The desk

For the first time in a number of months, I’m back at my own black glass desk, using the computer once left here by my brother a number of years ago. Once again, I’m typing on my IBM Model M keyboard, the classic clicky beast. Unfortunately I haven’t been getting as much use out of the keyboard as I initially thought partly due to my tiny desk in Belfast, and mainly due to the immensity of the Model M. But I shall not let keyboards dominate this post – a keyboard is after all merely an input device (even if it is a damn good one, at that).

Did I mention I hate PCs? Well, as of late I’ve been having a lot of problems trying to fix one particular computer. Every time I sort out one issue, something else crops up to make my life even worse. First, back in June, a memory module corrupted and led me on a merry chase following random symptom after random symptom (first the hard drive, then the graphics card, then the motherboard, and finally memtest gave me the result I was looking for). And then the PSU (power supply unit) decided it was time to die, and who knows what it took with it, or what new problems it will have caused. The PSU was replaced, and the computer was back to good working order. BUT THEN!!!! The blue screen of death (BSOD) started to appear after the PC was left on for any length of time, and now there are even more issues with executable files refusing to load. I do enjoy working with computers, but not the same one all the bloody time!

PATA on top, with SATA below. Things really have improved. The inside of computer cases don't have to be jungles, like the old days.

I’m sitting here running diagnostic tests, and trying to bring the computer back whilst avoiding the inevitable format. It shouldn’t have gone wrong so quickly after the last fix, which leads me to believe there is some other insidious issue in the background, which will not appear until it’s too late. This is not at all what I had planned for the weekend – I still have to make my film, which is due in tomorrow, and I’ve only just begun work on it (the first 50 seconds). I also wanted to launch a new feature for this blog, but thanks to a lack of a CF card reader that hasn’t yet happened. All will be revealed in good time, don’t worry. I also finally conceded and bought an optical drive for dad’s computer. We’ve been living without a decent DVD writer since the last computer died, mainly as a result of poor research on my part – the new motherboard had only SATA ports, and no classic PATA (all of our optical drives were PATA!). I know we are supposed to be moving forward and improving and all that jazz, but at least put one connector on there for all of us stuck with a load of old optical drives. I’m always amazed at how little I use optical drives now though, as everything seems to have moved to digital distribution. Aside from the occasional film on DVD, and burning DVDs of my own films, my laptop’s drive has seen very little action.

Driving hasn’t been the greatest this week, unfortunately. I failed my first attempt at the test, but I shall prevail! One good thing I can take out of the experience is that I know it is very much doable, and there shouldn’t be anything unexpected – the main thing is trying to account for what all the other drivers are going to do around you. L plates seem to be an instant invitation for other drivers to overtake, drive out straight in front of you, and try anything they wouldn’t normally be able to get away with. This shall not defeat me, and the sooner I get it out of the way, the better.

Ahhhhh. This is a strange post in general, not least because I’m writing it whilst working on this other computer. It froze again, and I checked PC Health Status in the BIOS to see if anything obvious was wrong. The CPU was running at 100 degrees Celcius! I don’t know how accurate that reading is, but as soon as I touched the heatsink I received a nasty burn. I have never seen one running that hot. Something is afoot, and methinks it could be the PSU – it’s an older one I had lying about spare, but it appeared to work normally at least initially. The next step is fully cleaning the CPU heatsink and fan, and cleaning and reapplying the thermal paste, to rule out any problems with thermal conduction. No way should the CPU be running that hot at stock speeds. It shouldn’t even be running quickly at all; the system was idle at the time, with no programs running. Hmmm…

My whole filming schedule was screwed up, as the plan was to film yesterday morning and edit everything last night/today, giving me plenty of time to finish off the way I wanted. Now I have a day and a bit to do everything, which is going to be extremely tricky. I had intended to do some cool titles in After Effects, but I doubt that’s going to happen now. I still have to find some decent music to accompany it, apart from the opening sequence which is already covered. I really hope it does come together in time because it has been plaguing my mind for so long now, and I just have to make it to get it out of my system.

The cast of We Bought A Zoo

St Patrick’s Day really doesn’t hold much meaning for me, and this year was no different. Instead of drinking and rioting on the streets, I was walking in the Mournes with my family, which was nice and took pretty much the whole day. Friday night was also good, as I was at the cinema with some friends (and fellow bloggers) to see We Bought A Zoo. Wow, just wow. It was the first time I’ve been genuinely bored in the cinema, and was counting the time till it ended. It wasn’t a terrible film, it’s just that I’ve seen that exact film one thousand and one times, and it followed every Hollywood cliché to the letter. It was based loosely on a really story about Dartmoor Zoological Park, but of course adapted to make it more palatable for audiences. I may actually consider reading the book because it was an interesting story, but I would rather have it without all the soft and fluffy padding. The weirdest thing in there was a proclamation of love by his 14 year old son to a 13 year old zoo worker, which is even weirder when you realise that the real son was only six at the time his father bought the zoo.

Well, that’s pretty much it for now and I better get back to helping out for Mother’s Day. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading. I’m going for my highest number of tags ever today…

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