Monday, July 15, 2013

Fond thoughts about an old computer.

My wife's computer is acting up and as the self appointed "computer guy" in our house it is up to me to try and fix it. To be honest the ageing machine needs to be replaced but for assorted reasons we would like to nurse it along for another few months.

I have a fondness for the old beast myself having built with my own hands. Almost every component has been replaced at some point so like Johnny Cash's Cadillac is defies any attempt to put a definitive date upon it's eclectic collection of parts.

The oldest extant component is an ancient tower case dating from circa 2002.

The Windows XP operating system was first installed in 2005 and the PSU and monitor hail from that same year.

The processor was upgraded (to an Athlon 64 X2) in 2006 but the motherboard was replaced sometime in the intervening years.

It still has 1 Gb of the original 2005 memory but the remaining 2Gb were added later, I suspect in 2010.

The 7600GT graphics card comes from circa 2007.

Mouse, Keyboard and other peripherals have been replaced many times over the years.

My wife's photography hobby has a voracious appetite for storage so the machine currently carries 1.5 Gb of internal hard disks and 3Gb of external USB connected storage all of which date from post 2010.  

Said photography hobby is also the reason why no trendy tablet or laptop will suffice as a replacement. My wife needs the power and flexibility of a desktop workstation. When it is eventually replaced (later this year hopefully) I would not be surprised if my wife opts for the ergonomic convenience of an Apple machine particularly given Microsoft's apparent determination to make the Windows ecosystem irrelevant. Nevertheless I will make a strong case for another "Built by Husband" machine. The core of her current set up has given good service for 8 years now and I doubt that any shop bought replacement could hope to match that.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Thinking of cancelling my Netflix account and starting a new one.

Grghhhhhh.  Netflix has finally become useless to me.

My kids use Netflix a lot and they watch more TV than I do. The net result of this is that the viewing preferences reflect their tastes more than mine. Today I have the TV to myself and I am trying to find a movie to watch and I cannot find a single thing in the menus. Even the old reliable menus (Sci Fi, New releases, Recently added) have finally disappeared and all I get are suggestions like "Because You Watched Boy Girl Thing".

This is despite my going into the preference menus and trying to tell it what movies I like. Obviously past history carries more weight than stated preference.

There is no way to wipe the slate clean.

There is no way to get a simple flat list of menus of the major genres.

At this moment in time I hate Netflix. It is a particular cold form of hate that is reserved for automated systems that think they are cleverer than I am. Just give me the God damned tools to make my own mind up and stop trying to second guess me.

The only way I know to wipe the slat clean is to start a new account. Perhaps I will start a new free trial account to tide me over until the kids come back and I hand over the TV again.

I hate Netflix.