Sunday, February 28, 2010

Compaq Presario F579WM Notebook

I recently fixed this laptop and it wasn't easy. It experienced spontaneous reboots, BSDs (blue screen of death)  and was generally possessed. The exorcism wasn't easy and took too much time. This was definitely one of the harder problems I've faced. Whats irritating is that it seemed to come down to a memory problem and I diagnosed this previously over the phone in January on a laptop from HP which owns Compaq! Memory issues are insidious because they are hard to track down and cause lockups and reboots which foul up the hard drive and make the problem worse. After removing the problem module and fixing the problems on the hard drive, I was able to run the restore program built in and recover the operating system (Vista) from the hidden partition designed for this event.

Is Mother Nature Out of Control?

Is Mother Nature Out of Control? - AOL News   First it was the weather not cooperating for the Olympics, dumping all the much needed snow elsewhere in the U.S. then that chunk of ice that fell of Antarctica some time back bumped back into its mother ship and knocked another chunk off. Then this earthquake thingy with Chile, I mean we just had one in Haiti! Then of all things, this backhanded, failed, misguided attempt to smoosh the Hawaiian Islands with, Good God, a tsunami! Somewhere in there a "Killer" Whale killed someone! Spacing, Miss Nature, SPACING! And even as I write this, she's damaging Europe, again! Have you no shame, girl? I think its about time the natural girl herself got what she deserves. A time out! Off in the corner with you! Wipe that smile off your face and no dinner! And if you won't listen to reason we'll call .... Aunt Hillary! Auntie? Auntie? She's being bad again!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cat drinking water in a new way

Dan sent me a link showing a cat drinking water in a way we've never seen before. Most cats aren't going to do this! He(she?) appears a little thirsty. Mary thinks maybe the cat had some Chinese food loaded with MSG!

John Shaw's Nature Photography Field Guide

While browsing What Bird I discovered this link to a PDF of "John Shaw's Nature Photography Field Guide". It's a 50 MB download so it may not be for everyone but it's really a good reference for nature photography. After clicking here look for and click on "".

Monday, February 22, 2010

Netgear SC101 Storage Central: Hall of Shame

One of the worst things I ever bought. I purchased this on the premise that it would protect my data, not destroy it. I stored picture files on it that could not be replaced and that is the case because they are gone and there is no recovery method whatsoever.

I mirrored two hard drives and thought that I had  my data protected. After problem after problem, my pictures were gone! It's been a couple of years now and I  still have one of the drives and I search from time to time for a data recovery solution but never find one. Even if you hook the drive up to a computer running some form of Linux nothing will help. If this was an all windows environment (fat32, ntfs, etc) then you would still be able to recover files by using the tricks of the trade we all know how to do. In this case, nothing works and I still have a problem with it because netgear never acted like this was a problem. I do like some of their products and have used them since but when it comes to insuring that your data is safe, I advise you to use another product, another company.

This thing had a lot of promise and seemed like a smart buy. But the more I used it and relied on it, the worse things got. I mirrored my data, thinking that's the best thing to do and ended up losing all my pictures! I do admit that I bought this when it first came out and should have waited and watched the reviews but I didn't.

Attention Walmart Shoppers!

Today, while I was eating Marys delicious chili in the kitchen, the stool I was sitting on made an ominous creak and seemed to settle. Now, I'm a big boy, going 222 at the scales and I got concerned about safety. Not mine, the stools. This stool is actually a replacement for a previous model that met a bitter end, also a my, ahem, hands. So I got off it and flipped it over to check the weight rating. 
Imagine my surprise when I saw its rated for only 200 pounds. I started to feel bad (don't want to kill again)  but then my sadness turned to anger as I realized where we bought this lovely piece of American kitsch: Walmart! That's right! Only Walmart, where the average shopper has to tip the scales at beyond 200 (do I hear 250? Going once...) pounds would they sell a stool designed for more lets say svelte people!
Maybe I don't understand the function of this device. Let me think: was it originally intended to only serve one "cheek"? Ah! Therefore, they should be sold in pairs, dontcha think? That would be 400 pounds of supporting power! I'm not going to buy another stool at this time, I'm just going to alter my way of sitting and let one cheek hang off and hope that extra 22 is over there. As proof of my earlier claims about my fellow Walmart shoppers, just check out people of Walmart.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Birding at East 72nd

I'm a fallen birder. I admit it. There is no 12 step program(that I know of) for bird watchers who fell of the wagon but there should be. I learned that lesson today. Today, when I misidentified a domestic duck as a
Glaucous Gull, I knew, the time had come to to admit my deficiencies as a birder.
If, perhaps, your skills have edged, and you decide to go birding at East 72nd, stay back and listen and learn.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hot Zone

I finished reading "Hot Zone" by Richard Preston. It was good and scary. Before I read this book, things like the Ebola virus were more or less fiction. By that I mean, the idea was abstract to me, happening someplace else to people with no face. Mister Preston has a way of making these problems more personal. I will be reading more of his books.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Problems Opening M.S. Office files

