• Category Archives Tales from a Tech
  • I am a Computer Tech by trade, and sometimes have some great stories to tell.

    Tales from a Tech Archive

  • New Computer!!!

    I bit the bullet and spent a chunk of my Stimulus Check on building a new PC!  It has been well over a decade since I’ve had a “new” computer, and I’m just tired of dealing with hand-me-downs and frankenstein’d PCs.

    I got home from work a little early yesterday, and spent the entire evening working on this project. It wasn’t just building the new PC, but I had to dismantle all the technology in my office, clean, rearrange, migrate, a server, and more.  I realized about 10:30pm I hadn’t eaten dinner and ordered a pizza, I was that enthralled by the entire thing.

    I had a few miss-steps along the way.  Missed a setting in the BIOS that would let Windows boot properly, and before I realized it I had lost all patience and was formatting the drive I had wanted to migrate.

    Also had to rebuild my Windows 10 Install drive, as somehow it screwed itself up over the course of the night and wouldn’t BOOT anymore.  Had a few minutes of panic as all my window’s PCs were out of commission and wasn’t sure how I could create a new install drive, as you can’t do it on Mac or Linux.  Then I remembered I had my Dad’s old laptop here to reload, and it saved the day!

    The new PC wasn’t all though, as the second phase was migrating the system from ancient Dell PowerEdge into the small form factor case I had been  using as my desktop. She’s running pretty good, and not taking up as much space or using nearly as much electricity!  Also, my office is noticeably quieter now.

    The new PC (which I aptly named Palpatine) is running GREAT!  I’ve only done some light testing with some games, but I can tell you Minecraft is soooo much smoother and more beautiful. I can finally play with SHADERS!!

    Palpatine’s Specs:
    Processor: 3.7 GHz Intel Core i7-8700K
    Memory: 16 GB DDR4
    Storage: 512 GB M.2 SSD & 1 TB SATA SSD
    Graphics: ATI Radeon RX 580 (4 GB)

    Here are some pics I snapped throughout the process.

  • TRC 9.1: New Calendar

    I’ve started on my next project: Overhauling the TRC Calendar.

    The old Calendar is a homegrown PHP / MySQL script that I wrote well over a decade ago, and she’s starting to show her age.  It doesn’t have great functionality, the forms to submit & edit are clunky, and the back-end would give you a migraine.  Since moving TRC to WordPress, I’ve wanted to convert it over to use a proper WordPress Plugin.

    So far, so good!  The new plugin I’m using is working out GREAT! Here are some pics to compare the old vs. the new with my current progress.

    There is still quite a lot of work to do, including purging and vetting events, and figuring out how to do user submission.

    Community Calendar Page

    Homepage Calendar Widget

  • 20 Years of Fishing Derbies

    Schoodic Lake Ice Fishing Derby

    Last night, I was in Milo to live-stream the Schoodic Lake Fishing Derby Prize Drawing for TRC.  I realized the night before, that this was the 20th year I’ve done it!

    The process has gone through quite some changes over the years.  The first year I streamed it was way back in 2002, and if I remember correctly we used a dial-up modem to get online.  It wasn’t even streaming video, it was a picture that updated every 10 seconds or so. We also had a page updating with the results as they were announced.

    That worked for a few years, then we switched to just text updates as the webcam didn’t really show much.  Eventually we moved up to live streaming video using some archaic software, and then upgraded to using Google Hangouts to stream.

    Hangouts got merged into YouTube, and we’ve streamed the last 8 years there. You can view all the previous videos in this playlist.

  • Weekend Report

    I had a relaxing weekend. My buddy Chris came to visit!  It was great to see another human being. Buddy was quite happy, too.

    I finally used the waffle maker I got for Christmas!  It makes some pretty fluffy and delicious waffles.

    Tonight I went up to Milo and streamed the prize drawing for the local fishing derby for the 20th time, but I’m going to write another post about that later.

  • TRC 9.1: New Directory


    I spent the entire weekend working on a long-overdue project for TRC: a shiny new directory.

    The directory we had was written by yours truly, over a decade ago.  The code was custom PHP, had to shoe-horn it into WordPress, and it was just clunky.  I’ve invested in a great new plugin that lets us do the directory natively in WordPress instead, and its working out great!  I stated last week moving everything but the business directory into the new setup, and then spent ALL weekend entering the business directory.

    187 items got moved into the new setup, and 180 items are on hold until we can get more information or at least verify the places are still in operation.  The directory is quite old… I came across one business where I confirmed the guy retired a decade ago, and another where the guy had died 5 ago.  This purge really needed to happen.

    I went live with it last night, and so far it looks great.  I’m hoping to get some feedback on it, but its early.

    This is the first stage in what I am calling “Version 9.1” of TRC.  We’ve been running on WordPress for about 5 months now, and I felt it was time to go to the next step.  The oldest parts of the site still being used are my home-grown php scripts that run the directory, calendar, and memoriams.  Everything else from that era was phased out, and its time these parts got an upgrade.

    The Directory is now upgraded, and for my next trick I’m moving onto the Calendar.  I’m looking into a plugin that would also integrated it natively into WordPress, and make it much easier to manage. After that, I may even look into something to replace the Memoriams / Obituaries.  More to come later…

  • PHP Forms are the work of the Devil

    I am at the end of my rope.  I’ve been screwing with this PHP form for hours now, and the only conclusion I can come up with is I need to burn it all down and start over.

    The Memoriam script on TRC has stopped uploading images, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why.  It was written YEARS ago by my friend Mikey P., and he’s been missing for a year. I just can’t figure out why this isn’t working. The whole form works, but the minute you submit it, it looses the picture entirely!!

    I’m going to have to start over from scratch, and thats the LAST thing I want to friggen do.


  • Curse you, Windows 10!

    My Dad brought his laptop down to me today, the thing was all screwed up.  Windows had forced him to install the fancy new Edge browser, which then made him sign up for a Microsoft Live account, which in turn bound itself to his local profile. And somehow completely screwed it over.  Every time he logged in, it glitched and forced him into a temporary profile. I tried numerous things to fix it to no avail.

    I ended up backing up all his data and giving him a fresh install of Windows.  I hate that Microsoft is forcing their crappy new Edge browser down everyone’s throats, especially since it MAKES you use a Live account to even use it. Its just so stupid.

    On the upside, his laptop is running much better now with a fresh install. I also swapped his 4GB of memory with the 8GB in my old iMac (as the iMac is just being used a glorified Plex device) and that helped immensely.

  • Progress on TRC 9.0

    I have been diligently working on TRC 9.0 for the last… well, several months.  I’m finally at a point where its mostly done, and just needs some testing / tweaking.


    Yes, its a new domain name!  I figured 20 years in, we were due for a new domain. Also, it will make it easier migrating from Drupal to WordPress, as I need to keep some portions of the old site as they are and moving Drupal to another domain was something I didn’t want to deal with, even remotely.

    Check out the site, give me some feedback.  I need to find anything and everything that isn’t working correctly so it can get fixed before I switch the site over to being live!