If/When the iMac died!

I’ve mentioned it a couple of times, that I am seriously worried about how much longer this iMac is going to last. Being awkward to fix, both through age (mostly) and the way they are constructed I’m not really intending to look at fixing it again.

Currently I can’t use full screen for videos or games. Anything that pushes the card too hard soon ends in no picture at all. Now I am also suffering errors that seem to be related to the hard drive. Though admittedly the evidence actually suggests a bug in Microsoft Word is possible.

So making plans.

Again (I’m always making big IT plans that don’t happen)

I also want to shrink the mid-tower case that the other PC uses, and see if I can make it a bit quieter. So here is my current set up.

IMG_0142
Study set up with the Mac and screen. PC to the right (smaller screen). The PC itself is on the lower shelf to the right, under the printer.

My plan is to get two mini-itx cases. They can sit side by side on the shelf, replacing the mid tower. That case is mostly space anyway. I don’t use any expansion cards and the DVDRW installed aren’t used (but I can always get cases for them if required).

Doing it this way will look really nice and tidy. I just need really long cables for one, to reach across to left side of the desk.

And to convert myself back to Windows.

Unless I also get a MacBook at some point.

I do have some technical specs sorted for both new PCs. One will be a complete new build and the other is currently in flux, with a bit of the old and a bit of the new. Though I have changed the cases since I took these pictures.

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 03.45.29

This is the plan for the new one.  I need to get Win10 as I missed the upgrade window for my other Win 7 copy which isn’t currently installed anywhere. Its not going to win any races, but it will work and I’m sure playing WoW or MWO will be fine. Who knows, maybe I could even try getting through some of my Steam list. If I didn’t spend all the time studying, netflixing, with family, at work…..

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 03.46.59

And here is the bitsa. Basically I’ll keep the SSD and GPU (for now anyway) and shrink everything else.

So let’s see if this goes anywhere.

Another end of Session

Means another exam and another struggle to get my marks up.

Not sure I can make it to a pass this time in one paper. I haven’t yet got the marks for its major assessment, but I don’t think I did too well. I also stuffed the first paper this time in the same subject, so I probably have to get 120% in the exam.

Good luck eh.

I still find the two major sources of my struggle are

  1. Finding time to study properly. Again, family intrudes here, work intrudes here, exercise intrudes and I do have to sleep sometimes…..
  2. I struggle with the way that this unit, same as one of the previous session, asks me to present my assignment. I just struggle with that – I understand the topic, but getting it on paper is awkward.

The other paper I think should be ok. It won’t be pretty, but it will be ok.

Next session will be interesting. A literacy one and then one to really bust me out of my comfort zone – Performance Arts.

I just realised I’ll probably have to sing as a Primary School teacher….. ha, the poor kids will be traumatised.

I’ll probably do the exam Thursday. Then I switch off for a couple of weeks.

More Old School

So the kids were a bit bored this evening and trying to invent a game. I thought that it might be the perfect time to break another game about imagination.


Look familiar to anyone.

So we rolled a couple of characters. They both picked clerics and we got started with the dungeon in the red book.

They made it through a couple of encounters and are keen to keep going. Killed a bunch of creatures and found some treasure. Sadly tonight bedtime intervened but we have another free day tomorrow so I hope to carry on.

I also mentioned how easy it would be to bring this game on any travelling that we do. Was that too obvious?

I need to study up because I am super rusty at how it works. Also is it too early to rush out and buy the latest Players Handbook and DM guide?

Commuting we will go…

It’s dark.

It’s cold.

It’s been wet sometimes too.

Commuting has been fun the last few weeks.

Winter eh!

IMG_1073

We’ve had a few storms. So it’s pretty sometimes too.

But cycling to work suddenly became a challenge when it dropped to 2C. I bought a pile of warm clothes to ride in. After not riding the next week waiting for it, I headed out last Monday.

So of course it was 13C. Too warm to really test it.

Tomorrow it’s 1C again. So see how I go.

IMG_1117

 

 

A New Drive

We’ve finally taken delivery of something we ordered way back in January. Sounds like a while but we understand that people who ordered in March are having to wait until Christmas.

