Joe's New Blog

Nothing special, this is just my third effort at writing a blog about my life and what goes on in it: Hobbies, cooking, work, maybe the occasional book or DVD review, and so forth. Nothing really noteworthy, but this is sort of a little subset of my world...

Friday, February 13, 2015

What's the password?

So after bringing home my new laptop on Saturday, doing all the registration and such, my first order of business was to download Firefox.  I do use Internet Explorer on my work computer, since I have no choice, and I don't mind it all that much in limited use.  But, because I've used Firefox on all of my home computers and some of my work computers for the past decade or so, I'm much more familiar with a lot of its bells and whistles, where it stores the options and the various key commands that will get me where I want quickly.

I'm also giving some serious thought to setting up the sync service on Firefox, because I think it would help me the next time my computer crashes with what is probably the worst problem I'm having right now:  Remembering all of the user names and passwords for all of the various sites that I have frequented in the past.  All of the bookmarks are gone, too, but that again is one of those things that I'll just try to start over.  Bookmark the things that I discover now, or hopefully just read them, comment on the stories or articles, try to learn from the site and not just bookmark it and let it languish in the history.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

New Version, again

So this past weekend, I took a couple of days off from work, figured I'd maybe do some stuff in the garage if the weather was nice, otherwise maybe play around a little on the computer, install some of the new sound modules and effects that I'd purchased from IK Multimedia.  I'm a bit of a gear whore, love to have a huge number of sounds to play with, love to have a huge number of different ways to tweak those sounds out.  And IK had a deal where you could get a bunch of their different sound collections, well over a thousand different multisamples, and probably a couple hundred different effects at least, for a quarter of the usual cost.  And when I found out that I had some "jam points," their customer loyalty sort of rewards, available to me, so I could get this four hundred dollar package for about seventy bucks, yeah, that was kind of the end of my resistance.

That was a few weeks ago that I'd purchased that package, but since I hadn't really been playing with my musical stuff much, I hadn't downloaded any of that stuff yet.  This past Thursday, since I had the day off, I spent the whole day downloading and installing that whole package, got everything registered, found a few cool favorite sounds, mostly old synthesizer samples that sounded a lot like late 70s Rush.  I love the sound of those old Taurus pedals, Moog and Oberheim synths.  I found a few cool settings in their Amplitube guitar processing program, made my bass sound weird but cool.  I was pretty happy with all of that, it was money well spent.

And the, early in the afternoon on Saturday, I was unpacking some other little freeware program off the web, I think it was some other effects processor or synthesizer, and my computer froze up on me.  I figured the antivirus software was just having some issues with it, since it was a pretty big zip file I'd downloaded.  So I wandered off, did some little things around the house, killed about half an hour or so.  Came back and the computer was still locked up just on that file extraction, but I could do some other things in other programs.  So I saved all the work I could, closed down other programs that were running in the background.  Went off and did a few other things for half an hour or so.  Hoped that maybe closing down those other programs and such would help.

No, when I got back, the computer was still locked up.  So I did the hard reboot on it.  And that's the last time that computer has ever done anything more than show me the BIOS bootup screen.  It came up to the Windows XP start screen, thought about it for a few seconds, and went back into the reboot.  Two or three repeats of that, and I hit the BIOS setup button, had it check hardware.  All checked out okay, but still no luck on rebooting.

I'm a computer geek from a long way back, made my money for fifteen years solving problems just like that one.  Could I have solved it?  Yeah, probably, but it would have taken me a while, and I still would have most likely had to do a reinstall of the operating system, and I would have lost some of my data and settings.  So I chose to just cut to the chase instead.

A couple of hours later, I was down at Best Buy helping a nice older Asian couple find a computer that would work well for her to be able to go back to college.  No, I'm sorry, Mr. Blueshirt, the lady who just wants to write a few reports, check the web, and send e-mail to her daughter doesn't actually need a 17 inch laptop with 16 GB of memory and an i7 processor.  Half the price got her the dual mode convertible laptop tablet with a Celeron and a couple gigs of memory, and she'll probably never even challenge that core to its fullest.

I, on the other hand, want to be able to see waveforms at max resolution, and I want to be able to render down software synthesizers into sound files at decent time frames, and I want to be able to program Java and have it lock into databases and pull that data without me having to wait half the day and without having to have a separate database server.  But, I also have something of a limited budget, especially having to buy the new computer unexpectedly on a moment's notice.  So, I wound up walking off with a Toshiba laptop, 17 inch screen, 6 GB of memory, 500 GB hard drive, AMD A8 processor.  I'm still trying to figure out the whole Windows 8 thing, but I'll get there.

And I also kind of had a stern talking to myself.  The last probably dozen computers that I've had, the first thing I tried to do was make sure that all my data and programs transferred over onto the new unit.  But, you know, if I've got data from two jobs ago still sitting there on my hard drive, do I really need it?  If I've got a program that I haven't used in two years, is it worth it for me to even see if it's still around?  I don't think so.

So, I've made myself a list of the programs that I really use, made myself a little bit of a list of some of the data that I want to recover from that other hard drive.  And I've decided that I'm going to get myself a new external hard drive, and I'm going to be rigorous with my backup routine, but I'm also going to try to make sure that I keep track of what's on there, of what I do with this new laptop, of all the websites and downloads and programs installed and settings tweaked.

And will that work?  I don't know.  But I'm going to try, I'm going to try to do better.  See what time tells...