Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Busy Life

After a couple days recuperating from a headstorm which ended Thursday, April 24th, (mind you I'm having to use a calendar to even construct this sentence) it appears I am back in saddle and getting personal life projects accomplished.

A couple glitches surfaced, delaying NASAV Studios™ construction again. Shall blog on this under separate cover.

I am currently making 4 new PC Help Videos. I am not impressed with Camtasia 5. Although some of its new features are nice, editing and doing post production in the time line has UNACCEPTABLE LAG TIME which seriously hampers production. Some users might view this as a "upgrade your PC hardware" sort of thing. I don't think of it that way. I am using a 800 FSB, Pentium 4 3.2GHz, optimized XP SP2, and the performance degredation from Camtasia versions 4 through version 5 are simply unacceptable. There is no point having the ability to adjust and slide things on the time line in any editor having to do with video and sound, if you cannot precisely preview your content exactly how it will be rendered. So, I am back to using Camtasia 3.01 which is easy to use and you can actually edit smoothly in real time and have an accurate preview prior to rendering your final production.

Meanwhile, 11 hours into PC Help Video production, my operating system decides to take a dump. Will not boot to safe mode, reboot loop. Taking video with my little DV cam I was able to see the flashing BSOD (blue screen) which contained no stop error and was a generic, "remove or reinstall bad hardware" error message. Attempting an XP Repair, Windows found 5 partitions. Drive 0, the 80GB HDD which went bad, showed up with 76GB of free space meaning Windows XP is reporting the drive to be empty. Booting up using my custom UNIX boot CD, the partition is found and I can view ALL of the data and their filenames on the drive using short and long-filename modes.

At this point I have 3 options. 1)Killdisk the drive, and install XP; this would be my last choice. 2)Boot @Active File Recovery Enterprise (AFRE), recover data and save to CD/DVD, LAN or external USB (which I don't have an external USB now) and 3)Boot System Commander 9 and disable the "active" partition on that bad 80GB drive. Then connect the bad drive to the PC I'm using now which boots from a 200GB SATA drive, run AFRE, recover data from the bad 80GB drive and save to the 190GB of free space on this 200GB drive. BEST CHOICE. And it worked. Flawlessly.

Initially AFRE found the 80GB IDE HDD partition in "Bad" shape. However, in less than 25% into its thorough scanning process, AFRE upgraded the partition status from Bad to Poor to Not Bad to Acceptable to Good to Excellent! This is wonderful software and totally worth $100 dollars. When logical drive letters get scrambled or when XP cannot boot to safe mode, it's AFRE to the rescue. Note: XPs Recovery Console proved fruitless trying all partition utilities and commands. Actually, the recovery console made things worse, but again, System Commander instantly fixed that!

But before recovering data, first stop was System Commander which I used to disable the active partition on the bad 80GB drive. I won't bother naming them, but just for giggles, I tried 3 name-brand partitioning programs, that people tell me, "they're good partition managers" and yet NONE of the 3 I tried had the ability to change the bad hard drive's, "active" status. In my case, it was paramount to disable the active partition. Without disabling the "active" boot status, the IDE and SATA drives cannot be connected to this motherboard because the BIOS doesn't support toggling to SCSI, which happens to be a workaround for this SATA/IDE drive scenario. So, as long as the IDE partition is active, my SATA C: drive will be ignored and the bad 80GB HDD will continue its boot_looping BSOD_ing nonsense.

If I had an external USB drive to use, I would have simply fired up a AFRE boot CD, recovered the data and saved to the external USB drive. But, I live HOURS from a city where I could purchase a USB drive (today) but I'd rather not pay $30 dollars just to FedEx it overnight. So, I chose to remove the drive from its case, and jack it into this PC. Ran AFRE and recovered the data and saved to the free space on this 200GB drive. Long story, good ending. Data recovered. Problem gone. Thanks again to System Commander and AFRE.

