Dying Computers, Chainsaw Editing, and Snail Races

As I’m going through my revision, I’m noticing that certain letters are missing. Not all the time, and not always the same letters, but… I’m writing in letters. After a few pages of this, I’m starting to think about new computers (or at lest, new keyboards.) My slightly neurotic alternate theory is that it’s me, somehow, just not hitting the keys as hard as I should be. I can’t decide whether that last one’s a sign that I’m cheap as hell and don’t want to spend money on a new computer, If I could just get degenerative muscular diseases instead, or if I’m paranoid that I’m getting something I’ve encountered in other people.

Note to self: It IS you, and in the future, don’t pop the keys off your keyboard to clean, you moron.

I’m editing with a chainsaw, today. Twenty one pages come in… and four come out. Four! And there’s nothing wrong with the extra 17 pages, really. Just chunks that are duplicated in other places, or that I don’t need anymore, because I’ve revised them out of my timeline.

On the bright side, think of all the word count that frees up.

I have front row seats for #pitmad this morning, which basically means 1.) I’m not working and 2.) I have all kinds of tabs open on my computer, watching various agents from by TBQ (to be queried) list punch in those likes. Likes on Twitter do not automatically refresh, or even notify you of their existence, so I’m wearing out the reload button. Exactly why am I doing this?

Well, maybe I’m bored, and maybe I’m diligent. It does give you an idea of their specific tastes, though.

The process reminds me of the snail-races we used to have back when I was a teacher’s aide. Place the agents inside a circle, and wait. So far, none of them have actually done anything, but the kids are entertained, and teacher gets a few spare minutes to catch her breath and organize the next lesson.

Snail A has liked two pitches. Snail B has poured himself a cup of coffee. Pretty sure Snail C is in one of Billy Ostermeyer’s pockets.

In most cases, the reward for getting #pitmad likes is… Well, you get to query in exactly the same way you would, if you’d just read the guidelines, but you get to add #pitmad to the subject line.

I can’t decide whether that’s worth the effort of the snail race, or not.

This Is NOT The Time to Rebuild a Computer.

Maybe it’s all the giraffe videos, but right now, I can really hear the Computer of Theseus straining, lately. Forget jet engine taking off… the thing sounds like ice being fed through a garbage disposal. I think it’s the fan on the power supply, and I think I’m probably going to have to get another one before summer kicks in, and I actually need a fan on my power supply.

This is an old power supply. It may actually be the last component from the original build, or at least, the last one I’m using on a regular basis. I bought it cheap, back when I wasn’t sure I could make the thing work, and didn’t want to spend a lot of money, if it flopped.

It’s modular with UV reactive cables (there has never been a UV light in my computer, BTW) and it has more power than I could even slightly imagine using back when I started building the thing.

Since then, the machine has developed into a scrap-yard behemoth. Anything salvageable winds up there. Maybe not always plugged in and running, but… we don’t like to throw things out.

I repaired the thing once, when the fan grill came loose in shipping.

Very, very carefully, because a power supply can hold a charge for a long time, and opening it… well, it’s probably the only piece that can kill you.

Maybe I should have replaced it back then, and I know I should replace it, right now.

And maybe there are a couple of case fans I could switch out, too.

And you know… well, some of the new processors look pretty good.

Of course, that would mean a new motherboard….

Which would lead us to new memory.

I should probably just swap out the power supply and be done with it. Everything else can wait, at least until after I get through with the writing conference.

Computers, Church-Sale Bargains, and Cadavers

Have you ever noticed that when you have the least time, you’re absolutely going to run into the person who has the most to say? I was on my way to meet someone after work when I ran into one of those chatty types. You know the ones: likeable, outgoing, and just old enough that you’d feel like a genuinely awful person if you ducked out of the conversation a single second early?

He’s a little more on the science-y tech-y side of my life than this blog, but he told me about the computer he and his son built, and the computers that have been donated to his church to sell off to the highest bidder. They’re a good deal–he says–at twenty dollars a piece, and if I want one, I should stop by. The truth is, I could probably pull one apart and get more than twenty bucks worth of parts out of it, (if I choose wisely) but I’m not even slightly in the mood to go spelunking in a strange church basement. (strange to me, not strange in general. They’re mainline Lutherans.)

I’ll pass the information on to a couple people I know, who could probably use a “right now” computer on the cheap.

Here’s the thing. I can and do build my own computers. I do not run a mad-scientist type workshop out of my basement or garage. I have one ship of Theseus type monstrosity, and I play around with the parts, but they’re either parts from my own computers, or  they’re new parts that I’ve chosen for lifespan (out of a dread of moving files around). And it is a monstrosity. It’s sorta… evolving as I go.

This guy… well, he may have the biggest mad-scientist workshop in town. He buys it, fixes it up, and–hopefully–sells it, although exactly how much actually leaves the workshop is anybody’s guess.

So, I heard about the computer he built–which is probably a Raspberry Pi–and the channels/programs/downloads he can get using it. I guess the question here should be something along the lines of “is it legal?” but I’m pretty sure I already know the answer. And then, about the computer he fixed up (one marketed for the audio, which apparently can actually blow you through the roof.)

I never seem to get exactly what he’s doing… just a vague overview.

And from there, we moved on to the latest gossip from his end of the world. I now know more about the private details of his church than I ever wanted to. Suffice it to say, the phrase “waiting on a cadaver” came up.