Once upon a time, I looked up to see the birds. These days, because my house is high and brambles are low, I look down on birds. It’s an interesting position. A really long lens is a huge help.
Today, there were so many birds all over the backyard. Except by the time I finally got the window up and the camera in hand, many had flown away. I got a few anyway, but I missed some of the fun ones. Next time.
I always have very mixed feelings when I realize I’m going to have to buy a new primary computer. I love technology and I love computers. I love gadgets and widgets and cameras and lenses and software. From the first day I put my fingers on a computer keyboard, I knew I’d found my place in the new order. Computers felt like “home” from the first day.
However, getting a new primary computer that will be your everything computer is a big deal.
I’m not talking about a tablet. Or a Kindle. Or an old computer you want to keep because it contains software you can’t buy anymore and which you like better than “new improved” versions.
No, in this case, I’m talking about the one item of equipment that you use all the time for years on end. It’s the constant use computer. The machine on which you blog. Take care of your daily business. Banking, shopping, email, photography. It’s where you process pictures. Where you have software and filters. It’s where you write. Design books. It is important.
Getting a new computer up to speed, configured the way you want it has always been a process that takes anywhere from a few hours to several months of tweaking. In this case, it also involved getting used to a new operating system — Windows 10 Pro up from Windows 7 Pro.
PERFECTLY FROM THE DAY I TOOK IT OUT OF THE BOX
This computer worked absolutely perfectly from the day I got it. There was no start-up time, except the time it took me to figure out where the new stuff was on this computer that was somewhere else on my earlier computers. If I didn’t feel I need to know what’s going on inside, I need not have bothered to find out anything. I’m still finding out things, though more now than before since that BIOS download the other day, but that’s a different issue.
THINGS THEY COULD DO BETTER — AND PROBABLY WILL
The C-port “Thunderbolt” replacements for the USB drives are not very sturdy. They work, but they are fragile. I’m sure they will be improved with time, but as of today’s writing, they should have included more USB ports. I have added hubs, but the lack of a CD drive for a camera card is a real pain in my butt. They should put it back.
It won’t help me much. However, for future computers … put the CD drive back. Add at least two or three more USB ports. There are a lot of items that only work properly in a USB port. Eventually, maybe everything will love these new ports, but they don’t love them today. My external hard drives and my DVD/CD drive won’t work in the C port … and of course, I also need something for the CD flash card too. In theory, you can use a hub, then put stuff them through the C port, but that’s really stupid. Too many hubs, too much stuff. I’m sure I am not the only one complaining about this.
A FEW QUESTIONS ANSWERED BEFORE YOU ASK THEM
Why did I stay with Windows rather than getting a Mac? Because I actually prefer Windows. It’s a structured, work-oriented system. Its design and the way I think work well together. I have owned Macs and used them, but in the end, I’m much more comfortable on Windows. I’m task oriented. The Mac with its “do your own thing” unstructured style doesn’t mesh well with my style. Of course, there’s also the software I own that runs on Windows, but won’t run on a Mac.
I am not a hardware kind of gal. You won’t find me rewiring anything or prying open the case to get at the innards. Software? No problem.
Hardware? Call the guy with the toolkit. The second-hand market it good for people who aren’t afraid of getting down and dirty with the guts of the hardware, but I’m not one of them … so new was the way to go for me. Windows PC. High end. New.
My previous Alienware laptop was very satisfactory, but technology has been whipping along at light speed for the past few years. The computer was more than two operating systems behind. I was not interested in overlaying a new operating system on the old one. I tried that and failed. Badly. It was also getting difficult to run new software on the older system. It ran, but not run well. Frustrating and annoying, but the development world is not interested in my opinion.
OTHER QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Why Windows 10 Pro you ask? Over the decades, I’ve found the “professional” versions of Microsoft operating systems are more stable and much less buggy than the “home” version of the same OS.
Every version of Windows has essentially the same stuff in it, but the menus change. The most alarming difference for more was the complete removal of the “Restore” and “system configuration” menus which has been part of Windows since the beginning. The pieces are now parceled out to other menus (Systems and Task Manager).
