The mancave, getting there slowly…

It’s been a while already since i told you that i was working on a room in our house after i redecorated the bedrooms of the kids. We have made quite a bit of progress eventhough this project has not been one of the fastests we worked on.

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Just to remind you, my wife and i discussed the purpose of the room several times in the past for she would like to have a walk-in closet and i prefer an eXtra room for studies and officework. When my wife got a new job for which she could work partly at home she changed her mind and we decided to create an office, or like my son calls it, a man-cave!

I stripped the walls of the wallpaper and painted the windowframe and baseboards. After that i wallpapered some of the walls and painted the others. We were looking for the right kind of desk for a while and eventually decided to create it ourselves from a worktop we found at a kitchenfactory. Innitially we would have liked to have a white desk but since we ran into this darkbrown worktop and it was way more affordable we ended up with this alternative. We also got new wooden blinds for the window which adds a distinct look to the room.

kantoor_nw_1Ofcourse we need to have some storage space as well so we used a cabinet we still had in use in our kitchen but innitially bought for other purposes. I painted it white (do you recognise a theme?) to fit in and decided to place the printer on it as well. Also i prepared the desk to get all the obligatory cables out of sight with a couple cable trays. I must admit, things are really starting to look good!

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The room is not finished yet because we have some more ideas we like to work out. We are thinking about cupboards on the wall above the desk under which we like to make LED lights and open square cupboards on the other wall for displaying things. A couple of new 24″ monitors are also on our wishlist as well as some way to make it possible for my wife to dock her laptop and connect it to a second monitor, keyboard and mouse. We have found a couple of new chairs we love to buy but we have to wait until the budget allows it and we also still need to replace the lamp on the ceiling. We plan to eXtend the tv cable from our bedroom so we can put a small tv in the office as well. Last but not least we need some more decorations to personalize the room and make it our own. In the meanwhile we are quite satisfied with how the room has become so far and we have our relaXed workspace we decided to create!

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Good-bye my friend…

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In my life i have many great things to enjoy. I’m a person that tends to look at things from a positive perspective and i count my blessings for all the good stuff that has happened to me. I’ve had a great childhood, met a wonderfull girl i got to marry and we have 3 beautiful sons. We both have nice jobs and a house in the town we both grew up in.

Sometimes things happen to us or the people around us that affect our lives. Children are born, graduate, get married, create a life and children of their own and sadly people eventually pass away. I lost my mother when she was just 59 years old. Also recently the mother of my best friend died and i could feel his pain loosing her which affected me as well. This week though i recieved word that one of my childhood friends passed away. Although my mother passed away when she was still young, my friends passing was a whole other thing. At the age of 39 and father of 2 young children he should be right in the middle of life thinking about all the things he was going to achieve and enjoy his son and daughter.

My friend and I went to elementary school together and after that to highschool. We played football together and we both shared the love for gaming, for which we spend many days locked up in our rooms playing games together. Like good friends do we had our good and our bad moments but mostly we were having fun together. Also we went on holidays together with some other friends of ours which, even if that is over 20 years ago, i still remember with fond memories. After that time we kind of lost track and our lives went seperate ways.

A couple of years ago we accidently met again. In a restaurant we were seated back to back and when we found out we spend some time telling eachother what had been going on in our lives all these years we didn’t see eachother. After that we met a couple times more, always by accident, and we always concluded with the promise to go get something to drink soon and catch up some more. That never happend though… and now i realise we never will.

Right now, a few days after i first heared he passed away, i have spoken to some people that knew him well these last couple of years. I understand his life took a turn for the worse and due to circumstances and bad decisions he ended up living a life on its own, pushing away the people close to him. I thought alot these days if it would have mattered if i had talked to him about this but i concluded it would not have made a difference…

Our mind has a funny way of dealing with memories, after a while the bad ones will fade away and the good memories will remain. I will remember him as the friend from my childhood when all was good and fun. I just hope the people close to him, who have lived with him during the harsh times these last few years, will be able to deal with these bad memories before they will fade away and they too can enjoy the good memories that will eventually remain.

Good-bye my friend, thanks for the memories!

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I love to hate the internet

 

“Dad! The internet is down again!” – “The wifi is terrible, my NetfliX keeps stuttering…” – “In my room I can’t even watch YouTube on my Phone and dad wont fiX it!” – “DAD!!!”

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I consider myself a poweruser of the internet and all the things related to it nowadays. I play online games, watch series and movies via NetfliX/HBOgo, read and write my email, browse the web and write my blog, listen to music and follow the news. In our Household we have 4 smartphones, 2 iPads, 1 Surface, 3 laptops, 2 desktops, 2 XboX’s and an Horizon setup boX all hooked up to the internet. Most of them connected via wifi and being used by my wife and me along with our 3 kids. Most of the time there are at least 2, but sometimes up to 5 people connecting and using the wifi signal.

I love the endless posibilities of stuff you can do when you have access to the internet and i cannot imagine our life without it anymore. Ofcourse its not a life treatening thing when the internet is down but to be honest, we do all use it on a daily base one way or the other.

