Thursday, July 31, 2008

My B-Day Continues

My B-Day continues with Cindy and George at the Olympic Grill. Cindy bought the lunch for my B-Day.

Then my friend Beth called to say Happy B-Day and talked a bit.

I then went up to Jennifer's for some Thai.

Posted by Eric at 6:42 PM

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What a Great B-Day

My B-Day started out with lunch with Ron at Miller's. I had the fish lunch special. It is catfish cooked Cajun style with 2 sides. I had grilled broccoli and mashed potatoes with gravy. It was quite good.

Then Kimberly called to say Happy B-Day and talked for a bit.

Then DD called to say Happy B-Day and talked for a bit.

Then picked up Melanie and got me drinks at a bar in a hotel that Mark works. She got herself and I an Amaretto Sour drink and a Fuzzy Nipple shot. Both quite good.

When Mark got off, he and Melanie took me to Sky Bar for sushi. We got a Dragonfly Roll (my favorite there), a Cajun roll (which was quite good) and I got some nagiri sushi (salmon, eel, yellowtail and tofu).

It was really cool of them.

Then AD called to say Happy B-Day (both AD and JK sang to me at the same time).

Chrissy left a voice mail saying Happy B-Day.

Finally Jennifer said Happy B-Day to me on the phone.

What a great and friend filled B-Day. Thanks all of you.


Posted by Eric at 11:12 PM

Thursday, July 24, 2008

He is Alive

Yesterday I tried installing Ubuntu Studio which is a version of Linux. It installed fine. The problem is that when I put my computer so sleep and then woke it up, the OS bombed and could not get it to load again.

So I decided to use a version of Linux that Jennifer likes. That is Linux Mint. An awesome operating system that is not Microsuck. Looks great, has lots of free programs and it uses Compiz as an awesome window manager that uses 3D effects.
The Compiz-Fusion website.

I then installed VMware and put Window XP as a virtual machine. That way I Microsuck stays in a box and I only use it if I am using a program that can only works in Windows like Finale.

Mercury is alive.

Posted by Eric at 10:42 PM

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Spend the day cleaning my place from the computer building as well general cleaning and laundry.

Posted by Eric at 10:38 PM

Monday, July 21, 2008


Today I was wondering why I was get hot and the AC was not cooling me off. I realized that I was probably out of freon. Since the office was closed by the time I figured it out I ask Jennifer if I could come up to stay the night and be cool. She was already invited to her friends Nathan and Melissa's for slavaki and chocolate fondue. They did not mind me coming and they ended up having plenty of slavaki that Nathan had made. It was quite good. Then hung out and had chocolate fondue with graham crackers, cheese cake and pound cake. Yummy.

Posted by Eric at 10:22 PM

Sunday, July 20, 2008

One Little Problem

Everything works on my computer. The fans work, the hard drive works, the DVD writer works, the CPU and memory are really fast. One thing does not. The ethernet. After spending yesterday and today on it, I figured it was a bad ethernet chip on the motherboard. So I have 2 choices: one to take everything out, replace the board and then put everything back in hoping that everything works; or two get a network card and put it in a PCI slot. So on the way up to taking Jennifer home, we went to Fry's to get a network card. There was a network card for $10 and another for $30. I got the $10 one. Dropped Jennifer off, went home and put in the new card.

Now the internet is really fast.

Mercury Happy.

Posted by Eric at 10:22 PM

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Building Time

Today was time to build my new fast cool looking computer Mercury. Jennifer came down to help with the building and George came down since he is thinking of getting a new computer that I will build for him.

How you build a computer.

First you open the case.

Then take the motherboard (I look happy with my cool looking motherboard.)

and screw it in the case.

Then seat and connect (pushing the lever down) the CPU to the motherboard.

Then put the fan and heat sink (with thermal grease on the bottom) on top of the CPU.

The fan looks like this.

The CPU gets quite warm. About 98 degrees Fahrenheit. And that is with all that cooling stuff.

The memory is then seated into the motherboard.

Then you take the hard drives (Look how small hard drives are. The small drive can store 640 gigs of stuff. Pretty cool.)

and put then into the case.

Then take the DVD writers

and put them in the case.

