Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Ups and Downs

or

A Retrospective of My Seventh Year Blogging

Year Seven was an interesting year on the blog. I didn't defeat any dark wizards, nor do I feel prepared for A-levels. I posted fewer times than any other year—only 50 in total, including yesterday's last-minute postlet. At the same time, around the middle of May, my pageviews shot way up, making previous peaks in my graph look like foothills. After peaking in June with over 50k, my stats haven't dropped below 20k. I can't claim any credit for that, especially given my dreadful posting rate, but it is pretty exciting.

A highlight of the gaming year was our trip to PAX South in late January. Unfortunately, my work schedule intrudes on PAX weekend this year, so we will be unable to attend. As a result of PAX, Scooter and I have discussed doing some tabletop gaming, but it hasn't developed into action yet. As far as computer games go, it was almost exclusively Star Wars: The Old Republic until about June, when Scooter and I, inspired by the Warcraft Movie, re-upped in World of Warcraft a month or so before Legion came out. Strangely enough, even though we kept our SWTOR subscriptions for a couple months after subscribing to WoW again, the game just sort of disappeared from my posts after May.

I got a little more political both on the blog—and a lot more on social media—in 2016. Especially in this election year, so much more seems to be at stake than in years past. I even considered starting a second blog devoted to political stuff, but with the U.S. presidential election going the way it did, the wind has gone out of my sails a bit. I'm not sure I have anything to contribute that isn't already being said by thousands of other people in the United States and around the world in that regard.

The past couple weeks have been pretty big on the handy-man front. Scooter and I built me a new computer, and I replaced the 30-year-old kitchen sink in our house with Scooter assisting at critical points. They both work great. I'm settling into the new rig, but flubbed some of the data transfer because I forgot where things were and then reformatted prematurely. I promised a review of how well it works—which I may still provide; the screenshot above of Stormsage and Soffe is a small sample—but for now, suffice it to say it's quite an improvement over my 6-year-old laptop, which was very nice when it came out.

So once again, we've made it through another year. It's a time to celebrate (with cake?). My love for my bride grows with each passing year. I still love games. I still love blogging, and interacting with those wonderful people I meet online. As may be obvious, I struggle with posting on a regular basis nowadays. But in this new year, I resolve to do better. I can only hope what I write is interesting to you, my Dear Reader.
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Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Seven Magnificent Years of IHTtS

This is going to be perhaps a bit lame, but I wanted to commemorate my blogoversary at least in some small way. I'll have a better retrospective tomorrow, since this weekend so far as been a very busy one. Thank you, Dear Reader, for sticking with me for so long, even when the posting gets a bit thin.
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Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New Year, New Computer

As I indicated a couple posts ago, my 6-year-old model laptop finally gave up the ghost in early December after a traumatic plane ride to Las Vegas. That's not entirely true. Because of previous experience, I believe it is the trip through the airport luggage system that damages computers, not the flight itself. I did not own this particular ASUS G73 for 6 years, I've actually had a succession of three. The first was stolen in a home robbery forcing me to buy another. The second suffered motherboard issues after a different trip; and this most recent one, a Franken-puter of my old one and another sold to me by a good friend, was getting to be out of spec for modern games and expansions before its failure to boot. According to diagnostics, it's possible it only needed a recovery of Windows, but the DVD drive no longer worked, and I'd been wanting a new computer anyway. I'd started to save up a bit for a new rig already, but unexpected expenses in November threw me off my timeline. My sweet bride offered to use household funds to pay for the new computer, which I would then replenish after the fact.

In talking with a coworker who also travels frequently, I came up with a plan to build my own computer, a portable desktop rather than a laptop. I would be able to plug into hotel TVs using HDMI, and have a powerful computer for less money than a higher end gaming laptop. Plus, I had never built a computer from the ground up before, and I wondered if I was up to the challenge. Many of you fellow techies are probably laughing now, because it turns out not to have been particularly difficult at all, especially with Scooter's help. The part I was most nervous about was screwing up the thermal paste on the CPU cooling unit. However, in some ways, the hardest part was actually getting the necessary drivers to run the network interface card, so I could download the rest of the drivers, many of which updated automatically as soon as I had a connection.

[EDIT: Revised list, not all the components were correct. If anyone is interested, I can add links to Amazon]:

-Gigabyte Motherboard (GA-B150N)
-Intel Core i7 (BX80662I76700K)
-Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB RAM (PC4-21300)
-Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 Mini ITX (GV-N1070IXOC-8GD)
-Noctua CPU Cooler (NH-L9I)
-Intel 600p Series m.2 512GB SSD (SSDPEKKW512G7X1)
-HGST Travelstar 7k1000 SATA 1TB HDD (0J22423)
-SilverStone Milo Mini-ITX Computer Case (ML08B-H)
-SilverStone 500W SFX-L Power Supply (SX500-LG)
-ViewSonic 22" Gaming Monitor (VX2252MH)
-Logitech K350 Keyboard (to go with my M570 mouse)
-Windows 10

I'll blurb a bit in a different post on my so-far limited gaming experience with this setup; I was downloading World of Warcraft as I typed the original draft. When all is said and done, the project has cost more than any other computer that I have owned. However, some of this is due to purchasing the new monitor and keyboard, and a really nice graphics card.
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Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

In addition to providing computer construction expertise, Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Carrie Fisher, 1956-2016

The year 2016 really seems to be on a murder spree. I don't think I have ever written specifically about any celebrity deaths, but this one's a bit different. Of course, like many fans, I know Ms. Fisher mainly from her work as the take-no-prisoners Princess / Senator / General Leia Organa. No wilting wall flower, this damsel turned tropes on their heads as she fought alongside her more traditionally male protagonists.
Ms. Fisher was no different, using wit and talent to turn her personal struggles into bestsellers, even as she continued to steal scenes throughout the 1980s and '90s. She was a powerful presence in and out of the spotlight, renowned as a script doctor, and as an advocate for mental issues.
On a more personal note, my lovely bride and I, geeks that we are, identify with the Star Wars power couple, Han and Leia; who, when declaring their love for one another, each responded to the other matter-of-factly.

Carrie, we love you. But I'm sure you know.
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Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.

Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Monday, December 19, 2016

And Then There Were Five . . .

I did not expect to have such a long break between posts. It's been a momentous couple of months, what with the unexpected election results, the breakdown of my gaming computer, and finally the loss of a family member this weekend.

Our Pack at Its Peak
This is from a couple years ago, before he lost weight.
Thank you to all who expressed condolences for the loss of our sweet old dachshund Dexter. He had developed congestive heart failure, which became acute over the last week. We took him to the vet on Saturday. Sadly, while he could have been treated temporarily, his prognosis even in the short term was not good at all. So Scooter and I made the decision to be with him in his final moments and say goodbye together, rather than risk him passing away while we were at work, struggling to breathe, essentially alone.

I thought I had prepared for this, especially after we lost Zane so unexpectedly. But that didn't make Dexter's passing any easier. There's an empty space at the foot of the bed where he belongs, softly snoozing under a blanket or obsessively licking his forepaws. And there's an empty space in our hearts, where Dexter has left his paw prints on his way across the bridge to play with Zane and Ginger and Didi, his mate.
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Creative Commons License
This article from I Have Touched the Sky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you repost part or all of the work (for non-commercial purposes), please cite me as the author and include a link back to the blog.
Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.