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.

Things I Don’t Need

You’ll be happy to know my favorite electronics store has sent me yet another email full of wonderful things I do not need. They do this fairly regularly. Because they love me. At this exact moment, there are actually only two things I’m really thinking of buying. I could use a new laptop, and I’m fairly sure the Smithsonian is going to show up and collect my current phone at any moment.

By the way, if GRRM said something like that, he’d already have fan-boys from a number of stores in a death-race to get his new laptop to him. Leaping over lava pits, and things like that.

I never loved the current laptop, but it gets the job done. There is a slight issue with the W key, in which it **may** brush the fan–just a little– if I’m typing while watching videos. (The key also a little wobbly, but I got used to that a while ago.)

I can also write on my phone, with my miraculous folding keyboard–ooh, something else I could replace–and if I don’t overdo it with the apps, it doesn’t complain about memory shortages too much.

I had to delete the Kindle App in order to make room for another phone number.

I happen to live in one of those little blank spaces on the coverage map, so if I don’t do the work to make sure I have the right cell-phone mojo. Otherwise, I have to go to the cemetery at midnight, stand on hallowed ground, and face the east to get a signal.

So, I’m shopping and not buying.

I’d like to get as much use out of both before they start smoking or making hissing noises.

So, on to looking at the things I really, really don’t need. I do not need a drone. I do not need an X-Box or other console gaming system. (My inner twelve year old wants one, my to-do list doesn’t.) Actually… I’d also have to buy a television for one of those. Maybe a fitness tracker would motivate me to… uhm… what is it fit people do again?

I think I’ll get on one of those configure-your-own websites where I can just keep hitting Yes… yes… YES… and see how high I can make that price tag go. Seven thousand, eight hundred and twenty three dollars?!! Oh, no. No, no.

Legacy Technology; Or Doesn’t a Revere 16mm Projector Look Lovely, Projected Through The Air?

Let’s all take a deep breath, and remember that digital, streaming video is now a thing. I enjoy being able to push a button and watch video that never coils itself around my neck, and never squeezes the life out of me.

I’d forgotten how much until I tried to load some old family films into a projector, this afternoon. Crunch, Crunch, snap. Well, what did you expect? It’s pretty old film, and a slightly less old projector.

Back in his day, my grandfather was quite the camera buff. That’s a euphemism for “I have more feet of film than Warner Brothers.” None of this film has any recognizable plot, of course. It’s very episodic. I don’t believe I’ve ever manage to sit through a complete family film marathon.

But, long story short, it’s a few moments of historical interest interspersed with hours of mid-century wholesome.

The film was transferred to VHS in the eighties, and now to DVDs (yes, just now. DVDs.) And by gosh and by golly, the moment the VHS goes out to be transferred… well, that’s when the videos are absolutely needed right now.

So, we turn to the originals.

We are looking–in a million billion years worth of family videos–for a two minute segment featuring my great-grandfather the blacksmith blacksmithing.

Did I mention these are in unlabeled, un-indexed canisters? We might have had labels once, but… not now.

The project has now been rescheduled for my next day off. And probably every other day off, until such time as the DVDs arrive.

Suffice it to say, you’ll be getting pictures. (Yeah. I know. I may have inherited that.)

Or, you’ll be getting a nice summons to act as character witnesses in my inevitable abuse of an elderly projector trial. One or the other.