Then the power supply

gets put in and connected to the motherboard and the drives.

Then seat the big video card

onto the motherboard.

What is looks like inside when building is competed.

Everyone meet Mercury Melodic Canvas.

He is happy and glowing.

And so am I.

Posted by Eric at 6:46 PM

Friday, July 18, 2008

One More Day


Posted by Eric at 6:34 PM

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Video Card, RAM and DVD Writer Delivered

My video card, RAM and DVD writers got delivered today.

My Video Card

The card was released on November 25, 2007. It was one of the best reviewed on New Egg. It is probably more power that I really need but I wanted enough headroom for sound waves and video editing without hitting the edge.

The specs
Model: MSI Geforce 8800GT 512M
Interface: PCI Express 2.0 x16
(1st there were PCI slots, then PCI 1.0 slots. Now there are PCI Express 2.0 slots which are quite fast.)

Chipset Manufacturer: NVIDIA
GPU: GeForce 8800 GT
Core clock: 660MHz
Stream Processors: 112
(A technique used to accelerate the processing of many types of video and image computations.)

Memory Clock: 1900MHz
Memory Size: 512MB
Memory Interface: 256-bit
Memory Type: GDDR3
(Graphics Double Data Rate 3 is a graphics card-specific memory technology)

Video cards are so powerful these days that they come with a heat sink and a fan on them.


I wanted fast RAM. These were released in February 2008 and I got 4 gigs of them. They are dual channel so they come with two 2 gig chips. Dual channel enables the CPU to use both RAM more effectively reducing the bottlenecks one RAM would create.

The specs
Model: Corsair Dominator
Type: 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM
Capacity: 4GB (2 x 2GB)
Speed DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500)
(That is 1066Mhz which is the fastest the DDR2 chips are today.)

Cas Latency: 5
(The time it takes between a command having been sent to the memory and when it begins to reply to it. It is the time it takes between the processor asking for some data from the memory and it returning it.)

Timing 5-5-5-15
(Each number represents a type of RAM timing.)

(The 1st number is the time it takes between a command having been sent to the memory and when it begins to reply to it. It is the time it takes between the processor asking for some data from the memory and it returning it.)

(The 2nd number is the number of clock cycles performed between activating the Row Access Strobe and the Column Access Strobe. This parameter relates to the time it takes to access stored data.)

(The 3rd number is the amount of time between the 'precharge' command and the 'active' command. The 'precharge' command closes memory that was accessed and the 'active' command signifies that a new read/write cycle can begin.)

(The 4th number is the total time that will elapse between an active state and precharge state. This is the sum of the previous timings.)

Voltage: 2.1V
Heat Spreader: Yes
(It has really cool head spreaders that dissipate the head generated by the RAM.)

The DVD Writer

The DVD writer came OEM. OEM hardware is hardware packaged for computer administrator and builder use. These products are normally plain boxed and often don't come with any instructions or references provided in retail packages. Which is fine since for now I am a builder.

This DVD writer was released in October 2007.

It is one of the fastest writers out there. I ordered 2 of them.

The specs
Model: SAMSUNG DVD Burner

DVD-ROM Access Time: 130ms
CD-ROM Access Time: 110ms
Cache: 2MB

Write Speed
DVD+R: 20X
DVD-R: 20X
CD-R: 48X
CD-RW: 32X

Read Speed

LightScribe Support: Yes
(The laser burns an image on the top of the CD or DVD instead of using labels.)

Building begins Saturday.

Posted by Eric at 10:18 PM

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chip, Hard Drives and Power Supply Delivered

My CPU chip, hard drives and power supply got delivered today.

The Chip
My CPU is an AMD Phenom 9950 Black Edition 2.6Ghz Quad-Core Processor.

The chip was just released on July 1, 2008 so I have the newest AMD chip out there.

The specs
Operating Frequency: 2.6GHz
Hyper Transports: 4000MHz
L1 Cache: 4 x 128KB
L2 Cache: 4 x 512KB
L3 Cache: 2MB

This is going to be a fast chip.

The Power Supply

The power supply was released in October 2007. I needed a powerful and stable power supply and Antec power supplies have a great reputation.

