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The New Yahoo

Yahoo Mail finally got a new design! Faster, nicer, and better in all ways.

Nothing to see here!

Read on...

Last Updated 50 Weeks Ago

Last Updated 50 Weeks Ago

And that was last month so... this means... I haven't updated my FB profile in over a year?! Here's to another 52 weeks! :D

I wonder if they'll notify me again then.

Better Blogging

If you want to know how to become a better blogger... you'd better ask someone else. I've been blogging for twelve years but I still don't know what I'm doing. I've posted blog-related things like:

...but I don't follow my own advice half the time. I know the secrets, but I don't want to conform. I could turn this into a business, but I'd rather keep it personal. I'm not greedy. I'm tempted, but when I look at the world and what the capitalist approach has done for it... I think I'll take a different approach.

You probably hear the confidence-booster affirmation I'm worth more or I'm worth this a lot, but that doesn't apply to material wealth. It applies to choices. How you live. What you are. Care about the world - because you're worth a better future.

So on this rare topic of blogging, let me give you some solid advice that no one else will, because I feel like selling out today:

  • Be yourself, readers will appreciate you for you.
  • Don't limit yourself; don't confine yourself to a single topic. Evolve. Open your mind. Don't fear controversy if it helps you grow.
  • Stay true to yourself, and as such also to your viewers.
  • Care for your blog. Even if it is a business: a good business is like a second home. Make it your second home.
  • Write for yourself, even if no one reads. It's easy to start thinking about what everyone else wants, but if you just do you soon others will want to do you too.
  • Persevere, because Tukalue wasn't built in a day-

But most importantly: make sure this is what you want to do. If not: do something else. The goals may seem a bit selfish, which is why you probably won't get them elsewhere - because it makes you seem selfish, and giving a selfless impression seems to be the recommended thing to do if you want your blog to prosper. It seems to be working too.

But for who else would you start a blog if not for yourself? If you choose this route it'll be a big part of your life before you know it, so you'd better be ready for a long term commitment. If you do make it a business: make it a business you want to run. When designing a race: design a race you'll want to run yourself, and others will join in.

Make your world, and the world is yours.

Late Night Blues...creen Aftermath

Well that was a royal pain in the ass. Like a diamond butt plug.

I spent pretty much the entire day troubleshooting the issue, but nothing worked. Nothing. I ogled the net. I Googled. I checked cables and RAM, cleaned out dust, tightened screws, unplugged some, plugged in others, and cycled through all available options on the system start menu. And boot menu. And drive priority menu (not that there was much use to that one - I only have the one internal drive anyway).

Nightfall came and I grew weary, and desperate, and after my files were finally all safely backed up on my external drive (I do have the most important stuff backed up to the cloud too, but since the drive was still readable it was easier to retrieve them there), I tried the system restore points... but I didn't have the discs. So, alright, how about a factory reset. I am truly thankful there's a partition of the drive reserved to such default OS installations on most modern computers, among them this one, since I had no copy of those factory defaults anywhere else. I do now, though. As soon as all was installed I burned a disc with drivers, and three with everything, and another with just the system, and once the OS was up-to-date: one more with all updates and a selection of software essentials included (like Total Mounter, to emulate a drive so that you can burn things like recovery discs straight to an .iso file instead of to a physical disc like you usually do).

There was one thing I could've done without, though.

The bloatware. So much bloatware! I didn't remember there was so much. I spent an hour or two just uninstalling demos, games, and programs I don't need or don't want to buy, and then an additional hour trying to get places with the browser that came with this OS: Internet Explorer...8 (if the bundled software was the absolute newest at the time of computer release, back in 2009)? For some reason it just wouldn't connect, or load certain sites. Browser issues? Site issues (maybe access was denied for certain ancient browsers)? Hardware issues (maybe certain OS updates since 2009 had something to do with it)? Broadband issues (maybe my other computer was hogging all the bandwidth)? Router issues (see former)? So many potential issues. I didn't remember there were so many.

IE finally did manage to load the necessary pages though, so I downloaded FireFox and MSE first, and realized that the Internet issues weren't limited to just the old browser at all, but it all started working better once I'd installed some updates. MSE took a while to update. I managed to download the Windows 7 Service Pack 1, and other updates, and got ready for some pretty time-consuming updates... but then it was midnight and I needed to get to work the next day so I called it a night. Because it was.

