Sunday, 27th of January, 2002
So the heat sink on my Dad's computer failed, and the CPU overheated and got fried. It's on a jumperless motherboard, and so now the motherboard detects a 150Mhz Cyrix 6x86 MMX instead of a 266Mhz. That's funny! And it works fine on 150Mhz mode too.
Saturday, 19th of January, 2002
So at Forest Park today, there was a crowd of people out sledding. The park was so nice, with all the leafless snow-covered trees, and lots of kids out sledding. Some friends and I joined in, of course, and it was definitely all about Suicide Hill. I haven't been sledding on a hill like that in a while, so it was a blast.
Friday, 18th of January, 2002
It's snowing again! This time it's all fluffy and lots of fun to play in. It's so pretty! At night, everything is all lit up.
Thursday, 17th of January, 2002
Ok, I have been living in a hole since January 7th, and I was surpised to see this new weird-looking computer on the front of apple.com today. Wow... this is just... bizzare. I wonder if this one won't overheat like some other great ideas lately...
Wednesday, 16th of January, 2002
"...computers in the future may have only 1000 vacuum tubes and perhaps weigh only 1.5 tons." - Popular Mechanics, March 1949.
Sunday, 13th of January, 2002
I have a new temporary solution to the loose hotsync port on my Handspring - rubber band. The port has come loose again, and I'm wondering if it's possible to keep it connected, since the leather case depends on that port-piece to secure itself, so there's a lot of stress on that component. Perhaps one of those cables will work better than a cradle... I'll have to experiment.
Friday, 11th of January, 2002
I watched the movie A Beautiful Mind with a bunch of D2 people tonight at the Galleria. I thought it was a very well-done movie, I felt engaged in it, and I liked how it is based off of a book and true story, and doesn't seem to distort much of that story. The story is interesting enough as it is, so they didn't have to add silly things in it to make it worth a movie.
Wednesday, 9th of January, 2002
So a switch broke down over here in Danforth, so there hasn't been internet until today (we'd been using dialup shared over Windows, lol). But now my internet is back up, and I've got an IP and can serve up stuff on my own now. It's also a good time to reorganize and review some things on my website, but I'm really busy now, so that'll happen slowly.
Monday, 7th of January, 2002
So today's my first day of classes for the Spring 2002 semester. Some of this is kinda scary, cause I'm taking a 400-level class, but really, Econ 402 is just the class after Econ 104. I'm also taking a seminar variant of intro to Microeconomics, and I realized today how I've changed from the past. Two years ago I was a total fan of lectures, and I detested projects and discussion, and would rather have lectures and tests. Now, I'm forgoeing lectures for seminars. I guess, in the Wash U environment, seminars are guanranteed to be of high quality, since everyone thinks in the same level, so things are always somewhat challenging. I enjoyed my seminar class last semester a lot, so I'll see what happens when I take a full-blown seminar class this semester.
Sunday, 6th of January, 2002
Saturday, 5th of January, 2002
So I got to really test the "System Restore" feature built into Windows ME today on a computer that was doing all sorts of erratic things, and, well, it wasn't able to do it. I suppose it's because the system is so messed up at this point, cause a system restore had already been done a couple days earlier. But, yeah, I'm growing to not like this Windows ME more and more. Another intersting discovery I made on the same job this morning is a compatibility issue with a USB-powered Iomega ZIP100 drive. When plugged into an older IBM Thinkpad with one of the first USB ports ever designed, the drive went crazy. It seemed as if it was getting too much power or something, cause it made horrible noises, and when we stuck a disk in, it would spit it out with an extreme amount of force. But the drive worked fine on my new Thinkpad, so... definitely interesting. The last of my adventures at this job was with a Palm VIIx. Apparantly, there's not enough power to directly draw transmitting power to transmit signals, so it has to be charged! Weird! So sometimes, you can't use the wireless features cause the PDA is busy charging itself, and that process can take a half an hour. I also got to make sure the portable keyboard works with it. Now that's an experience I predicted accurately. It's too much trouble to find a surface flat enough to lay out that keyboard, and then attach the Palm to a little plastic holder, and then try to look into the tiny 2.5" screen. I suppose in the extreme case where such portability is desired, it would work, but really, it looks really neat, and that's where it stops for me.
