Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Motherboard Woes

About two weeks ago, I decided to get a new harddrive because my main one, an IBM Deskstar 130GB IDE drive, had started making a loud whirring noise and I've been having unexplainable problems with my system locking up. I thought initially that it was overheating, but after getting some new fans—including installing a new fan on my video card along with some heat sinks to the chips—I kept having the problem.

My Gigabyte GA-7VT600 1394 board supports serial ATA so I went to Fry's to get a new drive. They had an awesome deal on a Maxtor 300GB SATA internal drive (Diamond 10) for $99.00. I bought it; installed it; formatted my partitions and loaded Windows XP. It's a great drive and though I know I do not need 300GB (I really don't) at least I can better split things up for organization. So, in order to get my files from my old primary HDD, I would switch the power from my secondary 30GB games drive to the old drive and boot the OS on the old drive then transfer stuff to the new drive. I thought I had copied over everything I wanted but then realized there were a few more files and things to transer.

I went into the case and switched the power between the drives and decided to also see what kind of RAM my system has because I couldn't remember. I pulled out the stick and saw that it is DDR 400, 512 MB. I've also been considering getting more RAM since what I do when developing is have several programs running simultaneously and that seems to suck too many resources for my liking and it's slow. Anyway, when I went to put the RAM stick back in, I managed to put it in backwards :( I turned on my box and immediately smelled that horrible burning smell coming from my computer. I shut it off as fast as I could but the damage was done. I burned up some chip that I don't even know what it does. My box will come on, gets to the RAM test and then the screen goes blank. I can't get into the BIOS or anything. *sigh*

I was lamenting this predicament to a friend and he said burning up a motherboard is a sort of rite of passage. I've been putting systems together and working on computers for many years but this is my first catastrophe. I debated for about a week as to whether I wanted to buy a new mb and processor or just try to replace this one. I ended up finding a good deal for the same mb on eBay: used for $66.00. That's pretty much the cheapest option at this point and I'll have a functioning second system when I do decide to upgrade.

Update - 9 July 2006
I have my machine up and running again. I thought I was buying the same motherboard but ended up getting the one that isn't '1394' which also means it didn't have SATA on board. But I found a PCI SATA card for $11.99 from After yet another WinXP install, it's all good.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Blue Belt Test

Ready for Blue Belt Test
Tonight my Tae Kwon Do school, North Austin Tae Kwon Do, had its quarterly belt test. I showed up early and helped out a bit with the kids' tests since I am an assistant instructor. I spend roughly 16 hours a week at the dojang and I love every second of it. :)

This first picture is of me before the test. Master Thomas' wife took photos of everyone for the Web site first. There's not much to say except that a) I passed and b) I doubled-tested again. I am so stoked! They just decided that blue belt and above can wear black doboks.

So the other picture is of me performing the form Do-San. I was then asked to perform Won-Hyo (for the blue belt part). For breaks, I had to do a front snap kick—I've broken the black board with this kick in class. And for the blue belt portion, I had to break an orange board with a modified roundhouse kick where you hit with the ball of your foot.

Performing Do-San Hyung

Thursday, June 8, 2006


I came across a priceless example of Engrish over the weekend. It was the instructions for this photo booth type machine that makes a drawing of you called Gogh's Workshop; I saw it at the Main Event in Shenandoah, outside Houston, Texas, while waiting for the NIN concert to start. You just have to read it, although my personal favorite phrase is 'Only imagine make feel happy.'

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006

NIN weekend

So this past weekend—June 2, 3 and 4—I saw Nine Inch Nails three times in a row: San Antonio (Section 303, Row B, seat 33); Dallas (PIT); Houston (Center, Row JJ, seat 46). This was my third time to see them during the past year, having seen them in October 2005 in San Antonio and March 2006 in Austin as well.

All these seats were damn near perfect. Both times, the reserved seats were at the front of a section, in the center, unobscured and awesome view of the whole show and plenty of room to jam.

Saturday night in Dallas was my first (and last because it was so damn perfect) experience in a mosh pit. We got there about an hour before the gates even opened at 6pm. Once inside, we bought some shirts then made a beeline for the pit to get good positioning. Well, apparently they only give the pit bracelets at one of the venue entrances so we had to haul ass across the stadium then get to the pit. All in all, we had pretty good ranking, about seven people back from the railing. Of course we had to wait about two hours for the first band to start (TV on the Radio who are a lot better than Bauhaus imho). Then Bauhaus didn't start until almost 9:00. Everything started late but whatever.

So there was this dude who came pushing his way up to the front because I guess his friend was there and he brought some beer and hot dogs and then he stood right in front of me! And he was like 6' tall. I was like, I'm totally pwning this guy when NIN comes on. I had somewhat of an idea of what the mosh pit would be like but it was a lot different than what I expected.

When NIN came out, everyone surged forward and, lucky for me, I was in the second row which was perfect! I was right behind the people on the rail so I was getting squished against people and not metal. This picture of Trent is the best one I could get with my damn camera and all the bouncing. I didn't figure out until the next night how to decrease the shutter time. But anyway, OMG it was awesome to be THAT CLOSE. And it was so fun! I totally held my own against all those dudes and stayed right up at the front the entire show. Luckily too, my friend had my back so I didn't get groped or anything.

I thought there would be more actual 'moshing' but you could barely move at all, getting to bounce a little but that's it. It was mostly pushing back on other people and trying not to fall :D I won't ever go in a pit again because it would just be a lesser experience because I can't think of anything that could top this! Trent even got a bloody nose and was bleeding; it was awesome.

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Update 8 June 2006: So after relating this story to a friend of mine, he insisted that I was NOT in 'the mosh pit' because those just happen. I was, for lack of a better phrase, in the squish pit :D

Monday, June 5, 2006

stuff on my cat

This is one of the first few pictures we took of Copper--Baby Girl :D I'm posting this to try out Google's new Picasa picture program that has a 'Blog This!' button and just uploads stuff...I guess? I'm trying it out :D

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