Posted in IMO on September 24, 2010 by sidlincoln

I recently became the proud owner of a dark Blue 1994 Chevrolet Blazer, after a period of not owning or driving a car for almost 10 years. In the car is a cassette tape player and four speakers; Two in the front and two in the rear. Only the two right ones work well, with the rear left having terrible distortion even at low volume and the front left not working at all. Now, any reasonably intelligent person will know, that if you play a stereo recording on this system with sound only coming through the right speakers, you will be missing some of the recording, and only an idiot would be happy to listen to the recording like that. I am not an idiot, but I am a cheap skate.

With music radio being completely unacceptable in the area where I live ("Hitkicker 99.7!?" Seriously!?), I am thankful that I have the option of playing tapes in my car. However, because of the fact that I only have decent sound coming through the right speakers, I have opted to record some of my favorite music onto tape. In mono. A process that first involved buying a second-hand cassette deck from a charity shop which raises money for and is run by women from a local shelter. I then converted some MP3’s to mono, put them into playlists and recorded them onto Sony C90 tapes ($1.78 for two in Walmart) via the cassette deck connected directly to my computer.

To finish everything off neatly, I’ve removed the outer control levers from the Cassette tape player in the car that control front and rear speaker selection and balance. I now have it set permanently to have the sound only come from the front right speaker. I would have preferred stereo in my car, but I really can’t be bothered trying to fix the speakers and now I’ve been playing my tapes in mono like this for a couple of weeks, I kind of like it. It fits with who I am some levels. Cheap and lazy? Well, yes. But also, I have always liked old things and things that are a bit rough around the edges. This most definitely applies to cars.

When I was a boy, I used to take perfectly good toy cars and place them in my Stepfather’s vice in his workshop, then, very carefully, so as not to ruin the wheel alignment, I would bend them and scratch them and even burn them a little. This was because I wanted to make them look as if they had been in accidents or even just make them look old and used. Even in my late twenties, when I bought a toy racing track with electric cars, I did the same thing. At this point, I was even taking photographs of my work on the cars. So, I am starting to believe that it may have always been my destiny, at least in an automotive way, to have a beat up old Chevrolet with a dodgy music system.

Out With The Old.

Posted in IMO on April 3, 2010 by sidlincoln

I bought my last desktop computer in 2004 and at the time I thought that it was a fairly high specification machine (I was moving up from an 800MHz(!) processor). It was a 1.6 GHz Sempron 2800+ processor, with 512MB Ram (later upgraded to 1GB) and a 128 MB GeForce 4 graphics card. It may have been “fairly high specification” for about a week, but that was about it, as I quickly realized that it really wasn’t anything special at all.

That said, I quickly learned how to get the most out of it and enjoyed playing games like Project IGI, Max Payne, Colin McCrae 2, Rogue Spear, Ghost Recon, Flight Unlimited II, and I even managed to get it to run GTA San Andreas, Far Cry, Quake 4 and Call Of Duty 2, although those last four had to have their graphic quality settings at the lowest they would go. I had Windows XP on it and it was a truly great machine in terms of reliability and in the end, length of service.

Well, to cut a long story short, I ended up breaking this old computer in January of this year, when I installed some NET Framework software that a Freeware program required to work. A friend got it going when I had failed to do so, but it quickly stopped working again. So I took it to PC World and asked them to install Windows 7 on it and repair anything that wasn’t right with it. A couple of weeks later I went to pick it up.

Well, it ran just great, when it was idle, it only used 350 MB of Ram and I was able to play music, have Firefox running and edit in Photoshop’s CS3. Although then, admittedly, it was maxing out the Ram. This was all fine, but unfortunately, Windows 7 did not like my old hardware and I was seeing the Blue Screen of Death at least once a day. Something I hadn’t seen since Windows 98. It was quickly becoming apparent that a new computer was going to be needed.

So this week, I took delivery of my new computer. It’s an Intel 2.8GHz Dual Core Processor, with 4GB Ram, an ATI Radeon 1GB graphics card and has a 1TB hard drive. Once I had set it to “Windows Classic” and installed a few tweaks, It really felt like what I was used to, but with the added benefit of swapping the hopeful “fairly high specifications” for something I can accurately describe as “truly great performance.”

I haven’t bought any new games yet, but I have installed Far Cry and Quake 4 on the new computer and with all the settings as high as they can go, it’s not having any problem at all running them. I know that the latest games are going to be very demanding on the new computer, and some of them will have to have the graphic settings turned down, but it doesn’t matter, I have years of games to catch up on and they’ll look really good.

The old computer? It’s sitting next to the TV in the living room, currently acting as a DVD/DivX/Mp3 player. I was going to give it to a friend for spares, but I keep looking at it and can’t help think that it might still have a place in my life. That old computer and I have been through a lot together. So many movies watched on it, so much music listened to, emails written, conversations enjoyed (and not enjoyed) and my poetry… I wrote my best book on that computer.

Now I think about it, maybe it doesn’t have to be “out with the old” after all.

Fighting The Flab.

Posted in IMO on April 2, 2010 by sidlincoln

In September 2008, I broke my leg playing soccer. At the time I was fitting nicely into jeans that were 36" around the waist. Very soon after recovering from this injury, I had surgery on my arm for a trapped nerve, and during this whole time I put on a lot of weight. Well, this week I bought a pair of jeans that are a 38" waist. Two inches smaller than the last pair I bought and very comfortable. Two more inches to go then.

My Name Is…

Posted in IMO on April 1, 2010 by sidlincoln

…Sid Lincoln and this is my blog.