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WEEK 10 2004

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Saturday 6 March 2004

Saturday - I went to some yard sales in the morning with friends. That's always fun, you never know what you'll see. i didn't spend much, one dollar, so I didn't go crazy or anything.

Went to a play in the evening, "Romeo and Juliet", written by some old guy. It was supposedly done "in the style of the Matrix", but wasn't really. It was fun though, with Thibault being played by a woman, and Romeo - a caucasian actor - has a black father. Instead of sword fights there are karate battles and such. However all the correct people die just as they are (not?) supposed too...

Friday 5 March 2004

Friday - starting to get organized. Talked to the new boss about what he'll want. I need to get my own medical insurance, pay my own social security taxes, do my own local, state, and federal taxes and  unemployment stuff.

The good part - if I use a home office some of my normal expenses can be deducted, as well as those solely necessary for the business (the fax machine and laser printer, for example!). I'm an honest fellow who doesn't cheat on his taxes or anything, but if they want to give me some of my own hard earned money back, well, that's fine by me. I will probably find a tax person before I go far with this stuff, and decide between direct expenses and depreciation and such not. In any case one pitfall to avoid is buying stuff so I can depreciate/write-off it. That is too much like buying stuff because it's on sale, instead of because I need it.

I did purchase a fax machine for the business. I faxed my agreement back! Hah. It's also a simple copier, nothing fancy, but it'll do a few pages now and then. No action on the laser printer yet. I want to do a bit of research. But the models made by the Brother company would seem to be a good choice.

Thursday 4 March 200

Thursday - back from the north. It looks as if it has been raining (storming?) here. Lancaster is a dusty place, so that is all to the good I guess. There were a number of messages on the answering machine - nothing too earth shattering.

An employment off. I guess that is important. Heh. Independent Contracting - I like the sound of it! Can I do it? Can I stick to the job without the structure of routine, the commute, the clock watching and hum of activity in an office to remind me that I am actually being paid to perform? Dunno. I think so. Just a matter of coming up with a new routine.

I'll need a fax machine, I think. Yes, I have used the scanner and PC, but it's slow and unreliable. And a laser printer - the inkjet is just too slow and expensive for large printouts. I just need black and white, and probably ethernet capability, so that I can keep the inkjet hooked up for the occasional color print.

Wednesday 3 March 2004

Wednesday - there was a post here - but it went away. Not sure why, but sometimes they do that.

I did a bit more stuff with Dad's new computer in the morning. Created the system restore disks, and the system recovery tool disk, and burned backups of the various pictures and documents folders. Defragged and whatnot. Also put a new version of the anti-virus on the laptop (and got another copy to put on my own machine). Also added the old box back to the network - actually that went pretty well, I expected more trouble buy XP and 98SE seemed to see each other Ok.

I left some tapes with dad, but borrowed an audio book from him for the trip back, "To the Far Blue Mountains". It really makes the time go faster to have something to listen to...

The Explorer covered 423 miles using 19.57 gallons of fuel, on the way back, for a not-too-bad average of 21.6 miles per gallon! Though forty or so of the miles were city traffic driving the day before, so the highway mileage would be slightly better than the average indicates.

Tuesday 2 March 2004
Tuesday - here is the grass and sky, which seem to be staying around today.

green hills and blue skies

Monday 1 March 2004

Monday - The weather continues to be a bit wet. In the early morning we get crystal blue skies over a green hillside, but it then turns to grey overcast and drizzling rain. Oh well, good for the trees and other growing things.

Dad's new PC is working well. We set it up Sunday night. It has XP installed on a hard drive partition, and the first time you turn it on it installs. We hooked up the mouse, keyboard, monitor, and ethernet, and it found and installed them all without any problems!

I had been a little concerned about the ethernet connectivity, since my father has broadband and the old machine has some software from his ISP that we suspected of causing some of the machine's problems. But there is a router/firewall/WAP sitting between the broadband modem and the PC, and to the new PC it acts as a DHCP server and the special software was unneeded. We did have to set up Outlook, but that was easy - just copying the settings from the laptop sufficed.

We then deleted a lot of junk that my father wasn't interested in - offers for cheap dialup, music and video sites, and so on. We installed programs that he uses - Netscape instead of IE, and so on. I also ran AdAware and Norton, and cleaned and defragmented the disk. In addition I went to microsoft and did the system "update" thing - lots of rebooting of the computer, but there are enough vulnerabilities and such that it is worthwhile doing.

In the afternoon I assailed the "sharing". On Win2k it was easy, on XP a little different. Once you've read up on it a bit it becomes a bit easier. The workgroup had to be the same. Sharing had to be turned on. And the firewall, alas, had to be temporarily shut down. But once that is done things work well. The printer is accessible to the laptop via sharing, and files and folders.

We watched "Flight of the Phoenix" on DVD in the evening. It has Jimmy Stewart, Richard Attenborough, and some other folks and is one of the "character study of people in a lifeboat" class of movies. A plane crashes in the middle of the Sahara and everyone has to agree to work together to rebuild it ns survive. A good movie.

Sunday 29 February 2004

Sunday - this is a leap day. If it's your birthday be sure to insist on 4X the usual number of presents!

I'm up visiting my Dad. His laptop is working fairly well, but the computer in his den is acting up. I'm sure I've written on this before, it's an intel D815eaal2 motherboard running a pentium 850. But, since day one, there have been little issues and it's been getting worse. It tends to overheat. It loses USB ports. It recently lost the serial port. The OS (Win98se) gets corrupt easily and I've re-installed any number of times. Since it was giving problems I offered to build him a new system from scratch.

He decided that it was probably easiest to just buy a new system, and that's true. Once you cost out a new motherboard, a new cpu, and a new OS, you really aren't saving a great deal. As with building a car, boat, or an airplay you do have EXACT knowledge of what's under the hood, but that wasn't really of great interest or import to him. xxx

Our first try was a little computer shop in Pleasant Hill, R-Computer. They've helped my Dad out a few times and he thought he'd send them a little business. Unfortunately they were closed - Sunday, you know. So we went off to Best Buy. An interesting experience. I found a machine that looked good - a Pentium 2.7Ghz box, with WinXP, USB & Firewire & memory card readers on the font, plenty of disk and ram. The salesman wanted us to upgrade to a 3.0Ghz box at double the cost! Hah. (He was also chewing gum whilst talking - gross!) But we had made our choice and stuck to it. The next assault was "extras". Did we want a three year warranty? "No" "Are you sure?" blah blah blah, we don't work on commission (I am pretty sure they do, from things I have heard). Do we want the $25 spyware removal inspection? "No" "Are you sure? " blah blah blah. And a host of other unnecessary things that I forget. We could have easily spent another $1000 on junk if we weren't wary.

In any case, we got the PC, at a good price, and took it home.

We watched a bit of the Oscar's. Return of the King made a bit hit, as was expected. Sometimes the Academy snubs "popular" films - but not this year. We didn't have the sound on much - too busy working on setting up the new PC - so I didn't hear all the speeches. So maybe somebody actually did thank J.R.R. Tolkein and I just didn't hear.

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