New Computer Build

ASRock

I have been building computers and electronics since I was a child. For Christmas I always wanted a chemistry set, biology set, 100-in-one electronics kit, etc. I learned to solder at an early age. I built a Heathkit shortwave radio for my dad for Christmas one year. More recently I have built 7 segment clocks, played with Raspberry pie, Arduino, and other electronic kits. I have also built most of the computers I have ever owned. My professional training is in Electrical, Electronic engineering, I think you get the idea.

Anyway, this will be one of several posts I hope to write documenting the building of my newest computer. I watch YouTube videos all the time about computers and electronics and it was one about the new ASRock DeskMini 110 mini-stx form factor 5×5 case with motherboard and external power supply that made me scratch my old itch. I loved the fact that it was so much smaller than the mid tower I build 5 years ago which I just recycled at Best Buy. It supports Intel i3, i5, and i7 65 watt CPU’s and uses SO-DIMM DDR4 memory. It has a lot of other nice features but instead of listing them all here you can check it out yourself here.

As it is a bare bones case I had to purchase the CPU, RAM, storage, and an operating system. I ordered the CPU, storage, and RAM from Amazon. The DeskMini 110 I ordered from Newegg. I found a way to purchase a legit OEM license for Windows 10 Home edition for only $27. I have already downloaded a bootable Windows 10 image which along with the license key will allow me to install an OS on my new build at a very reasonable price. Listed below are the specifics of the parts I bought. They should all be delivered by tomorrow or the day after. I can’t wait to get to building it. Wish me luck and I will be documenting the process here in another post.

  • ASRock DeskMini 100 5×5 case Socket LGA1151
  • 16 GB G.Skill 2400MHz DDR4 SO-DIMM memory
  • Intel Boxed Core i3-6300 CPU 3800 GHZ
  • Samsung 850 Pro 256GB 2.5 inch SATA III internal SSD
  • Windows 10 Home Edition

 

 

A New Year A New Direction

I never make New Year resolutions because as the poet Robert Burns said:

The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men  Gang aft agley


I do however often use the New Year as the anchor point for starting off in a new direction in life. This new year marks one of those new directions. As the philosopher Yogi Berra said:


When you come to a fork in the road, take it.


2015 was a tumultuous year for me. I expect for most people life if tumultuous also. There has been the loss due to death of two friends, as well as the loss two days before Christmas of my beloved Golden Retriever Max. Both of my friends succumbed to cancer as well as my companion Max. Since I retired in 2009, Max had been my constant friend and companion. It was heartbreaking for me to watch him not only lose his battle with cancer but to go almost completely blind in the last months. So while the New Year will have its share of mourning, I also have much to be thankful for.


If you have read any of my previous post you might have noticed that I am a Christian. I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior some ten years ago. I have slowly (too slowly) grown in faith in those ten years. I have seen God move mightily in those ten years, especially in the last two years. If you want to hear of some personal testimony let me know as I would love to share my testimony with you.


Our church, Park View Christian Church (DOC) has struggled in the ten years since I became a member. There was a period of over a year when we had no permanent Pastor and our membership dwindled. We struggled as a church to define our mission and our relationship with the community. But God chose to bless Park View in the last year through many ways. We were blessed to have a new Pastor, Tim Campbell, as our permanent Pastor. He answered the call of God to serve our church and community. He did this despite knowing the circumstances that were facing Park View. We could not offer him much in the way of monetary compensation and from his research about our church had learned that most local ministers had written off Park View as a church that was certain to fail.


But Pastor Tim answered Gods call nonetheless as he knew that God had great plans for our church and our community. And in one year Gods plans have been made manifest in many ways. Our membership has increased by fourteen new members. Before Pastor Tim answered Gods call Park View only had forty plus members on the roll and average Sunday attendance was only twenty to thirty.


Our community outreach has grown tremendously. We have embarked on several new outreaches, including Paint Your Heart Out, Stop Hunger Now, pizza and movie night, a diaper drive, donations for an orphanage in India, mission work in Cambodia, Wednesday evening Bible Study, and more. Our stewardship drive this year showed a 29% increase from last year. Great things are happening at Park View for the Glory of God.


All of this has affected me personally in many ways. I have devoted far more time to reading Scripture, devotional and meditation time, more prayer time, and serving my community in more ways. I have agreed to help the Sanctuary of Hope and Bishop Frank Allen with their mission and outreach programs. I have attended Wednesday Bible study and teach a Bible study class Sunday mornings.


