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Journal: Hooray!

Journal by Steve Franklin

The Sharp ships on Monday. I came home to a recorded message from Best Buy Plasma that my credit card had bounced. Apparently, my new credit card company had an apoplectic fit over my spending that kind of money on my first purchase. I called them up and disabused them of the notion that I was someone other than me. Called up the plasma guys and everything's set.

After that, I'll think about ordering a Niro Pro or waiting for the Niro Reference.

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Journal: Computer vs. Audio-Video vs. Convergence

Journal by Steve Franklin

I was seriously planning to go the convergence route and then I "upgraded" to XP SP1 and my software DVD player stopped working. Now I could probably have found a solution or a workaround BUT, I had finally seen the light. Did I really want to screw with Windoze, or even Linucks, when all I really wanted to do was watch a movie? NOT!

So now I'm saving up for a (really expensive) 37" Sharp LCD and a really quite reasonable Niro (Nakamichi) DVD player and one-speaker!, one-subwoofer, 5.1 sound system. So I get real audio out of the thing, I get a hell of a good display, I get to sit in my Swedish chair, I don't have to diddle with a computer interface (though I have it in the same room), AND, most wonderfully of all, I can expect the damned thing to work as dependably as any Maytag washing machine without "Winders" doing its persistent Bill Gates Software Shuffle. Thank God I saw the light before I was sucked into another Wonderful Windows World of Annoyance! Bill, you have stopped convergence dead in its tracks, at least as far as I'm concerned, all by your little self, you pathetic twirp.

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Journal: Four Nights in the Dark

Journal by Steve Franklin

Four nights in the dark. Staring at the wall by candlelight remembering the lies told by the power company last time a storm brought down their pitiful spider web of wires strung between the trunks of dead trees. "Next time we will have the power restored to everyone in four days," when it had taken four days to restore MY power that time the ice brought down some wires. Not much improvement there, I thought. Had I only known.

Four nights reading by flashlight in the evening after mowing the lawn and pruning the shrubs and mowing the back lawn and pruning some more shrubs. What else can you do? Listening to the radio in the car being told by the sub-idiot representative of the idiot power company that if I see any linemen (what linemen?) I should offer them a cold drink. And where do they think I will get this cold drink when my refrigerator has been dead for three days and counting and the supermarkets are all posting signs saying "Sorry, we regret that we have no more ice to sell"?

And the sub-sub-idiot radio announcer telling us we should look at this in perspective and not asking the basic question--because of his 15-minute attention span apparently--that needs to be asked: "Why did you lie to us Ms. Representative of the Power Company that still hangs wires from the trunks of dead trees" like they did in my Japanese woodblock print of Kyoto made before World War One.

While our hayseed president spends billions filling body bags in the Middle East and making little old ladies take off their shoes for their Federal Foot Inspection--God help us if the damned loony Arab had supposited his bomb up his backside--the lying power company can't run a power system that isn't secure against an ice storm or a little lightning and wind. What would they say if we had a real terrorist attack? "We're sorry, but we can't restore the power until the radiation goes away in 50,000 years"?

Four nights in the dark sitting in the car listening to the screaming senator with the IQ of a retarded puppy dog tell us what a heroic job the linemen are doing with help from the power companies of Arizona and other dry states. Does the senator not understand that all the body-bag-o-grams in the world and foot inspectors out the wazoo aren't going to mean a damn if the pinheads at the power company can't keep the lights on during a little natural electrical activity? Should not some heads be separated from their bodies--all within the letter of the law of course--in response to this kind of incompetance in and out of office?

No Virginia, I am not happy, and they can get their own damned cold drinks.

September 21, 2003
Still in the dark.

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Journal: WD1200JB 8MB Cache

Journal by Steve Franklin

I broke down and bought a third hard disk last Sunday. Well, actually, I was having my twice yearly or so overwhelming need to BUY SOMETHING NEW. Installed like a dream. Western Digital seems to have figured out that the easier they make using their products the more often folks will buy new ones. The Seagate 18 GB SCSI I installed a couple of years ago was an absolute nightmare. The "EZ" install program kept crashing the OS. Talk about caught in an endless loop. But I digress. The WD is a 120 GB and, with its onboard 8 MB cache--basically a lot of onboard RAM--supposedly makes it as fast as a SCSI for home use. It doesn't do that in a server because the disk seeks are more random so the algorithm can't predict what's likely to be needed next. We'll see when it runs the OS with the programs on the SCSI drive.

