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Computer Failure

Tue 30 March 2010

Why is it still rather cool here in the mornings when it's almost April? Oh, I know, it's global warming! It's sunny here today but it also was a cool 50 this morning when I got up. Now it is a very pleasant, dry 74 here in Veroland. Nonetheless, this time last year I'd already hit the beach or had I?

Monday I spent all morning and into early afternoon setting up Sally's new computer configuration in TB's office. I moved the new old Dell into Sally's office and moved out here abacus with a printer attached. Now here computer is fast, has a GB of RAM, and is loaded with Quick books among other useful applications. Here old electronic abacus was moved into the outer office just in case TB might want to try it - don't hold your breath. The new laser jet printer needed to be installed as well as the drivers for Sally's FAX/printer/copier. I even tried to find a driver for that over-sized antique check printer but the manufacturers own web site didn't even have it - the driver was 19 years old for God's sake! No worries, the new laser jet will take over the tasks and in a whole heck of a lot less space.

My final task was to get all of Sally's documents, office files, office records, etc. off the old machine then put it on the new machine. You're saying that should not be a problem - just download to a flash drive and transfer. Wrong! The machine did not even recognize the flash drive or a CD as far as that goes. Whatever application was used to transfer data did not function. What to do? Rather than trying to figure out how to fix the antiquated machine I uploaded the whole document file to an online transfer service I use then downloaded it to the new old computer - the file was way to big to e-mail. All is well in the office now.

The big deal for me is my older computer I was using had a major failure when I tried to boot it yesterday. It would appear to be loading then I'd get a "C0000Z18 - Registry File Failed" . I couldn't use system restore nor would it boot into the safe mode. I put my recovery disk in to boot from it then run a 3 hour CHKDSK hoping to fix the corruption - no such luck. I did find a rather long, tedious, multilevel procedure on Microsoft's web site but even I didn't want to try it. So, from a trick I learned while working on Matt's laptop, I took the hard drive out then mounted it in an external housing so as I could run it off a USB connection on my new machine - all my files were in tact. I transferred a copy of the important files to my external hard drive back-up with the thought of re-installing the OS on the hard drive.

But wait... I decided not to do that but rather buy a new hard drive then install the operating system on that. Once installed, I can then replace all the files and documents as if nothing had happened. I ordered a new 500MB Western Digital hard drive today. I'll lose the functionality of some programs I installed on the computer but they can be installed again. That machine was getting slow so this is likely a good thing in the long run. I might even put Windows 7 on that computer but if I do, I might need to install my licensed copy of XP to avoid the full cost of Windows 7 and use the upgrade version instead. Stay tuned.

Posted at 02:19 pm in Computer | Comments (0)

Still Busy

Sun 28 March 2010

OK already, I know I've not posted for a few days but I've been busy - retirement is a lot of work! Additionally, I needed some down time to just sit back and watch a movie or one of my favorite BBC series. I'll try to review a few things for you.

About a week ago I mentioned my baking cousin Alice's computer problem - she got infected with the "Facebook email Trojan". What happens is you get an email that 'appears' to be from Facebook containing a zip file with your new password information - the file really has a Trojan which steals your passwords and usernames. Bad that. Well I found and irradiated the bugger but the damage was done. After scanning her machine with 3 different scans, it appeared OK but I decided to run HijackThis as well. There were about a dozen 'nasty' entries I could not find or purge so I tried a system restore to put the machine back a few days before the infection - the restore did not complete even after trying different restore points and trying the safe mode.

What to do you ask? I decided to restore the machine to it's factory defaults but this too seemed to not complete. I ended up erasing everything on her hard drive then ordering a 'recovery disk' from Toshiba. When I ran the CD this past Friday I thought it too was not working so I called Toshiba - they told me it might take 1 tom 3 hours and to be patient. Me, patient? Huh? What is patient? The bottom line is the machine is restored and all updates have been installed. Oh, before I started any of this I did download all her files so they could be restored when I was done. I got a fresh-baked coconut cake for my work. Alice should need help on her machine again soon so I can get another cake!

John called Saturday night to give me an update as to his plans after this school year - this terms ends on April 30th. We talked about several things but I think the one he wants to do most is come back to Vero to be a life guard until we go to the Keys. He tells me he's talking with his two employers in Tallahassee to arrange his return to work in the Fall - it seems this will work out for him. John likes his two jobs and apparently he's liked at his two jobs - imagine that. Now the issue is what to do with his apartment for the Summer - sub-lease it? If so, what does he do with his 'stuff' - young guys always have 'stuff'.

