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And so for those wondering how my birthday went…

June 4, 2008, 2:07 PM

My birthday weekend went quite well, thank you. I spent my actual birthday at home, where I wrote a Wikipedia article about October Rebellion. Yes, that October Rebellion. I had a great time writing that article, though it’s not often that I’ll sit down and write a new article from scratch and go hunting for reliable sources and such.

Then the next day, Mom and Dad came to visit – just for the day. We went to downtown Silver Spring, where we had a birthday lunch at Austin Grill, a restaurant that serves Mexican food. As we were coming in, rain appeared to be imminent, and yet some people still wanted to be seated outside, and stayed outside, even as the rain started coming down. There was a very small overhang that these people ate under, and I presume they stayed dry for the most part.

At the restaurant, Mom committed what would be considered a major sin if you like to stay in the good graces of your companions. She told the server that it was my birthday. Now I admit that she didn’t mean to let that out in front of the waitstaff. It slipped out unintentionally. But you know how it is… if you say “birthday” to a server, next thing you know, you have ALL of them marching in clapping, and singing happy birthday to you. Once we realized Mom’s error, we flagged the server again about the birthday thing, and good news – Austin Grill doesn’t sing. Very good.

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Of course, this would be the time when I realize the discs I need are with my parents.

March 11, 2008, 6:14 AM

I was getting ready to convert the Lappy to its new “final” configuration – a dual boot between Windows Vista and Ubuntu Linux – and in looking for my Vista discs, I realized that they weren’t here. I turned the place upside down, too. Went through all the drawers in my desk, through all the junk on my desk, and so on and so forth. Not here. So I have to go digging through what stuff of mine is still in the “pirate room”, aka my old bedroom. Of course, it’s not like it’s far away. I’m going there tomorrow night. So I’ll look.

Otherwise, today should be exciting. This is the day I position the car at Vienna after work. I’ve already packed my suitcase, and emptied my crates (I intend on bringing more of my stuff to Silver Spring, so the take from last time needs to be unloaded). Then you realize that whatever I don’t take with me this evening has to go to work with me tomorrow. Thus the key is remembering everything tonight, because I’m not coming back after work tomorrow, and I don’t want to drag all of everything of mine to work. Bad idea.

And then Sis flies in earlier on Wednesday, so we all will be together again on Wednesday night. Yaaaaaay!

“Are you running Linux? Looks like you’re running Linux.”

January 21, 2008, 5:04 PM

Yes, as of this writing, the Lappy is officially running Ubuntu Linux. So this is exciting. My Linux experience is presently quite limited. The antiquated computer at the Infoshop runs Ubuntu Linux, and so I’ve gotten some experience there with Linux. Plus I’ve also had some (and by “some” I mean “very little”) experience with the Unix command line, which Linux also uses, both at the Infoshop, and in the Mac OS X training class I went to up in Philly last November. It seems like it’s a pretty good system, and once I figure out how it works, it should serve me well. After all, I’ve learned how to use Mac OS X, so I can figure out Linux. At first glance, Ubuntu Linux kind of reminds me of Mac OS X a little bit.

So yeah, I still have no idea what I’m doing on Linux, but I’ll figure it out. Still, it seems I’ve entered the ranks of computer users who use Linux. Scary…

Categories: Computer

Have you ever seen an iMac with the skin off?

November 30, 2007, 9:21 PM

Well, you soon will. I had the opportunity to do a memory upgrade on a first-generation iMac G5 today at work, and so I got to open one of those puppies up. So this is what the iMac looks like with the skin off:

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Categories: Computer, Work

“You’re not going to become one of those self-righteous Mac people, are you?”

October 25, 2007, 7:23 PM

You know you’re still a computer geek at heart when you get all excited when you see a shiny new operating system and get to install it. I remember back in the old days when I used to get excited over a new version of MS-DOS. I remember when we installed MS-DOS 5. That was exciting. Microsoft had completely revamped the DOS Shell for that version. Fun stuff. Then I remember Windows 95. That was exciting, too, exploring this new Windows with all this new stuff on board. Start menu – what’s that?

This time, though, we’re doing the operating system upgrade to “Tangerine Dreams” – my office Mac. So this will be exciting. I’ve never upgraded a Mac before. So this will be new and uncharted territory. After all, I’ve upgraded DOS and Windows numerous times, but never Mac OS. My understanding is that it’s fairly straightforward, but we’ll see.