Many people are experiencing issues when trying to open files that were created in M.S. Office. There are 2 sides to this issue.
If you are the creator of files, say your resume and you want to send them to somebody, try following these rules:
  • Try to find out what program the receiver of the files is going to use to open the files. The reason is simple. Microsoft has a few versions of their office suite and there are incompatibilities.
  • Save the files in the format that matches the target systems office product. (Office 2003. etc.)
  • If there is a problem, save and send it in an earlier version. (Office 97 instead of Office 2003)
  • Caution: saving a Word file(.doc) into a text file(.txt) will lose all formatting(fonts, color, etc.).
  • Consider using the .RTF(rich text format). It's kind of dumbing down if you have Office, but it's kind of universal and if the target system has Windows it will be opened by Wordpad.(everyone has it)
If you're on the recieving end here are a few tips and links:
  • Know the programs that are installed on your computer. This will possibly avoid any confusion.
  • If you are going to have to change(edit) the files that are sent to you, you will need an Office program. Consider buying M.S. Office or using OpenOffice. It's free and on the Kiss List.
  • If you're just receiving files and just need to look at them, go to Microsoft. Word, Excel and PowerPoint viewers are available and free of charge. (okay, there's a problem with this technique because my links from the kisslist won't work and curiously neither will microsofts, generated from there own website! Maybe they'll fix this, but I don't know). Oohh! I found it by searching with, you guessed it GOOGLE! Excel, Word and PowerPoint ! If these links break in the future just go to GOOGLE and search for "word viewer" etc.
In closing, remember to be careful when working with files that are important. Make a copy of the original file and open it with an untested program. That way you always have the original. Understand file formats. Files ending in .txt , .doc and .rtf are word processor files, files ending in .xls , .xlsx and .wks are spread sheet files. This link may help with understanding formats.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sheriff Killroy has a new single out!

Sheriff Killroy AKA Al Porter has another single out! Armor Up is a song that hits home if you live in Cleveland.

You can check it out here.

Global Warming in Cleveland

Global warming is stupid! How can you have global warming when we having global cooling in Cleveland, Ohio? Maybe the people controlling the weather (oh, it's true!) are sending all the crap weather to Cleveland. Portland, Oregon is warmer than (60 degrees the next 3 days) Cleveland yet amazingly, it's more north than Cleveland (not lying here)! Since the North Pole is North and Santa and Frosty live there, most people think it gets colder as you go north, DUH! You know, that whole polar ice cap thing. Well, lake Erie is frozen all the way to Canada. Canada! They talk funny because it's so cold up there.
In the picture to the left, you see Lake Erie. It is frozen. If you squint, you will see Canada. It is also frozen. In the foreground there is a cat. He's not happy. He's not happy because he's frozen to the tundra. This is Cleveland.

Now, they say the polar ice cap is melting and global warming is coming to getcha in your sleep and all the polar bears are going to die. I have a solution. We Clevelanders love polar bears. We want to hug them and kiss them and put them to bed. Maybe we could name our  football team "The Cleveland Polar Bears" and scare the hell out of the NFL and win it all for once!  Hey, just bring those baby seals everybody's talks about down here too. We won't club them because the only fur we like is on our dogs. We don't wear fur, we walk it. In the summer, when everything thaws(maybe), the polar bears could go after those terrible Asian carp that's our next big threat.

Anchorage, Alaska is 5 to 8 degrees warmer then Cleveland for the rest of the week. This is fact. Global warming is an invented term. Facts win! I want to hug a polar bear!

Monday, February 15, 2010

JFK Love Letters, Tiger Woods Tweets

Today JFK's love letters to one of his many mistresses came up for sale. Just a few months ago, Tiger Woods tweeted to many of his mistresses. These events got me thinking that maybe there's more than meets the eye here. I think if you're open minded about it there are some parallels between Tiger and JFK. If they somehow switched places both of them would have done what the other did. Maybe JFK didn't ring up as many notches on his putter as Tiger, but it wasn't for lack of trying.

Of interest:
  • JFK was the 35th President of the United States
  • Tiger was the 61st winner of the Masters
  • JFK was the first and only (if I'm wrong tell me) Catholic President
  • Tiger was the first non Caucasian to win the Masters
  • They both met Bob Hope
  • They both liked blonds (Elin and Marilyn)
  • They both liked Swedish women (Elin and Gunilla)
  • JFK was the youngest President
  • Tiger was the youngest to win the Masters
  • JFK was one of the most admired men in his daya
  • Tiger was one of the most admired men in his day
  • Both of their images were tarnished by revelations of their affairs
  • JFK was run down by a Japanese destroyer (PT 109)
  • Tiger was run down by a Swedish destroyer (Elin Nordegren)
  • JFK was assassinated
  • Tiger was assassinated (by the press)
I mean no disrespect. I remember the day JFK was assassinated (I was 3, the TV screen was round) and it was a sad day. I also remember when the news about Tiger came out. I'm sure that there's a Zapruder like video out there that will either clear up or further cloud Tigers story. Will we really ever know what truly transpired in Dallas? Will we really ever know what truly transpired in Windermere?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Computer or Pool Maintenance

Weird title huh? Not really because everyone wants to use a pool/computer, but nobody wants to clean it when it gets dirty. I understand, I do, but it's got to be done. Let's identify the state of your problem.

