Expert or Bust

I’m not an expert

Still have a long ways to go

Don’t make me laugh

Expert

Advertisements

Starting Fresh Once Again

And here we go again…a new set of keys…a new motivation to go forth and be better.

I’ve just bought a new Dell Inspiron 15 computer from Best Buy, home of the Geek Squad. My previous machine had really been through the ringer. The charging port was broken and wouldn’t charge anymore and the lid had broken off its hinge again. More importantly though was the recent development of a piece of crypto malware that had locked me out and demanded I call a number and pay a certain amount of money to access my computer again. There was no way I was going to get past that annoying screen without some technical knowledge. Every password I entered into the box, even my login one, resulted in an “Access Denied” message along with the matching sound effect often heard in cartoons and action flicks.

Well, of course I was smart enough to look up the problem instead of falling for the ransom trick. That led me to downloading a program that was supposed to circumnavigate this piece of malware posing as an official message from the FBI/government. There was at least hope that my old computer would be saved and I’d be back to uploading pictures of yummy otter pops.

But the HitmanPro.kickstarter software so toted as the savior proved to not be the answer to kicking the ransomware out of the way (failing to even boot from the USB) and so other methods had to be taken, all of which proved worthless as well. So after numerous attempts to fix the problem, even calling the original manufacturer for support, I finally gave up and decided to dish out a couple hundred bucks for a brand new system. This new one is a lot thinner and lighter than the Toshiba brand I had been using for about 3 years. It feels more durable and less prone to falling apart after being moved around a lot. The keys are smoother and feel like air under my fingers while the touchpad glides with ease and doesn’t stick like my previous PC. After all these years of using a computer, it still never gets old of feeling like the new machine is your new best friend and the previous retired one is suddenly a second hand item that has lost its luster.

Learning

Filling the Void

January

A life without a computer wouldn’t exactly be strange. I’ve gone through it before. Years before I even thought of having a blog or personal video account, life was pretty low key, pretty standard.

Still got the TV. Still got basic cable. Still got the Blu-ray player loaded with Netflix, YouTube, and Pandora Radio, so I wouldn’t be completely cut off. If I didn’t have my laptop, there would still be the local library to go to. I’m not fond of using a desktop anymore but it would work, even if the mobile luxury wouldn’t be there.

The moon and the stars would still be in the sky if my computer wasn’t here. Life would go on as usual. My online life may take a leave of absence but I would still be me, still be the dude with the messy hair and habit of cracking his fingers. Things would be even more quieter than usual. I’d be sitting on this couch of mine right now, just staring ahead at the room, listening to that cat yowl, seeing everything stay pretty much the same.

The life would be less technological and more sociable. I’d get outside more and try to meet other people. Finding a job from home may be difficult but I’m sure I could go to the classifieds and call up numbers.

The last time I had no computer, not even a clunky desktop, was probably sometime in 2009. It was briefly because one relative demanded that we give her our new Windows Vista computer because, quote on quote, “it was mine and you stole it from me”. That was definitely not true. I think she was just jealous that she didn’t have a good computer (an old junky Windows 98) and we did. So for a while, our family used an old junky Windows 98 until mom went and bought the computer that would begin an entirely new generation in my life: Windows 7. It was the first touch screen, all-in-one computer I ever had, and on that computer I discovered many sites that are now the entertainment hubs of the net, one of them being a very different looking YouTube. I started my first channel on there and uploaded my very first video.

Filling the void left by the absence of a computer wouldn’t be that difficult. There are still many things I could do. I’ve got the piano organ and guitars I could play, video games I could kill time on, cookbooks I could get inspired by, magic tricks I could practice. The computer may be the focal point of my existence now but it sure isn’t the only thing to me.

The feature picture is the full moon of January, the first one I will capture for a year long project of moons.

Your life without a computer: what does it look like?

Invented Is the New Reason

Those were the days…

Why do we always go after the products that are newly released and suddenly see our previous iterations as lesser and inferior? Why is it always “the next best thing” for us? Why do we develop nostalgia for the old things that are sitting there gathering dust as Mr. New gets all the attention?

Because in this world innovation never stops and there always pressure to keep selling and make money. Competition is fierce. Big companies can’t simply rely on their products to keep people’s interest and last forever. Software wears out, new technology is always on the rise. Why would anyone want to buy last years iPhone when the next one always features something better? Unless you’re short of cash, new is better. You want to be part of the in crowd. Trade in your old smartphone, because it sure as hell won’t be worth anything in a couple years.

