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Friday, April 27, 2007


We've started the long, arduous task of "making the house ready to sell". We started with A's room, most specifically her closet. There are now 6 trash bags full of outgrown clothes. I'm heading to Home Wreckers (aka Home Depot) to give the new SpaceSavers Bag tote a try.

It is amazing what happens when you start to look at your house through the eyes of potential buyers. There's the cleaning, that's a given, but then there's the decluttering, the painting, the removal of any trace that people actually live there. I've watched enough Home and Garden TV to know that potential buyers need to be able to "see" themselves living there.

The To-DO list is long and daunting. It makes me want to nap. We forgot to take Before pictures of Ally's room. I'm going to have to remember to do that. Tonight my closet is on the chopping block.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Oh, The Insanity

So we're looking to move. We must be insane. I've found, in the 1 WHOLE week we've been looking, that I'm not cut out for this.

I've given up 3 times already. I've cried twice. This isn't going to be a rosy point in my history. Houses are just ridiculously expensive. Everything we've seen so far is honestly crappier and smaller then what we have now, but priced close to $100,000 more and there in lies a problem. Why spend more, when we are getting significantly less?

The dilemma, we have no room. We are busting at the seams. And oh, ya there was that little break-in issue last fall. I still strain to see our side door every time I pull onto our street. We need want to move Ally into a nicer area. Maybe even one that has some kids her age. An area where we are serenaded by crickets and toads, fireflies and starlight, not police sirens and traffic lights.

Our My problem. I want the house hunting and moving to be over YESTERDAY. I have no patience. I hate the thought of house hunting, bargaining, making offers and waiting to see if they're accepted.

Its going to be a loooooooooong spring and summer.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Removing Vongo - Take 3

I received this comment last night from Richard Brownrigg:


I am the VP of Technology for Starz Entertainment and my team built Vongo. I am sorry that you have had a difficult consumer experience with Vongo on your HP.

I appreciate you offering me a forum to correct a few of the statements in your blog with some additional insights. While I appreciate and sympathize with your frustration and displeasure, without this additional context, I feel the statements posted here are inaccurate and unfair.

There are a number of items you reference from other sites and just like those sites, had you contacted us, we could have explained what the issue was and how it happened. Thank you for letting me do it here.

I am not here to argue the point of whether or not software should be preinstalled on an OEM PC. I am going to address what happen with the installation of Vongo on the HP laptops.

We built Vongo using what I thought to be enterprise grade tools and components (which should mean superior performance for consumers). Two of those tools were from Macrovision – InstallShield and Software Update Services. The Software Update Services tool has issues with its architecture. Macrovision engineers have admitted responsibility to us for this, but unfortunately they can not give an update to us at this time

Here is what happened.

HP decided to install software from Sonic and us. We both use the Macrovision’s InstallShield and Software Update Services. Sonic was installed first on the HP laptops followed by Vongo. During the installation of Vongo, the Macrovision InstallShield failed to see that another version of the Macrovision Software Update Services was installed on the machine and proceeded to overwrite some of the Software Update Services components.

If the user never tires to uninstall Vongo everything is fine. It is when someone tries to remove Vongo that the problem occurs and the same problem would happen if the user tried to uninstall Sonic, which they probably won’t since it is the CD / DVD burning software.

This might be a bit complex, but the problem is with the InstallShield Uninstall and the Software Update Services. When the consumer uses the Macrovision Uninstall routines to uninstall an application that installed the application and the Macrovision Software Update Services, the uninstaller ONLY uninstalls the software and not the associated registry settings and components of the Software Update Services. There are over 100 registry entries that are written but the installation of the Software Update Service will NEVER be removed.

So, in a nutshell, since the Vongo InstallShield installation overwrote some of the components of the Software Update Services that Sonic installed, the Software Update service thinks the Vongo install is broken and it tries to repair it by reinstalling Vongo.

Again, we have tried to work with Macrovision to fix the problem, but Macrovision indicates that there is not a way for them to remedy the situation because of the complex nature of how they install the Software Update Services. This could have happened to any program using Installshield/Software Update Services and unfortunately we just so happened to be the one whose service was primarily affected. Unfortunately you are a consumer who was impacted by this as well and for that I apologize, but I do feel incumbent to at least share with you and your readers what exactly happened here and the story as to why it happened.

