gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
Figuring out how to use my new program. This is going to take some work, but I think it's going to be a very good thing my writing.
gridlore: The word "Done!" in bold red letters. (Done!)
I'm typing this on my new computer. Which I needed because I got Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home Edition for a Winter Gift.

That's when we learned that my old computer was no longer seeing the CD/DVD drive. Thinking the problem was with the drive, we bought a new DVD drive. Same problem. A friend of Kirsten's who was helping us diagnosed the problem as being the motherboard. Which, being ancient would be hard and expensive to replace.

Kiri found a great deal on a HP Pavilion on Woot. We also got an awesome external drive. This first plan was just to copy the contents of my C drive to the new computer. That didn't work, as there was "hardware incompatibility."

Next plan was to identify the things I absolutely had to move and just download replacements of the others things. I was able to slash and burn through my accumulated years of odd gaming bits and pictures to reduce things to a manageable size. Very few actual programs needed transfer. Over the last week Kiri has done the work of making the moves and setting things up. She also spent a few hours cleaning up my iTunes library.

Right now I'm downloading a bunch of games off Steam and double checking to see if there's anything I forgot. Luckily, transferring both my Firefox and iTunes data was easy.

All for a new program which is going to help me write. I'll start playing with that next week.
gridlore: One of the penguins from "Madagascar," captioned "It's all some kind of whacked-out conspiracy." (Penguin - Conspiracy)
I'm working my way through The West Wing as a way to kill time and revisit some of the best television ever made. I'm onto Season 4, and notice this when I put the DVD into the drive.

Where The White Women At
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Me - Glare of Sarcasm)
(Tip of the hat to Niece Prime for first calling me out on that.)

One of the things I've learned since starting at the YMCA is music really helps my 45 minutes on the bike go by much faster. I've had fun putting together work-out mixes, tending towards longer jams and good beat counts.

Today I was trying a new mix:

Metallica - ...And Justice for All (Live) 10:06

Grateful Dead - Help On The Way/Slipknot!/Franklin's Tower (Live) 18:58

Genesis - Domino: Part I-In The Glow Of The Night Part II:The Last Domino (Live) 11:21

Start pedaling, hit play on the playlist and . . . nothing. ...And Justice for All refuses to start. Go to the second track and everything is fine. But at the end of the music, I still have roughly ten minutes of work and a five minute cool-down. So I search for a good song. That's when I learn that close to 2/3rds of the music on my iPhone is on the cloud. I put it on my phone for a reason, not so I can be warned that downloading the song over cellular might cost me money.

This really pissed me off. It threw off my rhythm, really elevated my heartbeat, and cost me many spoons.

So I ask, on an iPhone 4, is there any way to force iTunes to actually put my music where I want it?

As a sign of how frustrated I was, I completely missed that I was lifting the wrong weight on the row station for my first set.
gridlore: Photo: Rob Halford on stage from the 1982 "Screaming for Vengeance" tour (Music - Rob Halford)
My favorite thing about iTunes is the Genius play list function. Pick a song, and tell the program to select songs that go with it. Pretty hit and miss, but sometimes you get good ones. Here's the list it created off Green Day's Warning.

Ana one, ana two... )
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Keep Calm)
Echofon, the preferred Twitter client for me and Kirsten, has stopped supporting their plugin for desktops.

Any advice on a good Twitter feed thingie that works both on computers and mobile devices?
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Penguin - dance)
iTunes has this fun feature called the Genius Playlist. Select a song you like and ask the program to create a playlist based off that song from your entire library. Obviously, the larger and more diverse your collection, the better this feature works. But with a little tweaking, you get some good mix tapes, as we elderly folk call them.

Listening to my favorites folder, and Harvey Danger's Flagpole Sitta came on. I thought I'd see what I'd get with the Genius picking the mix. Pretty good set list:

  1. Flagpole Sitta - Harvey Danger

  2. The Way - Fastball

  3. It's All Been Done - Barenaked Ladies

  4. Cannonball - The Breeders

  5. Hook - Blues Traveler

  6. Then The Morning Comes - Smash Mouth

  7. Changes - David Bowie

  8. Party Hard - Andrew W.K.

  9. Love Rollercoaster - Red Hot Chili Peppers

  10. Always Something There To Remind Me - Naked Eyes

  11. Wake Up- Rage Against The Machine

  12. The Promise - When In Rome

  13. Brian Wilson - Barenaked Ladies

  14. Pump It Up - Elvis Costello

  15. Devil's Haircut - Beck

  16. Sleeping In - Postal Service

  17. What's The Frequency, Kenneth? - R.E.M.

  18. Our Lips Are Sealed - The Go-Go's

  19. Burning Down the House - Talking Heads

  20. Pinch Me - Barenaked Ladies

  21. Can't Get Enough Of You Baby - Smash Mouth

  22. Rebel, Rebel - David Bowie

  23. Beds Are Burning - Midnight Oil

  24. All The Young Dudes - Mott The Hoople

  25. And She Was - Talking Heads


One of those was a song I'd never heard before, Sleeping In by the Postal Service. The joys of [personal profile] kshandra and me sharing the iTunes account. Not complaining at all.
gridlore: Photo: penguin chick with its wings outstretched, captioned "Yay!" (Penguin - Yay!)
Pardon my extended absence, but my computer hard drive was dying and a friend has been repairing it. I expect to be online full time again soon.