Anyhow, aside from a half-dozen+ reboots to keep Windows happy and having to reset one thing in BIOS--I had turned off the onboard HPT controller on the Soyo mobo that runs IDE 3 and 4 to speed up booting--it was absolutely easy. I was pleasantly surprised that the controller worked at all. Soyo seems to have a problem getting their BIOS's written correctly. The hardware's decent, you just can't unlock the potential because the BIOS doesn't see a lot of stuff. Oh well.

Downloaded Casper XP last night to beat my ISP's Zinc fiber amelioration tonight. 3 hours to replace a floor and remove zinc fibers from all the electronics? Right! Sure! I will be amazed if they're up and running tomorrow afternoon. The Casper is a downloaded program that allows disk mirroring so I can transfer XP to the new (G) drive. I carved out a chunk of it the same size as the old WD the OS is on--6 MB. The new XP drive formatter works quite well, except it has the same peculiarity as Partition Magic. The size of the actual partition turns out to be different from the displayed size in "My Computer," so you have to do some higher mathematics to get the size the same as the other one. We'll see how Casper (a pun on Norton's Ghost I suppose) works later.

I did manage to scare the heck out of myself while playing around. For a few minutes I thought I had blown away the entire SCSI drive with all my programs and data on it. Turned out I had relettered the drive by mistake and Windows couldn't find the programs. The OS doesn't always see the SCSI drive at boot. I figured I could still reformat the G Drive without bothering to reboot. But because of the lack of an F Drive, the default drive letter for the new drive bacame F, so when I rebooted--surprise! the F drive was blank. When I finally figured it out, I just changed it back from "G" to F and everything was cool. Note to self: Pay more attention to the defaults.

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Journal: Winter Doldrums

Journal by Steve Franklin

I've been continuing to enter an amazing amount of information I recently obtained from a relative on my father's mother's mother's side about my father's mother's family into my genealogy program. Genealogy tends to be become an obsession, though I'm not quite there yet. Of course alcoholics have trouble admitting it to themselves as well. The earlier generations in America had fairly prosaic occupations, but now I'm starting to see actresses and musicians and artists. I think it's a kind of transcendence. The most prominent example is Jacqueline Mayro, who played in Gypsy on Broadway. She seems to have dropped out and I don't know what later happened to her. She married but that's all I know about her.

I'm also continuing to think through the implications of what I call the Exodus Project--an attempt to deal rationally with where the ideas of the Exodus of the "Israelites" from Egypt originally came from. This is distantly related to the book on the Tarot published by McFarland in 1988.

Surprisingly enough, there's an extant papyrus from the reign of Ramses II that refers to a revolt in the Valley of Rehanu (the Arab's Hammamat) which connects the Nile with the Red Sea and required the services of a couple of thousand war chariots in an attempt to put it down. No one seems to have made the connection because the "cities of Ramses" were being built in the North (Lower Egypt) and not in the South (Upper Egypt). There's this whole problem that folks have with taking things a bit too literally when it comes to biblical "history." Forget that the followers of Moses crossed the Red Sea, which is not exactly east of Memphis where Ramses was building his new capitol. Forget that it didn't make much sense to visit the pharaoh if he was all the way upriver at Thebes just south of Kopf at the western end of Rehanu on the Nile. Forget a whole series of obvious clues. "Building" is taken literally, the collective psyche seeing the poor "slaves" toiling away on the buildings of the new capitol.

It turns out that Rehanu was the seat of a quarry operation where the rarer and more valuable stones were assembled for shipment along the Nile to the sites of new royal construction. The town of Kopf was the center of Min worship. A huge Buddha-like statue is being dug from the banks of the Nile of this character Min, apparently some kind of fertility god if his chronic tumescent state is any indication, the kind of fertility deity one would expect to see worshipped at the vernal equinox. Min, it turns out, is the more common Egyptian equivalent of Moses, linguistically speaking. Ranses II's successor Merneptah is the first to mention "Israel," as the translators render it, but the actual words tell a slightly different story. They are literally the "People of Min." So the revolt at Rehanu fits perfectly with the birth of Isrealite religion.

