Archive for the ‘DIY’ Category

Fixing Computers

Friday, December 27, 2013

The good – Making music again

The bad – Lost time

The ugly – Money spent


I use multiple older Macs and a PC on a daily basis. One Mac, a (Gigabit Ethernet) G4 500DP running Mac OS X Tiger (10.4.11), is used for email, web browsing, web design/development, graphics design, and other productivity stuff. Oh, and listening to music with iTunes! This Mac has been running faithfully since I bought it new in 2000. It’s had some hardware upgrades along the way—RAM, CD/DVD burner, hard drives, etc. I also use an iBook 1.33 for web browsing.

My Music/Recording Computers
My main music/recording computer is a MDD (Mirror Drive Doors) Mac G4 1.25DP FW400. I run Pro Tools audio recording software, and its associated hardware, on this Mac. I run two versions of Pro Tools software on it—version 5.1.3 booted from Mac OS 9.2 (classic), and version 6.4.1 booted from Mac OS X Panther (10.3.8). I recently installed Mac OS X Leopard (10.5.8) on this Mac, but haven’t made much use of it so far.

I built a PC in 2005 that I also use for music/recording. It runs NI Komplete and other software instruments (i.e., soft synths or virtual instruments). I’m running Windows XP Pro (SP3) on this PC. I originally built it for playing computer games, and to test my websites under Windows using Internet Explorer. I began using it for music/recording when another Mac, a MDD G4 1.42DP FW800, started giving me trouble, and I transferred the NI Komplete software to the PC.

Recently, both of my music/recording computers have experienced failures, bringing my music writing and recording activities to an abrupt halt. Not good!

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PC Meltdown

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The good – Disaster averted

The bad – Relying on cheap fans to cool PC components

The ugly – I feared the worst


I had two fans fail, virtually simultaneously (I believe), in my Windows PC. One was the primary (rear) case fan, an Antec TriCool 120mm. The other was the cheap manufacturer-installed 40mm fan designed to cool the Northbridge chip on my MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI motherboard. Both fans had been performing without issue since I built this PC in 2005.

Instant failure without warning
I don’t know exactly when these fans actually quit functioning. My first, and only, warning was noise coming from the PC. I traced it to the primary case fan, and noticed that it was not running at its normal constant speed. I then looked at the temperature readings provided by sensors built into the PC’s components, and two others provided with the PC case, an Antec P160. I saw the temperatures rising and immediately tried to save the data file I was working on, before shutting down the PC, but the system shut itself down before I could do so.

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DIY HDTV Antenna

Friday, August 14, 2009

The good – It’s cheap & it worksdiy_antenna_sm

The bad – Limited applications

The ugly – It’s not the prettiest thing


First of all, let me state right up front that there is no such thing as a digital or HD antenna. An antenna is an antenna, and there is nothing special about receiving a digital or HD TV signal, compared to an analog or non-HD TV signal. Now that I’ve debunked that myth…

An HDTV for under $300?
I purchased a Samsung T240HD LCD HDTV/monitor this week. Yes, it’s a full 1080p HDTV, complete with over-the-air and cable TV tuners. It’s also a widescreen computer monitor. For $300 I couldn’t pass it up.

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WordPress Update Merry-Go-Round

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The good – Improvements?

The bad – Their updates break my theme

The ugly – I’ll waste time updating my theme


I just upgraded this blog’s WordPress software to version 2.7.1 two weeks ago. Unfortunately, it broke parts of my custom theme I worked so hard to create. To fix it will require several hours of work. It seems to be a php and code words issue.

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Bike Overhaul Project

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Austro-Daimler Pacifica

A-D Pacifica

Click image to see the complete gallery of images.


The good – A well-made vintage road bike, worth restoring

The bad – Same-era vintage parts are rare and expensive

The ugly – It needs a complete overhaul


I have a nice road bike that I bought new in the mid-1980s. It’s an Austro-Daimler Pacifica, made by Steyr-Daimler-Puch in Austria. I would estimate my Pacifica as being a 1983 model.

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A new look for this site

Friday, December 5, 2008

The good – You don’t have to provide an email address to post a comment

The bad – But you still have to type in the reCAPTCHA message code

The ugly – If I receive too many “inappropriate” comments—spam, profanity, etc.—I will revert back to requiring an email address


Exactly one week ago, I installed WordPress, set up this blog site, and posted my first message, “Welcome to my blog.” Since then I have posted a few more messages, and done a lot of research about WordPress in general, and WordPress themes in specific. Although I know enough HTML and CSS to be dangerous, I am a total beginner with WordPress and PHP.

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