The Cost of College Textbooks

While in college in the early 90’s, I thought the cost of textbooks were astronomical. I just read an article from NBCNews that the cost of textbooks have risen 1041 percent since 1977. Sounds like highway robbery to me. Publishers are preying on starving students who are just starting out in life. In addition, the resale value of books is worse than having a two year old car. Publishers are constantly updating revisions of their books. In some cases, students are not able to sell their used books a year after they bought it. What a travesty.

Blue Moon

You know the phrase once in every blue moon. It means a rare event that doesn’t happen very often. A blue moon is the second full moon in the same calendar month. Today’s full moon (July 31) is a blue moon. We had a full moon back in July 2 and the second one today. The next blue moon will not happen again until January 2018. Why do we have blue moons? A lunar month is 29 days long, while our monthly calendar is 30 to 31 days, with February being the sole exception. So, it’s not unusual at all for two full moons to fall within the same month. It just doesn’t happen so often. More like every 2.5 years.

Get Windows 10 Now

Today is July 29. Windows 10 is now available. Microsoft has been taking reservations for the Windows 10 update leading up to today. There’s no telling when your system will actually be updated. However, Mashable is saying that there’s a way to get the newly released Windows 10 now instead of waiting for it. Forcing the update requires that you to access the command line and run this command.

C:\> wuauclt.exe/updatenow

I tried to do the upgrade, but I ran into another issue. I’m using an older motherboard with a Nvidia GeForce 6150SE nForce 430 GPU. Microsoft is telling me that the display manufacturer, which is nVidia, hasn’t made my display compatible with Windows 10. Microsoft says to check your manufacturer for support. Basically, I have two options. Wait for nVidia to tell Microsoft nForce 430 is compatible with Windows 10 or get a new GPU. The latter is the quickest fix.

Virtualization Options

If you’re thinking of creating a virtual machine on the OS of choice, there are quite a few options to consider. In addition to having a powerful computer with lots of memory to be able to run multiple hosted operating systems, there are several virtualization software to consider. Which one is for you depends on your budget, your expertise and preference. Some virtualization software are free to use, others you have to purchase. Here are your options:

  • VMWare’s vSphere
  • Redhat’s KVM
  • Microsoft’s Hyper-V
  • Citrix’s XenServer
  • Oracle’s Virtualbox

VMWare is the 800 pound gorilla. It dominates the virtualization market at 56%, but it has been eroding over the years. There’s stiff competition from Hyper-V, XenServer and KVM. My personal favorite however, is Virtualbox. It runs on multiple platforms, Windows, Mac and Linux. It’s relatively simple to use. Others may find Virtualbox a bit slower and some find it technically challenging, but to each his own. As they say, your mileage may vary. It really depends on your preference.

Microsoft’s Cortana

Cortana is Microsoft’s equivalent to Apple’s Siri and Google Now. Cortana is Microsoft’s digital voice assistant that will be available in Windows 10. Cortana voices are going to be customized to the user’s home country. Initially, it will be available in the US, UK, China, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. The rest of the world would have to wait. If you like to hear some voice samples, here is Time’s article about Cortana.