Thursday, June 29, 2006

Blade the TV Series, summer colds, and bye bye iMovie

I watched the pilot of the Blade TV series. OK, but not enough to make me want to burn it to a DVD. The problem? Wesley Snipes left really big boots to fill. So I can't really fault the TV actor much for his perfomance. Maybe he needs to work a little harder to fill those big boots. However, I can fault him for using the name "Sticky Fingaz." Am I supposed to be impressed by that? Do your friends call you "Sticky?" On a hot day, do they call you "Gooey?" Or "Runny?" How about "Gummy" when the air gets dry?

Speaking of dry, I hate summer colds. They turn into dry throats that take forever to go away. Kaff, kaff. Dry throats feel worse on hot nights. Ugh.

P.S. On my iBook G4 (800Mhz, 1 gig RAM, 60 gig HD, DVD burner installed), iMovie 06 won't play my latest video project, but Final Cut Express does. Pretty ironic, huh? iMovie 06 has a playback problem (really bad stuttering) when you have a large number of audio clips. Or maybe a lot of extracted audio. Anyhow, it made editing nearly impossible. Good thing I wanted to make the switch to Final Cut Express anyhow.

Monday, June 12, 2006

New desktop PC is on the way.

2 gig RAM. Pentium D 930 (dual core, 3 GHz). 500 Gig Sata II hard drive. ATI All-in-Wonder graphics. Asus motherboard and a firewire card. Plextor DVD burner. And a floppy disk (whoopee). Dual-boot: Windows XP or Ubuntu Linux.

My friend Frank Lemmon helped me do this. I had put together all the hardware. But being of a a slightly wimpy state of mine, I went to Frank's for help and hand-holding. Plus he and his family fed me a delicious hamburger and corn. Mmm.

Here is how it went.

Overheating: solved.
When we first powered up the PC, it would only stay on for about 10 to 20 seconds. Frank (and I, I guess) determined that the CPU was likely overheating. Frank called a friend who suggested (among other things) that I check how well the CPU was seated. I took the fan off the CPU, and took the motherboard out of the case (grumbling a bit, but Frank thought it was needed). And the crazy push-pin things that Pentium uses to seat the fan on the CPU? Took a while to finally get them seated right, and I could not have done this if I had not removed the motherboard. I was pretty worried about the little square of thermal stuff between the CPU and the fan, but it help up. The PC then powered up and stayed powered up.

DVD drive IDE cable: solved.
First, I plugged it into the Secondary EIDE channel. Windows only partly installed, and then said there were fatal errors. I can't remember how we decided that we needed to change the DVD cables. Well, Frank asked for some reason, and I told him. You can't have a secondary on IDE without a primary. So we tried Primary EIDE. No go. Frank checked the motherboard manual: EIDE is for hard drives, not a DVD burner. Plugged it into Primary IDE. After we messed a little with the DVD jumpers (I think we changed it to Master), it worked. Windows began to install.
Note: Since the hard drive is SATA II, it was plugged into a SATA port, not IDE or EIDE.

Windows XP Service Pack 2 fussiness: solved.
Windows XP installed. I think at the start of the install, it asked how we would partition the hard drive. We decided to split it up into 4 partitions, but we only made the first one now: 100 Gig for Windows XP and any programs I install. Windows installed, but we had to reboot and reinsert the Windows XP CD a bit to get Service Pack 2 to install OK. Probably this was because we tried another Service Pack 2 CD the first time, when we should stuck with the original (since Windows and Service Pack 2 were on the same disk, although it was hard to read that off the shiny silver holographic CD labeling. Well, Windows finished the install just fine.

Ethernet under Windows XP did not work: solved.
Frank just messed around with this stuff until it worked. Shoulda watched what he did a bit more closely; motherboard Ethernet under Windows is always fussy. But the Ethernet, including the gigabit Ethernet, started working.

Firewire card: worked fine, no tweaking!
We checked the Firewire setting: Win XP control panel says it works fine. I will try to read a firewire drive soon to make sure. The firewire is from an Adaptec card, since the motherboard did not have any.

Ubuntu partition and install: worked well, but took figuring out.
It took a few tries to figure out how to make the partition for Ubuntu: a main partition (a bit less than 100 Gig) and a swap partition (4 Gig, in case I ever jack up my RAM to 4 Gig). We partitioned OK, but it took a few tries (hitting the back button a lot) to get Ubuntu install to get those partitions to show up for the Ubuntu install (no, Ubuntu, do not ask to install over the Windows partition, see the NEW partitions, c'mon, see them already!). And Ubuntu installed, but then...

Ubuntu video with lotsa fussiness and scariness: finally worked.
At first, Ubuntu said it would not work with the video. Frank and I thought that my video card--PCI-Express ATI All-In-Wonder--was not going to work with Ubuntu. But we did something. Maybe telling it to run in safe mode? But after a reboot or two, the video started working fine. At least, it looked fine. Certainly the resolution is better than 640x480.

Startup: Run Windows by default.
Frank used vi to edit the menu.lst file to make the Windows partition the default for startup. Which is what I requested.

To do over the next week or so to finish up:
Install all my drivers. Video card, maybe USB drivers for my Adapted card, any drivers I will need for Ubuntu, a firmware upgrade for my DVD burner, etc.
Update the drives and Windows.
Finish my disk partitions: one 200 Gig NTFS for data and video, and one 100 Gig FAT32 for Windows and Linux to share. I know that Ubuntu can read the NTFS partitions, but it can't write to them. We tried.
Install all my Windows software. Including OpenOffice. Since I have Microsoft Office on my Mac, I decided not to buy it for the PC. I might buy it later if I truly need it.
Make sure I get everything running on Linux. The Ethernet ran OK with no tweaking, which surprised me.

This PC seems very fast. And it is a cool black case (Antec Sonata II). I am looking forward to finally having a decent desktop for Win XP AND Linux. My next computer purchase will be replacing my iBook with a MacBook. But not for some time.

OK, I just wanted to write this tonight, since my throat was scratchy and I wanted time to fix and drink some soothing pomegranate tea. Up late again. Oh well.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Dave Aye's June 2006 Election Picks!

My June 2006 election endorsements.
Read them. Use them. Reply on my blog, or email me and I will post your reply on the blog. Knowledge is power. If I disagree with your reply, I might post something about that. But time is short cuz I am down to the wire again. I did a little video for a friend; I needed to finish that first. (And the formatting is a little screwed up on this post; too much space between lines! I will fix that later, and apologize now for the irritating appearance.)

Here are links to my picks for the California Propositions.

I have no endorsements for the partisan offices, like governor, attorney general, and other great stuff. Who do I have to choose from? Green Party people. I won't waste my time telling you how I am voting here, since no one I know would find that info useful. When, oh when, will I register as "Decline to state" to allow me to vote in any primary I want? I like that the two demo governator wanna-bes are sniping at each other. Maybe I coulda voted against a jerk, and smiled nastily when doing so. But NOOOOO, I hafta choose from clean moral boring Greens! I am gonna take care of this. I'll stay Green, but I won't tell the state.

Here are links to my picks for the San Mateo issues.