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Mad Science Happens Here

Posted 2010.08.16 17.45 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

All I wanted to do was get the raw data off of one (marginally obsolete) (mini-sized) hard drive and onto another (marginally obsolete) (mini-sized) (but slightly larger) hard drive.

The Horrors Of E.D.

Posted 2008.12.03 1.00 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

ED, or “Electronic Dysfunction”, is predominantly thought of as a problem of the older generation. However, it does occasionally strike young and otherwise healthy technology.

Earlier this week, I had settled down for the evening, looking to spend some quality time with my computer — a relatively spry 15-month old iMac. The evening started out well, things worked as planned. However, as the evening progressed, my iMac started to slow down, to stumble a bit. Even stalling at times. I attributed this to software lag, or internet lag — but those issues usually come and go, this was a case of a steadily worsening condition.

Then it happened… the computer siezed up completely. We’ve had lock-ups like this before. Rare, but they do happen. Particularily when using a certain program which shall remain nameless (I’m looking at you SecondLife). However, before I went for the full reboot, something new happened: The entire screen went black, then hard-drive errors started spewing all over the place. New, and nasty.

One reboot later and things were functioning again. Still, the hard drive errors troubled me, so I went into Disk Utility. And there it was. It was ED and it was confirmed. My iMac’s hard drive was no longer hard, and wasn’t driving.

What to do?! The iMac looks pretty but it’s not exactly easy to get in for a hard-drive swap. I fretted for a bit. It’s out of warranty. The thought of actually paying someone to fix my computer is intolerable. Then I remembered the Makers’ creed: If you can’t open it, you don’t own it. The iMac was not going to beat me. I would OWN this computer.

Turns out, the door to the (Aluminum,2007) iMac is through the screen! The glass panel is held on by magnets(!!) and you can pry it off with the right tools. Under the glass are a bunch of screws, that free the frame, then the actual screen itself covers up most of the electronic jiggery-pokery.

Skipping through the dull boring bits, I got my iMac open, got the screen out of the way, and extracted the droopy drive. I replaced it with a much bigger, much harder drive — I mean really, the only reason to put a 1TB drive in there is “because I can”. It was easy to put it all back together and now my iMac is all virile and strong again.

The message nobody wants to see.
The HardDrive message nobody wants to see.

Homemade Hard Candy

Posted 2006.07.19 0.00 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

You know the hard sweet candies you sometimes see in a jar where they’re all welded together into a solid mass? The kind that you have to suck on for a long time because if you crunch them, the bits adhere to your teeth, and if you try to pry them loose with your tongue you cut your tongue to shreds on the sharp edges? Yeah, that’s the stuff I am talking about.

Recently I was at Golda’s Kitchen with my sister, and I picked up a couple Hard Candy kits, some flavour oils, and some colouring.

Making hard candy at home was an interesting experience. Basically, for only about twice the cost of buying hard candy at a shop, you can enjoy all the fun and excitement of dealing with a hot stove, a pot of boiling sugar, super-hot molten candy which is incredibly similar in every way to molten glass, then the super-happy-fun cleanup afterwards, and at long last, candy hunks with razor-sharp edges from being shattered apart with heavy tools. The package makes it sound fun and easy to make the candy mix, and depicts a woman and child enjoying the finished product. Do not let this trick you into thinking that the woman and child should enjoy making the candy together. I would not want to have a kid in the same kitchen, while making hard candy. Think, sweet tasty yummy delicious, boiling molten sticky danger.

If I sound like I’m being a jerky smart-ass, that’s because I am.

In fact, I really enjoyed making hard candy! I don’t have any kids around here to worry about (my house is not kid-safe, it is in fact a very dangerous place for the younger crowd) and it turns out the clean-up works best the way I like to clean up: Leave it soaking in the sink.

And with so many flavours and colours to chose from, you can have a lot of kooky fun. I control the Flavour! I control the Colour! (I also control the vertical and the horizontal, so watch out!)

The blue ones are cherry, green ones are banana, pink ones are sassafras, and purple ones are tutti-frutti. Tee-hee.

Hard Candy Crunch
(the white stuff is icing sugar to keep them from sticking together)

Hard Candy Followup

Posted 2006.07.19 0.00 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

It’s been about 3 1/2 hours since I made up the Sassafras candies, and the whole house still stinks of the stuff.

I even made the Tutti-Frutti candies after the Sassafras ones, but all I can smell is Sassafras.

It’s kind of a root-beer sort of smell, but primarily the bitter aspects of root-beer. I guess it’s not entirely unpleasant, but it’s getting a bit tiresome.

Sassafras chillin on the counter