cifarelli: (Ember)
I have built my own computer for the first time!

I did have some substantial help from [ profile] ehcnalava in ordering the parts to build it with, and I'm sure that made a lot of the difference in my ending up with pieces that all work together properly. But when my parts arrived on Friday, I set to putting them together all on my own, and bygosh, it works! I knew the process was going to be neither quick nor efficient, as it involved lots of me staring at the manual, puzzling over parts, and looking up things on the laptop when I wasn't sure what something meant or what I should be doing next. Not to mention, SCREWS! There was no documentation whatsoever with the case, and none available for it online, which meant I was left to puzzle out which screws went where and which were extraneous parts. Not to mention I found a good online tutorial that informed me about the need to use risers between the motherboard and the case. But I learned things, feel less scared of the inside of my machine, and I got some good exercise to boot. Who knew that building a computer was a serious lower body workout?! Well, it is when you are building your machine on the floor and constantly hopping up and down to grab a different part or go look up something on the laptop. Not to mention cooking dinner, too and dealing with the occasional need of Corwin's.

I'm short one SATA cable for one of my two DVD-RW drives, so I need to go somewhere and pick up one of those at some point soon.

When I first tried to boot the machine yesterday afternoon, nothing happened, and I had to get Andrew to come talk me through what obvious thing I might be overlooking. Turned out I had the wires for the power switch attached to the motherboard in reverse of the way they were supposed to be, but once I switched them around it worked like a charm. Turned out there wasn't much to do in terms of messing with the BIOS (since I had NO interest in overclocking), and it took me a while to realize that I really just needed to install the OS and work from there. But the machine now has Windows 7 installed and seems to be working fine.

It does have a couple of quirky things I need to research further and decide if they're real issues, something I can fix by hooking things up differently, or just something I can live with. The big one being that many of the USB ports seem not to work. For example, I started out with the mouse plugged into one of the USB ports in the back of the machine, and the OS didn't recognize it at all. I kept thinking I just needed to install drivers, but trying to navigate with only the keyboard was driving me crazy. I unplugged and replugged the mouse a couple of times with no result, and then randomly tried sticking it into a different USB port. Windows recognized it immediately and found the drivers on its own.

Likewise, [ profile] ehcnalava recommended I order a USB-IDE cable to use to transfer the data off my old hard drives. I plugged this into one of the USB ports on the front of the machine, and nothing happened. Switched it to the other port on the front, and Windows identified it immediately, loaded drivers, and I set to work transferring. I was never able to get any of the ports on the Rosewill card reader hardware to work at all; I haven't tested the card reader yet. But I did install the drivers for it from the Rosewill web site, so we'll see.

Also, the LEDs on the front of the machine aren't lighting up when it's on. I suspect that just means I have the connection for that reversed (like I did for the power initially), so likely an easy fix once I take the time to mess with it.

Turns out my motherboard does have spots for two IDE hard drives, so I can install my old ones in there if I want to. Still trying to make up my mind if it's worth it or not, or if I should just keep them and use them as external backup storage using the USB-IDE cable.

And now, it's time for me to head home from work for the afternoon. Just wanted to write about my computer building experience because I'm so darn proud of myself for pulling it off. It's one of those things I've always been too scared to try on my own, but I really hate the off-the-shelf desktops with all the clutter that comes on them that's impossible to really get rid of, and I was also tired of always having to find a friend willing to build a machine for me. I feel good knowing that I can do it myself! :)
cifarelli: (Ember)
I am happy. I have a wonderful son and a wonderful hubby who is a good daddy to our son. I'm just really happy with our family and my life right now. Yeah, I'd love to have a cleaner, neater house, but I've always wanted that but I've never had the time, energy, or motivation to really whip it into shape. I can live with it the way it is. :)

Amazing the perspective a few hours out of the house by myself (work) gives me :)

Ask me again at about 6:00 a.m., and I'll probably be ready to sell Corwin to the gypsies for a quarter. (Okay, not really, but I'll threaten to!) Sleep stuff )

We've done a lot of shopping this week. Details! )

Andrew's computer is still at Fry's. He's been calling every 2 days to check up on it. Today they said they think it's the motherboard, but they still have a few other things to eliminate first to be certain. Andrew's (rightfully) a bit grumpy at me for throwing out the receipt for his computer upgrades at the end of last year. I'm gonna be a bit grumpy at me, too, if they would have been covered under warranty still, but we can't prove it. *sigh*

Work's been going well for me so far. This weekend is my first to work both Saturday and Sunday. I'm amazed at how tired I feel this evening, when I only worked 5 hours and they hardly qualified as stressful (I actually got to spend a fair chunk of time just sitting and reading, as there weren't many questions and there were two of us manning the desk). I think the tiredness is probably more due to my interrupted sleep than the actual working. I'm still awaiting my first paycheck, though. Hopefully soon! :) Tomorrow the new Electronic Resources Librarian (my former position) is coming in to pick my brain about ER stuff. That's going to be odd. It still feels a bit weird to me not to be doing that job any more. It was especially strange the first time I got an email from the new person with Electronic Resources Librarian listed as her title. Ah well. I wouldn't be happy working full time right now, and I well know it. :)


Sep. 14th, 2007 08:14 pm
cifarelli: (Ember)
Andrew's computer is FUBAR'ed. He's just run off with it to Fry's to see if they can diagnose what's wrong with it. And of course I don't have the receipt for the hard drive 'cause it was purchased in 2006, and I threw out the 2006 receipts when it turned out we didn't need them as support for our 2006 federal tax return.