It's been a week since the Texas lady bought a Tanzanite gemstone which means she is keeping to for sure. I thought she would anyway but as the saying goes, don't count your chickens before they hatch - don't spend the $$ until you know it's a done deal. One thing I found intriguing is if I can sell about two average size gemstones a year, I'll have enough income when added to my old fart's Gov'ment income to basically live as long as I don't do anything wild. I have over 30 gemstones so selling a couple a year sounds like a good idea especially if they are in greater demand with less supply.

On March 8th I had one of my migraines which was apparently stopped in it's tracks by that new medication I'm trying. I had two pills so I still have one left to try the next time I think I'm getting a migraine - the good news is I've not had to test it yet. I've had headaches some of which were no fun at all but none were the horrible, disabling migraine types. I just never know when I'll get one nor do I have a clue as to why. Unless I get another migraine on which I can test the second pill, I'll have to postpone my trip back to the neurologist until I do get a migraine. It would be just fine with me if I never needed to return.

There's a lot more going on but I want to have lunch now. You'll have to stay tuned! Key's fever anyone?

Posted at 01:11 pm in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Blazing Speed

Wed 24 March 2010

The lady in Houston to whom I sent a Tanzanite gemstone e-mailed me last night. She was more than thrilled with the gem - I understand why. Because I offer a 7 day 100% refund policy, I was not 100% sure she would keep it...I was just 95% sure. Now that I know she'll keep it I can say my first sale has been completed. One of these days I'm actually going to make an effort to see these stones but for now I'm happy just to sit on them unless, of course, there's another real buyer.

Yesterday afternoon I decided to watch one of my movies - this time it was "Duplicity" staring Clive Owen and Julia Roberts. This movie I liked because of the action, suspense, and twists in the plot - you don't understand until the end. The two actors are ones I like which always helps when I'm watching a movie. This is a keeper for sure and was well with the time for the great entertainment.

Starr came over for a visit and to pick up one of those wonderful cakes my cousin makes. She thinks the cake is to die for and I agree. We had a nice chat about this, that, and the other thing. Starr continues to both tutor and substitute teach. John and Alex are fine.

For about a week I've been doing online speed tests at SpeedTest.net. The results I've been getting on my computer before the new XPS machine varied but generally stayed in a range. My purpose was to set a yardstick by which I can compare with the new Dell. The speeds vary according to the locations I tested but here I was looking for a 'relative' comparison. Folks....I want to tell you the new XPS is blustering fast - much more improvement than I could ever imagine. To make a car analogy, my older Inspirion is a nice GM car while my new computer is a Ferrari! No Joke! Look at these real results. The bottom results are from my Inspirion the top results are from my Dell rocket ship. All I can say is "holly sh*t batman"!

Just click on the image to view it better. Is that amazing or what? The new machine's speed is 5, 6, or 7 times as fast - I didn't expect that! Why is it so much faster you ask? I think it's a combination of a faster processor and the new Intel network gigabyte adapter.
Posted at 10:42 am in Computer | Comments (0)

New Powerhouse Computer

Tue 23 March 2010

This will surprise some of you folks but since the the Obamacare training wreck was passed on Sunday I've not watched my usual news/political shows on TV. I'm tired of it for now so I'll give it a rest. Hmm... maybe one day of rest is enough? It did listen the master of everything political yesterday aka. Rush Limbaugh. My hope is the fat lady is not singing and there are still things which can be done even though the wretched liberal progressive self-center arrogant elitist democrats jammed the bill through against the will of us poor tax-paying Americans. Time will tell.

It's about time I uncover the little secret I've been keeping for about a month now. You know I've been talking about getting Windows 7 along with an un-needed new machine, right? You see it's my duty to know about Windows 7 to help those of you who have the operating system when you have a question or problem. So, about a month ago Dell was selling a couple of their computer lines at 30% of the usual high price for the type of computer I would buy. My hold back before now is I didn't needed a new computer - the ones I have (5 of them) are working just fine although some are better than others. But with this 30% discount I gave into my "wants" and ordered one.

My top machine now is still very good and ahead of it's time when I bought it 3 years ago. It's a Dell Inspiron with a 500GB hard drive, a 2.33 MHz Intel quad core processor, and RAM upgrade to the maximum of 4 GB. This is and has been one hell of a great computer - heck I'm using it now. But its operating system is XP and I've tuned it up has far as I can take it. What to do? Order a new machine of course!

