02 July, 2015

Sunday Morning Grab Bag... Again

I got delayed again, with a posting. I really have a good excuse this time. My laptop suffered a terminal case of the spurious and creeping electrons doing whatever they wanted.

This was actually the second time my laptop had done that. It has gone berserk several times in the past, but I was always able to get it to work more or less right in short order. Not so this time.
I emailed Roger hoping he was still in the business of building PCs. No. Being a farmer is a higher calling. Doesn't he now he's supposed to be retired? I asked if he knew anyone who did such things and he suggested any of the PC repair shops in town do such things, but that they usually end up with inferior quality parts.
I wasn't so worried about that. My track record on laptops (coming down from the States) tended to be pretty dismal. I'm on my third one since moving here, or is it my fourth? I can't remember.
Anyway, I headed downtown to check out what might be available. I have developed a pretty good working relationship with Fred Orio and his cat at Corozal Virtual Office, so I thought I'd start with him. I asked if he ever builds replacement PCs for people. He said he does it all the time. In fact, he finished a nice one the day before, and was expecting a new power supply and motherboard for another one that afternoon.
We talked a bit more, he told me it would have a brand new Intel Pentium chip, brand new super humma-humma power supply, and some other stuff.
Sounded good to me, so we struck a deal. I told him I had a used 500GB hard drive he could stuff into it and I'd bring that by in the morning.
Imagine my surprise when I ripped open the old box for that drive and found it was an IDE (old style) drive and that it was only 120GB.
I told Fred what I'd found, and he said he had a new either 350GB or 500GB drive. Price was only about $50 BZD difference, so I opted for the biggie.
This all happened on Thursday morning. He said I could come back Friday and pick it up.
Of course, along with the box that contains the CPU or motherboard and a whole host of other stuff, like a DVD Recorder, card reader, 7 USB ports, and 3 fans, I also needed to get a monitor and a keyboard. I already had a mouse. I used it with the laptop. I can't stand using the touchpad.It's been years since I've had a desktop machine and I almost forgot you need all that stuff separately. Laptops are so convienient.
Anyway, Fred had a brand new LG 19" monitor, which I drooled over, and the keyboard... well, it's used. But, all the keys work like they're supposed to. The only other keyboards he had were monstrous tan-color POS's. The box for the thing, I've forgotten to describe it. It's black, used, box shaped, and easy to work on with the hood up. Lots of room to hang periferals onto too. So that might be fun again.
I didn't want any extraneous software as I use pretty much all open-source stuff, Libre Office, etc. I stayed with Windows 7, and I had done a full system backup before my laptop went totally gonzo. I was able to restore the backup to the new machine, slick as a whistle (You do do backups, right?).
I even rooted around in my workshop in a box of old cables and connectors and managed to find my old set of really nice Bose speakers and a web cam that was in like-new condtion. Unfortunately, it's an early model and is no longer supported, so no driver is available. Bummer.
All I need for the speakers is USB/RCA connector of some sort. I need to go into town in the morning anyway, so, with a little luck?
The upshot of this all is, that in the space of two or three days, I'm back up on the Intertubes with, for all intents and purposes, a new PC. Life is good, eh?
Oh, and lest I forget, Dianna and I were in the pool most of the day yesterday. Water temperature was a very nice 86°(f). I tell you, that was why we moved down here. It was just excellent. Of course, the downside is that today is gray and it's raining.
We seem to be hard-pressed to get more than one really nice day in a row this year. At least we haven't had any of the things that this is the season for, and that's weird in and of itself. Not that I'm complaining, mind you.
I am complaining about the road situation. Me, complain about the roads? You ought to hear the doggies complain about not being able to go for walkies for weeks on end. They're about at their wits end.
It won't do much good to complain to anyone in government. They're up to their ears in flooding, road, and bridge outtages throughout the country. That's going to occupy their activities for a long time to come.
And those politicians who aren't caught up in flooding on the grand scale, are probably caught up in the immigration goings on. What a mess. It's beginning to look like sales of visas and passports was a widespread and growing enterprise involving all sorts of folks.
On a related note to the computers, I'm still trying to figure out how to use my NAS (Network Attached Storage) hard drive with the MIFI from Smart Phones that we use now. Once I get that nut cracked, we should be in fat city as far as computers go. Of course, then something else is likely to break.


  1. I have to agree with you on the touch screen mice on laptops... echh!
    I am so tentative that I mistakenly double-click when I really shouldn't and go off on weird tangents... not my bag.

    If they is anything that is worth the trouble I can bring it with me when we come down late December. We'll be in San Pedro so it may not be worth the ride on the Thunderbolt - unless you plan to come over anyway.

    Good luck with the tech stuff!


  2. Hi Julian,

    On my wife's laptop, it was easy to permanently disable her touchpad. Mine on the other hand... I should have given it the float test.

    Can't think of anything we need. We'll still see about getting over there. Don't know yet.


  3. Dave,
    I like the convienience of the laptop but to have a permanent computer again will be welcomed.
    Did you have to purchase anything to make the Mifi gizmo work with the tower? Are you satisfied with the Mifi so far?


  4. Hi Rodney,

    Having a big box hanging around does take a bit of adjustment. I've used a laptop exclusively at home for about the past dozen years.

    I did have to purchase a 150Mbps mlnl wireless N USB adapter - about as big around as your thumbnail. It works great too.

    I'll take MIFI over satellite any day. It's that much better and faster.


  5. Dave,
    Glad to hear the Mifi is working out well and heck with the extra money you save each and every month...do I hear the buzzing of Tropic Air heading to San Pedro out of Corozal airport???
    Speaking of San Pedro, If you havn't heard of the Spin Drift hotel (has the chicken drop in front on Thursday's) I highly recommend it. Great price, clean, right on the water, right next to the square and (enter soundtrack here of something cool) it's where Carvin Marvin sets up selling his world famous carvings from that cool Belizian wood who's name escapes me now...
    Anyway, have a great day in paradise, Kansas promises even more below freezing nights and the farmers almanac suggests buying stock in shovel manufacturers who supply the midwest.


  6. Hi Rodney,

    When we go to San Pedro, we usually make it a point to stay at Ruby's. It's an easy walk from the airport, rooms are clean, spartan, and economical - plus they have a great coffee shop on the street side that opens at 0500. Ham croissants, cookies, etc., and big Styrofoam cups of coffee. Then we go back up to the third deck, relax, and watch the sunrise. Did I mention we try to stay on the third deck as well?
    Stay warm. One day soon you'll be able to say, "We're not in Kansas anymore," just like Dorothy did.



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