Changing topics, we're going to be changing camp spaces here at the resort. We were offered an incredible offer saving over $3,000 dollars annually. This move will help me to buy a 3GHz iMac 24-inch. The 3GHz dual core provides ample power to run XP/Vista under Apple Boot Camp, Parallels Desktop or VMWare Fusion. I had considered dedicating my P4 2.4GHz XP SP1 PC to use for DAW with my O1X and MOTIF XS, but now I have chosen to bail entirely from Windows and music recording production. The Intel iMAC manages native OS X running Cubase 4 and Tracktion 3 better than its PC counterpart. Even, running XP under Boot Camp, Parallels or VMWare Fusion is better than running native on the Intel P4. So, Harry is headed, "back to MAC-land". I say this because I began my personal computing adventures FIRST on a Mac back in 1984. I find it ironic, now 24 years later, I am returning to Macintosh.

In other news, I am continuing exterior painting of the RV. The mirror struts are finally done and it's time to remove the masking tape. The rear of the RV needs to be cleaned, sanded and taped where it will receive some flat black and crimson red stripe painting to finalize the elimination of this truck looking 24 years old. So, although my plans to construct the NASAV website and post photos and videos of the, "before and after" is now 4 months behind, this project close to completion.

Still enjoying the NDS and during my PC death, it was handy to jump online via wi-fi and twitter and do some email. Go NDS ^5!

For those of you who take your time to read my blog, I would like to thank you for your time and consideration. I trust you will have a nice spring season and I think we're all going to have an exceptional summer this year.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Nailed Again • Life Is Slowing Down

Well isn't that special. It's Friday already. Jeee, that was a nice week that just whizzed past me without even saying, "Hello".

It's [comparatively] warmer today. Still, in the 50's but my body's whacked-out thermostat is aware that the barometric pressure has changed and the mean temperatures have increased. There have been times when I am just plain boiling up and I will turn on the air conditioner when it is only 65ºF ;;heh;; I can remember when any temperature lower than 80ºF was freezing cold to me. Well... that was 8 years ago in Florida. Wow, almost a decade already since Ohio and the girls, then back to FL, then dad sick and then California. All seems like a blink of the eye.

I think I might be getting old. I spose up until now it hadn't occurred to me that fifty-four years have zipped by me while I was pretending that time stood still. Then one day you wake up and realize that life only let's you pretend just ONCE and then it's over.

When I get NASAV_Studios™ operational I will feel emotionally better. I am frustrated now. I am at least four months behind schedule. I thought it would never stop raining. But, it finally did. So, now it's time to customize the table and to acquire some ABS PVC to test it as a substitute mixer stand pole which will rise up through the table. Hopefully, this idea will work. If not, then I will have to build something using wood. So, again, I need to drive into town with my measurements and see what I can work out. Ideally, if I could buy a piece of aluminum or steel with the two different dimensions for each end, that would be sturdier than the plastic, but I think the thick ABS will suffice. The mixer weighs less than 20 pounds and the length is not excessive.

I'm feeling laziness set in already and spring isn't even here yet. I look up at the ceiling and remember that I never repainted it flat-black as planned and now from the kitchen back to the bath and bedroom I am going to paint flat-white. So, I have painting work to do before summer 2008 passes; which it will; everything does.

As the days pass, I notice I nap several times within a 24 hour period of time. This napping is on top of my existing 4 to 6 hours sleep that I experience most days unless I am in coma sleep due to pain. Things are slowing down. The other day I thought back to 2001 when the doctors gave me 15+ years. Perhaps, what I am expriencing is the autumn of my life. I am spending time caring about what ultimately matters. Though I don't think I have sorted out what that is as yet. Perhaps I will write a song about that.

Still enjoying the NDS which has strayed my time away from the PC more and more. I plan to get my PC projects done before spring is over. Help videos, a couple new websites and other ideas I've had on paper to construct and be done with.

It's nice that James and Kathy has joined twittering with TheGraz and me. I twitter and even blog now using my NDS. Surprisingly, it is not much slower than using a PC. Sure, typing a story using a standard keyboard is a plus, but many other times, it is very convenient to hop onto the NDS via wi-fi and post my 2 cents.

