New Video Card

In 2006 or 2007, now I’m not quite sure when, I got money for helping Darrin and his brother refurbish a house that was left to them by their mother when she past away.  I did a lot of work and didn’t get paid until the house sold.  I believe I got $2000.

When you get $2000 and you have an old computer what do you think you do with that money?  You buy a new computer!  Well, since I build computers I didn’t buy a computer, I bought all of the guts to build a new one.

Well, first I bought the hard drive from Tiger Direct but then when I went to turn my computer on nothing happened.  I think the mother board was too old for that hard drive.  The computer I was trying to install the new hard drive to was one that I built in 2004.  So I figured it was only a few years old, it should work.  But it didn’t because technology had already surpassed that computer.

So, I was forced to buy all new stuff so I just put the old hard drive back in there and gave it to Darrin.  I bought myself a new case, motherboard, cpu (w/heatsink), dvd burner and video card.  New computer!

A week ago we went to San Diego to visit Chips brother for his 50th anniversary party.  My computer did an update (which I could only assume was a Windows update) and suddenly I’m getting these strange blue screens (of death aka BSOD).  I didn’t worry about it because I didn’t want to stress on anything while we were gone so I put it in the back of my mind.  When we came home I was having the same problems.

Someone told me that I might have gotten a virus but I’m not convinced that is true.  I don’t visit websites on my desktop, I only visit websites on my Chromebook, I use the desktop for my Microsoft Money program and playing Lord of the Rings Online.  So there is no way I could have gotten a virus from visiting websites because it never happens.  I don’t even read emails on that computer.  My desktop is strictly for video games and Microsoft money, that’s it.

I got a couple of BSOD and accidentally allowed Microsoft to report the issue.  I have a jerk reaction to click no but for some odd reason I clicked yes.  When the report was sent a browser window popped up explaining to me that the issue was with my video card software or hardware.  Then suddenly another BSOD.

After that last blue screen I was done with being in regular mode so I went into safe mode.  I figure if I could download the driver update I might be ok.  How wrong I was.  I downloaded and installed the update and my monitor didn’t come on.  I plugged my monitor into the chromebook and everything I look at on the chromebook showed up on my monitor.  Ok so it’s not the monitor.  I plugged it back into the desktop and it turned on.  BSOD.  I turned it on again and the monitor wouldn’t even turn on.

So that is where I am at now.  I haven’t had a desktop in a week and I’m starting to go through LOTRO withdrawals lol.

This is my current configuration.  Well, I can’t turn it on so I can’t tell you the full details now can I?  This I do know.  I have:

  • MSI K9N4 Ultra motherboard – AM2, Nforce4 Ultra, 2*DDR2, Gb Lan, 5.1ch Audio, 1.
  • Gigabyte Tech GeForce 7600 GS 512MB DDR2 PCIexpress video card (I dug the boxes out of my closet)
  • Windows XP
  • I’m not sure about my CPU but I think it’s an AMD Sempron, don’t know the speed.
  • 1GB DDR2 memory

So this is what I’m looking for.  Any brand video card with 1GB DDR2 memory, PCIe.  I’m looking at Tiger Direct again for this new card and this is the one I have chosen.

Visiontek Radeon HD 4650 Video Card – 1GB DDR2, PCI Express 2.0, CrossFireX, (2) Dual-Link DVI, S-Video (Refurbished) – it’s $36.99 which is what I can afford.  My other video card was over $100 in 2007 and I just can’t afford to spend that kind of money right now.  I’m going to be paying for shipping which means I really can’t afford to spend any more on it.  So… is it a good one?  I won’t have the money to buy it until August so hopefully it will be on sale by then and they will hopefully still be in stock lol.

I think it’s a good video card but I’m no expert so I would love some feedback.  I’m choosing 1GB because I play Lord of the Rings Online and sometimes I get a lot of lag and I’m hoping that more memory will help that but you tell me, will it?  I would love some feedback on this.

So… until August lol.  By the way, I am not hung up on Tiger Direct so much that I want to wait 7 to 21 days for it to ship to me.  If I have to go to the computer store and pay a few extra $’s then I will.  As long as it’s not over $50 that is.

