onefixedstar: (academic)
One of the best features of my (slowly going obsolete) laptop is its amazing wireless reception. I can get reception in places where no one else can. Like the TA room in my department, for example. Or the basement seminar room where I'm currently sitting, invigilating a make-up exam and figuring out the distribution of grades in the course.

Of course, amazing wireless reception can quickly become a liability when one is trying to do boring work, and is prone to aimlessly surfing when bored. Fortunately, I like playing with numbers, so I'm not too bored...yet.
onefixedstar: (cherry blossoms)
My cat has developed a charming new habit: tipping over glasses. She prefers ones with liquid in them, but she'll take any she can get. On Saturday, I made the mistake of forgetting about this new habit and setting down a glass of water on the coffee table. She went for it, of course, but I was faster. I grabbed it before she tipped it...and then tried to transfer my laptop from my lap to the table so that I could take the glass into the kitchen. Big mistake. Where my cat had failed, I succeeded, and water splashed onto my computer. Not a lot, but apparently it only takes a little. The computer itself seems to be functioning okay, but the keyboard is probably going to need to be replaced. I've had the worst luck with this laptop...but this time, I have only myself to blame.
onefixedstar: (mystery)
My cat managed to turn on scroll lock on my computer this evening while trotting on my keyboard. This is particularly impressive on two counts:

1) I had no idea how to do it myself. I had to go online to find out how to turn it off after I finally figured out that it was scroll lock that was causing Excel to behave so strangely.

2) Turning on scroll lock on my laptop requires simultaneously hitting two keys located on completely different parts of the keyboard.

In other news, she can also now leap to the top of the highest bookcase in my room, which means that I no longer have any safe place to hide things from her. But I suppose she'll learn that irons are hot the good old-fashioned way: by burning herself.
onefixedstar: (academic)
My newest pet peeve: people without laptops or other electronic devices who sit at one of the very small number of library cubicles with power outlets while ignoring the many perfectly good, entirely empty cubicles without power outlets.
onefixedstar: (mystery)
Hmm, you'd think after finishing my comp, I'd have more time to post. But of course, now I'm not trying to desperately to procrastinate, and so I'm less motivated. Instead, I've been trying to catch up with things I let slide over the summer. The past two weeks have mostly been errands and housework: fall cleaning (finally!) and taking in pants to be hemmed and unpacking boxes that have been sitting in my room for two years now...things like that. I updated, backed up, and sychronized my computers today, which is why I'm here again. Tomorrow I might even try backing up my laptop to a location that isn't located in my apartment just in case I don't have time to grab my laptop on the night when the space heater finally sets fire to our living room. I even have an external hard drive waiting in my office for this very purpose, but I haven't backed anything up on it in about six months.

Oh, I've also been reading. Mostly at the gym, on the bike, but occasionally I'll finish the book when I get home. (The inability to stop in the middle of a work of fiction, even if it's three in the morning and I have to get up at eight, is a problem of mine.) Most recently I've been reading Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, which is dense and depressing enough that even I don't want to read it all in one go, and Dropped Threads 3, which I found a little disappointing. There were a few good pieces in there, but a lot more fluffy feel-good pieces. Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul, but in advice form rather than story form. I picked up a couple more books at the library this afternoon; maybe one of them will be better. In the mean time, I think today was my last catch up day. From now on, catching up will be done in the evening, and my days will be spent planning my second comp.
onefixedstar: (Default)
When I took my laptop down a couple of weeks ago to get the graphics card motherboard replaced, I also mentioned that I thought the hard drive might be failing. Something about it not being able to save important files like the Master File Table. They, of course, found nothing wrong. Now my computer is buzzing and rattling. Very loudly. And won't start. Think they'll believe me now?
onefixedstar: (academic)
Wow, my blog is dull these days. I read, I read, and I read some more. The lively life of a graduate student! And then sometimes I curse my broken graphics card (I'm definitely taking it in for repairs this week), and I read a bit of the news or check if my flist has been updated, and then I go back to reading theory. I suppose I could post book reviews...anyone want a review of Blumer's Symbolic Interactionism?

I do occasionally take breaks, mind you. Last night, for example, we watched The Return of the King, and B laughed his way the through the ending, decreeing that it was too long to be touching. Tonight I think the big adventure is going to be my first attempt at making pesto. We have a thriving basil plant that's just crying out to be used, so it seemed the logical choice. But for now, it's back to reading.
onefixedstar: (mystery)
Happy Canada Day! (Or happy Dominion Day for the old timers.)