Time for a nap. We'll catch up later.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Nailed Again

Ain't gonna happen today.

Starting a technews site. Sneak peak at http://happyharry.net/technews where there is only one article.

See ya on the flipside.


NDS Heaven

Hello everyone!

Here I am blogging to you using my NDS (NintendoDS) on wi-fi and Opera browser. This is very cooL and I am able to access email, chat clients, online chess, twitter and blog, all with the ease of using the on-screen keyboard and the NDS stylus!

For my first hours online I am impressed that I can walk quite some distance away from my NASAV home and have solid wi-fi performance. Way to go Nintendo!!


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Nailed Again

Another batch of days seemingly drop off the radar. Which would be mathematically correct. Nevertheless, my projects and ToDo lists from 2007 for 2008 are getting lined out a little slower than projected.

NASAV Studios™ originally scheduled to be operational by FEB 2008 has been pushed out to JUN 2008. Better late than never, eh? It is exciting to finally get the studio rigged and the cables jacked. Most of all, it is fantastic to consider the O1X digital mixer being taken out of its case and getting permanently set up for use! There will be a dedicated website coming for NASAV Studios™ to keep you up to date with what's going on there.

Personally, I've let time slip away in NDS-Land. It's a busy and fun place. And, I am enjoying microSDHC memory cards. Much better than their SD and CF counterparts in terms of how they are manufactured and constructed. I just threw out into the trash, another 2GB SD card simply due to, "wear and tear" because the casings begin to come loose. When this happens, it affects the locking mechanism on the card which in turn affects WRITING TO the card. When this happens there is nothing you can do. Your data ON the card is safe, which is good because you can drag it off to someplace more safe. I also keep a copy of my data on a free server site at http://adrive.com which gives you 50GB free. Check it out.

Finally got into town and purchased new strings for my 12-string guitar. So there's another day to plan. The guitar is "like new" so doesn't require much cleaning up, and changing the strings is a fairly easy job. I have somewhat grown out of this 12-string and am looking to sell it and will purchase an instrument that is more in line with my caliber of playing. I have yet to determine a selling price, and yes, I shall announce its price when it is available to sale.

Shall blog again tonite. I have PC Help Videos to make, create and post.


Monday, April 14, 2008

A Week Of Life

Wow a week of life!

One thing that I am appreciating about "blogging" is it gives me a sense of time. When I look at the time and date in my system notification tray and see Monday, April 14th and realize my last blog was on the 7th and only remember like one day that I was off my feet, it gives me great satisfaction to know that I enjoy a great WEEK of life. Seven solid days give or take a headache and some pain here or there.

In this blog I am going to skid over the topics that I may later post more specifically about. But, for the sake of time and that I don't want to forget what is on my mind, I will keep the topics brief for this posting.

First, it was very exciting that the DIMM RAM finally arrived for the Yamaha MOTIF XS and I prepared ahead of time for its installation. The workstation must be flipped over so having a secure "stand to support the unit" is imperative. I used bricks and wrapped them in 12"x12" cloth towels available in sets of 9 for $5 dollars at Wal-Mart. The installation took around ten minutes tops. I also wore a grounding wrist-strap whereas I am one of those people who naturally carry on their person, 50,000 volts of static electricity so it is imperative that I be strapped and grounded before I get near electronic parts such as highly sensitive DIMM memory. After installing the DIMMs, I fired up the XS and it immediately showed 380 minutes of sampling time available. I patched into SONG mode, called up a song I am working on and then mixed it down to stereo to be resampled in the sampler. The process was painless and worked well. I did go through the process 3 times because the amplitude was less than I expected. Yamaha apparently purposely [for a lack of better word] attenuates the signal gain so people don't get distorted samplings. You can adjust the sampler; -12db, -6db -3db -zero +3db +6db and +12db. This is actually a handy feature when you simply want to take a song from the XS, and create a 44 kHz WAV file to send or take to a PC/MAC for mp3 without having any plans to edit, mix or do any post production on the data in any DAW or mastering app such as Wavelab or Yamaha's mastering suite. In my case, this was a simple, somewhat quiet, yet lovely piece of 2 spanish guitars and harmonica and the +6db resampling option worked well.

