Sunday, 28 August 2016

Replacement, Recovery and Resting

The word of the week is enumerate.

Aug 22 – Sitting, not Sweating

Well, it's cooler out this week, and my foot's still acting up.

Both of those things are good, however. Weather-wise, the high heat of last week has given way to perfect weather in the mid-20s with sunny skies and I only have to close the blinds in the afternoon to keep the sun from baking me on the couch.

I've been making sure to get up and walk around at least every half hour, in order not to exacerbate my hamstring issues any more than they already are by staying still. Starting off the week, my left foot( as mentioned already )is tender but not nearly as painful or swollen as it has been even two days ago. It still hurts to move it up and down or to put any weight on the ball of my foot, but other than that it seems to have settled down somewhat, though I can feel the tension still. I'm putting on a new anti-inflammatory product called LivRelief twice a day in the morning when I get up and when I go to bed, which seems to be keeping the swelling at bay. I haven't had to ice the foot since yesterday, which I think is a good sign, as the ice will just make the hamstrings contract again.

On the topic of health, I surprised myself when looking through my backup files on my home NAS( Network Attached Storage )system and discovered that I had multiple backups from the last three months of all my files. I guess I'm smarter than I thought, in that I set the backups to occur nightly, so I didn't lose a single thing, just the programs I had installed and that had to be registered immediately in order to have valid licenses for giveaways.

I made this pic, I was so impressed with the service! Not the SSD though.

So I've got a lot of data that's ready to be restored as I get to it. As well, my replacement drive arrived today from Toshiba( who now owns OCZ ): a brand-new OCZ 240gb SSD they sent me to replace the one that failed. The speed and efficiency of the warranty replacement was amazing, in that I mailed off the bad drive on Friday and I got my package via UPS today( over the weekend! )along with a whole bunch of e-mails tracking every single step of the process. Kudos to you, Toshiba!

It looks to be a good week ahead.

Aug 23 – Back Me Up On This!

Lots of g33ky tech-stuff going on today; read on if you dare, I promise to be brief.

After finishing most of the software installation and configuration yesterday, I spent a good chunk of today going through my files looking for duplicates of things like photos or videos to reduce space.

Surprisingly, one of the biggest offenders was my GoogleDrive: there were TONS of duplicate photos in there! I managed to clear out almost 30 GB of data, one third of my total space allotment, which will make a huge difference in usability for the near future in not running out of space and having to pay for more.

BONUS: after cursing for the umpteenth time at not being able to get at many of the standard desktop functions of my NAS box running the antiquated first version of Windows Home Server, I'd had enough and dug into the Internet again to find a solution. To my utter delight after only a few minutes of complicated search inquiries, I ran across the perfect thing: a plugin that would open up the FULL power of the NAS box by allowing full access to the desktop and even the Admin menus! I installed it, rebooted the NAS and reveled in the control I finally had over administering the system after nearly 2 years of struggling with it. It made me really happy to be able to just get in there, shut some things off( see ya, McAffee! )and generally tune the thing up ever so slightly beyond what can be done through the pokey WHS program - which I'm glad still runs under Win10, mind you!

After the installations and the cleanup were complete, I started a back up in the afternoon and went off to do other things. Checking on it in the late evening, it was only 25% done after eight hours, running rather slowly for some reason.

Incredibly, it took almost 24 hours to complete, which is a new record for slow backup speeds. I have a gigabit LAN switch and gigabit network cards on both machines, but for whatever reason it was running around 1 to 3 megabytes per second, which for a system with 6 terabytes of data means a lot of copying.

But that's the point this week: get my system configured just I want, back it up, and keep backing it up so that if anything happens, it's just a restore-copy away.


Aug 24 – Perfecting Your Job

I saw this today and just had to share it...

There's being good at your job, and then there's these fellows, who have taken it to the next level and then some in terms of figuring out exactly how to do their job with an economy of movement that is stunning to contemplate:

I wish I could say I was at the same point with my writing this week; unfortunately, my computer restoration has been taking most of my time and energy in order to get things right, so I've only been able to get a little writing done.

That should all change next week, once my tools are properly set up and my foot hurts less.

Aug 25 – Mastering MWO!

Okay, I've been a little remiss this week, I admit: I've played some games.

In the process of restoring my Steam games to my system, I dug into my MechWarrior Online game again and found myself playing it for an hour or two each day this week.

Now, I've mentioned before that my system isn't really suited to playing MWO, in that the frame rates get knocked down to around 10fps or less in really heavy action as the video card gets maxed out: it's just not able to keep up. I've toyed with the video settings in order to improve it, but the bottom line is that I need to play it at a marginal resolution in order to get anywhere close to a buttery smooth 50fps or more. Maybe I'll upgrade late next year, when the new Zen processors and the RX470 video cards from AMD are out, but for now I have to just deal with it.

It may not mean much to you, but those later games are TONS better!

And deal with it I did! I managed to improve my game considerably just this week, by paying much closer attention to how my matches were won as much as the rewards that I garnered. I learned from a little research as well that it's much better to back off and not bang my head against a wall if I'm on a losing streak, but to walk away: best to stop after a few good wins then a whole bunch of losses that will bring my score back down again in a hurry.