The barren lands north of the valley on the eastern side of the Nile were ruled by another god, who visited plagues and famines and the like on those who dared to enter his domain. His name was Yahu....

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Journal: Library Table

Journal by Steve Franklin

I finally broke down and went out looking for something a little more in tune with the living room furniture to put the computer on. I walked into the local solid oak furniture store and immediately zoned in on one of those open form library tables with the narrow side slats and that peculiar not-a-shelve at the back--there for support I suppose. They had one with a slide out keyboard shelf but there was no place for the new tablet, so I opted for the model with a drawer and just jacked the chair up all the way so I can put the keyboard and the tablet on the table top. All this while trying to keep my eyes off of the backside of the sprayed on jeans of the young woman helping me.

The neat thing is I can now see where the wires go and I don't have to fish everything through the "convenient" spaces in the back of the old woodchip and glue computer table. The price was a bit steep but when you're talking about something that will last for centuries, how can you make a comparison? I haven't decided whether to replace the old gluewood file drawers next to the table yet. It would be a good excuse to go back to the showroom, though.

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Journal: Intuos2

Journal by Steve Franklin

I ordered my new Intuos2 on Tuesday. It arrived yesterday (Wednesday) by UPS ground (free shipping from Amazon). Must have been drop shipped from a local warehouse--all I can figure.

Now to figure out where to put it. I don't think it will fit on the keyboard/mouse shelf. There's a nice Indonesian or Philipine desk at Pier One that's much larger, but it doesn't have all the compartments. I'll have to take some measurements. Having the computer in the living room next to the audio/video equipment is handy, but the computer center looks pretty bad next to the Swedish furniture and Japanese and Chinese antiques. Integrating computers into daily life can be a real bother, though it's always nice to have an excuse to buy something new. ;-)

 

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Journal: Hard Drives

Journal by Steve Franklin

I just posted to the Fujitsu thread about my success (so far ;-) with hard drives not crashing. My WD 6 gig I transferred from my old computer to my new home built is 4+ years old and I really ought to think about replacing it. The Seagate 18 gig SCSI should be alright for a while, especially with the superior cooling of the four fans and the aluminum case. All that's on the WD is the OS, though. I was going to just transfer it from the old case to the new, but it turned out my new motherboard, a Soyo, wouldn't support Windows 95, and since my Win98 was an upgrade from 95...well, you get the picture--the best laid plans of mice and men and all that.

I was in one of my "gotta buy something new" states this week. Finally settled on a new Intuos2 from Wacom. My old Pen Partner is getting a bit long in the tooth and there's not a lot of working space on it, 4x6. The Intuos2 is 6x8, so I should at least be able to draw something with it. Wacoms really are the ideal input device. No tendon problems at all except the occasional writer's cramp.

I'm just about done scanning a whole slew of old negatives into my computer in connection with my ongoing genealogy project. I had to revert to my old Acer scanner for the medium format negatives. The underexposed ones could be reflective scanned using my new Canon, but the denser ones needed the larger back lighting area of the Acer. What an annoying machine. Between warming up every minute or two and the software losing track of the scanner, it's an absolute nightmare. The results aren't bad, but their XP driver is even worse than their Win95 driver. This is just with the negative setting. Everything else is pretty stable. Lots of similar problems on Usenet but no solutions. No more Acers for me, thank you. Now to burn some CDs and send them off to the relatives for safe keeping. Anybody want pictures of Guantanamo Bay in 1912 or there abouts?

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Journal: This is required 1

Journal by Steve Franklin

"This is required"
"Comments cannot be disabled once enabled"
"This will go down on your permanent record"

Shades of the coming geekocracy?

Some quick notes. I just discovered this function and it's about time to head home.

It is my considered opinion that there are just entirely too many rules, laws, regulations in the world. Even the idea that one now needs to fill out a web form to send an e-mail to some web sites is a symptom of some underlying need on the part of the average human to control the actions of others. And since the events of late '01, it has gotten worse. Where it will end, no one knows. I suspect we may be on the brink of an emerging American Empire not totally unlike the one that grew out of the Roman Republic almost exactly 2 millennia ago. Phil Dick thought that empire never ended. I think he was being pessimistic. But not by much.

The universe is all a spin-off of the Big Bang.

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