All of the NDS accessories I purchased finally arrived. This includes the M3DS ReaL slot1, RAM expansion slot2, 4GB microSDHC including USB 2.0 SDHC adapter (very cooL) and an extra RAM expansion called the 3-in-1 which is needed for fast browser cache when using the Opera web browser on the NDS. I'm glad I bought the 3-in-1 because now, both of our NDS units will have Internet capability. All I must do is order another M3DS ReaL which I will do. In my first hours of toying with its features and "home brew" this is really exciting stuff and a fun hobby. If you enjoy handheld gaming and like to get into other venues such as viewing pictures, movie conversion, listening to music and the like, then you owe it to yourself to either find a friend who has one and is doing this so you can check it out OR just go buy a Nintendo DS Lite, and get yourself a M3DS ReaL, download and install the latest firmware v3.4 and get "brewing" ASAP. If you're wondering how much does all this junk cost? Well, the NDS is $129, my really cool case to carry it all was $26, the M3DS ReaL including a rumble pack and RAM expansion plus a USB 2.0 microSDHC reader was a whopping $63 and the 3-in-1 expansion was $20. The Kingston microSDHC 4GB including SD and MMC adapters was $30. So, for $268 you can have a totally custom NDS, with Internet connectivity, watch movies, listen to music, view pictures and do TONS of Linux apps and utils, plus play DS and GBA games. This is handheld heaven. And, yes I was considering a Sony PSP. Still am. It can do a couple more things better. Such as watching home brew video and it has a neat add-on live chat-cam package. But, feature for feature and price vs. price, the NDS costs way less and does AS much as the PSP. Neither handheld can play Flash yet, nor can they view PDF files. Shall be interesting to see who gets any of THAT first. But, in June, Sony will be releasing the "Cherry Red" PSP bundle including the game, "God of War" and it will be a must buy for me. But a PSP with all the bells and whistles and accessories about $500. So... if you're interested at all, leave me a note right here on my blog using the Shoutcast OR email me. But, for under $300 USD, the NDS delivers a TON of entertainment for years to come.

Kathy and I had our 1st "shindigg" here yesterday. We threw a birthday barbeque for her twin daughters. 11 people showed up, plus a gorgeous white pet husky dog. We all had a great time, the weather was gorgeous and I will be adding these videos to the upcoming NASAV website which is the web for our RV life. The party lasted about 5.5 hours and although I enjoyed listening to our favorite music and watching the girls dance and fool around, it was nice to get back to, "nature quiet" after everyone left to drive back to the city.

I'm back to playing Mass Effect on the 360. And a couple days ago I got an itch to play Dawn_Of_War_Dark_Crusade. Enjoyed that so much that I happen to see their new RTS, DOW_Soulstorm so I went ahead an bought it. Great game and now this fine real time strategy game includes, "air units" and I like one of the new factions called, "The Sisters". Fun game, and it's fun to be playing RTS again on the PC.

Tirtiary note: I was surprised that during the birthday barbeque, the guys opted to play Call_Of_Duty_2 instead of playing the new COD_4 which proves that the 2nd incarnation of the game provides a better split-screen experience. Personally, I think the weapon sounds in COD2 are much better than in COD4, this includes experiencing them in full 5.1 digital surround via TOSlink.

In other news: days before the barbeque, I have already finalized all roof maintenance due to the winter. This rig is 25 years old and our roof repairs consistently have worked for us, but each spring, a few spots need upgrading or simply repatching. The entire process took me around 2 hours and I am very pleased with the RV roof.

