If It Isn’t One Thing, It’s Another

So I bought a new video card this month and even though it started out bad, I found a solution to keep it turned on and working right.  As long as I didn’t turn the computer off completely but instead put it to sleep when I’m not using it then all would be ok.

We got a notice on the door from PG&E on Wednesday that our electricity would be shut off Friday for an unspecified amount of time.  Well, I knew that this would cause my computer to turn off all the way.  When I got my computer to work before it didn’t take more than a few minutes for it to turn on so I never thought in a million years that it would be a huge issue for my computer to be without power even for a few hours.

Our power got shut off as I was expecting but when it finally came back on, my computer didn’t want to turn back on.  It eventually did come on but it said something about the CMOS.  I was given 2 choices.  F1 to enter the setup or F2 to choose optimal settings.  I chose F1 and in there I chose optimal settings and it turned on and went into Windows just fine.  It all got frozen so I rebooted.  I didn’t have any rebooting issues before so I didn’t think anything of it.

When it turned back on I got another blank screen.  Nothing was happening and I was back at square 1.  Dammit!  Why did I have to reboot?  Well, I’m glad I did because it told me that I wasn’t finished, also, I shouldn’t live in fear of turning my computer off.  That’s certainly no way to live.  So I opened the side panel and clear the CMOS (pulling the jumper from 1-2, putting it on 2-3 waiting 5 seconds then putting it back on 1-2).

Turned the computer back on and nothing.  Eventually it did show me the same issue and I chose F2 and for some reason it did start to load but then it rebooted.  I got the screen you see when you first turn the computer on but then the monitor went dead again and it never turned on again.

I’ve opened the case, reseated everything.  Pulled all the power supply plugs then put them all back in their place and turned it on and still nothing.  The only light that turns on is the green light.  At one point the red light would flash 3 times in a row then pause then 3 times over and over.  Then another point it would flash 2 then pause then 1 then pause then 2 then 1 etc.  Then no lights flashing at all.  I don’t understand.

I opened it up again and with my bicycle light I inspected everything and I did find this little issue which would explain why I wasn’t hearing any beeping sounds.

The red wire on my speaker wasn’t connected.  I tried soldering it back on but it still doesn’t beep.  Although, I’m not exactly sure I did it right.  They are inexpensive and I tried to buy another one at the computer store and they looked at me like I was an alien from outer space when I asked for it.  I went to Radio Shack next door and the guy I asked said they didn’t sell those.

I was looking at the video card box and it shows the system requirements on the side of the box.  One of those requirements is power supply and it shows a link to the list of power supplies that are compatible and my new power supply isn’t anywhere on that list.  Probably because it was the cheapest power supply they sold.

The reason I bought a cheap power supply is because I didn’t even think that it would affect any of the hardware.  I always thought that as long as it gave power to the computer that it didn’t matter how cheap it was.  How wrong was I!  So, now I have to buy a new power supply and it could cost me as much as $100-$250.  I am too poor to spend $250 just for a power supply so I have to go through the list on the Best Buy website to get prices so I know I’m getting a good power supply but in the $100 range.

I looked at websites like NewEgg.com and TigerDirect.com and they did have a couple that were on the list but what if I did order one and I had to wait a week for it to come and it still didn’t work?  I’d have to send it back, buy another one, wait another week.  Forget it!

I was looking at the Best Buy website last night and I narrowed down my search to the $50-$99 price range then looked at all of the power supplies they sell and compared them to the list and the least expensive one on the list is the Cooler Master GX 650 for $99.  It’s a bit expensive but considering I wouldn’t have to wait for it to come to me in the mail I’m willing to pay for the convenience of getting my computer working immediately.

