Computer rehab time already?

4 minute read

January 6, 2010, 9:14 PM

Next month marks three years since I got my Dell. And that means it’s almost time for my computer’s mid-life rehabilitation. Why get a new computer when you can make your current one last another few years with a little TLC, eh?

Yes, I do my computer like transit systems do rolling stock. Go for such an amount of time and then rehab the thing. It’s just like Metro recently did with the Breda cars. Rail cars generally last 40 years. So at roughly the 20-year mark, they do a mid-life rehabilitation on them. That brings them up to more modern standards, and gets them ready to go another 20 before retirement. Computers have about a three-year life span in my experience, and so a mid-life overhaul makes it go another three. Which means that I won’t need to replace my current box until 2013 or so. Now my last computer lasted nearly nine years. It went three years, had its mid-life rehabilitation, and then went almost six years before it finally was put out to pasture. That was for financial reasons, though – I couldn’t afford a new computer, since I wasn’t doing as well money-wise.

On my last computer’s rehab back in 2001, I upgraded from 128 MB to 384 MB of RAM, upgraded both optical drives, went from a 10 GB hard drive to an 80 GB hard drive, upgraded the video card, and upgraded the TV tuner card. I deliberately didn’t replace the motherboard and upgrade the processor, because that’s about where I reach my level of incompetence. Everything went quite well in the rehab, and it got me to 2007. I was pleased. I had contemplated a second rehab around that time, but I ultimately determined that a second rehab was more than I wanted to do for an eight-year old computer, and so I replaced it.

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“Whammies, you can drop dead… STOP!”

2 minute read

December 16, 2009, 10:15 PM

I do a trivia contest at work every year to divvy up some freebie items that we get from our office supply company. The past two years, I’ve done a shout-it-out format, where I come up with some questions, and then the first person to shout the answer wins a pick at a prize.

However, a few of my coworkers have been saying that they would like to see me juice up the format a little. They suggested teams, but I couldn’t come up with anything that would achieve the desired result (getting rid of all the prizes), and still not make it too overly complicated, and still get a lot of gameplay and participation. I’d thought about pricing games or something for it, but couldn’t come up with something that we could fit into an hour and get rid of the prizes (we usually have around ten or so).

But then it hit me. I came up with an idea of how to spice it up. I determined how to work in the trivia bit, and get some action. Each correct answer will earn spins. Then they take those spins and win points. And the spins, when taken, will look like this:

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Categories: Television, Work

Turned out to be a three-pronged strategy…

3 minute read

December 9, 2009, 11:53 PM

My office had its annual “holiday party” this evening, at Bossa Bistro & Lounge in Adams Morgan. All in all, it was a fun party. I stayed for three hours and had a good time.

The thing that was the most entertaining was the slideshow that featured pictures of all the stuff that the office did over the last year (or so). The slideshow had pictures taken in the office, pictures taken at various official events, plus various “extracurricular” events (i.e. things coworkers did outside the office). Most surprising was that a good chunk of the photos were either of me or taken by me. I often volunteer to do the photos, plus a lot of photos of me ended up in the rotation. They actually had what I called a “three-pronged strategy” in digging for photos: Official photos, Facebook, and Schumin Web. This was one of the more amusing photos of me that ended up in the rotation:

Holding up a "Congressional facebook"

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Categories: Work

So obviously, this is up for more interpretation than I expected…

< 1 minute read

November 26, 2009, 10:50 AM

At work yesterday, the copier went down for a bit until we got the copier guys in there to fix ‘er up. And in the meantime, I put this on the copier:

Sick copier

This was supposed to be a drawing of the copier, a Sharp MX-5001, with a hot water bottle on its head and a thermometer in its mouth. Basically, it’s a drawing of a sick copier.

Obviously, my drawing was up for interpretation. One of my coworkers described it as a toaster. Another as a stack of pancakes. Then the best interpretation of it was “a muffin smoking pot”. That last one surprised me, but there you go, I suppose.

So there you go. I’m not what you would describe as an artist, but at least I can draw silly out-of-order signs. Total time spent on drawing: 60 seconds.

Categories: Amusing, Work

We could be brothers or something…

< 1 minute read

November 18, 2009, 11:12 PM

It’s amusing what people do when they realize that their clothes match:

Ben and Jon

Yes, we matched. And we took a picture of it on our lunch hour. Each of us was wearing a dark red shirt, and then we each were wearing blue jeans. We were like unintentional twins. Then the hats finished the look. That’s my Gatsby cap that I’m wearing, and then Jon borrowed someone else’s hat since it mostly matched mine.