This one week, I managed to progress two thirds towards the next tier of play( from 4 to 3, hopefully in a month or so ) meaning that I'll be with a much better caliber of players... which is kind of scary, but to be honest I'm getting tired of hanging around with a random bunch of bumbling lunks who are shooting up the scenery as much as the enemy half the time.

Anyway, long story short: I really enjoyed MWO this week, moreso than almost any time in the last three years that I've been playing it! Something has clicked with me and the game, probably from just paying close attention to it all this week being stuck at home and I'm really happy that such a thing happened, even if meant my foot's not feeling the greatest this week...

But, it will get better, just like my MWO game!

Aug 26 – Karma Knocks!

What a great day - two really great things happened!

First off, my next-door neighbor knocked on my door and handed me an envelope, telling me to open it with a smile in my face. Mystified, I complied and the fell a $100 gift certificate to a local restaurant! As my jaw fell open and I gave him a stunned look, he proceeded to explain.

He said that a friend had given it to him just the other day, and since he was leaving to return back home next week for the winter, he couldn't use it: it expires at the end of 2016. So he thought of me and my girlfriend and immediately popped over to see if I was home; as luck would have it, I've been home all week! This is one of the many reasons that I love my building: in among the people who smoke like chimneys or argue on their balconies late at night, there's also some really wonderful people who do nice things for others just because they can. My next-door neighbor's one of them; I've helped him over the years with his computer systems without expecting anything in return and I'm tickled that he thought to pass on this lovely gift to my lady and I today!

The second thing to happen was a surprise sale!

As most of you may know from reading the blog, I started dabbling in cosplay early this year, creating a set of USCM armor from Aliens for the Emerald City ComiCon back in April. The costume's in storage right now, as I've been waiting for the opportunity to finish weathering down and sealing up the paint. Unfortunately, the one product that would be perfect for the job is hideously expensive: called Liquitex, it's praised by cosplayers for its ability to remain flexible after drying, but lamented for it's sky-high prices and lack of availability.

I'm a determined guy, so I've kept my eye on the price of Liquitex, checking in a few times a week with various sources to see if there's any sales that might bring the price down to a reasonable level. As luck would have it, today when I checked in on Amazon, I saw that all the Liquitex products were on sale AND the biggest tub( nearly 4 litres of the stuff! )was discounted an eye-popping 69% off!

I wasted no time in grabbing a tub, and in retrospect I should have bought to, because the price doubled overnight( see pic above ). Even though it shows a 'discount' still, it's more than twice what I paid and I still can't believe that I got it for that much, as I've been looking for six months now and never seen it for that good a price... for all I know, it was a computer glitch, but I"ll take it!

So in summary: today was a really good day!

Aug 27 – Custom Playsets!

This is too cool!

I'm a really big Star Wars fan, which should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, though I have neither the money( nor the space )to collect anything significant of note.

And I can only dream of being able to do what one Star Wars superfan does: he creates his own Star Wars playsets from scratch!

These are only SOME of the playsets, with his own box cover art too!

Apparently this guy works for years on the design of each playset, so it's not like he's just putting them together in a month or so with his mad CAD skills and piles of money spent on 3D printing gear. Each one is a labor of love and I'm fascinated see what he'll come up with next: as a kid, I remember being disappointed with some of the playsets that did come out to and wondering why other ones were never created a popular scenes from the movies or even the Expanded Universe.

Now, thanks to another Star Wars fan, we can all live the dream together.

Aug 28 – Sale Dud

Sometimes I wonder...

As my foot's been slowly healing this week, I've been waiting to hear back from a seller on a Canadian company! )who had posted that they had an Air Cast for sale: perfect for immobilizing my foot to keep it from moving around inadvertently during the day.

Those Air Casts normally run about $150, and while there's a few for sale currently locally, this seller was offering there's in perfect shape for a mere $15! However, after the initial contact, I didn't hear anything whatsoever despite several follow-up e-mails and today I gave up, sending the message and 'removing' my I Am Interested flag from the posting. I was a little miffed that the seller hadn't bothered to read any of my emails until today, nor respond... and then I was even more annoyed that they de-listed the item( again without a response to me )meaning that they likely sold it to someone offline, instead of me. Which is fine: just TELL me the item's not for sale, so don't waste a week hoping that you'll get back to me instead of buying the only other left-footed AirCast for $50, located inconveniently outside of town instead of just around the corner. So, if you ever come across this Marie Hayward: you can kiss my injured foot( which I mentioned in one of my emails )which may just have healed faster if you could have been bothered to be a decent person and VarageSale seller. It's just too bad there's no provision for me to leave feedback for a non-sale...

I should also mention that several of the pictures in this week's blog are composites that I've created myself, as I do several times a month when I don't find quite the image that I want for what I'm trying to convey. It's fun and doesn't usually take me all that long, considering my lack of Photoshop skills and I like to ensure that my pictures match my words.

That's about all I've got for today. It’s been a busy week off and I’ve so much yet left to do…

Sunday Foot update: still tender, and I get odd tingly 'twinges' if I move it the wrong way, even though I'm being extraordinarily careful. Still, it doesn't feel like it's swollen underneath any more, so I believe I'm on the mend and should be fairly well back to normal by the end of next week as long as I don't overdo ANYTHING, meaning I’m pretty much housebound – even limping from a cab to a small store is a bad idea, for now.