July 12, 2010

They don't call it NetZero for nothing

Or maybe they do call it NetZero for nothing. Because nothing is what I got from it. We're still awaiting installation of a T1 line, so internet is a 15 minute drive away. I remember dial-up being slow, but not impossible. It may be just an overworked network, or some of the crap "homepage" stuff that they cram down your throat, but the bottom line is that this just doesn't work. And it's apparently impossible to just connect via the user name and password without their crap software, so you can't tell if that's the broken part.

The cherry on top of this particular shit pie is that even though you can sign up easily online, you have to call their foreign call center and speak to someone who's not that good with English and convince them that yes, you do want to cancel their crap service and no, you don't want their free-for-one-month Norton anti-viral virus and please go away and JUST CANCEL THE DAMN THING ALREADY!

And then you have to wait another 10 minutes on hold while they actually push the button and do it.

Do. Not. Want.
Posted by Hal Eckhart at 01:02 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2009

Windows 7: "display driver stopped responding and has recovered"

Let me get some bitching out of the way before I start. I really hate Windows. I have hated DOS, 3.1, 95, XP, Vista, and now 7. As far as I'm concerned, it's an operating system made in Hell by incompetent demons and why it sets the status quo for most of the world is beyond my understanding. I do still need to use it because not every program I need runs on a Mac or Ubuntu, but I hate it every time I use it. Now to some specifics.

I recently migrated most of my Windows operations to a new and cheap Win7 box (an HP/Compac CQ4010F), because my XP box was in pretty bad shape and the reviews have been mostly good. In my experience, every time MS comes up with a new release, a few things are less annoying, and many things are more annoying. Par for the course and still true.

But I wasn't ready for all the error messages with a brand new clean install, and apparently no solution from all the online answers I could sift through on Google. This was the message:


Display driver stopped responding and has recovered
Display driver NVIDIA Windows Kernel Mode Driver, Version 186.55 stopped responding and has successfully recovered.

In the error logs, the message looks like this:
Display driver nvlddmkm stopped responding and has successfully recovered.

This happened every time I woke the display up. The error messages appeared after several seconds where the display was essentially frozen. I tried every solution I found including updating the driver, but nothing changed.

I finally found the solution that worked for me by accident. It was simply to turn on the screen saver back on. One can still set the display to turn off, but make sure the screen saver activates first. In my case, I use the screen saver that's a simple black screen, so not much energy is wasted.

The reason I had initially avoided the screen saver is that is what the setup script recommended, so I'd imagine a lot of other people have experienced this issue. I've been using it this way for a couple of weeks, and no more errors. If I switch the screen saver off, the error messages come back.

As they say, your mileage may vary.

Posted by Hal Eckhart at 11:50 AM | Comments (2)

August 27, 2009

spring winding fail

It's such a fine line between stupid and clever
- David St. Hubbins

I'm reticent to post this, as it will remain forever as a testament to my stupidity. However, I do so for the benefit of humanity, because there is nothing funnier than watching a man blindly fall straight into a trap that he's dug for himself.

It's obvious that the little twisted bit of wire in front of the toolpost shouldn't be there. Yet I didn't see it, or see it as a threat to my skull. Or that since I'd just pulled the feed tube back to load the wire more easily, the uncoiling tail end of the wire would just reach the piece of scrap and bounce it off the splash pan and straight into my head. I was wearing safety glasses, but it could have done major damage if it had hit me more squarely. That I've survived into middle age with two intact eyes and most of 10 fingers is amazing.

What possessed me to record the process still escapes me.

Posted by Hal Eckhart at 01:08 PM | Comments (2)

August 18, 2009

In Memory of Robert Novak

FZ: “The biggest threat to America today is not Communism–it’s moving America toward a fascist theocracy. And everything that’s happened during the Reagan administration is steering us right down that pike.”

Bob Novak: “Oh, Mr. Zappa...do you really think...I mean all kidding aside, in this country, with the permissiveness, that we are moving toward a fascist theocracy?”

FZ: “You bet we are, buddy.”

Posted by Hal Eckhart at 12:22 PM | Comments (1)

February 11, 2008

The Audacity of War

I'm speechless.
Posted by Hal Eckhart at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2007

Freedom is about Authority

58 years after Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four was published, we have a presidential candidate who espouses the ideals of Orwell's nightmare:

"Freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do."
-Rudy Giuliani


Gee, that sounds familiar:

"War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength."
- Campaign slogan of the Inner Party

Posted by Hal Eckhart at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2006

Bushism of the day

He uses "the Google" to search the internets.
Posted by Hal Eckhart at 05:25 PM | Comments (0)

September 09, 2006



Click on the turkeys to see the gallery.

I have no idea what's up with this. Over the past year, I've been seeing turkeys around the Twin Cities. They mostly hang out in parks, but once in a while you'll see them near a busy highway looking confused. They always look confused though.

When I saw two of them tearing up the boulevard across the street from my house, I thought that I'd try to sneak up on them and get a picture. Yeah, right. They seemed to think that it was dinner time. For them.

Posted by Hal Eckhart at 09:35 AM | Comments (1)

March 13, 2005

Como Conservatory

The Como Conservatory is a great place to forget about the gray cold landscape outside and the evil snow cat.

img_0735_tn.jpg img_0741_tn.jpg img_0742_tn.jpg
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the snow cat lurking
Posted by Hal Eckhart at 08:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 11, 2004


Experimenting with closeups. These bees like chives.

bee1_tn.jpg bee2_tn.jpg bee3_tn.jpg

Posted by Hal Eckhart at 05:50 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 20, 2004


A note from my Dad, maybe 7, last seen heading out on his tricycle.

Circa 1925, Evanston, Illinois

Posted by Hal Eckhart at 01:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 07, 2004

Fahrenheit 2500

In honor of brilliantly creative and formerly reasonable author Ray Bradbury's recent decision to go completely crazy, this is a partial list of things that will burn, break or melt if exposed to molten steel welding spatter. I have proven the ignitibility of each of these items through personal experience. As recently as today*.

scotchbrite pad*
bench brush*
hair (knuckle, forearm, scalp, beard)
trash can
oily rag
dry rag
damp rag
ragged clothing
new clothing
vehicle undercoating
carpet pad
carpet adhesive
particle board
craft paper
legal pad
aluminum (lower melting point, requires a lot of hot steel)
concrete (explodes without burning, nasty shrapnel)
glass (breaks)
Posted by Hal Eckhart at 10:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 06, 2004


This is, of course, way too self-indulgent, but I just couldn't resist. I'm not really this cute or this red. And less hair these days. My sweetie made the image.

BTW, the movie is wonderful (not that they need any help).

Posted by Hal Eckhart at 08:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 26, 2004

The Passion of the Bejesus

**Thought for the day** Before the web, how the heck did you determine the accepted spelling of words that everybody uses but aren't in the dictionary? I need to know.
Posted by Hal Eckhart at 08:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 23, 2004

Skippy likes the basket


Skippy likes the basket

Posted by Hal Eckhart at 10:54 PM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2004

Skippy likes the garden


Skippy likes the garden

Posted by Hal Eckhart at 10:52 PM | Comments (0)