We have temporary “work arounds” on our web site, which I can understand does not address the long term issue, but it is all we can do at this time.

As far as the long-term steps that we have taken,

1) We have also decided to drop the use of all Macrovision products form our code base. With the March release, we no longer use the Software Update Services, and in the summer we will drop the InstallShield tools altogether as well.

We also do not delete any programs or invoke any DLLs other than ours, and we do not hijack any running process. Yes, our service uses port 2005 to communicate out bound to our services, but we do not hide it. We actually tell users what ports we use and how to configure their firewalls to support it.

So, you can see why categorizing us as “spyware” is antithetical to everything that I have done in designing and crafting my service.

Thanks for reading. "

If this is all true, VONGO and HP should have been MUCH MORE forthcoming with this information. Google "Removing Vongo" and my blog, PRIMARILY about Type 1 diabetes and motherhood is the number 5 hit, behind 3 other blogs and CNET. I get more hits per day from my 2 other entries regarding Vongo, then I get from my "regular" readers. Nowhere does Vongo's site show up in that Google search.

If this is true, WHY has it taken Vongo so long to make any sort of effort to rebute what has been said, over and over and over again? And where is HP in all of this?

I find it AMAZINGLY frustrating that not a SINGLE person at HP EVER relayed this information. Their "stock" response has always been to just "delete it in safe mode" and act surprised when it doesn't work.

Personally, as a "computer techie" I can understand the intricacies of programming and the seemingly endless possibilities for programs to unexpectedly "go bad" because of issues with other software. I almost feel sorry for Vongo. Almost.

As a consumer, this has probably been one of the most frustrating experiences ever. Regardless of who is at fault, I still want Vongo off of my computer.

Take it or leave it, folks, but at least we have an answer.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


I want one. NOW! I don't know which though. I'm fairly positive I could present myself as a "test" case for the insurance (and that they love DH enough to let me...but you never know).

Anywhoo. I want one, but I have no idea which one. I don't have any cozy feelings with MiniMed, but if that's the best, I'd push for it. I've heard good things about DexCom, but also that their PC software sucks the big one. Abbott is a crap shoot as its still awaiting approval - AND it needs FreeStyle strips which are a 3rd tier drug for me.

I'm so confused. So if you've got a CGMS, sell me on your brand. If you hate it, tell me that too. If you think CGMS is a waste altogether, bring it on! LOL I need the good, the bad and the ugly.

Anger Management

The current award for "Most Bizarre Google Search Leading to My Blog":

"elmo's slicing their throat"

This post of mine came up as the #5 hit. Be afraid, be very, very afraid.

I don't even want to hazard a guess as to what this person was actually looking for.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Removing Vongo - take 2

This is the best explanation that I've seen so far regarding WHY Vongo is IMPOSSIBLE to uninstall completely.

(taken from Vinny Carpenter's blog in the comments section)

“Because it uses special encryption software to keep buyers from pirating the movies, Vongo must run at all times. That’s why the software installs those iron-clad anti-removal barriers that makes it reinstall itself whenever a user removes it using the Add or Remove Programs Control Panel available under the Start menu.”


"According to a few anti-virus sites, Vongo is spyware. Only HP and Vongo seem to be denying this. Here’s the reason sites say this based on activity analysis of what Vongo is doing:

Known activities:

installs programs
deletes programs
invokes dll components
communicates with websites using httpout protocols
hijacks running processes
hides outbound communications

Perhaps the most worrisome is that there is a “strong possibility of keystroke logging” taking place.

This article confirms that pre-installed Vongo cannot be removed from an existing system unless a clean copy of the OS is installed."

To add to the fun, HP supposedly DOES NOT have "clean" copies of the OS. So if you have a laptop and go out and buy a clean version, you're going to spend hours hunting for the HP specific drivers to run your laptop.

At this point, my advice:

1) if you just bought the laptop/desktop - RETURN IT. Buy a different brand. I can no longer recommend HP because of this fiasco.

2) if you can't return it - follow the instructions here . Vongo will still be there, but at the very least you shouldn't be bothered by install errors. If you are going to need multiple "new users" created, make sure to create the default user profile.