Mercedes-Benz GLC250

IMG_0950

IMG_0956

We had previously looked at their GLA as it was released, but it was pretty small for a family car. Since then, having seen them out and about we’re really glad that we didn’t buy it.

The GLC however is bigger without being too big. This is a medium SUV, to compete with Audi’s Q5, BMW X3, Volvo’s XC60 and the like. The GLE (formerly called ML) is still there as the big boy, this is the in betweener. Not actually that much bigger in dimensions (excluding height) than our 10year old Mazda 6.

Are we happy? Yes very. Well I am, Mrs Mab is a bit overwhelmed with the technology and needs to get some practice in before she drives it more regularly. Not that I mind!

Look all the reviewers speak highly of it, and I’m sure the others are excellent cars as well (we only tested the XC60 which we liked a lot). But for us (well, for Mrs especially) we really wanted a Merc, but they didn’t have one that suited what we wanted until this one, which was only released in about November. There was a GLK in the US, but that was never released as a right hand drive.

Its very roomy inside, with plenty of room for our kids to grow up. The tech is awesome (it’s our first car with built-in Bluetooth even) with LED multi beam headlights that look around corners and auto braking and parking and radar cruise control, lane keeping and a bunch of other amazing safety things. I really like the built in HDD that came with the COMMAND audio upgrade, half filled it with my music and I don’t need to use BT or an iPod! You can even talk to it, though it doesn’t know any jokes.

It has taken some getting used to – it has been a challenge getting up our driveway and around the corner into the garage without doing an Austin Powers 500 point turn. I can do it in 2 moves now… but the parking sensors are going nuts the whole time. Then squeezing it into the garage!

uturn

IMG_0947

The steering column is covered in control stalks and if you get the wrong one you can set the speed limiter when you were trying to indicate a turn. I like the column shifter. But don’t really see the point in the touchpad thing they have that’s above the rotary selector for the computer system.

IMG_0968

But it is a great drive. Smooth, good drive (though only a 2.0L turbo) seems fairly good milage too (though we have only just made it through our first tank after two weeks). About 10L/100km, which seems pretty good for a SUV and not massively different than the Mazda 6 (it was about 9L/100km).

Oh, the Head Up Display on the windscreen is really great. It shows speed and also navigation details (turns, ETA, street names) as well as cruise control/limiter settings. Sits there on the windscreen slightly below your eye line. Really easy to get used to that!

 

 

Study -Results

hurray.jpg

I  may have passed both units. The exam results have been published and I did well in both. I’ve added up my marks for all assessments and the combined total is more than 50% for both units. Considering how poorly I did one assignment in each unit, I’m pretty happy. I guess that official results will be in a week or two?

Study – exams done

So the 2 hour one took 1 hour, that’s ok. I desperately need a high score to drag my overall up to a pass. I totally screwed the major assignment and am likely to fail if it’s a poor exam result. It was an open book multiple choice so I was able to check the answers as I went. But no backtracking was a bit rude.

The other one, 90 minutes, only took me 15!!! I admit to be a bit worried, but again I was able to check references for each one, and because I could backtrack I could double check the answers. Not so desperate for a good mark, but it would be nice.

Fingers crossed.

Old Pac

It’s a day off for me, exams. After they were done though, I was torn (well not really) – go and see Captain America, go for a ride on the bicycle, perhaps even a MTB ride, or take the Daytona out.

But where? Ten Mile Putty is too far, be at least 4-6 hours and I did have be home with dinner ready. Colo was an idea but I didn’t really feel like the hour plus to get there. Google tells me that Mt White on the Old Pacific Hwy is only 1 hour away. That was a real surprise as I always thought it was ages and ages away. 

Well it’s not. 

And I always thought it sucked as I remembered 60kmh limits and loads of traffic.

Well the part around Pie in the Sky is actually 80.

And it was Tuesday, I guessed traffic would be light.

And it was, lol.

