Computer upgrades

I finally have a new home computer. It’s not as beefy as I was hoping for, but way cheaper than I was planning originally.

I picked up a socket AM2+ motherboard and Semprom 2.1Ghz processor in a package for $80. Then I grabbed a single stick of 2Gb DDR2 800 RAM and a 580W power supply. The power supply is overkill, but hopefully since it will be running at about 1/3 capacity it’ll last a long time.

I used it like this for a week, then also grabbed a 500Gb Western Digital Caviar Black 7200RPM SATA 3Gb/s hard drive to replace my aging 250Gb IDE model (which is now relegated to backup duty) and a Radeon HD 4670 1Gb GDDR3 PCI-e video card so I can play some games.

I’m at about $400 now and have a decent enough machine. Although I plan to get a Athlon II x3 3.1Ghz processor and another 2Gb stick of RAM when I find myself with a surplus of cash again :)

Time for a new computer

My personal home computer died back in January. I’m an IT professional, but I’ve held off on buying a new one for quite a while. It has been interesting living without one.

I probably could have just fixed the old one, but where is the fun in that? It was 6 years old and to be frank, I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did. I don’t turn off computers and I rarely reboot. That is a lot of up-time for a cheap computer built from consumer parts.

The little thing really did set the bar pretty high for whatever I purchase next. The old computer was a home built desktop machine, but I’m really considering purchasing a laptop this time around. I think one good laptop could meet all of my home computing needs for the next few years.

I’ve come up with a small list of requirements:

  • Intel Core i3 or i5 processor
  • HDMI out (for using the 42″ HDTV as a monitor :)
  • 2+ Gigs of RAM with room to upgrade (I’d like to run 4 or maybe 8, I like RAM)
  • Decent graphics so I can play some games (I do most of my gaming on the Xbox360)
  • 160+ Gig HDD. I’d go SDD, but the cost is still a little too high for me.

And you know what? There are plenty of affordable options in that price range.

Now to come up with the money… which is why I’ve waited for so long. I’m very slow about making purchases over $100. I’ve been on a roll paying down my debt although I could scale that back a little to purchase a laptop sooner, I’m not sure that I want to.

I guess what I’m saying is… that’s why I haven’t been doing shit with this site! In due time, I paid for 2 years of hosting already, so I plan to be around for a while.


I’m going to Ohio for a week, plus a few days. I’m looking forward to seeing family and friends.

I’m not looking forward to the HEAT. The chilly Washington summer, where I wore jackets all day for most of June, has left me woefully unprepared for the hot and humid mid-west summers.

The sound of bits fading

The other day my work laptop crashed on boot up. Blue screened to be exact.

I was hard at work fixing a bug in my code, checked it in and noticed I had a pending restart… so I restarted.

Alas, she never came back up. The poor thing bit the dust. Looks like the hard drive went out. Within an hour I was switched over to my backup machine… within a day I had my environment set up so I could work again.

Luckily I had checked in my code, unfortunately I was also working on styles for this very blog and those were not saved elsewhere.

Lesson learned, continue to check in often! Also, backup the other files too. Since I was working off-site on the laptop I didn’t have access to the normal back-up location I would use.

Time to find a work safe alternative. Encrypted thumb-drive maybe? I won’t use cloud back up due to the sometimes sensitive information I have from different clients.

I wish my iPhone could be easily used as a thumb drive. Damn you Apple!!!11!1!

Rocking at the Rolling Log

There is a little bar in Issaquah, WA called the Rolling Log. I had never heard of it, mainly because Issaquah is to the east of me and I normally head west, toward Seattle, when I’m looking for fun.

A friend of mine whom I play poker with on Monday nights, said I should come out on Sunday nights for Open Mic Night. Last night, I did just that.

He is a drummer, so we picked a couple songs we both knew (Smells Like Teen Spirit and Enter Sandman) and I set up my equipment. I have this little Peavey Studio Pro amp – a 60W single speaker affair – that I lugged out there along with my Ibanez guitar. I’ve owned both for about a decade now, but I’ve never played them in public so I was curious how it would go.

It was a very fun disaster and learning experience.

When I arrived and opened my guitar’s gig bag, I found that the B string was busted. Not a huge deal, I could still play, but the guitar felt very weird without it. I play several times a week – hard – and almost never break strings. Next time I’ll bring a back-up set, though.

When I went to set up, I was very worried that my amp wouldn’t be able to fill the bar with enough sound, so I turned everything up to 11 and hoped for the best. After SLTS the sound guy told me to turn it down a bunch, because the PA couldn’t keep up with it. Oops!

During the first song, they had put the mic stand right next to the PA speaker. All I could hear was my own blaring voice in one ear when I was singing and when I wasn’t, the deafening screech of feedback. But, since my amp was turned up so loud, no one was able to hear me fumble some of the lyrics. I guess it worked out.

For Enter Sandman, we turned down the guitar amp and moved the mic stand over between the bass and guitar amps. Now all I could hear was loud bass – from a player that didn’t really know the song we were playing. Awesome! I sang loud through the first verse, because I couldn’t hear myself. Then the sound guy ran up and turned my mic on. He had turned it off when he moved it and I didn’t realize, because I didn’t check, I just started playing. Now I could hear myself a little, but I didn’t care. Its almost better if I can’t hear the monitors, sometimes. I get to distracted listening to my own voice – like I did on Smells Like Teen Spirit.

Anyway, I was nervous, played too fast of a tempo for both songs, fucked up a bunch of lyrics and missed a few notes on the guitar – but no one really seemed to notice, or care. Got to love Open Mic night, expectations are always low :)