Friday, September 30, 2005

How my mind works

Henry and were just watching TV. On screen they were counting, 1,2, and then asked what comes next. Henry said "six", which is wrong, as the answer was three.
But if we take Henry's answer to be true, we get:

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Computer Love

Yes, I'm blogging, stop holding the gun to my head. I have also re-enabled comments, please be nice.
I bought a new computer. Yes, dude, I got a dell. The price seemed low enough and my old Dell (750mhz PIII, Win 98se) just wasn't pulling its weight anymore. I figured out what I wanted and found a coupon code by searching for "Dell Coupon Codes" on Google. This resulted in a 35% off coupon code that saved a bit of money (but not 35% since they usually give you 10-20% off anyway). Dell also threw in a 19" flatscreen (analog) monitor.
Here's what I got:
Dell Dimension 5100 Series
Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor 630 w/HT Technology (3.0GHz,800FSB)
Memory 1GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 400MHz (4x256M)
Keyboard Dell USB Keyboard
Monitors FREE UPGRADE! 19 inch E193FP Analog Flat Panel
Video Cards 256MB PCI Express™ x16 (DVI/VGA/TV-out) ATI Radeon X600 SE HyperMemory
Hard Drives 80GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM)
Operating System Microsoft® Windows® XP Media Center 2005 Edition
Mouse Dell Optical USB Mouse
Network Interface Integrated Intel® PRO 10/100 Ethernet
Modem 56K PCI Data Fax Modem
CD or DVD Drive Dual Drives: 16x DVD-ROM Drive + 16x DVD+/-RW w/dbl layer write capability
Sound Card Integrated Audio with Dolby Digital 7.1 capability
Total $791.20 (would have been closer to $1000 without the coupon code)

Annoyances:No recovery discs were shipped with the PC. They say you don't need them anymore as the hard drive has a hidden partition with the recovery software. This is fine unless your hard drive dies, in which case you are completely screwed (and it has happened to me in the past). So I asked Dell to send me some recovery discs and they did. I recommend asking the same if you order one.

The machine doesn't have a parallel/printer port. So my old printer didn't hook up. I could have bought an adapter but decided instead to buy a cheap HP 3 in 1 machine. It lacks the elegance of my old HP printer (still connected on the network), but is fast (it fairly vomits the pages in an orgy of violent clattering) and takes up less space. My old scanner connected fine but there was no way to turn it off (manufacturer wanted $$ for a disc that allowed me to run it on XP). I also hated my old scanner.

When getting the new computer up and running I had to restart it no less than 6 times during all the software registration, installation and updates. If you don't have high speed internet (I do)don't buy a new computer because you will never be able to update windows.
All told it took me 2 days to get it running to my satisfaction and with all my old preferences, etc.
The fonts seemed pixelated on the new screen. After some hunting I found I had to turn on "Clear Type"
I still am not 100% happy with my contrast and brightness levels on the new monitor. But it is big!
Other than those issues, I love the new machine. The 19" flat panel has much more real estate than a 19" CRT. The new machine isn't beige either. All my old peripherals were beige. The only beige left is the speakers from the old dell I'm using on this machine. It is incredibly quiet. XP is really cool. (yes, I'm late to the party) I'll probably never use all the media center features though. It is much faster on the graphics intensive programs I use.

I still need to get another gig of ram, Dell charges more than I also want to install a 2nd hard drive for daily backups. Weekly backups get burned to DVD (4.7 gigs! amazing), and distributed to the network.

On to other matters.
Max has been sleeping better the past week, He is crawling (at 6 months!). Henry has been picking out which shoes he wants to wear for the past half hour.I am monumentally behind in my work. I have a book review to write, have to set up my new Taig CNC mill, make some new index plates and generally spiff up my web pages.

Henry has a knock-knock joke, his first:"Knock-Knock, who's there"
It peters out after that. He also can now boot up his PC, which is now in his room, start his games and play(learn). I never thought I would live in a world where a toddler has his own networked computer, but I do.

Here are some links I have been collecting:

I recently switched over to Thunderbird for my email, here is a good guide.
Here is a rather interesting surplus tool store, read the history.
This is the "Gallery of Transport Loss", wonderful pictures and stories of transport loss.
Kid's Web Japan has some good japanese lessons for kids (older kids)
Korea for Kids isn't quite as spiffy, but is useful.

Monday, September 19, 2005

deposit slips

I received some new checks today. The deposit slips that are supplied with the checks only have space for about 6 checks - the rest taken up by an itemized cash deposit section. You know, sometimes I have to deposit more than 6 checks at once! So I just wrote down the other check in a glaringly large blank space on the deposit slip. Now you say "You could get some more deposit slips from the bank", but they treat you like you're some sort of identity criminal everytime you ask for any forms, and rarely want to give you more than one at a time.
People whinge about how medicine has become impersonal, but I am much more concerned about impersonal banking.

Max is still not sleeping. He is teething though, as evidenced by the full drool-bucket we keep around his neck.

Fran and Joe (Felice's parents) are visiting. Henry keeps calling her "Grandma June", because it's hard to understand that he has two grandmas, although when pressed he admits it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Lazy Blogger

Yes, it's been a while. I lost a bit of steam with the whole comment fracas and then parenting Max kicked into high gear. I think posts will come more frequently now. Felice and I haven't been getting much sleep lately (any sleep) and that seems to effect my creativity/humour. But enough about me.

Nope, not enough. I'm 39 now and no one sent me any of the swell presents I asked for. Shame on you all. I did decide to buy myself a new computer (from Dell) that hasn't arrived yet. It should make my life more streamlined although I'm dreading migrating everything over from this machine. One thing to note, if you are shopping for a Dell (or anything else) look online for coupon/promo codes, I was able to cut about 35% from the price by using a code I found here.

I just switched over from Outlook Express to Thunderbird. OE was losing track of some of the larger email folders I have (the most used ones, for my business) and I decided to try out TB. It is much better in my opinion, although we'll see what happens when I switch to using XP on the new computer. Like Firefox you have to look all over the web for little widgets that make the program work the way you want, I found a preview pane button after a bit of searching.
TB does seem a bit safer than OE and the junk mail settings are useful.

Fran and Joe (Felice's parents) are coming for a week visit tomorrow. I think that means I'll be able to get more stuff done....

Oh and here's a paper crafts blog that has links to many new fun projects I'll never do...

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The utility of Google maps

I just received an email from a customer who was awaiting a package in Metairie Lousiana
UPS tracking showed that it was signed for on the friday before Katrina (he had it delivered to a business), but the customer had intelligently decided to bug out to relatives in Austin that day (where he just emailed me from) and didn't know if the package had been delivered or not. By using Google maps "Katrina" button I was able to see that the business is above water, which is probably an insignificant bit of good news to the customer. This is as far as I know the first natural disaster that has recent publicly accessable satellite footage searcheable through the internet by address.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Are you prepared?

I've been too busy to blog lately what with both boys having colds and Max teething (which means not very much sleep, or rather none at all...) Anyway I just thought I'd mention that if you aren't prepared for something like Katrina (or the equivalent earthquake, fire, icestorm, etc) then nows a good time to get together some emergency supplies in the hope you'll never need them. Here's a good post from Winds of Change on what might be a good starting point. I wish everyone in NO had a water purifier on hand, but clearly they didn't. But you should have one, I do. Anyway, time to make dinner in what seems a comparitive luxury (kitchen, electricity, fridge, food, water).