I was never a band geek, but this makes me kind of wish I was:
(via Ric and Debbie)
Just a random IT rant due to a current issue on a friend’s computer that typifies the type of experience I often have with Dell. You’ll probably just want to ignore this one.
- Friend works for Non-Profit Organization.
- NPO provides friend with laptop for work use.
- Friend has problem with laptop, NPO prefers to get a volunteer to help fix machine to avoid cost of outside technician.
- I’m the lucky volunteer
- After a few hours of diagnosing I determine problem is a bad hard drive (tons of bad sectors, and the rattling sound can’t be a good sign either).
- Recommend to NPO to purchase new hard drive.
- NPO will call Dell and figure out replacement drive.
Friend brings laptop to me, gives me new drive. She tells me that there was a minor issue when purchasing the drive. Apparently, the only drive that the sales person showed as working for this model laptop was going to cost some major $$$. After explaining the NPO position of paying as little as possible for repairs the Dell associate magically came up with a drive that he could sell for a much more reasonable price.
And the best part? It’s five times as large as the original (320gb vs. 60gb). GREAT!
Enter: ME. Pop in the XP SP1a restore disk, go through and create a partition, format it, restart the computer. Standard deal for new HD install. I should be done with this machine in about an hour, maybe two. And then suddenly on the screen, a message that does not inspire confidence in an IT guy: DISK READ ERROR.
HHmmmm… say what? Never seen that one before. So I go through all the standard IT procedure of re-seating the hard drive, googling the error to make sure it isn’t a known issue with this brand/make/model of hard drive, and try the whole thing from scratch again. But wait…. now windows restore disk won’t load at all, because it doesn’t see a hard drive as existing in the machine.
Ummm WTF?! So I turn to the internets for help. I read a few dozen articles relating to having 100% full disks (obviously not my problem), defective drives (file it as a possibility), problems with old version of windows XP not supporting Large LBA (Definite maybe), and problems with older BIOS not supporting Large LBA (also a definite maybe).
I still can’t access the hard drive though, so first I have to find a way to get to it. I need to re-partition the drive, but can’t load the XP disk. So I turn to my old standby: Floppy disk! Most fortunately for my friend, her work laptop happens to take the same type of modular drive mine does, and I just happen to have a spare floppy drive for MY laptop. So I go out, create a Windows 98 boot disk, pop the drive into her machine, and FDISK the sucker. Sure enough, there exists a Non-DOS partition. Definitely looks like an LBA problem now. I go ahead and delete this partition and reboot the machine, and throw the CD drive back into it
So the first thing I try to do is use a newer version of an XP install disc. Thankfully all dell restore CDs will work on any Dell system, so I pop in a hacked disk that has SP3 and IE7 slipstreamed in. Go through the install, format, restart: Same issue. At least now I know it’s either a BIOS problem or a defective drive. I choose to believe it’s a BIOS problem. Now I can either fix the root problem, or just choose a primary partition size of less that 138GB (the size limitation of small logical block addressing).
Being the good little dooby I am, I opt to fix the root problem, and so I go to Dell’s support website. I find a BIOS update, which should theoretically resolve my issue entirely. But they only offer an executable file which has to be run on the machine FROM WINDOWS. No option to download a floppy or cd image with the update on it! So I’m shit outta luck. I need to install windows to update the firmware, but I have to update the firmware to install windows.
It is at this point which I get fed up and setup a smaller primary partition, install the rest of windows flawlessly, continue on through driver, office, AV, and other program installs, and call it a done deal. It all worked out in the end, but it kind of left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
I know it’s not really the Dell Sales Associate’s fault for shipping this drive. Technically it does work, even if it isn’t listed on the allowable upgrades for this machine. He filled a need, and he didn’t realize there could even possibly be a problem. He’s not a technician, he’s probably just seeing a bunch of inventory and wondering WHY it isn’t listed as working with this particular model. But why oh why Dell, don’t you allow me to download a dos-based flashing utility for the BIOS? I know, I know: only .1% of the people who come to your site would ever use it, and the additional option would just confuse everybody else. But for that .1% – it would be freaking AWESOME to have.
Thankfully for my friend and her boss, I just happened to have a floppy drive that fit her machine, and a windows 98 bootdisk to use FDISK from. Because without those? How is a person supposed to access a drive with jacked up partitions that XP won’t recognize? Most clients would just send it back to Dell and call it defective. God knows the technician on the phone isn’t going to be able to resolve this issue. He’ll just chalk it up to a bad drive and then they’ll send out another 320GB drive, because that’s obviously what they have in stock. And everybody will wonder why it KEEPS happening. And of course, because your computer is WAY outside of warranty, you are paying for any tech support you get from them.
Dell, sometimes you irritate me.
I love seeing which images get viewed on my photo stream. Some of them are ones that I love. Some of them just make me go ‘huh?’.
1. Definitely a ‘huh’ image, with 3009 views since posting it in August of last year. Also somehow made Flickr’s Explore list for a short time. Rasta:
2. One of my favorite shots, just because of how temporary the moment was. A few hours later and the plane was gone. 2182 views since posting in May 2008. May Day:
3. 708 views on this SRX shot from December. A decent shot, but not something i thought was amazing. Yamaha SRX-6:
4. Another shot from vacation last December, with 637 views. WTF? It’s a coin, why is that popular? Its not even particularly sharp. Coins:
5. Now this one I TOTALLY loved when I shot it. From the photowalk in ‘08, and another that somehow made it into explore for a day even with only 381 views. Fluff:
Which of your photos get the most views?
I needed to escape last night. Get out, turn my brain off, click the shutter a few times, and maybe just relax a bit.
