Sunday, August 12, 2007

Thing Update: Sandman Vol. 4

The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists

I just finished reading The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists by Neil Gaiman. Although composed of a number of individual episodes, this entire volume told one basic story, that of Dream attempting to recover the soul of a women who once loved him that he condemned, perhaps wrongly, to spend eternity in hell. His recovery mission is complicated when he arrives in hell only to find it has been recently vacated, Lucifer having decided he's ruled hell for quite long enough, and the woman who once loved Dream is no longer there. A good, solid volume, with some interesting ideas about the concepts of heaven and hell.

New Thing: Get a Bartending Job

Learning to make drinks in a classroom setting was great, but I shelled out some cash to do so, and now I need to earn that money back. My other job has been keeping me pretty busy for the past couple of weeks so I haven't had much time to look for a part-time bar tending gig, which is what I'm after. Tomorrow, I will be working with a job placement person on what leads I can pursue.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Thing #2 Complete: Perform Clean Install on Computer

So...long story about this Thing. Apparently it is not a great idea to plug a laptop's power supply directly into the USB ports. Who knew?

The story actually begins quite a long time ago when I bought a nifty little point-and-shoot digital camera. I like the camera a lot, mostly because it slips easily into a pocket and I am therefore more likely to take it with me, and the pictures it takes are pretty great considering its limitations. The problem began when I connected the camera to my computer to transfer my first set of pictures. Or rather, the problem began when I went to disconnect the camera from the USB port it was plugged into on the back of my laptop. Somehow, it broke...kind of. Part of the USB port actually broke off and was absconded with by the camera connector, creating a new mutated USB port that now worked with the camera and nothing else. It also exposed some prongs inside the USB port which are normally covered.

Since the camera still worked in that port and I had a second USB port underneath the first one, I continued using my computer, blissfully ignorant of the peril my laptop was now in. You see, directly adjacent to the USB ports is the connection for the power you see where this is going?

So, nearly two weeks ago, I went to plug the power supply into my computer, and accidentally attempted to plug it into the damaged USB port. The instant smell of burnt plastic was the first clue that something was wrong. The second clue was when my laptop refused to power up in any fashion whatsoever. Cue the panic.

My promptly delivered my computer to the local Laptop Guy and after a few days of anxious waiting, received the following verdict: 1) the laptop is okay; 2) my data was recovered; but 3) the USB ports are now officially dead. Oh, and my CD/DVD drive has weird issues, namely it has troubles burning new CDs or reading existing burned CDs, although it still seems to work fine with professionally produced CDs (i.e. installation CDs).

Time to panic again, because without the ability to easily transfer files to/from my computer, I am somewhat crippled for some of the things I regularly need to do for work. Enter Rudy, the ultimate "Laptop Guy" who provided a beautiful solution: a $35 card plugged into the side of my laptop with two high-speed USB ports.

So...a total of roughly $250 later I am back in business, and since the laptop repair folks did a big chunk of the work by performing the clean install of Windows and hardware drivers, all I had to do was re-install my software and data. *Whew!* Thing #2 complete.