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Wednesday 2018.8.15

I-D-Ten-T Error

Also known as 1d10t error and other names.

I finally have Computer-1 working again. Last week I tried loading everything from scratch, but after the operating system and drivers were loaded, it wouldn't let me load some software. What did I do wrong? Finally, after several fruitless days, I started all over again. This time I didn't load any of the drivers that came with the motherboard. Windows 10 manages its own drivers. I forgot about that. Load only the OS and then the software. The second time was a charm.

Win10 doesn't take care of everything. Although it knew I had a printer, the OS didn't have the feature set that came on the printer's installation disc, such as the scanner program.

And I should probably also mention that Computer-2 works flawlessly. I'm sitting at it now. It's the computer I use to create my web site pages, write these blogs, encode YouTube videos, etc. This computer never goes online. I connect it to the Internet only twice a year to get the latest Windows update.

I told a neighbor about my Computer-1 issues and she described it as an I-D-ten-T error. Or, written differently, ID10T error, or IDIOT error. Thank you very much. So the early part of this week was devoted to reloading all the software I use regularly. So far, all is well.

I celebrated my accomplishment in a neighbor's back yard. I made Kahlúa and cream drinks for us. She drank hers and wanted a second. I stopped her when she asked for a third. That's the problem with giving some people liquor — they can't get enough of it. I was done at one.

And Maybe Worth Mentioning…

Yesterday was this website's 8th anniversary. My first blog was dated August 14, 2010. It seems almost impossible to believe that I've been writing in this blog every Sunday and Wednesday for eight years. That's a lot of verbosity. And they're all still there in the Blog Archives. I only missed one date, a Wednesday, when I was overwhelmed with all the Medicare decisions. I blogged on Thursday, a day late.

I used to do a biscotti recipe each anniversary because Almond Biscotti was the first recipe I featured. I don't anymore. I'll blame climate change. It's too hot in August to bake; although, this year hasn't been bad. So far we've endured only two heat spells that required using the air conditioners. One day topped out at 106°F (43°C).


Returning to the subject of my computer, it's working so well right now I'm hesitant to install the game that might have caused the initial problem.

My first computer was an Amiga 2000. That was back in 1983. The Amiga was the first truly mulitasking computer. There used to be a war of words between Amiga fans and Macintosh users because although the Mac people claimed their computer could multitask, there was evidence it couldn't, at least not as well as an Amiga.

I loved that Amiga. It actually had two computers inside. I bought a "Bridge Card" that was an IBM PC clone. It bridged to a second set of expansion slots the PC could use for enhancements. The Amiga could run both computers at the same time. My first PC software was Word Perfect. Back then there was no Windows. The PC was run by MS-DOS. My first expansion card was a 40MB hard disk card. 40 megabytes! Wow! That seemed like a luxury back then. I have micro-SD cards with more than 3,000 times more memory space.

My favorite Amiga game was Arkanoid, a Block-Out style game in which you use a paddle and ball to hit and remove bricks on the screen before moving on to the next level. There have been many variations since then. Ricochet Infinity (RI) was the version I was using lately. A little history:

RI included an editor. Users could design their own level sets and upload them to a server to share with others. There were thousands of sets. I designed and uploaded a few of my own. And then one day the server went dark. The game, the level sets, and even the forum disappeared. The company chose to stop supporting the game. It had been a good ride that lasted for 10 years. The first game was introduced July 31, 2007.

Someone was kind enough to build a new support site with the level sets available again. I started downloading them and playing the game. It was still on my computer. And that's when things went wrong. The Windows 10 Menu would no longer open. I can't blame the game for sure, but it seemed likely.

So, should I try loading the game again? Now that I sorted out the problems of loading a computer from scratch, I'm tempted. But first I'll upload this blog to my web site.

Sunday 2018.8.12


I might not be the last person on Earth to recommend the Cox.net e-mail service, but I certainly wouldn't be among the first. It has been slow and unreliable and therefore I've had a love-hate relationship with it for years. However, my attitude has improved recently.

