March 21st, 2014


Incremental Changes

WINTER was a Fujitsu tablet I bought, probably around Fall 2005. Windows XP Professional, 60 GB HDD, 1.8GHz processor or so. Just about the same as KATSUMI, the larger Sony S270P laptop I gotten new/refurbished a year or so earlier. Excellent machine, one of the best OOBE (Out Of Box Experience) units I've ever had.

Eight years of faithful service was a lot to ask of it. For a while it would work, then reboot for no reason. Now it doesn't even boot.

So LARA is my current office machine. (Dr. Zhivago had been on about the time I was setting it up.) An HP Mini 1000 Model 1030NR netbook I'd gotten some years ago and not done much with. Windows XP Home SP3, 16 GB SSD. And only 1GB of memory. So Thursday a small packet arrived at the office -- a Micron Technologies 2GB memory stick to replace the 1GB. I didn't even realize you could upgrade the memory of the Mini 1000 -- never noticed the little ring hidden in the one battery release catch. Pull on it with a sharp pointy thing and a little door pops open. Unclip the two clips and bop, out pops the memory stick. Remove. Replace. Clip, clip. Recover. Done.

Machine is much zippier with 2GB instead of 1GB. Me likes.

Me likes it even better that the eBay vendor will refund 36% of the purchase price if I send them the old 1GB stick. Okay.

Funny how memory fixes things. I've used IBM Personal Computers with only 256KB or 512KB instead of the maximum 640KB -- ooh baby, now we're cooking with gas! And 2GB is straightforward for this machine. Since it's a 32-bit Windows XP, had I an option to go to 4GB of memory, due to shared memory spaces with the video, I probably wouldn't have been able to use more than maybe 3.5GB of a 4GB memory chip. Amazing how annoying that would have been, complaining about the memory I couldn't use instead of the expanded memory I could.

One of the things that I hate about laptops is how proprietary every damned thing is. There isn't just one laptop battery, every one has a different one. And accessories! Either you simply can find them -- I'd love to know where the VGA port dongle is for this damned thing -- or if you do find one they're ridiculously expensive because they're so rare. $99 for a VGA cable for an old computer? No, thanks.

Or no one bought them so you look for them dumped somewhere.

For the HP Mini 1000, they made a special 4GB USB flash drive that could either be put into a regular USB port or a special deeply recessed one on the netbook so that the flash drive made a flush curve with the case. Originally $49.95, I can still see them on eBay for $40. Except for one guy who had a bunch of them New In Box for $5.99 each. I bought two, figuring that rather than filling the 16GB SSD, which has to hold Windows and programs, after all, I'd use one for Writing Work and one for Physics Work. Turns out I can get all my writing and all my teaching materials into about 2GB, so the second drive will be used for photos.

So I'm set, at least for a little while. The screen is 1024x600, same as my two Fujitsus, WINTER and SUMMER, and at 10.1" bigger than either. That's okay, I have decent reading/computer glasses -- looks sharp, clear, colorful. Microsoft is going to abandon Windows XP Real Soon Now, since getting people to jump ship, upgrade and use all those stellar Windows 8/8.1 machines that won't run any of your software is going SO swimmingly well for everyone. Shudder. Doesn't ANYONE in Redmond have any institutional memory about Vista? Is this thing on? Buehler? BUEHLER?

Someday I'll haul Wendy's other Windows 7 box to the office and hook it up to the keyboard and monitor. But today is not that day.

We're good for now.

Dr. Phil

The Mads of March Begin

So after two days of the "First Four" play-in games, we finally got to Thursday and the first REAL round of March Madness. 64 teams, 2 days, 32 games, 32 left for the weekend. It's a lot of basketball. And a lot of determined players in the one-and-done tournament format.

Alas, the #14 Western Michigan University Broncos did NOT go on to beat #3 Syracuse in Buffalo on Thursday afternoon. Couldn't find a radio station I could pick up during the drive from WMU to Allendale for PT, so missed most of the game. They had it on in the background at the Physics Therapy office. Already down by like 20 at the half, the final score was, I believe, 77-53. Still, WMU did win the MAC conference, they did go to the Big Dance for the first time in ten years, and they did finish with a solid 23-10 record.

The other two teams from the Lower Peninsula, Michigan State and Michigan, both won their games. Also defending the Big 10 was Wisconsin. In a huge surprise, Ohio State LOST. Ha! There go all those billion dollar brackets!

The NC State Wolfpack had to come in via a play-in game -- and then lost in the Real First Round. St. Louis was losing by like twelve, came back and won their game. Harvard beat Cincy. Harvard? They play basketball? They're a hockey team! (And I think I said the same thing about Harvard in the First Real Round last year, too.) (grin)

A number of good OT games, including the very last one of the night, ending a bit after 1am EDT.

They're already playing this afternoon -- I'll try to sort out some of this and actually bother to look at the brackets at some point. It's always a blur as soon as you turn away from a game. Two of the four networks, CBS and TBS, are amongst our couple of HD channels, 3.1 and 76.1 respectively. The NCAAs sure look nice in HD. I'm sure everyone in the country, who all have bigger TVs than we do, is enjoying their big screen HD coverage, too.

Never was able to register for the Billion Dollar challenge on Yahoo!, despite Yahoo! sending me a whole string of emails saying I was almost done registering and click this link -- which once again just took me to the Yahoo! home page and clicking on the challenge just got me a login prompt, which after logging in, took me to the Yahoo! home page... Asshole programmers.

I should sue them for a billion dollars -- and settle for a couple of million. Isn't that the American way?

Dr. Phil