Is it simply hype or is there a great incentive to always buying new things when they are introduced to the public?

Our many inventions are the reason why we are so far along in history now. Without all of these great innovations through time, we would still be stuck in the stone age, writing on tablets, cooking our food over fires. Without the telephone, we would still be clicking and clacking on a device that you have to learn another language to use. Without Bill Gates, I would surely be writing this blog on a Mac, for better or worse, the thought still in my head that windows are what birds crash into when they are so clean, they look non-existent.

My very first computer at home was a Windows 98 Hotwheels themed PC, targeted for the whole family. I believe it was bought in November or December of 1999 when I was 9 years old. It had a steering wheel and pedal device and an assortment of informative and entertaining games on CD with it. My favorite of those games was Stunt Track Driver but when the software suddenly wouldn’t load anymore, it became Myst, a really weird and mysterious game that I finally completed in 2011 (with cheats). There was also Kid Pix, a widely popular game among kids at the time. The bomb eraser and the undo button guy saying “Oh no!” are memories.

The computer didn’t last very long because of bugs and software issues, but it officially launched my interest into the technological aspects of computers. Now that I think of it, when was the last time I used a screen saver? You know, those images or text that would pop up after a set interval, used to prevent the annoying ghost image effect when the monitor was shut off? I vaguely remember the pipes and weird spinning sentences we would implement, the maze screensaver that I was a little afraid of, the picture of the inside of a computer tower that really peaked my interest and put my mind into imagination as to what made this fantastic machine work.

The machine got old and we had to move on though.

The next computer of ours came in 2001 with Windows XP, which seemed light years ahead of 98. I remember my mom pulling it out of the box and being so excited to see a flat screen monitor (that was innovative back then). Windows XP is where the Internet first became a major player in my life (and nearly everyone else’s). It was still dial-up back then but was fascinating nevertheless, unless someone picked up the phone and cut the connection off. This computer is also where Napster came and went. The screen met its great demise one night when my littlest of two sisters asked how to spell “Because”. When she didn’t get an answer right away, she punched and damaged the sensitive LCD screen, creating a big black spot in the corner with neon squashed pixel lines going down the side. Now I was forced to manuever the windows in order to close or resize them. That little incident always is brought up now and then and my sister and I just laugh like it was the good old days. XP is still kicking it, even after support from the faceless Microsoft gods ended. It was such a great system that still had so much life in it that a next big thing never seemed necessary. But it was and it happened.

In short summary, next came Vista (which I hardly remember except for the games), then Windows 7 (where I was introduced to a great site called YouTube and another thing called blogging), Windows 8 (where I was introduced to effective blogging) , and Windows 10. I’ve been a Windows user my entire life. There has never been the urge to switch to the mighty Mac even if the few times I used it seemed to blow my mind away.

New things keep on getting invented. That’s how human society continues to function and not get bored with itself.

Oh, I forgot one thing.

The best thing I’ve learned in nearly 20 years of computing.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “______ is the new ______.”

My blank space sources were from Angloswiss’ blog, one of my favorite blogs to read.

Welcome to Windows 10

In case you haven’t heard yet (I hope you have, mom and dad)…Windows 10 was officially launched today. As a small token of Microsoft’s appreciation, all or most current Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users get a free upgrade to Windows 10. Microsoft is acting like this may be the last operating system they ever create, as if it’s the one to end them all and Windows will simply “learn” as you use it in the foreseen future. I kind of hope so. I don’t like the way Windows 11 rolls off my tongue.

But what I’m really excited about is one thing in particular. And it’s not quite dead yet. At least not for people still reliant on ActiveX and extensions. Microsoft has finally dethroned its bumbling old browser veteran of 20 years from the limelight, calling up a new kid named Edge. Move over, Internet Explorer, there’s a new sheriff in town and it looks like it took a page out of Chrome’s book (no pun intended).

Yes, Edge is supposed to live up to its name quite a lot, said to be on the edge of modern internet browser capabilities. You can even write on webpages now, little kids’ dreams finally coming true. Though the team could have had a little more imagination with the logo. It’s like Saturn lost its rings and shed some pounds at the gym:

It looks even happier…

For the actual installation of the system, I had to wait until 6:00 pm to get the email that contained my Windows 10 installation. I had just come back from eating at an authentic Mexican restaurant when the message appeared in my e-mail.