And what makes this more amusing is that yesterday, I was wearing the green shirt with the black jeans, and matched our communications director. She was wearing a green shirt and black pants. So now I wonder who I’ll match next. No telling what I’m pulling out of my closet tomorrow, though. We’ll find out in the morning, I suppose…

Categories: Work

This is beyond obsession…

2 minute read

November 17, 2009, 8:43 PM

This is beyond obsession:

Hand sanitizer spray

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Categories: Work

And tomorrow, I head to Pennsylvania for nearly a week.

2 minute read

September 19, 2009, 5:50 PM

Yeah, tomorrow is going to be a travel day for me. I’m going to a Mac OS X Server class at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia. Finally I’m going to get a really good understanding of Mac OS X Server, and this will be really useful when I get back to the office the following week.

Of course, this means I have to drive up Interstate 95 to get there, but it’s okay – I have a GPS this time around, and Lori (the name of the voice on my TomTom GPS) tells me where to turn. The only thing that particularly bugs me is all the tolls. It seems like just about every time you really get going, there’s a guy in a yellow safety vest with his hand out. And unless the tolls have changed, I’m going to have to pay $11.75 in tolls alone. That breaks down to $2.00 for the Fort McHenry Tunnel, $5.00 for the Susquehanna River bridge, $4.00 for the Delaware Turnpike, and then $0.75 for a short stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

I’m just glad to finally make the trip – I’ve been trying to do this for four months now. First I was going to take the class in mid-May in Charlottesville, and it was cancelled. Then late May in Blue Bell. Then mid-July. Then late August. Now, for mid-September, they promised me that they are definitely having the class, and I got no notifications that they were cancelling. Dy-no-mite!

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Categories: Work

Nine bucks later, I have a replacement Super Nintendo controller…

5 minute read

August 9, 2009, 9:20 AM

I finally confirmed today that one of the controllers on my Super Nintendo finally went bad. It was a shame, too, but such is what happens sometimes. I bought that controller new like eleven years ago, so it had a good run, giving me plenty of Super Mario-type fun. And then once I confirmed it was the controller and not anything else, I moseyed over to the computer, hopped online, and ordered me a new one. The joys of the Internet.

Meanwhile, does anyone know if the various USB video game controllers work with VirtuaNES? While I’ve certainly gotten some proficiency playing vintage games using the keyboard, as a rule, you can’t play vintage games with the index, middle, ring, or pinky finger. No – vintage video games are played with the thumbs. And maybe then I can really get going when it comes to Doki Doki Panic. After all, Wart is waiting.

Otherwise, the staff retreat at the Bolger Center went quite well. We did a lot of stuff, and really bonded as a staff. Meanwhile, I, as the Senior Office Manager, was in charge of logistics. I think I packed about half of our workroom into the back of my Sable and schlepped it all over to the Bolger. You really don’t realize how much a station wagon will truly hold until you have half the office loaded into the back of it, and luggage in the back seat. But it’s times like this that I’m glad I got a station wagon to replace the Previa rather than something else. You can’t load a mid-size sedan quite as well as you can a station wagon. Imagine if I had my sister’s car. The supplies would not only be in the trunk, but also in the back seat, which meant that I would have had to make a second trip home (on the other side of Montgomery County from the Bolger) to take my luggage.

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Categories: Fire alarms, Video games, Work

Nothing inspires cleaning like a visit from the parents…

3 minute read

August 1, 2009, 11:45 PM

My parents are coming by early Sunday afternoon. Both of them, this time. Mom comes fairly regularly, but Dad doesn’t come nearly enough, and I’ve told him that. So we’re meeting up here, and then probably going out for lunch somewhere, likely in downtown Silver Spring. So they’ll be here for maybe an hour, tops, before we go out for lunch.

And so the cleaning begins. I don’t care if they’re only going to be here for an hour. This place will be clean. At this point, I’ve done everything except vacuum the rugs, and a Journal entry is a good reason to take a break. Now, though, you could eat off my kitchen floor, though the question remains: Why would you want to? And besides that, I wouldn’t let you, because then I’d have to clean the floor again. And cleaning the house is no fun.

But you know the drill. Attack the bathroom, and make everything all white and shiny. Soft scrub is our friend, but make sure the fan is on, because the bleach smell can be overpowering. Then attack the kitchen. Stove, counters, microwave, fridge, floors, etc. Gotta make it all nice and pretty. Then dust the living room. And finally, vacuum the rugs. All in the name of cleanliness. After all, one does not want one’s parents to see how one really lives. They saw how I really lived when I lived with them. Now I like to at least make it look like I keep things a little neater now that I’m living on my own than when I lived with them.

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Categories: Family, House, Work

So this is me at the end of the work week…

< 1 minute read

June 12, 2009, 8:18 PM

So this is me at the end of the work week:

Me at the end of the work week

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Categories: Family, Myself, Work

Two fire alarms in one day?