The specs
The Antec TPQ-850
Maximum Power: 850W
(When I did the power calculations I figured out that I needed at least 650 Watts. So with 850W I have room to expand.)

Fans: 80mm low noise cooling fan
Main Connector 20+4Pin
(This is what connects the power supply to the motherboard.)

+12V Rails: 4
PCI-E Connectors: 2 x 6Pin, 2 x 8Pin
(This connects to your Video Card)
Modular Cabling Support: Yes
Efficiency: Up to 85% efficient
(This is actually quite good. There are power supplies that are only 80% efficient. No power supply is 100% efficient. Some power is waited by turning into heat.)

Energy-Efficient: 80 PLUS Bronze Certified
(80 PLUS is an initiative to promote more electrical energy efficient computer power supply units. It certifies products that have more than 80% energy efficiency at 20%, 50% and 100% of rated load. That is, PSUs that waste 20% or less electric energy as heat at the specified load levels, thus reducing electricity use and bills compared to less efficient PSUs.)

Over Voltage Protection: Yes
Overload Protection: Yes
MTBF >100,000 Hours
(It is how many hours it is expected to last before it dies. 100,000 hours is 11.4 years.)

The Hard Drive

The Hard Drive came OEM. OEM hardware is hardware packaged for computer administrator and builder use. These products are normally plain boxed and often don't come with any instructions or references provided in retail packages. Which is fine since for now I am a builder.

This hard drive was released in March 2008.

Western Digital is known for their stable and reliable hard drives. Now you are probably asking why 640 GB. Why not 500 GB or a terabyte. The lowest 500 GB is about $70. The lowest terabyte is about $170. I got my 650 GB for only $95. That is cheap. So I got 2.

The specs
Brand: Western Digital
Series: Caviar SE16

Interface: SATA 3.0Gb/s
(This is how fast information travels from the hard drive to the rest of the computer. 3 gigabits per second.)

Capacity: 640GB
RPM: 7200 RPM
Cache: 16MB

Now waiting for the rest of my stuff.

Posted by Eric at 10:06 PM

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My 1st Batch of Stuff Coming Tomorrow


Posted by Eric at 6:58 PM

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Countdown


Posted by Eric at 6:58 PM

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Rest of the Stuff Ordered

I ordered the video card, DVD writers and the RAM today from New Egg. This weekend with be the big building day for the computer.

Posted by Eric at 10:44 PM

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Case and Motherboard

Jennifer and I went to Fry's to get my cool looking case and motherboard. The MSI K9A2 Platinum motherboard is a new model. It was released on October 8, 2007.


The specs
Front Side Bus: 2600MHz Hyper Transport
(A data transfer bus that carries information between the CPU and the north bridge of the motherboard.)

North Bridge :AMD 790FX
(Handles communications among the CPU, RAM and PCI Express slots)
A picture of the motherboard chips.

South Bridge: ATI SB600
(is a chip that implements the "slower" capabilities of the motherboard like power management, hard drives, ethernet, mouse, keyboard and audio)

Memory: 4x240pin slots with dual channel.
Expansion Slots: 4 PCI Express 2.0 slots, 1 PCI Express x1 slot and 2 PCI slots .
Storage devices: 1 ATA, 3 SATA 3Gb/s ports
Onboard Audio: Realtek ALC888
Rear Panel Ports: 2 PS/2 (keyboard and mouse port), 4 USB 2.0 and 1 fire wire.
Onboard (extra to attach to the front of case) 6 USB 2.0 and 1 fire wire.
Link of it on New Egg.

Fry's had a special on the case I wanted while I was in California and it looked like they sold out. Jennifer happened to fine one buried with other cases. Thanks Jennifer.
The case so nice looking. It is an Antec 900 ATX Mid Tower that is black. There is a side panel window so you can see all my cool looking gear inside the computer.

The Specs
Expansion: 3 external 5.25" drive bays (DVD-CD) and 6 internal 3.5" drive bays (hard drives).
Front Ports: Power and reset button with blue LED activity indicator, 2 USB 2.0 and 1 firewire port.

