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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!! :) :D

Over the past couple days, I installed my new hard drives. My goal was to clone/remove my old IDE hard drive and end up with two SATA hard drives and two optical IDE drives.

My newest hard drive is a Seagate SATA internal, 750 Gig Barracuda (refurbished), whose namesake is a ferocious fish. Something like the fish in the picture. I figured, since SATA drives aren't jumpered and would default to the order that they are plugged into the mainboard, I didn't expect a problem connecting them. According to the plan, the Barracuda was going to rip all the files out of the old Caviar IDE and become my main drive. The Barracuda would then run with a SATA Caviar drive which would provide additional storage. Theoretically my SATA system could be 4 or 5 times faster than with the old style IDE hard drive. Sounds good to me!

Well my Caviar drives are made by Western Digital (WD), a different brand than the Barracuda, and the WD models are named something delicious, Caviar. Mmm, yummy. Supposedly the two SATA's, the WD Caviar and the Seagate Barracuda could share the same tank!

Erg... With the three drives plugged in, installing the new Barracuda created some odd glitches. The two Caviars were conspiring!

When I used the WD software to find the Barracuda in order to clone my soon-to-be-retired IDE working drive, the software never recognized that the unformatted Barracuda was attached. Bleh... When you don't stick with a brand loyalty, sometimes it gets weird, at least until the drives are all formatted. It was the Barracuda that needed formatting. The pair of Caviar drives together didn't want to talk to the Barracuda, even with all sorts of BIOS settings and with me wearily changing the mainboard cable connections. It took me a while to work through my list of ideas and I finally found the trick that would work. I temporarily disconnected the SATA Caviar then booted only with the old IDE Caviar and the new unformatted SATA Barracuda. Finally the software realized I had an unformatted Barracuda to install. I was able to format the Barracuda and clone the old IDE Caviar over to it.

Now that old Caviar is retired from my system and will gain a loving home in another of our machines.

If I sound like I'm babbling, chalk it up as a weird techy fishing story and the late hour! ;) (In the meantime, I had also discovered the old versions of DOS I had, could not cope with the chipset of such a huge drive. Remember when HUGE was something like 3 Gig?)

Anyway, I used MaxBlast (which is Seagate compatible now) to do the cloning. My goodness, it took about a day to clone the old drive over to the Barracuda. It seems to have gone very well despite the quirky fishy start. Now in place of the old IDE hard drive, the old IDE cable is now attached to a DVD and also to one CD drive (master/slave). My SATA Caviar and Barracuda hard drives are sharing the same tank and sharing files. However, I'm not yet sure if I'm all that much faster yet!

I still have to deal with some registry issues that happened when my main board died in December, but I feel pretty good about this machine so far. Hopefully I can get by without doing a fresh install of XP Pro.

Together, they can make a difference. Caviar & Barracuda sushi anyone? ;)
(it's a generic picture; not barracuda sushi. most likely salmon with salmon eggs)
For some reason, I have a hankering for sushi.

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 1/01/2009 12:21:00 AM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Friday, December 05, 2008

One thing after another...

I love my doctor. Which is saying a lot when one is deaf and one is usually used to short notice appointment doctors that seem to be a little clueless with communicating with the deaf (duh, write it down Doc). My regular doc (no random one for me, thank you) made time for me this week and the short of it is that I'm on a round of antibiotics and have a thousands of bucks worth of scans and tests to come once a referral goes through. (sigh)

Computerwise, I've accumulated some hardware over the past year from various sales that I need to plug into this main machine. For the most part I'm just running out of drive space (blame it mostly on digital cameras, archiving digital pedigrees, also some movie clips and lots of music that hubby wants on the main network drive). Sometimes when space gets tight, weird annoying things happen. I'm still quite comfortably up to specifications for use of my various high resource, hardware hungry programs, and so nothing needs upgrades in that direction for at least another year or so.

