Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Few Minor Irritants and One Good Thing

First things first: an apology.

I’ve had to enable word verification for comments. I was spam-bombed again last evening with another 44 character-based comments… from the same asshat that nailed me night before last, no doubt. I’m also a lil bit ticked with Site Meter in that I wasn’t able to correlate the date/time stamp on the comment e-mails with a specific visitor as recorded in SM. The reason I’m ticked is I seriously wanted to send an abuse report to the spammer’s ISP but I can’t do so without a smoking gun.

I’ll run word verification for about a month or so and then try and remove it again. Once again: apologies.


I used to think buying a house was one of the worst experiences in modern life, what with trying to find something that meets your needs and desires, is within your budget, and in a neighborhood that’s safe, attractive, and within reasonable distance of things you need/places you have to be. Then comes the offer process, the negotiating, inspections, the closing, and frickin’ paperwork out the wazoo at each and every step. It's misery personified.

As far as negative experiences go, buying a house is closely followed by buying a car, but for different reasons… most of which revolve around car dealers and salespeople, who are the slimiest people one will ever meet in an ostensibly legal endeavor. I think drug dealers are more honest and respectable than car salesmen. (Minor digression: let’s not consider divorce lawyers, who are in a category unto themselves and have a special place reserved in Hell. Except for mine, of course. He was OK. That said, I remain amazed more of those bastards aren’t shot dead in the street on any given day.)

But we’re talking about negative experiences… or we started out that way. I’m thinking of adding “buying a computer” to my short list. I’ve had my first two experiences… ever… with the dreaded “blue screen of death” phenomenon this past week, followed up with the curt but scary “Windows needs to examine your hard drive for errors. Run check disk now.” message (or words to that effect) upon the subsequent start-up. It doesn’t help matters that I’m nearly a year beyond the usual, customary, and reasonable three-year refresh period, and that fact contributes greatly to my angst. Along with the heretofore unknown Blue Screen events.

So… we began our day looking at various desktops in what we consider to be our current price range. And…

Too much frickin’ choice.

I suppose that’s a good thing… and really, it is. But I have “issues.” I don’t like what I’ve heard about Vista, but there aren’t any real alternatives for a technically-challenged individual… read as: don’t say a frickin’ thing about Linux. I don’t wanna hear it. And Macs are out of my price range, so don’t come at me with the wonderfulness of Mr. Jobs Magical-And-Oh-So-AWESOME products. I don’t like white or cream-colored computers, either. Nope… I want a garden variety PC that’s as close to plug and play as possible and costs less… preferably much less… than a thousand dollars. There appears to be at least 1,463 boxes in that category and we have begun the arduous task of sifting through the alternatives.

The good news? My current box… which is within a whisker of four years old… has an older Pentium processor (duh), a 180 gig hard drive and a gig of RAM. Contemporary boxes have much faster quad-core processors (Intel only, please), four times the RAM, and six times the hard drive for a couple o’ C-Notes less than I paid for my current El Cheapo Gateway… AND they carry brand-name nameplates, too. I (heart) progress!

But I hate making choices.

We’ll keep you informed.


Just an observation: I think we’re going through the wettest Spring I’ve experienced here on The High Plains of New Mexico, but that’s only going back six years. It pretty much rained all night and well into this morning… and the skies remain overcast and leaden gray as we speak. Our forecast is for scattered showers all day and moderate temps, something I most definitely can live with. This would be our third consecutive day of rain, an event unknown to me since I’ve been in these parts.

Maybe The Goreacle was right about climate change. If so, this is the kind of change I really can believe in. And like. As opposed to… well, you know.


I don’t get today’s Ramirez:

Please enlighten me if you have any idea what he’s on about, Gentle Reader. Never mind... I didn't see the caption below the drawing. It doesn't pay to post before you're fully caffeinated. I'll learn this lesson... someday.