Cooling System: 1 120 mm rear fan, 2 blue LED front fans and a top mounted 200mm exhaust fan.
Link of it on New Egg.

This is going to be a cool computer.

Posted by Eric at 8:28 PM

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mercury Melodic Canvas

For the last few years I have been wanting to get a new computer. So I have 2 choices, mac or pc. For the Mac computer I want would be $3,000 instead of $1,200 to $1,400 for a PC computer. The problem with the PC world is Microsuck. Now with Vista really sucking and people reverting back to XP do I really want to go though that. But wait. There is another choice. Linux. It has the same type of programs as mac and Microsuck. It has Open Office (like Microsuck Office), the great web browser Firefox and other similar programs.

I was also going to get an HP computer since my current one still works. Slower but still works. The problem is that I really did not like the cases. When I watched a friend of Jennifer's build his computer I realized that there are cases that are really good. So I decided that I was going to build my own computer.

I did a couple month of research on the new computer gear. I wanted new stuff that was no more than a year old but was cheaper without sacrificing quality or speed.

To build a computer you need the following components. A processor (CPU), a motherboard (Mobo), memory (RAM), hard drives (HDD), a video card (VGA) (if the motherboard does not come with one), a power supply (PSU), optical drives (DVD writers) and a case to put it all in.

I decided I would call my computer Mercury Melodic Canvas named after one of my cool chamber pieces I composed a few years ago. Also because the computer is going to be really fast like the winged Roman God Mercury which the planet is named after.

So in computer builder speak my build is:
Case: Antec 900
CPU: AMD Phenom 9950 2.6GHz Quad Core
Mobo: MSI K9A2 Platnum
RAM: Corsair Dominator 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2 1066Mhz
HDD: Western Digital Caviar SE16 640GB 7200rpm SATA 3.0gb/s
VGA: MSI Geforce 8800GT 512 MB DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x 16
PSU: Antec 850W
DVD: Samsung 20x DVD Burner

I ordered the CPU, 2 HDD and the PSU today from Newegg.

This is going to be so cool.

Posted by Eric at 10:36 PM

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Last Day and then Off to Home

I happened to get up to go to the bathroom and heard DD getting in his truck. I ran outside and gave him a hug and said bye to DD before he left for work. I got to say a final bye the day I am leaving.

Woke up later at 10a. Jennifer had left over pot pie and I had cereal. We finished packing, then left and dropped off the rental car. Mom picked us up and met Nana and Bonnie at Souplantation for lunch. We had our final hang out.

We said our goodbyes and Mom took Jennifer and I to the airport.

The flight was unmemorable which is what I want these days.

For the 1st time, going home was a real relaxing vacation for me. Now I am back home to compose, clean and build my new computer. More on my new computer later.

What a great vacation.

Posted by Eric at 10:40 PM

Monday, July 7, 2008

Through LA

Jennifer and I ate sushi at Fusion Sushi. We each had the lunch special with included a piece of salmon, tuna, yellow tail, and albacore and a special roll. The special rolls were Hawaiian roll (quite good) and the red dragon roll. We also got a special Philadelphia roll (had salmon on top) which was also very good.

I wanted to show Jenifer different parts of LA. So we drove up the coast on PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) then made a right on Olympic and drove though Beverly Hills, went down Rodeo Drive and went on the Sunset Strip though Hollywood.

We then went to pick up Mom and DD met us at Claim Jumper for dinner. Then back to DD's to hang out. Took Mom back home.

DD and I watched Dirty Jobs, a show on the discovery channel, and we were really laughing at the hosts comments. Jenifer enjoyed watching DD and I laughing together. What a great way to end the evening with DD. After the show , we said our goodbyes since DD is getting up early to go to work tomorrow.

Thanks DD for setting up your home for me and later Jennifer. It felt like home for awhile.

Posted by Eric at 10:08 PM

Sunday, July 6, 2008

My Best Friend's Wedding

Jennifer and I started our drive to San Diego for my friend Kimberly's wedding. I took Jennifer to beach town of La Jolla. We luckily found a parking spot. We then walked to an area of the beach were seals hang out. They just sit there and veg while people on the cliff and on the curved cement pier watch the seals. My friend David took me there years ago. It is still cool. Jennifer also enjoyed watching and talking pictures of the big California waves.