I am however, still using IDE hard disk drives and am finally going to go all SATA when this update is done. Unfortunately I don't have all the cables I need yet. Plus, for the past several days or so, my cordless USB keyboard has suddenly started behaving oddly (again). It'll quit working (like totally dead, requiring reboot sometimes within minutes of a reboot) or will lag in bursts, sometimes skipping some keys as I type, or inserting some in multiples (ittttttt likeeeethiii) and function keys going bonkers at any time. argh. That is really irritating when trying to answer emails - makes the replies incoherent so I have a bunch in my draft boxes to get to. Without a keyboard it's difficult to do anything else! (the built in MS keyboard is just too slow for the amount of typing I have to do) I've tried different driver rollbacks and upgrades. Most of the keyboard errors reported online seem to have no fixes. I'm using an old fashioned, newish wired keyboard (PS2) for now but this may or may not be the fix since I had this problem with a favorite PS2 wired keyboard earlier this year - and NOW this kb is occasionally randomly inserting numbers into some w4ords as I type. BUT I need to be able to type to get any computer/internet stuff done!

One of the hard drives I'm installing is a refurbished (like NEW! lol) 750 gig Seagate Barracuda for which the right serial cable doesn't exist in my home, yet... So another delay in the making. But while looking for info on the cable to order or buy, I ran into this picture on google images ---
You can find the rest of the story at this link. If you just want to see the pictures scroll around the whole thread. I always enjoy seeing cool systems people put together and the stories behind them! As it provides useful information that can come in handy. Actually it's a great thread, if you start on page one where the computer-to-be is still in 20 zillion brand new exciting boxes. If you're like me or any of us nutters who need a machine customized to fit specific needs, and like to save money (and get premature grays) by 'rolling our own' computers -- the whole thread will remind you of the gamut of the silly mistakes, the bigger ones, the angst and gnashing of teeth that one might be able to relate to. ;) (btw, the photos of xipotec's new system are really cool... my main machine is not near as 'pretty' any more and I just removed enough dog hair from the bottom of the case to build a small rodent -- :p And notebook computers are just plain boring, I won't even mention them.)

Speaking of dog hair, why is it that two of my Anatolians (Boone and Ruya, born a month apart, January/February 2003) are fully molting their undercoat when the temperatures here are turning so chill!? (Night temps are in the mid-thirties fahrenheit, which converts metrically to about 195 kilometers -- thank you Bintie!) Bella, Coco (both the same age, Oct 2006) and Molly (rescue) are all in full coat with their winter insulation fully installed.

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 12/05/2008 09:45:00 AM | Permanent link | (1) Comments

Blogger Diane sent us a woof // December 06, 2008

lol re: kilometers!

We just rebuilt my desktop pc over the last couple of weeks so I can relate to tales of construction and crisis. A nice feature my new case has is washable air filters - I just have to remember to do it once in a while :/   

Thursday, August 28, 2008

YouTube gets closed captioning support

Woo HOO!!!!!!!
YouTube gets closed captioning support

YAY!! OMG, yes!!

In a move to make videos easier to understand without volume or for the hard of hearing, YouTube has given users the option of embedding closed captions that show up as semitransparent overlays.
The news link above has a link to a Closed Caption (in English) Japanese clip. It looks pretty awesome so if you want to see an example, go there and look.

Here's what the controls on a real Closed Captioned video on YouTube looks like note the far RIGHT hand side:

There are volume control, the control to expand to full window, and finally the NEWest control! The Closed Caption control is on the far right hand side and expands on mouseover to gives you the option to hide or show REAL Closed captions!!

I did search on YouTube on the keywords "closed captioned" but just end up with all the usual clips that don't actually have captioning at all, or are at least, OPEN captioned, by having text inserted into the images in the clips (which I do appreciate!).

Above video is linked to See for their collection of found CC online videos - Chad Vader is pretty funny. :D

Well it is NEW, and I hope people using Youtube will take advantage of the CC tool.
For example: I hope some of the National Geographic clips will start to utilize them too! (you can lead a horse to water but... )

And on other news......
Comcast to cap monthly consumer broadband
... hrm

Surprisingly the company is not providing any tools to help users monitor their current usage. An FAQ on Comcast's support site simply suggests that customers do a "Web search" for bandwidth metering software that will track this amount for them. Going forward there may be plans to set up alerts over certain thresholds, or bundle some official tool as part of the company's starter software.

Very likely, a sign of the times.

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 8/28/2008 07:29:00 PM | Permanent link | (1) Comments

Anonymous Anonymous sent us a woof // August 31, 2008

Oh no. That means you will understand more of these? Eep. Now how can we hide the cool stuff?