It took a week for my video card to arrive and even though it wasn’t too late to send it back, once I got it working and cut the proof of purchase off the box to send the rebate in, it was too late to send it back.  I would much rather buy something in a store so I can return it for a new one of it doesn’t work right.  I should have done that with my video card, then again I still have a crappy power supply so now I know why my video card doesn’t work.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to do this until next week when I get my next check because I am so broke right now.  But I really don’t need to have my computer right away so it can wait.  As long as I have my Chromebook I’m fine.  I can spend my week reading books like I did before I got my new video card.  It’s not a huge crisis but still, I want my computer to work.

Resting Eyes Today

I’ve been reading every day this month and even though I feel like I’m in a race to read as many books as I possibly can, I think I need to give my eyes the day off today.

Ok so it’s not a race but I just feel like I’m on vacation when I’m reading. Vacation from the problems of the world, of my world. It’s an escape. But for today I need to rest.

If I go blind from over reading then what point will I have made by spending $160 on a Nook?

Earlier in the week I posted a poll asking how long it takes people to read and because only 5 people took the poll (thanks a lot) I didn’t get a definitive answer.

It’s interesting though that a friend of mine who got me wanting to read told me that she reads funny. She will be reading many books simultaneously. Like she’s reading 13 books right now. She has finished 9 of those 13 books but what she does is she reads a chapter in 1 book then goes and reads 1 chapter in another book and so on and so forth. And that’s all in 1 month too.

It takes me 4 days to read 1 book and I can usually read 4 books per month because after I finish reading a book I take a few days before going to the next one. I can’t imagine how fast she must read that she can go through 13 books in 1 day by reading 1 chapter each. That would take me the whole entire day and by the end of the day I would be too blind to do anything else.

I have astigmatism, I have trouble focusing my eyes after looking at a book so close for a certain amount of time. It’s like when I play video games on my PSP, after playing for so long, when I look away from it everything is blurry. That’s usually when I know it’s time to stop. Or when I’m sitting there with my PSP so close to my face that I can’t see anything in my peripheral vision. That’s why I like to play with the PSP hooked up to the TV.

It’s too bad I can’t hook the Nook up to the TV to read it lol. Then again what would be the point of e-ink if I’m reading from the tv.

I do use the large print when I read. I should probably use the biggest print which is extra extra large. Maybe that would be a lot easier on my eyes but that only means more page turns which means more battery usage. I’ve been using large only because of the time it takes to turn the page, it’s not too long but it’s long enough that I don’t want to have to turn it as much.

So from now on, I will use extra extra large as if I’m in my 80′s lol. What happens when I am in my 80′s? I will need a magnifying glass to go with it or maybe the Nook of the future will be as big as the wall with a remote control for turning the page. I’d still need to use extra extra-large though lol. I can see me in my 80′s with coke bottle glasses like Professor Farnsworth from Futurama.

Or maybe by then (if I’m still alive) I will be totally blind but hopefully voice recognition will be a lot better. I can grab my future nook like gadget, push the button on top and hear a sound like I turned on the computer then hear a voice greeting me. “Hello Mr. McDonald. What would you like to read today?” then I say “I’d like to continue reading the last book” then it starts reading to me in a calming voice, not electronic like the Kindle. That would be ideal for my blind 80-year-old ass in the year 2050 lol.

I said I was going to give my eyes a break today, what the heck am I doing blogging? Sheesh!

Barnes and Noble Nook

Well I did it. I bought my Barnes & Noble Nook tonight. I bought the Nook WiFi for $149 because I really don’t want to pay $50 more just for the convenience of having 3G.

I haven’t read anything on it yet as I just bought it but I’ve been playing around with it while it has been charging. The guy at the store told me I should charge it for a few hours before using it but it’s charging very fast. The last time I looked it was at 88% and it’s only been plugged in for 30 minutes. I think they give you a 70% charge because it didn’t start off with 0%.

I didn’t do an “unboxing” video because how many of those are there on YouTube? Hundreds, I don’t want to add to it with more of the same exact thing.

It’s a lot heavier than I was expecting but it isn’t that heavy that it will cause an issue for me.

When I signed into my account and registered my new Nook I went to my library and was surprised to see that all the books in my account were already downloaded into the Nook. I didn’t have to wait at all.