I come today to speak of Giftmas. It was a good thing. Spent the morning at my sister's place. All the nieces, my mom, Kirsten and I, we all enjoyed a fun morning. Good breakfast as well. I'm at work now, doing a few hours of prep for tomorrow. Mainly confirming trips and making sure the drivers get their work.

As for presents, I am happy with my haul. I got a bear you can microwave or freeze for warm/cold bear, socks, and the Ars Magica book for the Byzantine Empire. Kirsten and I also managed to buy each other the same item: slippers. I got her these neat thermal booties at REI (good for home and Playa) and she got me Giants slippers.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Me - Thoughtful)
what model calculator do you own? Do you still use it on a regular basis?

I own a TI-30XA. I figure that since the one thing I really need to brush up on if I'm going back to school is math, I'd find an algebra book and start force-teaching myself. Having a good calculator to help seem,s to be a good idea.
gridlore: The word "Done!" in bold red letters. (Done!)
Accomplished everything I set out to do, and more.

  • Extension paperwork filed with the medical secretaries

  • Picked up my thyroid medication, Levothyroxine 25MCG.

  • Nearly had a heart attack at the cost.

  • Went to the DMV and picked up my temporary disabled parking placard. DMV was hellish as usual, but I had a cute baby to watch.


Then came the real fun of the day. Helping my mom with her computer. At first I was just going over to show her how to use Flickr. But then two things quickly became apparent. Nothing on this machine had been updated in years, and my mom was agreeing to any installation option given to her. IE had about 5 toolbars, and when I opened the ancient version of Firefox, there were at least eight. So a'program-deleting we went! Cleared about 2gig of crap from the hard drive. Then downloaded a clean, current version of Firefox and set it up for her needs.

Had one final errand. For decades I've had a dollar bill that was printed when war fears with the Japanese were growing. The Treasury printed a raftload of money with HAWAII printed on the back. The idea was that if the islands were successfully invaded, the US could simply declare all such bills to be worthless. There's no family history attached to it, so I called a coin store to see if I could bring it in. The best part was that on Lincoln Avenue in Willow Glen I got a parking space right in front of the place I was going. (Highly recommended, they were great people.) The appraiser looked over the bill and offered five dollars. Since that's more than the face value, I easily accepted. Sure, in the back of my mind, I was hoping for a "1935 Series A? My God, there are only five known to exist!" but knew that wasn't likely. Still looking out for a wandering 1933 Gold Double Eagle, though.

Finally, I came home and made two new icons. One for Madden football, and the one I've needed for a while, seen on this post.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Bears!)
The Memory Remains.

Kirsten bought us new EMTEC flash drives yesterday. Mine's a cute little penguin. With 4gb of storage. I can remember when we were stunned by a friend's desktop with its massive 30mb hard drive. Now I can hang over 130 times the storage space on my key chain. Now I just need to get Mr. Bigglesworth back from his upgrade.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Me - Google)

  • Just heard that the Emergency Back-Up Niece has begun taking Taekwondo lessons!

  • Evidently she loves it, even the formality and rules, and has already broken a board with a kick!

  • She especially likes the shouting.

  • Everyone is hoping she's sticks with it, not only because the lessons are costly, because of all the positives that come out of the training and discipline.

  • Me? I'm thinking the 2024 Summer Olympics

  • The only martial art I ever studied was Aikido. Took a course of beginner's classes while at Fort Benning.

  • Aikido is about the only martial art you can do in full infantry gear. It was very popular with infatrymen.

  • Our combatives training and Aikido shared some characteristics.

  • Both focused on using your opponent's energy against him to get him on the ground for a strike.

  • I was transferred before I could take advantage of it, but there was an advanced class where the students wore full battle-rattle.

  • Health-wise, I'm doing a bit better.

  • Controlling all the lung issues, doing my best to build up endurance and strength.

  • Downloaded Blender.

  • I've got all this bloody free time, and I spend all day in front of the computer anyway.

  • Might as well to learn to do this.

  • Who knows, if I develop half-way decent skills, I might start self-publishing stuff for games.

  • But that's a long way off.

