Where Does The Time Go

My new MacBook came with a three month trial of Apple TV. I wouldn’t normally consider subscribing to it since there’s not a lot of stuff on there I’m interested in, but there are a few intriguing-looking shows (Severance, Foundation, For All Mankind), so I figured that I’d just use the free trial period to binge the ones I want and then cancel.

The free trial period is just about to end. Number of episodes I’ve watched of anything on Apple TV: 0

It’s not really Apple TV’s fault, as the same thing is happening with Netflix, really. It often just feels like I don’t have the free time to just sit and watch episodes of something, or I figure I’ll watch it ‘soon’ and that ‘soon’ just never materializes. But at the same time I’ll binge a bunch of random junk on Youtube, including true crime recaps, video essayists, disaster documentaries, video game LPs, etc…

I guess the difference is that the Youtube stuff is a lot more bite-sized and low-investment, something where I can just throw on a random video and when it’s done that’s it, whereas an ongoing TV or streaming series feels like more of an investment I have to be prepared for, so I keep putting it off until I feel more ‘ready’ to take it in. Maybe I just need to set aside a specific time slot specifically for catching up on streaming shows.

Resetting Clocks Gets Annoying

For some reason the power has been a bit dodgy lately, with three brief outages at my place within the last week and a half, including one as I was getting ready for work this morning.

But on the plus side, I used the opportunity to figure out which breaker switch controls the computers without having to go the pull-it-and-see-if-they-suddenly-shut-off route…

Oops, Wrong Train

While I was waiting for the LRT home tonight, for some reason a couple of city police officers were going around and checking fares, instead of the usual bylaw enforcement guys. First time I’ve seen them doing it.

That was bad news for one other person waiting; he didn’t have a fare, and when they ran a check to verify his identity, they discovered two warrants out on him for theft. Instead of hauling him away immediately though, they waited for the next southbound train and escorted him to the next station. I guess their partner with the car was too lazy to come pick them up…

Moral of the story: Always pay your train fare.

Anti-Touch Typing

One thing I’ve always meant to do is learn to type properly. I took a class way back in Grade 8 and was rated at around 45 wpm, but the lessons never really stuck. I have awful, awful habits, no sense of standardized positioning, occasionally have to look at the keyboard, and make quite a few mistakes.

After watching some co-workers wail away on their keyboards I always felt a bit slow and clumsy in comparison. It was thus quite a surprise when, on a whim, I took a few different online typing tests and actually scored between 65-70 words per minute, including corrections. That was just on plain text, and punctuation-heavy stuff like code would be a bit slower, but it was still a lot higher than I expected.

I should still probably look into some kind of tutoring, though, to at least reduce mistakes. It still feels a bit foolish when you’re typing with a coworker looking over your shoulder and you spend half your time backspacing…

Shoulda Stayed In Bed

I just spent most of the day integrating the final InstallShield changes necessary for our next release of a client product to properly support the new firewall rules in the upcoming XP SP2.

About three minutes after I sent out the e-mail announcing the availability of the next build for QA, the first one to incorporate the SP2 changes, a manager stopped by and told me that Microsoft had just announced that there will be an SP1 for Server 2003. Apparently this SP1 will also incorporate some sort of firewall/security updates, and we’ll probably hold off on our SP2 update until we can incorporate the 2003 changes as well.


Gourmet It Ain’t

If you’re really lazy and want to avoid showering, getting dressed, going out, and restocking on milk and margarine or butter, vegetable oil and water make an acceptable substitute in your Kraft Dinner. Only use a *tiny* little amount though, just enough to make it unstick and mix nicely…

Thanks For The Quick Turnaround…

A bit over a month ago I placed an order for the iRiver iGP-100 from a dealer in the States, and only just now did I get a notice that they’ve cancelled the order due to the item being discontinued.

Gee, thanks. Yes, it may be an older item, but when you claim you have some in stock and allow me to order it, I’d expect to, you know, actually receive one…

So, the search is on yet again. It’s a shame too, since the iGP-100 hit pretty much the perfect price/feature point for me, and they don’t appear to be interested in continuing that line of players.

The Quest For Quiet

It’s upgrade time again. This time around though, it’s not really about performance; although it’s over two years old, my Athlon system is still pretty much fast enough for the games I want to play. No, this time around the upgrades are focusing on getting some FRIGGING PEACE AND QUIETstability and noise abatement.

Upgrade #1: Power Supply

I’ve been experiencing a number of weird crashes and spontaneous reboots recently, and I think a large part of the problem was that the power supply simply wasn’t keeping up. 300W might have been good enough when I originally put the case together, but a lot has been added to it since then. Thus, the first step was to replace it with an Antec TruePower 480 unit.

It’s hard to tell whether it’s helped with the stability or not yet since the crashes were rather sporadic, but it certainly couldn’t hurt. It’s also has low-noise fans, which help a bit, but not entirely (see below).

Upgrade #2: Memory

Bumping the memory from 512M to 1G has vastly improved playability in a few cases, and EverQuest in particular. No more choppy framerates or disk thrashing leading to facing the wrong direction, casting too late, timing out while zoning, etc.

Upgrade #3: CPU

Okay, this round *is* partly about performance… Since it wasn’t really a priority I didn’t want to have to go all the way and do complete memory and motherboard replacements as well at a much higher cost, so instead I just went from an Athlon 1700+ to an Athlon 2400+, the highest Socket A CPU this same motherboard supports. Not really necessary, but it was cheap. According to the sensors it runs cooler than the old one too, so maybe that’ll also help with stability.

Unfortunately, my noise problems still aren’t fully resolved. It turns out that the vast majority of the noise is from the hard drives, and replacing them is a bit iffier. Partly because a) I don’t really need more space right now, b) there’s nothing else really wrong with the drives and if I want to reduce noise then I can’t even reuse them in another system, so they’re wasted if I replace them, and c) I hate reinstalling stuff. One of the drives is only 12G, so I could probably take it out without much hassle, but it’s also the primary boot drive…

Ugh, it just had to be the hard drives that were the major noisemakers.

How Long Have I Been Living In Phoenix?

Dear Mother Nature,

I regret to inform you that your operatives have clearly misunderstood their instructions and applied the incorrect policies for a region of our location. Please rectify this situation and return the local conditions to a more appropriate setting.

Thank you,
The Residents of Alberta

Normal July high temperature for Calgary: 23 C
Average high temperature for July so far: 26.3 C