The new computer I received only last Thursday is a top of the line Dell Studio XPS 9000 - look it up at Dell.com if you like. Here's the good stuff about it. The machine has an overly large hard drive of 1TB ...yes, one full TB which is 1000 GB! My first machine had a 40 GB hard drive and the one I'm using has a 500 GG which is half the size of the new one. The hard drive is not the big deal - the big deal is it's extreme power. I ordered the next to the fastest processor I could get - the fastest cost an additional $500 I didn't want or need to spend. It is the Intel quad core i7 2.66 GHz processor with Hyper-Threading yielding a "clock speed" of an amazing 3.2 GHz and "Turbo-boost" bring the speed up as high as a blazing 3.36 GHz. That may mean very little to most of you but the geeks out there will appreciate this processor. BTW, Dell more 'normal' computers use a Intel i3 or i5 processor.

Fast processors are good but they need RAM to really operate at the upper extremes of their capability. So, I included the new DDR 3 tri-channel SDRAM at 1066HGz- up until now, all computers used a DDR2 dual Chanel memory system. Oh, did I mention it has 12GBG of RAM and can hold 24GB of RAM? Jeez!! That's 3 times the RAM my other Dell could even hold! Of course it has Windows 7 and a 22" full high definition monitor.

Since Thursday I've been working on both the older computer and the new one - I've been installing my favorite programs which are compatible with a 64x Windows 7 OS. So you are asking if I can see the difference? Hell ya I can. On my Inspiron the Firefox browser takes about 30 seconds or even longer to load - the new machine loads Firefox in about 3 seconds! That's just one example - stay tuned for more comparisons as I discover them.

The icon I posted yesterday was that for Mozilla's Thunderbird e-mail client - my favorite e-mail client, Pegasus, will not work on a 64 bit machine yet. Thus far I like Thunderbird although I've not used it much as yet.

You can tell I'm a geek because I get excited about processor speed and RAM like most normal people get excited about a new car - computers are cheaper than cars by the way!

Posted at 06:14 am in General | Comments (0)

Monday Update

Mon 22 March 2010

Did any of you watch the start of season 3 for 'Breaking Bad' on the AMC network? It was on at 10 PM last night and to my amazement I was up to watch it. It was a bit dis-jointed but it did open several doors to the sub-plots. I though the first have was slow but then it picked up. Of course I'm hooked already on wanting to find out what is next.

The first part of last week including the weekend, I was working on helping an Atlanta firm with optimizing their site on the Internet as it relates to search engines. During the 3 or 4 days I probably spent 12 to 15 hours helping which ended on Tuesday when a complete outline of what I thought needed to be done was sent to them. I've already completed the important part and that is what to do. Apparently they don't want to pay me to do it but rather use someone in-house. That's ok with me because the project would then become a task and I don't like tasks. Still, I would expect to hear from them. What next I wonder?

The attorney who's site I built for him last year has not paid for this year's hosting and domain name fees which I paid for him. After asking for reimbursement since January, I had to do something so I took the site down. Why would you not want to speed $260 for a whole year knowing that you'd make that up if the site just brought in one client? Doesn't make sense to me. Oh, well!

I guess you know Georgia Tech won the ACC tournament then went to the national NCAA tournament. Tech lost in the second round to Ohio State which was not a big surprise to me. Too bad but nonetheless they had a great season. Now there is this long drought until September when football starts up again. Over 5 months. Jeez!

On Saturday I sent the 7.92 carat Tanzanite to my buyer in Houston - she should get it today. I think I'll hear from her again but I'm not sure when - she does have seven days to decide to keep it or send it back for a refund. For now I'm leaving her credit card payment in my friend's vendor account in case I need to return the funds. I expect to know sometime this week.

I still don't have my cousin's laptop fixed yet - I needed to order a recovery disk from Toshiba. All the things I tried failed - even the "reset to factory default" option would not work but rather end up in a continues loop of booting then rebooting. So, I wiped the disk clean with the intention of installing everything new again. The hardware is ok so this should work.

I've got more news but you'll have to tune in again. Do you know what this icon is for?

Posted at 10:29 am in General | Comments (0)

Is it For real?

Sat 20 March 2010

I know - you think I'm lost in never-never computer land, huh? Well, that's part of it but there is much more. Let's me bring you up to date on some of it.

