Posts Tagged ‘news’

HTPC Parts have arrived!

Posted: July 25, 2008 in Uncategorized
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 All the parts to my new HTPC have arrived, and I’ll put it together this weekend.  

In the meantime, I managed to resurrect the failing computer after a couple hours of analysis and a replacement power supply I had lying around.  So I started thinking that maybe I’ll just keep it in service, so I don’t have to pollute the new HTPC with anything that’s not strictly business-related.  Easier for me; better for the IRS.


TV and PC Blues

Posted: July 22, 2008 in Uncategorized
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About 4-5 months ago, our 61″ rear projection TV — the cornerstone of my home theater setup — stopped working for no reason. I don’t know why.

About 10 days ago, my media desktop PC started turning itself off randomly until it wouldn’t turn on at all. I don’t know why.

What I do know is that I’d been talking with Sarah about upgrading the PC for about a month, and the TV for about a year (what with the impending death of analog over-the-air signals in February, 2009). The only thing I can figure is that the TV wanted to go out with some dignity before it was obsoleted b and the lowly Celeron decided a Core 2 Quad would spank it so much that it felt it had to commit suicide.

So, I’ve spent virtually all of my free time for the last 10 days researching replacements. In the end, I decided to combine my two goals of a Home Theater PC and a CA art/music CAD PC (you know, Poser for 3D, Photoshop for 2D, FL Studio for music, etc.). On its way is $800 of:

For the computer literate, I made some concessions to keep the price, noise and heat down, with components that still fit into the case, which is probably the best engineered HTPC case I’ve seen for cooling and acoustics.  C’est la vie.

For the less computer-literate, this is an audio-component-looking case that fits in my stereo rack with the DVD, VCR and tuner that’s connected to my Dolby surround sound speaker setup — only this case has a quad-core PC instead of a stereo. I already have the OS, a DVD burner and external ATSC tuners for digital over-the-air broadcasts that I’ll move into the new unit to complete the setup.

The only thing I’m missing is the monitor/TV, which I’ll order the next time it goes back on sale for $490 (I missed it overnight Sunday), which seems to be every other weekend:

We haven’t really missed the TV that much, and this monitor will not only work as a dandy desktop monitor for the music/art/CAD work, but also as a 1/4-size home theater screen, since the DVD can connect directly to it (and I still get full surround sound through my home theater setup).  I love dual-use.  Triple-use, actually, since we’ve moved exercise equipment into the old home theater room, and my intention was to be able to use the computer from a treadmill with a wireless KB/mouse.  I think that’s doable from 4′ away with a 28″.  We shall see.

Geeks, what do you think?  Bear in mind I’ve already ordered everything but the monitor, so I’m not looking for alternatives at this point.  Does it look like it’ll work, or am I in for disappointment?  (There’s no discrete video or audio cards — although I can put them in later for about $100 combined, if needed — because there’s no gaming going on, just HTPC and CAD, which are far more CPU-intensive than graphics-intensive.)   I’m actually pretty impressed with what I can build for this price.  (I spec’d out a lesser system for about $600, but I really liked the case, so I decided to go with the higher end components instead.)

Oh, yeah, and I gave away the TV in my first CraigsList transaction, saving me $60-70 ($30 to donate it for recycling and $20+gas+taxes, etc for a U-Haul to take it for recycling, since it wouldn’t fit in the Expedition) in the process.

Witch Way to the Mall

Posted: July 9, 2008 in Uncategorized
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One of the more fun things to happen over the last 6 months was that Esther Friesner, know far and wide in F/SF circles as the perpetrator of the Chicks in Chainmail series of anthologies, has started a new fantasy anthology series with Baen … and she bought my short story, “The FairWitch Project!”  Now that’s good news!  I have, of course, updated my website.

Come to think of it, I also sold my short story, “Star Wench,” to David Lee Summers for his Space Pirates anthology.  It’s also on my website, along with the cover art.

Where Have I Been?

Posted: July 8, 2008 in Uncategorized

I’ve pretty much been absent from my own blog since Christmas; I thought I’d explain why.  In a word, focus.  Focus on other, more important things.  Yeah, yeah, that’s no excuse for neglecting y’all out in cyberspace — but to be fair,  I never said I had an excuse, just an explanation.  That said, I have some things to say now:

1) I’m going to take this blog in a slightly new direction.  I’m going to post things that I find interesting — maybe you will, too; maybe you won’t.  But I’m not going to worry about that any more.  There will still be some writing things; there will be tech things; there will be humor; there will be bizarre observations and … who knows what else?

2) I’m not going to try to post every day (or even every week), just to post something.  I know some people that post every day; I generally read them about once a week, because it’s clear they’re just trying to fill up their blogs with something, and I usually only find at most one post a week that interests me.  I know some people that post several times a day; I generally skip over most of their posts just out of sheer desperation.  Maybe all this will change when I have a less demanding and time-consuming day job and the kids are out of the house.  Until then, no apologies — I’ll post when I feel like it, period.

3) I’m tired of being nice to people (and groups) that don’t deserve it, especially those that ignore basic logic in their arguments.  I was trained in logic, and I know how to use it; I do not have to put up with opinions based entirely on heresay or “common knowledge” that has no basis in fact.  My “tongue” may become sharp at times.  You’ve been warned.

That’s all for now.

Happy Birthday Robert!

Posted: July 7, 2008 in Uncategorized

Happy Birthday to you, son o’ mine.

(And a posthumouse HB to his namesake, Robert Anson Heinlein.)

Happy Birthday, Eric!

Posted: November 23, 2007 in Uncategorized

To my youngest, who’s now officially a teenager:

Let’s both try to make this a happy one, okay?


Happy Birthday, Sarah!

Posted: November 18, 2007 in Uncategorized


You are my density.


Wish her a happy one, y’all!