3). I personally believe a Class Action suit should be brought against Vongo and HP. I paid for ALL of the resources on my laptop, and Vongo is taking some from me.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hold tight

I'm not even sure words can express my anger and utter heartache right now. An internet friend lost her sweet, little girl Sunday night, suddenly, unexpectedly. I can't even imagine what her life is like at the moment.

I find I don't even want to try to imagine.
The thought is too numbing.

Please, hug your children today. Find the good through all the bad. Cherish every laugh, smile, word. Tuck them in, kiss them, hug them. Tomorrow may never come.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Questions from julia

1. What does blogging do for you?
When I started I didn't think it would "do" anything for me. I thought that I was funny and that people would trip over one another to read my blog (ok kidding). I was really just looking for a way to write about Ally so that I'd have some sort of record of her life (her baby book is dismally empty). Then I found the OC and the blog changed direction. It allowed me to open up my frustrations regarding T1 to a group that understood. It also lead to better A1c's, my 1st ever participation in "the walk" and a better appreciation of myself as a person with T1.

I desperately NEED to get back to blogging. In retrospect, blogging was therapeutic. I let life get in the way, though. I was busy helping to get the forum up and running and before I knew it months passed and I hadn't said a word. Its funny how something that came so naturally for so long was quickly gone. I find myself starting post after post, but failing to write anything of merit, I'd just delete it.

I need to come back.

2. Do you have any tattoos? If so, what of and what do
they represent? If not, would you?

No tattoos. WAY.TOO.PERMANENT. I couldn't do it. I have trouble enjoying something for a week, never mind the rest of my life. If I did get one, I'm not really sure what it would be. I'm corny enough to get a small Mickey Mouse (I was going to marry him when I was 3) or maybe a small Kermit the Frog, hidden on my shoulder or the small of my back. Wish I had some profound, earth-shattering symbol, but nope.

3. If you could live anywhere else in the world,
where would that be?

As much as I gripe about Winter, I don't think I would enjoy an area without 4 seasons. I'd want to say somewhere romantic like Paris or Rome, but honestly, outside of Canada, I've never left the US, so I have no idea if I'd truly be happy there.

I LOVED Alaska, but there's no way I could handle the winters or the hummingbird sized mosquitoes. Maybe Australia? But again, with the whole, I've never even been there.

Probably makes me boring but I really do LOVE the area I'm in. Do I love exactly where my house is, not really. I want to move to the "fringe" rural areas, maybe outer Westfield, Southwick, Southampton or Granby. Somewhere were I could feel secluded, but have every major convenience within a 20 minute drive.

4. Name five celebrities you'd like to invite over
for dinner - they all have to come at the same time.
And what would you serve them?

Oh, boy
1) Angelina Jolie - I think she can be beyond bizarre, but I love the "activist" in her. I think she could inspire me to get involved.
2) Kirstie Alley - Anyone who can be that open about their weight (whether they initially wanted to or not) AND wear a bikini on Oprah is worth my time.

Going to step out of reality with the next two.

3) Walt Disney and 4) Jim Henson - I truly believe these men were "in it" only for the pure satisfaction of entertaining children and making the world a better place. Maybe my rose colored glasses are a little too dark, but I want to meet them to find out.

5) Clive Owen - purely for the eye candy ;)

What would I serve? Hmmm. I've never been a "formal, sit down" kind of girl. I'm thinking an outdoor "lobster boil" at night. Lobsters and steamers, grilled salmon and sea scallops. Grilled corn on the cob, zucchini, portobello mushrooms, eggplant, tomatoes, leeks and peppers. Sliced potatoes with onions, cole slaw (oh, great I'm hungry now). For dessert, homemade vanilla, chocolate banana or chocolate peanut better ice creams and then s'mores.

5. What's your favourite thing to do on a rainy day?
With kids and without kids.

By myself - snuggle up with a good book and just let the day lazily pass by. If its summer and a good thunderstorm, I LOVE sitting out on the porch at our cottage watching it.

With Ally - I have to admit, I absolutely LOVE lying in bed with her watching a movie. After that though, I'd have to get out of the house and head somewhere, anywhere, which generally means the Mall or Yankee Candle.