This also marks the first time I’ve upgraded an operating system on the day it was released. I got Windows XP on the day after it was released, but never day-of. And this upgrade basically fits in my job description, too, as I’m also the day-to-day IT guy for the office, and so learning the newest operating system is important.

Meanwhile, with the whole excited-about-Leopard thing, in a phone call with Sis, she asked if I was becoming one of those self-righteous Mac people. I was like, no, because unlike a lot of those self-righteous Mac people who had been with Macs since the days of classic Mac OS, I’ve only been a serious Mac user since Mac OS X Tiger. However, I will be the first to say that my next computer will probably be a Mac, since Macs are awesome, and Windows Vista… kinda sucks. I think if I could put Mac OS on my Dell, I’d be a very happy person.

So, yeah, I’m excited.

Categories: Computer, Work

With my desk and real computer in place, it’s really starting to feel like home in here…

May 27, 2007, 11:52 PM

At last, the Lappy is back to being the “other” computer. My real computer is all set up. My desk is together, and feels a lot like the old one. Sure, the color is slightly different and the edges are rounded, but it feels like home. I like it. It certainly says something about a desk when you have to replace it, and replace it with an exact duplicate.

I also upped the resolution on my monitors while I was at it. Working on the Mac in my office and also on the Lappy made 1024×768 on this computer look huge. So I upped my resolution to 1152×864. This harmonizes with the Lappy and my office Mac.

And now that the computer desk is set up, I only have one thing left to acquire. I need a bed. I’ve been sleeping on the futon couch in my living room. It’s not a bad bed, but I don’t particularly like sleeping in the living room, especially when I’m paying for a one-bedroom apartment and not an efficiency. So tomorrow I’m going to Ikea in College Park and going bed shopping.

This might also be an opportune time to go over to College Perk and have a cup of joe. After all, they’re both on Baltimore Avenue in College Park. You may recall that this is where my friend Rose used to work. I’ve been to it three times in the past on DC trips. Depending on how close it actually is to Silver Spring, College Perk might just become my equivalent to Daily Grind in Staunton, which you may recall is where I spent many happy hours with the Lappy and a cup of coffee during my unexpected six-week vacation.

And now, it’s late. Good night!

Hello from… Rosslyn?

April 30, 2007, 11:45 AM

Yeah. Hello from Rosslyn. I’ve found out that Rosslyn Center is just teeming with wireless access points. CommuterStore on the second floor has a free wireless hotspot, and it works in most of the first and second levels of Rosslyn Center. This is good to know for future reference, like if I’m meeting Matthew Tilley on a future railfan trip where the Lappy would play a role (we’ve discussed such a possibility). However, the CommuterStore link, or any other link for that matter, does not work in my favorite part of the building – the way back of the food court, near the windows. I usually go there to read the Express if I couldn’t finish on the Metro. That location is presumably too far away. There’s also a free wireless connection at Tivoli on the first floor. All I have to say is, sweet! about finding wireless connectivity here.

Next mission is to see if I can find a free wireless hotspot over at Pentagon Row. Now that would be nice, to be able to sit outside and get online there…

Categories: Arlington, Computer, DC trips

From an entirely new computer setup, here I am.

February 26, 2007, 9:45 PM

First of all, hello! Hello from my new Dell Dimension E521, my new computer. It’s a lot faster than the old Gateway, but it’s also a lot shorter in stature than the old Gateway. The old computer is currently in Sis’s room, having been stripped of a few parts here and there, as the wireless card was a straight move from the old system. The original intention was for one of the two video cards from the old computer to also carry over, but that unfortunately didn’t allow for a dual-monitor setup. As it turns out, a video card added to the system disables the integrated video. So I had to get a new video card that has two outputs, but I’m still not yet online, as I need to get a DVI cable to hook up onto an outlet on the flat panel.

Otherwise, the new Lappy showed up today, and unlike with the delivery of the main computer, this time I was present in person to sign for the package. So all is here and all is well.

Right now, I’m getting moved in. I’m moving all my documents onto the system, and so once that gets done, life will be good.

Then there’s the whole thing of figuring out Windows Vista. This is new territory to me, as I have never before gone to a new computer and a new operating system at once. Usually it was always one or the other. So this is fun.

Once I get all settled into this computer, I have some photos to show you of the new computer, etc.