I'm not being very Canadian today: no red-and-white clothing, no vacation at a lakeside cottage, no Canadian flag on the balcony, and I was thinking of trying Phil's southern barbeque for supper. And then maybe going to see Superman. Or possibly the fireworks.

Although essentially ignoring Canada Day, I did decide to celebrate summer yesterday by making my first batch of banana granita. The (completely artificial) banana flavour worked quite well, mimicking nicely the (completely artificial) banana flavour we had in Little Italy last week. It's too sweet, however, and the texture was more slushie than granita, so I'm going to try reducing the sugar in the next batch. This time I used a little over 2:1, so next time I'll probably go a little under and see if that helps. I'm also hoping that reducing the sugar will help it freeze faster, because it took about 18 hours with the current mix. (B's currently experimenting by diluting some of the existing slushie-substance with water, so we'll see how that goes too.)

My hard drive suffered some sort of crash last night. Two blue screens of death, and then a long chkdsk which resulted in many repairs of indices and reassigning of orphaned files. And now some programs don't work. I had to uninstall ZoneAlarm because it was blocking all of my browsers and never loading properly so that I could fix things (I plan to reinstall eventually), reinstall some Firefox extensions, and it looks like I'll need to reinstall WinDVD once I find the installation DVDs. Bah! And yet the computer still works, so I can't take it down to be repaired. Yet.
onefixedstar: (sandmanweber)
I think the hard drive on my laptop may be faltering. Lately, it's been making more noise than it should be. It's not clicking yet--just buzzing--but I suspect it won't be long, so I've been assiduously backing up my data. Annoying, but this is what extended warranties and 250GB external hard drives are for. And on the bright side, a hard drive failure will force me to take the laptop down and get the failing graphics card replaced (no more random red dots!), and perhaps get them to repair the sensors that tell the computer whether the lid is open or shut, so that I don't keep putting it my tiny padded backpack slot while it's still running (and very hot). Not to mention forcing me to reinstall Windows, which might solve my other current problem of extreme slowness. (I know computers seem to slow down over time, but 20 seconds to open the start menu is ridiculous. It doesn't always take that long, but it happens often enough to be irritating. I've run AdAware and Spybot and Norton Anti-Virus, and none of them came up with anything. I've also used a registry repair tool which claims to eliminate dangerous and system-slowing entries, but it hasn't made a noticeable difference.) Alternately, the slowness may be a consequence of my failing hard drive, in which case it will still be fixed. Ooh, and a complete system reinstall would also get rid of that annoying mystery software that turns random online images into ad brackets using a very crude algorithm. So it all works out. Or it will once my system goes black.
onefixedstar: (mystery)
Does anyone have any idea what might cause red dots to pop up all over my screen? It started with random red dots, and then vertical lines of red dots, and now I've got horizontal lines too. It's starting to make it very hard to read the screen. They mostly show up on white backgrounds, and mostly in browsers, but I do get them on other colours and in other programs. Haven't seen any on my wallpaper yet, though. Googling turned up one quick reference to the possibility that my video card is broken. Other than that, nada. Anyone have any thoughts before I haul it back to the repair shop and lock myself in my bedroom with my desktop?


May. 4th, 2006 06:27 pm
onefixedstar: (mystery)
I've been rather negligent about updating my journal for...well, the past few months, at least. Rather than try to actually write up a proper, essay-style post, I'm going to post a list of facts instead. I may even try to relate them.

1. I've decided to try to finish my theory comp before B's family comes to visit in June. It's not looking terribly good right now, but I'm trying to remain optimistic. (Not looking terribly good = haven't read one word in three days.)

2. Even if I get my comp done, I'm not sure I'll be able to go to Ottawa with them (if that's where they end up going) because I have agreed to TA for 101 yet again this summer. I'll probably end up in a tutorial position, which is fine--better than marking in many ways--but it ties me to the city for 3+ months since I'll have to be here every Monday and Wednesday evening.

3. That's all assuming the funding for the position comes through.

4. It probably will, because the Undergrad Chair had a great deal of trouble finding someone to teach 101 this summer, and one of the incentives she ended up offering was extra TA support.

5. On the plus side, a return to Wednesday night tutorials could also mean a return of Quesadilla Night.

6. I need a TA position, because it looks like my RA job is pretty much over, apart from the possibility of being called in for occasional work. Our last meeting was interesting--it was supposed to be a wrap-up meeting as most of the team is no longer being paid (they were on salary for the term), and yet somehow it ended with all of us being assigned more work: collect more email addresses, write a cover letter, follow up with more analysis...

