Friday, November 29, 2019

Now The Weekend's Adventure Really Begins

Thanksgiving was a good day.  It's a combined five hours of driving and the families present are getting smaller, but we spent from noon till about 8PM with my brother's (and therefore our) extended family. It's just good to spend time with family.

Today was our Thanksgiving here with just us.  I smoked a turkey; the twist this time is that I tried something I had never done, found here on Serious Eats.  A combination of spatchcocking the turkey together with a dry brine and then smoking.  Instead of my old smoker, the Masterbuilt electric (MES), this was done in my Weber kettle grill.  It gives such a nice pink smoke ring in the meat that you just don't get with the MES.  Look at the pieces around the right and back of the plate here.

Came out quite good.  I goofed the recipe a little and left too much salt on the skin, so I'll do that more carefully next time, but I think the results were worth trying again.  

Now comes the adventure for the weekend.  It starts where so many of our troubles have lately, the lightning strike back on August 1st.  One of the first problems we encountered was that Mrs. Graybeard's computer lost its video output.  We originally thought it was the monitor, but later realized it was the video system in her 8 year old HP desktop.  By switching from the DVI output to its other (VGA) output, we found that the monitor was fine.  For a while, but the VGA output eventually started going bad.  Eventually the video system died completely, and we replaced it with a spare video card - which was from the computer in the ham shack that blew out. 

To shorten the story, that system started failing.  Slowly at first, like once a day, the display goes black then comes back in a few seconds.  It would display a notice that the video driver failed but the system recovered.  About a week ago, maybe two, the system started failing in worse ways.  Instead of coming back looking normal, we'd get random sparkling pixels.  Then it got worse, yet.  Eventually the system started resetting and not working at all.  Then working in Safe Mode but not in normal, Windows modes.  Then working or not working unpredictably. 

Both that desktop and mine are Windows 7 machines, and if you're not running 7 you might not know that Win 7 is going end of life, with all support ending in January, just like XP before it.  With her computer seemingly at the end of life, and this one needing at least a new OS, we decided that with two eight year old machines, we'd replace them with newer machines that come with Windoze 10.  Long stories about shopping deleted, we picked out some systems over the weekend that are a later model of this one, a Dell Inspiron.  This is a mid-range home/small biz computer and we're hoping the new ones will be quite a bit faster, with more processor cores and all.  The new boxes arrived today, and since her computer has been knocking on death's door for at least a month, she's started the migration. 

I will migrate to the new computer tomorrow.  Wish me luck.  After 8 years of faithful, daily service, this will become a "doorstop computer" - which is what the replacement computer in the ham shack was until the lightning stroke.


  1. So you're gonna run Bill Gates' spyware, huh? Search for "Windows 10 telemetry" and pay particular attention to any forum where the pro's hang out (Wilders Security, etc.). Good luck!

    1. I'm sure that has changed since I last read up on it. That stuff got me to run GWX back when they were sneaking Win 10 onto your machine during upgrades.

    2. I'll have to read up on what GWX is.

      M$ added telemetry to Windows 7 through updates, so your old computers were were probably sending your personal info to them also. Windows 10 is a resource hog, so your new computers may be even slower. I was amazed at how much faster and more responsive mine was after I replaced Windows 10 with Windows 7 (and no updates, just hardening steps from internet info).

      I won't live long enough to see the results of all this data collection, but I fear for my kids. I'll have to make sure they understand the implications of "social credit scores".

    3. It does a few things that mostly kept MS from putting 10 onto your machine without your knowledge and explicit approval. In the early days, there were tons of reports about people getting their computers bricked by 10 doing something or other. It seemed to have more than the usual amount of problems, even given the saying, "never buy the first version of a Microsoft product."

      A friend told me his last 10 update had some something similar. I had Linux totally brick a PC years ago - in fact, it was why I bought the computer I just replaced. I thought it was completely ruined, but eventually got it to run again, re-partitioning the drive and rebuilding it from zero.

  2. Good luck, SiG!

    Wonder if any of your stuff will have compatibility problems with Win10?

    Your CNC stuff had a dedicated PC, didn't it? I'm guessing all that stuff was on a different circuit, and came through unscathed.

    1. Right - the CNC controller is a dedicated box. It will stay Win 7 for the foreseeable future since it doesn't need to be connected to the outside world. I can bring it CAM files by sneakernet on a USB stick and come out here if I ever need to look up something.

      That had been an XP box until about mid '17, and got replaced when it developed some intermittent hangups I could never fix.

  3. Mmmmmm, smoked turkey is great and yours looks fit for a king.

    Good luck in moving to the new computers. My wife has a Windoz 10 laptop that I get to maintain. The "chiclet" interface belongs on a phone, tablet or other touch screen device and not on desktop systems. I have found ways around the interface; it is all hidden behind the UI.

  4. I hate it when the computer needs to be replaced - or when it dies and you have to excise the data like an Aztec priest cutting the living heart out of a sacrifice.

    Who computers would destroy, they will first drive mad.

  5. Okay, that's another blessing: whenever I need to migrate, I hand my computer to The Boy and Pugsley, then two hours later I have a brand new computer with all of my stuff on it. They love doing it. And I love NOT doing it.

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  7. I had the free Win10 sneakiness brick our granddaughter's new laptop some years ago. Took a couple of days to get it restored to Win8.1 like it came with, and I immediately put GWX on it.

    I've had Linux updates whack my video system when they overwrote some of the fancy stuff you had to do to get an NVidia GeForce card to use the NVidia driver vs the open source driver most distros installed when it detected an NVidia card.

    And then there was RedHat, who deliberately shipped a distro with a broken lib that caused lots of people grief.

    Good luck with the migration. It can be frustrating.