On the other side i hate this way of life as well… Connection to the internet has become a thing to rely on and people have started to take it for granted. When my wife likes to watch tv she turns it on, has instant signal and possibilties to watch a movie or series. She, and many others like her, eXpect the same when she decides to use NetfliX or another streaming service via the internet. When you turn on your device and choose a movie it should show in good quality and without any hickups. Same for the kids when they are trying to find their favorite YouTube channel or try to post on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. It should work, it should work fast and without interuption when and how they desire. The thing is, it doesnt always work like that and with every other appliance connecting to the router the possibility increases something will happen and it will not work eXactly as desired. That is when everybody starts asking for “DAD!” to fiX it. You are the one with an interest in computers, you know how it works, im just a user, you fiX it!

Those are the moments i would love to turn back time 20 years when using the internet was for geeks like me who were amazed by the possibilities for the future and cried out in joy when there was a problem so we could try to fiX it. Nobody cared if it took an hour, day or weeks because nobody was waiting for us… they made fun of us spending hours behind a non functioning device and declared us fools for having an interest in something so unsignificant as “the internet”…

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From Walk-in-Closet to Office

As you may have noticed these last few months blogging wasn’t really high on my list of priorities. Due to various reasons i haven’t had the time and energy to write about the stuff that has scratched my brain lately but one of those reasons i would like to share with you.

walkinclosetI may or may not have mentioned before that i am redecorating parts of our house. Our youngest son and one of his brothers are moving to other rooms which, ofcourse, needed a total make-over to make them feel like their own. One of the rooms that my one son moved to is a room on the 3rd floor which used to be our storageroom and at the same time the room with an improvised desk and my desktop/gaming computer. At times we even dared to call it “the office” although nothing, besides the computer and a bunch of papers laying around, actually gave that name any right of eXistance. By the time my son moved in the office was gone and from then on both gaming and administration was done at the kitchen table on the laptop. My desktop even moved to my eldest sons bedroom which has been using it ever since.

My wife always intended to create a walk-in-closet out of the small room neXt to our bedroom as soon as she gets the chance. At this time our youngest has moved into his new bedroom leaving this particular room free for a new purpose. It so happens that my wife recently made a career move which gave her the oppertunity to work from home alot and she started feeling the need for some private space to do her work. She soon found out the kitchen table is not the most ideal place to work quietly while the kids are running around. So she shifted her priorities from a walk-in-closet to some fresh new officespace. No complaints from me there!

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We are now at the point of creating ideas for the new office. Besides considering the wallpaper and paint for the walls and window we try to figure out what kind of desk we like, how to create storage space and where to make connections for the computers and equipment. I have my desktop computer (which i will somehow need to reclaim), my laptop as well as my wife’s laptop and the printer. We intend to buy 2 new 24″ monitors and i will see if i can find an easy way to connect both the desktop computer to them as well as the laptops. Also i would like to prepare connections for a television.

Besides all these ideas we have not decided anything yet though so any suggestions and eXamples are welcome. Maybe you have some ideas we can use or consider? If so we would love to hear them so please leave a comment below! I will promise to keep you up to date on the progress…

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Things dont break alone

You might recognise the event when something in your household breaks down and not long after something else follows? The most common eXample is the washing/laundrymachine and after replacing it the dryer breaks down and needs to be replaced as well…

Such a streak of bad luck seems to be happening to us lately. A couple months ago our car broke down for the 100th time in 2 years (we needed to have it pulled away for the 5th time since we bought it) but we are so getting used to that we’re not even surprised anymore. What annoys me more is my laptop that seems to have given up on me last weekend and that is one thing i cannot miss since we are in the process of renovating some rooms and therefor i have parked my desktop computer in my sons room. He is quite thrilled with that since he is now able to play some games on this PC in his room but i feel kind of like missing a limb!

The laptop i was working on AND playing my games on since my desktop is temporarily in use by my son is a 3-years old but quite decent HP G6 (i7, 4gb with a dedicated GPU R7670m) that plays my games fairly well… Since about half a year though it started eXperiencing heat issues for which i had it checked out at the local computer store. First time i brought it in they cleaned it and put on new cooling paste which worked for about a month untill it started to shut down again. The second time they discovered that the heatsink was broken and therefor it couldnt direct the heat out of my laptop correctly. Because the laptop had a dedicated GPU it has a rather unusual heatsink and we found out it couldnt be ordered via the official channels anymore. HP stopped producing it and they had none in stock anymore but via some obscure website we found a seller in China. After a 30 day delivery time we did actually recieve the part and i must say we were a bit surprised since we kind of gave up hope on it being delivered. The laptop was fiXed and worked fine again… For 2 months… Since last weekend it shuts down again and i tried several things but im afraid its overheating again and honesty i dont want to spend anymore money on repairs…

For my son i am putting together a desktop computer from spare parts i have laying around… Or at least that was the plan! I had put together my old AMD64-3500, 2gb ram, R3850 but then the videocard gave up on me. I had another card laying around, a Radeon X850 but we found out my son couldnt even play Minecraft on the system with that card so i started replacing stuff and one thing led to another…

I bought a budget videocard but one that would be able to play games at a decent framerate, a Radeon r7 270X and decided to order 8GB ram with it as well. I did accidently order ddr3 ram which doesnt fit on the old motherboard is was using so afterwards i decided to find a decent (again budget) motherboard and processor for him as well to replace his old ones with. So at that point i got him an Asus motherboard with an AMD A4-6300 processor, 8gb ram and a Radeon R7 270X videocard… And there are no IDE connectors on the new board so the choice for a new SSD HD was made and completed his system. It ended up better than my current desktop system but it looks like there is one hurdle to overcome.

