All posts by Paul Cipywnyk

New CPU Fan Cures Whiny Computer

Today I reached the limit of my patience with a CPU fan that had become whiny over the years. It sounded like a 1-pound mosquito, and the whine varied in pitch with the workload on the CPU, making it even more irritating.

Air blowing and vacuuming a couple of times had reduced the volume, but it always returned to distracting levels after a day or two.

new CPU fan
The new CPU fan above the old fan. The new one is huge, stands “sideways” atop the CPU like a mini-skyscraper, and has a different mounting system from the old fan. When I was buying it, the guy asked “are you sure you have a big case?” I can see why he asked :-).

After struggling with instructions for nearly two hours (!), I laid out all the parts that came with the new fan, checked my parts bag from the original motherboard, and put together my own installation solution.
The new fan nearly touches the clear side of the tower.

Ah, the sounds of silence! The computer is now barely audible, knock on wood…

1963 Passport Photo

Some office cleaning today turned up a 4 X 5″ negative of a passport photo of my late Dad, taken in 1963.

Yep, in those days they still shot on 4 X 5, likely did a contact print, and then physically cropped to passport size.

Dmytro Cipywnyk passport photo

Byrne Creek Salmon Fry, Thirsty Wasps, Bees

I took a one-hour loop in Byrne Creek Ravine Park this afternoon in SE Burnaby, BC. I was happy to see lots of salmon fry, and possibly trout fry. I took water temperatures at three points in the lower ravine, and they ranged from 14.5 – 15 C, so not too bad for fish. Other volunteers with the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers had recorded temps as high as 17 further downstream.

Aside from lots of fry, I also saw thirsty wasps and bees. Some wasps were rolling and collecting mud.

Byrne Creek salmon fry
Lots of fry in the pool upstream of the wooden footbridge

wasp rolling mud
Wasp rolling mud on the bank of the creek

water-seeking bees
One of several bees seeking hydration

salmon fry, dappled sun and water
I like how the sun and moving water created this dappled appearance

Closure of Church that Ancestors Built is Saddening

I’m not very religious, but it saddens me that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church out on the farm in Saskatchewan is shutting down. No more regular services — there hasn’t been a regular schedule for some time.

Donations the last few years have been going to the graveyard maintenance fund.

You’ll find several of my ancestors there, great grandparents that I never knew, grandparents that I loved and who loved me, an uncle Paul who died as a teenager whom I never knew, but who carries on in me, Paul…

I hear there will still be an annual blessing of the graves, and an occasional service, perhaps near Easter, or another key church calendar event.

I know this has been happening for decades all over the Canadian prairies.

Once-vibrant communities with a family on every quarter-section are steadily distilled into massive corporate farm-holding operations that only survive through scale of farming many square miles….

What I find really amazing is that this cycle took just a single century. “Breaking” the land and settling in the 1910s and 1920s, and now many families gone a hundred years later. Wow.

Blu-Ray Burner, M-Discs in Place for Summer Backup Project

I have a fairly robust backup system for my office computers, and in particular my extensive archive of photographs.

I have two NAS (network attached storage) devices on my local network, one with dual 3 TB drives in it, the other with dual 1.5 TB drives.

I also have a couple of USB 3.0 “toasters,” or HD docks that enable hot-swapping of HDs, so that I can have several in rotation, with one always kept in a safety deposit box at my bank.

But I had no “permanent” backups, or in other words, ones that could not be accidentally overwritten. So even with backups on several HDs, the data on those HDs is always potentially in flux.

The solution many professional photographers and videographers seem to use is Blu-Ray backup, specifically to archival-grade M-discs. Once burned, these cannot be overwritten, and supposedly have archival lives reaching into many decades, if not the claimed centuries.

Each Blu-Ray M-disc can store 25 GB of data. I have read about photography backup systems in which flash cards are immediately copied to Blu-Ray for archiving.

blu-ray drive with M-Discs

As of this writing, I have 1.54 TB of photos and videos. So I plan to slowly burn them to Blu-Ray over the summer, a disc or three or five a day. And of course I’ll be burning all new photo/video files from now on as they are ingested into the computer.

How much is all this costing? Well, the writer was about C$100 with taxes. The M-Discs were just over C$450 for 100, or about 2.5 TB of storage.

Cheap for the security.

MS Universal Mobile Keyboard

I picked up a Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard (universal = Windows, Android, and IOS phones and tablets) on sale for C$59 at NCIX in Burnaby, BC, today.

MS Universal Keyboard

That’s my Nexxus 7 sitting in the keyboard. I’ve also paired my Samsung smartphone and my iPod with the Bluetooth keyboard.

I’ve done just a bit of writing with the new keyboard, and so far so good- it’s usable for my medium-large hands. I bought a keyboard/cover for the Nexxus 7 awhile ago, but I cannot touch type on it, so I think the new keyboard will be much better.

It’s not going to be a laptop replacement by any means, but it’ll be something I can throw in a briefcase, backpack or camera bag, and barely notice it’s there.

ms universal portable keyboard with notebook
Here’s the keyboard on top of my ASUS 13″ notebook computer for another indication of the size.

ms universal portable keyboard with iPod
For the Appleistas out there, here’s an iPod mated, with, gasp, the Microsoft keyboard : -)

Cannibalizing Old Computers

I spent a few hours today cannibalizing old computers for usable parts, and doing an archaeological dig beneath my computer desk.

old tower computers
Two old tower computers being disassembled

collection of old hard drivesThe old towers produced four hard drives of 750 GB, 1 TB, 1.5 TB, and 2 TB capacities. I’m reformatting all of them and will put them to use as secondary or tertiary backup.

SCSI Zip driveZounds, as I tunneled over a decade into the timeline beneath my computer desk I unearthed a SCSI interface ZIP drive. I can’t remember the last time I used a ZIP drive, and I don’t have any computers with a SCSI card in them.

I think I’ll resurrect the second-to-oldest tower as a Linux box. It’s got a 4-core AMD processor, 6 GB of RAM, and a 512 MB video card, which should be zippy with Ubuntu.