Categories: Computer

Goodbye, old friend…

February 24, 2007, 11:32 PM

Well, this is it. The Gateway dies tonight. That makes this my last Journal entry on my Gateway G6-400. After I finish this entry, I’m going to shut down Windows for the last time, and boot off of a floppy in order to FDISK and format the hard drive.

So now let’s get started. Goodbye, old friend. We’ve had a lot of great years together.

Categories: Computer

And here we arrive at that point where we “freeze” the Web site

February 24, 2007, 12:20 AM

As I speak, the “master” version of Schumin Web that I have on my computer and do all my editing from is being migrated over to Dad’s computer as part of the move. This requires me to temporarily “freeze” the site, as it’s not wise to make edits to the site while I’m moving things around. Of course, the Journal isn’t affected by this, since it’s done server-side. However, don’t expect to see any edits to the site (and that includes the photo feature) until I’m finished moving the computer.

Hey, it could be worse. I think the snowman is a really cute picture, and at least we still have the Journal during this transition, so I can tell you all about what’s going on. By the way, moving to a new computer is a colossal pain in the behind, and now I understand why I haven’t changed computers in nearly nine years.

Otherwise, tomorrow I’m going to Harrisonburg where my friend Patrick Jarrett from Pittsburgh is coming down for a job fair. Patrick and I met online way back in the day, and then we’ve met in person once before, when I went to Pittsburgh with LPCM in 2003. So this ought to be fun. I’m also going to try to swing by Rocktown Infoshop at some point to get some more photos for their site.

It’s here! It’s here! It’s here!

February 22, 2007, 11:42 PM

Well, my new computer has arrived! So how is it, you ask? I don’t know. I haven’t opened it yet. It’s very much still in the box. I’m writing to you tonight on the Gateway. The Dell showed up a little sooner than I expected, and I wasn’t finished moving out of the old computer yet. So I’m still on the old computer. I bought a transfer link cable for $20 after work, but then I realized on the way home that I can use our wireless network to bat files around between computers. Dad’s computer is going to be the temporary home for all of my stuff. Also, when you consider that I just dropped a big chunk of change on two computers (the laptop is still in transit), the cable is going back to the store unopened and I’m getting my money back.

It still hasn’t quite dawned on me yet that it’s really the end of the road for the Gateway. It hasn’t sunk in yet. Of course, it didn’t truly sink in that the Previa was going away until I spent the time cleaning it out a couple of hours before it started the trip from which it would not return.

Once I finish moving all my stuff onto Dad’s computer, though, it will finally be time to truly retire that old Gateway. I will shut Windows down for the last time. I will reboot off a floppy, destroy my old partitions, and reformat the hard drive. I will then power down, and start disconnecting cables. Everything will be disconnected, and removed from my desk. And then when we arrive at the bottom, meaning that the desk is completely bare, I’m going to start setting new stuff up. The new computer will go into place, and then my present monitors and speakers will return, my current keyboard and mouse will return, and then we’ll fire the beast up and bring it to life!

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Categories: Computer, Shoes

My Gateway’s days are now officially numbered.

February 21, 2007, 6:15 PM

Yes, my Gateway’s days are officially numbered. I’ve ordered two computers as its replacement. A Dell Dimension and a Dell Inspiron. So I will have a desktop and a laptop. Why both? Well, the old Lappy showed promise as being something useful for me, but as it turned out, Dad and I seem to each be unable to share.

It works out, too, because the amount I’d budgeted for a new desktop machine worked out to be enough for a desktop and a laptop – which is the arrangement I really wanted anyway.

What’s really going to be weird is to actually retire the Gateway (Gateway 2000, to be accurate). I’ve had that computer for nearly nine years. I got it on the same day that the last episode of Seinfeld aired: Thursday, May 14, 1998. I remember it was state-of-the-art when I first got it. A 400 MHz Pentium II, 128 MB of RAM, a 10 GB hard drive, a DVD-ROM drive, and a TV tuner card were considered high power back in their day. A Zip drive was added to the system in December 1998, and a CD burner in January 2000.

Then during the summer of 2001, I gave the computer a mid-life rehabilitation, intended to outfit it for another three years of service. The 10 GB hard drive was replaced with an 80 GB drive, 128 MB became 384 MB, the DVD-ROM and the CD burner were replaced with more powerful versions, four USB ports were added, and the TV card was replaced after the old one had proven problematic. Then in March 2003, the Zip drive was replaced with a second DVD-ROM drive (making three CD/DVD drives total), inherited from my sister’s old Gateway. Then I changed to a dual-monitor configuration in early 2005.