2 minute read

June 3, 2009, 7:04 PM

Well, it certainly was an exciting day at work today. We had not one, but two fire alarms today. The first was just before 1:00. I was walking down the hall in our suite, and then the fire alarm started sounding. Thus we got to hear those new fire alarms that we had put in a few months ago come to life. Needless to say, we heard these Wheelock NS horns loud and clear, which is more than could be said for the old Wheelock 34 horns that they replaced.

So I immediately got into my floor-monitor mode, getting my safety vest and hard hat out of my man-sized safe and doing a sweep of the floor, along with the other floor monitor. Then we did the same for the other suite on our floor before heading down to the street.

Down on the street, the fire trucks arrived, and checked things out. Amusing: The man in the rear steering position of one of the fire trucks was in there smoking a cigar! Kind of odd for the firefighter to be smoking on their way to a potential fire, where there’s the potential for lots of smoke.

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Categories: Fire alarms, Work

New fire alarms at work…

2 minute read

February 5, 2009, 10:54 PM

You never know sometimes what you’re going to come home with some days. I came home from work today with fire alarms in my bag. That’s not what most people would come home with, but then again, I’m not most people.

So today, they upgraded the fire alarms in our office. The Wheelock 34s and the Space Age light plates went away, and they installed Wheelock NS horn/strobes to replace them.

As such, we went from this:

Old fire alarm setup at the office

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Categories: Fire alarms, Work

And with a new ceiling mount in place, we have a proper projector again.

2 minute read

January 13, 2009, 8:44 PM

At last, the dangling wires are gone, and the conference room at work has a proper projector again. And interestingly enough, actually mounting the projector was the easy part. I had no problems putting the new mounting ring on the pole and securing the projector to its bracket. No, the most challenging part of it all was getting all the cords connected again. For that, I pulled out a ceiling tile, and went down to the building management office and got a real ladder. The biggest problem was getting the computer to work. The problem was that there was an unfamiliar cord in there with a different end on it, and that was how the computer was connected to the old projector. Up in the ceiling, the unfamiliar cord was connected via an adaptor to a standard VGA cable. No problems there – the adaptor and the unfamiliar cord came off, and I just hooked the VGA cable up to it directly. Problem solved.

Meanwhile, you should see this new projector. The picture is brighter and crisper than the old projector. So awesome. Go me for getting it all working.

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Categories: Work

And of course the old mount didn’t fit the new projector!

2 minute read

January 10, 2009, 12:25 AM

We’re replacing our projector at work, and so I got to move tables and such in order to do it. After having removed the very old and very heavy old projector from the ceiling, I went to put the new one on the mounting bracket. And guess what – the new projector does not fit on the old mounting bracket. I didn’t discover that detail until I went to put the new projector on and saw that the holes didn’t line up. So now I have to get a new mounting bracket. So I basically had to stop on that front, and wait for the new bracket to come in. And in the meantime, I have this coming out of the ceiling:

Cords coming out of the ceiling from the projector  Cords coming out of the ceiling from the projector

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Categories: Work

I don’t know what crawled inside there and died…

4 minute read

December 24, 2008, 8:30 PM

The question is, what crawled in the refrigerator and died? Gross. This very short workweek was my week on kitchen duty in the office, and ahead of being closed for a week and a half, I cleaned out the refrigerators. I will say this, though – the refrigerators don’t get cleaned out nearly as often as they should.

My guideline for this particular fridge cleanout, given that the office would be closed for a while, was first and foremost for people to take home anything that they wanted to keep that might go bad during the time off. On anything that was left, I was pitching anything without a name on it, anything with an expiration date prior to when we’re supposed to come back, and of course, “fuzzy” stuff.

We have two refrigerators. We have a small one and a large one. I started with the small one. That entailed just pulling a trash can up next to it, checking dates, and pitching stuff. The small refrigerator is generally not too bad. There were a few fuzzy things in there, but generally speaking, it wasn’t too bad. Now the second refrigerator, that thing was nearly full. So I pulled up a chair and a trash can, and got going. The thing that usually gets me in trouble, by the way, is when I open a container of something with the intention of dumping out the contents and saving the container. There was this container of rice in there. The container looked fairly new, and so I opened it with the intention of dumping out the rice. BIG MISTAKE. That rice was thoroughly rancid, and smelled every bit of it. It’s one of those smells that makes a beeline for the nose and then lingers there for a while. What an awful smell. I did not know that rice could make that smell. It can, as I soon found out. And it is not pleasant. It’s one of those smells where, as soon as you smell it, you wish you had just tossed the container sight unseen, but too late now, because the cat is out of the bag. If you ever need to remove wallpaper, this smell will do it. Put a flower next to it, and the stench will make it will turn brown instantly. Yeeew.

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Categories: Work