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I decided to go back to a desktop compooper for my next, instead of a laptop. I decided this mainly because I thought that I would much too easily max out 16 GB of RAM, which appears to be the max for laptops these days. Currently considering the Asus G10AC-US0105, which comes with 8 GB of RAM, expandable to 32 GB, which should last me a while. It has pretty much the same specs as the laptop I was originally considering, except for the greater amount of rRAM and no monitor included. It's like $1200.00 though [plus~$150.00 for a monitor], so Lord knows when I'll be able to actually get it in my hot little hands.

The computer fund right now has $560.24 in it, which may be augmented by by $59.67 in Amazon gift certificates. The computer fund should have $755.24 in it, but I had to use some of it to pay rent this month, and I don't yet have enough to replenish the fund. Maybe I can afford a new one by my birthday...
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I'm currently eyeballing a Toshiba Satellite L75-B7240 laptop, which comes with 8 GB RAM, expandable to 16 GB. I currently have just 8 GB of RAM maxing out my laptop, so that base 8 GB + the 4 GB that I added to my current laptop would be a significant improvement in my ability to RAM things. After poking around, I've discovered that 16 GB seems to be the current max for laptop RAM, so I'll have to content myself with that.

Other specs include a 1600 x 900 px, 17.3" diagonal screen [equal to current], a quad core Intel i5 processor [equal to current], 4 USB ports [+1 from current, thank God] and a 1 TB hard drive. That's a lot of space, but, as Janna observes, computers tend to slow down when their drives approach 50% capacity, so 1 TB is probably good.

This computer also runs Windows 8.1 hissssssssssss, but at least I can change the UI style back to a "desktop with icons" style instead of the Windows 8.0 "space-hogging tiles" style.

I realize that I can purchase this computer through Amazon and use some Amazon gift cards I've been racking up! ^_^

New computer fund contents
Cash: $220.00
Amazon: $17.45

--

Still no closer to my ultimate computer goal of achieving a) a fully functional Commodore 64 with b) a fully functional, full-size joystick and c) an accessible place to put it so that d) Jill and I can play Jumpman together [again]. I mean, I have Jumpman, but not a, b, c or d. Waaah.
modernwizard: (Default)
Not only is my current one cheaply made and of poor quality, but I'm also regularly maxing out my RAM in my pursuit of rendering moderately complex scenes [three people, eight lights, background with as many nodes and geoshells as I can manage]. In fact, my computer has slowed noticeably in rendering speed even in the past two months. 

Dammit -- and I was hoping that this laptop would hold out till Xmas, but I don't think it will. I mean, it will, but working on digital art will be excruciatingly slow for the next two months. :(
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Sometimes I like to keep my eye on updates to pages that are rather quiet, say, for example, a particularly interesting subforum of a small message board. I dislike checking the page incessantly on the off chance that there might be new content. FollowThatPage automates this process by checking certain URLs regularly [20 once a day, 1 once an hour for free accounts] and then sending the results to one's inbox. This is an extremely useful time saver.
modernwizard: (Default)
I have two major purposes in mind for a scanner:
  1. Scanning individual photos and small, single-sided things.
  2. Scanning a bunch of my diaries.
My necessary tools are a) a flatbed sheet-fed duplex color scanner, b) Adobe Photoshop Elements and c) Adobe Acrobat.

Here is a scanner that could perform my required functions: Xerox DocuMate 3220. Not that expensive....

EDIT: Epson WorkForce GT-1500 is cheaper.
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I have plans to digitize selected scrapbooks, photos, writing and other ephemera from my youth in an effort to get rid of the heavy paper versions. I therefore brought stuff to work, thinking to use the scanner integrated in the super duper printer/copier/fax/egg timer/dishwasher at the office.

Today I discovered that the scanner maxes out at 300 dpi. This resolution is acceptable for text documents, but it will not serve for photos or artwork. So either I'm going to buy my own flatbed scanner or borrow my parents', which they purchased for their own memorabilia digitization project  several years ago.

...Unless the egg timer over here has some secret high-quality scanner settings I'm unaware of.
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...the horse you rode in on and the little girl who fed the apple to the horse.

