Browsing "Computer"
May 5, 2013 -

A Cold Nebraska Morning

Last night was perfect hibernating, I mean sleeping, conditions. I got nine straight hours. WOW!

I had a bit of a hard time finding the movie theatre in Columbus yesterday. I saw the sign by the road telling me I was in the general vicinity of it but could not find the building. I circled around the plaza for a bit until I saw some teenage boys holding soft drinks and popcorn bags come out of unmarked doors to what looked like a strip mall. I parked and walked through those doors to find a tiny mall with a few stores. I had to run a craft fair/Tupperware party gauntlet before I finally found the cinema.

It was your typical small town cinema, a couple of theatres and reasonable enough prices to make popcorn a treat, not a ridiculous indulgence. I ended up going for the 3D showing, but I won’t be doing that again. I had seen ‘Brave’ in 3D and was totally immersed, but with Iron Man 3, all I really got from the 3D glasses was blurriness at the periphery of my vision. Otherwise, I had a fun time as the movie is hilarious and makes up for the second one. I’m glad I saw ‘The Avengers’ in Hampton Roads, otherwise Iron Man 3 would have made almost no sense.

I got in and made my first real meal at home in AGES (pork chops, broccoli, rice) and then I settled down to watch another movie.

It’s another slow morning, but I’ll be doing a good cleaning blitz before I head out to meet P.J. I haven’t been spending much time at home and it shows.

When I’m just passing through an area like this for a night or two and don’t need my full office set up, I usually hang out in the living room and leave the office packed. I really don’t spend enough time in here when I’m parked long-term and I don’t know why. The arm chair is so much more comfortable for watching a movie than is the bed in the back of the study.

L gave me a 19″ TV to use for watching movies or as a bigger screen for my laptop because the tuner went out on it and it’s no good to use as a TV (a case of one person’s trash taking up storage room in the garage being someone else’s useful treasure). I was going to mount it in the study, but now I think I would be better off doing so in the living room to motivate me to use this space more. That will cut down on the ‘where’s your TV?!” comments that I get from most folks visiting the rig. 🙂 I do need to get an adapter for it as Macbook Pros don’t have an HDMI port, and the older ones don’t carry audio from their mini display port, so I need some sort of audio cable, too.

One way that I have made the living room more comfortable is that I got rid of one of the two night tables I had bought as storage for the living room and have FINALLY found the perfect place for the remaining one.

IMGP6703

This way, I get a cat perch and I still have a surface on which to put a cup (that black surface pushes back into the night table). I used to have it laid out so the short side was against the wall, which meant the ottoman was blocked and I couldn’t stretch my legs. Neelix’s cushion (and it’s always been his and purchased expressly for him, Tabitha never had any use for such luxuries) moves around depending on where I am in the rig. So that night table is usually clear to receive bags of groceries or whatever else is coming into the RV.

Some time ago, while looking for something completely unrelated, I found my night stand on Amazon! I paid $10 for two. Amazon is selling them for $125 EACH!!! And, yes, it’s EXACTLY the same thing! If you look at the reviews, there is another RVing using this same unit since it matches standard RV ‘golden’ or ‘medium’ oak cabinetry perfectly.

Time to turn the furnace back on and get started with my day!

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Cats, Communications & Electronics, Computer, Countries, Homemaking, Nebraska, Nice Folks, Personal, Social, Technical, Travel, USA, Weather    2 Comments
Mar 28, 2013 -

An External Replacement For the MacBook Pro Superdrive

I would like to once again thank all my readers who shop through my Amazon link. It never ceases to amaze me how such a small thing that costs you nothing makes such a huge difference to my bottom line.

The SuperDrive (DVD/CD reader and writer) on my Macbook Pro has been increasingly fussy and it has finally decided to stop recognizing any of my DVDs. Replacing a SuperDrive is not really a DIY project and it is very expensive to have it done by Apple. The recommendation is to replace it with an external drive.

Thanks to my Amazon commissions this month, I was able to go ahead and order one this week without even having to debate with myself whether I can live without a DVD player for the foreseeable future.

My first choice was no longer available, so I bought a Samsung Ultra Portable Slim DVD+/-RW USB External Drive, Black SE-218BB/RSBS.

It is very small, barely bigger than a DVD and about as thick as a DVD case. Best of all, it is powered by USB only, so I don’t need to run the inverter to use it. Installation was easy. I just plugged it into the computer, popped in a disc, and started watching a movie. My SuperDrive has not recognized that disc in years!