How frequently and what do you do with your computer/pool:
  • Rarely. If you're a light user, hardly ever install programs, surf the web once or twice a week, you won't need much maintenance. It's like having a neighbor who has a pool just to let everyone know they can have it, but never uses it. It drives you crazy, but the pool man hardly ever comes over.
  • Sometimes. Heavy use on the weekends, maybe a stray Milky Way bobbing here and there. Somebody peed in the pool! Okay, I'm out of control with the pool metaphor, but it's working for me, so buckle up!You install programs as you see fit and rip MP3's but, you use account control and have 1 antivirus and at least 2 anti spyware programs installed.
  • Heavy. Multiple users, no account control, if a leaf fell on your keyboard, you'd try to install it. If your computer was a pool, the water would  be green and brown, it would smell and nobody would want to use it. Your anti virus is out of date and you don't know or care about spyware. But, you're willing to click on a link that says you can see Jessica Simpson naked. (Jessica Simpson will never appear naked, for Gods sake! Her dad's a preacher). I will eat this blog if she ever does!
Choose the word that best describes your usage pattern from the above and lets move on.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Open by Andre Agassi

I finished this book today. Let me begin by saying I received this book as a gift for Christmas(thank you Jen) but I don't remember the trigger point, the reason I asked for it. I do know that I don't fit the demographic for this book. I'm not an athlete, I don't care for tennis, watching or playing it. All the terms are foreign to me, yet I could not stop reading this book. I know a good story when I read it and this captivated me. Before reading Open, I knew the name Andre Agassi, had seen his image on TV but had no idea who he actually was as an athlete or human being, and couldn't have cared less. Thank you Andre, for being so Open, because now I know and care.

Final Hours of Darkness

Recently, the parents of a friend of mine, Jim, came out with a book! Final Hours of Darkness is a book about ghost hunting. I haven't read it yet but it sounds fun. As I understand it, some of the book involves Mansfield State Reformatory, a fascinating and creepy place. I know, I've been there 4 times. I look forward to reading this just as soon as I finish some other books on my reading list. I always want to support local people and businesses and the author's are from Eastlake, Ohio so I hope they do well and go on to writing more books and continued success!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Yoga: Eagle Arms

Yeah, I tried some yoga yesterday. Why? Don't know really, I thought it'd be a good thing. I tried the poses on this page on Yahoo. The first one was doable, the second one, not so much. As I understand it, yoga can help improve flexibility but first you may need some. I now know I lack flexibility. Mary, my lovely wife, does indeed have it. She did the eagle in like 5 seconds. I am wood. I stuck out my left arm and reached out my right and attempted to do the eagle but the eagle did me. This morning I can proudly raise my right arm up to my shoulder. Beyond that, nope. It burns like Holy Water on a vampire!

So, time to test if it's just me.

Mary weighs 100 pounds, 5 foot tall, can do it.
Me, 222, 5'10" can't do it.
My brother Norm, about my height and weight, can't do it.
My buddy Greg, taller than I, about the same weight, nope!
Dan, another friend, slightly taller and heavier than Mary, can do it.
A woman we know that's about 5 feet tall but heavier than Dan can do it.

Hmmm. I thought I had it figured out that bigger, bulkier people are not destined to be flexible until I saw the cover of this book. Big Boy there has some yoga game. Me, my shoulder still hurts. Next time instead of yoga, it'll be yogurt. Or Yoda.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Epson Stylus NX515 Printer

We bought a new printer today. One of the reasons we chose this model was because it's wireless(1 less wire works for me). One reason was it wasn't a Lexmark as I don't care for them. Lastly. our HP was running through ink like a crack whore on ice! Fast! I mean really fast!

The setup was easy, unlike what people said on Bestbuys reviews, where we didn't buy it because the only location in the tri-state area was Columbus. So we went to our Friendly neighborhood Microcenter, where the nice man tried to sell me a USB cable. "It's wireless", I said. Said Nice Man, "still, sometimes you still need a cable". "Got one", I replied. Oh, by the way, Didn't need one, Nice Man!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Book Update

Ooops! I forgot to post about some books I've read recently. I've just finished Stieg Larssons'"The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest", the last book in the Millennium Series(3 books) by this tragically deceased author. After writing 3 books that have sold millions of copies, he dies at age 50 of a heart attack, never seeing what his gift brought to the world. I couldn't stop reading this book, but was sad to see the last page.

  Before this, I read "The Beatles" by  Bob Spitz. Slow in the beginning like many books are, It finished nicely with a renewed hate of Yoko Ono, but with the added relish of understanding why.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Rihanna SOS/Soft Cell Tainted Love

Me and Dan were talking today about Rihanna and how she rocks and I couldn't recall the first song or video of hers that I remember. It's "SOS' and it's just below. Then I remembered that it had a hook that I couldn't place and it hit me, Soft Cells' "Tainted Love". maybe it's just me but I hear a connection. I can't find an embeddable video for Soft Cell but I have a link to here. Tell me watcha think.