Saturday, September 05, 2009

Procrastinators Anonymous

The Procrastinators Anonymous meeting has been rescheduled to next Thursday. Again.


Do you have a lot of projects that you've started but just can't seem to finish? I do. I don't know if it's really procrastination or if it's just that I don't have the energy to get back to them even though I'm excited about them. I'm betting it's the first one, though, although I don't have much energy lately. Let's take a look at a few of the projects I currently have going.


Frag Mom's Frag Box. This is the project from hell, if you will. There have been several
episodes of this project
chronicled here on this blog. This project may have actually come to a temporary close.

I finally gave up on installing Windows Vista Ultimate x64. Every time I got it "working" it would freeze for no apparent reason. There wouldn't be an error message in the logs or anything. It would just stop processing information. Not even the courtesy of a blue screen of death! My solution? Install Windows 7 x86. For some reason, the 32-bit drivers all work flawlessly on this motherboard, but the 64-bit drivers do not. I have no faith that ASUS will do anything in working toward the 64-bit drivers for this motherboard. In fact, when I bought this motherboard from Tiger Direct, it was a close-out, so I'm sure ASUS doesn't even support this motherboard anymore. However, Windows 7 x86 works great.


Multi-media entertainment center PC. I haven't told you about this project, because it hasn't really moved much at all. Back when my son and his girlfriend were starting to play Warhammer Online, my son's girlfriend couldn't get Warhammer to play well on her PC. They ended up buying a new system with a faster processor and a better video card. But here's the deal; her old PC was a Windows XP Media Center PC. In fact, it is an HP Pavilion a1473w. The DVD drive was not working, so I had to replace that, but other than that, it's a working system that is just sitting on the floor in my office. I also have the wireless keyboard and mouse from my Gateway GM5664 (I use a Merc gaming keyboard and a Logitech Mx518 mouse). I also have a Toshiba external Multi-media audio/usb hub that has a remote control for it. So my plan is to put them together with a wireless network card that I may have laying around and hook it to my LCD TV in the bedroom. That's my next project, I think. It should be fun.


Home server. This will be a fun one. I had a meeting last month with a Microsoft technical person who lives in the Atlanta area. He got me excited about an interesting idea, but I need to build a system from the ground up to support it. He said he has a server in his house running Windows Server 2008. It's a dual processor, quad core system (so that's a total of 8 cores) with about 8GB of RAM and over 2TB of disk space. He runs several other virtual servers in the built-in virtualization of Windows Server 2008, with Windows Home Server being one of them. Like me, he uses Windows Home Server to back up all the computers on his home network. Unlike me, he has actually tested his backups. He bought a new laptop hard drive for one of his laptops, the same size as the existing drive. He then swapped the drives, booted with the recovery CD that Windows Home Server provides, and made an exact duplicate of his laptop drive on a new drive! It worked flawlessly.

Well, I have a spare server case, I just need an awesome motherboard to put into that case, then shuffle around some of my drives and PRESTO, new server. Then I need to get my hands on a LEGAL copy of Windows Server 2008 (I have a plan for that, and it doesn't include spending gobs of money for Server 2008). So that's on the back burner until I can get the guts and the brains to put in this new Franken-puter body.


I have two projects that involve Linux. First, my grandson, affectionately called the grandmonster, has developed quite a love for computers. So much so that he will sometimes not allow his mother to use her laptop. "MINE!" So, I have an old Toshiba laptop that is currently running Windows 7 (and quite well, I might add, considering it only has 256 or 512MB of RAM). I plan to install Linux on that laptop, and ensure all the devices are working correctly, then donate it to the grandmonster cause. The second Linux project involves building a dual-headed coding monster. I need to get back into application development, just so that my skills don't get rustier than they are now. Hopefully I can exercise my programming muscles after building a Linux monstrosity with a dual video card. I'm sure I can scrounge the parts from around the house somewhere.


Another project I want to try but haven't had or made the time for, and is kinda cool, involves my new car. One of the cool features of the stereo in my car is that it has a USB port. There's two things you can connect to this USB port; an iPod, or a thumb drive. I don't have an iPod, and the one I want is too expensive for me to justify for an experiment, so I'm going to go with the thumb drive. An 8GB thumb drive will hold most of my music collection. Of course, a 16GB thumb drive would hold all of my music collection, but is more than the price I want to spend for this experiment. So, I plan to go to Microcenter and buy an 8GB thumb drive (I'll be in that area on Wednesday for a doctor appointment, so why not, right?). Supposedly my car stereo will recognize the file structure on the thumb drive and let me navigate and play playlists off the thumb drive.

Another aspect of this project is using the AUX port on the car stereo. My Blackberry Curve has a headphone port, but it uses a 4 conductor system, rather than the normal 3 conductor system your headphones uses. So what's the 4th conductor for? Well it's for the headset/microphone system that comes in the box with the Curve. Here's what I want to try. Since we have two Curves, and my wife doesn't use her headphones for anything, I want to buy a 3 conductor 1/8 inch stereo plug, strip off the ear pieces of the headphones, figure out which is ground and which is the lead, then solder them to the new plug. The AUX jack in my car is designed for the three conductor plug (normal headphone 1/8 inch). If it works correctly, I can then place calls from my Curve using the built in microphone on the headset, but hearing the call on my car stereo speakers! My main concern with this is feedback, but I'm sure I can figure out something.


Well, those are the major projects I have in the queue for at home. Work projects are something completely different, but I won't talk about them.


Amie said...

About the grandmonster...don't know if Steve told you, but I stepped away from the computer while playing WoW, and Garrett took over "WOW DUEL!!" And he followed steven's character around Darnasus...almost as well as I can.
Also, Nathan's now excited to hear that you are sending a laptop with linux on it...something for him (Nathan) to practice on.