Getting this replacement was perfect timing since the movie Lincoln just came out on DVD, too, so I picked that up as well. So you can all guess what I’m doing tonight. 🙂

You can buy just about anything on Amazon, like paint to refinish the new cubbies you bought for the office. My Amazon commissions free up so much of my budget for other things. Thank you again to everyone who shops through my link.

In other news, the weather I’ve been experiencing in San Antonio apparently isn’t typical for this time of year. All I can say is that it has pretty much sucked for solar charging. I’m doing fine, but the forecast doesn’t give me hope of a full charge any time soon.

I just renewed for another six nights, taking me to noonish on the 4th of April. The weather up north is crappy, rent here is cheap ($5 a night), and I’m waiting for mail to come from Canada. Six more nights puts me at two nights past my original plan of two weeks, so I’m still on track with the original schedule. I’ll reevaluate next week. This is just such a good location. I feel so far from anywhere, but I’m less than five minutes from I-35.

A weekend-long project came in, so I’ll be pretty busy for the next few days, which suits me just fine since I had so much time off this week. I’ll try to remember to pop in with a proof of life at some point. 😉

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Boondocking/Dry camping, Campgrounds, Communications & Electronics, Computer, Countries, Technical, Texas, Travel, USA, Weather    No Comments
Mar 17, 2013 -

54 Days of Boondocking

I am just under a week shy of completing one solid month of boondocking! I’m doing one night on FHU and then it’s back off the grid I go.

Boondocking for so long didn’t seem realistic when I first started as I had so many troubles with my electrical setup. But I persevered in my troubleshooting and have been rewarded with a 12V system I now only need to monitor as it is adequate and functioning well for my needs.

That said, I’m not sure I would still be here on the beach had I not been able to borrow that generator at the beginning of February or if L and B hadn’t installed a new continuous duty solenoid in the motorhome engine compartment. It really does take the proverbial village…

I’ve got my power usage down to a routine now. I charge my computer in the morning and leave it plugged in for the entire afternoon. It still consumes a few amps at full charge, but it’s a fraction of what it needs to charge, so I’m able to charge the house batteries fully by dinner time, and I have a fully charged computer for the evening.

I don’t leave the computer plugged in in the evening because of the enormous voltage drop due to undersized wiring that I still need to correct. If I leave it plugged in, I don’t have enough voltage to even run an LED light without it flickering.

Now that I know that the wiring is undersized, I can manage my 12V use so that the system doesn’t get over loaded and the DC charger doesn’t get hot, so there are no fire concerns. I am eager to beef up the wiring, but it’s going to be a costly job and there are other upgrades in line first.

If it’s sunny out, I can use 120V items, like the printer and vacuum cleaner without a second thought. If like yesterday, it is overcast, then I need to shut some things down (usually unplugging the computer is enough) or run the engine to get the added voltage boost.

As for plumbing, the holding tanks haven’t been a problem. I could likely go a couple more weeks.

I am sorely missing having water in my on board tank, but have conceded that my 10-gallon water heater means that having instant hot water while boondocking is a wasteful luxury. Having a navy shower is no better than bathing in a basin. So, really, hauling and heating water is always going to be in my boondocking future when I am not somewhere that I can fill up regularly.

I do so desperately miss my long hot evening showers as they were my transition time to bedtime. I need to find access to showers the next time I’m off the grid this long. When I had my house and the plumbing was off in the dead of winter, I’d just go to the gym. I need to find an equally suitable setup on the road. The RV park where I am going does have showers, but I’d have to pay an extra $5 per day to access them. Much as I love my showers, they are not worth that much!

When I started reading about RVing back in 2008, I thought of all the things I would have to give up, and the first that came to mind was my daily shower. I can’t even remember the rest, but the showers hold true. That’s really the only concession I make when off the grid. Otherwise, I am living a more electrically-mindful version of my normal routine and I don’t feel deprived in the least.

Finally, boondocking is infinitely superior to staying in an RV park with all its restrictions!

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Batteries, Battery Monitor, Black Tank, Boondocking/Dry camping, Communications & Electronics, Computer, Electricity, Fresh Water Tank, Generator, Grey Tank, Indoor Shower, Inverter, Plumbing, Solar Panels, Technical, Toilet, Travel    6 Comments
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