Friday, May 24, 2013

A Good Day...FInally!

The weather has been putting the kibosh on building anything. I need to plane and cut lumber outside because I have no room in the shop. This is a really sad thing. As it is when I do get it all prepped I will have to assemble things somewhere else in the house. This is NOT a good thing either. But for the moment that's where it's at.
I have been working on the new media center PC in the meantime. Again I am reminded of why I got out of the computer business. 31 days after I purchased all the parts the MSI Twin Frozer HD 7850 video card FAILED! I was livid because of course you can't return items to Tiger Direct after 30 days. But I took it back anyway, trying very hard not to explode as I talked to the technician. They were actually very good about it (perhaps the smoke coming from my ears and the blood running from my eyes had something to do with that) and simply exchanged the card for me. I got the 4 TB Seagate SATA III hard drive and a SanDisk 120GB Ultra Plus SSD drive installed as well. The performance has gone from 5.9 to 7.7 on the Windows Experience scale. SWEET!
I have been loading music and TRYING to fix my music library but it`s not easy. Downloading music has it`s caveats such as bad metadata, bad spelling, and bad quality. Every time I make changes to my library I have to update it in SONOS until which things in Sonos don`t work like they are supposed to. I have almost 20,000 songs, most of which I ripped (improperly) from my 300+ CD collection. I have downloaded several FLAC collections as well - again not always properly tagged. I have been scouring the web for software to help me fix it all. Media Monkey was highly recommended but I had to do most of the changes manually. Then I found Jaikoz Audio Tagger. This software is a TOTAL ass saver! The auto correct feature works like magic for fixing tags and metadata including artwork. The trial version will only let you save 20 songs per session, which would be fine if you have a small library, but it works so well I bought it after trying it out on about 100 files. It will still take some time to fix it all - but this software ROCKS!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Finally Making Furniture!

The rec room is no longer "wrecked" but our bank account has been destroyed! We have most of the renovations done and are in the process of putting things back. Despite having knee replacement surgery right in the middle of the reno, we managed to keep going. Now I finally get to start making furniture!
The renovations included a new Ceilume PVC drop ceiling, 17 new StandardPro LED down lights, a new pendant light for over the new bar I am going to build, new Drop and Done vinyl flooring for the bar area, new Shaw stain master carpet for the rest of the room, new Graber wood venetian blinds and a fresh coat of paint. We also got some beautiful new Arts and Crafts Industries mission style furniture. The bank breakers were a new Sonos sound system and a new Media Center computer.
We are very happy with the choices we made, and despite some trying moments, we did pretty much all the work ourselves except for patching the ceiling drywall when we removed the old fluorescent lights and installing the carpet. The spouse got a major education in wiring because I wasn't able to go up and down the ladder to install the lights. We certainly saved a ton of money doing it ourselves. But it's hell when your whole house is destroyed for 3 - 4 months.
The new Sonos system is kick ass! We got the Playbar, sub woofer, 2 play 3's and the bridge. We wanted wireless and portability and Sonos delivers that and much more. The media center computer was supposed to just go away, but with this Sonos system there is so much more we can do with the computer that it needed an upgrade. Instead we just went with a whole new system. It's not your "normal" media center PC - it's housed in a Cooler Master HAF XB case and includes a ASUS M5A99FX Pro R2.0 motherboard, AMD FX 8320 Black Edition 3.5GHz processor, Kingston HyperX DDR3 1600, and an MSI Twin Frozer R7850 video card running Windows 7. There are a few more goodies going into it in a couple of weeks.
The 3 pieces of furniture I need to build have been revised, revised and re-revised. The plans are still not finalized for the wall unit and the guitar cabinet but the bar plans are done and I will be starting it next week.
The knee is doing well and I am so happy to finally be out of agony with it. I go back to work in 3 weeks. Hopefully I'll at least get the bar finished by then.