I then took her to Old Town San Diego and picked a place to eat Mexican. It unfortunately was crappy Mexican. The food was fine but not for the price they were charging.

Then to the wedding. The wedding took place at a Navy Base next to the ocean. It was nice hearing the waves during the wedding and reception. The wedding was really nice. Kimberly had me read something from a book or poem that paralleled dancing with life. When I started reading it Kimberly started crying. I received many complements on how well I read.

The reception was also outside. It began with the wedding party coming in and having the 1st dance. The next song was "Billy Jean" which it perfect for west coast swing (which is why Kimberly picked it) and asked Jennifer to dance. We then had nice hors d'oeuvres with wine followed by a buffet dinner. The food was very good. Then a toast of the best man and then bridesmaid. Then open dancing. I did eventually get a dance with Kimberly.

It was a very nice wedding and hope they will stay in love and be happy.

Posted by Eric at 10:44 PM

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Food, Family and Friends

DD, Mom, Jennifer and I met my friend Andrew and his girlfriend Karen for lunch at BJ's pizza. We talked about everything. We were there for almost 3 hours. It was a lot of fun hanging out with him. We said bye to Andrew and Karen and met AD and JK at Boarders.

Jennifer and I left Boarders and I took her to Naples to walked around and look at the uniques houses. We then had sushi at Sushi and Naples. I then drove her to my elementary school and junior high school. Since we were in the area, I dropped by Bonnie and Nana's so they could see Jennifer. We hung out their for an hour and talked. Jennifer and I then left to meet AD, JK, Mom and DD at Claim Jumper for deserts. Yummy deserts which are quite large. Then back to DD's for sleep.

Posted by Eric at 10:08 PM

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Fireworks Day

JK went to see her parents, so AD and I took Mom and DD out to lunch at Marie Calendars. AD then went with Mom to Nana and Bonnie's to show them some of his stuff. DD and I went on a quest for ice cream. It started with DD wanting ice cream from Tasty Freeze but they were closed. We then drove around Signal Hill to check out the view. Then towards the ocean and turned back when we realized it will be packed with people wanting to see the fireworks from the Queen Mary.

We then decided on a milk shake from Carl's Jr. I do not have them in the Texas. They are now made with real scooped ice cream with whipped cream on top. It was really good. We drank them while sitting at a park on Stearns. It was the park AD, DD and I would go to a lot when we were little.

DD and I then went to get Jennifer at the LA Airport and then back to DD's. AD, JK and Mom were there and had already got pizzas, chips, soda and an chocolate cream pie. We talked for awhile then saw the movie, The Game.


Click here to create your own fireworks show.

Posted by Eric at 10:36 PM

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Old Home Movies

DD, JK, AD, Mom and I had lunch at one of our favorite places to eat, Souplantation. Then back to DD's. DD and I were transferring old super 8 home movies of when I was little to DVD. AD was showing mom some of his resent music has created. Then back to Hof's for dinner and desert. (AD and JK seem to want to always go there. It is also one of the few places that stays open late.)

Posted by Eric at 10:00 PM

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Books and Food

For lunch, DD, AD, JK, Mom and I went to an organic Chinese restaurant. It was pretty good. We then went to Barnes and Noble. AD and JK do not have one back home in Kansas so when the come out here, they tend to go the book stores a lot. Then to Hof's Hut for dinner and deserts. Then back to DD and hung out.

Posted by Eric at 10:56 PM

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hanging Out with a Good Friend

Kimberly lives in San Diego and is getting married on Sunday. I met her 12 years ago. We dated for 2 years, stopped dating and then became best friends. She happened to be in town today and called to see if I wanted to do lunch. I said sure. We went to Frescos and I got a margarita pizza which was pretty good. We had a nice conversation. She has to go to a couple of stores for wedding stuff so I accompanied her and continued our conversations. Then back to DD and hung out with him until AD and JK arrived. Mom also came over and we went to Hof's for dinner. Then back to DD's to hang out for a bit before bed.

To Jennifer up in Canada right now, HAPPY CANADA DAY!

Posted by Eric at 10:18 PM