There is a "block" feature that I was never able to use before. I'd tried in the past to block unwanted e-mails, but the available settings weren't sufficient. That appears to have changed.

I'll give some details, even if you don't have Cox.net Internet service. There is a little gear in the upper right. Click that and then select "Settings." Open the "Inbox" drop-down menu to the left and select "Filter Rules." That opens the "Mail Filter Rules Blocklist."

Spam emails usually identify themselves in the "From" column — Hearing Aids, Dish Network, HARP Loans, LASIK, Herbal Male Enhancement, etc. This was the setting that wasn't available in the past. I couldn't filter by "From". Email addresses were often random character strings with no rhyme nor reason — kdislishginsd@sbnoigkdsoslt.com.

I've been using the product names, or whatever, in my new block list entries. I also use the setting "Reject with reason" and specify "SPAM" as the reason. I have about 40 rules in there and, so far, they appear to be working well. Of course, spammers try other ways — Your Wallmert Refund — but that just means adding another rule.

I used to get a dozen or more spam emails. Now I might get only one or two, and they are immediately added to my block list. And the blocklist doesn't work perfectly, but it helps. So although I am still not currently enthusiastic about Cox.net email (it's still slow), there is one feature to praise.

Computer Woes

This past week "Computer-1" (that's how I name them, -1 and -2) started acting up. The start menu wouldn't appear when I clicked it with the mouse pointer or pressed the Windows 10 menu button on the keyboard. I've never been satisfied with the setup on that computer anyway, but it worked and why fix something that ain't broken? Well, now it's broken.

I tried a few things, learned from researching the internet, and they either did nothing or made matters worse. Time for a reload. If you're not familiar with a reload, you erase everything on the computer's C: drive and then start all over again from scratch, as if loading a computer for the first time.

This is also a good time to appreciate the benefits of building your own computers. When you purchase a computer off the shelf in a store, you might get a certificate assuring you that the computer's operating system is legal. You probably won't get an installation copy of the OS unless you buy one separately.

When I bought Windows 10 Pro for these computers, it was $199 each. I had to buy two because the OS can only be installed on computer. However, it can me installed on the same computer multiple times.

Unfortunately, reloads take a long time. Installing the OS took hours because it needed to download and install updates. Then there is the time loading drivers and software applications again. Fortunately, it's also a good time to weed out the programs I don't use anymore.

Coal Oil Point

Yesterday I uploaded another Cycling Adventures for Seniors video. I rode to Coal Oil Park, which is near the University of California Santa Barbara. It's a popular surfing place for students and locals, especially in winter when the surf is best. In summer it's a pleasant beach that isn't very crowded. Here is a like to the video:


Wednesday 2018.8.8

Frying With Air

I bought an air fryer. As I mentioned in Sunday's blog, Costco advertised one in their Costco Connection magazine (August 2018 edition). The store didn't have them in stock yet and Costco's web site said they are on backorder until around the middle of the month. I went to Best Buy.

I bought a different model, costing nearly twice as much, but I liked it because of the size. I read the reviews — something I recommend — and one reviewer reported, with photographs, that his unit failed because the heating coil burned out. One bad report wasn't enough to override all the positive reviews; however, I spent an additional $20 for the extended warrantee. Another reason for the purchase was that it was on sale, about $118, down from $170. I bought the last one they had in stock.

My first use of the Air Fryer was to make Seasoned Potato Wedges. The video was uploaded to YouTube. Although it is currently "unlisted," you can watch it now by clicking on the recipe link and then clicking the green "View the Video" button.

I also did a Kitchen Vlog about unboxing and setting up the appliance. Although the video does not include the recipe, you can watch my vlog by clicking this graphic:


This is a vlog in which I feature prominently the make and model of the air fryer because sometimes those videos get more views. People go onto YouTube to search for videos about a product they are thinking of purchasing — or purchased and want to learn more about it.

