October 15th, 2005


Speedy Is Dead

So, it turns out it was more than just the power supply that went on Speedy, my 1.8 GHz P4 machine, the other night. I got a new power supply last night, but installing it did no good. The machine powers up, but nothing happens. Whatever happened must've taken the processor with it. Bother.

I'd been thinking about getting a new machine. Speedy had finally met a program it wasn't powerful enough to run optimally (Flight Simulator 2004) a few months back. For a change, I was thinking about just ordering a Dell rather than building the machine myself. Dell runs some really good deals, but in the end, I decided to wait. Buying a new computer just for the sake of one game is a little extravagant.

Now it's no longer so. I'm typing this on Flash, the PII-350 I built in 1997. I've done some upgrades to it over the years, but it just won't do as a long-term solution. The question now is whether to buy a Dell, or rebuild. Rebuild is more attractive at this point, because most of Speedy is probably still good. I'll have to replace the motherboard, processor, and RAM (probably), but all the drives, and the video and audio cards are probably fine. I'll have to haul the machine into work tomorrow to test them all. Of all of them, the only thing I might want to upgrade is the video card, but I'd have to do that if I bought a Dell, too. Need to do some component pricing.

Still raining outside. Anybody know how long a cubit is? I have this boatbuilding project I'm thinking about...

(no subject)

The stars and the full moon are visible in the sky tonight. What's up with that?

Spent this morning playing CIA analyst. I was watching This Old House the other night, and their new project is located in Cambridge. One of the things that surprised me about is that the house is only about fifty years old, and it is a modern style house, all boxes and angles, not at all TOH's usual choice. The other thing that surprised me was the size of the back yard, which was very large. That seemed decidely un-Cambridge-like, at least for the neighborhoods I was familiar with.

Anyway, I was curious as to where it was. I've seen one other TOH project house, Kirkside, but that was by accident. It's right on Rt. 20 in the center of Wayland, and I happened to drive by it one day. This one is a bit more secluded. Now, TOH doesn't give the address, so I had to do some Googling. First I found an brief article in one of Cambridge's free papers that mentioned what neighborhood, then found a real estate site that mentioned what part of town the neighborhood was in. After that I just used Google Earth's satellite imagery to search the neighborhood visually. That was a piece of cake, first because the satellite imagery for Cambridge has incredible resolution, probably the best in the whole database, making it easy to zoom in to see details. Second, the house is all boxes and very pink. It sticks out like a sore thumb in a neighborhood full of Victorians. I drove by it today in the pouring rain. I didn't stop. There were a couple of contractors trailers there, but nobody was working. I was surprised at how much smaller it looked in person than it did on TV.

I didn't drive to Cambridge this afternoon just to satisfy a whim. I was up there to exercise my long unused, mad organic chemistry teaching skilz for vwbug. It was fun for me, because it's something I like to think I'm good at, and I rarely get the opportunity anymore. I hope it was useful for vw. Afterwards, she, helvirago, and I went out for dinner, then saw Serenity. I'd seen one of the preview showings, but it was nice to see the final product. Also, I got to pay attention to things that I didn't know would be important later. Still bugged by Joss's complete lack of science education, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the movie again.