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Categories: Computer

I feel like such a yuppie…

January 8, 2007, 10:06 AM

Here I am, sitting in a coffee shop, working on a laptop computer via a wireless connection, with a cup of coffee on one side, and a scone on the other. I’m sitting here at Daily Grind in Stuarts Draft, looking oh so trendy here with my coffee, scone, and little mouse next to the computer. The trick, though, is not to spill coffee on the Lappy’s keyboard. That would be BAD.

Otherwise, I got the Sable inspected today. It passed with flying colors, minus the right rear tire. I got that replaced, and all is well again. I kind of expected the rear tire to fail, as I’d had trouble with it holding air for a while. So good riddance to it. I have a brand new tire now that hopefully will hold air like a pro.

And then today is an off-day because I was originally supposed to pick my friend Katie up from the Charlottesville airport today. But guess what – Katie came back home early, and to stay, too. So that airport trip was scrubbed, and I’m glad. Since she’s been back in Waynesboro, I’ve gone to see her three or four times now.

Then I’m also a bit concerned – the Green Line up in DC had its first-ever accident yesterday, as the fifth car of a six-car train derailed outside Mt. Vernon Square station, injuring 20. This is also the first accident involving CAF cars. And Mt. Vernon Square is a station I’m quite familiar with. It’s the station that services the area around the Infoshop. How weird to think of a train derailing over one of the interlockings in that area. Check out an article on the incident.

And then later today, I’m going to Charlottesville to do some odds-and-ends shopping.

Somehow, I’m thinking that a new machine might just be what I need…

December 22, 2006, 1:41 AM

Remember back in September when I spoke of whether to put my current computer through a second rehab or replace it? Well, I’ve decided. I’m going to get a whole new computer. I figure that with the computer coming up on nine years in May, it’s time. I’m going to get a Dell, but I’m going to wait until Windows Vista comes out before taking that plunge. I find it to be an unnecessary bother to get a new machine shipped with Windows XP, and then have to turn right around and upgrade it to Vista. I did that with my present computer, which shipped with Windows 95 and came with a free upgrade to Windows 98 when it came out that summer. It was a tremendous waste of time, especially when everything didn’t work right at first. I ended up having to do a clean install of Windows 98 to get it to work correctly. Yucko.

And what will I be doing with my present workhorse, my Gateway? Well, it still works like a charm, but it’s just really old. So once I get all my stuff moved over, I’m thinking about converting it to a Linux machine. I’ve never used Linux before, and I want to learn. And so a spare computer to learn Linux on would work. So my “real” computer would be Windows, but having a second, separate computer running Linux would be just awesome.

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Categories: Computer

This is the kind of stuff that happens to other people…

December 14, 2006, 9:21 PM

I still remember the day I bought it new… I bought my wireless keyboard and mouse on March 9, 2002, at Best Buy in Roanoke. Now fast forward to December 14, 2006, as I buy another wireless keyboard from the Wal-Mart in Staunton.

Why? Beverage accident. I spilled a soda all down my keyboard, and after that, it ceased to function. I always used to laugh about people spilling drinks in their keyboard and such. I don’t laugh about it anymore, and that started the moment that my Coke Zero contacted the keyboard. Needless to say, I let out a classic four-letter word right on the spot, and then looked at it for a moment before realizing that I had papers and such I didn’t want wrecked by soda. Therefore, I had to clean it up. That was a joy and a half, as I went and mopped up all the liquid on my desk, and wiped everything down. Greeeeeat.

And I still say that this is not supposed to happen to me. These things are supposed to happen to other people. I’m referring to no one in particular when I say “other people”. I just mean “not me”. Still, that was an expensive lesson to have to learn about why one must be careful with drinks around computer keyboards.

This also marks the second keyboard of mine that I’ve destroyed. The last one I managed to wreck was when I broke the spacebar on the keyboard that came with the computer. I remember it was when I was playing a cow-milking game on coffeebreakarcade.com. My friend Sarah Jones recommended it to me, and the idea was to milk the cows and make sure that all the cows survived the round. If you let them go too long without getting milked, they exploded and died. If you over-milked them, they shriveled up, fell apart, and died. The spacebar was the milking key. It’s called Udder Insanity. Fun game.

Categories: Computer, Food and drink