Blog Archives

Windows Vista

I am now also evaluating Windows Vista on my multimedia computer.  I performed the ugprade yesterday and it actually worked unlike my first upgrade attempt a few weeks earlier on a different home PC.  So far its not bad, but I think I need to reload a fresh install, as some weird issues are happening, such as the games not loading when you open the shortcuts for them.  One weird thing too is that hibernate works on my multimedia PC, but not on the home PC.  I guess there is some kind of hardware difference, perhaps something on the other motherboard that prevents hibernate from working.  So far I like having Vista, it runs ok on my hardware and I haven’t had any incompatibility issues.  It does take a little getting used to and most people don’t like change, but I don’t have much trouble picking up changes in software. 

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The long weekend

This is going to be a long post, so be prepared for some reading…

Firday I took a personal day from work to stay home and watch the kids while Liz went to a conference in Orlando. She actually left on Thursday afternoon, but her parents came earlier on Thursday to help with the kids. So I got home on Thursday evening and she was gone 😦 After some settling in, we decided to have soup and grilled-cheese sandwiches for dinner. This is a simple meal, but very tasty (I make a great grilled-cheese sandwich). I had a bit of a crazy time trying to time everything just right, making soup and sandwiches for so many people at once. It turned out good, which I was a little doubtful about since we were one package of soup short of what I thought we’d have. There was plenty for everyone and it was good.

We got the kids in bed on Thursday night and had some fun beforehand playing the wii. Once the kids were in bed, Liz’s parents played the wii and after a while we shut the wii off and watched a movie. We put on Eragon and stayed up late.

Friday morning, after the kids and I had breakfast, we had a wii tournament. I played a few games with the girls, and then Liz’s parents started a bowling competition. They both achieved pro status and had some very good games. They were beating me and I lost some of my pro points.

Then we decided to run out to a store to try to buy a computer for my brother-in-law’s fiance’ We went to Circuit City in New Tampa and looked around (this was while Sarah was in school). We were there for about 2 hours with Michael and Abby actually being pretty good. We found a computer we all agreed was a good one, for about $400 but it didn’t come with a monitor. They had a package deal with it, but the monitor it came with was a bulky CRT.

Kind of kidding, I said they could buy me one of the nice HP flat panel monitors and I would give them my 19″ dell FP at home and give them some money for the upgrade. They agreed and the rep checked inventory, but found they didn’t have any of the computer we picked out in stock. So my mother-in-law asked if they would sell them the display model. The rep agreed and came back with a price around $330 something. We went to check out and they were going to keep the computer for a few hours and re-image it and then have us come back to pick it up. We were about to leave when Liz’s dad found a problem with the receipt. After probably an hour of waiting and adjusting, they just couldn’t get it right. They ended up getting the computer for about $185 and they got an additional $30 discount on the monitor. All in all, they paid around $460 or so for the computer and monitor, which is an awesome deal!

We went to Wendy’s after that since we are all starving and it was around lunch time anyway. I was in a hurry because I wanted to hook up the new monitor. We got to Wendy’s and got in the drive through line, but the line was moving slow. Liz’s mom suggested it would faster if she just went in and ordered. So I pulled out of line into a parking spot. We waited in the car for what felt like 30 minutes, when finally Liz’s dad went in to check out what was taking so long. Turned out they were out of chicken right at noon (go figure) and had to cook more on the spot. We finally got out of there after 12:35pm and made it home to sit down and eat. I fed Michael and got him down for a nap and started setting up the new monitor on the computer desk. At first, it worked, but was blurry, and didn’t have the software installed for the proper resolution or settings. After installing the right software, the DVI output stopped working. When set to the right resolution, the monitor would go into standby, and the display would just stop. I tried everything, uninstalling, safe mode, new drivers, new ATI software, etc. Nothing worked and I ended up taking the video card out of my multimedia computer and reloading my home computer’s OS. Once reloaded with the other video card, there were no problems and things were fine.