Monday, January 21, 2008

Wireless Platitudes

I'm still trying to shake off a bad cold and just have been too tired lately to keep up with any reading. I have previously read much ado about potential problems from cell phone radiation exposure but until recently, I just really haven't been paying much attention since I don't one. James used the landline primarily but his cell phone useage has become frequent and habitual -- time for us to wake up. Just saw this new article last night about how cell phone use interferes with sleep. Other general warnings which compare cell phone radiation to wireless laptop use. Interesting.

Last month, I read some articles regarding internet accessibility regarding how deaf captioning in online video shows (the professional ones) are so lacking. For example, you can watch some of the same newsclips on TV with the captions but the online versions never do have captions. From one of the articles discussing this issue, I ran into some delightful YouTube films that were captioned (Yay!) and had to do with with deaf topics. Here's one of them that has humor from Deaf culture featured. :)

Jamie Berke at has a wonderful article explaining about how exhausting or frustrating it is for hearing impaired students at school, and actually applies to some extent for all deaf and hearing impaired in almost all social situations... see the Classroom Ghost.

On a lighter note, thanks to Diane who posted a link to a "Human Tetris" clip last week, I ended up looking at several hilarious clips showing a Japanese game show with a Tetris-like theme. Good laughs are much needed sometimes. :)

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 1/21/2008 03:10:00 AM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

iTunes headache with iTunes.msi

iTunes has been trying to upgrade itself on both my laptop and main machine. Each time, there is a failure because iTunes.msi which comes with the upgrade installation, isn't recognized. Even if you find it (via Browse) ... no dice. grrr. I uninstalled it, thinking a clean install would fix it. ...but nooooooooo... bleah -- I'd rather not be wasting my time on iTunes! (I can't hear anyway) But hubby needs it, so that's that!

Anyway, here's the trick to fix that and it takes only a few minutes after you get the download.

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 11/27/2007 03:52:00 PM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Monday, September 24, 2007

Extreme Magic?

I always want to know just HOW do they do this stuff? But sometimes it's just enough to be able to watch and marvel at it all... (No -- no, no... it isn't enough!! That can't be an illusion! ...can it?)

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 9/24/2007 01:02:00 AM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

"One Generation and Out" - Humans and Animals to Suffer, While Rare Breeds Go Extinct

Above: picture courtesy of Joshua O photos
A strain of Ankole cattle. Their horns serve as cooling mechanisms, much like a car's radiator. The blood flowing through the horns cools down slightly before returning to the animal's body. This helps the Ankole and related rare strains of cattle adapt to high levels of heat and require less water to stay cool . . .and to survive.

Ankole Cattle generally include several strains (also known as unimproved, primitive land races) that were imported from their African countries of origin to be raised and preserved here in the USA. Rare breed conservatories help to ensure genetic diversity and the survival of primitive strains that have become endangered due to types of animal 'monocropping' around the world with popular modern breeds. See American livestock Breeds Conservancy for more details on some domestic programs and see Google for other examples.

"We have no ethical obligation to preserve the different breeds of livestock produced through selective breeding. One generation and out. We have no problem with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding."

- Wayne Pacelle,

Humane Society of the United States

From - Financial Times

Rare breeds of livestock face extinction

By Frances Williams in Geneva

Published: September 3 2007 17:44 | Last updated: September 3 2007 17:44

The world’s livestock production has become dangerously over-reliant on just a few high-yielding breeds, causing the loss of many hardier breeds more suited to poor countries, according to a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.

In its first survey of the world’s animal genetic resources, the FAO says 20 per cent of the more than 7,600 breeds of farm animals and poultry it has identified are at risk of extinction. Almost one breed has been lost every month over the past six years.

Carlos Seré, director general of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), a publicly funded Nairobi-based research network, on Monday called for the rapid establishment of gene banks, especially in Africa, to conserve the sperm and eggs of animals at risk.

“Valuable breeds are disappearing at an alarming rate,” he told an international technical conference on animal genetic resources in Interlaken, Switzerland. “In many cases we will not even know the true value of an existing breed until it is already gone. This is why we need to act now to conserve what’s left by putting them in gene banks.”

The FAO report, which surveyed livestock in nearly 170 countries, found that the black-and-white Holstein-Friesian dairy cow is now found in 128 countries around the world, while 90 per cent of cattle in industrialised nations come from only six tightly defined breeds.

