computer

  • warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 33.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 744.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 607.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 607.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 159.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 24.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 134.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 134.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/cvwuaemp/domains/bartlog.be/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.

Undo

Programming an undo button is very frustrating. First it takes you all this effort to get your application to do more or less what you want it to do, and then you have to spend all this time trying to make it undo what you got it to do in the first place.

And when you've finally finished with that undo button, you can start on the 'redo' button.

Sigh...

Consumerism

It's Christmas, a time to reflect about the things you haven't bought yet, and remember the Holy Message of Jesus Christ: 'Buy! Buy! Buy!'

So daddy bought himself a new PC, mainly because I don't have the purchasing power to still my mid-life crisis with a Harley Davidson, a sports car or a business jet. After spending a couple of evenings on the internet, I ordered:

  • An AMD FX-6100 processor, with the new Bulldozer 8-core architecture. It's not quite as fast as Intel's Core I7, but as I said I'm not quite a millionaire. And I've been an AMD fan for years.
  • An Asus M5A99X EVO motherboard, a very complete AM3+ board.
  • 16 gigabite of KINGSTON HyperX memory
  • One MSI R6850 Cyclone graphics card. I'm not really a gamer, I just looked for a card with decent performance on photo and video editing. It can handle three monitors, and has a nice big (= silent) fan.
  • OCZ Vertex-2 Solid State Disk of 120GB, which I'm going to use as a system drive to really speed things up. It's got a write speed of 275MB/s and a reading speed of 285MB/s. Any heavy files I'll be working on (such as HD video) will also be temporarily parked on this disk.
  • A Western Digital 2TB running at 7200RPM, with a whopping 64MB cache and like the Vertex-2 with a SATA III connection. This will be my storage disk, but it's still quite fast for a traditional hard disk.
  • To wrap it all up, I invested in a new MIDI tower: the Antec Sonata Elite. I've had a full tower for years, which I bought when extension cards still could be quite large.
  • The Sonata Elite doesn't come with it's own power pack, so I also ordered a BeQuiet Pure Power L7-530W 12cm. I'm hoping that it holds up to its name, because my current computer makes as much noise as a military jet engine on full afterburner.
  • A Samsung S23A350H Syncmaster monitor. It's a 23 inch - I'm currently working on a 17 inch CRT monitor at home, so it'll be a bit of a change.

The operating system on my current computer still is Windows XP. I thoroughly hate Windows Vista, which is what is on Mrs.B's laptop. As a consequence, it runs like a steam train on Windows Millennium Edition (Microsoft's previous blunder). But Windows 7 seems all-right, so I ordered a copy.

So now I'm eagerly waiting for my goodies to arrive. The graphics card arrived on the second day after my internet buying spree, but I expect the rest will only land on my doorstep during the first week of the new year.

A final necessary purchase was an economy pack of pain-killers, which I really needed when Mrs.B discovered how much I'd spent on one evening...

Browser War

As someone who uses different computers in different places, sometimes abroad, I take my browser with me on a USB stick. I used to have one of these U3 sticks (not related to U2 or UB40) and for a while it worked nicely. Plug the stick in the USB port and a pop-up menu appears with your favourite applications, not only my browser but also Open Office, an FTP client, an anti-virus scanner with firewall (essential for survival if you're making use of internet pubs in Africa from time to time) and other goodies.

Alas, U3 never became a widespread technology, and support was dwindling. For each of these applications, a special U3 version had to be made. I got in trouble with Firefox, because the most recent versions didn't have a U3 version. For a while, I could update it the usual way, but in the end it became intolerably slow.

So I switched to PortableApps, which does essentially the same thing but is supported by a much wider fan base. And best of all, you can install any application, not just the ones in their (rather exhaustive) list. However, although I could install the latest version now, Firefox remained sluggish. So I thought I'd give the much hiped Google Chrome a go.

And I must say it works fine, smooth and fast. Of course it took a bit of getting used to. And there's one thing I still don't like: the way the bookmarks are presented. Instead of a bookmark toolbar on the left like Firefox has, Chrome has a dropdown list from the menu bar on top. Annoyingly, this means that you can't leave it open and that you have to navigate through the list and the sub menus to the bookmark you want. If you want to go to the next bookmark, you have to open the dropdown list again and go to the same folder and then click on the link. I keep finding this a bit tedious.

Like Firefox, Chrome has plug-ins (although not as many... yet), but I couldn't find a bookmark add-in of my liking. Meanwhile, I noticed that I wouldn't visit a number of sites and blogs as much as I used to, just because their bookmarks were out of my view. I'm a visually oriented person, I don't remember names that well (so I don't use the search feature of the navigation bar that often) but I know where I've stored things. Worst of all was that I didn't visit what used to be some of my favourite weblogs and comics sites as much as I used to.

But then I came across Slick RSS, an RSS reader with a handy interface (plenty of RSS readers of course, but this one integrates with my browser). Now I don't have to miss a post any more, cause Slick RSS warns me when there are new updates available. Still, not all bloggers use RSS (or Atom) and some of them have an RSS feed on their weblog but aren't aware of it (Blogger and WordPress automatically generate feeds) so it takes a bit of guessing to locate it.

