Archive for January, 2009

Thinking the car will stop.

January 31, 2009

Today, as I backed my van out of a parking space, a guy and his two kids ran right behind me.  Since I was being very careful, I did not hit them.  Just a few weeks earlier a guy in a parking lot did the same thing.  I didn’t hit him either.

My question is this: why do people tempt fate with vehicles that are backing up?  When I’m walking near someone backing up, I always assume the person cannot see me and I stay the hell away.  More often than not, the people who are backing up cannot see pedestrians or are perhaps not being as careful as they should be.

Part of defensive driving is believing that everyone around you is an idiot.  I just wish it did not have to be true all the time.  As much as I used to like video games, I really would rather not play a driving game with 6000 lbs. of steel and real flesh and bone.

1st attempt at video editing with Sony Vegas Pro.

January 15, 2009

As I mentioned on FNPL, I’ve been teaching myself some new software.  Tonight I took the plunge and downloaded the Sony Vegas Pro trial.  Up until now, I’ve gotten by with using Windows Movie Maker.  The version that comes with Vista isn’t that bad for quickly editing video and putting it up on YouTube.

Vegas Pro is an entirely different beast.  The best part is that I can shoot video in HD and edit in HD (at least 720, my camera is only 720p).  Windows Movie Maker doesn’t let you work with HD.  So Vegas Pro is more powerful, but it is also much harder to use.  I’m glad they give you 30 days to play with it in the trial.  If I get comfortable with it, I’ll buy it.  It is not cheap, but I’m hoping you get what you pay for.

I’m posting my first project that I edited with Vegas Pro.  It’s an old video of me riding down a mountain in a gondola.  It’s not much for content, but it was a place to start.  So it’s my first attempt going from never having used Vegas pro to editing a 10 minute video with it.  I have a long way to go.

Friday Night Party Line #38.

January 10, 2009

And we’re back with a record number of co-hosts!  Tonight features David, Ray, Scott, Rym, Viga, Timo, Jason, Luke and Thaed.  Here are the topics:

–What kind of pen do you use?  Do you write mostly in script or print?  Check out:

— Discuss one interesting side project you plan on working on in 2009.

–There’s a famous computer science lecture running around on the internet that says that you have to almost create a split personality in your head, devoid of any preconceptions, to properly learn programming.  The teacher calls this concept “radical novelty.”  Have you encountered it?  What are your thoughts.

–Ask the Economist

Sites where you can find more information about Scott, Rym, and Viga:

Subscribe via iTunes.

Follow Thaed on Twitter
Email Thaed at
Direct download: fnpl_38_final.mp3

Brain transplant for my flagship computer.

January 4, 2009

I’ve been agonizing over what to do about my dying computer.  Normally, I would put it out to pasture as a backup and build a new machine from scratch.  I did some Core i7 pricing tonight.  While the processors themselves are quite comparable to the Penryn chips, the motherboard and memory prices are out of sight.

So I got to thinking.  Is this the right time to go crazy on hardware?  I decided that it’s not. So I just bought a new motherboard, chip and RAM with a Zalman cooler.  I’m going to replace these parts only in my main machine and keep the video card and raptor hard drives and everything else.

I did splurge on the Q9550.  I think with the Zalman, I should at least get 3.6 GHz.  It will easily be the fastest computer I’ve ever worked with.  It will be faster than my kids’ computers and the upgrade cost me less than $600.  It would have been over $2000 building a new Core i7 system.  I think, for now, this was the smart way to go.

Computer Trouble.

January 3, 2009

Last night I tried to boot my flagship computer and had some weird trouble.  First, I got an overclock fail and then it just wouldn’t go completely into XP.  It also seemed very, very slow.  I tried resetting the factory defaults in CMOS, but that had the very undesirable result of knocking out the RAID zero boot disk.

So even though it’s back to factory defaults, I had to convince it to pick the RAID back up without trashing the windows partition.  This thing is old enough where you have to make a floppy to put the drivers on the system.  Around midnight, I remembered that there was a setting in the BIOS necessary for the RAID.  I flipped that back on and got it to boot (but very, very slowly).  Because the slowness starts with the post screen, I do not think this is a software problem.  I might try to flash the bios.  I also see that Norton has a program called Ghost.  I’ve never messed with imaging programs because I’ve always kept my data on a separate disk.  I’ve always felt that since I had program disks, I didn’t need to worry about programs.  Of course, now I’ve accumulated so much crap, I don’t even know what I have.  Plus, I’ve got a lot of codecs on this machine.  So, I want to try to do an image.

Something similar happened to two AMD boards that I had years ago before they died.  I fear this computer’s time grows short.  I detailed its creation on this blog.  You can see that it’s lasted a scant 2 1/2 years.  This is not typical for a computer that I build.  I usually get 3 to 5 years without any problems.  I think most would agree that it’s probably the overclocking.

Of course now, I know a lot more about overclocking and I know how far you can push components.  The price of my knowledge has been this computer’s potentially premature death.  I’ve been joking that this is just an excuse for me to build the I7 rig that I’ve been thinking about (and maybe I will in the next few weeks) but for now, I’m mourning the decline of something I created.