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


New Computer Build


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



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.

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

Spring Things

Spring is here. No more snow, the flowers are blooming, the bees and butterfly’s are flying, the pollen is in the air, and the days are warmer. Winter wasn’t all that bad, except for some really cold weather and some snow storms. Now that I am able to get out of the house more often I have been busier than during the winter. I have been going to the gym more often, and taking more walks with Max.

Easter season has been busy with an egg hunt for the kids, our 65 annual Maundy Thursday service, Pizza/Movie night, and Easter Sunday Service. I have also become addicted to college basketball. A friend of mine who is an ODU season ticket holder took me to two ODU Monarch basketball games at the Ted Constance Convocation Center and now I am hooked on college ball. I watched almost every game during March Madness using either the ESPN app or the NCAA March Madness app. I was hoping for Wisconsin to take it all but at least they beat Kentucky.

Baseball season is almost upon us and I hope to take in at least a few Norfolk Tides games. We are having our annual family picnic at Woodstock Park in Virginia Beach April 26th. I am looking forward to seeing all my family members. The family has been constantly growing and we have become quite a clan.

On the tech. front, I bought a new HP Stream 13 laptop from Best Buy. It has a 13 inch touch screen, 2 GB of RAM, a 32 GB SSD, card reader, USB ports, and HDMI out port. It is running Windows 8.1. So far so good. I also bought a Netgear Range Extender to extend the range of coverage for our WiFi. It works amazingly well. Did I mention I bought a Raspberry Pi Model B to play around with? I also have a new wrist watch from Fossil. I love it.

Well, enough for now. I think it is going to be a great Spring. I’m getting refunds on my State and Federal taxes, my Social Security is coming in now, and I am on Medicare and a new medical plan with Aetna Blue Cross Blue Shield. All is well.

God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

P50207-203034 P50207-201518



It looks like we have seen the last of winter here in Southeastern Virginia. No more snow, no more temperatures near zero. Spring is just around the corner. I seemed to have survived this winter better than last. It didn’t seem as long and dreary as last winter did. And cross my fingers but I didn’t catch a cold, the flu, or have a sinus infection. I owe that to getting more sleep, exercising at the gym, and generally having a more favorable outlook on life in general.

I also tried to stay as busy as possible. Much of that involved finding things to do while I was trapped inside due to the weather. I took an online course, worked on some web sites, did a lot of bible study as well as being more active in church. I did break down and buy a couple of toys, those being a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B mini-pc and a new Fossil watch. I also finally got Geekbuying to send me a return address for the broken Meizu MX4 smartphone I had bought from them which lasted less than a week before it stopped working.

I will have to think long and hard before I buy anything electronic directly from China. It was a nightmare getting them to finally acknowledge that it was broke. This included me making a video and posting it on YouTube as well as complaining online via Facebook and Google+. I also had to file a claim with PayPal. So I finally packaged it up, filled out the customs form and mailed it back yesterday. Now the long wait begins for them to either return a new phone or refund my money.

But like I said, Spring is almost here and all is well. Oh, I forgot to mention that I started drawing Social Security and am now on Medicare. So my financial picture has improved some. Life is good. God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

Raspberry Pi 2 Box
Raspberry Pi 2 Box
Raspberry Pi 2 B
Raspberry Pi 2 B
Fossil Watch
Fossil Watch


Boarding Pass to Mars

If you read my last post you know that I have always been fascinated by space flight, especially manned space flight. NASA’s Orion capsule, designed for deep space missions, is going to make its first flight December 4th on an Atlas IV rocket. At the NASA website you can signup for a boarding pass for that flight and possibly the first manned flight to Mars. Your name will be etched on a microchip that will fly on the Orion capsule for its maiden flight. Here is my boarding pass.

Mars Boarding Pass

The Future of Manned Spaceflight

I can remember as a child watching the U.S. manned space program starting with the Mercury program and progressing through Gemini, Apollo, and finally to the first manned landing on the moon. I remember being mesmerized by all of it and it becoming a lifelong obsession. When the U.S. decided to stop sending manned missions to the moon in 1972 I was devastated. It took until 1981 for another manned U.S. flight with the inauguration of the Space Shuttle. Once again I was captivated by every flight. One of my biggest regrets was never getting to actually watch a launch from Cape Canaveral. I had planned to but the one I bought tickets to go see was postponed repeatedly and I never saw it launch.

