June 2nd, 2016 by Michael Sauers

July 14, 2008. Details @ Wikipedia.

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July 2nd, 2015 by Michael Sauers

Home office setup, July 2005

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March 25th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

I H8 PCMy main desktop is currently dead. Sure, it powers on, but then nothing. No HP splash screen allowing me to get to the bios. No booting from a recovery USB drive, nor from my Windows 8 disk. Nada.

Back story, some or all of which may have something to do with the problem but I’m not sure:

Yesterday I had to flip a breaker in the basement which did cut power to the computer. However it cut power to other computers and didn’t cane them any harm. I rebooted the computer and everything worked fine as far as I could tell.

This morning after doing some work on the desktop I went to the start screen and it was blank. I could still start typing and get search results and bring up the charms, but no tiles would appear.

Some Google searching led me to running the “sfc” command which checks Windows 8 for missing and corrupted files. Those results cam back reporting no problems.

Another possible solution was to put the computer into sleep mode and then bring it back. I put it into sleep mode. It wouldn’t come back.

I manually powered off the computer by holding down the power button for several seconds. (Something I’ve done to this computer before to no ill effect.)

Now the computer won’t boot.

I am not a happy camper. I’m stumped. (Yes, everything’s either on external drives or backed up online.)

Later this morning I’m taking it to a local place for diagnostics. (No, I’ am not taking it to Best Buy or Staples. I want NOTHING done to this computer without my input first.) $49.95 for the diagnostics unless someone’s got a good suggestion in the next hour.

Oh, and I am not at this point blaming Windows 8. If I can’t get to the BIOS the OS can’t be the problem, can it?

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November 19th, 2012 by Michael Sauers

imageYesterday my main desktop pretty much died. I have successfully gotten it to boot but it’s no longer reliable so I needed to order a new main machine. Here’s what I ended up ordering: 

Hewlett-Packard h8-1234

General Spec




Pavilion HPE



Form Factor

Mid Tower


AMD FX-6120 3.5GHz

Processor Main Features

64 bit Six-Core Processor

Cache Per Processor

8MB L3 Cache


10GB DDR3-1600

Hard Drive


Optical Drive 1

SuperMulti DVD Burner drive


AMD Radeon HD 7450 1GB


Integrated IDT 92HD89E Audio


Gigabit Ethernet

Wireless Card

802.11 b/g/n Wireless

Power Supply

200-240V/3A (50-60Hz)


USB keyboard with volume control and Beats key


HP USB optical mouse

Operating System

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit (Which I’ll be upgrading to Win8 immediately.)



AMD 970

Motherboard Name

Gigabyte M3970AM-HP (Angelica2)


CPU Type

AMD FX-Series

Installed Qty


CPU Speed


L2 Cache Per CPU


L3 Cache Per CPU


CPU Socket Type


CPU Main Features

Turbo CORE up to 4.1GHz



AMD Radeon HD 7450

Graphics Interface

PCI Express x16


Memory Capacity


Memory Speed

DDR3 1600

Form Factor

DIMM 240-pin

Memory Slot (Total)


Optical Drive

Optical Drive Type

DVD Super Multi


Audio Chipset


Audio Features

Built-in High Definition 7.1 channel


LAN Chipset


LAN Speed



802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN


Bluetooth 3.0

Front Panel Ports

Front USB

Top: USB 3.0 x 2 Front: USB x 2

Front Audio Ports

Top: Microphone x1 Headphone x1

Card Reader

15-in-1 multimedia card reader

Back Panel Ports

Video Ports


Rear USB

USB 2.0 x 4


1 port

Rear Audio Ports

6 ports


1 port


Internal Bays

5.25" ODD Bays x2 / 3.5" HDD Bays x2

PCI Slots (Available/Total)

One PCI Express x16 (Gen 2.0) / Three PCI Express x1 (Gen 2.0) / One PCI Express mini card (for half-length add-in cards) with USB connector

It’s a refurbished computer but I’ve had good luck with those in the past. And for just $514 from Newegg I’m not sure I could have found a better deal.

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May 17th, 2012 by Michael Sauers

For this month’s book thing I read The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr and to be honest I was expecting to be a text that I would disagree with page after page similar to books like Andrew Keen’s The Cult of the Amateur. But, surprisingly, I found myself not only understanding Carr’s arguments but agreeing with him more often than not. There are just some times you can’t easily argue with the science.

I still want to be careful however and not say that I agree with all of his conclusions. Ok, computers and the Internet may be changing the way our brains operate but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Well, maybe my opinion is more subtle than that. Yes, as Carr states, all technology changes us, whether is be as something as complex as a computer or as simple as a hammer. What worries me though is that one might be tempted, after reading this book, to assume that all change is bad. There are always those that worry that change will lead to the end of something, maybe even humanity itself. And, I suppose that being concerned isn’t necessarily bad either. Mostly, I just feel that this book placed his concerns in a well-deserved context, and that by being aware of those concerns we can make better choices in the future.

I’m sorry if this review seemed a bit rambling, but I’ve been mulling over what to say for a few days now and I’m still got a bit more thinking to do about this book, but I knew I needed to get these thoughts down before I moved on to some other projects.

As a footnote, I did listen to the audio version of this book instead of “reading” it. I do wonder what Mr. Carr would think of that…

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October 4th, 2011 by Michael Sauers

I was clearing off some Zip Disks this evening (remember those?) and found this video. What I want to know is where can I get one of those snazzy red library uniforms?

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April 27th, 2011 by Michael Sauers

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February 24th, 2011 by Michael Sauers


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February 5th, 2010 by Michael Sauers

Kitchen computerBack in December Mary came to me and said “I want a computer in the kitchen.” On a certain level I’d been expecting this for a while. She has quite the cookbook collection and has been scanning her recipe cards for while now. Having to print a recipe to paper whenever she wants to cook something in the kitchen sort of defeats the purpose of scanning them into the computer in the first place. However, and she will admit this herself, Mary is a very messy cook. I love her cooking but I’m glad she does the majority of the cleaning up. (I take care of the dishes.) A computer covered various foods and other unnamed substances was not something I wanted to look forward to. Also, there isn’t exactly a lot of available counter space on which to put a computer, keyboard, mouse, and monitor. A-researchin’ I went.

What we ended up with is shown in the photo above, which if you click will take you to some other photos at other angles on flickr. (There have been some minor tweaks since the photo has taken like better cable management but nothing too significant.) The computer is an Acer nettop which is sitting inside the cabinet. The monitor has been mounted under the cabinet so that it can be folded up and out of the way when it’s not in use. The keyboard is foldable for easy storage and rubberized for easy cleanup. The computer itself is connected to the home network via WiFi (802.11n) and stores all the scanned recipe files.(And is also backed up across the network to an external hard drive in my office.)

Needless to say, Mary is happy with the results. It’s not a powerful computer but it does the job she needs it to do. All for about $300.

Here are the detailed specs and links for those interested: 

Also needed: 1.25" hole saw

(There are now six computers in our house. The only two rooms without a computer are the bathrooms. Technically there’s no computer in Diana’s room but only because she has it with her on campus.)

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May 28th, 2009 by Michael Sauers

In the late 80s I used a 300-baud acoustic modem connected to my Atari 800 to connect to BBSes. Ah, the memories. (Though I think it would have been cooler if he had actually used a rotary dial phone to make it true “dial up”.)

Via Boing Boing

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