Travels and Images
WEEK 10 2004
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Picture of the Week
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
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
- 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
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
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.
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.
Photo Notes: Check your chicken feet IQ!.
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