  • BEAT L.A.!!!!

gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Penguin - Exploding)
My Google account was hacked. Ignore any spam you get from me. Changing passwords all over the place.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Me - Smiling)
A Talent For War - Jack McDevitt

A couple of years ago I picked up Seeker, which is the third Alex Benedict novel. Really enjoyed that one, and was pleased to learn it was a series. A Talent For War is the first book in the series, and is a joy to read. Alex, the protagonist, is an antiquities dealer living about 9,000 years from now in a galaxy of loosely-allied human worlds. When he learns that his uncle has perished in the disappearance of an interstellar liner, he is charged with finishing his uncles last archaeological quest.. What makes this book great is it takes a very human approach to investigating a mystery. Alex doesn't even know what he's looking for, and has to piece together his uncle's actions, do research, quiz people, and all along you are drawn into the action. A parallel story is that of Christopher Sims, legendary leader of the Resistance during a war 200 years ago. His story is revealed through Alex's investigations, and it becomes clear that whatever Alex is after, it has to do with the near-myth of Christopher Sims and his ship. To say more would spoil things. This isn't so much a science-fiction novel but a mystery novel in a SF setting. Excellent, engaging, and the revelations at the end are satisfying. This is a book for people who enjoy heroes who solve problems with brain power and methodical work and preparations, rather than their fists. Five penguins.

Cyber Clean Electronics Cleaning Putty

If you're like me, you live in front of a computer. Especially now that I'm on disability, I tend to spend a lot of time camped out in the Command Papasan. I eat here, scratch my beard here, sneeze and cough here.. which means my keyboard is a mess a lot of the time. Compressed air and wipes work OK, but I wanted something to really get the crap out from between the keys. Order thi9s stuff from ThinkGeek. Out of the jar, it looks like it should be starring in a 50s SciFi shlock monster movie. But it works wonders. Press it into the keyboard, pull it up, and all the crap comes right off with no residue. The surface doesn't even feel damp or tacky. I've used it to get the last bits of dust off the monitor as well. Very useful, and worth the price. Especially if you use your GeekPoints to get it. Four penguins
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Me - Google)

  • Discovered this morning that my computer's speakers were dying faster than I am. Lots of really bad drop outs when I adjusted the volume, and just poor quality across the board. I'm not surprised, since the stuff was close to a decade old and had been in almost daily use. But considering how important music and watching TV & movies on the computer has been to my sanity, a solution was needed, ASAP.

  • [livejournal.com profile] kshandra needed to go out and run a few errands anyway, and agreed to stop at Staples to look at speakers. We ended up with the Logitech Z313. Even got 'em on sale.

  • Kirsten has gone for a bit of a nap, so I can't really test them yet. That's coming Monday. I have some good music to see just how good these really are. But right now, the sound quality is sharp.

  • In other news I've been off oxygen all day with no perceptible drop in my blood oxygen. Still worried that this is an artifact of the Prednisone. We'll see. But it is nice not to have two bit of medical plastic up my nose.

  • The really good news is my last two Coumadin levels were where the clinic wants them to be. I get a whole week between blood draws!

  • Giants won. We're looking really good for the opener except for one thing.

  • Our closer, Brian Wilson, has strained his oblique. Or his beard, the Tweet wasn't clear.

  • Anyway, he's questionable for the opener. Boo.

  • Nice thing about a papsan? If you decide that a nap is a good idea, you don't need to go anywhere.

  • zzzzzz.....

gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Penguin - Very Small One)
I've been ordered to put my feet up. I want to be in front of my computer. I am a tool-using primate!

I could get used to this

Needs a few tweaks, but I'm actually pretty comfortable. The only problem is the extension of my legs, which is a bit unnatural. The wireless keyboard and mouse work just fine. I may well keep this set up after the current crisis has passed. Eventually pick up the papasan footstool and slide that under the desk.

I feel like a slacker Bond villain.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Penguin - Typing)
to the HP-35! Introduced on this date in 1972!

Only $395!

So, what was your first piece of geek hardware love?
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Penguin - Typing)
Rising from the murky depths of computer history, the Commodore 64 rides again!

[livejournal.com profile] kshandra and I had a C64 back in the day (which meant we ended up with boxes and boxes of other peoples' Commodore junk) and enjoyed it. Owning a C64 was like owning a VW Microbus. It was cranky, didn't use any standard parts, required constant care and fine-tuning, but owning one made you part of the cult.

I still remember running the SSI Gold Box AD&D games on that machine. Several times I would have a combat encounter start, order a pizza, and the pizza would arrive before the combat had finished loading. Good times.

Tip of the floppy disk to [livejournal.com profile] filkertom for the link.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Penguin - Exploding)
Die in a fire. I was having the best game of Civ IV I've had in weeks when you suddenly decided it was time to upload those "critical updates" I told you to put off until tomorrow. Game gone, no save.

I learned everything I need to know about reprogramming you in Combat Demolitions. Got it?
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Penguin - Typing)
From an AT&T radio spot I hear at least 20 times a day:

"The internet was originally called the World Wide Web."

Excuse me, I have to do some Gopher searches of FTP sites for a way to express just how utterly wrong this is on every level. Shouldn't take long, I have a 56.6K modem!

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gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
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