Saturday, January 24, 2015

I am not Charlie Hebdo

First things first, I condemn violence in any form. It is fundamentally evil. Especially in the name of religion. It’s 2015, and we don’t need to come to blows over who has the best invisible friend. The criminals who attacked the office of Charlie Hebdo are terrorists. They are cowards.

But having said that, I also have to ask why Charlie Hebdo would publish something so inflammatory. I like to say that I was brought up with enough sense to respect other peoples’ beliefs and practices be it Christian, Jew, Pagan, Muslim, Hindu, or Sikh. I condemn the violence that has occurred in France of late, but I also condemn the inflammatory cartoons that Charlie Hebdo has published.

My sympathies lie with those who lost their lives in those attacks. But I don’t see either side as being completely innocent. Charlie Hebdo has published inflammatory pictures that I myself see as offensive and I’m not Muslim). And the terrorists decided to use force of arms to force their views on everybody else.

Violence. Is. Evil. Period. But I am not Charlie Hebdo.

A lesson learned…

When I went to Full Time at my current employer last fall, I became eligible to enroll in the Company provided health care plan. At the time, I was using a health care plan that I’d purchased through the marketplace, and I decided to continue using that one. Big mistake. Because my employer had offered more than the bare minimum insurance and I didn’t enroll in it, I’m ineligible for any tax credit. So I’m paying full price for health insurance until my employer’s next open enrollment plan.

Lesson learned: when or if you convert to full-time employment and your employer offers health insurange, enroll in it! I didn’t and now I’m paying the price….

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Yet another laptop….

So, last fall, my mother got a laptop. An Acer that she got through Wally World… It wasn’t that bad of a laptop. It had Windows 8.1, which is normally bad, but it also had a touchscreen (which is really the only way to deal with the metro UI). And she used for only a couple of weeks, before deciding to go with an android tablet (she also had a windows 7 tower, so she’s not hurting for a computer, and your truly is keeping up to date, patched and secure). Anyway, she wasn’t using the laptop, and so she gave it me.

It does have its drawbacks, first off it has windows 8.1 on it. But is also has a touchsreen. The processor doesn’t have quite the horsepower that I’m looking for (but it is a laptop).

On the upside, it has all the normall bells and whistles that I’d expect form a laptop. DVD Burner, Wi-Fi, USB (even has a usb 3.0 port). Added bonus: integrated bluetooth. Did I mention the touchscreen?

I shall probably use it mainly as a back up to the tower (a lesson learned from my tower’s failure last November) and for when I need to go to fix somebody’s phone/computer.

Yes, it has windows 8.1, which I absolutely detest. But then again I got it for free. And I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth.

Thank you, Mother.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 - A Strange Trip

As of the writing of this post, 2014 has about 2 hours left. Much has happened this year. I’m not going to go into current events that much (that’s what the Internet is for)…

I replaced my phone, my tablet, my computer, my printer, and 2 pairs of shoes. I went from part-time to full-time at work (it pays to actually show up). I made peace with somebody whom I’d been fighting with for a while (forgiveness is always better than revenge). I realized I was in love with someone, laid my cards on table & told her so. In hindsight, I may have driven her off forever, but it was something I had to say. It has been said that the truth will set you free. I told the truth, and I’ll eventually be free. Whatever will happen from this, I will still wish her well. My former boss sold me his HDTV. So I had to get an HD DVR box, and considerably upgraded my cable service. And I also got a Wi-Fi capable Blu-Ray player. Did I mention the computer that died only after I put about $400 worth of upgrades into it? I’ve found the best way to kill a day off is to go to my former workplace, and order a pizza. My best friend in the morning can be my morning cup of coffee. If I don’t end up puking it at work… When I did Christmas shopping this year, I could actually afford to get something for everyone. When it comes to the Christmas tree, Subway Gift Cards are a hot commodity. And my 6-year-old niece can use Amazon…

This isn’t everything that happened this year. But it’s here that this year has been a long strange trip. And, now on the cusp of 2015, I think the next year will be another strange trip. But life is more about the journey. And I will plan on enjoying the ride…

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Air the grievances! Prepare for the Feat Of Strength!

Ok, today was Festivus. There was a little bit of the Airing of Greivances, but I’m skipping the Feat of Strength.

Finished my Christmas shopping rather early this year (last Wednesday, to be exact). Due to my work schedule, I was working 6 days straight up until Christmas Eve, and working in retail, I definitely want to avoid the crowds. So this meant doing it on my last day off before Christmas. I did most of it through Spamazon and Wally World. Normally, in previous years the finances were sufficiently bleak that I didn’t give much for Christmas presents. But this year, I am employed full-time, so I got gifts for those whom I’d would’ve otherwise not given gifts to.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and there’s the big family reunion at Grandma’s house. Normally, I ask for an opening shift at work, so I can get out of there early and make the trip. This year (since current employer has paid vacation), I took a vacation day on Christmas Eve, so I can have the day off…

ANd I’m taking the day after Christmas off as well. Just so I can sleep in…

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Former Friend…

This song has been stuck in my head for quite some time. Too bad when it was originally released, it was a bomb. I’ve that it’s meaning is quite close to home. Every time it seems like a have a dream, and I seek to fulfill it, Reality has other plans. Dreams can be a good thing. But Reality always asserts itself. Sometimes you win, sometimes you can compromise, and sometimes Reality just crushes your dreams. But you can’t run from it forever. You can hide from it in your imagination and your day dreams, but eventually you have to face it. And the more you try to run from it, the less Reality will be willing to bargain with you when it’s finally time to face it.