In short, the new path my life will be taking this year will be a spiritual one. Many of the old things I used to devote my time to have been put away. This doesn’t mean that I will become a Monk cloistered in a monastery. But it does mean that more of what I will be blogging about in the blog will be of a spiritual nature. I hope you will be OK with that.


Have a Blessed New Year!

Out and About

I decided to take a ride the other day and just go where my instincts pointed me. I ended up in the little towns of Holland and Franklin, Virginia. They are both quaint small towns located off U.S. 58 as you head west. I was hoping to find some interesting things to photograph. The weather was quite nice for a change and I really enjoyed just taking in the scenery.

Our Sunday school Bible class has started with a new book by Beth Moore titled A Woman’s Heart – God’s Dwelling Place. It is about the Tabernacle of the Old Testament. I have done the first weeks materials and am really enjoying it. I am also attending a Wednesday evening Bible study led by our Pastor. It covers the Acts of the Apostles and our Pastor really brings new understanding to my previous knowledge of the book of Acts.

That’s about it for now. I really enjoy this time of year. So many things to do and the weather is gorgeous. My brother Skip called and we are thinking of going to Skyline Drive in the Appalachians to take in the Fall colors. It has been quite a while since my last visit and it is one of my favorite places to visit.

God Bless.

College Football Go ODU!

Last week I went to my first college football game. I have been to high school football games, NFL football games (1), college basketball games, but never a college football game. My brother Jeff called me and invited me to go as he had an extra ticket. So off I went to see my first college football game. The teams that were playing were Old Dominion University (the home team) and visiting North Carolina State. ODU is a Division 1 NCAA team, while NC State is in the Atlantic Coast Conference. So ODU was playing the big boys and as it turned out, they were the big boys that day. Both teams had records of 2-0 and the stadium was packed to capacity and everyone was expecting an awesome game.

The weather was perfect, we had great seats at Foreman field and the atmosphere was electric. The rules for college football are somewhat different than those for the NFL, but for the most part, it was what I expected. There were a few surprises however. There were no turnovers, very unusual, and only two penalties in the entire game. Both teams utilized the no huddle offense, so the game proceeded at a quick pace, which I really appreciated. The ODU Monarch Marching Band was awesome, as were the cheerleaders. Although the final score was NC State 38, ODU 14, it was still a great game and I really enjoyed it. Did I mention ODU has a canon that they shot off twice? My brother warned me about it the first time but the second time I was caught unaware and jumped out of my seat.

Anyway, I took quite a few photos with my Sony a6000 and a 55-210mm telephoto lens. I also captured some video. Some of the photos are below along with a link to the video. I hope you enjoy them. God Bless.

Video of ODU Offense in Action

A Painful Week

Three days ago I was unfortunate to have stepped barefoot onto a swarm of fire ants. As a child living in Florida I well remember fire ants and stayed far away from them. I had no idea they had moved as far north as Virginia. Too bad I had to find out the hard way. When I first stepped on them it felt like I was being shocked. I immediately saw them and luckily I was only a few feet from the pool (the reason I was barefoot) and jumped in. I guess I was fortunate as I was only bitten about 30 times. The good news is that the pain went away within a few hours but the itching soon commenced. Fortunately the itching was not on a par with poison ivy or chiggers. But the bites look really nasty. I will spare you any photos of the damage. If you want to get an idea of what a fire ant bite looks like, try Google.

While I wait for my ant bites to heal I have been trying to stay busy. I took a ride out to one of my favorite places nearby and took some photos. I am still experimenting with my new camera. My lens collection now consists of the original 18-50mm lens, a 50mm f 1.8 lens, and a 55-210mm lens. I bought a camera backpack from Amazon to store all my equipment. I have not had an interchangeable lens camera since my film days. I’m really enjoying the versatility I now have. Anyway, the photos I am posting are from two little burgs named Rescue and Battery. They are very quaint, peaceful, beautiful places. I saw a home for sale there and I was thinking it would be nice to live there.

Anyway, here are the photos I took. I hope you enjoy them. God Bless.

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.

