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Posts Tagged ‘Computer’

Cursor flashes
Waiting for a sign
“Word”
Behind the scenes
Patient to a degree
Only software can muster

Eyes watching
Waiting for a sign
Memory
Behind the scenes
Patient to a degree
Only cells can muster

Thought rages
Sifting
Dragging
Throwing
A word appears
Help!

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Card games

I know there are worse problems but relatively speaking the following is top of my list at the moment

The PC is making noises of the most peculiar kind
It’s the fan that cools the graphics card I’ve found
So I’m searching for an answer
In the form of something new
Just to chase away that disconcerting sound

The PC is quite and old one – on its last legs some might say
So compatibility’s an issue strong.
Those who one thinks have the knowledge
Either don’t or work so slow
And for me the whole thing’s taking just too long.

Intermission …

Well, I’ve two now in my sights that really seem to fit the bill
And I hope one or the other soon will be
Almost silently projecting
Pixels here and pixels there
In its slot with smiles of gratitude from me

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Early impressions

Winter softness

The winter wind is mild
As thoughts subside
And fear and troubles
Find a place to hide

Blue tinged with white
The colours of the sky
As fresh, the new day
Wakens my inner eye

Inside the machine

The purr of movement
Fans there to cool and stir
Discs race and rumble
While searching in a blur
For combinations
Processors much prefer

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Computer anxiety

The last few days I’ve been dogged by computer problems.
The old adage states “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” applies particularly to computers, as many of you will know. However, sometimes one feels one must update software because of warning messages telling of all the terrible things that might cross one’s path if one doesn’t, or because the new version offers new irresistibly exciting possibilities.

(more…)

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Last evening we watched an episode of Inspector Morse in which the theory of chaos was briefly discussed. A few years ago I got interested in this subject which led inevitably to the wondrous world of fractals. For any who may not have heard of the word “fractal” it is the name for an unsmooth geometric object. Classical geometry describes a tabletop as a plane and ignores the roughness of its surface while fractal geometry is concerned with the local irregularities. Fractals have self-similarity: each part of a fractal object is similar to the whole object – they are clones of themselves. The similarity can be perfect or only approximated.
I won’t go further into the fascinating theory of fractals. Those interested can find a good introduction here.
Edward Lorenz, an American mathematician and meteorologist, discovered in the 1960’s, while considering the ability of computer models to predict the weather, that small variations in values of the input parameters of certain mathematical models can have an enormous influence on the result. This appeared to be a property of models using non-linear equations which are necessary to describe natural processes.
It must be said that Henri Poincaré, the French mathematician, physicist and philosopher, was the first to discover this form of model behavior in the 1880’s during his research into the mathematical equations describing the orbits of three gravitationally bound objects in space.
Study has shown that these non-linear systems are not random but chaotic. Though they appear random, they are actually deterministic systems governed by physical or mathematical laws (predictable in principle, if you have exact information) that are impossible to predict in practice beyond a certain point. As Wikipedia puts it: “…, a nonlinear system is any problem where the variable(s) to be solved for cannot be written as a linear combination of independent components.”
The uncertainty involved in the application of models to non-linear systems is the reason why weather forecasting centers use what are called “ensemble forecasts” for their daily long term forecasts. This involves running the computer model a number of times using slightly different values of the input parameters each time and grouping the output results according to similarity. The members of the largest group can then be taken as providing the most reliable forecast. In doubtful cases the results of other computer models from other centers can eventually be taken into account.
The above also applies to other natural systems such as evolution. Even economic models are susceptible due to their dependence on natural processes.
There are those in high places who believe that Nature can be positively influenced by man, using his technology, to produce something superior. Indeed, it is well known that weather modification programs have been around for decades. Publicized results on, for example, the artificial production of rain, dissipation of clouds and reduction of hurricane intensity have been inconclusive.
Man is a part of Nature and not external to it and when applying his thought process through action to something in the “external” environment there is an immediate reaction which can never be entirely predicted due to its complexity. Outcomes of earlier interactions can be a guide but no more than that. My point is that the use of models to predict natural processes will always involve an element of uncertainty and their practical application an element of risk to the environment and man himself.

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My computer, an aging desktop model, is going away for a week. It was all rather sudden but it had to get away it said, otherwise it couldn’t guarantee being able to blog any more because it wasn’t feeling all that well.
How does it speak to me? Through emails of course, doesn’t yours?
So anyway, rather reluctantly I said okay though I’m sure my sour expression spoke book loads, even though I quickly added a smile of compassion.
It’s going to a recuperation center where it’ll be cleared of all toxins and other bits and bobs lying around inside its hard discs. It also needs a good rubbing down (massage it calls it, can you imagine?) to clear away the dust and other unsavory remains of the last six months.
It hopes it hasn’t caught any viruses because that might put a real damper on the proceedings. It knows I do everything within my power to keep it healthy though apparently it doesn’t rate my power too highly, especially as I still refuse to invest in a new firewall to replace the Windows one which it looks on with disdain and mistrust. I’ve tried to explain that the modem has a firewall of its own and that I’ve had bad experiences with those I’ve tried but that doesn’t seem to satisfy it. Well, I’m satisfied and it seems to have accepted the stalemate, at least for the time being.
When it comes back all shiny and irritably refreshed I expect the bickering will start again.
I have a notebook (well, actually, I’m not its true owner as it keeps telling me) but after a long discussion – it does so go on – it refuses to take over the blogging job because it says it doesn’t have the necessary know how and doesn’t trust me to set things up correctly even if it would consider it. Irritable little twerp! It even threatens switching itself off if I try to log in! Can it really do that?
I hope your “comrades” are more accessible than my tormentors. Perhaps it’s just an age thing.
Well, I know it’s all a shock but I promise I’ll be back in business as soon as possible.

