Completed Computer Build

I finished building my new computer. All the parts came in yesterday to complete it. It was really quite easy to build. The only problem I had was with the wifi module. First I had to file the holes out to mount the antennas, then I found it impossible to connect the wires from the antennas to the module. You have to be a brain surgeon with an electron microscope to connect the wires. Honestly, I don’t think it was possible. Big fail from ASRock on that one.

As I said, mounting the CPU, RAM, and SSD were simple and straightforward. And I was pleasantly surprised how quick and easy it was to install Windows 10. I am using a wireless keyboard with trackpad for input, and a USB wifi device. I was up and running in no time. The computer boots in about 10 seconds, much faster than the old computer it replaces. I am writing this post on the new computer. I am still amazed how small it is considering it has a 65W processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. And there is still room to add another SSD or an M.2 drive.

All it all I am extremely pleased. I hope this satisfies my urge to buy or build any more computers or electronics for while. I have included a few photos I took to document the build. Now I need to go and check on the John Wayne casserole I am cooking in the crockpot for supper.

ASRock motherboard parts case


Dump Loyalty Cards

CC3H15_2401584bI was shopping at my local grocery store recently, and as I was pulling up Android Pay from my smartphone to access my loyalty card, I had a thought. Why are we still using loyalty cards? When I got home from the store, I pondered the question.

I know that loyalty cards were originally designed to encourage customers to continue to shop at or use the services of businesses associated with each card. I’m not sure when the first loyalty card was issued, but I do know that they have been around for years. While they may initially have been some value to both customer and business, today, with the proliferation of loyalty cards, I wonder if that is the case anymore.

I have loyalty cards for grocery stores, bookstores, electronic stores, pet stores; just about every category of business imaginable. They have become both a nuisance to keep as well as to use. They have not made me loyal to any business today. Since every business now has one, I tend to use use whichever business provides the best value and services. Loyalty cards seem to have lost the ability to engender loyalty in a customer.

With that said, and the businesses knowing full well that their loyalty cards no longer work as designed, why do we still have them? Wouldn’t it be far better for all involved, business and customer alike, to do away with loyalty cards altogether and earn loyalty again the old fashioned way? The old fashioned way being to offer the best value and service from the get go.

It must cost businesses quite a bit to maintain such programs, and has become increasingly onerous for the customer to keep and use all the myriad cards available. I think I will start a hashtag campaign on social media to eradicate the loyalty card. #DumpTheCard

The only problem I see with my campaign being a complete success is the fact that the very first business to drop loyalty cards may actually suffer economically. That is where the customer needs to step up to the plate and give their loyalty to that first and subsequent businesses. And then one day we can return to the days where a loaf of bread costs exactly what it is labeled, with or without a loyalty card. It takes more than a card to earn my true loyalty.

Wish me luck!


I Love Where I Live

I have lived in the Hampton Roads area since the 11th grade, which means since 1966. You figure out how old I am. Before that, as a Navy brat, I had lived in Newport, Rhode Island (my birthplace), upstate New York, Texas, Florida, and finally here in Southeastern Virginia. Although the area has seen tremendous growth since I first came here, not all of which has been good, I would still be hard pressed to find a better place to live. We are very close to the ocean and a 4 hour drive to the Appalachian Mountains. There are no really big cities in Virginia, which is fine by me. It is not as rural as it used to be, but it is still a wonderful place to call home.

There is a lot of history in Virginia, a lot of it very close to where I live. From the Revolutionary War to the Civil War, from the first English colony at Jamestown, to the Lost Colony at Roanoke, North Carolina, there is a lot to see and do, and most important of all, take photos of. Yesterday I took a little trip up to Smithfield, which is a beautiful, quaint town with lots of Colonial and Victorian houses and shops. It is also home to the world famous Smithfield Meats. Smithfield is also home to St. Luke’s Church. Historic St. Luke’s is the oldest church in Virginia and oldest church in British North America of brick construction.  Anyway, as I said this area is a photographers delight and Smithfield is a typical example. I hope you enjoy some of the photos I took of the area.

Summertime Update

Things have been going well since my last post. My back pains have gone away, I have been going to the gym regularly, and now that the pool is open I have been swimming for exercise. And of course I can’t forget that other summer exercise, yard work.

Teresa bought a new car to replace her rather raggedy Nissan. The Nissan was starting to nickle and dime her to death with repairs. She bought a beautiful forest green Toyoto Corolla. It is a 2015 model with only 9 miles on it. I’m a bit jealous as it has all the cool, new tech. in it. The center console screen has displays for phone, music, and car. It is also equipped with a backup camera which is one thing I hope all new models will have as standard fare soon. The music display works for her radio, cd player, and to connect bluetooth devices. You can make and receive phone calls hands free using buttons on the steering wheel when you connect your smartphone via bluetooth. It’s really awesome to hear your phone calls via the cars sound system.

Teresa also got a new smartphone. She has never had one before so I helped her with her selection at Cricket wireless. She bought a nice Motorola E 2nd Generation. It is a nice starter phone for a smartphone novice. I am buying her a case and screen protector as she is the type of person who likes to just throw the phone into her purse.

And the last thing  is I had to satisfy my lust for a new camera. I have to work on that lust for tech. thing.  I bought a Sony Alpha a6000 mirrorless camera. It was purchased from Ebay in near mint condition for $160 off retail price. It is an awesome camera and a big step up from my current camera. Looking forward to receiving it soon.

That’s it. All is well. Our Church is growing, our new Pastor is great, and I am truly blessed. Hope you are too.