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Gmail Video Chat with CR-48

I got my CR-48 in December the first week they were shipping them and I didn’t really mess with the video chat until Christmas day when a friend of mine got a webcam for Christmas.  We tried it but my mic didn’t work so she couldn’t hear me.  When we came home from San Diego after Christmas we tried it again but my mic still didn’t work.

I’ve been so frustrated that the mic didn’t work and that I had no volume control but realizing I wasn’t testing the laptop but the operating system I started to come to the realization that it might never work.

Whenever Google would do an update on the Chrome OS I would check the mic settings and it never worked, that is until yesterday when they did their update.  I immediately checked the mic settings and not only did the mic work but so does my volume control.  Finally!

I emailed that same friend about trying again and she finally got on Gmail today so I sent her an IM directly from the Gmail site using Gmail chat.  I started the video chat but her video didn’t work at all.  I thought, well let’s go to Facebook using the Social Plus extension.  That didn’t work either so we went back to Gmail but I waited for her to engage me this time.  I don’t know what she did but it worked and we talked for about 45 minutes I would say.

It was a success!  It was as good if not better than using Skype.  Since I’m on a cloud based computer I can’t install Skype so Gmail chat is the next best thing.

The only strange thing about it was that when she held something up to her webcam it looked like a mirrored image to her but it looked normal to me.  I held up a package of something and it was a mirrored image to me but she saw it normal.  It was a little strange but if you think about it, we’re sort of like looking in a mirror, she can see me as if I were on the other side of the glass and vice versa.  A bit weird but that’s fine, I’ll take what I can get.

I’m just really excited that I can video chat lol.

Internet TV

We went to San Diego to visit Chips family this Christmas weekend and we were introduced to a concept that we never even thought of when it comes to watching tv. Cancel our cable and get an internet tv box and watch Netflix and Hulu only.

Ok, I’ve known about Hulu for a few years, I love Hulu for watching shows that I missed when they first aired on tv. When I was a regular user of the site they only had Fox and NBC that I knew of. Whenever I’d miss my CBS, ABC and CW shows I’d go there and they would redirect me to the network website.

We used to get Netflix DVD’s in the mail and I was a member when they first introduced streaming movies on their site. They would only allow you to watch 8 hours of movies per month with the rental membership and that clock was ticking away even when your movie was paused. I would pause it so that it could download because it played faster than it could download. This was when I had a lower DSL speed. So if I let it play in real-time, it would keep pausing which made it very difficult to watch and they only had older movies available for download so it really wasn’t worth my time since they had a very small selection.

What we were told by relatives was that if we had an X-box then we could watch Hulu and Netflix and replace our cable but what they don’t realize is that we don’t have an X-box, Wii or PS3 so we can’t just go out and pay a few hundred dollars for a video gaming system just so we can save money every month on our cable. But I may have found an alternative.

The Roku player is way cheaper than an x-box and it allows you to watch your internet tv shows and movies with Hulu and Netflix as well as many other services. There is no monthly fee with Roku, all you pay for is the monthly fee that the services like Hulu and Netflix charge. Hulu Plus charges $7.99 per month and Netflix charges $9.99 per month. Well, I pay $110 per month for my cable and I hardly ever watch it.

I can watch my shows when they come on at their regular time but sometimes that time isn’t convenient. Also, I ignore the phone when it rings because I don’t want to be interrupted during my shows because if I miss one second of it then I feel lost. Well, this way I can pause it when the phone rings instead.

The downside is that I can’t watch my shows when they air, like when Chuck is on at 8pm on Monday nights, I won’t be able to see it until the next day. I mean, I can deal with that but at the same time, I like to watch it when it comes on, not the next day. The last few seasons I had multiple shows on multiple channels at the same time so some shows I was forced to watch on Hulu the next day which I didn’t mind but it was irritating to have to wait. Also some of my shows weren’t on Hulu, I had to go to the ABC website for Pushing Daisies and the CW website for Smallville.