7. I've recently started watching "House." The plot structure is terribly predictable, but the characters are entertaining, and I think I may try to catch up on it this summer. As long as it's not airing on Monday or Wednesday nights.

8. Something else I'd like to do this summer is starting reading recent issues of the top journals, to get a sense of what's being done in the field, and to seek inspiration for a dissertation topic, because it's getting kind of ridiculous that I don't have one. (I did, but then the person I came here to work with said he didn't have time to be my primary advisor, and the person he sent me to instead said it wasn't a topic he felt he could properly supervisor. I could find a new advisor, but I really like the person I was sent to and think he'd make a good advisor, so I've decided to find a new topic instead.)

9. My lack of dissertation topic is one of my main reasons for not wanting to attend the department potluck tomorrow: I don't want to explain to the faculty who are there why I don't know what I'm doing. Roommate is organizing it, so she's really pushing me to go, but I may refuse anyway. I haven't committed to bringing anything, and we're holding a houseparty here for the graduate students after the potluck, so I won't be completely left out.

10. I'm getting small red dots all over my screen. They show up in multiple programs, on white backgrounds, but they aren't always there. I'm not sure what's causing them, but they have me somewhat concerned.

11. I wonder when they're going to turn on the a/c in my building.


Feb. 26th, 2006 12:34 am
onefixedstar: (butterfly)
My laptop popped up with the Blue Screen of Death tonight. I've Googled the numbers that went along with it, and came back with lots of scary references to impending hard drive failure. :(

The computer is still under warranty, but I'm not sure they'll replace the hard drive if they can't replicate the error. If they won't, I suppose I'll have to become obsessive about backing up, and hope the final failure occurs before the warranty is up. (I have over a year to go, so it's quite possible.) Alternately, maybe the large number of minor but annoying mechanical problems--like my laptop's newly acquired tendency to ignore the power cord and draw from the battery and the scary looseness of the hinges--might be enough to get them to give me a new computer. Okay, maybe not.

For the geekly inclined, here's the failure info:


STOP 0x0000007A (0xC03E1DA 0xC000000E 0xF876A000 0x07630800)

(More Googling reveals that 0xC000000E = STATUS_NO_SUCH_DEVICE)
onefixedstar: (Default)
So it seems that somewhere, somehow, I installed some sort of banner ad blocking software. Not a problem, you think. After all, who really needs to see all of those ads on websites? And well, yes, except that this particular piece of software appears to employ a very unsophisticated algortithm for determining what is and is not an ad. As a result, it sometimes blocks rather important non-ad things, like, oh, the menu on the graduate student section of my department webpage. And there doesn't seem to be anyway to disable it for particular pages. Or to eliminate it completely, since I have no idea where it's coming from.

Hints about its source:

1. It's an equal-opportunity program that happily blocks ads on Firefox, IE, and Opera.
2. I don't actually recall intentionally installing any general ad blocking software, so there's a good chance that it's a side function of another program.
3. In further support of number 2, when examining the list of installed programs in Control Panel, I can't find anything labelled "ad blocking software" or any software that suggests it might be ad blocking software.
4. My internet security-type programs include Zone Alarm personal firewall, Norton corporate anti-virus, AdAware, and Spybot Search & Destroy. I haven't found anything in any of those programs that suggests they might do ad blocking, but maybe I'm missing it. Does anyone know of any ad blocking features in any of those programs?

Any thoughts out there?

Tech woes

Oct. 14th, 2005 12:45 am
onefixedstar: (Default)
Somewhere, somehow, I installed some sort of ad blocking software that is now rendering all sorts of website sidebars as ads, regardless of whether they're selling something or simply providing navigation to other parts of the site. It's making it very difficult to move through certain key sites, such as, oh, my department's website. I think that at some point soon, I'm going to have to track down the responsible piece of software.

In other related problematic tech news, my laptop has stopped giving me access to my USB key drive. It recognizes that a USB device is attached, but the device doesn't show up in Windows Explorer. This is a bit of a concern since I actually need some of the information stored on that device. Fortunately, my desktop is still giving me access, so I was able to transfer the important information over. Nonetheless, I'd like to fix this as it's rather convenient having a USB drive.

Finally, I actually read the SSHRC application instructions this year. I can't believe how many little errors I made in past years! No wonder they never forward my application...


onefixedstar: (Default)

November 2008

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