First, my cousin the cake-baker has a computer problem on her 0ne moth old laptop. It seems there is a nasty virus going around via e-mail claiming to be from Facebook with a zip file attachment containing your "new" password. If unzipped, one finds an executable (.exe file) which installs a password - harvesting Trojan on your computer and it changes this on your computer. Did you get such an e-mail? 400 million people did when it was sent out on Wednesday.

I researched the Trojan - Hijack.DisplayProperties - but it was only about 24 hours old so I couldn't find a utility to fix it nor any outlines on manually fixing it. I used Malwarebytes which did find it but I was not certain I got it all. The antivirus scans I used found nothing but my Hijack This utility found several very questionable entries which I could not eliminate - I tried for hours. Things are not looking good so I went for a system restore solution but alas, it failed to restore! I've never had a system restore fail before. I even tried different restore points and ran system restore in the safe mode. Still no go. My cousin is out of town this weekend so I may wait until she returns to do what I know will work - reinstall Windows. Stay tuned.

Here's one you are not expecting because even I did not expect it. On Thursday, I got an e-mail sent from my contact form on TanzaiteAmerica.com - a lady wanted to buy a gemstone. I get these every so often but they've been attempts to scam me with fake payments, etc. I always respond no matter what I think -n even when the inquiries are real, no one wants to pay my offering price. That's ok because I'm still on a plan to hold the gemstones as supply goes down and demand goes up - I have years in mind like maybe 5 to 10 years.

The lady wanted to know how she could buy a 7,92 carat cushion cut Tanzanite gemstone - this one is very nice. I told her the methods so she actually sent me the money via PayPal only to find PatPal could not verify the funds - that was a bust. Next she gave me a credit card but I couldn't verify it because with this purchase she would go over her limit. She still is in touch and still wants the stone - she's beginning to sound for real to me. Finally she called me yesterday afternoon saying her husband got Chase to increase the limit so I sent the card info to one of my buddies in Atlanta who could process it. It was verified and the funds are now being transferred to my friend's vendor account with Master card. I'm going to the bank in about 30 minutes to get the gem and send it to her via UPS with a Monday delivery. She'll have a week to decide if she likes it or wants to send it back. I'm leaving the payment with my buddy in case she doesn't like the gemstone. Have I really made my first website sale? Jeez! I didn't see that coming.

I've got more to tell but now I want to go to the bank to get the gemstone then over to the UPS store. The actual stone is pictured for you to see.

Posted at 08:46 am in Tanzanite America | Comments (0)

Bull Ants

Wed 17 March 2010

Since Monday, there's been a lot going on. Will I always be this busy? Jeez! I'll need a vacation to the keys this year more than most - besides, my dermatologist wants me to grow more skin cancer for him to zap.

Here's a strange story for you about some bull ants. When it rains a lot like it did last week, bull ants tend to seek higher ground and thus manage to get into my house. This only happens when there's several inches of rain. Well this past weekend and on Monday I noticed some bull ants in my office which didn't seem too strange because of the rain. But they remained around - when the ground dries out, they leave. I noticed some Sally Cat hair around the paper tray on my printer yesterday so I pulled the tray out to get the hair. You know what's coming next...there was a nest full of Bull ants, eggs, and some ants with wings. Hundreds of them. Of course I ran out the back door then proceeded to brush all the ants out. I was surprised to say the least. No ants there today.

Remember Jason? He resurfaced yesterday declaring he moved back to Vero to stay with his dad - his "girlfriend" and he parted ways. He's doing well except the same old issue is bugging him - no job. It would help if he looked for a job but maybe that's not his plan? I've got him doing some odds n' ends for me. Jobs are hard to come by and harder if you're not looking.

Yesterday I spent all morning doing my preliminary tax work so as I'll have my package ready to be sent to my account back in Atlanta when I get all the K-1 forms I need. Those forms usually do not appear until the very end of this month. Fortunately, my tax return is not anywhere near as complicated as it once was. The funky things now are the foreign taxes I pay, the limits for medical expenses, and these K-1 forms. Nevertheless, my return is still about 10 pages long.

Did you get your census form yesterday? I did. It took me about a minute to fill it out to be mailed back today. It was the 'normal' short form not the lengthy form asking a lot of invasive questions. It did ask my race to which I should have answered 'alien from the planet zentar'. I don't think the government union employees would like that but then again, I don't care.

I've got a busy day so I should go for now. More to follow soon.

