I finally got around to trying out No Man’s Sky a few weeks ago. I started on a super-hot planet, where you need to find shelter and/or resources to recharge your suit’s hazard protection system to keep cool. Got killed a few times trying to figure out what I was doing. And after about 20 minutes, my computer spontaneously shut itself down.

I waited a few minutes to let it cool down, then tried again. Managed to figure out a bit more of what I needed to do in the game, and then the same thing happened.

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A few years back, we replaced our aging Windows PC with a newer system, figuring on using it mainly for office-type applications, casual games, and kids’ games. (Both of us had drifted out of playing the sort of game that really pushes a system’s specs, largely because there was a small person in the house who needed a lot of attention.) So we bought a Dell Inspiron, and it did its job for quite a while.

But eventually that small person discovered Minecraft. And Youtubers who play Minecraft. And the other games that those Youtubers play that need stronger hardware.

OK, it was old, it could use upgrading anyway. I didn’t want to flat-out replace the system, because it was still quite usable otherwise. And I hate moving data from one computer to another, because there’s always something that doesn’t transfer, and there’s always something that you forgot, and so on.

So we’ve been upgrading things bit by bit over the last few months. Continue reading

After way too long, I finally upgraded the processor on my desktop. I’d held off because that always involves upgrading the motherboard, which is major surgery on the computer, and with a small child who wants to grab everything, that wasn’t really a good idea. Replacing phones and tablets, and replacing the Windows box, sure, those are relatively simple. Nothing fragile is open for several hours, and we use them all the time.

But I’ve recently done some small maintenance with him around and he’s been able to keep his hands to himself and just look, and I’ve trusted him to help with a few things like clipping in the panels on unused drive bays and opening/closing the main case screws.

I ordered a processor/mobo/memory combo from NewEgg, and it showed up on Saturday. I waited until Sunday morning to get started, knowing that these things always take more time than you expect (and typically at least one extra trip to the computer store). No surprise, it turned out I needed a new power supply for the new motherboard. In an odd echo of the last time,* I drove out to Fry’s and found one with the connectors and wattage I needed, with a rebate on it, then picked up some takeout for lunch.

The kiddo was able to leave the half-disassembled box alone while I was out. Things were strained by the time I was finished around four, and he had a full-on meltdown at the grocery store later, but I got the new hardware installed.

It’s amazing how much smoother everything runs now. I feel like I can actually use the computer again!

*I may have done another upgrade between then and the time we moved, but I only remember adding the wireless card in 2010 so that I could move the computer desk to another room and put the crib in its place. I definitely hadn’t done anything this major on the home desktop since he was born.

I finally removed the floppy disk drive from my desktop. I don’t know why it took me so long, except that it wasn’t in the way of anything. Living with a small, inquisitive child means either making hardware changes at night or keeping the work brief, and timing it so that he still has enough metaphorical spoons to keep his hands to himself.

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WordPress has been making a big deal out of their new default theme, Twenty-Ten, released with WordPress 3.0. Meanwhile, I’ve been watching this site get more and more cluttered, and I keep having to tweak the existing theme to be able to deal with new WordPress features like nested comments, custom menus, etc.

Last week I had to replace the theme’s comment form (fortunately with something simpler) because it didn’t interact quite right with WordPress 3.0.

What the heck. I haven’t changed the look since 2007, so I might as well give it a shot.

I’ve switched over to Twenty-Ten, using one of my own photos for the banner. It’s a view from Modjeska Grade Road, taken last January.

Modjeska Grade View

I’m not quite happy with it yet, but I’m not sure what I want to do next.

My main goals for the new layout are:

  • Move the last of the customizations out of the theme and into plugins (so that I can easily switch to another theme if I want to).
  • Keep the new page uncluttered and relatively fast-loading (which is why I haven’t added everything back to the sidebar).

I have had to make a couple of adjustments to the theme itself. Twenty-Ten insists on showing excerpts instead of complete posts for archives, categories and searches, so I had to go in and modify that. I also added a couple of bits to the stylesheet: alternating comment backgrounds, tweaks to the old Twitter digests, etc. Still, I’m making a point of keeping those changes minimal and grouped together.

I’m also trying out WP-Minify, which should make scripts and styles load a lot faster, or at least the ones hosted locally. Unfortunately there are still a lot of remote scripts for things like Google Analytics, the Share This buttons, and the Link Within thumbnails. Some of them might work. I’ll have to experiment.

So, things are in a bit of flux. Please let me know if you find something that doesn’t work, or miss something that used to be here, by doing one of the following:

  • Leave a comment on this post.
  • Use the contact form.
  • Email me at kelson – at – pobox – dot – com.