People are always complaining about how long it takes to turn the page in these things, it’s really very fast. The time it takes to change to a new page is the same exact amount of time it takes for me to turn the page in a real book so I don’t see an issue. Also one of the videos I saw on YouTube said that when you change the font size it could take up to 20 or 30 seconds to do that because it has to refresh the entire e-book but that isn’t so with mine, it took the same amount of time as turning a page.

It finally charged to 100% so I plugged the USB cable into my hard drive and it installed the driver immediately. It even popped up the explorer window so I could add my own files to it. I have a few books that I’d like to add to it from Rainbow eBooks and it’s only taken a few seconds to do that. I’m also going to add some 4×6 images for the screen saver. Although they have to be 6×4.

I did the tutorial when it came up and it showed how to do things and one of the things I like was that when you turn the page you could either use those buttons on the right and left or you could just swipe the touchscreen with your finger. Yeah, swiping doesn’t work… That would’ve been cool but it doesn’t work for me.

I loaded a PDF file, that James Potter e-book… yeah… pdf files suck. I’m gonna have to figure out a way to convert that to .epub format so it’s readable. The only way I know how is to use calibre but that has issues but I will figure it out because I really want to read those.

It’s too late at night for me to start reading a new book so I’m going to just wait until I get up in the morning and start reading Dead Until Dark, the first Sookie Stackhouse novel.

Home Gym

weiderI’ve said before that I’m going to do it but then I wuss out because of my shoulder pain but I really need to do it for my shoulder pain.  I need to bring my Weider Total Body Works 5000 home gym into the patio from the back yard and start using it.

I think that if I work that muscle, the shoulder muscle that hurts and my back muscles, that I might be able to strengthen it up.

I’ve had this shoulder pain for almost a month now and it seems like it’s moving from my shoulder to my neck and also down my left arm as well as being in my shoulder.  So I think that the only way I’m going to fix this is by exercising those muscles.

When I was going to the Chiropractors office in 2005 they would give me a massage, I would lay on a hot water bed with jets shooting at my back, they would put these electric things on my back that would shoot electricity into the muscle then the doctor would adjust my back and then they would send me over to their gym room where I would use the weight machine and do the exercises that they told me to do.  I still have the paper with all the exercises too.

They had me pull on the weight cable then hold for about 5 or 10 seconds or whatever, I forgot.  Then I would do it again, so about maybe 10 times for 5-10 seconds.  So I believe that this worked so I think I should do the same.

I’m giving myself shiatsu massages, vibrating massages, putting cold then heat on my shoulder.  I can’t adjust myself but I do try to crack my back when I can.  I don’t have a little twin sized water bed with heat and jets and I don’t have one of those things that you put on your muscle then push the button to electronically stimulate the muscles by zapping it (as seen on Jackass the movie where they put it on their balls lol) but I do have a home gym and it’s about time I use it.

I really want this pain to go away.  It’s been almost a month and I haven’t been on my bike in that amount of time.  I’m told to just go to the Chiropractors office but how am I going to get there?  Bus then have to walk the rest of the way?  Every step I take causes pain in my shoulder.  In 2005 I was going 3 days a week, that’s $3 a week in bus fair that I just can’t spare.  I would ride my bicycle but then I’d be paranoid that it’s going to get stolen the whole time cause you are in there for 2-3 hours at least.

So my best alternative is to just suffer and use the options I have available to me I guess.  Maybe if I had a person to drive me then it would be easier but I don’t.  We have a perfectly good SUV in the driveway that I could get there with but… don’t know how to drive and even if I did, it’s gonna cost me a lot more than $3 a week in gas.

Video Professor Free?

I see these commercials all the time for Video Professor where the “chairman” talks about how he gives away his lessons on CD for free.  Well, I hate to disillusion anybody but it ain’t free.

