Archive for August 2010

Not as Bad as I Feared?

Published on August 27, 2010

I found an old video card around my house last night, so I swapped my current one out for it. I was able to boot my system, but upon entering Windows, I still see graphical trash. That indicates to me that the motherboard is most likely to blame.

After doing a little bit of hardware research last night, it appears that my CPU is still among the best, so I doubt I’ll replace that after all. And seeing as my graphics card might not actually be to blame, I’ll probably hang on to it as well (it, too, is still fairly decent). The motherboard definitely needs to be replaced, and I’m thinking about going to DDR3 memory instead of DDR2 (though if I stayed with DDR2 I could get by with just purchasing a new motherboard).

So, long story short, the situation doesn’t appear to be as dire as I had initially thought. It still bites that I have to deal with this though. Why can’t technology just work?

The Day the Computer Died

Published on August 26, 2010

My desktop computer at home has been giving me some occasional graphical problems ever since I updated to Windows 7. I have the latest and greatest drivers for my graphics card, but every so often I get graphical trash on screen that, usually, corrects itself. Tonight, it seems to have died for good. I can’t get the system to boot reliably, even after trying to reseat the card. To add to my woes, I’ve also been having the occasional “double-beep” at startup, indicating that I have a memory problem. This has been an issue ever since I switched to the abit motherboard I’m currently using.

Anyways, I’m going to bite the bullet and buy a bunch of new hardware to fix all of this. New motherboard, CPU, memory, graphics card; the whole shebang.

If you have recommendations as to what to buy these days, I’d sure appreciate it. I’ll be putting in some orders ASAP, so the sooner you can recommend something, the better.

Tracking My Weight

Published on August 12, 2010

I’ve been slightly overweight for quite a long time. Two months ago, I decided I would start tracking my weight daily, in an effort to try and motivate myself to shed a few pounds. Desiring a tool to make this easy, I immediately searched the Android marketplace and found Libra. This incredibly handy tool uses a weight trend line as described in the excellent book The Hacker’s Diet.

Allow me to quickly talk about The Hacker’s Diet. Written by John Walker, founder of AutoDesk, this book tackles weight loss as an engineering problem. The author is funny, to the point, and provides a careful analysis of how weight loss works. The briefest summary: you will only lose weight by eating fewer calories than you need. Exercise won’t do it (though it helps), and weird diets (Atkins, South Beach, et al.) won’t do it either. Read the book for further discussion and analysis of this viewpoint. The author presents a pretty solid case that’s hard to argue against. Best of all, the book is available for free as a PDF!

The trend line in a weight chart tells you where you’re headed: am I gaining weight (line going up), maintaining it (horizontal), or losing it (line going down)? With this simple tool, I was able to see in no time at all that my weight was going upwards at an alarming rate. After waking up to my weight gain, I set a modest goal of losing 9 pounds (I was 9 pounds above the “overweight” line for someone my height).

After reading The Hacker’s Diet, I made one simple change to my lifestyle: I altered how much I eat at each meal. I didn’t change what I eat; only how much. And wow what a difference that has made! Today, I weighed in at my goal weight for the very first time! Here’s the proof:

Weight Chart

As you can see from the chart, I started heading up, turned the corner, and have been headed down ever since. My trend line hasn’t yet hit my target weight (as of today’s measurement, it’s scheduled to hit the target on August 21), but at least it’s heading in the right direction. It was a great feeling to hit my target this morning. I’m looking forward to shedding a few more pounds and maintaining a healthier weight.

Greensboro Historical Museum and Guilford Courthouse

Published on August 1, 2010

This weekend, for my mom’s birthday, we took a trip over to Greensboro, NC to visit the Greensboro Historical Museum and the Guilford Courthouse Military Park. Having never visited Greensboro proper, we didn’t really know what to expect from either.

The historical museum in Greensboro is way larger than it may look from the outside. We easily spent two hours wandering through the various exhibits, some of which are tremendously large. More time could easily be spent here; the rainy weather limited our outdoor experiences (a few exhibits are outside the building). I was surprised to learn about the history of the area; a number of corporations were founded there, and several prominent events have occurred over the course of time. Best of all, the visit is absolutely free! I came away from the museum very impressed. It easily rivals the state museums in Raleigh.

Guilford county courthouse, site of a pivotal battle in the Revolutionary War, is equally as entertaining. Again, the rainy weather limited our outdoor activity at the park, but it should be noted that there are miles of hiking trails and a number of memorials around the park. The visitor center has an excellent 30-minute film describing the events of the battle. A number of artifacts from the battlefield are also on display; from rifles, to cannonballs, to belt buckles, it’s all here. The collection is truly gigantic. Again, the visit is completely free. This is a park I will definitely return to.

If you’re ever in the Greensboro area, I highly recommend both destinations. Both provide a relaxing environment, and a historical perspective on the Piedmont region of North Carolina.

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