Also, all of the RV trim got a, "Spring Coat" of flat black latex and I am preparing to do the cab_steps and order a couple rolls of molding for the outside skirts. Also the front grill (in front of the engine) although still looking good, needs to get a fresh spray of black along with the rear wheel skirts. I do this once a year anyhow. This process takes about 2 hours as well. So, you're asking, "When do we get to see all of this so-called customizing?" Okay! You're entitled to ask and to gripe! But the NASAV website is in the works. The transformation of the RV from what it was when I bought it to what it is now, is not night and day, but it is very unique. The main attraction being our RV is probably only 1 in millions of RV motorhomes that DOES_NOT have factory logo decals on it. That was the FIRST thing we ripped off. There will be pictures and video of those experiences.

In the past WEEK, I spent an entire day just learning more about the MOTIF XS song and pattern mode. The pattern mode is very powerful with its 16x16x5=1,280 parts to be used in song creation. It takes some getting used to a different way to [physically] construct songs. Yet, the process is still linear and works well for musicians like me who do write parts such as intro, verse, bridge, chorus, fills, key changes, ending.

Am very excited to finally find a OFFICIAL Yamaha O1X travel case. I say this because I got lazy and didn't buy one when I bought my O1X and then when I went online to order one, they were no longer available ANYWHERE. I was freaking out. So this is great that not only did I find a place that has them, but the price dropped $30 too. This case is a padded, zippered, wheel_around with slide-up extended handle (just like airline pull me's). The case includes space for a laptop in a separate layer of the case along with pockets for cords and cables. So, come the tail end of April I will order one along with a Gater-case for the XS, and 2 nylon dust covers for both units. Once the studio is setup permanently, the units MUST be covered at all times when not in use. Quality towels DO_NOT keep out dust, dirt and debris!!

The month of May will be to INSTALL the studio table, saw, drill and paint and setup the gear, jack all the cables and get excited to begin losing days and nights at NASAV_Studios™.

I spent half a day kicking around some PCTech documents that I am still editing and working in collaboration with the room owner. I expect these to be approved and get published to the net sometime between now and May.

More later!


Monday, April 07, 2008

A New Day

In other news I am at least a day behind, but am feeling better so shall tackle projects I had planned to finish 20 hours ago, including PCTech's newsletter for April.

After much research and shopping I believe I found a chair that will be suitable for the studio.It is a task chair with arms covered with suede and is immediately comfortable.

Still having upload difficulties and this problem appears to be with my ISP. I had their technicians triple check my hardware and lines here only to find that the equipment on this property is so old that trying to achieve a sustained 460 kbps upload speed under load is asking too much. I'm not sure as yet how to resolve this matter. Just one of my website designs has literally thousands of, "image slices" which time out when trying to upload them. This means, a project that I have designed and completed over a month ago, is still not published. This is a very frustrating situation whereas my hosting service just replaced their servers and hubs with the latest hardware technologies making for fast service to visitors. Now, if I can only get my files ONTO my server!

Still shopping for digital camcorders.

My XP install is acting up on my 6 year old P4. I couldn't find the install CD for my nVIDIA graphics card and the latest version Forceware drivers do not work well with this chipset. So, today I shall go through all of my discs to find that driver CD.

The Vista laptop received a juicy, "KILLDISK" yesterday along with BIOS diagnostics and a fresh factory restore from the 2 HP DVDs. It's again running like a champ and this machine now has a dedicated purpose serving Kathy's needs.

I shall return here when I get caught up with yesterday.


Didn't Mean To Bite

During one of my recent bouts of pain, I misinterpreted a, "anonymous comment" made about my scooter. For the record, I wanted to apologize for being snippy. Perhaps, next time, we both can communicate better by stating exactly what we mean.

Sorry, didn't mean to bite.


Saturday, April 05, 2008

It's Great To Be Back

Wonderful. Today I am blessed with a obnoxious and witty sense of humor and pain levels are relatively low which makes for fun times.

Today I will be yanking the 3 lines of cable in the RV and rerunning new lines. The main purpose is to eliminate 1 of the 2 splitters and replace with a proper 3-tap splitter. Also, the splitters in here are the wrong dB type for the Internet cable. Additionally, I am running a line to feed outside.