So all in all, I'm a happy camper surfer again.

 

PS: my RSS feed is http://www.bartlog.be/?q=rss.xml (see the - very tiny - logo on the bottom of the main page)

USB laptop charger

USB laptop charger

Black Smoke Of Death

With a loud bang and a mighty flash, my computer's power supply became toast. At the moment, it's unclear if this affected any other parts in the computer, such as for instance to name just one: my hard drive. If I remember well I recently made a back-up one year ago (-ish). So nothing to worry about.

I'd like to run to the store to buy a new power supply, but alas I am tied to the couch because of a nice case of bronchitis. Luckily, I have Wolf to keep me company, because he has the same symptoms. In fact, he started it all, he brought it home from school. So whether I'm going to get the rest the doctor prescribed me, is entirely open.

ALL CAPS

I just spent half an hour trying to log in, getting more and more confused until I almost started to panic. I tried every password I've been using for the past six months, but nothing would work. Did I make an error while resetting my password the last time?

The I noticed 'Caps lock' was on.

It will take me two weeks to recover from feeling this stupid.

Work Bytes

Finally, after months of pleading, I got a new computer at work. Saying that my previous work machine was a tad old is an understatement. Instead of bits and bytes, it worked on gold ducats and papal decrees. Every time I hit the ‘enter’ button, I could hear the midget inside sliding beads on his abacus.

Apart from having a negative clock speed – glaciers wouldn’t believe how slow it was in the end – its display was suffering a slow and painful death. In fact, I had a series of crappy monitors at the end. The first one turned blue and purple on irregular intervals. Then our network administrator gave me another worn down display that was so bad that I’d need glasses if I’d watched for a day longer. Finally, I got one that was fine most of the time, although in the morning it would present me with a variety of striped patterns moving up and down or from left to right or diagonally across my screen. Still, it was the best of the three.

I can’t tell you how much time I lost with that thing. In the morning, I would turn it on and then I’d go for a long stay at the toilet. When I’d returned, it was time to log in and then wait a bit before I could start Outlook. Once I’d hit the Outlook shortcut, I’d have to wait again for fifteen minutes for it to open and check for my mails. So thirty to forty minutes after my arrival, I’d have my computer at my disposal to finally get some work done. Opening documents would also take ages and in the evening I’d have to start to shut down all applications and the computer fifteen minutes earlier or I’d miss my train.

But now all of that is behind me! After creating an uproar in our weekly service meeting and calling my colleagues to take up arms and start the revolution of the working proletariat against the filthy capitalists of the direction (I kid you not, I really put it like that, waving my fists and everything), management finally gave in. The best part was when the netadmin said that he hadn’t even had to buy a new one for me, because he had this one in reserve. Reserve for what? In case his computer broke down?

Anyway, I’m happy as a toddler now with my new toy. As a consequence, the glorious revolution of the working class came to an abrupt end because its leader was bribed by upper management. Marx would turn around in his grave.

One disadvantage of these pre-installed business computers is that it is still not a standard practice to make the distinction between the system partition, with Windows and all the applications, and the data partition. So if anything dramatic happens, and you have to reformat your system partition, you wouldn’t loose your data too.

I didn’t want to reformat the whole disk, but I didn’t have access to Norton’s Partition Magic either. I rarely modify the partitions on the computers at home, so why buy such an expensive application then? So I looked around on the internet for a bit, and I found this little gem: Easeus Partition Master Home Edition. It works just as well as Northon Partition Magic, it is very easy to use, it offers every kind of option you can imagine and it’s for free!

It’s fantastic. With my new computer installed completely as I want it, I almost feel I could be productive!

Oh Oh

I'm getting these Blue Screen Of Death messages. Windows is so helpful to explain me that this is caused by 0x1x0x0xbxlxa not being able to address 1x0x0x1x1x0xx1x1x0x0 or something like that. Thank you for that information Bill Gates, now I know at least that I need to change a memory module, or maybe the keyboard driver, or the screensaver, or one of the other fifty gazillion items that make up my computer. Thank's a lot old chump.

Better advance my five-yearly back-up scheme.

Wireless

We have a wireless network at home. That's not really astonishing news, but it is supposed to be a wired network. I went at great lengths to pull cables throughout our house, drilling holes in walls and floors, fixing wires in the wall or underneath the stairs, trying to hide everything as much as possible.

Are We There Yet?

Did I complain yet how much writing a manual for a computer application sucks? No?

Well, it’s like jumping into a magnetic swamp with your pockets stuffed with iron bars. You can’t get out, it’s a never-ending story and the readers are screaming for a sequel. You have to explain every little detail, even things everyone should take for granted after so many decades of computer revolution. Every potential question of the greatest moron on earth has to be answered by that text, and let me tell you: the greatest moron on earth has a lot of fantasy.

I’m at page 103 and counting. Granted, I put in a lot of pictures in a vague attempt to reach the state of foolproof-ness. And of course no-one will ever read it. Instead, they will mess up my beautiful application and then send angry e-mails to me venting their outrage because it won’t make any coffee or they can’t find the bloody ‘Any’-key.

If Darwin were right, the sub-species called Users should be long extinct.

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