You can have your dreams, but Reality will always temper them…

As the song says: ‘Please don’t ask me, ‘cause I don’t know why, but Reality used to be a friend of mine…’

Thursday, November 27, 2014

It’s another holiday

So, Thanksgiving has come and past. This year, I went to my older sisters. Turkey was served. And it was good. Had my sister not invited me out, I would’ve gone with plan b: Chinese takeout while watching Football.

Most people don’t know the real reasons why the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. The Mayflower had run out of beer (when you consider the state of the water supply at the time, it was probably a healthier choice).

If you really want to pull a good prank, go to your favorite grocery store and ask whether or not they have any Soylent Green available… Then again, it can be really awkward if they haven’t seen the movie….

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hello World, for the umpteenth time….

It all happened Thursday the week before last. I was sitting at the computer, and it froze. It had never done it before, but the standard solution is to turn the computer off and turn it back on. Which I did. And when I rebooted it, all I got was a beeping tone. A quick Google search on my tablet revealed that my motherboard had most likely gone to The Beer Volcano & Stripper Factory. I had previously noticed that my mom used to use a tower with a similar chipset as to mine. So I made her an offer for it. She agreed, and I took it home. I spent over two hours moving hardware over to the new computer (same chipset, same processor socket), and I then started to restore the OS. At first, things were going great. Then I had to readjust something in the tower. After which I got nothing. No video. Pulled my video card, and still got graphics off the onboard chipset. My mother’s computer would be a no-go and I would be sending it back to her (along with an upgrade from an Intel Celeron to an Intel Core 2 Quad Core and a wi-fi card upgrade).

Back to square one. I went to Worst Buy and asked for an increase of my credit card. And the idiots approved me. So I went and ordered a new computer. And it arrived last Thursday. I got an HP 500-214. Among the specs:

  • AMD A8 6500 quad-core processor, up to 3.5 GHz.
  • 8 GB of ram, upto 32 GB is supported. Previous tower only supported 4GB, and I ran a 1 GB video card, so I only used 3 GB.
  • It had Radeon HD 8650 graphics already integrated with multimonitor support. I went ahead and put my Radeon HD 7750 card in, because it has a HDMI port, and I do see using my HDTV as a display in the future.
  • Integrated Wi-Fi and LAN. While I do have expansion cards for both LAN and Wi-Fi, they are all PCI cards, and the computer doesn’t have any PCI slots.
  • USB 3.0. My external hard drive is USB 3.0, and I like being able to transfer files in few minutes, as compared to upwards of an hour. And I should also add that I wasn’t really panicking when my original tower died because I had a recent external back-up.
  • There’s also a multi-card reader,but it doesn’t support MicroSD, so I’ll use my USB reader.

And there are a few caveats with this new computer:

  • Lack of expansion bays. There were only 2 drive bays in the tower, and they were both occupied. I still have a couple of SATA ports to work with, so I may visit this problem later. Or I may just rotate my 3 1TB hard drives though my existing USB external drive.
  • Wimpy power supply. Only 300W. This may become an issue with the next video card upgrade.
  • Secured BIOS. It took me an hour+ to figure out how to even access it. Here’s a hint: use the wired USB keyboard to try to access it, as your wireless keyboard won’t work until the OS loads…
  • Windows 8.1. Windows Vista was WinME, Service Pack 1. Windows 8 was/is WinME, Service Pack 2. It’s crap. And it was preloaded. But HP does publish Windows 7 drivers for all the internals, so it is possible to downgrade to Windows 7, which is what I did. I did make a system restore set before I wiped the drive, though.

I don’t think I’m going to be tinkering much with Linux on this box, as I’m not really sure what the driver situation is going to be. But with a 2 TB hard drive, I may be dabbling with virtual machines instead. I spent most of the day today installing software and patches (I had nothing else to do today since I had to take a sick day today).

When it comes to the customer experience scores, I’m getting the exact same scores that I got with my previous tower. But this was also with over $400 worth of upgrades to the previous tower. And the only ‘extra’s’ I’ve put into this one are the TV tuner and the video card (which is an apparent downgrade…).

So, Hello World. This is my new computer.

Haven’t felt good all day today.

Normally I don’t blog about when I get sick. But today, it was different. Last night, I felt my throat getting scratchy. This morning at about 2, I woke up and realized that I’m in no shape to work. It would’ve been a no-brainer with my previous employer (not to disclose where it was, but it was in food-service). If I was that sick, I just wouldn’t show up (it wasn’t my decision to make, it was the health code). I’m no longer in foodservice, but still I was in no shape to work. Actually if I had made to work, I would’ve been able to tough it out. But that morning commute would’ve been a doozy (4.5+ miles of walking to get to the bus).

So I called out. That in and of itself was an adventure, mainly getting a hold of someone at work. But I was able to get hold of someone, and my absence was duly noted. This will probably be my only sick day I take. I was normally scheduled for the next two days off anyway. I have paid sick leave, but the amount of time is finite.

I called in sick today. I never call in sick. The last time I was sick, I was literally sick (and was sent home from work).