2010.april.27 » The problems started when I began having trouble staying connected to the internet .. via my laptop's onboard wireless adapter (Broadcom 4318). After 'repairing' connection several times, I inspected the device mgr, where I found a yellow-! hovering over my wireless adapter. Shortly thereafter the hard-locks began.
Disabling the Wireless adapter (in Windows device manager) and switching to a wired connection seemed to solve the problem (no more hard-locks) .. long as I stayed in Windows.
But reboots still gave me fits. Many times, the hard drive & CD-ROM lights would remain lit for ~30 secs, then go out.
That's it. Nothing. No boot. Couldn't even boot to a Bootable CD. Couldn't even get into the BIOS (F2). The display screen showed absolutely nothing. Sukage maximus.
Subsequent troubleshooting revealed that using a fan to blow cold air on the bottom of the (warm) laptop for 5 or 10 minutes solved the problem. (Every time.) By that I mean, I am able to boot, I get a display. I can enter the BIOS.
BUT .. I *always* get the following ERROR (BIOS) » Resource Conflict - PCI on Motherboard, Bus:06, Device:09, Function:04. <F1> to resume. <F2> to Setup.
[ If you happen to know what Device:09 or Function:04 are, let me know. I searched but can't find anything definitive. Bus:06 I'm guessing is the PCI bus. ]
The good news » hitting <F1> lets me boot to Windows. Once in Windows, everything is cool .. ever since I disabled the Wireless adapter. Runs great. In my device manager, I now have a yellow question mark hovering over 'PCI Device.' (Listed under 'Other devices'.)
Today I learned that my laptop's 'onboard' wireless adapter (toast) is not really onboard. (Thanks, Will.) Rather it's a MiniPCI card — half the size of a credit card — that's easily replaced, just like system memory (.. remove screw + cover-plate, pop-out old, pop-in new). Cool.
I was able to order a replacement for $5.48 (free shipping) from Hong Kong. Hard to believe, no? Especially when I saw the exact same part at other places selling for $40 (+ shipping). I'm starting to like Hong Kong.
It'll probably take a few weeks to get here, but I'm in no hurry, seeing that a reader sent me a USB wireless adapter to use. (Thanks, Dirk.)
This entry continues & concludes in Ye Olde Rad Blog v4 .. see here » BIOS Error » Resource Conflict - PCI on Motherboard
2010.april.25 » Met a guy at coffee this morn who was visiting from Vegas. Brother of a friend. Big, funny guy. So I ask,
How's the real-estate market in Vegas? Heard it was bad there.
Vegas is ground-zero for the sub-prime real estate meltdown, he said.
He owns TWO homes there. Bought the first in '98. But refinanced in 2006, at the peak of the housing market. Used the cash to buy second home (also at market-peak).
Did lots of upgrades to the new house. New floors, lighting, kitchen, etc. Expensive stuff.
Sad story. Has two young kids. Doesn't want to walk away from the property, even tho he may never be able to sell it for what he paid. The idea of somebody getting it for "pennies on the dollar" after he put in so much love & money .. clearly bothers him.
I think he said he's making half-payments on both properties, 1 day late each month. Not sure about the strategy. He said his properties are worth roughly half what he has them mortgaged for. Maybe this is where he gets the half-payment strategy. (More money for him to stimulate the economy with.)
I was thinking about him later. He's my age. His oldest is the Bug's age. He's double upside-down at ground zero. Yeah, he looked a little frazzled. Sharp sense of humor, tho. (Stress can do that to you.) He had me laughing pretty good.
On a related note, my buddy, the Dog, grew up (in Hoboken) with a bunch of kids who ended up working on Wall Street. He says they take "absolutely no responsibility" for what happened. Dog says his friends (who are "worth a lot of money") all blame the real-estate crisis on people who bought homes that cost more than they could afford.
2010.april.21 » Installed Netbeans, an open source IDE (integrated development environment). An IDE is a program (application) designed to help programmers develop their applications. (« Kinda reflexive, no?) Heard about it when I asked the PHP programmers at MODx CMS what IDE they were using. Their answers surprised me.
I'm not savvy enough to use these powerhouse IDE's to anywhere near their full potential. For what I'm doing (learning), I could easily get by with Dreamweaver (which I use for web design), or even Notepad++.
But I'd like to become familiar with a few of the main players, which include » Zend Studio, Eclipse+PDT, Eclipse+Zend, PHPEclipse, Komodo, phpDesigner, phpEdit & phpED. At least, get a flavor for them. And I gotta write my
code somewhere, right?
Before you can install the Netbeans IDE, first gotta install the Java Development Kit (JDK). Fortunately, you can download both programs in a » single installer (140 MB).
If a good installer is any indication of program-quality (.. like a good salad at a restaurant is often an indicator of a good main meal to follow), then Netbeans should be solid, cuz the installer is pretty slick.
Heck, they even have their own downloader (.. which rocks).
After the install, Netbeans will prompt to update a few files. (Nice.) After the update, first need to » install the PHP plug-in. (The instructions omit this step.)
2010.april.19 » Wireless adapter on my laptop died today. Laptop is 5-years old. (Gateway disposable.) Started having trouble yesterday staying connected to the internet. Had to keep 'repair'ing my wireless connection. Thought it was due to my ISP or their router.
Then the laptop started locking-up. Hard. No blue screen of death. No error message to indicate where the problem might lie. Display screen never changed. Ctrl-Alt-Del had no effect.
Only way to clear hard-lock was by holding down the power button for 4 secs. I did this many times (major reboot fatigue), trying to troubleshoot the problem.