Posted at 09:05 am in General | Comments (0)

My Weekend

Mon 15 March 2010

This has been a mixed weekend for me - mixed with movies, BBC episodes, computer hardware installation, and detailed research on SEO (search engine optimization). It was also a great, sunny weekend with mild temperatures and little wind for a change. The real bonus is I didn't have headache attacks - wish I can have more weekends like this one.

There were 2 1/2 movies I watched - one HBO, IFC, and from one of my downloads. The first I got into sort of by mistake but it got my attention so I watched the 2 hours and 40 minutes of "Australia" - it was an epic of a film and for my taste much better than Avatar. One of the reasons I liked it is because I was reminded of my visit to Australia - the people, their accents, and the beautiful country. Very enjoyable for me.

Then I watched a movie I downloaded called "Moon" - it was maybe ok but too boring for me. The plot was interesting but the ending really sucked IMHO. You never know what you'll think about a movie almost until the end - do you agree? At least it was better than the awful "District 9"!

Next was a foreign movie in French with English subtitles - I often like foreign movies. It too was too slow with little acting and almost no action. One thing I discovered about myself I thought is a bit odd - even if I don't understand the language I want the volume up as I read the subtitles. What is that wall about? I would not want to watch a subtitled movie with the sound low or off. Hmm....is there deeper meaning here?

My gigabyte network adapter arrived so I installed it into my main computer. Unfortunately an installation CD did not come with it so I went to the Intel site to download the drivers for this device. For some reason, I couldn't get the drivers to install properly - the error code said I needed an installation disk. Well I know a disk should not be necessary so what's up with that? I spent a couple hours trying to find a solution but as yet, I've not found one. So, I decided to order a new adapter with an installation disk - I have more than one computer which can use this new Intel network adapter. In the meantime, I may try uninstalling this driver then installing it all over again.

Starr was having computer problems on Saturday so I went out to see if I could fix the problem which was here screen was dark where it should be light or white. My first question was and always is "when did this start and what were you doing at the time". She couldn't remember anything. The problem was solved by going into the "Display" console to reset the monitor and screen saver - it turns out she had changed the screen saver the night before but didn't notice the problem until the following morning. No worries, it's fixed.

About half the weekend I was doing detailed research on SEO techniques - this is the most studying I've done on the subject. My purpose was to see if I can help these people in Atlanta that called for my help. At this point there is absolutely no doubt I can greatly improve their website with respect to SEO - the question is do I want the project? It will take a lot of time with no quick result - improving search engine rankings is a process, not a destination. The question becomes is how much will I need to charge to make it worth wild for me and are they willing to pay it. BTW, most SEO online operations charge a minimum of $500 per month every month. I'd charge a onetime fee then charge by the hour as needed in the future.

One of the things my research taught me is how to beat the system at least on a temporary bases. There are techniques called "black hat" techniques which are considered 'cheating' by many and if discovered by a search engine could lead to a sort of banning. I never knew about these methods some of which might be ok for a short period of time. What I did discover is the online companies guaranteeing a high Google ranking use these techniques without telling the client it is bad for them in the long run. I'm thinking about testing one of these methods on a site I built but only for a short period so as not to cause a long term problem. Your thoughts?

Picture was taken a week ago when John was in town. Am I shrinking or is John just getting bigger? How you like the short hair?

Posted at 08:29 am in General | Comments (0)

Spring Break

Fri 12 March 2010

It's a very rainy Friday here in Vero - it rained all afternoon yesterday and into the night. The forecast calls for rain today with clearing tomorrow which should last for 5 days. We need the rain so this is a good thing.

The bad thing about the rain is it makes going to the beach for the college Spring breakers a non-start. John called me last night from Key West where he and some friends are doing the Spring break thing. According to john the weather front has not made it to Key West although it seems a drunk front has! Hmm...can I remember Spring break from my college years? I do remember and they were a lot of fun - we always went to Ft. Lauderdale for a week of sun, fun, and beer consumption. The beaches were always wall to wall bodies with that great sun-blocker rubbed all over - I'm talking iodine and baby oil (see image). Back then we didn't know about skin cancer although I'm not sure how much difference it would make for most of us.

Today I expect to receive my gigabit network card for my desktop. I'm not sure it will make much difference but I'm willing to give it a go. At the moment, I already have the other hardware installed so it will be interesting to see if this actually makes a difference. The biggest influence on internet speed is not the equipment but rather the limits imposed by Comcast. The analogy would be having a Porsche capable of 160 mph with a governor limiting the speed to 60 mph - the equipment wants to go but Comcast puts limits on speed.