The installation ran all night and I eventually was too tired to sit through the whole thing. I don’t have any pictures of my transition to 2015 computing but I can tell you it was a thoughtful experience. Sit back and relax I was told, but I fell asleep on my way to awesomeness.

Update July 30th: Now I open up my newly christened Toshiba laptop and discover my login page, which looks a little different. The conversion from Windows 8 to Windows 10 is now complete and my first day with it looks very good indeed. I met Cortana today but she’s not quite the scary android assistant I had in mind though I got her to say my name. The feature image is of my new desktop after the transition from 8 to 10. Note about the Apple logo background: I do not at all endorse Apple products nor is it a quiet protest against Windows products.

I am blogging from the brand new Edge browser and just to show you how it is a step above the rest, here is a picture of something I wrote on my blog with it:

windows10

Will those words hold up for good? Only time can tell. But anyway, I would like to welcome my blog and WordPress to the Windows 10 world. Happy trails.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Simply the Best.”

Generation Tech

“Kids these days…”, they always say about the generation immediately following theirs. That’s something I’m already muttering in my early 20s at the kids that enjoy nonsensical pop trash and teeny bopper music and seem to have no interest in anything else. The kids born in the latter half of the 21st centry so far will never know what the world was like before the Internet and all of the social media portals out there. Kids that are setting out to have careers posting six second videos on Vine or using Instagram as a way to get famous and seem to think it’s the most important thing in the world, shutting out everything else, anger me, because I’ve think they’ve forgetten or have never known there was more to do out there, such as having a life outside. It’s the young kids or ones in their early teens thinking goofing off in front of a camera and making vulgar language is what gets them far in life…and it’s sad to say but there are career pathways for that and lots of money to be earned.

I may technically be apart of this generation since I was born at the start of the 90s and have grown up mostly in the 21st century, but I tend to think I’m from a time when the Internet was just a mere infant, television wasn’t quite HD yet, but fuzzy and kind of blah looking, and mobile phones were still big ugly bricks. When I think of my early childhood, I think of the shows I used to watch and when I look at the shows young’uns are watching today and seem to enjoy, I question them a bit because the programs just don’t look that good to me. Maybe it’s just my age, but it seems as if kid shows are more adult oriented now and way too modern looking with all the gadgets in them.

What I understand the least from the generation of people after me, or “Generation Z”, people born in the mid 90s to early 21st century:

How all of these memes and viral sensations get started and why I’m always one of the last to know about them. And why everyone seems to go wild over them and then as soon as something new comes along, they forget about it. Before 2005, the most exciting thing I could most likely find on the Internet was the dancing baby.

Why so many kids now are resorting to the selfie, the most narcissistic form of entertainment on the Internet. One or two on occasion is nice but when one dedicates a whole album or website to one, that is where things start getting weird. The whole “me, me, me” attitude and vibes of just wanting attention irritate me, but I’m probably being a hypocrite because I have done the same thing.

Why young kids are so into “Call of Duty”, “Minecraft”, and other games devoting entire fan clubs around them. On YouTube, the majority of gaming videos seem to be centered around those two games, which gets quite annoying for me. It’s also a bit annoying when there are entire channels devoted to one game, as if we have enough videos of them already. I don’t plan my whole day or week around playing these games and I’m sure not going to devote my whole life to them.

When I see kids with smartphones and tablets. Seriously? Start them at a young age, I guess.

What I can learn from the Zeds:

How to stay young, fresh minded and have a realist look about the future, knowing how to obtain goals instead of just flirting with them. It seems as if all Zeds have no fear at all when it comes to the idea of advancing in this world. They all want to succeed and aren’t letting any strings hold them back. Many of them know very well how to grasp an audience and build a brand in the digital age, as if they were born for it, and that is something I really want to get a hold of. The Zeds are also really big on entrepreneurship and being self-sufficient, and in a kind of world that is putting more pressure on one to take things into their own hands and be more creative, this is a skill that I definitely would love to hone.