Making the most of Summer

While Fall doesn’t officially arrive until September 23rd I have noticed that it is getting cooler in the mornings. So I am making the best use of the final month of summer. The city of Portsmouth was visited last weekend by the USCGC Barque Eagle. The Barque Eagle (WIX-327) is a 295-foot barque used as a training cutter for future officers of the United States Coast Guard. While I missed its entrance and docking, I did get down to have a look. There was only one open house, which I missed, so I couldn’t go on board. But I did take quite a few pictures. It is a breathtakingly beautiful ship and I would love to have the chance to sail with her one day.

This weekend, there were two events that occupied my days. The first one was the Seawall Art Show at Portsmouth waterside. There were many vendors with some fantastic art to view and buy. There was one photographer there whose work was wonderful. I should have gone back and bought one of his photos. I think I took one of his business cards so I might go to his gallery yet and buy something. There were different live musical groups there and I listened to the Top Hats Orchestra while I was there. They play mostly big band music and they were very good. One of the vendors was selling fish with all the trimmings but I wasn’t really hungry although the smell was trying to convince me otherwise.

Sunday I attended the annual Tefft family picnic at Red Wing Park in Virginia Beach. It is one of my favorite parks and we have had a lot of picnics there. I have 5 brothers but two of them couldn’t make it. But the rest of my brothers and their families were there. The weather was beautiful and as always my brother Jon, who is a great cook, made it a big success. It is always amazing to see how fast the young ones grow up. I need to spend more time with my family. After I left I stopped at the beautiful Japanese Gardens which are a part of the park to take some photos.

So I have had a great summer so far. The weather has been great, the pool as always is relaxing, I have gotten to see my family, and enjoyed several events. The only downside to my summer has been that my Golden Retriever Max has been diagnosed with cancer. He has been on chemo and prednisone and is doing OK, although the chemo has its side effects, the main one being that it is affecting his vision. He will be 12 years old soon and I hope he will be around for a few more years, God willing.

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Hope everyone has a wonderful summer. Take care.

I Need to Get out More Often

Saturday I went with my friend Teresa to the Farmers Market in Williamsburg, Virginia. I had been there before with my brother Skip and loved it. It is in such a beautiful location and offers everything you would want in a farmers market and more. William and Mary College surrounds the area and there are many other fine shops and restaurants within walking distance. As usual I bought some baked goods but Teresa went for scented soaps and shampoo. If we had brought a cooler we could have taken home some shrimp or crab dip. There was live music and as always people bring their dogs to the market. The dogs are pampered with quite a few of the vendors providing free food and water for the dogs. The most popular vendors are of course the fresh produce vendors. This is not a small farmers market and there was every type of fruit or vegetable you could possibly want.

We later strolled around the area, taking in the campus of William & Mary as well as the Barnes & Noble bookstore. For lunch we ate at a Philly Cheesesteak place where I ordered chili and hot dogs with French fries. The waiter warned us that the chili was very spicy and it was, although it was delicious and not painfully hot. The staff were extremely friendly and I am anxious to return and try out their Philly cheesesteak sandwich.

After a delicious lunch, we decided to head down Colonial Parkway to Yorktown. The parkway is a very pleasant, scenic route that will take you to either Yorktown or Jamestown. We stopped in at the Yorktown Battlefield site and did a short walking tour of the battlefield. You could take a whole day there but it was hot and Teresa wanted to go to the York River beach that a friend had told her about. Yorktown is a pleasant little community on the York River at the foot of the Coleman Bridge. The George P. Coleman Bridge is a 3,750-foot-long double-swing-span bridge located in Yorktown, Virginia, and the bridge crosses the York River. There are quite a number of shops in Yorktown and several excellent restaurants. The beach itself is gorgeous but the swimming area is not very large. The Beach Delly looked wonderful but we had just eaten. Maybe we will be back before summer is over and give it a try. After walking around the riverfront for a while we decided to call it a day and headed back home. It was a great day, and that is why I need to get out more often.

 

Political Correctness Insanity

With the recent murders of 9 members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, political correctness in this once great nation of ours has gone to new lows of insanity. Tragic as the murders of the 9 members of the church were, they are no justification for the sudden collective insanity of political correctness that followed. Yes, Dylann Roof was a racist, as he also was obviously mentally disturbed. His crime was a crime against humanity, nothing less. Yet because there was a photo of him taken with the Confederate Battle flag, suddenly the attention has turned to the flag itself instead of towards racism, mental illness, and yes even gun control. Addressing those issues would go a long way towards preventing horrific crimes like this. Banning the Confederate Flag will do nothing towards preventing crimes like this.