I've got another new potential client in Atlanta requesting my help on SEO for their site. The website was built by someone else using online tools and a template provide by the host, Network Solutions. Frankly, the site looks pretty good on the surface but it has tons of coding errors based on W3c standards. With a template, coding errors are rather common I would think and it makes SEO harder. I can help for sure but how much do I want to take on and what will they be willing to pay. Correcting the coding errors on all the pages will be laborious and very time consuming - I don't think they will be willing to pay me to fix the errors. What I can do is improve their search engine results leaving the errors as they are. The page looks good, it's just the coding search engines will not like. I will know more after today.

With the nasty, rainy day, I think I'll watch one of my movies.

Posted at 10:16 am in General | Comments (0)

Migraine Relief

Wed 10 March 2010

Tuesday I had what I believed to be an on-coming migraine headache. In the afternoon I had a headache start which got worse even as I took my pain meds - Tylenol 3 and the Vicodin. The headache was still getting worse when I decided to try my new migraine-specific prescription called Treximet - this is a non-narcotic migraine pill. About 30 to 45 minutes after taking the pill, not only did I get relief but my headache went totally away! This might be a silver bullet for me but more testing is needed. When I use just pain meds, the migraine never goes away but is just moderated - this time the headache went away. I'm not wanting another trial test again soon but if I get one I hope it works as well. The only drawback I see is the damn pills cost about $25 each!!

Research on computer issues is fun for me as many of you know. My project now is to see what I can do to speed up my internet connection short of paying more money to Comcast. I've been migrating to network hardware capable of handling a Gigabit Ethernet - instead of 10/100 Ethernet I'm moving to 10/1000 Ethernet. I've bought a new Linksys gigabit N router, a Motorola gigabit modem, and I've ordered an Intel Pro/1000 GT PCI network interface card for my computer (see image). You need to change all Ethernet hardware to gain the additional speed (if available) and move to CAT 6 cables from the standard CAT 5 cables. For days I've been sampling the speeds I get to set a baseline from which to compare. As soon as I get the Intel adapter I'll install it and see if my efforts have been fruitful. My speed is decent now but more is always better isn't it? Stay tuned.

TB told me he's going to make a run to the Keys in order to see what's happening at the marina where he keeps his boat. Last year there was a lot of work going on so he's going to confirm his space for July. I guess this means the Barnes - Brennan clan will head down as usual although this was the first time Tommy actually mentioned it. John asked me if we could go this past weekend while he was in town - it seems John wants to kick back after his school and work this year. I'm happy to make this happen.

This week has been 'slow' for my work on computers or websites - that's ok with me. I know I can always create a project for myself but you know what...it's nice to take it easy for now. When talking with Gene Waddell on Sunday, he said he had 4 old computers he was not using which he'd like to clean-up and give away. If I want something to do, all I'll need to do is call Gene.

It's getting a bit warmer here - Spring is on the way.

Posted at 02:33 pm in General | Comments (0)

Movie Review

Mon 08 March 2010

Yesterday I took Starr & John to see Avatar - the 2D version, not the 3D version, they stopped the 3D in favor Alice in Wonderland 3D. I'm one of the one tenth of one percent of the millions and millions who saw the movie and didn't like it. From the very start I didn't like the fact the audio was sooooooo loud it gave me a headache - I do not like loud as many of you know. I guess it could have been worse ...it could have been loud rap noise! The story line is so old and warn out in my opinion - you know, good vs. bad etc. Secondly, the whole movie was one big metaphor of the history of native American Indians - they even yelled like Indians do in cowboy movies.

The visual stimulus was good and the technical aspects of the production was good but way take almost 3 hours to produce a modern cowboys and Indians movie? It was way too long IMO. It was interesting to see creatures in the movie which were futurist versions of creatures I've seen in Africa or while scuba diving...like warthogs, rhinos, jellyfish, and coral Christmas trees. So there were some things I found interesting except the story itself. Except the fact the movie was violent and cost so much, I'd expect to see it on the Cartoon Network. Bottom line for me is it was an old tired movie line in an adult cartoon with loud noise. Someone must like it to gross over $3 billion!

Last evening I went to a small dinner party hosted by Gene & sherry Waddell - classmates of mine from my 12 years of school in Vero Beach. The soiree was held for Collins & Barbara Cavender who were visiting from Minnesota - they too were classmates of mine. In fact, I used to date Barbara Clay in high school before she married Collins. There were 10 of us all together for an evening of 'remember when' - no one talked about their lives after Vero Beach High school. I would have liked to learn about their kids, their businesses, etc. Nonetheless, it was fun even though I couldn't remember some of the teachers and events they were talking about - guess I killed off those brain cells storing that memory.

