I may not remember much from this uneventful game, but I have to say I will probably remember Clint Eastwood making everyone at the party I was at stop and listen for 2 minutes. That man really gets your attention. While it boiled down to being a car commercial, I think it had a really nice message…and I hope our group wasn’t the only one in America that stopped for a moment to listen.
11 years ago, when I turned 14, I began working at McDonalds primarily to save money for my own computer. As I saved cash, I had friends convince me to assemble my own as they had already done. The next year, I had saved enough to buy the parts. Being so young, I was fairly impatient, and assembled it with little research. All of my components were purchased through Best Buy, Milwaukee PC, recycling centers, and other independent PC stores.
Let’s review some of the primary components of my first PC (computer name: BEAST, a partial homage to Brookfield East).
- Intel Pentium III Slot 1 Processor (Katmai). By “slot 1″, as in, this thing resembled a cartridge more than an actual processor. Reasoning included delaying of shipment of other types. I bought a compatible motherboard just for the sake of the processor.
- ATI All in Wonder Radeon graphics card/TV tuner. Utilized now far outdated AGP (accelerated graphics port), which was discontinued in 2004 for the now heavily favored PCI standards.
- Creative Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 sound card with front panel audio ports. Utilized in combination with 5.1 analog Cambridge Soundworks speakers.
- 40GB Western Digital hard drive
- 48x CD-ROM (purchased at a junk store)
- ATX Mid-Tower (purchased at a junk store, likely a terrible choice for longevity of the computer)
- Samsung 19″ CRT monitor (finally recycled in 2009)
In addition to a rushed build, I did a very poor job assembling the system. The case itself was a junker, and was missing a few posts. The processor nearly melted down due to an improper placement of the heatsink, which led to me having to spend money at Milwaukee PC for them to determine that to be the problem. The processor continued to work, at the cost of games like Counter-Strike requiring a household box fan next to the open computer case.
The computer lasted 4 years, but with college looming, I decided I needed a new computer on a very tight budget. Thus, I purchased a Dell Optiplex GX270 (less than $300) with the following modifications before going to Eau Claire in 2005. Its name was BEAST2.
- Upgraded to 1GB of memory
- 80GB hard drive
- DVD-ROM/CD burner
- Sound Blaster Audigy 2 sound card
- ATI TV Tuner (which I had to retire due to lack of PCI space, since I needed a wireless card later on)
- Pentium IV processor (no hyperthreading)
- Floppy drive included!
Sadly, as of a couple weeks ago, this workhorse (with nearly intolerable and noisy case fans) finally ceased to work for longer periods of time. Luckily, my tax return was filed and I suddenly had a large amount of spending cash.
I will detail the parts and process in which I build my first computer in 10 years in a later post. My first parts came today (CORSAIR 600T computer case, Dell Ultrasharp 23″ HD widescreen monitor, Xonar Xense sound card and headphones).
I decided to start a new series on my blog, inspired partially by Roger Ebert’s “Photo in Need of a Caption” series. Here is my first submission to the “Memory Lane” series of mine.
I am thankful for…
- …having recovered after a year that was rough in both professional and personal ways.
- …the opportunity to work with wonderful students and colleagues.
- …the chance to grow as a conductor by conducting a wonderful ensemble in Oconomowoc.
- …the performing opportunities available in the Milwaukee area so my clarinet and saxophone don’t collect dust in the corner.
- …a loving and supportive family.
- …loyal and caring friends.
I am even to an extent thankful for the low points in this past year. It has made me stronger, smarter, and more determined. It has also reaffirmed my ability to forgive but not forget.
I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving weekend.
I am continuously impressed by the works of some artists that rely on auto-tune as their primary means of composition. From explaining the need to send man to Mars to making one ordinary man an overnight sensation for his double-rainbow encounter, the creativity level has continued to rise. This is the most recent video by The Gregory Brothers, called the “Backin’ Up Song.” I can’t help but smile every time I play it. Enjoy!
Original News Clip
Almost a year to the day JimSkaleski.com was initially launched, it has been re-coded and re-designed! While the basic layouts are similar in appearance, the new layout was created from scratch. The previous layout was actually an old, modified Dreamweaver template. However, because it was a template, and I didn’t exactly understand CSS at the time, the code became very bloated on all of the pages.
Fast forward a year later. I have taken a course on current web design practices (the final project I designed for that course is here) and have been able to successfully revitalize the site.
A summary of changes:
- Pretty new logo! Clicking the logo leads to the home page.
- Content has largely remained the same, although things have been shuffled around to limit primary links.
- The breadcrumb system is now built into the navigation bar, which loads sub-navigation when needed.
- Events are now placed on the home page.
- Table lists (programs, repertoire) are now SORTABLE! Click the table headings and it will sort in alpha order #-Z or Z-#. Personally, I feel updating this made everything worth it.
- Stationary header and footer (most painful update to figure out). May not work in ancient browsers, but that’s just too darn bad. Tested in modern Firefox/IE/Chrome.
- Search option removed since it was irrelevant and did not search PDFs as I had originally hoped. Google does that for us.
- A new “administration” section has been added, since I have been largely involved in arts administration over the last few years.
- Videos have been added, but not embedded due to glitches with the stationary header and footer. Photos are still pending. Audio clips are a-okay!
- Code has been largely cleaned up, especially with AP DIV tags. However, there are plenty of remnants I will be cleaning up over the next few weeks (still a lot of attributes to move to the CSS). Regardless, everything under the hood is running much better than before.
- Updated WordPress links to reflect these changes.
- 9/4: New nifty icon in the address bar/favorites list
- 9/4: Code appears consistent between pages. Unnecessary attributes removed or moved to CSS when possible. Nav bar table now centered.
- 9/4: Meta tags updated to reflect individual pages.
- 9/4: All pages (not including the blog) are now printer-friendly. The header and footer will be hidden when printing, and all text will appear black. Links will appear underlined.
- 9/4: Social networking quick link icons added to lower right side of footer.
Please leave any comments, questions, or concerns you may have about the new design and site! I am aware there are next to no graphics up right now. I felt most of the older photos were unprofessional, and I am currently seeking someone to take professional photos.
I have discussed time and time again on this blog how schools need to evolve from ancient methods of education and advance into 21st century teaching methods. Our declining graduation rates and poor test scores are obvious signs that we need to do something different. Others, however, insist that beating our kids will keep them in line. Essentially, we don’t want to change, so we’ll force kids to deal with bad teaching practices.
This is yet another example of keeping tradition versus facing the reality of our changing world. I completely understand that every state, every city, and every community has different societal norms. However, that does not change the fact that there are more distractions available to more students than ever which continue to make older, and non-student centered, methods of teaching less and less acceptable.
I have to say, I am surprised at the results of this unscientific poll from CNN’s website regarding whether or not corporal punishment in schools should be forbidden by law. Perhaps it’s simply the fact I never received it as a child, and feel I would have not grown in maturity any more or less with it. Thoughts?
After taking a course on web design, I feel inspired to create a new web site layout from scratch. I will be designing this new site over the course of the next month or so, and it will be a great improvement from the template that is currently being used.
As for the blog, I have temporarily shut down comments until I can figure out a way to reduce the volume of spam that has plagued my comment moderation box for months. I have been busy completing my fine arts administration certificate and have not had time to write until now. Rest assured there will be more updates as the summer progresses!
In the meantime, as I continue to seek a teaching job, here is a comic that made me laugh (click for full size).