HOW DOES IT DO?
It boots up in fewer than 10 seconds. I don’t know how many different windows I could open, but whatever it is, I haven’t found it yet.
THE GOOD AND THE WHAT-THE-HELL?
I would have gone all the way and said this is the best computer I’ve ever had. Basically, it still is, but that download the other day from Microsoft was evil. I’m still recovering from it. To be fair, things seem to be working more or less normally — again.
It’s a great computer.
The problem is, you never know what kind of rat poison you’re going to get in downloads from home base. Apple has done it, Windows has done it more. They really need to step back and ponder users and what we need.
THE PARTS AND PIECES:
- 16GB DDR4 at 2133MHz (2x8GB)
- English Backlit Keyboard, powered by AlienFX
- NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5
- N1435 & N1535 Wireless Driver
- 256GB PCIe SSD (Boot) + 1TB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s (Storage)
- Windows 10 Pro (64bit) English
- Killer 1435 802.11ac 2×2 WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1
- Intel(R)Core(TM) i5-6300HQ (Quad-Core, 6MB Cache, up to 3.2GHz w/Turbo Boost, Base frequency 2.3GHz)
- 15.6 inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Anti-Glare 300-nits Display
- Lithium Ion (68 Wh) Battery
IF YOU DO A LOT OF STUFF ON THE COMPUTER, A GOOD ONE IS WORTH THE MONEY
The computer I had before this one is now Garry’s computer. Aside from not handling newer applications well, it’s a fine computer and will last a very long time, especially with Garry using it. Even if it needs a hard drive or something else, it’s more than worth repairing. You can’t say that about a lot of the cheap, cheesy computers.
They are cheap, but they aren’t good. And they won’t stand up to repair.
Photographs by Garry and Marilyn Armstrong
We got a lot of snow this month, but not as much as we have had in earlier years. If this is as bad as it gets, I’m okay with it.
Yesterday, suddenly, the temperature went up. It didn’t go up a few degrees. It went from well below freezing to downright warm and cozy. But of course, we had a lot of snow on the ground, so the world went into the big drip. First, the long icicles hanging from the roof began to drip and about 24 hours later, they were gone.
Then, the roof began to drip. It was dripping so hard it looked like we were having our own personal rainstorm. This afternoon, with the temperature at 45 degrees Fahrenheit (about 7.25 Celsius), the dripping has stopped. Which probably means the roof is now clear and we didn’t even have to get someone to come and shovel it!
I’m hoping we are now heading towards spring. Not an early spring or even a late one. Just a normal, on time, regular kind of spring weather. Garry took most of the pictures this month, so all of these are from both of us.
Please go visit some of the other beautiful galleries for this month!
You will find them on THE CHANGING SEASON – FEBRUARY 2017.
So as the surreal non-reality show called Real Life continues, I’ve been reading and hearing all sorts of people saying variations of the same theme.
“Is this real?”
“Are we in some kind of Tom Clancy novel?”
“If you wrote this as a movie nobody would buy it. It’s too unbelievable”
“Can I actually save 15% on my car insurance?”
The idea for this blog popped into my head a couple of days ago. I thought it was a “tad out there”. Even for me. Then “Ole 45” staged a “so called “press briefing”.
After watching it I realized that my idea wasn’t a “tad out there” at all. (And I am rather proud that I’ve managed to use the word “tad” in two sentences). It was so crazy that even on Fox News the first thing the reporter said after it was over was. (and I’m not making this up) “Well all righty then.”
We are not living in a Tom Clancy novel. We are not living in a badly written movie. We are living in an episode of “Chicken Boo”.
I have to assume most of you at this point are going “who”? It’s understandable. Chicken Boo was a recurring feature on a brilliantly funny cartoon show from the 1990’s called “The Animaniacs.”
You can get the whole series on Netflix. The show was written as much for the adults as for the kids. Chicken Boo was a minor feature of the show.
The premise was simple. Boo was a six-foot-tall chicken who lived on a farm. Because of this all the other chickens ran away from him because he was, well, a six-foot-tall chicken. So every episode, he would run away and try to fit in with humans by putting on a disguise.