John is headed back to Tallahassee for a couple days of work before he goes with a small group to Key west on Wednesday until Sunday - long trip for such a short stay but that's what kids do. John asked me what I was doing this Summer - he brought up to me that he'd love to go to paradise again this year. This is the first time he's brought it up especially so far in advance - John usually makes decisions a couple weeks ahead of time unless someone like me or his mother pressure him. If he wants to go, I'll be happy to make the arrangements. I've not talked to the Barnes - Brennan clan about another Islamorada trip but if I were to guess, I'd guess they are all in.

Posted at 11:20 am in General | Comments (0)

Installing Spanish

Sun 07 March 2010

Remember I said Walt my landscaper wanted me to change the language in a new Gateway laptop? What I did is what I always do.... research the procedure which lead me to the conclusion the language could not be changed unless the operating system was Windows 7 Ultimate meaning a costly upgrade. After reading through lots of forums and technical sites I discovered there may be a way after all. I found a dude in Slovakia (if you don't know where it is look it up) who has create a small utility which can assist in changing the native language in Windows 7 Home Premium. The programmer did put this warning on his website:

This program is still under development, please be patient if it doesn't work for you right now. In case of problems to start up Windows after language change, please have installation DVD ready and use System Restore to restore registry
Not very comforting to say the least. Walt asked me to give it a go anyway because the recipient can't speak English.

There was a time not so long ago I would not have even attempted it because I was afraid of something going wrong without a clue on how to fix my mess. Now that I've worked on several computers my confidence has dramatically increased because now I do know what to do. I'm not saying I'll get it right every time but if something bad happens I think I can recover. So with my new found boldness I tried installing Spanish on this laptop - it worked beautifully! Now all the text is in Spanish with the exception of the text on some program's GUI (graphic user interface aka. program console). Walt was very happy as was I - I'd hate to have to recover if it didn't work.

Now I was interested in how it worked so I contacted the programmer Slovakia to ask about that. In the simplest of terms, the dude wrote a small utility (less than 1 MB in size) that "fooled" the Windows 7 Home Premium installer to believe it was a Windows 7 Ultimate installer. I bet Microsoft is not all that happy because they want to charge a user more for the Ultimate version. BTW, the program was free and the Spanish language package I downloaded from Microsoft. Cool, huh?

Yesterday I watched a movie I thought would be funny - it really sucked. The movie was "In the Loop". There was nothing funny about it. Who came up with the script for the movie doesn't know what humor really is or has a distorted view on what others will think is funny. Don't waste your money - if I'd gone to a theater I'd want a refund.

Later today I'm going to a movie in a theater for the first time since Syp, sandy, and I saw Jurassic Park in August of 1991. Yes boys and girls, I've not been in a theater to watch a movie in over 19 years but I thought I'd break the drought. With my ability to get movies online and watch them on my big screen TV with surround sound, I've not seen a need to go to a movie. Why now you ask? My psychiatrist gave me homework on my last visit - the homework was to see Avatar. I can't get 3D on my TV yet so today I'm planning to go and drag Starr & John with me. Sound be interesting. Do movies still cost $3.00?

Posted at 09:27 am in General | Comments (0)

Busy Friday

Fri 05 March 2010

JUST DAMN!! My American Express card has been compromised again! This happened just 3 months ago in December requiring my old card to be cancelled and a new one issued. The same procedure will be followed again - my card is cancelled and I'll get a new one in the morning. Of course I'm not out any money but it is a pain in the a*s to change my accounts which use my American express for payment - accounts like Comcast, The Wall Street Journal, Direct TV, etc. Then I have accounts were I buy things which will require a change in my card - places like Amazon, PayPal, Newegg, Buy.com, etc. The good news is I didn't lose anything except the time to change of accounts.

This morning I finally published GG's Fine Food to the internet. The site is not finished but this a good beginning for Linda - you can see here site here: GGsfinefood.com . The colors used were given to me by GG - they are special New Orleans red and green. We didn't put a shopping cart on the site but yesterday I suggested to GG that she set up eBay pages for her initial 4 products with a "buy now" set price. Using eBay eliminates a shopping cart because PayPal is there. I'm sure I'm not through with this site so stay tuned for additions.