Deep in Winter

Hello. Back again after a few months hiatus. The big news I guess is the weather. We have had quite a winter here in South Eastern Virginia. As of today, February 17th, we have had 3 significant snowfalls. The first one was about 3 inches, soon followed by a big winter storm that left us with 8 inches of snow and bad road conditions for several days. The last one left another 3 inches which was quickly melted by rain the next day. I would not be surprised if we have not seen our last snowfall of the winter. Everyone is looking forward to Spring by now.

So what else is new? Let me think for a moment. Ah, as usual technology news. I bought a fancy dash camera for my Honda Element. It records automatically as soon as you turn on the ignition and turns off when you turn off the ignition. It can record in segments of 2, 3, or 5 minutes until it fills up the SD card. It records in 1080i resolution with audio. I have had it for a couple of weeks now and the video is really nice. If I ever get into an accident I will have a video record of it as  it has a g sensor that stops the recording if an impact is detected. Another toy, albeit useful one.

I have also ordered a new tablet to replace my Nexus 7 which has become increasingly sluggish up to the point of uselessness. I ordered a Chinese made 7.9 inch tablet so I will see how it works.

Piano lessons are going well. I never expect to become really proficient but it is a lot of fun and keeps me occupied. Otherwise my time is spent reading, doing Bible studies, taking Max for walks, and photography. I think Max and  I have been to every park there is in the Hampton Roads area. Time for a road trip one of these day.

Enough for now. 

Snowy woods

Fall is Here

Well it is starting to look like I am only going to post here once every season. My last entry was in the summer, where I promised to post more often. Didn’t seem to happen did it? Anyway, there is a lot to write about. My health continues to improve and  for that I am grateful to God and my doctors. My 65th birthday is fast approaching so I don’t expect to feel like any 18 year old any  more. Aches and pains will be the norm for the rest of my time here on earth.  Now  if I could just get used to that.

On the news front I guess front and center is that  I have started taking piano lessons. I have always wanted to play a musical instrument and the last time I attempted that was when I was sixteen with a guitar. Never got very far with that. But now I am taking lessons from our church pianist/organist. She is very good as an instructor and I am making good progress. In fact I am amazed with myself for once in my life. Seems even at 65 learning how to play and instrument  is not beyond me. I don’t have any plans for playing Carnegie Hall but I am enjoying myself. I can read music fairly well and am learning some chords. I have about six or seven tunes in my repertoire that  I can play pretty well. Nothing complicated or fancy but better than chopsticks.

As usual on the technology front I have been busy.  I have a new Nexus 4 smartphone and just changed my data plan from T-Mobile, who  has lousy network coverage in this area to AT&T via  Straight Talk. Seems  AT&T has much better coverage in SE  Virginia. I also bought a used laptop from Cowboom  auction for  only $150. It is going to be delivered by UPS tomorrow. Hope it is not a piece of junk but I think I got a really good deal. We shall see.

Also been reading a lot. Philosophy, history, and religion  along with the usual science fiction. Being retired I have a lot of time to do the things I want. I go out to lunch with my older brother Skip and a friend of ours a couple of times a month and  I enjoy that. I even took in my first 3D  movie, Gravity, at the new theater in the mall. It was really a great movie especially with the 3D effects. Oh, I almost forgot, I was  very fortunate to find a used Wurlitzer digital piano with full 88 weighted keys. It helps me  to practice where otherwise I would have to go to church to practice there.

So  that is about it for now. As usual, keep God first in everything you do. Peace out.

             HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Pumpkin Art

Viewing my original MovableType journals.

Over the last three years I created three MovableType journals, all related to each other. When I imported them into this WordPress installation, the photos associated with many of them as well as some of the links did not import. If you are interested in seeing the original editions of any of the posts here you can click on the links below which will take you to the MovableType installations which I also migrated to this server.

Newest Entries

Older Entries

Oldest Entries

Last entry for this blog

This will be my last entry for Speaking My Mind. I have created a new blog called MyLife using the latest version of MovableType. The newer version of software will allow me to better manage and update my blog. It will still be the same old me but a different, and I hope better, look for the blog. Anyway, update your bookmark to here.

It’s been a long time

Have not posted an entry here for a month. Not that there has not been a lot to write about but I have been very busy. I travelled to Nevada and California for the 2007 LDRS and my visit to the Mojave National Preserve. It was a great trip and I have a lot of video and photos that I have been processing and putting up. I have also been very busy with my Church, including being the chair of the church interim team that is tasked with finding a way forward for our church. Coming up in August is a trip to Ft. Lauderdale for a LandWarNet conference which the Army is sending me to. After that in October I will be travelling to Gulfport, Mississippi with some members of my church to help with the reconstruction efforts down there in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Throw in some volunteer web work for the local chapter of the American Red Cross and my schedule is pretty much full.

Continue reading “It’s been a long time”

And the Living’s Easy

Been busy with a lot of things lately, especially my WordPress blog. We have been enjoying the pool and the gas grill and summer in general. It is going to be a busy summer for me. Besides all the yard work we have planned there are a number of trips coming up. This weekend I will be going to the Well, which is past Smithfield. The Well is a retreat and I am going as a part of my church to meditate and discuss the future of our church. I have never been to a religious retreat and it sounds like a relaxing, meditative time, something I really need. Last Saturday I finally took my long delayed hike to Lake Drummond in the Great Dismal Swamp. I shouldered my new pack with most of my hiking gear in it just to see how it would work on a long hike. The trek to Lake Drummond is 9 miles round trip. I managed to hike the 9 miles along with a few stops and some time to enjoy Lake Drummond in about 4 hours. I was sore the next day but I suprised myself with how well I handled the 9 miles with a pack. Coming up in July is the much anticipated vacation to Nevada and California for the LDRS. I will also be exploring the Mojave National Preserve.

Continue reading “And the Living’s Easy”