Developing countries account for nearly 70 per cent of the world’s remaining unique livestock breeds but these are being rapidly supplanted by higher yielding stock imported from Europe and the US.

In northern Vietnam, for instance, local breeds comprised nearly three-quarters of the sow population in 1994 but by 2000 this proportion had dropped to only a quarter.

Mr Seré says despite the short-term benefits this strategy poses high risks because many of these breeds cannot cope with developing country conditions.

The ILRI points to the example of Uganda where, during a recent drought, farmers that had kept their hardy Ankole cattle were able to walk them long distances to water sources, while those who had traded the Ankole for Holstein-Friesians and other imported breeds lost their entire herds.

Many developing countries abandon lower production (unimproved) heritage animals in order to attempt to step up production using modern animals that were developed to be used in extremely different production environments. Think of it as backyard breeding, with little consideration for genetic, ecological and environmental reality. Often, native farmers are encouraged or _forced_ by city slicker government officials who ride on ignorant hype (sound familiar?) to change their production values. This has often resulted in problems. Turkish livestock producers crossed their native sheep with Merino and ended up with animals with the wrong type of wool for the environment and poorer ability to survive and forage in rough terrain. The American Indians used Merino crosses on their primitive sheep and it also resulted in similar failures and hardship.

Wayne Pacelle has complained on his blog, that his quote at the top of this post has been taken out of context by those of us who are anxious to preserve our freedom of choice in animal issues. He has apparently been trying to do damage control by appealing to pet people and trying to encourage them to believe that his position on animal issues are mainstream. He claims the quote is intended it to be about rare breed livestock. . . . of course, most pet people wouldn't know an Ankole cow from a Scottish Highland steer and probably think he is right due to their own lack of animal background.

As you can see, even applied to livestock, the man frankly demonstrates no animal sense. The world of animals and their adaptations and the routines needed to preserve them are are all quite complex.

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 9/05/2007 06:02:00 PM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

District Files Appeal Against Deaf Student

District files appeal against deaf student: "Administrative Law Judge Clara Slifkin criticized the school for giving Solorzano a sign language interpreter, even though she is an oral learner and uses sign language only socially, not academically."

I chose the graphic to illustrate how the student might feel. Imagine being faced with the challenge of language barrier deliberately imposed by the school as a solution to helping a deaf student to get through her lesson. Not being able to understand the lecture given in a "foreign language" (sign language in this case) just slows down the progress of the student.

I'm late deafened and there are so many times I wish CART were instantly available for me. On the computer it's great to be able to chat to someone using email, or in real time with a text interface (IM programs, MUDS and other such). Some day in the future will it go to everyday living? A cure for deafness would be awesome!

Software is still being developed which will allow a computer to have working speech recognition and there are hopes that perhaps a laptop can be used in real time, to interpret with good accuracy, flowing conversations for someone who cannot hear. This will allow more of us to attend lectures or participate in other communications. I have tried the route of having friends or family members take notes, but often the things they catch and write down are basics that I already know and I wonder if the lecture actually had any depth beyond 3rd grade knowledge of basics. Don't mean to sound ungrateful but when you pay $100 or there abouts to attend a seminar and come back with notes that someone took for you, all content that you already knew and may well be new stuff for your notetaking friend... it really is a darned bit discouraging. Never mind any serious consideration of new academic pursuits that rely on interpretation of lecture material.

I have read about how it (speech recognition) is still quite quirky; some voices and inflections do not convert to text very well and need editing corrections to train the software. Back when I had residual hearing and used an FM system and hearing aids, I still had a lot of problems picking up what people were saying due to the problematic nature of all these combined enhancements. I have no residual hearing now, so text really is the best of the communication tools for me. I've also learned that many hearing people do appreciate captioning and wish more in the way of transcripts could be provided (accessibility!) since sometimes computer quirks, poor software, slow connections are a fact of life for many that cannot make use of the pod casts and other 'enhancements' online.

Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART)

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 6/20/2007 11:09:00 PM | Permanent link | (1) Comments

Blogger cdlcruz sent us a woof // June 21, 2007

I empathize with your frustration. As I get older, and my hearing lessens, I find I appreciate the captioning on TV. If the captioning is particularly good (and not all is) I even turn off the sound and just read the captions.