So now my multimedia computer is stripped of its video card and is non functional. I ordered a new video card from TigerDirect online, and it should be here sometime mid-week. I got an HIS Radeon 512MB GDDR3 Pro card, with nice specs and enhanced HD support. This should be a major improvement! I was sad to find out later that my power supply in my multimedia machine is only 250W, meaning that the new video card won’t have enough power in that computer. I may end up for now putting the new card in my main computer and taking the original video card that was in the playback computer and put it back in since I know that works. But ultimately, I want to get new power supplies for both computers, a 500W for the main PC, and a 450 for the multimedia computer.

After spending most of the afternoon working on the computers and getting things setup, I began working on setting up the new computer that my in-laws bought. I managed to re-image the computer to factory, and do all the updates and install needed software. Then I moved all their files and settings off the old computer to the new one. Then I cleaned up the old computer and removed all the clutter and made it like new. (Liz’s mom ran home once we got back from CC and got their existing computer). The arrangement ended up being that they got the new computer, and my monitor. Then my brother-in-law’s fiance’ got their computer and exsting 17″ flat panel monitor. So the arrangement worked out well for everyone.

We had Pizza Hut dippin’ strips pizza for dinner, and I also ordered a large half cheese, half pepperoni pan pizza. It was sooooo good, we love the dippin strips, which is only a seasonal thing from what we can tell. I ordered online and had it delivered.

Friday night, we started watching Spiderman 3 and didn’t finish because it was late and the movie was long. So I went to bed around 12:30 something or close to 1am.

Saturday morning we played more wii, and I finished final touches on the computers. Then we started cleaning up the house in preparation for Liz to get home that evening. We had lunch after Liz’s parents left that morning. We got to play more wii and relax a bit before Liz got home. We had the left over pizza for lunch which was still good, we had just enough left to have enough for lunch.

I was just putting the kids to bed when Liz walked in the door. Must have been after 7:30pm and I had just put Michael to bed. So I went and got him back out of bed to say hi to her. I put him down on the floor in his room, and I think he already knew she was home. He ran out of his door and into her arms and just held her for a while. He is such a sweet little boy!

Got all the kids to bed Saturday night, and Liz and I sat on the couch and chatted about our weekends and relaxed a little. It was nice to catch up and fill each other in on all the goings-on of the weekend. She had a great time at her convention and told me all about it. I told her the long story of the computer work for the weekend.

Sunday we had Amanda and her kids over for lunch and the kids got to play for a while and Lizzie and Lina got to play bowling on the wii. Amanda finished a turn for Lizzie, and said it could definately get addictive.

All weekend I had meant to cut the grass, but never found time, I was busy all weekend and never got around to it. Then I took a sick day on Monday because I was getting over some stomach problems that I seemed to pick up over the weekend. I had thought I could try to at least mow the front yard on Monday, but it kept raining on and off all day. It was a weird weather day, it would be sunny outside, but a rain cloud would be over our house, and it would be raining. Sometimes hard rain would come down and it would get grey outside, but then it would stop and the sun would come back out. All day it was like this, so I didn’t get a chance to cut the grass.

a wii touch of boredom

I have to admit, that after a week of playing the wii, and playing the same sports games over and over, I am starting to get a little bored with it. Granted we still only have one controller, and haven’t gotten any additional games yet, but honestly, the same 5 games in wii-sports just won’t hold my attention much longer. Its still fun, and I still enjoy playing when we have people over, but interest in playing on my own is dwindling… Time to start thinking about new games and an additional controller.

a wii visit from the in-laws

Last night, Liz’s parents came over to spend the night with us. From the time we got done with dinner, until abotu 11pm last night, they were playing the wii. I find this humorous, but at first they were a little skeptacle; her dad wanted to try it out, but her mom wasn’t as interested at first. We did the bowling game on wii sports most of the night which is fun, because we used to bowl all the time. I watched her mom go from barely interested in the first game or two, to moving around and starting to get some strikes by her 3rd or 4th game. Then we played several 4 person rounds and by the end she was having a good time and saying she was going to beat us.

I gave up around 10:15 or somewhere around there to go get ready for bed. They stayed up later than that and played more games. By the time I was done I was a pro at the bowling game with over 1000 on the chart.