When I was at Target on Wednesday, I noticed that they had the Britax Marathon, the carseat I want for Corwin, on sale for $229.00, down from $269.99 through Saturday. So Andrew and I went back tonight to try to get one. Well, turns out that Target won't let you test the display model in your car to see if it fits, which is a genuine concern for us with our two small cars. I've seen anecdotal evidence online that it fits rear-facing in a 1999 Honda Civic, but I'd really like to know for certain before I spend $200+ on it. And not only will they not let you test the display model, the sign noting the sale price was missing, and the sales associate we commandeered scanned the barcode and said it wasn't coming up for the sale price. So we didn't buy a car seat tonight. When I got home, the Marathons are still on sale on the Target web site for $229, and it says they will be on sale for that price through tomorrow. So I'm a bit confused as to what was going on at the store. I have now called Babies R Us, and was told that they DO let you test the models in your car. So we may end up doing that, and then ordering online if I can find it somewhere where the sale price + shipping isn't more than $269.99. Unfortunately, I work 9-6 tomorrow and we're having people over on Sunday afternoon, so I don't see us getting it done this weekend.

In slightly less blarg-worthy news, Corwin and I went and visited Dawn at the hospital this afternoon. She's pregnant, with her son not due 'til December 9. However, her water broke this past Sunday, so she's been in the hospital on bedrest since then. So far the baby and Dawn are both doing well; she's hoping to be there for several weeks, to give baby Ben time to develop as much as possible so he'll have a better chance of survival in the big bad world. Dawn is doing extremely well so far...very upbeat and calm and happy. She has a huge support network (one I envy) so has had a nearly continuous stream of visitors; she said she hasn't been alone long enough to get bored yet. I plan to go back next week if she is still there (which we are all hoping she is).
cifarelli: (Ember)
Our new laptop arrived yesterday. Andrew went and picked it up at the FedEx office yesterday after work. I spent several hours last night downloading and installing software on it, and I'm glad I did.

My desktop seems to be FUBAR'ed now. I told it to reboot just before we left the house today, and when we got home this evening, the graphics were all shot to hell. So I'm glad I have a laptop to use instead until we can figure out how to get my desktop back into commission.

Ahhh....well, I just spent the last hour or so trying to figure out how to disable the darn touchpad on this laptop because I keep hitting it while trying to type, and it moves my cursor to random places, making typing anything an exercise in frustration. I've utterly failed at figuring out how to disable the touchpad (everyplace I've thought to look, and everywhere my geeky friends have advised Andrew to check via WoW, either doesn't exist or has the option to disable greyed out), so I've compromised by putting a piece of paper over the touchpad. It's alleviated the problem somewhat, but it's not perfect.

And while I was spending all that time trying to figure out how to disable the touchpad so that I could actually type, Andrew has updated the drivers on my desktop and it is now functioning fine again. Yay! :)
cifarelli: (Ember)
I called the cable company, and their diagnosis is that our cable box is FUBARed and we need to take it in and exchange it for a new one. Whee! One more thing to add to our list of things to do this weekend, I guess. Fortunately we don't watch much TV, so aside from 8-9 tonight when I want to be watching VM, I doubt we'll miss it before then.

I'd like to solicit some advice from those who know about such: we're contemplating setting up wireless in the house after we get the new laptop.

Our two desktops are both set up for wired internet access, and don't have wireless capability currently (we'd have to buy new cards for them both). So we probably want to continue using our existing wired router for them. So if we only need wireless for the laptop (and any other laptops that folks might bring and use in our house), do we need a wireless hub or a wireless router? Can we use wireless and wired at the same time, and have all three machines interface with each other (i.e. be networked)? Can you recommend a good hub or router for this situation?
cifarelli: (Ember)
I've had a long, but interesting and fun week.

[ profile] wingsrising's Visit
[ profile] wingsrising and I hung out on Tuesday. Read all about it in great detail! )

Wednesday, Bethany flew off to Denver to spend Thanksgiving with her family, and Andrew and I drove to Austin Wednesday evening to spend Thanksgiving with my family. Before we left town, though, we ordered a laptop from a site that [ profile] mahtab recommended, so that we could take advantage of a 5% discount and free shipping deal they were offering. The laptop is supposed to ship December 1, so we're both looking forward to that. I'm hoping it will run Heroes of Might & Magic V better than my desktop does; the laptop we ordered doesn't quite meet the recommended specs for HOMMV, but it comes a lot closer than my desktop does, so we'll see.

