Thursday, April 30, 2009


This is just cool beyond imagination. It is the custom tool box of an 19th century piano repairman named H.O. Studly. It holds more than 300 tool in just 18" x 39" x 9".
This man obviously loved his craft, and his tools. The current owner loans it to the Smithsonian from time to time. You can read more here:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Robin, Red Robin - 11,11

Robin had a special birthday. She turned 11 on April 11th. For dinner, she chose Red Robin.

The servers came out and sang to her and gave her a free desert. She was duly embarrassed, but vowed to return next year.

We also went to see "Aliens verses Monsters". Taking the family to see a movie (especially a 3-D movie) has become quite expensive, but it was a fun treat.

She did make her own birthday cake. Grandma and Grandpa Olsen stopped by on their way home from the temple to help celebrate. She got some exercise clothes, a Price is Right Wii game, a craft kit from Grandpa, and a mood ring and bracelet.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Steam as an Alternative Fuel?

I know you are dying to hear the outcome of the computer fight, but this caught my eye today.

A team in Britain is building a steam-powered car to attempt to break a land speed record of 130 mph set more than a century ago. They are actually shooting for 170 mph, and have been working on the car for 10 years! They are bringing to America, and want to use Edwards Air Force base instead of the salt flats because the lower altitude will allow them to generate more power!

Imagine how crazy the 1906 Stanley Steamer "Rocket" looked in comparison to the cars of that era! It reportedly reached 150 mph at Daytona beach before a depression in the sand cause a crash, destroying the car and injuring the driver.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Ken vs. the Computer - Round Two

After installing the new hard drive, the computer continued to show some erratic behavior. Score round one for the computer. At times the computer wouldn't recognize the new drive, other times it would, but would give error messages. Obviously, something else was going on. I tried new cables, and checked the voltage on the power supply. Nothing helped, so my conclusion was a <diagnosis 2> bad motherboard </diagnosis>. Various subsystems like video and drive controllers can go south, leaving the system unstable. This computer was five years old, after all. Replacing a motherboard seemed a bit daunting, but if I could rebuild a diesel engine, I could rebuild a computer. [Insert wife eye roll.]

For some reason, I figured that a HP motherboard with the same chipset and cpu would suffice in lieu of an exact match. For some odd reason, there seemed to be a lot of that vintage floating around Ebay. I found one that seemed to fit the bill for only $15 plus $10 shipping. I love a bargain! Tune in for round three. Ding, ding.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ken vs. the Computer - Round One

. . . and in this corner, weighing in at 2.8 GHz, the five year old HP Pavillion a350n on loan from June and Smitty, with upgraded memory, hard drive, video, and video capture.

Round 1: After years of trouble free operation (well, as trouble free as you can get when running Windows), we started getting spurious resets, failures to boot, and some strange whirring sounds coming from the hard drive. It seemed like a classic case of <diagnosis 1> hard drive failure</diagnosis>, and so I drop by the local office supply store and pick up the smallest (and cheapest) HD on the shelf, which happens to be four times the capacity of the original, and twice that of the failing one. I was hopeful to get the operating system and data off the failing drive, but if not, I had a backup of the data on an external drive.

At this point, I have to make the decision to fight, or just throw in the towel and buy a new desktop, which can be had for as little as $300 these days. June's computer, however, was top of the line when new, and is still equal to what that $300 would get us. And, you know how I hate to see anything go to junkyard that just needs a little TLC (see "Roise, the Car Whose Name We Don't Mention" and "The Grand Caravan Tranny Fiasco of 2006").

This looks to be a short fight, with the computer trouble going down in the first round, but that wouldn't be very blog worthy, would it? Tune in next time . . .

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Pitching Our Tent . . .

And they pitched their tents round about the temple, every man having his tent with the door thereof towards the temple, that thereby they might remain in their tents and hear the words which king Benjamin should speak unto them. (Mosiah 2:6)

As you can see, there are also donuts involved! We don't actually get conference on TV. I figured out how to pipe it in from the internet.