I should not have to replace you in a computer that I bought new on June 3 of last year.

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Being supremely pissed by Gmail's interface redesign, which gives no shits about users with disabilities, I've been contemplating the switch to another E-mail provider. My search is, of course, limited by what user names are available.

My first name is pretty common, as is my last name, so first-initial-last-name is NEVER available for me. Most E-mail providers don't let you have an address less than six characters [stupid!], so my initials are right out. And I refuse to put a string of numbers at the end of my name.

I wish I could have a personal E-mail address like my work address: first-initial-last-name@four-letter-organization-abbreviation.org. It's comprehensible, simple and easy to type, as well as to say over the phone.

I'd love to have an E-mail address that was first-initial-last-name@a-simple-noun-that's-relatively-short-and-easy-to-type-or-say-over-the-phone. I tried using first-initial-last-name@oddpla.net [my personal domain name], but nobody got that it was supposed to be Odd Planet. I always got, "What? What's an oddpla?"

Sigh...

Ow. >_

Oct. 15th, 2012 10:39 am
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I'm used to my hands hurting after I use my compooper for a really long, uninterrupted time. I am not used, however, to only my left middle finger hurting. It's almost more annoying than having my entire hands hurt. I can't wait to get home and not use my computer.
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It comes with a calendar and a clock. Why not a timer?

Anyway, I just found SnapTimer, a simple, self-contained, low-memory .exe that's intuitive to use and customize. It even displays custom popup messages when the time is up. Mine is "Get off the Internet now!"

I should make my alarm sound a .wav file of Jareth saying "Time is short." ^_^
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I use Windows 7 at work and Microsoft Word 2010. Sometimes it opens files in windows that are half the size of the screen, rather than the full size of the screen. Since my default display settings include a navigation pane for the document I'm working on, Word's decision to open things in half-screen windows automatically cuts off the right half of each document, necessitating a manual adjustment on the window size, which is a pain.

I finally got fed up with this today and searched for a way to make Word automatically open documents in full-size windows. This is what I found:

Right click on the Microsoft Word shortcut, either in the start menu or on the desktop.

Left click on Properties.

Go to the Shortcut tab.

Under the Run dropdown menu, select Maximized.

Hit Apply or Okay.

Swear at your Microsoft products a little bit less.

Well, that was counterintuitive. Control over the size of new Word windows has nothing to do with the program shortcut's properties. It has to do with display options.

I'm beginning to think that Word was designed by programmers who wanted to stuff as many features as possible into the app, rather than people who wanted to create an accessible, intuitive, user-friendly program.
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Whenever I open files from the Web [where I do most of my work through an online manuscript processing system] and want to save them somewhere, Windows defaults to the My Documents folder. This pisses me off, as I would much rather use my desktop a) as storage for most frequently used documents and b) as a staging area for temporary files that will soon be filed elsewhere, then deleted.

Somehow, though, yelling, "NO!!!!!!!!!!!!! SAVE IT TO THE DESKTOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" does not change the default saving location.

Eventually, I figured out this morning how to change the default saving location to my desktop. I certainly didn't learn how to do this by right-clicking on something or using a contextual help menu or anything so easy. No, I had to type "change default save location windows 7" into Google and find the answer on a techy how-to Web site.

This is one of the reasons I hate Windows sometimes. It may be easier to get under the hood of Windows machines than, say, Macs, but you don't necessarily have any clue about what to do once you're there. There's a way to do pretty much anything you want to in Windows, but the challenge is finding this information, which is often hidden under right-clicks and submenus.

Don't even get me started on the latest redesign of Windows Media Player. In previous versions, you used to have the options of scrolling through your music up and down in lists of relatively unadorned text. I really like that method because I can see a greater amount of information in one glance.

Windows Media Player seems to have done away with that display option in favor of some sort of scrolling crapola left and right with clickable tiles of album covers. One gets only an album's worth of information on one screen, necessitating multiple scrolls to the left or right to get an idea of context. That's not how my mind works. Plus it's a huge waste of screen real estate.

