Thursday, November 27, 2008

Woodworking for Novices

Ahhhh the smell of fresh cut wood, the rattle and buzz of a table saw, the mounds of sawdust under the router. These are the joys of woodworking. Unfortunately in my garage there is the smell of burning wood, the rattle of loose blades, and the ends of broken bits among the sawdust. But I am really enjoying it.

I fixed a drawer in one of our "antiques" today. It required a trip to the hardware store for wood and numerous power tools to cut rout and dado the panel. The best part was it actually fit when it was done and all the parts mated perfectly. HAH! I can do it. Even the spouse was impressed. I did however break a router bit in the process, but I figured out what I was doing wrong to cause that. So the lesson was learned.

I joined the Router Workshop forum hoping to get some help and tips there. Just browsing some of the posts I learned a lot. The biggest lesson was RTFM!!! A couple of posts lead me to realize some capabilities of my router that I hadn't noticed. It's amazing what you can learn from actually LOOKING at your router and reading the manual. Suddenly it a whole new tool!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Too Many Hobbies

Gaming seems to be on the back burner lately. The garage workshop project has taken over my free time. But it is coming along very nicely. The spouse has finally quit nagging me about not using all those tools. There are plenty of other things to nag about.

The "business" is coming along as well. Sometimes it feels like things are at a standstill, but I am getting things accomplished slowly. Today I worked on the new logo as seen here. I am not much of a graphic designer, but this will do for now. I am trying to get a temporary website and email set up as well. Today I ordered business cards and a couple of t-shirts with the logo on it for the spouse and myself. There are still many more important things to do.

Christmas is also looming and I really need to start thinking about that. Just another money grab as far as I'm concerned. But I must not be a scrooge AGAIN this year. Bah Humbug!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Workshop 101

I got a few more details about the new business sorted out today. I am now officially registered with the government aka TAXMAN. Everything is pretty much in place, except for the website, suppliers, inventory, bookkeeping and a few other minor details. Good thing I don't officially open till next year!

The garage has been my focus this week. I have quite an ensemble of tools and I am trying to set up a space where I can actually USE them. Perhaps I have too many for a garage. However I have been making very good progress out there. One day I will actually BUILD something.

I finally got all the parts for my little test bed computer, and I now have to admit complete defeat and say that the HD 4870 video card I have been hanging on to in hopes of a miracle is absolutely and officially DEAD. It is now in the trash.

The E6700 processor I bought on Kijiji along with my ASUS Maximus board is also a dud. Fortunately it is still under warranty from Intel and I may get it replaced. If that happens the deal will have been worthwhile, although I have NO complaints about the motherboard.

Tomorrow it's back to my REAL job for a couple of days. Someone has to pay for all the toys I keep buying.

Monday, November 17, 2008

i7/x58 IS OUT!

It's official the Intel Core i7 and X58 Motherboards have hit the shelves and all the early adopters are buzzing loudly and scrambling to build the new "biggest e-peen" rigs. The i7 comes in 3 flavours, the basic 920 at 2.66GHz, the mid range 940 at 2.94 GHz and the extreme 965 at 3.2 GHz. Gone is the old Front Side Bus (FSB) and in it's place is the new Quick Path Interconnect (QPI). If you want all the nitty gritty on this new architecture check out this WIKI page.

There have already been numerous tests and benchmarks done but now that it's finally in the wild we'll get to see the true performance of this much hailed processor. The motherboard vendors have all jumped in the ring as the X58 chip sets support BOTH nVidia's SLI and ATI's CrossfireX technologies.

I myself will wait till sometime next year after all the bugs have been ironed out before I consider jumping on this bandwagon. And it's not an inexpensive venture either. X58 only supports DDR3 memory and this time it's TRIPLE channel memory. But it will be fun to watch all the boys revving their new engines in the forums.

I finally got caught up on all the computer repairs I had last week. It was quite busy around here. This week I have a little remodeling project in the garage to take of. I also have to give the spouse's computer a little tune up. And I am still trying to get that dead VisionTek HD 4870 to work. Yes I am flogging a dead horse, but I am trying to get my 300.00 worth out of it SOMEHOW.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Business of Business

Looks like I got caught up in the plan to market thermal pads. I have made some contacts, got quotes for materials, registered a domain, applied for a business licence, vendors permit, tax exemption, etc etc. The only thing left to do is sort out the import and export end of things. That is one pile of red tape I am not looking forward to dealing with.

I don't plan on officially launching the business until the new year. It will be web based for the thermal merchandise, but I might as well umbrella all my computer activities under one moniker. Besides, if I have legal on paper business maybe folks will be more willing to pay for my services. I really am tired of freebies.

I am already looking into product expansion. There really are a lot of thermal products that computer modders could easily use. They just aren't readily available. I am hoping to change that.

The other snag is trying to do business with North American companies. The big guys just don't want to deal with the little guys like me. They want to sell you 1000 products but you only need 10. Sadly Asia is much more willing to help the small business owner, and much more cost effective. I really want to buy North American, but they are making it very difficult. Hopefully if things go well that will change.

I am getting a hard fast course in thermal dynamics. It's a complicated science. We are never too old to learn right? NOT!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One of THOSE Days

Have you ever had one of those days where you just can't seem to accomplish anything? That was basically my day, although in retrospect I HAVE accomplished things. I raked leaves, mailed letters, did shopping and errands, and fixed two computers. Still, it somehow feels like an "empty" day.

I had a client computer with a Zip drive installed in it. The problem was one of the grand children had inserted a nickle into the Zip Drive. I did manage to get the nickle out and got the computer to boot, which it wouldn't do before, but I have no way to test the Zip drive. Yes it was a very old computer. I don't think the Zip drive is worth a nickle personally.

The other computer had a software conflict between the HP camera software and the Lexmark printer software. One or the other has to go. I voted the Lexmark printer off the computer island. It's still cheaper to buy a NEW Lexmark printer then it is to buy ink cartridges for it.

I haven't played any games today at all. I did give the Merc Stealth a bit of a workout yesterday in Frontlines: Fuel of War. It is going to take some getting used to but I like it a lot so far. The colour illumination is very cool also. I am liking the purple.

Don't think I will accomplish anything else today. Blah!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Can!

Congratulations to the USA for electing President Barack Obama! What a fantastic day in history it is indeed. To bad Bush left him such a incredible mess to clean up. Let's hope the US can pull together like they have demonstrated they CAN in this election, and clean up the disaster.

I attended the Intel Channel Conference in Toronto on Tuesday of this week, and while I always look at this little segway as a mini holiday, I was certainly unimpressed with Intel's offerings. One would have expected them to be all hyped about Core i7 and the new X58 platform but they glanced over it like it was old news even though the processor isn't being released until mid month. It seems they are trying to keep the Xeon and older Intel chip sets alive a little longer. Hmmmm... are they lacking some confidence in i7? They are also pushing the ATOM processor and miniITX boards. WHY??? I left with more questions then answers.

I discovered a new DVD rental service called It's basically a DVD-by-mail rental system. I have a 4 week free trial coutersy of Telus Perks. If it goes well, it is a great offering. They claim to have over 72000 titles available. They offer everyone a 2 week free trial. I have already received my first DVD - Man On Fire. I'll post more on this as I go along.

I also got the Merc Stealth gaming keyboard this week. Going to give it a whirl tonight. So far I am REALLY liking it. I just need to get the whole profile set up sorted out. I'll give an update on this later on as well.