December 17, 2008: Shopping Day

With Dominica, Liesl, Oreo and I all being home full time there really is very little news to report.  Liesl is doing very well and we now have her sleeping in her new swing in our bedroom which allows us to sleep in the bed as usual.  This is helping us to get a bit more sleep than we were before and Oreo is very pleased because he can snuggle with us again as always.

My day was a bit busier today than it has been.  Partially because it was somewhat busier at the office but also because Dominica wanted me to place a Christmas order of stuff so I spent some time putting together an online order and that always takes a while when you are trying to check out prices, models, deals and to consolidate things for shipping.

In this latest order, which ‘should’ arrive here by early next week (hopefully), we are getting a few infrastructure items that we need for the house as well.  We are getting a new Netgear ProSafe router which can handle dual WAN links rather than just one and that has built in SSL VPN capacity in addition to the regular IPSec VPN capacity.  Very cool.  I was originally thinking that we would just get an SSL VPN unit and not get a new firewall unit but running two units uses more power and it turned out that getting the firewall was cheaper up front as well.  So we just did that.

We also got a 24 port Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) managed (aka smart) switch.  Right now we don’t have Gigabit capability except for the Apple Airport Extreme which only has three ports which is not very useful.  Having 24 ports means that all of the desktops, video game units, AppleTVs, etc. around the house will have GigE connections which is important for file transfers, streaming media, etc.  All of our desktops and laptops are GigE capable and we have not been able to take advantage of that thus far.

Dominica’s laptop, which runs Vista Business 32, has also been suffering as it only has 1GB of memory and some of that, 128MB, has to be shared with the onboard GPU unit so it effectively only has 896MB of system memory which is far too little for Vista to work.  So we ordered 4GB of memory for her laptop which should make a huge difference in the way that it works.

My desktop, which I am now using to do Pinnacle Studio 12 editing of Liesl videos, is almost completely unable to process video because it does not have a very good graphics card.  The machine is a moderately old HP dx5150 running Windows XP Pro 32 and only has the onboard graphics card currently which is way too little for anything not completely basic.  So I looked around and found a good deal on a dual DVI output, low profile (I use small form factor desktops) Jaton NVidea 8500 GS card.  The card has its own memory (as they all do) so that will free up some of the system memory that is shared with my onboard GPU giving me two advantages – faster GPU and more system memory.  Hopefully this will really make a difference with Pinnacle.  If not I will have to get a faster desktop.  Even tiny video files are too much for it.

I tried to order a fourth Samsung Syncmaster 204B LCD 20.1″ 1600×1200 monitor to match the other three on my desk but to my chagrin discovered that Samsung is no longer selling the monitor and that no one that I could find (like Ingram Micro, Amazon or NewEgg) is even carrying it in back stock.  I love that monitor and it is perfect for the work that I do.  I don’t want to have to switch to a new monitor yet as there is so much more life in these and I don’t want one of my four monitors not to match the others.  So now I am not sure what to do.  Samsung does have an amazing 24″ monitor now that exceeds the specs on these but nothing has been made to directly replace these which, I think, are perfect for IT work.  So I am not sure what I will do now.

Work and shopping, that is mostly how I spent my day.  We didn’t get to bed until almost two in the morning.  It’s been a long day.  We did get a little bit of cleaning done around the house.  We are making progress there albeit very, very slowly.

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