Screw you, Windows Media Player. I want a media player that, you know, plays media, instead of making my entire collection into tiles that scroll from side to side. I'm finding another media player instead. YOU STINK.

P.S. Complaints about Windows are fine, but I don't want to hear about how much better your alternative operating system is. I am, however, interested in recommendations of alternative media players, as long as they play WMA files.
modernwizard: (Default)
We also enjoyed Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?...except for the fact that time traveling somehow took up time, which made no sense to me. If you're in a time machine and can enter and exit any point in time that you wish, how could you spend time traveling through time? Stupid.

Anyway, I can download that for the Cow Manure 64 too!

Life is good.

EDIT: And Playful Professor Math Tutor!

EDIT 2: Bank Street Writer, anyone?

Hmmm, what was that program that we used where you could create illustrations from premade units, such as shapes, animals and people, and then add text??

modernwizard: (Default)
We used to love playing Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? on our Cow Manure 64. I found a place to download it! I just have to get an emulator, and I can play it again!
modernwizard: (Default)
I just bought a copy of Jumpman, my favoritest compooper game ever, on floppy disk for the Commodore 64! It was just $24.00!! I thought my desire to play this game as it was meant to [i.e., with a joystick on the original system, as opposed to with arrow keys on a modern emulator] would disappear since the time in 2009 when I first played it on an emulator, but I guess not. Apparently I'm on my way to acquiring an entire original C64 CPU/keyboard, monitor, disk drive and joystick. Fortunately they're cheap and plentiful.

Goddammit.

May. 26th, 2012 10:16 am
modernwizard: (Default)
I think I need a new compooper. After just over 3 years, my current laptop now has problems. As I discovered when trying to install Adobe PhotoShop Elements, the CD/DVD drive does not register. This would not be a very big problem, as I rarely use it, BUT THAT'S HOW I INSTALL SOFTWARE. Interestingly enough, it was working a week ago, when I tried installing Elements the first time [didn't work -- faulty copy]. I don't know what went wrong.

Fine. Be that way, you stupid compooper. I guess I'll be getting another one.

While I'm at it, I should also get Norton AntiVirus and a [cough] legitimate copy of Manga Studio EX 4, which, I see from Amazon, is down to ~$80.00-90.00...finally affordable! I think I'll leave Daz Studio on this compooper, though. I haven't touched it in months. I will be able to transfer all my documents, movies and music over easily, as I have been backing them up on a separate hard drive with some regularity.

EDIT: Also need a lap stand that cools the compooper, as I use it on my legs all the time.

EDIT 2: A possibility. ...Oooh, look -- it's in stock locally! Instant gratification!

EDIT 3: Here's where I'm doing some comparison shopping.
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I made a papercraft laptop for my dolls tonight. I'm sure it would have looked better if I had printed it out on cardstock [which I didn't have] and used some adhesive other than clear tape, but it's close enough for my purposes. Modeled by a chronically unimpressed Araminthe.Read more... )

modernwizard: (Default)
Last night I decided that Sarah, Sardonix, Junebug and Araminthe should be able to write stories and surf the Web if they want to. To that end, I searched this morning for a 1:3 scale laptop. I couldn't find any except for an overpriced American Girl accessory set for last year's Girl of the Year. http://www.amazon.com/American-Girl-G0734-BF1C-Lanies-Accessories/dp/B0042R5KBQ

Then I decided that I didn't really need a plastic laptop, only a convincing replica of one, material negotiable. Thus I searching under "papercraft laptop," and I found a PC World article about geeky papercraft. http://www.pcworld.com/article/191751/the_webs_geekiest_papercraft_projects.html The associated slideshow linked to many PDFed papercrafts, including various IBM ThinkPads with instructions in Japanese. I selected one http://www-06.ibm.com/jp/pc/tplife/pc/t60.pdf , eyeballed it for scale [=good enough for me!] and printed it out. Hopefully I'll be able to generate a passable 1:3 scale laptop with this project. Stay tuned.
modernwizard: (Default)
So I found a company that manufactures software so that files from obsolete word-processing programs, spreadsheet programs, presentation programs, etc., may be converted to readable version. The company, Advanced Computer Innovations, offers a simple program, WordPort, and a more complex and flexible one, FileMerlin. This page offers a comparison of the two types. Basically FileMerlin is more expensive and powerful, suitable for huge batch conversions and complex documents.