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So I spent this morning adjusting the computer system after receiving an update from Microsoft for their .Net Framework which I need for various programs. Unpleasantly, without asking, it also installed an extension in my Firefox browser called NET Framework Assistant 1.1 which could not be removed or neutralized. It just stood there in the extension window looking back all gray and thumb-on-nose-and-finger-wiggling unwelcoming.

In fact, it arrived late yesterday afternoon and though I did then find some information on the Internet concerning the nature of the beast and that it did need taming, I had no time to investigate the matter further due to an appointment elsewhere. However, I did quickly read that Microsoft had now come up with a solution of its own in the form of an update. Apparently, until this came out the only way to remove the beast was to hack into the register and other sensitive parts of the Windows OS, which demands no small amount of bravery on the part of the average user.

Anyway, this morning after starting up the computer I was all primed to look into the matter further when, lo and behold, the small update icon appeared in the system tray.

This little shield has an exclamation mark in the center which I think should be a sword with blood on it 🙂

A little later a notice appeared that two updates were ready for download. As a long time user, I always take a good look at what Microsoft throws at me before allowing them to get there fingers dirty in my machine. One update was the millionth XP security update and the other was a program to alleviate the problem outlined above. I tentatively gave the order to download.

For some reason, which will no doubt be obvious to some, the installation of these updates often only occurs when I switch off the machine. As no further invitation came from Microsoft I did this but in the process noticed to my dismay that only one update was being installed.

After starting up the computer again I feverishly searched in the Event Viewer (right click your My Computer icon and select Manage) to see what had arrived (doubleclick on the msiInstaller entries) and it was the security update mentioned. Don’t ask me why the other had not been installed, this only leads to madness.

So after walking round a bit I sat down again before the monitor and went to the Microsoft download site to get the update myself, if possible, damn it! To my pleasant surprise I found the appropriate page rather quickly. There were two possible downloads, both with long names which said little about the contents. The only difference in their titles was that one contained the combination x86 and the other x64. Although a thought did surface telling me that x86 was the right choice, I decided to check just to be sure and so I dived into the Internet again. Luckily someone had asked the question before and it appeared that x86 was for a 32 bit machine (which I have) and x64 for a 64 bit machine.

Stop laughing at the back there! I won’t bore you much longer, I promise.

Anyway, I installed it and then on entering Firefox with bated breath I found I could, at last, grab the beast by the horns. It has now been successfully removed.

For those who are interested the relevant update file is located at

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=CECC62DC-96A7-4657-AF91-6383BA034EAB&displaylang=en

To those at Microsoft who stick pins into effigies of unsatisfied customers, which I’m sure they’ve somehow procured and have locked away in cupboards somewhere (effigies, not customers), I make no apology for any ignorance on my part.

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So the computer’s finally showing signs of old age. It’s managed to survive five years of rather intense usage, not that I’m a gamer or video fanatic, but even so. Yesterday it made a sort of grating sound that brought a light panic to its user.

Thinking that something might be blocking something else, perhaps a beetle or a dead mouse, I immediately revealed its innards and set about cleaning and poking around with a vacuum cleaner and a small brush. It’s amazing how much dust accumulates in such a short time.
I know, I know, there are air sprays that some recommend, but I’ve had a bad experience with one I tried. Liquid appeared instead of air, even after shaking, which according to my “expert” couldn’t do any real harm, but it didn’t seem quite right somehow. The bottle is still standing in the cupboard waiting for a final decision as to its fate.

Anyway, after the cleanup operation the beast started normally with its usual purr, so I thought the old thing was happily free of whatever it was that was getting between something and something else, but it was not to be.

This morning there it was again, the wretched grating sound, somewhat less than the first time but still definitely hinting that all is not well.
On further inspection the noise seems to be coming from the power supply module where another fan is situated, which one can’t get at easily to inspect. Of course, one can never be quite sure where noises are coming from when there are several around in the vicinity, which you’ve almost certainly noticed. Anyway, maybe something’s worked its way inside that should have remained somewhere else.
As this is a bit more technical than what I’m normally used to – I’m more of a software man myself – I’m a bit apprehensive about fiddling around with it. The “expert” isn’t around to help any time soon so I guess I’ll have to take a look, if I want to reduce the possibility of a meltdown or fire. Oh my G…!

I’ve put the operation off for a time while I consider the situation, which really means I’m trying to pluck up enough courage to do it. You know how it is.
The noise did die down pretty fast after a minute or so, once the old thing had come up to speed, so that’s a bit of a temporary relief.

According to a check using my trusty SpeedFan software (highly recommended for keeping an eye on the innards of the beast) the two hard discs are still in fine shape and three of the four fans too. I have had two extra of the latter installed as it can get hot up here under the roof in summer. Those that I can visibly inspect are whipping around in a blur so that would seem to be some sort of confirmation.

So it must be the power supply module then, mustn’t it? Please say yes, I’m sure I’ll pick up the vibes.

I’ll let you know what enfolds.

Call me an old deranged fool, but all this Bilderberg stuff and the rest of the strange goings on in the world of finance and politics, that have even reduced the UFO experience and the explanations for the “face on mars” to the far background of the psyche, are definitely having an effect on the writing and especially on the subject matter. Being a caring soul, I would like to be able to convince the children that utopia is still on the cards. I would like to be able to say that the future will, with the help of or in spite of technological innovation, evolve to become a predominantly positive one.

Perhaps if enough of us have similar deep down feelings, then something outside human influence might again be stirred into action.

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