Dying of the Light

I said I had two WoW problems (of course, there is the unspoken – I have resubbed to WoWcrack problem as well). The second is of course the iMac. Levelling with Miss 9 means running the PC and the iMac (any thoughts of an iOS version of WoW, lol) together. Normally not a problem. The PC, an ancient first gen i7 with a 9500GT – it’s pretty noisy but still running ok. As it boots from an SSD it’s very quick to start up actually. And then there’s the iMac.

So I talked somewhat about the problems a couple of posts ago. Even WoW is enough to push it too hard. It can be as long as an hour, or as little as ten minutes before bad things start happening on the screen and I need to quit. As long as I quit before a complete failure (with usually a mostly blank display) it seems to be able to carry on doing word processing etc after I’ve quit.

Otherwise, a reboot gets it back running. Still, that won’t last forever.

The case, the main heatsink for these computers gets very toasty. It always has, but it seems if this cools down then I get a bit longer out of it than if I try to start WoW when it’s already warm. I’m sure that’s either the root cause of the problem (heat stressed components failing over time, it’s a late 2010 model after all) or a symptom of it (the dying video card working harder than it needs to).

So come on Apple, announce MacMini updates if you’re going to so I can decide what to do. I’m starting to lean back towards the cheapest MacMini (second hand?) I can get and spend the money on a PC instead. Either way, I have 2 keyboards, 3 mice and a display all ready for whichever box I head down. I may be dual boxing on one screen.

Of course, I have all my fingers and toes and eyes crossed hoping I won’t get a total failure of the iMac before I am ready. Heck it’s hung on for a year already (more than 2 if you count back to when my original problems started occurring!)

NOTE: I am not considering the smaller iMacs (21.5″) as there is no advantage over the MacMini. None of the smaller ones run a discrete video card, only the larger Macbook Pros and 27″ Macs do. So I would be paying extra money for a (nice) screen.

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.

Airport Express troubles

No, the Apple one, not an actual airport.

I have one of these…..

1403012745331It is really handy when you are travelling and they have free wifi, but only on the cable. If you use the hotel wifi, it costs. With this you have a small device that creates a wifi network for you to use. Pretty cool.

Another cool trick is that it also has a stereo 3.5mm socket. If it is on the same network as another Apple device, such as an iMac or an iPhone, you can connect a stereo through the 3.5mm and the Airport will let you use the stereo as an Airplay receiver.

In Queanbeyan I had it set up with an olde stereo and it was pretty cool. When I moved back to Sydney I didn’t get around to setting up the stereo until a few weeks ago. Then I plugged in the Airport and …

Well nothing.

I have been trouble shooting ever since. I can create a new wifi network with the device, but I cannot get it to join my home wifi. I don’t have ethernet close to where I have the olde stereo setup so that isn’t an option.

I have tried resetting it and returning it to factory options. Each time, I can connect to it and manage it. I can create its own wifi network, but not join the existing one. I even tried it when there was no security on the home network (that was a nervous half hour!).

No luck yet. No ideas left either. I’m just repeating my steps hoping something different will happen (isn’t the a definition of crazy/stupid somewhere!).

Progress is a funny thing

So when I was about 10, if I wanted to listen to music, I put a tape in my Walkman, put the headphones on and pressed play. If I wanted to listen in the lounge, I moved the tape in the Hi-fi in the lounge and pressed play.

Today to listen in the lounge I used my phone app to switch on the amp, and then remote control my iMac to select the playlist and play over the network.

The iMac dutifully fetched the songs from the NAS, then AirPlay across to the Amp, which played it out the speakers, while displaying the track info on the TV.

So, including the switch and the router (for the Wifi), that’s SEVEN devices, just to play a song.

It sounds silly like that, but then when you think that I can

  • play the same music upstairs or in the computer room (I can actually play different music in both if I get the Apple TVs involved) at the same time;
  • play music outside;
  • play a movie inside and music outside;
  • play a movie on the computer, a different one upstairs, another different one downstairs, while listening to music outside.;
  • and only have 1 copy of the music or movie on the NAS.
  • and listen to music on the phone on headphones.

maybe it isn’t so silly???

 

Good Morning Windows 10

Wow. I’ve used & installed (usually several times) pretty much every Windows version since version 2. Except I never used 8 but apparently no great loss there. 

Now that I am home I let 10 have its way with the PC, kicking off the upgrade from 7 as I went to bed. 