I ordered my “free” lesson and when it finally came in the mail I saw the fine print.  It’s free for a certain amount of time.  After that specific time is up they automatically charge your credit card $70.

I got the Frontpage lessons because I thought I was getting it for free for the cost of shipping.  I saw the warning and immediately called the number and told them I am sending it back the next day as soon as I wake up lol.  There is no way I am rich enough to be able to afford $70 for lessons for a program that I’ve been using since 1997 that I am clearly able to use without any of their lessons.  I just thought that they would be able to tell me something I didn’t know but every lesson in there was something I am aware of lol.

It would be one thing if they charged $20 plus shipping for a lesson, that’s at least reasonable but $70 that’s a bit much.  Is it false advertising that they say it’s free then you find out it’s $70?  I think it is.

Ok I have to admit something.  This happened like 2 years ago lol.  I just saw the commercial and it jogged my memory and so I thought I would blog about it lol.

Time-Lapse Software

I was looking at a video on YouTube where they take a banana, put a watch on it then let the camera take a picture every second for a whole week.  The banana had a light over it so naturally it got a really bad tan and you could see the second, minute and hour hands just going and going.

Perios by Martin Slovacek.  It’s totally free and you don’t even have to install anything, just download it and run the exe file (after you unzip it of course).  It finds your webcam and starts taking pictures as soon as you find a directory, choose the amount of time in seconds, minutes or hours then click the Start button.  Once you are finished click the Export button and it combines all of those images into an .avi file.

I did find a program that cost $10 but it only works on the computer you register it on.  Every computer after that costs $5.  I guess it’s a small price to pay but if you reformat your hard drive you might have to buy the upgrade for $5.  I haven’t tested that theory out yet and I don’t plan on it either lol.

It’s called Webcam Flix and I bought it for my laptop.  I think it works a lot better because when you go to make the video it just looks way smoother than the free one I listed above.

I’m going to put it on my laptop and have it do time-lapse on the Scooby Doo Chia Pet.  I have a poor mans version of a time-lapse video on YouTube of my Scooby Doo chia pet so I will redo it lol.  It really is lame lol.  I just gotta find it and I will work on that.

Update: I’ve changed some things in this post so if you notice something is different, it is.  I took out the free part in the subject and I added that I did buy the $10 webcam software, only because it’s superior to the free one.  Here is the new Scooby Doo Chia Pet time lapse video I made with it.

EverQuest

In March 2007 I paid for 2 years of my EverQuest subscription and that 2 years is up in a couple of months.  Before they automatically charge me for another 2 years for $200 I would like to prevent getting shot in the foot by myself of course for not canceling in time lol.

I really had a good time in EQ for the 6 years I played it.  The last year doesn’t count for my 7 years because I haven’t played it for a year.  But the amount of time I did play it was so much more fun than I could even say.

Every time I got online someone would invite me to a group and if they didn’t I would have to just go to a zone where I knew would be populated and start shouting or saying out of character /ooc that I’m available by saying my race, class and level followed by LFG (Looking for group).

I had so much fun playing with friends and strangers would usually become friends unless they were a douche in the game then I’d never see them again.  I can’t replace the fun that I’ve had but just hope that I get something similar to it again in my life.  Maybe perhaps in real life?  Then again I don’t know anyone who wants to kill gnolls or giant skeletons.

I still have until mid March to play it so I’m going to be making some appearances here and there to say hi before I can no longer log into the game.

I heard that Sony will store all of your stuff in their systems for 6 months but after that you either have to pay for 1 month then cancel again and do that every 6 months or you just lose everything.  I don’t know, maybe things have changed.  We will find out soon enough.  I would like to sell my account since I highly doubt I will ever play the game again.  But then again I’d only consider it if it’s someone that I know and know for a fact that he knows how to play a high level wizard.  I don’t want to sell it to someone who has no clue what he/she is doing.  That would be a definite insult.  And they must change the name from Xanapus to something else.  I don’t want anyone to have that name but me.