I do enjoy watching the Soyuz capsules taking astronauts and cosmonauts to the ISS and while the ISS is an amazing technological feat, I want to see manned missions beyond low earth orbit. Now with the advent of companies like SpaceX and its Dragon capsule and Falcon rockets, I have high hopes of seeing manned missions to asteroids, maybe the moon, and if I live long enough, Mars. I am once again that child that sits riveted as I watch each launch of the Dragon capsule to the ISS. I can’t wait for the first manned version to fly. NASA has its Orion Capsule and associated Space Launch System, while Boeing has the CST-100. All of them are exciting and I am glad to see that NASA has deemed it wise to pursue more than one avenue for future manned flight.

I envy the young child today that is my age when I saw my first manned Mercury flight. He will grow up to see some amazing feats of exploration, both manned and remotely operated. Certainly to Mars, perhaps the Moon again, and perhaps Titan, Europa or some other exotic space. It is going to be an amazing adventure.


New computer and I am as happy as a geek can be!

I have been planning for some time on building a computer to replace my aging Dell Dimension desktop. Last week the last of the parts I had ordered for the build arrived via UPS. Below is a list of the parts I ordered:

  • NZXT H2 Silent Mid-tower case
  • ASUS EVO USB 3.0 AM3 socket full sized motherboard
  • 8 GB Crucial memory in two sticks
  • AMD Phenom II x4 955  black edition quad core processor
  • OZC 500 watt modular power supply
  • OZC 60 GB solid state drive
I planned on using my DVD reader/burner, gpu and 640 GB Sata hard drive from my old Dell. I waited until this weekend for my son Jason to come over and help me with the build. It has been some time since I last built a computer and a few things have changed over the years. I know my son is up on all the latest technology as he is a geek like me and builds all his computers.

I figured if all went well it would take us 4 hours to build the computer. It actually took only 2 hours. I underestimated how good my son was at this kind of stuff. By myself, it would probably taken 6 hours and a lot of yelling and cussing. Luckily no yelling and cussing was required at all. What made it all really easy was the NZXT H2 case. What a beautiful case! With room for 8 3.5″ drives, 3 5.25″ drives, and great cable management, it was a breeze to get the motherboard in, mount the processor and heatsink/fan and install the memory. Hooking up all the required cable was also very east. The OZC modular power supply helped reduce cable clutter considerably. I can’t recommend the NZXT case enough. It is the best case I have ever seen.

The only problem we encountered were with a couple of bios settings that pertained to the OCZ solid state drive. I installed Windows 7 with no problems and it has been performing flawlessly since. Windows Experience Index numbers are:
  • Processor 7.3
  • Memory 7.4
  • Graphics Aero 4..6
  • Graphics 3D business and gaming 5.5
  • Primary Hard Drive 7.8
As you can see, performance is great, except for graphics. I am currently using the embedded graphics, so the figures are actually quite good. Since I do very little gaming, I am not sure if I need to upgrade to a discrete gpu. Maybe if I get some free cash someday. Anyway, bottom line is I am very happy with the way things turned out. Now I just need to get rid of my old Dell. I might recycle it or maybe sell it on Craigslist for 25 bucks.

That is all.

Computer Crash and Restoration

I have had a Dell Dimension e-521 desktop PC for a number of years now. It has always run Windows XP and for the most part it has done well. My second drive, the one I store most of my data on, did crash a while back and while I did loose some data as a result, most of my data had been backed up to the cloud (Amazon S3) or CD/DVD’s.

So a few days ago, I thought I would try to dual boot my pc and install a copy of Linux Fedora. I wanted to do this so I could install a cool application called Amahi. Amahi is a Linux version of Windows Home Server. To make a long story short, after installing Fedora, instead of getting the Grub loader, all I got was a hard drive error and a dead C: drive.

Thankfully, after having gone through the loss of my data drive earlier, I had backed up all the data on the C: drive to the D: drive. Then, to make sure I didn’t lose any data trying to restore Windows to my pc, I booted in with an XP CD and moved all the data from the D: drive to my 1 TB Buffalo NAS.

After giving it some thought, I decided against re-installing XP and opted for installing Windows 7 Home Premium. Since I had Windows 7 running on my Asus laptop, not to mention Teresa’s new HP laptop, I thought I would go for the trifecta. The end result is that we are now the proud owners of 3 Windows computers. The moral of the story is always backup your data, preferably to both the cloud and a NAS. That way, if your house is flooded or burned down, you will still be able to restore your data from the cloud.

Did I mention Teresa’s new HP laptop? Actually it is a refurbished 15.6 inch laptop. I have never bought a refurbished product before, but the price was fantastic. BTW, I found the deal on CNET Cheapskate. It is a great place to find fantastic deals on electronics and computers. When the laptop arrived, it looked brand new. I could find nothing that indicated it was used. So if you are thinking about buying a refurbished product at a great price, go ahead and do it, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

That is all. Peace.