I installed Windows10 on the new system and made my son very happy with his own computer… Untill it started showing bluescreens and error messages about drivers that are causing issues! At this point im still testing and searching for which driver is causing the issue and untill i find out my own desktop remains in his room, leaving me without a computer and now even without a laptop!

Long story short, i have gotten my 7 years old Acer laptop back on the kitchen table with a faulty spacebar which makes it unusable for write large amounts of teXts (like blogposts) but at least give me the opportunity to fill  in my taX papers and even lets me play a game of Diablo… 2…

Please bare with me, blogposts will be a bit low  but ill be saving my ideas for better times. If you like to help me either intelectual, technical or financial… Just sent me a message 😉

Edit: At this moment as im publishing this blogpost i have just recieved my new laptop!

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Gamerdad, hot or not?

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As i have written before in my previous blogposts i have been gaming since i was 7 years old and i have recently achieved level 40 in life so i believe i know a thing or two about the subject.

I also have 3 sons (age 5, 8 and 12) who have inhereted the love for videogames from their dad. Mom is not into gaming so every question regarding games will be thrown at me and is answered with enthausiasm and usually results in a fun family gaming session.

The flipside of the medal is that my kids cannot (yet) fool me when it comes to gamerfacts or general knowledge about games. When my oldest son had his 11th birthday 2 of his friends got him a version of GTA for the XboX360 (still wondering how they got it!) and the kids tried to justify the 18+ PEGI with arguments like:”All my friends play this game!” and “Those age ratings are different for movies and videogames so there is nothing wrong with me playing these!” I eXplained to my son that i have played these games myself and i think they are not appropriate for his age. His remark:”You dont know anything!” was countered by my wife with:”That might be true but your dad does know games!”

I do admit im not always that harsh with enforcing these age ratings. People might not agree (if so please do tell me in the comments!) but i do allow my 12 years old son to play Call of Duty which is rated 16-18. The only rule to that is that he doesnt play it when his younger brothers are watching which made him safe up for an XboX for himself which he has in his room right now! Also for the younger kids are playing games which are technically not appropriate for their age according to PEGI ratings but a 5 year old playing Skylanders (PEGI 7) and the 8 year old playing Harry Potter (PEGI 12) is something i can allow. Just remember kids, dad also needs to play these games for the sole purpose of checking them out for you! 😜

I would like go know how you handle your kids playing videogames… Or maybe how your parents react to you when you sit down for a much needed 24 hour gaming marathon! Maybe you dont like games yourself and you think your dad is such a nerd because at his “old” age he is still playing games… Please let me know… Game on!

 

PiXelhunting Eastereggs

 

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An Easter Egg is an hidden joke in games, movies, cd/Dvd’s or books. Just like real easter eggs they are hidden and you have to go look for it to find them. With the introduction of the internet the search for Easter Eggs have gotten a whole lot easier since you can just look them up and if your lucky you will most probably also find a video of how to find the hidden joke.

Some of the funniest Easter Eggs i know of are the appearance of RD2D (the funny Star Wars robot) in the 2009 and 2013 Star Trek movies as well as in hieroglyphs in Indiana Jones: Raiders of the lost Arc. In the GTA: Vice City videogame there was a hidden room with an actual easter egg on a pedestal and in Day of the Tenticle if you played as Bernard you could play an other computer game on a certain computer ingame… the whole game of Maniac Mansion! There are also plenty hidden tracks on various music albums when you leave it on after the cv/dvd ends and some famous hidden messages could be find on vinyl records by playing them backwards.

PiXelhunting originates from the oldstyle point-and-click adventures (videogames) in which you needed to click on a particular spot on your screen to pick up or activate an object. These objects could vary in size and if the developer made the item small enough you were actually looking for a dot (piXel) on your screen to click to be able to go on with the game… that searching for the right piXel is also known as piXelhunting. It was known to be implemented to make the game more difficult or at least to have the player spent time playing the game since searching for piXels among thousands of others could be very time consuming. It was also a very easy way to hide Easter Eggs into a videogame but not the most original way i must add. As much as i like to find Easter Eggs in the games i play, especially with funny references to other games, the devs or funny jokes made in these hidden secrets, i do hate it when the developers hides the Easter Egg behind a certain piXel making the Easter Egg hunt a PiXelhunt instead.    Single Ant1-1

Can you tell me if you have ever encountered a cool or funny Easter Egg on an album, in a movie or videogame?