After work the day after it was back to the updates, and I managed to get most installed before the morning was over, along with most of the more important software I require. I've put together a folder with the essentials this time, in case something similar happens again, or I happen to get a new computer, or someone else does. Who knows. Mighty come-in-handy. Excluding the few apps Windows does provide that I do use, my most-necessary ones are currently:

Free

  • 7-Zip (archive handler of choice, lightweight and easy)
  • Audacity (for editing/recording audio + LAME, FFMPEG and LADSPA plugins)
  • Chrome (secondary browser)
  • Dexpot (multiple desktops - one for each user)
  • FileZilla (FTP)
  • FireFox (main browser)
  • F.lux (blue light reducer as night falls)
  • Foobar2000 (music)
  • FSResizer (batch resizing and renaming images)
  • Icaros (shell-integration to display thumbnails and info for media, and other)
  • KDiff3 (binary file comparisons, usually after large backups and moves)
  • Lightscreen (best screenshot program there is)
  • MSE (anti-virus)
  • NAPS2 (super-simple scanning and saving scans as image or PDF)
  • SumatraPDF (lightweight PDF reader with colorful brand name)
  • SUPERAntiSpyware (anti-spy/malware with a few extra tools)
  • Total Mounter (virtual drives, and emulating drive media)
  • VLC (for playing pretty much all media but music, even DVDs)
  • Vivaldi (just an extra browser I like - developed by the team behind Opera)

Paid

  • Dreamweaver (for webdesign)
  • Fireworks (for vector and pixel-based design)
  • Flash (for animation and drawing)
  • Office (for the .docx format and spreadsheets)

There's also a bunch of portable programs I keep for less frequent tasks, like FastCopy, Renamer, Speccy and Search And Replace... and Notepad2 to replace the default one without adding all too much clutter. And others.

After all this was done came the long-running task of assigning different file-types for different programs, and fine-tuning whatever settings needed tuning, adding shortcut keys and start-up files that perform certain tasks, and all of those little tweaks I'd done with the previous installation like disabling Aero, gadgets, certain services, and changing power settings so processes don't stop mid-process, and setting mouse speed and showing hidden files, and removing some remnants of the previous installation, and the OEM folder, and directories reserved to the system that refuse to be deleted (I figured it out eventually: after a few failed ideas and Unlocker program trials I installed a shell-integration to take ownership, and then manually phased out SYSTEM for my own account, and then finally, it worked!), etc etc etc.

As for the settings though: it wasn't that much that needed setting. I'm leaving most settings for when I really use a certain program and realize I need them - maybe I'll realize some of the ones I used weren't all that useful after all.

I saved a list of the programs I had installed before, and only re-installed the ones I really needed too (above). Plenty of old programs cleared out. Tons of temporary files. The computer loads much faster now, as does the context-menu, and everything feels less cluttered, so I'm pretty happy with how it turned out after all.

I'm also re-discovering some of the more fun bits of Windows that I'd forgot existed, like the built-in wallpapers, or the different system sound themes, the games, the gadgets (though I turned those off anyway after a little fiddling), the... more fun control panel items with options for so many things!! :D I'm rediscovering not only parts of the OS, but parts of programs I hadn't had to adjust in a while, and some of the programs I had were apparently badly out of date. New features. New designs.
New stuff = cool stuff.

As long as it's not the Windows 10 kind of stuff, and some programs I used to be happy with have unfortunately also updated and adopted that so aggravatingly square and flat Windows 10 type of design I cannot fathom how anyone likes. It's a fact that we prefer odd vectors, and circular forms over squares. So... why?! Who's designing that shit? It's becoming more and more apparent I'll probably have to switch over to Apple once extended support for Windows 7 starts running out, but for now I'm enjoying the current. Like swimming in a river. The sleek, subtle and so symmetrically smooth interface of this one flagship release of the brand that used to be my favorite! Like the band with similar name could've been: Windows (the other one is Doors). But Apple to oranges, right?

The one thing I do regret not backing up were my bookmarks, and FTP manager settings. I pondered backing up program data as well, but there was a lot to sift through, so a fresh start seemed suitable. I didn't realize not all settings were ones that'd be easy to re-create. Same with some of my plugins. There were a lot of bookmarks I'd saved for later viewing that it's probably good to have out of the way, but there were also some invaluable resources and references I'd stashed up on that I didn't have memorized, and certain old FTP connections that'll be difficult to dig up, like accounts on university services, and eh... free hosting accounts, clients, etc. Oh well, it's not like I needed the ones I didn't use after all. It's an unwanted, but potentially not so bad fresh start there too.

