Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Day Of Turkeys

As noted earlier, I decommissioned my Windows XP machine, and migrated to a Windows 7 laptop that was far more capable of handling the new software. The laptop dated to June of last year, and had been quite reliable. It had HDMI out, 8 GB of memory, and a 17 inch screen, quite the looker. Reliable. Until I had migrated the bulk of my data. I suspect that the laptop, which had been used for mobile purposes, had suffered some kind of shock. Video on these models is native to the motherboard, and not replaceable. I had been planning a backup, as soon as I had pruned my massive music files down to size. Just like never missing a chance to go to the bathroom in aviation, one should always back up when time is available. My fault, aggravated by the processor hog process of importing music into I Tunes. Two days. An unbelievable outrage was the necessity of purchasing *gasp* Real Player, to convert the old files on Real's format to conventional ones. Blackmail of the lowest order. These converted files *were* backed up. By the time that was done, I had been pushed into a stupid zone of fatigue, and neglected the backup. Today, first the video failed on the primary monitor, then the laptop's primary monitor refused to return natively. Before I knew it, the boot sectors had gone due to multiple reboots to regain video. The 1080P HDTV used as a monitor may not have been the best choice. The good news is the backup drive is intact, and all the data, except for the current mail folders, and documents, and logs for the radio, and... you get the picture. The bad news is that the laptop drive is corrupt, and all the conventional means of data recovery have failed, including some pretty clever data recovery tools. The cheapest data recovery services are half the cost of a new desktop machine. Fortunately, most of the mail is online, and can be recovered. Same for the music. My financial data and software had been archived to backup, and not restored to the laptop (whew!). It's the radio logs, documents in progress, and things-you-don't-miss-until-gone that are going to hurt. With luck, the drive can be formatted, and the laptop sold with a bare OS. Friday, new PC's will be available. And, ironically, the old E-Machine laptop that I had used to carry around to games was still fully operational. So, that's what I'm using now. It seem to be handling the load. But, it is still a laptop. Meanwhile, it gets to gloat. An old lesson is that one should never use a laptop to do a desktop's job. The new tablets and phones seem to be catching up with the laptops in functionality, so they may get squeezed even further into niche uses, like field tech work (which mine was used for as well). For my eyes sake, today I got myself a new 27 inch dedicated monitor. Wunderbar! I can now see details on the radio monitor's waterfall that were invisible before. And the monitor can stay on, as well as the new keyboard and mouse, so much better than the laptop's. Note: the new keyboard is so much sharper in key response, that my laptop fingers are causing typo's. Don't be surprised if more of them crop up, as I adjust to typing more normally. I can already feel a reduction in eyestrain. Of equal note is that I have been cleaning up more of my debris. Carpet is now visible in the living room. The HDTV that I had been using for a monitor will be going in there. The E-Machine laptop was going to be the media interface for the entertainment center. Now, it's the primary. I fear retribution, if it's relegated to a lesser role again...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Passing of a veteran

If you did not feel the Earth shift on it's axis today, something of great note occurred. My last XP computer, the desktop E-Machine, has been decommissioned. No data has been lost, the drive is still readable, but the old hero controlling my radio array simply could not keep up anymore. Naturally cleaning up was an extraordinary experience. Desktop was actually seen, and cleaned. Wire management and routing was done. Anything that was a possible RFI problem was moved away. My monitor now is in a position that will not cause the need for a chiropractor. The annoying AOC monitor has been identified for EBay. No more will I need to crane my neck to read the waterfall display off of it. A better keyboard was procured, one not filled with years of fast food. I can now sit, eat, and write at my desk, a magnificent accomplishment. Base electrical load was lowered, as years of forgotten power supplies for peripherals were discovered, and removed. A replacement, powered, USB hub has replaced years of collected gender benders. Tomorrow, the real work of sifting all that data begins. Being able to sit, read, and type straight is a great relief. The primary monitor in use only requires one cable, and power. The Acer's own display now serves as the JT-65 and email monitor, a great expanse of real estate, as it is a 17". Many, many minor things can be moved to it. Dual monitors. What a concept. I'd been using them at work for years. Never thought of using them at home. This may lead to a house fit for visitors, at some point. Terrifying.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Observations 9 NOV 2013

This has been an unusual year. Earlier this fall I noted early migrations for birds, but the traditional fall turnover was late. We may rush straight into winter this year. It rained, of course, for Halloween. I should be posting more often. These slight events, noticed, make up a large part of life. Sadly, I've not been riding enough in the wunderbar weather we've had this fall. Staring at spreadsheets all day makes me want to nap, not ride. Bad dog. I have turned on my radios, again. I bought the new version of HRD, installed it on the primary machine, and immediately improved performance. The old e-machine simply isn't cutting it anymore, except for simple browsing. In the last few weeks, I've done some refreshing tech work, getting ready to use the radio for new modes. I have implemented JT-65 and JT-9, at last. Originally, I was dismissive, but now I have come to appreciate the weak signal capacities of these protocols. Although, waiting 47 seconds to send 13 characters is a pain. But the DX results are amazing. I'm now getting Western Australia on my little antenna, on 40 meters! And, the Philippines on 80 meters! Results on 10 meters are nearly as impressive. I can now work DX nearly worldwide on 25 watts. The FCC recently turned down a petition to open 10 meters fully to Techs. That will change, as the ol' boys go SK. Getting all of 12 meters will follow, probably by 2020. One might also see CB/11 meters opened up to hams, as well. Same goes for the Family Radio Service (FRS) on UHF, as the FCC pillages more spectrum for cell phones/data, and has to give up hostages to do so. FRS is more likely to go away, as is 222 MHz. Streaming video is not a big threat to 30 MHz and below, at least not yet. I don't think SSTV is going to catch on anytime soon on IPads... The political board has continued to degenerate. The October meltdown only made the Second Civil War more obvious. Went to a party at my cousin's, deep in Gasconade County. A relaxed, good time, with food, a bonfire, and stars. But no cell phone signal. 74 miles there, in 2 hrs. Scenic hardly describe the drive. Nice time. Back later.