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stronghold

The Menga stronghold, better known as my apartment, has been cleaned.

I remember saying to myself some time ago that if I ever had a place of my own, it would always be spotless.

Um, yeah. Right. 🙂

I'm human like everyone else and my apartment gets cluttered from time to time. It happens. My clutter these days compared to days of old is minimal.

-------------------------

There were two things I wanted to get done that totally did not get done as of yet. a) Finish some client work for a friend, b) Get my own biz site completed.

The reason both of those things didn't get done is because they involved programming, and I simply haven't felt like being a programmer lately. In fact, I haven't been feeling like being a programmer for the past few days, hence the reason I haven't been blogging as much as I normally do.

That being said, I'm heading up with a friend to GameWorks. I intend on happily wasting cash playing many arcade games.

-------------------------

The parts for my new computer will be arriving sometime next week. Possibly Monday or Tuesday.

The only, repeat, only reason I'm building a new box is because I need to edit and render video more quickly. Otherwise it's not necessary.

I wholly admit that I find joy in doing things "old school" with computers. This is the reason I use things like Launchy and still run things via command line in Windows XP.

This is also the reason I'd love to run a BBS again. Oh, yeah. Total geekery there. I'm not ashamed to admit that.

However..

It will be cool that my new box is going to be modern, meaning it'll be fast, meaning I won't have to worry about hard drive space for a while, meaning I can actually buy games without looking at the box to see if I meet "minimum system requirements" or not.

Methinks the first thing I'll do as a test is play Half Life 2. 🙂 I never did finish that game.

***Guitar deals & steals? Where? Right here. Price drops, B-stock and tons more.

c340 update / new computer

3.90

In March '07 there was an update released that updated the system software for the Garmin StreetPilot c340 from version 3.70 to 3.90. Found out about it yesterday. The bug where the daylight savings time didn't update properly is fixed. Yee-haw. 🙂

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what is an "intel 2 core duo", anyway?

I finally had to face the fact that my computer is old, out of date and struggling to keep up with all the video editing I'm asking it to do.

So I'm building a new one.

Before I get into the specifics of what I bought, I'll say first that I make darn sure I get my mileage out of my tech before I give it up for something newer. The box I'm using now is the computer I built back in April 2004, just a few days shy of three years ago.

Yeah, that long ago. 🙂

The video card has been upgraded a few times, hard drives were added and removed as were optical drives. But the core of the computer has always been a 1.9GHz AMD Athlon XP with 512MB of PC3200 400MHz DDR RAM.

Here's the stuff I'm keeping.

BenQ 20.1" monitor. Ordered that back in December of '06. Hardly old.

Logitech USB optical mouse. I bought this a long time ago at Wal-Mart. Works great and has never failed.

Standard Microsoft keyboard. No, it's not one of those "natural" curvy ones. Just a plain stock keyboard I bought from CompUSA for fifteen bucks. This isn't old either as I bought it only a few months ago.

Altec Lansing audio speakers. Don't be impressed by the title. This is a cheap pair of ten-dollar speakers. Not old. Bought them right around the same time I got the keyboard.

Lite-On DVD burner. Bought this very recently, so it's going in the new case.

Here's the new stuff.

Intel Core 2 Duo BX80557E4300 Processor. This is the first non-Pentium chip I will be owning since the i486. This also marks my return back to Intel processors. AMD has served me well, but this time I'm going Intel.

MSI 945P Neo3-F motherboard. First time using MSI. Reviews are generally good for them. This is uncharted territory for me.

EVGA 256-P2-N541-T2 video card. I'll be totally honest: I have NO IDEA whether this video card will work with the motherboard I just bought. I'm assuming it will. This is very new territory for me because I have zero experience with PCI Express x16 video cards.

WINTEC AMPO 240-pin DDR2 667 RAM. Again, unfamiliar territory in the world of computer memory for me. The MSI mobo states it will run DDR2 667 RAM, so that's what I bought.

Western Digital Caviar SE WD2500JS. Even though there are hard drives much bigger than this, this is the first 250GB drive I've ever had. It also marks my return to WD hard drives. For years I avoided them like the plague due to a bad experience with them years ago. However, it seems that people like them now, so I'm giving it a go. The new thing about this is that it's a SATA 3.0Gb/s interface. No four-prong connectors and no IDE cables. My last experience with this type of connector was bad, however, the tech was very new back when I tried it.

Building a box is a pain in the ass and I don't like doing it.

So why am I doing it again?

One reason: Price.

Originally I was intent on buying another Dell PC. I know how their support system works (I used to do field repair for them) and the product is decent overall. Unfortunately I didn't see anything in the Dell Outlet Store that suited me at all.

The problem is that Dell, as well as all other manufacturers, are whoring out pushing Microsoft Windows Vista like crazy. I don't want Vista. Windows XP Pro really works for me and I don't want to deal with any software or hardware issues Vista would bring.

Finding a box with Windows XP Pro on it at Dell Outlet is a challenge to say the least, unless you're looking for an OptiPlex model.. but I don't like those. I wanted a Dimension or an XPS.

So I threw my hands in the air and said "Fuggit, I'm building a box."

Before end of week I should have all my computer parts. Once this rig is put together I'm hoping I don't have to upgrade for a while.

this, that, that, this

google apps update

I've been using Google Apps for my primary domain mail for eight days now.

One word: Awesome.

This is, by far, the best mail I've ever used. I love the fact I can access it from anywhere, I love the fact the servers send and receive mail almost instantaneously and everything in between.

I only wish they had an interface as cool as Yahoo Mail, but with Gmail's features. Then it would be perfect.

biz update

For the first time since being in FL, I finally got around to taking some proactive steps to re-launch my biz. Yesterday I made a crapload of phone calls, got all (yes, all) of the info I needed to make this thing work again, and now what I have to do is program my biz site so it can do the things I want it to.

I know a few of you out there have been checking my biz site periodically only to see a "coming soon" page for months now. Soon enough it will have something different and useful. 🙂

stomping grounds update

When I first moved to FL it appeared as if I moved here the wrong year weather-wise, due to the fact December and most of January of '06 were lovely in Connecticut. A running joke with some of my friends is that I should have left a year later because I might have actually enjoyed the weather up there from '06 to '07.

Well.. it isn't a joke anymore. 🙂

Since February, a huge chunk of CT (including the area where I grew up) is getting slammed with all sorts of crap and a lot of it. It's April, and there's flood warnings all over the place, sleet which turns into that oh-so-lovely slush that makes it near-impossible to keep your car clean, high winds, and on and on and on.

Repeat: In April.

The fortunate part? Slush and rain at least doesn't freeze during this time of year.

The unfortunate part? All this crap should have left before March.

How am I fortunate? I'm not there.

Let me put it to you this way: Last weekend I drove up to Sarasota with a friend and drove smack dab into the middle of a storm. Torrential rains all over the place, high winds, etc.

But it's just rain. The rain was warm with virtually no debris on I-75.

To all my friends in CT, trust me, you're WELL PREPARED to handle anything Florida could throw at you. After dealing with the onslaught of crap, rain and winds won't faze you. Not a bit. You'll be saying to yourself (as I do from time to time) Well.. at least it's not frozen.

🙂

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