Todays Ride

I decided that since I got a new cyclo-computer that I would go out today even though I went out yesterday.  I like to give my legs a day’s rest normally but I was too excited not to go out.  I wanted to see the exact amount of time I would ride along with the exact miles per hour and the exact amount of miles that I rode.  Before I would have to go to google to map out my ride so I can get an exact number of miles that it takes to go from the house to there and then back but this tells me all that information.  Also google maps doesn’t let me map out the ride on the bike trail so when I start riding on the bike trail I won’t know how many miles I went.

Well, today when I got to Beach Park the ride was only 16 minutes.  Normally with my other stop watch the ride is like 22 minutes but that’s because whenever I pull over to get a drink of water or to rest my legs for a minute I don’t stop the timer.  This new computer turns the timer off when you stop riding so I’m getting an exact reading of how long it takes me to get there.

I’ve been putting in the SparkPeople website that I’ve been doing 14-15mph and I was riding 12-15 mph today but it showed my average speed at 10mph so where it shows my calories that is reflective of me going 10mph.  So, when I added todays bike ride to SparkPeople I had to tell them I went 10mph.  I want to be as accurate as possible.

Instead of riding every other day I’m going to try everyday.  I figured maybe I could do 2 days on, 1 day off but I think that my legs are getting used to it enough that I can start going everyday.  This is my 4th week of riding the bike.  My first week I only rode to California ave and back which was 4 days in that week.  My 2nd week I only rode to Oak and Truxton and back and that was 3 days.  My 3rd week I made it to Beach Park and rested then came back and that was only 2 days.  Now my 4th week I’m getting to Beach Park and without resting going straight onto the bike trail but I only went a little distance before deciding to go back to the park and resting for 10 min before going home.

Now that I’m getting better I would like to spend 20 or more minutes on the bike trail (maybe 10 min out then 10 min back) then resting before heading home.  I’m actually really excited that my legs are getting better and getting more used to riding because as I’ve said before, I’d eventually love to ride for 2 hours a day.  The weight will definitely melt off when I’m riding for 2 hours a day.  Also I’d like to get to the point where that is 2 hours straight.

I’m actually excited about losing weight for the first time in a long time because I know that if I ride the bike on a daily basis I will definitely lose the weight a lot faster.  Now I just need to start eating better to make this weight loss go faster.  I’m trying my best.

Edit: Yes, I realize I was rambling lol.  I edited out some of the redundancy lol.

Dell DJ Battery Replacement

Darrin bought me a Dell DJ for Christmas 2004 and during 2005 I was listening to it all the time everyday, on the way to the gym or sitting at my desk or even while doing the dishes.  I was always listening to it.  But over time the battery would die sooner than it was supposed to.  Sometimes it would even freeze up and I had to just wait for it to start playing again.  I couldn’t turn it off or do anything.  I just had to wait for it.

The battery is supposed to last like 5 or 6 hours or something and over time the amount of time it actually played kept going down until eventually it only played for half hour.  Now when I unplug it, it just dies immediately and gives me a screen saying the battery is low.

I’ve treated that Dell DJ like a baby by never dropping it or losing it.  I’m a good nerd, I respect my electronics enough that I don’t get them broken or stolen.

I’ve called Dell that first year when the battery started dying and they wouldn’t help me even with my warranty.  I was too late in renewing my warranty and so when I called for help they said sorry you don’t have the right warranty for this.  I was like dude, I have a $318 paper weight now.  Thanks a lot.  They were like I know, I can understand how frustrating you are but we can’t help you.  I was like well can I just buy a new battery and ship it to you to replace it and they said yeah for like $75 or something like that.  I’ve never had the money to do that.

Every once in a while I do a search on the net for Dell DJ Batteries and I found a website that has them for $24.95 + shipping and it has the tools to do it yourself.  It says it takes a few min but a testimonial says 10 min.  I don’t care, I just want a new battery and $25 is not a bad deal.  I will have to wait until I get some money because I’m tapped lol.