As you know, hard-locks are often due to a hardware conflict. So I inspected the device manager. There I found a pretty yellow exclamation point hovering over my Broadcom Wireless 802.11g Network Adapter. Not a good sign.
Downloaded & re-installed wireless drivers. Didn't help. Eventually the wireless adapter disappeared altogether from the device mgr. Replaced by a generic 'PCI device' (complete with decorative yellow-!).
I switched to a WIRED connection .. using a PlugLink (made by Asoka), which plugs into your house electrical wiring. Cool technology. Can't believe it works so well. Fast. Kinda surprised I don't get electrocuted downloading a file. =)
Long as the wireless adapter is gone (unseen by Windows), everything runs good. If it comes back (which it does from time to time on reboots), I'll need to disable. Pattern I'm seeing » works fine after reboot » later, needs wireless connection 'repair'ed » finallly, hard-lock. (major sukage.)
Noticed my CPU-fan doesn't run as much with the wireless adapter disabled. CPU usage likewise dropped noticably. On the downside, I've had some problems coming out of standby, after the laptop has been dormant for long periods (several hours).
2010.april.18 » Waves crashed with a thunderous roar as we strolled along the pier at Balboa. We were returning from dinner at Ruby's, located at the end of the pier (.. here in Newport Beach). The sun was fixing to set and the pier shook with each monster that broke below.
Woohoo! Did you see that? Quite the spectacle.
The Bug tore off down the pier on his razor (scooter), leaving me behind.
I saw him come to a screeching halt a stone's throw away. He stopped near a mom and two kids his size, who were heading this way. He said something before pointing back this way. Then he took off down the pier again, heading beach-ward.
Did he tell you about the big waves? I asked the mom as she approached.
Yeah, he did, she said, smiling. Then her arm made an arc'ing motion as she pointed up toward Ruby's, saying (enthusiastically) »
Then he said, 'AND *THAT'S* MY DAD!'
Maybe you had to be there, but I floated along 6 inches off the ground when I heard the way he'd said it .. like he was proud to have me for his dad.
He has a belly full of french fries, I called out after they'd passed by.
So he's a happy camper.
Parenting is mostly a lot of hard work. And most of it goes unappreciated. Kids expect you to dedicate body-n-soul and nothing less. And they'll let you know the minute you come up short. So it's nice to get these unexpected appreciations (treasures).
2010.april.11 » Took the Bug this week to see his first theater-movie. Actually I've taken him before, but this was the first time he stayed awake and didn't want to leave after 30 mins. (He recently turned 5.)
I knew it was gonna be cool, but it turned out even better than expected. Very satisfying .. especially since I was feeling bad about blowing off Cirque du Soleil. We made a big deal of the occasion. An event.
The whole experience was cool » from the initial planning (anticipation) to walking there as the sun started to set.
Heck, even standing in line to buy tickets was fun .. as were the neat discussions we had on the way home. (
I had a dream at mom's I was flying. Like Peter Pan.)
Perfect, summer-like evening. We had fun the next day, too, telling folks about our first-timer's experience.
The theater is close enough that we could walk there, tho the Bug rode his razor (.. a scooter, which he wheeled into the theater and right up to our row).
I taught him how to choose the perfect seat (as described at USC) » Imagine the screen lying on the floor. Find where the top of the screen would fall. Move back 5 rows and sit close to the center.
We arrived early enough to see the previews, which was fun in itself.
Oh, we definitely gotta see *that* one, dad.
First half of the movie he sat in he own seat, which seemed to swallow the little guy. Later he climbed on my lap. (He has the best-smelling hair. And the softest.)
We saw How to Train your Dragon. (Dreamworks 3D.) Girls might not enjoy this movie. Definitely boy-flick.
I'd just finished reading him a book titled » The Ice Dragon (100 pgs), so we were primed for dragon-riding adventures.
Smaug does not appreciate when people try to steal his treasure. Puts him in a downright foul mood. And you know how ornery dragons can get. Nobody rides Smaug .. and lives to tell. Ask Bilbo.
This entry continues & concludes in Ye Olde Rad Blog v4 .. see here » The Bug's First Theater Movie: How to Train your Dragon
2010.april.05 » Started exercising again. After a long layoff. Most of my life I've endeavored to remain fit .. tho now I do so for reasons related to stress-relief & a sense of psychological well-being (the head). The mind is clearer & functions better within a body that is physically fit. (In my youth, ego was the primary motivation.)
First step is always the hardest. Once an exercise routine has developed, things seem to run on auto-pilot. My muscles actually start to crave work-outs.
Been at it a month now. A return to the gym follows this ugly scenario » a week of misery » followed by a week of soreness » followed by a couple of weeks of fatigue. So it takes a month just to get back up to zero .. if that makes sense.
Funny how the body seems to 'remember.' (Or maybe it's all in the mind.) So you're able to return more quickly to where you were (strength-wise) .. than if you'd never exercised in the past.
We know this drill.
Used to date this 'muscle-chick,' who lived out in Rancho Santa Marguerita. (Muscular, tho not masculine. Had 'baby-pythons' for arms.) She competed. Anybody who competes is hardcore. She never won anything, but regularly placed in the top-5. You have to be pretty buff just to get INTO these competitions.
Anyway, I learned a lot from her. A walking encyclopedia of fitness she was. Heck, that was pretty much ALL she talked about.
It surprised me to hear her say DIET was more important than exercise .. and especially so when it came time to 'cut' for a competition (which involves restricting carb-intake).
"Exercise," she said, "you do for maybe an hour an day, whereas diet is a 24-7 proposition."
Anything we did together was always worked around her diet and timing her meals. Some might find this annoying, but I found it interesting. (If not somewhat obsessive.)