Finally I got Walt's (my landscaper - see picture) computer fixed, cleaned, updated, and ready to go - he took it home yesterday. I put a new power supply in so it will boot then ran all my usually cleaning/scanning utilities. then I updated the operating system, removed lots of old programs and then doubled the memory. This machine is not like new but it is 1000 times better than it was. Walt is very pleased - this is the second computer of his I fixed.

Walt bought a nice laptop for the daughter of his supervisor who's from Mexico. The daughter graduated from high school and is headed to college so this is a wonderful gift for a young in a rather poor suburb of Mexico City - probably all suburbs of Mexico City are poor. Walt brought the new machine to me to "get it ready" for the girl meaning uninstalling crap that comes on a new computer then installing AVG, Malwarebytes, and Windows Office 2007. Now comes the "problem" - this morning Walt called to ask if I could change the language from English to Spanish for the whole computer. After my usual research I discovered the language could not be change unless it was Windows 7 Ultimate - it's Windows 7 Home Premium. I did find a site that suggests we can work with Home Premium using certain tools - Walt will be back soon so we'll try. This should be exciting - maybe I can cause the machine to melt down!

The haircut I got last week is 'growing' on me - it's short but I like it. For me, it seems the longer your hair when you're balding, the more the balding is obvious - what do you think?

I've got more to say but I've got to get started on this new laptop because Walt will be here soon. BTW, it is a beautiful cloudless day here in Vero but it is still cool.

Posted at 01:27 pm in General | Comments (0)

TB's Office Computers

Tue 02 March 2010

It's raining here in Vero this morning and it looks like it's going to be one of those nasty, overcast, gray days. The temperatures are moderate but are forecasted to get much cooler tonight and into the rest of the week. This is the kind of day I usually work on a computer issue or watch a movie from my growing movie library. Because I just finished a computer project at TB's office this morning, I think I'll watch a movie.

Yesterday I installed more memory in the Dell computer I set up in Tommy's office - this is the computer I got from Kathryn to clean up for TB. Now he has 1GB of memory instead of 516MB which should be enough. That computer is clean, has Quick books 2010 installed, and connects wirelessly to the LAN at the office. I've set up the computer so TB's office manager can work on the Quick books program from her home - Sally is thrilled.

While I was there yesterday, Sally could not get her computer to boot. She told me it often took 30 minutes to an hour before that old antique would boot - this has been going on for about 6 months according to Sally. What waste of her time waiting for the computer to start each day so I checked out what was happening. It took me about a nanosecond to identify the problem once I looked at what was happening - clearly the power supply was bad. What to do?

There were a couple options available to me to immediately resolve the problem - I could get the power supply out of TB's computer he never uses to put into Sally's computer or I could put Sally's computer hard drive into TB's computer. I decided to change out the hard drives but also found I needed to exchange the network adapters too. And While I was trying to make one good computer, I also took half the memory out of Sally's computer to add it to TB's computer - there was only one available slot. After straightening a few pins I bent, the exchange work as expected. Now Sally has a machine that boots quickly with 50% more memory while keeping all her installed programs - she is very happy but Tommy doesn't know yet.

So why did I go back this morning? A special program they use which is written in DOS would not open - I was baffled because what I did should not have affected any programs. So I decided to try again this morning but in the meantime I defragged the hard drive over night - it had never been defragged in 10 years! It was a mess greater than any fragmented disk I've ever seen. When we rebooted this morning, the program was working again. Here's the puzzle - why is it working because the defrag should not have made a difference in the program. No matter - it works great today.

I'm still working on the Creole site - we've agreed not to try putting a shopping cart on it now. Our goal is to finish it then publish it to the internet before the end of the week. I'm currently awaiting information from Linda about things I need to complete the site. We will both be pleased when it's up.

I went to a neurologist on Friday to consult with him about my migraines which I discovered are 'normal' for migraines. His assistant put me through some testing then I spent about 20 minutes with the doctor. He wants me to try a couple "new" migraine-specific drugs which if I'm lucky will stop the migraine in its track rather than just trying to ease the pain as Vicodin does. With Vicodin my headaches are still there but not as painful as they would be without the meds. He also gave me an anti-nausea drug he wants me to take as soon as I feel an event coming on to hopefully eliminate the nausea. This drug is so safe he says to take it even if I'm not 100% sure I'm going to have a migraine event. Now I just have to wait to get a migraine to test the drugs - I hope I never test them!

Posted at 11:29 am in General | Comments (0)