I tried to throw my ball into one of the neighboring lanes, but it just went straight to the gutter. I found out how to intentionally release the ball too soon and scare the mii’s behind you.

a wii fever

Friday was the day, our wii arrived via USPS. I got home from work and began the setup around 6 or 6:30pm. I had it up and running in no time, it was easy to connect, and was just the right size to fit stanging on its side in my entertainment center.

We had some friends over and played for a while and then watched some Star Trek episodes. After they left, Liz and I played some more and stayed up until about 2am playing around on it.

Saturday, we played a lot and almost wore it out. We had gotten our mii characters transferred from another console where we had already created them, but found we couldn’t edit them on our console. So I got some software online that let me connect my remotes to my PC via bluetooth and I was able to edit our mii characters and fix them so that we could edit them on our console. The only problem is that this process overwrote our existing stats, so it wiped our slate clean, and we had to start over with the records for each mii, which is no big deal, but we had some pretty good scores on there!

Sarah is very good at many of the sports games. Although we don’t have two controllers yet, so we are swapping in 2 player games. Once we get a second controller, it will be much easier. I also want to get some better games, such as Transformers and Fastastic 4.

Finally bought a wii

I broke down today and got a wii from eBay. I really didn’t want to spend the extra money and support the price gouging on eBay, but did it anyway. It would probably have taken weeks for me to track one down at a store, and by the time I did get one, I would have spent lots of time and effort in getting it. I don’t feel too bad, because I only paid about $40 or less over retial for the wii I bought. Its coming from Ohio, and I just got the shipping confirmation, so I should have the wii on Friday or Saturday at the latest. Its coming USPS so I can even get it on Saturday, which is one of the reasons I chose this seller.

I still need to look at getting more games, and an extra controller, as it only comes with one, but in time we should have a nice little setup 🙂

Fun and fast weekend

We had another fun weekend, but it went really fast!!! On Friday night we had a few couples over to play games and have snacks, etc. We all sat around and snacked for a while and talked. Then we started to play catch phrase, which I’m not good at, but enjoyed watching and participating. We laughed a lot and it was fun. Then we got setup on the wii and I watched them all play boxing and we all got a kick out of watching Liz fight Mike and go nuts trying to knock him out. The night ended a little earlier than we could have handled, but the ladies had an event to go to early the next morning.

Saturday, it was just the kids and me for a while. Liz went to her event in New Tampa and I got the kids up and we started our day. We played the wii for a long time and Sarah was a natural with bowling, we scored me with 126 and her with 122 our first try. On her next try all alone, she got 148! She was also good at golf, baseball and tennis. Later around 1pm or so, Mike came back over with the kids and Sarah and Nathan played against each other for a while, and it was so much fun to watch. They played the practice rounds and tried all the different games, it was lots of fun!

Sunday Liz had Susan over to look at pictures and I worked on our storage situation a little for the computers. I ended up buying a 500GB external drive to keep our pictures and downloads on. This way it only runs when we need it, and we can take it with us. I plan to consolidate our storage onto this external drive, and delete old stuff we don’t need anymore, and maybe burn some stuff to DVD. Once done, I can sell about 3 hard drives that used to either be in a server, my PC or on a shelf. My PC has a 450W power supply which is having problems keeping up with the load. I may need a new power supply at some point as well.

I have Liz ready to buy a wii, we are going to use some money from the sale of computer parts I have and save up a little for it. In a few weeks we should have one.

Sarah's pre-birthday weekend

We had a semi busy, but nice weekend. On Friday we had Mike and Renee over again, and had dinner and talked. We played the wii again and had a good time watching Liz go nuts with boxing again. I had a few bad games of bowling, but I think we were tied at the end. Everyone got tired around 11 something but we stayed up talking until just about midnight when our guests left. Abby went ot bed on Friday almost normal time, and Sarah stayed up until midnight with us. Michael would have stayed up if we would have let him, he seems to have unlimited energy and does not “konk out” at all.

