April 25, 2009: Long Hot Day

Today is a continuity of business test at the office which means a full day of work for me.  Not horrible, nail biting, never get a chance to take a breath, high stress work, but just sitting at the desk doing little things for different teams all day and never getting to go anywhere or do much of anything kind of work.

Originally I was going to get to sleep in a little bit this morning before the work started.  I ended up covering for someone who is out sick today and their team needed me to start work an hour earlier so I was up at eight and at my desk working first thing in the morning.  This has been an exceptionally exhausting week.

Around noonish Katie drove up to Peekskill to visit.  She and Dominica had a baking day planned for today.  I had been hoping to have been able to have hung out but, just like when Art and Danielle were here, there really was not very much spare time for me to be able to do anything.  It was very sad.

Dominica and Katie cooked up a bunch of cookies, meringues, biscotti and more – including Katie recently prize winning bread.  Katie also brought over an awesome bean salad and a surprise of veggie pate which is really delicious.  Katie was able to stay until around six or so.  Long enough to be able to have dinner and to watch a little of Coupling.

Today was an incredibly warm day.  It hit about eighty-eight degrees in the shade which is pretty warm.  We didn’t turn on the air conditioning today and the house ended up getting to around eighty-six or so.  It was a bit unbearable anywhere but the basement and even there it is in the low eighties and even there it wasn’t all that good.  This is the first really, truly hot day.  We pulled the screens out of the basement and put them in in the kitchen even though they are in bad shape because we just need the air flow.  We think that we might be able to put a screen into the front door and think that we might have found the screen that is meant for that hiding in the utility room.  Now if we can just figure out how to take the glass out.  Every bit of airflow makes a big difference around here.

I have been having some problems with my main Windows XP desktop.  I have had it for a while and it has been far too long since I have reinstalled Windows on it.  It has started to freeze on me and that just isn’t going to cut it so I decided that today had to be the rebuilding the desktop day for me.

I have been thinking about giving up my Linux desktop for a while.  Not that I don’t want a Linux desktop but my plan is to move to a Linux server that will provide awesome remote desktop experiences via the NX protocol which would eliminate the need to have a dedicated Linux desktop sitting on my desktop making noise, generating heat and using up valuable desk real estate.  Since I already have a Mac Mini G4 that I have had for years now and for which I have no possible use other than to make into a thin client I have decided to just make my Mac Mini into a thin client and make better use of the resources that I already own.  I need a desktop at dad’s house as I have a desk and monitor there but no computer so this will really work out perfectly.

The two desktops that I have currently (Linux and Windows) run on identical HP dx5150 SFF boxes which are nice, if not exactly new, 64bit single-core Athlon64 units that are rock solid and plenty fast for even pretty serious desktop users – as long as you are not trying to play modern video games.  Since they are identical chassises I cannabilized the existing Windows desktop for its gigantic (well, it used to be gigantic) 500GB second hard drive and took 1GB of its memory (two 512MB sticks – yes they really come that small.)  Then I set that machine aside as a backup in case the Windows install was to fail.

With the addition of new parts the old Linux box now has one 250GB hard drive and one 500GB hard drive, a total of 3GB of RAM, a single AMD Athlon64 3200+ processor and a Jaton Nvidia 8600 Low Profile GPU with dual DVI output via an octopus cable.  I also installed the firewire card that I recently purchased so that I could transfer videos of Liesl to the computer from the camcorder.  So while hardly a screaming new machine this is a pretty serious desktop unit once I put it all together.

The install of Windows XP went fine.  As with any install it took several hours by the time that I had the operating system installed, the latest updates applied and most of the applications that I use installed.  The install went smoothly and before long my dual-head Windows XP Pro SP3 workstation was back together and usable.

Now if time allows I will get the old Windows machine, the one that I have been using for Windows for the past several years, reinstalled with a fresh copy of Windows XP Pro and will be taking it to dad’s house next time that I go there to set up and use so that I don’t have to steal his desktop every time that I do something there.  That machine will be much more limited with only the on-board graphics card, only 1GB of RAM and two 80GB hard drives but for the type of use that it will get that is no big deal and I only have one monitor at dad’s house so that works out fine as well.

Work did not wrap up until around eleven this evening.  What a long day.  After work Dominica and I watched a little Hulu and decided to call it a night.  It is still really warm even long after the sun went down.  It is going to be a little hard to sleep tonight but we don’t want to start running the air conditioning if we can help it.

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