Just so you can see how powerful the software for both programs is, ACI offers free unlimited trial versions of both. The only catch is that the trial versions introduce spelling and numeric errors into the software. I can attest, though, that, even with the introducted errors, ACI's software clearly translates files and their formatting quickly and with 98.9% accuracy. [They messed up the indents on my initial paragraphs.] If you have small files to convert, consider downloading the trial version and then spell-checking the translated docs.

But, if you're like me, you have some files that will take a while to fix if run through the trial version, but not a large enough number of files to warrant coughing up $95.00 [still a steal, though!] for WordPort. How can you get at the precious data inadvertantly time-capsuled in formats for First Choice, Microsoft Works 4.x and other early word-processing programs?

Fear not, for Advanced Computer Innovations offers an online file conversion service for a nominal fee per file. With the help of a simple drag-and-drop interface, the files to convert are uploaded to ACI's server, translated and downloaded, usually within minutes. Billing is made to a credit card, and this service is available any time. Again -- 98.9% accuracy and quick access to your old files! No painstaking retyping or reconstruction!

This is the awesomest thing in retro software ever since I discovered DOSBox so I could play Jumpman!!

modernwizard: (Default)
It is compact, portable and perfect for removal from my desk so I have more room to take pictures. Also it weighs less than a gallon of milk. Also it was disgustingly inexpensive, insofar as these things are quantifiable. It should be here by the end of this week!
modernwizard: (Default)
I downloaded DOSBox, an emulator allowing a user to play old games on a new computer, and installed it. Then I downloaded Jumpman 1.0 from The Jumpman Project, and then I played my favoritest computer game ever. Basically Jumpman involves jumping a little dude around a jungle gym, collecting pellets in order to win the level. Obstacles include flying white bombs, vampire bats, evil robots, etc. We got this game for our Commodore 64 shortly after its release in 1984 and we spent many joyous hours attempting to master it. In order to fully enjoy this game, I need a joystick...Hmmm...
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Goddamn, we loved that game. I remember playing it with my siblings and creating "the unerasable horse quest" just to find out if the horse on the castle grounds did anything else besides eat grass. [Answer: Not that we could tell.] I remember hitting the up arrow to kill monsters, calling the scene where all the goblins hung out Goblin City, dying because of drinking Troll's Sweat, picking your nose ["Congratulations! Your left nostril is now open!"] and finally winning the game through collaborative efforts and a bunch of cheats. The character who won was festeringsnotballlives! Now that I found this walk-through, I want to find a copy of that game.

modernwizard: (Default)

Poking around on the BoingBoing post about Plushie, I found that someone linked to another program also worked on by Takeo Igarashi. This program, called Teddy, is freeware allowing creating of digital 3-D models via freeform strokes. And -- here's the exciting thing for people who are interesting in 3-D modeling stuff -- YOU CAN EXPORT YOUR CREATIONS AS OBJS! The OBJ format is a pretty-much-universal format for 3-D models -- for example, the models that I've been using for my LHF digital characters are in OBJ format. Perhaps this program could aid in prop creation for LHF??

modernwizard: (Default)
Watch this video demonstrating a new app. The app, titled Plushie, allows users to cut, shape and otherwise deform a virtual 3-D plush blob. As the blob is deformed, the righthand window shows a constantly updated version of the pattern pieces needed to created the blob out of fabric. It may be difficult to understand the narrator, a Japanese woman who speaks English as a second language, but the pictures explain everything clearly. Now if only the same principles could somehow be applied to doll sculpting....
modernwizard: (Default)
 Oh rapture, joy and ecstasy unabated...I found the BASIC life expectancy quiz I used to mess with on my Commodore 64. It's in an out-of-print book of BASIC programs that have been all scanned and made available online. Isn't that great? I really have to find a BASIC emulator so that I can do simple programs. Then I can make silly questionnaires and revel in the nostalgia.

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