I’m still not sure what generation pool I fall into. I could be a millennial (Generation Y) or post-millennial (Generation Z). It’s a bit of crisis for me. In terms of this post, I could be talking about what I least like about my own generation and why I just don’t seem to fit into it at times.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Generation XYZ.”

Think about the generation immediately younger or older than you. What do you understand least about them — and what can you learn from them?

Born to Be Wired

PTDC0010

So, I get to write my autobiography today, how wonderful. Why I am being asked to start on page three? Is this some sort of marketing technique to get publishers interested right away? I’ve been around for about 24 years now and that may not seem like a lot to go on in a book, but I have experienced numerous events in my life already.

My life is about as old as the Internet itself, which began in 1989 with the launch of the World Wide Web. I’ve practically grown up with computers, having used my very first computer (Windows 95) when I was about five years old. I may have been born in the 1990s but most of my growing up and becoming aware of the wider world was in the 2000s, which saw the rise of the modern Internet that circles around social media and being given a unique chance to express yourself in ways that weren’t possible before (or at least for me).

Doing something similar that I saw another blogger do, here are some significant things that happened during the early years of my life:

Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) – what kick started my love for video games, essentially. This is the game console I remember my mom playing late at night with us kids, to our utter excitement and anticipation as we watched her peruse through levels of Donkey Kong Country, me holding my breath. DKC was one of the most popular games back then and I remember her playing for many nights (highly addictive) and at the time to me it seemed like a very hard game to beat, especially the end battle against K. Rool. The SNES was released in 1991, but I did not get one until I was about six. It seemed like this was the console of the 90s, until I was introduced to the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 later on.

Windows 98 – my very first home computer was a Hotwheels themed Windows 98 PC. I remember how excited I was to use it as my mom took it out of the box and set it up (well, I did most of the work). At the time, this version of Windows was considered the best thing since sliced bread because of the unique innovations put into it (and the memorable sounds). Drawing pictures in Kid Pix (oh, no!), using a steering wheel and pedals to drive a virtual racing game (that stopped working about a month later), playing the mysterious game of Myst for the first time (I finally beat it in 2011), even learning about the human anatomy through a CD that was included with the computer – everything about my brief time with this computer was amazing.

Cartoon Network – the early part of the 2000s were a time when I was still a kid but beginning to become aware that some things I liked in the past just didn’t interest me anymore. Cartoon Network was a milestone of my childhood. When I first got excited about it in 1999, me, along with my sisters, practically begged our parents to get the package of cable that included that one channel. And how many great memories I have from watching some of the shows from the classic CN era such as Dexter’s Laboratory, Cow & Chicken, Ed, Edd, & Eddy, and the Powerpuff Girls, just to name a few. But after 2003, when I moved away to a new city and new school, cartoons in general just didn’t interest me anymore, do to the fact that I was twelve years old and growing up quick. These days, I have the nostalgia to go back and watch some of those old shows I haven’t seen in a long time and relive the days of pure innocence.

Google – where would the world be without this giant that has basically become synonymous with the Internet? I first heard about the search engine back in 2001 when I was in the fourth grade. There were a number of search engine options my teacher told us we should use for our research project, but even back then this one seemed like the popular choice to use.

YouTube – I think page three of my autobiography is following the tech trend a little too much, but try searching for this word in a pre-2005 Google archive search engine, and you will get absolutely nothing. It’s amazing how I was completely unaware of this site until my sister showed it to me in late 2008, around the time the site really started taking off.

The Berlin Wall comes down – a nontechnical entry that is not just significant to me but to many people in this world, because it brought peace and unity and strengthened ties between the U.S. and Germany. Even though I was a little more than a year old when the demolition of the monstrous divide was finally completed, I remember my parents having actual pieces of the wall in plastic cases that they probably bought at a tourist shop while on vacation in one of the States. Sadly, I don’t know what happened to those cases. They may had gotten mixed in with some trash that was thrown out, no one bothering to look, figuring they weren’t worth much (which is true). It would be great today to have some historical pieces of history in my possession. President Reagan’s famous words, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”, resonate in my mind and mark the eventual reunification of East and West Germany.

Those are just a few things you’ll find about my life on page three. Now I’ll go and try to find where they buried the first two pages, like they did with E.T.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Early Years.”

Write page three of your autobiography.

This happens to be my 300th post, which if I would have known before I published this and checked my count, I would have published some more special, but I suppose it is special because it’s about me.