People have mixed emotions about the Confederate Flag, and I understand both sides of those emotions. Maybe it is time to take the Confederate Flag down from government buildings. But that wasn’t enough for those suffering from incurable political correctness. Suddenly, not only are there calls to remove the flag from government grounds, but also for banning the manufacture and sale of Confederate flags. Now you cannot have a cake baked by Walmart that has a Confederate flag. Walmart is even melting rings that have the Confederate flag on them that were ordered before this controversy even erupted. The NAACP is calling for the removal of all Confederate memorials, even going so far as to call for the destruction of the Confederate Memorial at Stone Mountain and removal of Confederate bodies from cemeteries. I live within a stones throw of Portsmouth, Virginia, where City Council members are calling for the destruction or removal of the Confederate Memorial in Portsmouth. The City does not even own the memorial nor the grounds upon which it was built and is willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove it. This from a city that if financially strapped.  I could go on and on about more instances of insane calls for the complete eradication of all vestiges of Confederate history.

To what end would all of this be for? How would it benefit society or our country to censor and rewrite our own history? All countries have dark periods in their history. But you don’t just erase history as if it had never happened. You learn from your history and try to improve on your history. Our country, under the U.S. flag, attempted genocide against Native Americans. Our country, under the U.S. flag, interred U.S. citizens illegally during WWII. Should we attempt to eradicate all vestiges of those histories too?

Italy has many ruins from the Roman Empire, which enslaved millions. Yet they have no intentions of bulldozing any of them. Egypt has many ruins from the Egyptian Empire, which also enslaved millions. Again, they have no intentions of bulldozing any of them. In fact, the only people I know who are actively trying to eradicate history by literally bulldozing and demolishing remnants from the past belong to a terrorist organization called Islamic State in Syria. Are we to follow their example instead of the examples of Italy and Egypt? Has our country gone that far down the road of political correctness that it leads to mindless, needless destruction of our own culture and history?

Again, we have National Parks that commemorate great battles of the Civil War. Are they to be destroyed also? I can tell you one thing, it is going to take a monumental effort to eradicate the thousands, if not tens of thousands, of memorials to the Confederate dead from our tragic Civil war. They are everywhere in the South. It will cost tens of millions of dollars that will be far better spent on other things like poverty, crime, hunger, homelessness, etc.

The actions of one man do not represent the good people of the South. To most in the South the Confederate Flag does not commemorate hatred, but heritage. Your right to be offended stops with my first amendment rights. If we banned everything that offended someone, we would no longer be the land of the free and the home of the brave, but instead the land of the easily offended and home of the intolerant. Love the Confederate Flag or hate the Confederate Flag, this is still a free country. Where does this political correctness end? Next up, the American Flag? It’s already happening.

Summertime and the livings easy (sometimes)

Yes, it is almost officially Summer, although as far as the weather is concerned it is already here. First a quick update on my dog Max. He has started his chemotherapy and is doing very well. No side effects from the chemo and after blood work and a physical yesterday the vet says his liver is normal sized now and his albumen levels are going back to normal. Max himself seems just like his old self, active, and eating and drinking well. God is truly amazing!

I have been having severe back spasms for a week now, some of the worst I have ever had. But thankfully it seems to be calming down some now. I hate it when I don’t feel my normal self. Our new Pastor is doing a great job and we have had several new families become members. It is great to be able to minister to new people and help and watch as they grow in faith.  As I have been going to the gym pretty regularly, my energy level is up and I am sleeping much better. I hope to be much more active this summer. I hope to take a few short trips and get to the beach, etc.

My new Meizu MX4 phone is a joy, especially when it come to taking photos. I also received my Zidoo X9 Android TV box and am likewise enjoying it. One nice feature it has is an HDMI input so that I can connect by Blu Ray player to it. Been reading several books as that is one of my main forms of entertainment in the summer. I have also realized that the library has a great collection of Blu Ray and DVD movies to rent. That is really cutting down on the movies I am renting from Amazon.

I have engaged a Realtor and have been looking at several house to buy. I have found two that I love although one is out in the middle of nowhere and too far from church. I am not ready to move yet but it is nice to know what you can get for what you can afford.

That’s it for now. Everyone enjoy your summer. God Bless you and keep you./

Zidoo X9
Zidoo X9