The forecasted rain never came. I'll wait another week and if still dry I will begin the NASAV Studios™ table construction and order a nice suede desk chair.

One of my P4 XP machines got redone yesterday. After a whopping 4 months, the OS blew out leaving me with no Start menu. Luckily I was able to use task manager and get to FastLynx and shoot all of my apps over to the Vista laptop via the LAN. So am now just setting back up my usual apps such as Studio 8, Canvas X and Camtasia to do some more help videos.

We did 6 hours of metro hysteria days ago and although enjoyed that time, I was majorly trashed the following day. Nevertheless, I found a couple Xbox games that I wanted and at prices below my expectations. Ultimate Alliance is a fun button-masher game, great graphics and I like the RPG element blended into a 3PS action game based on the Marvel super hero cartoon characters. The surround is well done this is truly a pick up and play game.

I am just about ready to create stands to use for installing the sampling DIMM memory into the MOTIF_XS. I think I will use bricks and wrap them in towels. The 61-key workstation must be flipped over and positioned in a very specific way so the brick supports miss the keys and buttons yet hold the unit firmly so the DIMMs can be installed properly.

The animal life outdoors is nice to hear. The squirrels are back and it appears we have 2 couples of Mallards that hang around our place during the day. They wander around looking for "food handouts" but even if we don't feed them, they just sit down and nap here most of the day.

Providing Monday is dry, I will give all of the exterior RV trim another "once_over" with flat black latex. This includes the hood, bumpers, and skirts. Really looks nice and lasts about a year.

Bought some new wheel covers (hub caps) for the car and will install those after picking up a rubber mallet. I gave mine away with a set of tiki lamps and stakes.

Late this afternoon I shall construct the April edition of the PCTech newsletter and publish on Monday the 7th.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Nailed Again

Okay another wonderful day of the, "The Tin Man Does Morbid Pain".

Hey whoever the "anonymous" commenter is, who said, "blog about your scooter you big banana" well, 1) i WILL do that after i drop the $16,000 dollars for "my scooter" and 2) it is people like you who I do wish you could at least just go through one of my waking days so you can get some PERSPECTIVE ON REALITY. Obviously, you don't live in any real pain, and if you were just joking, then you have poor taste and I can't possibly imagine that you get laid much.

I'm medicating and bailing out. Perhaps, Saturday has something in store for me.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Meds Kicked In

Just hours ago I was dealing with a morbid headache. It's good to be on my feet so I can fiddle about, however, as usual the pain dropped to a dull roar leaving me over-medicated which makes for, "cloudy times" when trying to accomplish something.

Nevertheless, I finally got around to making the edits and got the updated Welcome and Room Rules pages up for PCTech. Previsouly, the Room Rules were all on one page and the text was pretty small in size, and the page being a graphic, the text could not be resized. Now the dozen rules are spread over three pages and much easier to read.

In other news, there isn't any.


Nailed Again

Since my last post my hosting outfit upgraded to the latest blazing fast optical servers, hubs and other equipment. I went through a bit of inconvenience and moved PCTech to its original location at 50megs.com which was important to me to do now that I took ownership of the 50megs account which has annual fees. The only issue is 50megs tends to be, "down and offline" often so PCTech visitors are just going to have to live with it. This is also a pisser for me when I attempt to login to the 50megs FTP to do site maintenance and this is why I moved everything to MY servers last year. But now I am busy with my own life and have automated as much as I can to minimize having to login to 50megs. I also have an open tech ticket with 50megs to investigate the FTP login problem and FTP timeouts.

On a tertiary note, people need to stop moaning and complaining about the creativity and work that other people do. These complainers have no intention to PARTICIPATE other than to bitch about their shortcomings and their inability to bring anything to the table. "Life is short—get TO it rapidly" ©HappyHarryNET

Meanwhile, today is nothing. I'm medicated and I'm bailing out. Hopefully, I will be back Wednesday to blog new stuff I am doing on the MOTIF.