Friday night, Abby woke up a few times and caused Liz and I to only get a very few hours of sleep. Michael woke up early and we needed to get up a little early anyway as we planned to go to the Rec Center for the Family Fun day. So we got up, ate breakfast and got ready to go. I think we got to the Rec Center by 11 or so. I got the kids to the pool and when they were all set, I left them with Liz and went to hit around in the racquetball courts a bit before Mike and Renee got there to warm up a little. Well I ended up hitting my only ball out of the court into the parking lot, so I had to leave and go to Wal-Mart to get a new can of balls. It took what seemed like forever, and I didn’t get back until almost 12:30. At that point, Mike and Renee just got there, but the Rec Center had run out of food, so Mike went to Wendy’s to get something. When he got back, I was back out on the court hitting around a little more, and shortly thereafter it started to rain. At first, it felt nice, cool water hitting my hot head out in the sun. Then a few minutes later it was pouring! I walked back into the pool area to find the family and they were closing down the pool area, forcing all the people inside because of the thunder storm moving over. So we stood under a walkway for a while talking but decided just to go home. It rained hard and we got soaked getting out to the van. Mike drove me to our van from his, and it was coming down the hardest right about the time we made a run for it. We had a nice relaxing day indoors after that due to the rain which makes a lovely sound on the play room roof, and is ideal for napping on the couch.

On Sunday, I took Abby out on a daddy date to the Brandon mall. I’ve never been but had heard it was a nice mall. We went in the miata together, and had a nice ride, but left the top up and used the A/C as it was very warm! We got to the mall and went to a cookie shop and got a small bag of cookies. Abby rode a small train ride before we left for the food court to sit down and eat our cookies. We found that just like the Citrus park mall, they also have a large indoor merry-go-round and so Abby just had to ride that too. We got on and rode around for a while and then headed back to the car. It is a nice mall, but not as nice as Citrus Park. I did find some stores in there that I’ll keep in mind the next time I need to go shopping…

Holiday Weekend

We had a nice long weekend, since I had President’s day off. Friday night started out I spent most of the night reloading our main computer. I did something dumb (yes I admit it), and had to reload it. I spent Saturday morning continuing to re-install software and re-configure on my home network. Everything is back in place and working fine now by the way.

Saturday we had Dave (previous co-worker) and his wife over for dinner and games. We had grilled chicken and played catch phrase (don’t care for that game too much). It was a nice time and we all had fun.

Sunday, we had more friends over, food and games again. This time they brought over Pizza (was Westshore pizza and very good!). Then we played catch phrase with them and this time I enjoyed it a little more, they were giving me better words. We (the guys) won big time 3 to 1.

Today (Monday), I took Sarah to school in the Miata which is always fun. Its nice riding with my girl in the car! I spent the day taking care of Liz and Abby and Michael as we are all sick to some degree. I also picked up Sarah from school in the Miata and this was even better this time because I could put the top down. It got to be about 60 something today, so it was just right with the sun shining to ride with the top down. Upon getting to her School, someone behind me backed into another car in car-line. Also when we were leaving her school Mr. Twiggs (short for something else which we don’t really know yet), said something funny. As we were pulling out, there was a minivan ahead of us. The lady in the van stopped to say something to Mr. Twiggs who was directing traffic. (Mr. Twiggs is a young guy). As we drove past, he said “this lady said she has Miata envy). Sarah and I both thought that was funny and laughed about it a bit on our way home.

We then went to WalMart to get a few things. I spent a little more than I should have which is my habbit. We didn’t get home till after 4. I heated up some left over pizza for dinner and we just relaxed most of the day. Hopefully we will all get over our illnesses soon. I have to go back to work tomorrow so I really hope this sinus junk goes away.

Tron like game

I came across this neat game while doing a search for LAN games. Its a game based on the movie TRON, it has the motorcycles like were in the movie, where you drive them around this arena, and you leave a solid wall behind you. Its a lot of fun, a bit difficult, but definately fun. You can play single player games or do a LAN game with other players. Its totally free and you can download it from the Authors Website