I went to buy my course books at Wash U today. One problem with long winter breaks is you get out of the school-mindset, and so the beginning of the Spring semester brings the same anxiety as Fall does. My political science class requires 5 textbooks, and I'm beginning to wonder how I'm going to have time to read all this. Not to mention, I ended up buying 1 book for computer science (CS102 uses the same book as CS101), and like 16 books on economics and political science. One would wonder, when looking at that, what I'm really studying in college, but I feel good about it. I'm up to the challenge, after all, none of those classes are really required, and I chose to take them, and it's a good sign I feel anxiety, because otherwise I wouldn't be learning anything.
Friday, 4th of January, 2002
I was driving down to Powell Hall this morning to buy St. Louis Symphony tickets, and something interesting happened as I was getting onto I-170 from Olive. I was monitoring my speed, as usual, and I had timed it perfectly so I hit 60 mph at the end of the onramp, and was getting ready to merge. My speedometer always made some sort of plastic gear-slipping noises in the winter, but all of a sudden it got really loud, and then the speedometer shot over to 85 mph and waved around between 70 abd 85 for few seconds. Woah! I guess the speedometer cable was slipping. I maintained my speed, and the speedometer settled a little above 80 mph. Wow! It's overestimating my speed by over 20 mph! The speedometer only goes to 85, and after that it dissapears under the dashboard. What a good chance to try that! So I accelerated some more, to what was really about 70 mph, and the needle disappeared. That's funny! I was slightly hoping it would stay that way so I can take a video of it or something... but no. As soon as I got off the highway onto Grand, it went back to normal speeds. Darn. Maybe I'll catch it doing it again some other winter day.
I discovered a piece of history at our house today - old audio tapes! It's weird to hear myself playing, singing, and stuff when I was 2 years old! There's stuff from when I was around 6 and 7 too, cause I had a lot of spare time with a tape recorder. Wow.
They officially "opened" the dorms at Wash U today, so I took advantage of that and went and played some Foosball with Beth. After we got tired of that, we rented Pay It Forward on DVD and watched it. I don't like it, I mean, I don't know what kind of meaning I'm supposed to pull out of it. If I view it as a story of an innocent young boy with simply a dream, then it's a touching story on how we can touch other people and love them without realizing it ourselves, or in ways that we originally never imagined. Some of the sacrifice implied in the movie that people could make to help others is questionable, to me, though. There are more effective ways to help people than bust out a gun in the ER room (as funny as that was) or a 7th grade social studies teacher sleeping with a student's mother. You can tell, that, even in the movie, but definitely in real life, things we can do to help each other more are like forgiving each other and counseling others in times of need. It's kind of like when we help someone we love, at first to them, it may not seem like we're giving them what they need most, but in the end they gain true lasting benefits from our help. Kind of like parents disciplining a child, or a tough teacher who shows little mercy towards a student.
Thursday, 3rd of January, 2002
So I didn't even end up soldering the hotsync port back on my Handspring Visor, I just rubbed some superglue on the plastic components and we'll see how that holds up. Probably better than solder alone. The proper way to do it would have been to tin the contacts, superglue it on, then heat up them up to reinforce the electrical contacts, but owell, it's only a hotsync port, and I'll do that if it comes apart again I suppose.
Well the laptop has already been put to work. The client that I upgraded to Windows 98 yesterday had modem problems (silly Sound4 ISA Sound/Modem combo on a Packard Bell). I needed to download new drivers, but her modem wasn't working! Out comes the Thinkpad with the built-in modem. Packard Bell has been gone from the U.S. market for a while, but they apparantly cut support for their computers too, so I couldn't find the drivers anywhere. I eventually had to follow the instructions some fellow nerd in this world posted on how to use the Win95 drivers to force it to work in Win98. Ahhh, yes, success.
