sets of data I’ve ever created: source files and graphics to the Ultimate Lame Ship Game and all 200-ish pages of Dragon Tail and its (relatively small) Draconic Dictionary counterpart. Those things took me years to make, losing them completely would be a nightmare. Confused

So, I’ve VERY promptly backed them up onto my external hard drive, but I’m still freaked out about THAT failing, too, because I’ve never fully trusted external hard drives. So, I’m gonna be getting another hard drive soon when I have some more monies – it’ll be a big one, 750GB or 1TB if I feel like it. Open-mouthed I’ll probably end up partitioning that into a smaller boot drive and a larger data drive. After reading up on boot drives, I get why PC manufacturers make a system partition and a data partition now – it supposedly speeds up boot times. Smile

And as a bonus, I’ll have 372GB of extra space from the spare hard drive! Open-mouthed And… ehe, I actually knew that WITHOUT looking. Geez, I know so much about my computer, hehe. Open-mouthed

Yeah, so… I’d recommend that you please backup your stuff. Seriously. It feels nice to know that your important data is safe… unless lightning strikes you about three times and EVERY hard drive you own fails at exactly the same time. Tongue out

Anyhoo, I’ll see yous all later! Smile