As for bookmarks: I've started testing a sync app to keep browser settings the same between the computers I use now, which shouldn't just keep a copy in case things go bad, but also make it easier moving tasks between computers.

As far as regular backups go I'm all set, but with all the necessary tweaks and tools installed once again... maybe it wouldn't hurt to take just one more. Just in case. One never knows when the worst comes to be, though I hope it's a long time before I get an inescapable blue screen again.

Or worse: a red one.

Early Morning Blues...creen

So I woke up today as I would any other day. Tired, but willful. Jumped out of the bed with visions in my head. Turned on the computer and went to the bathroom as it booted. Came back, and it was still booting. Odd, but alright, maybe it was a bit more tired than usual today. I have my ups and downs too.

The login screen appeared; I entered my info and went downstairs to fetch a cup of tea as it loaded further. Came back up and... it was back at the login screen again. What happen, someone set up us the bomb?

I tried logging in again, and sat by the computer as it loaded this time. The HDD chugged away as the desktop came into view - a bit fiercer than usual, I imagined, and then BAM: BSoD, with a highly vague (and apparently very rare) error code reading 0x000000F4. Or... maybe that was 7 zeros?

Anyway, the part of the message that didn't deal with unintelligible digits told me to try rebooting the computer if I hadn't had this kind of error before, so I did. Five times. Even after I had had it before. Didn't work.

I reached the desktop each time, and then it rebooted. If I waited at the login screen long enough it rebooted there. I tried opening some program first, and it worked, but then it rebooted. What the hell.

I came to the conclusion that the RAM I upgraded a few months ago might be faulty (other weird issues have been occurring since I did), so I switched back to the old. Didn't work. Tried just a couple of the new sticks too. Didn't work. Went into BIOS and skimmed through settings, adjusting whatever might have an effect. Didn't work. I tried starting in safe mode (I did this way before everything in this paragraph, btw) but that didn't work either.

I did get a new error message in safe-mode, but the blue screen appeared before I had time to fully read it. It was something about dwm.exe, but I assumed it was just an error message generated from whatever error caused the blue screen to appear soon after, so instead of going back I tested other possible solutions, like booting with the last working configuration, and running memory diagnostics, and start-up diagnostics, and eventually venturing into the 'system restore' area where... holy shit, the most recent restore point was from mid-2014! So... maybe not.

I came back to this later though, and realized those restore points had been saved externally somewhere, probably to DVDs, and I had no idea where those could be anyway. If they remained.

And just in case you were wondering about all those other potential fixes: they didn't work.

I opened up the computer again and tested taking the RAM back out, and putting it back in again, and checking all cables and sockets that might be lose - though unlikely they were. Finally I tried removing the hard drive and booting without it... and that worked, though I didn't get anywhere further because there was no bootable media. So BIOS worked. Of course. I'd already been in BIOS. Don't know what I was expecting.

I put the HDD I'd taken out in a docking station and plugged that into the secondary computer I'm currently typing this on (and have been using to troubleshoot the issue all morning, without much success). I even started looking for computer support online, but somehow that seemed like more work than fixing the issue myself. At this point however it doesn't seem like an issue I'll be able to solve... without drastic countermeasures.

Or... just plain measures? What am I countering? It just doesn't sound right without the counter. Like speakers placed on a floor. Life is music you know, but moving back to the issue at hand...

I'm currently moving over all important files from the HDD to an external one, and starting to feel a bit optimistic about the prospects of actually going back to that latest restore point of 2014, or even further, to factory defaults. There's so much clutter on the drive. So many empty folders and unused files I'm not sure I should delete, or can't delete, and as the latest restore point attests it's been a while since my latest fresh start.

I'll try a few other things first, of course. Different RAM, and RAM in different slots, and just one stick at a time. Maybe some bootable troubleshooting program. Maybe... something else will come to mind. But for now backing up my files seems like the first and most important step. Then: time to fix my computer!

Though all my working files (for work, I mean) and configurations reside on the currently non-working computer, it feels good to at least have a backup nearby.

Newgrounds - The Foundation Of The Future Of Animation

If you haven't been there before, maybe this'll make you want to. ;)

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