Here's where I talk about Turkey Day and what we did in Austin )

Home again
Saturday we drove back to Houston after a late breakfast with my parents, and I dove back into life's mundane tasks -- bills got paid, paperwork got filed, laundry got done, dishes got washed, and fun stuff like that. Sunday was more laundry and grocery shopping, though I was feeling so lethargic and listless that it was amazing even that much happened. We headed over to Dan & Erin's around 4 for another turkey dinner (they had a free turkey they wanted to share), and went home stuffed. We got to meet their Maine Coon kitten, Bacchus, and found out that Andrew's nose seems to tolerate him okay. At 6 months old, Bacchus is the size of my idea of a full-grown cat; I'll be scared to see him when he's actually full-grown. Apparently Maine Coons can get up around 23 lbs.

Today, we had to go back to work, and it was hard.

A Picture
I'll leave you with a pic of me we took this evening, at 25 weeks, 5 days pregnant. A picture! )
cifarelli: (Ember)
I got home from work yesterday, and spent the evening engaged in the exciting activity of sleeping. I had some leftover pizza for dinner and then laid down for a nap around 6:00. I woke up from said nap shortly after 8:30, checked email/lj/myspace, took a shower, and went back to bed around 9:45. And got up around 6:30 this morning. And while I'm reasonably awake now, the idea of going back to bed for more sleep is not unappealing.

Weekend update
Friday )

Saturday )

Sunday )
cifarelli: (Ember)
I was going to make the previous post last night, but we've been having problems with our Internet access at home lately. Sometimes it refuses to allow our browsers (on either of our computers) to load any web pages, even though we can still send/receive email and play WoW. It decided that last night would be a good time to exhibit this behavior. Any of you computer/networking geek types have a clue why this is happening or how to fix it? Is this something we need to call the cable company about, or is it some kind of issue with our networking setup (though we haven't changed anything recently that I'm aware of)?
cifarelli: (Ember)
My day did not get an auspicious start this morning.

I tried to use Andrew's USB flash drive to get the travel itinerary off my computer this morning so I could bring it to work and email it to people from here. However, the attempt did not go well. I started by plugging it into one of the USB ports on my keyboard, and got an error message that the USB hub didn't have enough power to support that device. The only suggestions the computer offered to solve this problem was to unplug either the keyboard or the mouse (my computer is USB only), and plug the drive into one of those slots on the back of the box.

I didn't want to mess with that, so I decided to just save the document to one of the shared drives and save it to the flash drive from Andrew's machine. So I wake up Andrew's machine and turn the monitor on, only to see that it's not currently recognizing the mouse (no mouse cursor, clicking mouse buttons does nothing). I rebooted the machine (which went smoothly, if slowly), saw that that mouse was working, and plugged in the flash drive. The light on the drive lit up, but the computer didn't seem to recognize that the drive was there. At least, it wasn't available as an option for a place to save the document, and it wasn't showing up when I looked at "My Computer." I poked around in the "Add hardware" option, but the computer wasn't identifying the drive on its own, and I wasn't sure enough of the specs to mess with trying to find drivers for it myself. Heck, I'm not even sure it really needs to be "installed" like that. By then, I was running horribly late for work, so I gave up and left to drive in. I'll forward the email with our flight information in it to people, but I guess there will be no nice itinerary for y'all.

On top of all that, in the process of doing all this, I discovered that people other than me have been saving crud to the shared folder on my machine. This does NOT make me happy. I don't mind people using my computer to check their email or whatever, but downloading all sorts of random crap is not something I'm comfortable or happy with. I thought I'd made this clear, but apparently I didn't. Seriously considering banning people from my machine altogether. It's MY computer -- I want and should have control of what goes on it. I'm sorry if that makes me a bitch, but that's just how I feel. I don't download random crap onto other people's machines; I expect other people to respect mine in return. I'm going on a deleting spree when I get home tonight...if the people who have stored crap there want to save it, it had better be gone by the time I get home. And by gone, I mean burned onto a cd, or put on floppies, or something, not moved elsewhere on my computer.

In other news, I seem to be sneezing a lot this morning. I'm hoping that doesn't bode badly for my plane flight tomorrow.
cifarelli: (Ember)
Just got home from running errands and sat down at the computer to do some work here, only to discover that we seem to be completely out of printer paper (unless you want to count Christmas stationery). Annoying. Wish I'd discovered this BEFORE I went out and did errands, 'cause I could have picked up more while I was out. I suppose I will probably end up going out again now. Whee. Of course, it would also be nice if people TOLD me when they'd used the last of the printer paper, or better yet, got their own. *sighs*

Darn bank errands. I already went to the bank once today, and now Andrew has more financial transactions for me to take care of. Doesn't look like I'm gonna get much housecleaning done today, which is what I'd really like to do. NOT ENOUGH TIME OFF. NEED MORE!

I think I'm feeling whiny today due to not sleeping well last night. We went to bed around 10:30 or 11:00, but I was still awake at midnight (due to not really being sleepy due to sleeping late for the last week or so), woke up a couple times during the night (including once when Andrew's cell phone decided it needed to notify us of its low battery and I had to actually get up and FIND the phone 'cause it apparently didn't wake Andrew up), and then didn't fall back asleep after Andrew's alarm went off at 6:00. And I'm frustrated because I haven't gotten nearly all I wanted to do done during my vacation. And I have to go back to work tomorrow.



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