So I rode up Old Pac, completely changed my opinion of at least the 80 part. And it really did only take an hour. I left home about 10am and after riding to Mt White, and back to Pie, having a Pie and then doing a lap in the 80 zone before heading home, I still made it home before 1pm.

I wasn’t impressed though with the guy who passed outside of me in my lane around a tight bend. If I had f’ked it up we would have both gone down. Much rather he was like his mate and just blitzed past me on a short straight on the wrong side of a solid line. 

I’m still slower than everyone.

Study – Year 1 Session 1

First two units and session 1 is almost finished. Exams next week.

It’s been really hard. Not so much because the content is hard but

  • finding the time to study and prepare. I really wasn’t ready for the amount of work I was going to have to do, even after the study last year. Each unit has its content structured differently and trying to read and watch everything as well as taking notes and writing (and researching) is proving a juggling act I haven’t quite got sorted out yet. Then the next paper is different. Fitting all of this around increased pressure helping out with the kids homework, doing a share of the chores around the house and working is really tough. With Mrs Mab working most of the weekend, I am not able to spend much of that time studying either.
  • Understanding the way they want the assignments done has been hard too. Having some online resources is helpful, but getting stuff done in time to actually think about discussing this online is problematic too. And I can’t make any of the live sessions.

I am sure that as I move into the second and third sessions this will get easier. The early start to work and losing up to 2 hours coming home is a bit of a pain. I had less commuting when I had to go to Canberra for the week (2*4 = 8 vs 5*2.5 =12.5). And I had 4 nights a week that I could study all evening without interruption.

But not be with my family.

I guess I am doing two full time occupations (work and full-time study) at once while still spending time with the family.

I am hoping for a pass in both, it will depend heavily on next weeks exam though. I don’t expect any higher score really. Then it’s straight into session 2…..

Why am I doing this again???

Loan Bikes – always an experience

My Daytona had a service yesterday. As always I asked for their loan bike to get to work and back. 

Getting a loan bike from a shop is always an interesting experience. First there is the initial curiosity of what exactly it is going to be. You know it’s going to be something small, they have to cater for learners after all. 

Then you wonder what state it is in. Sure it will work and have a tank of fuel, but it’s unlikely to be in perfect shape.

So I rolled out of the shop on a mighty Ninja 300 (don’t get me going, again, on Kawasaki’s naming conventions!). First impressions are sluggish (but that’s not really fair stepping off the Daytona) and small. The distance from the seat to the ground was noticeably less than the Daytona. Strangely this made it kind of awkward later when I was filtering. 

Actually, it was a pretty good little bike, and the other dramas on the day were more related to other road users. Oh and getting halfway to work and remembering that I couldn’t use the toll road on this borrowed bike and had to detour on to the slow road. However, getting back on the Daytona afterwards was like coming home again🙂

But I’ve had some other interesting bikes over the years. Usually a very sad looking CB250 from one shop. It seemed like every time I used it something else was wrong with it. On one occasion, it was missing the side stand. This would be fine as there was also a centre stand, but some previous rider had actually managed to bend this out of shape. Made it very awkward.

It was close to my favourite loaner though and fanging it along up to 110kmh on the freeway I did always keep waiting for it die, but it never did.

One time the same shop gave me a slightly less battered GS500. This was horrible and I asked that they never let me have that one again. I would rather hoon about on their CB250

A previous shop gave me a Honda 650 Duelsville (I think that’s it’s name) I renamed it the Dullsville. Bland and boring. Great commuter (and I later met a guy who had one for just that). I think the more recent NC750 should be much better.

I’ve talked previously about the time the shop gave me a GSX1300R Hayabusa. That was interesting. This shop had earlier given me a GSXR600 when their loaner hadn’t been returned unexpectedly.

To be honest, I’ve almost ridden more different bikes through shop loan bikes than test rides! I think I’ve test ridden the 

  • 2013 Ducati SF848 Streetfighter
  • 2004 Honda CBR600RR
  • 2013 Triumph Street Triple 675R
  • 2013 Suzuki GSX600R
  • 2015 Honda VFR800F

(Can you see where I was shopping and ended up with the Daytona)

What different bikes have you ridden from the shop?