Sunday, May 13, 2012

No Excuse for Not Posting Anymore

I haven't posted for a while. And while I can't truthfully say this was all due to compute problems,
they did make working with rawTherapee more difficult and time consuming. Bottom line the window's version of RT barely tolerates antique 32 bit computers.

So I have upgraded my desktop from a single core AMD 32 bit CPU  to an almost up to date Intel i5 four core 64 bit CPU. I say almost up to date since my CPU is an i5-2310 and Intel has come out with a slightly faster i5-2320 version. (And yes I do know that the i7 gamer CPU beats almost everything, but I'm not a gamer and right now I think an i7 would be expensive overkill for my photo editing needs.)

Until last Thursday morning upgrading was only a vague I-should-do-it-someday urge. But after grocery shopping my wife decided to stop at the local thrift store to check for vintage bargains. Since I wasn't in the mood to stand around while she worked her way down the clothing racks I went next door to Staples to buy a bag of assorted rubber bands. 

Never got to the rubber bands.  I walked down the computer aisle, stopped to glance at some of the prices and was about to head off to the back of the store to search for the rubber bands, when another customer mentioned "That one is quite the deal." He pointed towards a Dell  Inspiron at the end of the rack sporting  a $230 off sticker. When I looked more closely I saw it was semi-loaded up with 8GB of ram and a 1 TB hard disk.

By then the salesman had joined us. The first customer was only browsing and walked off as I got the full spiel.  The computer was a demo and the last one left in the store.  Because of the Intel CPU upgrade they had first dropped its price by $100. When it hadn't moved, they dropped the price to $230 just that morning. And so on. Ended up with me saying I wanted to do some Internet checking first and he saying he had to reset it to the factory conditions so it would be off the shelf until Friday morning.

I had a day to decide. And since the Internet had mostly nice thing to say about the model--example, in a bench mark/price comparison its i5 2310 CPU came out #1--the desktop ended up on my old kitchen table turned computer bench by Friday afternoon.

A computer bench that won't be as uncluttered until I photograph my next upgrade. As I look around I see--no you don't really want hear the full mess inventory.  {The neatest additions to the mess are two wood turned black walnut tops tumbled over in a curly maple spinning dish. I bought them at an annual Artfair-on-the-Square back when some venders still hand crafted their arty stuff instead of buying it wholesale from Bangladesh or Thailand.}
The system has its first addons  I walked out of the store with its wired usb mouse and keyboard under my arm but I hadn't gone more than a few blocks when I spotted a garage sale sign. A garage sale with a $3 wireless mouse and Photo Center keyboard.  At that price how could I pass up the deal--especially when, to sweeten the deal, the owner tossed in a working laptop mouse.

One unexpected improvement affected my Sun workstation monitor, a tank build piece of equipment that weights 70# and must be approaching 20 years old.  The new Intel video chip recognized it as a SUN0567 instead of as a generic monitor  Since its colors now appear both brighter and more vivid, the video chip must be using a special driver.

Viewed from the side the setup isn't as pretty.


I pulled out 'big disk' from the old computer to added another 1TB disk space to the system. For  some that might seem a massive amount of storage but 'big disk' is already filled to the top with archived images. Shooting RAW +fine JPG on my Nikon D7000 works out to about 18MB per shutter push which can eat up a TB in a surprisingly short time. That upgrade went fine until I tried to put on the side cover and discovered the old SATA data cable stuck out a mm or ao too far.

A new cable is on order along with two PCI x1 cards to fill up the two empty slots below the wireless card. One is a dual usb 3.0 card to go with a 3TB external drive I had already bought.  When I said 'big disk' was jammed full of archived image, that meant it held the  digital photos I'd shot and saved until last summer. Since then I stored another 417 GB of photo onto another external disk plugged into my laptop. Do love to push that shutter button.

Since my older TV tuner card is old style PCI the other new style x-1 slot will hold an upgrade. This card has two tuners so I can watch and record 1080 pixel high def movies at the same time, maybe useful,  plus a FM tuner that could replace the boom box on the bureau behind me, far less useful. Plus some addition ports like HDMI that may or may not provide better inputs if I decide to explore my D7000's excellent video capabilities.

Who knows, you might end up seeing video posts on this blog,

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