I have a DVD recorder but ever since they switched over to digital cable they have a block on recorders unless they are DVR recorders. I used to record one show on one channel on a DVD Ram disc while watching another show on another channel while it was on. After my shows were over then I’d watch what I recorded then delete it from the disc. Well, now I can’t even do that so my DVD recorder is a giant $250 paperweight.

Well, we won’t be starting this up right away because we have to order the Roku box for the living room and order the Hulu and Netflix services the day it arrives then we will try it and see if we like it before canceling our cable.

The problem is, I’m still going to have to use my computer to watch my CW shows because I looked on Hulu and they aren’t there. They might be on Netflix, I don’t know because they only have the dvd’s for season 10 of Smallville on their site. It doesn’t look like I can watch ALL of my shows on there which is a real bummer.

Also, sometimes you just like to turn the tv on and watch whatever is on. I don’t know if I want to feel pressured to choose something to turn on then when it’s over I gotta make another decision. At least with Cable you can turn it on a channel and watch whatever is on for a few hours.

I also didn’t see any of my HBO and Showtime shows. True Blood comes on in the summertime and if Hulu doesn’t have it and Netflix doesn’t have the current episodes for streaming then I’m gonna be screwed. I’m gonna have to go to a p2p website and download them. I don’t want to have to do that. I pay for HBO and Showtime each month and I’m gonna lose them over this so that would suck big time.

On one hand I want to save myself some big bucks every month but on the other hand, I’m still gonna have to use the computer to watch certain shows which I don’t like.

But, maybe this will convince me. Like I said, I pay $110 for cable and if we get this then I will only have to pay $18 per month for Hulu and Netflix. That’s a savings of $92 per month, that’s $1,104 per year in savings. Of course that will only go towards buying more groceries every month so that is great for us but not great when I can’t see True Blood.

I have a lot to think about here. Maybe someone can give me their opinions about #1 the Roku box and #2 this whole concept of canceling cable and going with internet tv instead. Please, give me all of your thoughts.

Too Cold For Our Cat

Our cat has been living in our patio which is sort of still being outside without being inside.  It gave her some freedom of being outside but at the same time she couldn’t leave the property and roam around the neighborhood.  It’s like she had her own room lol.

It’s too cold now, about 35°F so she’s decided “it’s too cold, I need to be in the house again.”  While we were in San Diego I kept her in the kitchen, although she found a way to escape so she could roam around the house.  But now that it’s too cold she’s going to stay inside until at least February or March when it starts getting warmer again, at least in the 50’s – 60’s.

In case you’re wondering, she loves it out there on the patio.  Every time we bring her in the house, she scratches at the back door to get out and she looks up at me to open the door.  If I’m not in the kitchen she’ll come find me and meow then walk away like she wants me to follow her and she’ll lead me to the back door.  She’s a very smart cat.

Bad CD

On Sunday, the day before we left for San Diego, I burned a bunch of CD’s from music that I bought online (mp3’s for my mp3 player) so that we have some good music to listen to during our ride and I was totally disappointed when one of the CD’s didn’t play at all.  It was the latest Backstreet Boys CD called Unbreakable.  The 2nd song played fine but all the rest of the songs didn’t play at all.  I don’t know what happened.

I also burned the Charmed Final Chapter CD which I love personally because the songs remind me of the show which I miss.  Darrin wasn’t into that CD though and there were 2 Buffy the Vampire Slayer CD’s that I put in the cars CD player (it holds 6 discs) and I didn’t bother playing those because if he didn’t like the Charmed one then forget about the buffy ones hehe.

I think I’m going to start up the thing with Yahoo where you pay $15 a month and you get unlimited music downloads as opposed to having to pay $15 and get 15 songs from iTunes.  I will most likely only get a few CD’s here and there and not that often but who knows.

We Arrived in San Diego

After 5 1/2 hours in the hot car holding a hot chihuahua we arrived in Lakeside (San Diego). We had to have the heat on because of the cold from the rain and the defroster to keep the windows from being foggy. A lot of the trip was foggy but not because of the windows. There was snow on the ridge. I was told to mention that. Well since I’m using my PSP to blog I’m going to cut this short.