And it always worked! He would become the CEO of a company, a famous actor, a politician, etc. He never talked. He just clucked. He never acted like a person. He acted like a chicken.
People adored him, except that one person would always go “Hey! That guy’s a chicken!” And everybody would laugh at him. Then something happened that would remove the disguise, like his glasses would fall off. Everybody would look wide-eyed and scream. “That’s a CHICKEN! At this point they would all turn on him and drive him out-of-town. As he walked off into the sunset they would play the theme song.
Over the last week it seems that the press, the media and most people I’ve talked to have been surprised to notice that our “so-called” President IS ACTUALLY REALLY HONEST TO GOD NUTS!
What fascinates me is the “surprise”. It’s like they’d just seen the end of the first act of “Springtime For Hitler”.
It’s been right out there in the open ever since he started running. Just like in the cartoon, lots of people adore him. And one
or a few hundred thousand people are going “Hey! That guy’s a chicken!”
I went online to look for an episode. This is the first one I found. This is an actual episode. Made over 20 years ago.
It’s amazing.! You have to watch it. It’s only a few minutes long. Yes, the wig is the disguise. If you don’t have time to watch it, here’s a quick re-cap. Boo is pretending to be a Russian Ballet star who has defected to New York to work for the New York City Ballet . His entourage and his director gushes over him while one press reporter asks “Are you a chicken?” He goes on stage and everybody loves him until his wig falls off and everybody screams “That’s a chicken!” The audience leaves in disgust and the director kicks him out into the street. As he walks away you hear.
You wear a disguise to look like human guys
But you’re not a man; you’re a chicken, Boo.
Reality is now looking more and more like this cartoon. 45’s wig has fallen off and it was concealing a pile of mixed nuts.
I figured that I was probably the first person to make this rather obscure analogy. But then I Googled “Chicken Boo is Donald Trump.” This is what popped up.
Well, all righty, then.
You wear a disguise to look like a Presidential guy
But you’re not a man; you’re a chicken, Boo.
I wrote a blog a while back about how I’ve grown to hate repetitive, routine household chores, like doing the laundry and washing the dishes. But things have changed. The Trump presidency has altered my perspective on a lot of things. Trump and his team have caused political whiplash and existential chaos, which, in turn, has increased my appreciation for the small things in life. Things like the belief in facts, the existence of truth and the joys of a shared reality, at least with my husband. Also, a renewed love of predictability, consistency and reliability – in people and in the world.
So my boring daily slog is suddenly comforting. It makes me feel secure. My husband’s predictabale routines now seem appealing and safe. Almost sexy. Chores are no longer frustrating necessities. Sorting socks is now a calming, Zen exercise. Fitting dishes into the slots in the dishwasher gives me a sense of success and accomplishment. These are the things in life I can count on. I am not helpless in my own home.
My chores also take me away, for a short time, from the onslaught of breaking news from Washington, DC. They give me moments of quiet before the next storm. I deeply appreciate them for the very repetitiveness that had turned me against them before. Boredom is now my friend. I see it as calmness and peace without the negative connotations I used to attribute to it. It’s the antidote to my PTSD – Perpetual Trump Shitstorm Distress!
I look forward to training my puppy. Sit! Stay! Come! Good girl! Repeat. No lump in my stomach, no sense of dread. No alternative facts or alternate reality. Just me and my dog agreeing that ‘sit’ means ‘put your butt on the floor’ and ‘stay’ means ‘don’t move until I tell you to.’ Boring, but reassuring and gratifying.
I appreciate my friends more, at least the ones who share my version of facts and reality. My daughter not calling me for weeks is now just something I can count on in an uncertain world. If I continue to focus on the small things in life that give me pleasure and comfort, I just may make it through the Trump years.
My husband does some funny stuff. He carefully stacks up all the doggy toys then laughs hysterically when they all fall down. And he does it very carefully, making sure that each toy in carefully placed where he feels it belongs.
All of these make me laugh. But.The one that really makes me laugh are the ones Garry writes on the whiteboard on the refrigerator. These remind him what special goodies he needs to feed Bonnie and Gibbs.