  1. Buck. Here are some things you might want to look for; Fast bus speed and memory, a SATA hard drive (7500 rpm),the best video card you can afford with at least 250mb of dedicated memory, and a large power supply (450 watts or better). I build my own computers (I upgrade about every 2 years). This would give you a very good system for your photographic endeavors. I have to use Vista at work but I don't like it. If you use the standard configuration it uses a lot of system resources so I default to the XP style which is what I prefer and use at home. Good luck and have fun...

  2. We new-computered in March and went with a Dell. It runs on Vista and (knock wood) we haven't experienced any problems yet. Happy hunting!

    (Love the 'toon!)

  3. Computer problems just send cold shivers of fear all through me. I'm absolutely no help in the computer dept. But I love new things, gadgets, and tech stuff - so there is a bright side.

  4. Good luck with the new puter shopping. I'd like to get us another one myself, mine is going on 5 years and is starting to worry me. I'd like to give it to the kids and get me a new one, but will see after harvest, IF we have a harvest.

  5. My last three computers have been by Gateway. 2 desktops and 1 laptop. Vista on the laptop and haven't had any problems so far. The MAIN reason I deal with Gateway is that their Customer Service is in heard me, in the good old USA!! I have had my fill of outsourcing!!..There now, I feel all better..

  6. There should be a decent system at the Base.

    Have you thought about a desktop?

    Does anyone buy any of the crap that spammers promote?

  7. Dan: Thanks for the tips. Your points are well-taken.

    Moogie: Thank you!

    Lou: I like new toys, too. I just hate having to make choices in this space.

    Jenny: Five years is a long time for a computer. The rule of thumb in the IT biz is replace every three years. Which is why I'm nervous... and you should be, too.

    SuzieQ: My Gateway is my fourth desktop from them, I've also owned two of their laptops. I like the company, but haven't dealt with them since Acer (a Taiwanese company) bought 'em.

    Darryl: The last time I looked the BX had mostly junk. And I plan on buying another desktop. As for spammers... I'd like for someone (not me) to print out all their output and force-feed it to 'em. I'd help with the force-feeding, though... just not the printing. Printer cartridges cost money.

  8. No worries on the word verification thing, Buck. Unlike some, don't find it to be such terrible PIA. Just a necessary evil.

    And yes, buying a house definitely ranks as one of the worst experiences in modern life.

  9. Loved this post.

    I'll kick off by saying we've had no rain - serious drought conditions in Texas, particularly from Austin westward. I expect I'll lose the rest of my roses this year - we're already notching the 100's by midday and it's not even August.

    I love buying houses and cars - I like to shop for big ticket items and I love to deal. It's a fun game for me. Oh, and I never buy new.

    I hate shopping for computers (or any electronic/high tech item really) - I don't understand how to technically describe what I need and I worry about overbuying or underbuying. I don't understand what add-ons I really need (Dell shopping makes me insane) or if they're worth the cost.

    Which brings me to Mac. I love my Mac. It was easy to buy, performs like a jewel and has every feature I could have ever dreamed of needing. Of course, I bought a two year old refurbished unit with top of line performance and a massive screen from the Apple site at half the cost. Actually I bought two, I was so happy with the one I purchased a few years ago, I indulged in another one last winter. I'm considering buying a laptop before our beach trip.

    I don't get the whole mac/pc fight - I'm not computery - I did enjoy the ease of buying and the product has been excellent for my needs, plus the service is phenomenal - anytime I have a question or problem they jump all over trying to please me.

    It may not suit your needs, Buck, but I would give the Mac's and Apple a solid recommendation based on my experience.

    Don't sweat the log-in, stuff happens on the internet.

  10. Oh, I think Ramirez nailed it mighty fine in that cartoon.

  11. Daphne: I really HAVE given serious thought to moving to a Mac. The cost is what stops me, and not only for the machine itself... but the cost of replacing a lot of "legacy" software I move from box to box when I upgrade. It would be substantial, trust me. I'm only into the "PC wars" as far as the humor goes... having worked with both platforms in my corporate life. One's as good as the other, with the edge to the Mac in usability and relative invulnerability to virus attacks.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.