I also set up a new computer for my wife. Her old machine was running into memory issues and slowing down to a crawl. The new machine, of course, came with Windows 8. I hate Windows 8 so I wiped the hard drive (had to because it uses a strange formatting, and installed Windows 7. This entails having to deactivate the new BIOS and activate the legacy BIOS. After 7 was installed I ran into some major issues like no internet and no USB ports. I solved this problem by going to the HP website and doing a search of my computer to determine who makes the network interface. I then went to their website, downloaded a driver installer, burned it to a DVD, put the DVD into the new system, and ran it. A few seconds later I was on the internet. From that point it was easy. I installed the 148 (first pass) updates, then another 38 updates. I downloaded a driver updater program and updated all the drivers which gave me the USB-3 ports back. Next, I installed Office 2003 and had to install another 56 updates after that. This morning I used the easy file transfer facility built into Windows 7 to move all the settings and files from the old machine to the new one. As soon as I have time I'll make some minor tweaks and then she'll have a new computer.
Now I've got to figure out what to do with her old one - maybe turn it into an Ubuntu box?
I've also been working on my fence project. Today I tore down the rest of the old fence, sanded the remaining poles, stained them, and started putting up pickets. There's only 5 sections left and I'll have that project completed by the end of the day tomorrow - provided I don't run out of wood. That will free up some time to finish my wife's computer, reorganize my computer room, complete a couple more outside projects, and (you thought I forgot, didn't you?) work on Peacekeeper. There's some other projects on hold like reorganizing how I store things on my computers and get things prepared for when I turn over the backups to CrashPlan.
That's it for today. Time to Skype with my friend in Minnesota and bug his wife about getting a cover for Peacekeeper.
The entire class (except one) decided to go out for dinner. About half of us went to a place called "Altitude". The steak and beer were both very good. Afterwards, we wandered into "the oldest bar in the State" as one patron called it. I was driving so I just looked around while the others (except one) had a few shots. It looked like a very old bar and there's a picture of it from the early 1900's hanging on the wall.
We actually ran out of time for Mike's lecture on Science in Science Fiction. He will continue it tomorrow. The spectroscopy lab was interesting although many of us had a difficult time getting the spectrometers to work properly.
The highlight of the day was definitely the telescope activities at the top of the physical sciences building. This was an activity we did not experience at last year's Launchpad. The university has a 16" telescope which gave us a fantastic view of Saturn. You could clearly see the rings as well as three of the moons. Here's a pic Jeri Smith-Ready took of me looking through the eyepiece:
Class began at 0930. Here's the schedule of what happened during the day:
This is another interesting group of distinguished writers. This particular group seems to be well attuned to each other and I've been spending the greater part of my time simply listening. When the conversation seems to slow down, all it takes is a simple question (one in which I'm interested in getting an answer) and they're all off talking again. The subject seems to shift at a rapid pace which is often the case with writers. This particular group includes many published authors who have also met and are friends with other well-known authors.
I plan on getting up early in the morning and working on Peacekeeper before class begins. I'll be checking out a couple of possible spots for obtaining a decent breakfast. I was sort of hoping to be able to return to the place I frequented last time I was here but the new classroom location places it too far away. I will most likely be having breakfast in the student union hall which is just across the plaza from the classroom building. The rules have changed a little this year and we will be having lunch and dinner in the cafe instead of in the classroom. Food and drink are not allowed in the classroom.
I will be doing daily blogs while in Laramie.
The other reason Peacekeeper has been stalled is that I ran into a problem. I asked some of my astronomy friends (professors) for help and so far they've come up empty. So, while working on the fence, I've been thinking about ways around the problem. I could push ahead and just finish but the story would not pass scrutiny and my science-savvy readers would have spotted anything that just didn't add up. The good news is that I have a very good solution that popped into my head the other day.
I should be able to finish the book in two weeks. I travel to Laramie Wyoming on July 14th for Launchpad-13. While there, I will have plenty of time to write. Since I'm a morning person, I'll be waking up nice and early and then walking to a cafe where I will have breakfast and do some writing. In the evening, after class, I'll be writing. My wife still has to do her proofing and she has promised to not only work on it as much as she can but she's decided to root out every bad spelling, word misuse, and all other mangled words that I tend to overlook. If all goes well, the book should be available in a couple months.
The sun is now coming up, the neighbors are waking up, and it's time to get back to work on the fence.