Look what yesterday brought!

Inspiration

My mother-in-law’s boyfriend was having computer problems. Sounded like a fairly easy fix so I zipped up to his house yesterday afternoon to see what was going on.

Got a nice picture of the sunset:

Sunset in Vista, California, on Veterans' Day 2014

It took about thirty minutes to solve the computer problem, so all is well there.

When I got home, I checked the mail.

One of the items from the mail now is proudly placed on my office whiteboard:

Mail from Japan

The picture, which is a postcard, was in the envelope, and the envelope is from Japan, from Takami.

The sunset was great, but the mail from Japan made my day.

Thank you, Takami!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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There’s someone worse off than you

Inspiration

For all of my adult life I have been interested in helping people, an interest that was developed in me by my wise old grandmother. Her standard reply to me every time I would complain about something was, “There’s someone in the world worse off than you.”

When I got to high school, which was grades 10-12, I joined Key Club because their banner hanging in the main hallway said, “There’s someone worse off than you. Let’s help them!”

Key Club International is the oldest and largest service program for high school students. Its goal is to teach leadership through helping. It was started in 1925 by California State Commissioner of Schools Albert C. Olney and vocational education teacher Frank C. Vincent at Sacramento High School in California. Interestingly, female students were not admitted until 1977!

At Texas A&M University, I joined Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity. After college, I continued for several years with Alpha Phi Omega but also took up with the American Heart Association, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Special Olympics, Red Cross, and many others. I was looking for a job with a charitable organization so that I could spend the rest of my life helping people. Sadly, I never made it to where I wanted to be.

However, I still continue giving of my time, money, and skills wherever I can. It’s the least I can do.

One of the organizations where I spend some money is DonorsChoose.org. I like them because, as stated in the name, I get to choose how to spend my money with them. Earlier this year I donated to help a teacher at a low-income grade school get some news magazines for her students. Last month, I got eight thank you letters from the students:

letter 01

letter 02

letter 03

letter 04

letter 05

letter 06

letter 07

letter 08

letter 09

Made my day.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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Music on Mondays (11-10-14)—Just another manic Monday

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

When my wise old grandmother was helping me set up my typing business in 1966—I was 11—I asked her about working on Sundays. I had two reasons for that: (1) She was a devout Catholic, and (2) my typing business would be focused on Texas A&I University students. Students often have many papers due on Monday but they don’t start working on those papers until noon on Sunday.

She taught me that every day is an opportunity to earn money, take a vacation, and spend time with myself. In other words, she taught me how to schedule things. For 48 years, I have scheduled my life. Each day has opportunities to make money, a little vacation, and time to myself. I use Excel for all that scheduling in today’s world.

“Every day” includes weekend days and holidays, no exceptions. Such scheduling has allowed me to make myself available 24/7 to my Clients without getting burned out on anything. I have never felt a need to “look forward to the weekend,” wonder “when is Friday going to get here?” or be all sad and depressed because the holiday or weekend is coming to an end….

And I never had a Manic Monday.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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Minimum standards and planned obsolescence

Did you know?

After I left Texas A&M University in May 1977, three hours short of graduation, I moved to Houston where one of my new friends worked at Texas Instruments. He worked their graveyard backup shift. In other words, he went to work at 10:00 p.m. every day, pushed a couple of buttons and rotated some knobs, and sat there for eight hours while the computers backed up all the data from the day. He found it a pretty boring but well-paying job.

One day, knowing my fanatical interest in all things Star Trek, he asked me if I wanted to go to work with him and play Star Trek on one of the TI mainframe computers. How could I refuse?

We played for eight hours straight, but it was the most uncomfortable eight hours I’ve ever put myself through. He worked in the room where the mainframe computers were, and that room was freezing! That was when I learned that computers put out a lot of heat, especially huge mainframe computers, and that the rooms were purposefully kept cold to help the computers do their work.

Heat is the #1 cause of computer and component failure…. 37 years ago and still today!

For the last 18 months I have been having significant problems with my graphics computer, the one with a 1TB hard drive, 8GB of memory, and quad core Intel processors. It’s actually a rather small computer, and it sits between my desk and the printer.

I thought the problem was with malware, viruses, and spyware. This past week, through Microsoft’s Assure program, I let one of their technicians take remote control of the computer. I sat and watched…. and learned!

He found all sorts of garbage programs that I had not found by using several anti-malware, anti-virus, and anti-spyware programs:

► MalwareBytes Anti-Malware
► Sophos Virus Removal Tool
► SpyHunter
► HitmanPro

I was amazed.

As he was finishing deleting the last of the garbage programs that HitmanPro had found, my computer spontaneously rebooted itself. Spontaneous rebooting was not my #1 problem, but it seemed that spontaneous rebooting always occurred when I was deep in the midst of creating Photographic Art in Photoshop, which was at least once a day….

In other words, making heavy use of the computer processors and the GPU….

Often it would not reboot and I would have to do graphics on my dedicated music computer.

According to the Microsoft guru, the computer was probably overheating and shutting itself down. That’s when he grabbed one more piece of software: SpeedFan.

SpeedFan is a cute little program that tells you all sorts of technical data about your computer and its components, including how fast the fans are turning and how hot everything is. It uses SMART to do that.

SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) is a monitoring system for computers and components that detects and reports on various indicators of drive reliability, helping to anticipate hardware failure. Anticipating hardware failure allows you to replace components prior to a disaster happening, thus saving lots of time, money, and data. Manufacturers use recorded SMART data to discover where faults lie and prevent them from recurring in future drive designs.

SpeedFan provided a temperature readout of my computer and its components:

SpeedFan readout

Notice that the temperatures of various components range from 68°F to 147°F. The little graphics next to the components indicate if the temperature is on the cool side (blue down arrow), on the hot side (red up arrow), just right (green check), or burning up (fire). I had two components that were burning up.