Somewhere between Prescott and Prescott Valley there is a road that very few people know about. It is a road that even fewer people are willing to drive down. Even with the truck in low-range going 5 miles an hour, the bumps are enough to give you whiplash. And they don’t stop at all for the twenty minutes it takes to reach the end of the trail.
Where does it lead? Nowhere. It simply ends at the top of a little hill overlooking both cities. It is a road whose sole seeming existence is to give the hardy a nice view at sunset.
I setup the camera and watched as day descends into a fiery sunset, then quietly mellows into a pastel evening. Yes, this is what I wanted. This is what I needed.
Relaxation creeps in around me, envelopes me.
Been a while since anything of any depth has made it onto the blog. I suppose it’s been a while since anything of depth has made it into my mind. The two have a correlation with each other.
For the most part I feel like a chicken with my head cut off, running around the yard without a clue of where I’m going. Basically, I’ve just been trying to keep myself busy. How am I doing that? Oh, let me count the ways:
1. Cooking – yep still doing lots of this. Rarely photographing it, playing it entirely by ear, and using it as a main source of stress relief in my evenings. And once a week I try to get together with mom to make her dinner.
2. Photography – Well the ‘pic of the days’ keep showing up, so I guess I’m out there shooting. It’s become a bit brainless, but is still enjoyable.
3. Friends – Yeah, hanging out with friends more now than any other time in my life. Weekly dinners with a big group of us, hanging out at Coyote Joe’s on Wednesday nights, all sorts of entertaining stuff.
4. Reading – I finished War & Peace, read Carl Sagan’s ‘Contact’, Steinbeck’s ‘Tortilla Flat’, and ‘The Giver’. Currently switched tracks a bit and am reading Kahlil Gibran’s ‘Laughter and Tears’. Yep, I’m reading some poetry, and it is awesome.
5. Exercise – Well the addiction continues. I finally reached a point where I realized I was over-doing it. I’ve cut down to ~2 hours of lifting per week, 8-12 miles of jogging, and 6-12 miles of hiking per week. Yeah… I might still be a bit over the top, but what can I say. I feel good (and sore) most days, which is what really counts.
6. Dance – Oh yeah, I’ve added dance into my exercise routine. I’m taking ballroom dance lessons at Yavapai College, and it is a total blast. I’m picking things up fairly quickly, and have some great people in the class to help me along. I was a little afraid of going to a dance class by myself, but have had no problems. I’ve even started occasionally making my way to the open dance at the senior center on friday nights. So far I can make a decent mimicry of the Rumba, Waltz, and Foxtrot. :)
7. Driving – Anywhere. Generally Sunday is reserved as a ‘get out of town’ day now. I just try to put myself in an unfamiliar place, open my eyes, and enjoy life for a few hours. Sometimes people come along with me, sometimes not.
These are all the things that keep my mind occupied, and for the most part they do a decent job of it. There are still plenty of days when loneliness creeps in. Even after six months, I’ve not adjusted entirely to not waking up next to somebody, not having a hand to hold, or a knowing look to share.
And lately, there have been more days of floundering at the seeming lack of purpose in my life. Where am I going? Is there some grand scheme to this whole ‘life’ thing, or am I just left to myself to figure out which direction to steer this boat into? Questions which have no realistic answers. This, I know. But they pester me none-the-less.
All-in-all though, I’d like to think it’s a good life. Or as Robert Prisig said:
“Things are better now. You can sort of tell these things.”
Let us retreat, for the tired brook has ceased its song; and the bubblesome springs are drained of their copious weeping; and the cautious old hills have stored away their colorful garments.
Come, my beloved; Nature is justly weary and is bidding her enthusiasm farewell with a quiet and contented melody.
I was asked to take photos for Chris and Shayla, who recently got engaged. Chris, being my best friend, didn’t have to do too much persuading to make it happen.
For shooting locations we decided on Goldwater Lake, Whiskey Row alley, and the old rail bridge on Granite street. The biggest challenge was the wind, which was ridiculous. Equipment was basic. D90, 50mm f/1.8 lens, 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 lens, SB-600 flash used wirelessly, ND filter to get more depth of field in the sunlit shots.
Overall it was a lot of fun. I definitely learned a lot, this being my first portrait shoot.
Here are the results:
Beef heart tacos from last week. Chunks of heart, marinated in carne asada sauce for 2 days, cooked quickly in a pan. Topped with caramelized onion, red pepper, and avocado. On corn tortilla:
Simple and tasty.
So, ever since Operation Shaggy Christmas concluded last year I’ve had this look:
But it’s that time of year again. I’ve gone and shaved off the goatee to start this years Christmas beard:
Hopefully it grows in at least as well as last year. :)
We pull off the highway, we see water and want to get closer. As we drive over the small concrete bridge, we see a forest of pine trees. A forest of JUST pine trees. There is something odd about the whole thing. This is a tree farm. I immediately think we should take car photos.
I normally forget to take family photos, so this time I made it a point to sit everybody down for a few snaps, as well as getting a few random shots.
Dad, Suzy, Myself, and Chris. A.K.A. ‘The Fam’:
Dad, Suzy, and the Dogs. Getting all three dogs to sit still for even a moment? Nearly impossible:
The boys watching TV:
Chris, beginning to get mildly irritated at me for continuously asking him to look at the camera while driving:
Me, as seen by Chris:
Dad, Suzy, Sam:
Chris while meandering around Eureka Springs:
Me, with my lawn-mowing face on:
Chris, kickin back after mowing most of the yard:
These are the people that made the vacation worthwhile. Thanks to them for such a great time!