software mini-review: Cisco VPN client 4.7 (Mac)

Specifically, version 4.7.00 (0510), which I believe is the newest release.

Bottom line: it works. 

Previous versions, up to and including the release immediately prior to this one, had trouble with split-tunnel traffic routing.  Those problems are resolved, as far as I can tell.  It worked like it was supposed to yesterday evening when I connected to the VPN at work (which uses some pretty complicated split tunnels), in order to reboot something.

That’s all…

AppleCare Rocks!

For the last week or two, I’ve been getting double-strikes on my iBook G4’s keyboard.  (Double-strike: hit a key, get two letters).  I decided to go into my local Apple store (the one at Barton Creek Square Mall) and have on of the “geniuses” take a look at it.  I was initially disappointed because of the long projected wait (I put my name on the list around 2:00, and it said my expected service time would be at 4:30), but it’s 3:00 now, and I’ve been home, chilling and reading through my email, for about the last 10 minutes.  It was amazing how quickly my problem was addressed, diagnosed, and scheduled to fix.  If they’d had spare keyboards in stock, the problem would have been fixed in about 10 minutes; as it is, I’ll probably swing by either Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon and have the new one installed.  And the best part is, with the 1-year manufacturer’s warranty, I pay nothing.  Well, I have to pay for my gas to get to the mall, but hey… at least I’m not paying for the $54 replacement keyboard.  Maybe I will sign up for that extra 2 years.

(Leaf?) Blowers

I can understand why it’s necessary to use a leaf blower to clean sidewalks off after mowing.  It’s irritating, and who ever cared about a few hundred tiny pieces of cut grass, but whatever. 

What I don’t understand is why the landscaping company that handles the grass at my apartment complex felt it necessary yesterday to use those damn noisemakers twice.  The first time was around 9:15, just after they finish edging (ya know, weedwhackers?). That’s cool, I’d just gotten out of the shower and was about to go to bed.  That lasted for a while, and I settled down to fall asleep.  Then the mowers start in, and that keeps me up.  OK, now it’s 10:30 and I really want to fall asleep.  Mowers finally turn off, great.  And then the leaf blowers start up again?  Couldn’t they have saved themselves 30 minutes (or more) of work by waiting to get rid of the clippings until the very end?  Don’t even get me started on the fact that there’s not really any grass within 20 or 30 feet of my bedroom window, but they apparently still felt it necessary to blow gravel around or something, right outside of said window.  As it was, I didn’t really manage to get to sleep until well after noon (mild insomnia, plus all the noise, plus the fact that I didn’t fall asleep fast enough so I got hungry again, etc etc etc).  OK, so it was actually some time between 2:30 and 3 before the glorious attack of the Z’s.  I got about 8 hours of sleep (more or less), but now my body clock is going to be fucked up for the rest of the week.

Thanks, landscaping guys.  You really brightened my life.  Can we do this again next Tuesday, when I’ll get maybe 6 hours of sleep (if I’m lucky) before my weekly conference call at 3 (which is also always on Tuesday)?  I mean, I managed to get out of it this week, but it makes me look bad if I miss it too often…

Final Fantasy: Advent Children

I just finished watching Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, and . . . wow. It’s like a 90-minute-long cutscene, only in a good way. Square-Enix really outdid themselves with this one. Voice acting (so far as I could tell, since it’s in Japanese) was superb, the action scenes were amazing, and at one point what started running through my head was Belushi’s line from The Blues Brothers – “We’re getting the band back together!”

Even if you never played Final Fantasy VII, and shame on you for that, you should definitely check this movie out. Think “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within”, only way less crappy (and with 100% less Ben Affleck). I have no idea when it’ll be out in the States, but there’s always the Internet. Or a region-free DVD player; it’s definitely out in Japan. Only trick there is that I’m pretty sure it’s not subtitled in English on the Region 2 disc, and it’s definitely not dubbed. So if you don’t speak Japanese, the Internet is the way to go; fansubbers are even crazier than most people.

Correction: OK, so while I’ve been saying this for the last couple of days, IMDB has proven me wrong. Advent Children has 100% of the Ben Affleck that Spirits Within had (i.e., none at all), but it has 100% less Alec Baldwin (not sure if that’s a good thing or not).