Monday, April 26, 2010

Seeing into your eyes you see your whole body

It has probably been a good five years since I've had my eyes examined.  I keep getting these "things" (I do not wish to describe what I'm seeing) which are not floaters, so I decide to go to the eye doctor to figure out what's going on.

So last Friday I go in and find out that I'm FAR sighted instead of being near sighted all along.  I don't necessarily have to get bi-focals just quite yet, but I figure, what the heck.  One more thing to whine and complain about.  And the bill for a couple of pairs of glasses made my car mechanic green with envy.

While I was there the optometrist dilated my eyes so that he could blind me and photograph each eye and accompanying retina.  Afterwards he explained that he saw a soft drusen in one of my eyes.  That didn't sound good and his description (it is a piece of cholesterol trapped between the layers of the eye) didn't comfort me either.  I had him write it down (I'm over 40, so I forget things) on a piece of paper and then I ignored it until today.  I'm glad I ignored it over the weekend because it probably would have ruined my weekend.  Here is one of the links that I found about soft drusen:

Yep.  Soft drusen is a precursor to macular degeneration.  Great.  I'm an IT dude.  I write technical documents.  I depend on my eyes.  What will I do if I go blind?  I can't let this happen to me.

The last 10 year or so, I have not done good things to my body.  Instead of diet and exercise, I've instead parked my butt and eaten.  I'm up to a weight that I am not comfortable admitting.  I hate looking like a near full-term pregnant woman.  My primary care physician told me that your eyes are an indication, the canary in the cage so to speak, of what else is happening in your body.  Great.  I have this piece of cholesterol in my eye.  Where else is this cholesterol parked?  I know that my gall bladder was full of it when it was removed.  Is it in my heart?  Is it in my brain?  Am I going to go blind and then stroke out for the rest of my life and end up dead because of cardiac arrest?  OK, OK, OK......   I'm dooms day, but when stuff comes back that doesn't sound good, then there's a good indication that something's probably up.

Why does a man have to go blind (I'm speaking figuratively here) in order to see?

On New Year's day I thought I was having a heart attack.  Subsequent testing showed that it was my gall bladder.  But one of the things the doctor told me is that I needed to loose 50 pounds.  50 freaking pounds.  Dang, that's a lot of weight.  I've probably lost 5 pounds.  The other 45 will take some time to get rid of.  But I will need to get active and loose the weight.  Or else I may end up blind and dead.

Saturday I bought some salmon at Sam's Club.  I cooked a piece on Saturday and liked it.  Today when I read that link, I had another piece of salmon for lunch.  I'm going to eat healthy from here on out.  50 pounds, here I come!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Home PC upgrade - Part 3

I did not know/realize this would take as long as this has, but I'm nearly complete.  Here is what I've done so far:

I picked up a pair of 1TB (yes, that is one TERABYTE) hard drives and put them into the home PC.  This is a pair of Western Digital Black Caviar drives.  This brings the total disk storage in my PC from 2.75TB to 4TB.  Yes, I have four, 1TB drives in my home PC.  Why so much?  I take photos.  Lots of photos.  Lots of photos in DNG format (which is Adobe's digital negative format, or camera raw).

The most interesting thing about my purchase is the fact that one of the hard drives came with 64MB of cache on the drive itself, instead of the normal 32 MB.  Does it make a difference in speed?  Does the sun rise in the east?  While it does not have a profound effect on performance, it does help increase performance somewhat.  I just wish I would have known that there were two different models in the boxes.  I would have looked for another drive with 64 MB of RAM in it.  (NOTE:  I just looked at the boxes and they only show 32MB of HDD cache installed on the boxes.  However, they have significantly different serial numbers and one is a product of Thailand and the other is a product of Malaysia.)

So, what's next on the upgrade path?

* 4 GB more of RAM.  This will bring the overall system to 8 GB of RAM
* Windows 7 Professional, the 64-bit version

The RAM and OS purchase will probably happen around the same time as I cannot use the extra RAM in Windows XP Professional 32-bit.  The current estimated price will be around $300 total.  Hopefully I can get this all done by June or July.  I plan on keeping my current 1GB drive with XP on it as my backup in case the upgrade goes horribly awry.  I plan on using one of my new 1TB drives that I picked up as my new C:\ drive.  In fact, I'll probably end up using the 1TB drive that has 64 MB of disk cache on it.

So part 4 should be the final upgrade to Windows 7 Professional, 64-bit.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Nexflix streaming for the Nintendo Wii

Around Christmas 2009 I was contemplating the purchase of another console gaming system.  I came close to pulling the trigger a couple of times, but I never did it.  I was leaning heavily towards the Sony PS3.  Why?  Because it has built-in wireless, a fairly decent sized hard drive and because it has a Blu-Ray player built-in.  In a moment of weakness, I almost purchased an Xbox.  But I didn't do it because no Blu-Ray and, more importantly, no built-in wireless networking.  I could probably handle the lack of Blu-Ray, but the lack of wireless (the add-on adapter was in the $70) pushed me completely away from the platform.  The thing that kept me away from the Sony was the game content.  The PS3 games are mostly adult-only games.  And I really didn't want my kids playing games targeted for adults.  The main reason why I wanted a new console so I could stream Netflix content without the need of having a computer hooked up.  Because I didn't like my options, I opted to just stay with what I have, a Nintendo Wii.

Then a month or two ago I read on Netflix's web site that they were developing a streaming option for the Nintendo Wii.  I got all excited and signed up for my free streaming disk.  (If you aren't familiar with Netflix, they have an option where you can stream some of their content directly to a computer, game console, or supported multi-media or Blu-Ray player.  So you don't have to mail in DVDs and the like to get your movie fix.)  Well, my disk came last week and I just had to try it out.

So I got the disk.  Put it in.  There is an activation number of some sort where you have to tie the number to your account, so you need to get onto your computer, log into Netflix, put the code in and you're done.  This is the most cumbersome part of the whole process.  As soon as your account is setup with that activation number, the Wii automatically refreshes itself and allows you in browse for movies or review your instant queue.  Once I got the Wii activated, I was watching a movie within minutes.  Sweet!!!

The picture quality is good.  The Wii can only do 480p, so you don't get a high def picture.  But the fact that you can browse and stream a video and watch it instantly for a monthly price, that is just incredibly cool and makes up for the fact you can't stream in high def.

My only complaint about Netflix is that not all their movies are available for streaming.  Some moves are DVD or Blu-Ray only and not available for streaming.  That can be annoying.  But they've got like 20,000 movies that are available for streaming, so usually you can find something to watch.  In fact the other day I watched the movie Look who's coming to dinner with my kids.  They thought it was great.  Spencer Tracey gave a great performance at the end with his monologue.  Interesting movie.