My computer is sufficiently old (2009) that it doesn’t tell me what the components are, so my only choices were to (1) buy a new computer, (2) take the computer to a computer tech and let the tech figure out which components were overheating, (3) add some sort of cooling system to the computer, or (4) buy a new house with a dedicated computer room.

After researching the costs of various options, I decided on option #3. Option #1 would cost about $800 for a similar computer; #2 would cost a minimum of $250 and could get into the thousands of dollars; #3 could cost as little as $4.99 for a USB case fan or as much as $140 for a specialized computer cooling fan; and option #4 could cost several million dollars….

After three visits to Fry’s Electronics, I finally found a case fan that fits inside the computer and is powered by a USB port. Cost a whopping $11.95, tax included. It took all of ten minutes to install it.

Here’s the SpeedFan readout after using the computer all day for every processor-intensive task I could think of:

SpeedFan readout

No hot arrows, no fires.

One other thing I learned yesterday and today relates to my occupation as a home inspector. Structures are built according to various codes, but those codes are only a minimum standard. Like virtually everything in life, no one wants to do more than the minimum. Minimums often mean “the cheapest way.” Would you like to fly to the moon in a spacecraft built by the lowest bidder? Challenger…. Columbia….

I learned that computers are the same way. Manufacturers put just enough into the computer to ensure that it works for a year or so…. planned obsolescence. You can make your computer last a lot longer than the manufacturer’s plan if you’ll monitor its parts and take care of them.

Here’s an easy way to determine if your computer is overheating: touch it. Your body temperature is 98.6°F, so if your computer is warm (or hot!) to the touch, it’s hotter than 98.6°F.

Now all you have to do is determine if how hot it is, is okay.

You can do that easily with SpeedFan.

Go here.

SpeedFan will download and install itself once you give it permission to. After that, just click on the desktop icon and let SpeedFan do its thing and give you a report.

P.S. Don’t worry about me being three hours short of graduating from Texas A&M University. I completed those hours during the Fall Semester of 1978 and graduated in December 1978.

P.P.S. Since installing the fan and doing every processor-intensive task I could think of, my computer has chosen not to spontaneously reboot itself.

P.P.P.S. Makes you wonder about this all-powerful God creature and why s/he has planned obsolescence for the human body. Built to minimum standards?…………..

P.P.P.P.S. Now go back and read my post from yesterday. It’s here: If it’s on the Internet, it must be true. Now leave a comment and tell me whether this review of SpeedFan is an honest review or a paid review……….LOL

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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If it’s on the Internet, it must be true

Did you know?

When my wise old grandmother adopted me at the age of 11, one of the things that she instilled in me was the belief that humans are basically good.

She did that one day when I came home from grade school with a torn shirt and all bruised and bloody from my first encounter with the school bully.

Her 80/10/10 rule explained people:

“Ten percent of the people you meet will love you because that’s the kind of people they are. Ten percent of the people you meet will hate you because that’s the kind of people they are. Eighty percent of the people you meet will love or hate you depending on your actions and words, so be nice.”

“Basically good,” to me, also means “honest.”

Working on IBOexchange (see my post) led me to several micro job web sites. Micro jobs are easy online tasks that anyone can do from home and which pay, usually anywhere from 5¢ to $20. Five cent jobs are things such as liking someone on Facebook or YouTube. Twenty dollar jobs are usually more time-consuming, such as perusing a web site and writing a testimonial.

MoneyI have known since youth that money is the root of many problems, and watching Judge Judy confirmed that.

Of course, the $20 jobs piqued my curiosity so I checked out a few of them and just cannot convince myself to write a fake testimonial. Maybe if the pay was $200 instead of $20.

I now wonder if I can ever trust an online testimonial again. More importantly, I wonder if I will succumb to needing money so badly, or simply needing something to do, that I’m writing fake testimonials. I guess only time will tell.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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Friday Flower Fiesta (11-7-14)—Purple Day

Friday Flower Fiesta

I had a request for purple flowers.

Purple Day (yes, there really is Purple Day) is March 26, which I think is too far away, so I’m just going to have a Friday Flower Fiesta Purple Day today!

Besides, purple was my wise old grandmother’s favorite color.

My wise old grandmother

Purple iris

Purple flower

Purple flowers

Purple iris

Purple iris

Lady in Purple

Purple flowers

Purple Geranium

Electric Purple Stamp

Wait!

How did those people get in there?

ZOEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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San Diego Historical Landmarks—#4: Site of the Presidio of San Diego, part 2

San Diego Historical Landmarks

San Diego Historical Landmark #4 is the site of the Presidio of San Diego. Read part one here.

On the grounds where the Presidio of San Diego was existed—nothing but bumps in the landscape now—stands the Junípero Serra Museum, one of the most familiar landmarks in San Diego.

Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The museum was built in 1928-1929 to house the collection of the San Diego Historical Society (now named the San Diego History Center), which was founded in 1928.

The museum is open only on Saturdays and Sundays.

If you love history, wandering about the museum for a couple of hours is a great way to spend some time.

Although the museum is small, it has lots of great documents, pictures, and archaeological findings.

Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego

Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In a previous post, I mentioned the El Jupiter cannon which I knew was located in the museum:

El Jupiter cannon in the Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego

El Jupiter cannon in the Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

View of Fashion Valley Mall and the University of San Diego from the Serra Museum tower:

View of Fashion Valley Mall and the University of San Diego from the Serra Museum tower .

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For the introductory blog post
to San Diego’s historical landmarks,
click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

For previous posts in the
San Diego Historical Landmarks series,
go here.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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