This morning I woke to find the upgrade complete bar a couple of setting requests (sending info to Microsoft and Favourites Importing type queries) and logged in. 

All the software seems to be running, Office didn’t need reinstalling, neither did Skype or well the new Edge of course. Actually that’s about all the PC gets used for.  Log in to a few websites like Facebook and TFC and its sorted. 

That was by far the best ever Windows upgrade or install in nearly 30 years. Very impressed. Can’t say much about the OS itself as I really haven’t used it in anger yet. 

Not the right colour :(

My iMac has been showing symptoms that I think may be terminal, or at least probably very expensive.

In the past couple of weeks there has been the occasional flashes of pink/orange/green squares appearing randomly on the screen. This Sunday, when I returned from Sydney, the screen was covered in them. And the iMac seemed to be running slowly.

I am fairly confident in diagnosing a graphics cards in its last days. There are always other possibilities, but that is the most likely. The iMac is about 5 years old and the card is pretty tight in there. Yes the aluminium unibody would act as a heat sink, but it still gets warm. Running a second screen (also 1440 27″) may have hastened it’s demise.

So I’m struggling to export and back up. That’s to add to the 2 other backups I have of course. Perhaps I am being a little paranoid, but there is the possibility that I won’t return to a Mac at the end of this. So stuff has be available in a format that Windows can also use.

A couple of hiccups in the copy have me doing some direct shell work on my NAS. Seems the most reliable way to delete things from the server (there are some duplicates of the iPhoto Library I’m trying to get rid of).

It is also screwing up my study. I have an essay due this week and I’m not looking forward to having to sort it out without a computer!

Telstra.. you almost sorted it

So on 2 July Telstra actually got it right. Well at least mostly. Almost 3 months to the day, they managed to line up a phone number they issued me and the physical connection to the house so that the Tech could actually connect the two and hence us.

I got home on Friday and set up the ADSL and…. we’re back on the Internet.

I also set up the switch so that all of the ports in the house are connected (there’s 13 and the modem/router is only 4 port). Initially this was troublesome as the default Switch IP was the same as the existing Modem/Router IP. It also forgot everything I set it up with when I unplugged it the first time. But eventually I had it on a different IP and the entire house was live with ethernet and wifi all connecting to each other and the internet

TVs asked for updates, phones could AirPlay to the Amp it was a wondrous weekend. I still need to go around and actually ID all of the ports, but I have enough leads to have them all connected at the same time.

I said Telstra almost got it right. Well in the throes of screwing it all up, they made up a new contract, without my consent and created a whole new account and email address for me. I’ve fixed the first one, and will have to live with the second. They also sent me a new modem.

They also decided that I wasn’t entitled to the Federal Service Guarantee fees as there was a “Extreme Weather Event” in my area. Its one of the ways they get out of paying this fine and after checking with the Ombudsman they may have something. Scum, but not a surprise.

But I have internet and so Mrs can watch her TV shows. And you know what they say about Happy Wives…..

Old School

Ha, there is one thing I need to post. It’s my eldest birthday soon and one of the things on her list is a Nintendo 3DS. Not too keen on that idea, She already uses the PS1, the Wii, and the PC. And a PS3 when I move back to Sydney. I don’t think another game machine is right just now.

So I dug about in my box of stuff and pulled out my old Gameboy Colour with Red Pokemon and Pokemon Pinball. Pinball got some action for a while.

But then as I dug through the box I decided it was time for a real lesson in history. Stashed away was something that is really showing my age.

Picked up some batteries from the shops and when we got home I broke out some other Nintendo products. You can see them in this picture.

History Time
History Time

Anyone know what they are? One is orange coloured, one white and I have another dark brown.* Early ancestors of the very 3DS that the eldest wanted for her birthday.

Let me tell you they were a hit. Way more interest in them than in the GB Colour.

*The original Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong II and Oil Panic.

So, Netflix huh.

I am finding a lot to watch in Netflix. Currently I’m watching

  • Falling Skies
  • Clone Wars
  • House MD
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun.

That’s a lot of TV🙂 Sure is filling the “void” of not playing WoW and not really finding another game to play. I’ve watched a bunch of movies as well, some that I hadn’t seen before and never got around to watching before. Some I’d seen before.

Sure it might not have Game of Thrones or the enormous range that the US one has apparently, but it has only just started. More gets added all the time too, for example “Guardians of the Galaxy” has just arrived.

So what are you guys watching on Netflix? Have you tried Stan or Presto as an alternative?