I was planning a kind of lazy Sunday. Soundproof my PC, wash the cars, find out who murdered Clarissa Lisle and so on. That’s kind of how it turned out. Except that nothing was quite as easy as it was supposed to be. First off was soundproofing. Having obtained a soundproof kit from http://www.akasa.com.tw/ I set about fitting it to the PC. This involved taking off all the panels and sticking what looked like a cross between foam and felt on each of them. The instructions mentioned that it was a bad idea to block up any ventilation holes and I agree with this, so I had to cut out gaps for the air to get in and out, which was kind of fun and left me with lots of odd foam shapes that I can put to one side in case they might be useful one day and then throw away in a couple of years’ time.
I managed to get all the cutting and sticking done and then carefully reassembled the PC and slotted it into place under the desk, forgetting the golden rule that is “Always test it before you put the lid on”. Of course, once I’d connected all the network, usb, video, power and audio cables I found that the machine no longer started when I pressed the go button.
A tip, if you are not sure whether or not power is reaching your PC, listen carefully as you plug in the mains cable. You should hear a tiny “crack” as the plug goes in. This is a smoothing capacitor in the power supply charging up. If you get this then there is a good chance that the fault is in the output of the PSU, not the input. I was hearing the sound, and so I knew that something was wrong inside the box. Of course. So I removed all the cables, pulled the machine back, took the side off and found that I’d managed to dislodge some cables from the motherboard. Since these were the ones connected to the power switch it was fairly obvious where the fault was. Pushed them back in, tested the machine with the lid off (even at my advanced years it is still possible to learn stuff) and then, having heard the happy sound of fans whirring into life, put everything back into place. It is a bit quieter with the padding. Most of the noise seems to be air moving around, which is difficult to silence completely. The machine itself seems nicely quick, and I’m looking forward to doing some serious work on it. I’ve even managed to get my old, broken, mouse back working again by the simple expedient of putting in some batteries that work, rather than a replacement set that seem to have been pre-flattened before I got them.
Next up was wash the car. Some people drive down to a car wash but I’m not one of them I’m afraid. I’m more of a “bucket and sponge” kind of guy. The main reason for this is because I like the idea of going carefully over the car looking for damage. Particularly at this time of year, when the authorities drop loads of salt and sharpened stones on the road which are then shot at your car by the tyres of the one in front. I was sad to see a bit of stone damage to the front of the Cube, which meant a trip down to Halfords for the right coloured paint and a little bit of touch up action, which sounds vaguely rude but actually just involved me and a very small pot of paint. I don’t think that the problem is completely solved, but at this time of year the best you can hope for is a holding action until the weather improves.
On the way back into the house I noticed that one of the tyres of the other car looked a bit flat. Or was it standing in a puddle? No, the tyre was on the flat side of flat. Something to do with the galvanised steel nail stuck in it. Ho hum. I’ve pumped the tyre up and if it still has some air in tomorrow this should get the car as far as the nearest repair place. So, I’ve done lots of stuff but still not found the murderer. I’m reading a story by PD James, “The Skull Beneath The Skin”. It took a while to get going, I was half way through before anyone got their clogs popped, but things are now hotting up nicely with a grisly death in a locked room and a whole drawing room full of suspects with their own motives and alibis. I do like murder mysteries, and PD James plays very fair with her plots. There is lots and lots of well written detail about the characters and the locations inside which are scattered enough clues to get you thinking. And this particular story even has a suspicious butler, which really marks it for greatness.
I’m reading the book on the Kindle, which is a lovely device for consuming things like this. Some books you want to own (those are the ones with big pages and coloured pictures) and some books you buy just to read once and throw away (those are the ones by John Grisham). The Kindle does the second type of books very well. I’d been put off the idea of an electronic book by the fact that you never actually own anything. It wasn’t until I realised that I didn’t want to actually own some of the books, but just read them that I actually cottoned on to the plot as it were.
The good news for us I guess is that eventually we will end up with a house full of books that are actually nice to own, rather than lots of paperbacks that we bought and now don’t quite know what to do with. Eventually they find their way down to the charity shop, which is fair enough but involves me having to do something, which is not great. And I often come back with more books than I took. We used to have a weekly pilgrimage to the library when we were younger, but I’ve not been there for a while. I used to get books about subjects that I found interesting, like advertising, and then read a whole bunch. I don’t have as much time for that kind of thing just right now, but I’d like to think I could go back and the books will still be there. Even with the magic of the Kindle and the interweb there is still something nice about walking down a row of books and picking out one to read. I hope we still have that in the future. Anyhoo, back now to a world of shady characters and murky plotting. And I might read some of the book as well...