Wednesday, 2nd of January, 2002
One of my clients bought an Epson Perfection 1650 Photo scanner, and I helped her with the Windows 98, USB Controller, and scanner installation. It came with negative/positive film and transparency adapters, and they revised the interface so it's ridiculously easy to use, one the best I've seen. But it's slow! It's slower than Dad's old Perfection 636, especially since it requires a long warm-up time. It's silly! Bad Epson, bad bad.
My IBM Thinkpad R30 came in today. It's nice and on the less expensive end of the IBM model line, especially with the AT&T customer discount. But it has a 13.3" XGA active matrix screen, a 900Mhz Celeron, 128MB RAM, 9GB hard drive, and even built in Ethernet. It came preloaded with Windows XP Home, though, so this ought to be interesting. I'll use it until it starts to crash too much, and then try to load Windows 2000 Pro on it. The interface is definitely a shock to me, and I am remembering the day in 2001 Steve Jobs called a Macintosh a "PC" again. Well let's see, hey, the Recycle Bin is over on the right bottom! Hmmm. Woah, these icons for the new user-friendly "pick a category" have the same cute look as some other OS that just came out that also has an "X" in it. After digging for a few minutes, I found the stuff that reverts all this back to Win9x-look, but what the heck, maybe if I move the taskbar up to the top and change the Start button to an Apple, I can convince people I have a solid-black Macintosh.
I went to Best Buy to get a nifty case for this laptop, and a I found a nice Samsonlite that holds my laptop as well as all my other stuff I like to carry around. I also stopped by CompUSA to get a USB mouse, as I don't think I've ever gotten used to the trackpoint on laptops, even after spending hours on one a few times. Radio Shack was also on my list of places to stop by this afternoon, as I needed a precision soldering iron and some superglue. Apparantly, the hot-sync port on my Handspring Visor had come loose. I took it apart yesterday to confirm my suspicion, and I discovered that they changed the design of the Platinum, so that's why it was less durable. The port sits on a riser card now, and was only held on my solder. I can still hotsync, but I have to apply pressure to it to push the port up to the card. So I'll probably fix that tomorrow.
But anyway, back to the great laptop deal I got, which involved a free Visioneer OneTouch 8700 USB 2400dpi scanner. Not exactly the top of my list of great scanners, but if it's free, I'll take it to college and use it. At least it doesn't have to sit there and warm up all day, I mean, heck, with the way Epson has been lately, I'm not sure what I'd actually buy in terms of scanners; they all aren't worth buying.
Tuesday, 1st of January, 2002
Happy New Year! I went to the science centre with my brother today, and it's the first time I've been there since they redid some stuff. The planetarium is now mostly inaccessible unless you buy planetarium tickets, so I guess I'll have to explore that some other time. We went there primarily to see the special Titanic exhibit in the Exploradome, where they have real artefacts that they brought up from the wreck site. We wanted to see the Journey Into Amazing Caves IMAX film, but we missed the last showing of the day and had to view the Titanic film. The Titanic exhibit was really cool, the most impressive stuff being the cherub from the grand staircase and a D deck door. I'd seen better IMAX films though. Funny enough, the coolest part of my visit to the science centre today was where it was free, and it was the relocation of the bio-technology section. It used to be near the bridge, between the mines and the planetarium, but now they have a larger section on the first floor. It had lots of really cool new stuff, like a real ventilator, and they had cases of modern and old school medical instruments. I found the Sluder-Ballenger Tonsil Guillotine to be particularly interesting, as well as their collection of things like heart valves and pacemakers. They've elaborated on their surgery section, and there's tons of video footage and data on that now, and it's more interactive than just having one surgery on loops. They also had a real electrocardiogram for you to monitor your own heartbeat. Cool!