Charity Thrift Shop Time

It's time for another shakedown. I hadn't yet found a place to store my Instant Pot, and now I have an air fryer too. So this week has been set aside for the task of going through my shed and weeding out many (if not all) of the items that seemed to have some value at the time (good quality Polk bookshelf speakers I mistakenly ordered) but for which I had no immediate use (and none in sight).

I have one box labeled "computer cables" in which I have at least one each of every type of computer cable I ever owned. Does anyone use Molex cables anymore? And if I need one, I can order it from Los Angeles and it will arrive the following day.

Another box is marked "props," which is mostly empty cans I've opened from the bottom and cleaned up in case I need them in a cooking video. "You'll need a 28-ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes." I use those props so seldom, there is no justification for their taking up storage space in my shed. Into the recycling bin they went.

And Then There Were Two

So far, success. Where there were four large plastic bins filled with computer cables, parts, components, peripherals, etc., there are now two.

And Why Not Keep Going?

Do I really need a dozen plastic storage containers with lids? Half that many are more than enough; so into the recycling bin the extras went.

Business Cards and Hat

I received an e-mail notice yesterday saying my business cards and hat were shipped. That was quick! I ordered them on Monday. As I said in Sunday's blog the printing company is Vistaprint. Given the service so far, I can recommend them. As for the hat, it's supposed to look like this:

I'll know more when the cards and cap arrive.

Sunday 2018.8.5

Lunch in the Park

Wednesday's ride to a local park to test a UCO FlatPack camp stove turned out better than I'd hoped. I was joined by a friend who also likes rack of lamb and together we grilled the saltimbocca over an oak flame on the stove pictured in Wednesday's blog below.

The fire was relatively easy to start with the small butane torch I brought, even though I forgot to bring newspaper. I had plenty of kindling.

The flavor of the lamb was fantastic. The flame wasn't very hot by the time the oak burned down to near coals, ready for cooking; therefore, the meat was cooked slowly, about 10 minutes per side on all four sides. The slow cooking resulted in a very moist and tender meat that was deliciously pink inside. The oak provided a little additional flavor.

There was one negative. The pieces of oak I have are well suited for a large grill or fireplace, but they're almost too big for such a small grill. Only one piece would fit in the stove and it took more than an hour to burn it down enough to cook over it.

I want to use that stove again in my driveway to do more grilling videos; so I'm exploring ways to split the wood into smaller pieces. I looked at log splitters on Amazon, but they're expensive. It seemed like a waste to spend so much money for such a little task. The best method so far, without spending any money, is to use a hatchet and "drilling hammer." It works well enough.

I had to look up the definition of that hammer. A drilling hammer is used for cutting stone, which is what I did with mine, along with a chisel, when I landscaped all my yard a few years ago.

I haven't tested the smaller pieces of oak in the camp stove yet, but I can't foresee any difficulties. I'm hoping to do some grilling this week, if the temperature outside doesn't get too warm. We're expecting another warming spell. By the end of the week we might see days in the high 80s and low 90s again.

Air Frying?

Costco will be selling an air fryer later this month (currently not in stock). If you have a convection oven, you probably don't need an air fryer. My understanding, such as it is, is that the air fryer circulates hot air around the food to cook and crisp it without the need for deep fat frying, thus making healthier "fried" foods. It might make for some useful recipes on my Mobile Home Gourmet YouTube channel. I'm still thinking about it. Any advice?

State Street, Santa Barbara

I finally got around to editing the video I did with my GoPro and Pedego bicycle a few weeks ago when I rode down State Street in Santa Barbara and out onto Sterns Wharf. I uploaded the video to my Cycling Adventures for Seniors channel yesterday. You can link to it by clicking the following graphic.


There are more rides I want to do in Santa Barbara. It is a beautiful city with several locations worth riding for a video.

Pedego Palooza

Meanwhile, I am preparing to attend the Pedego Palooza in October. I said in an earlier blog that more than 150 attended last year. Looking at their web site again, the number was actually more than 500. (I corrected the archive.)

I spent the better part of a day designing my business cards for the event. Here is the final draft of my design:

The high wheel bicycle is a little different from the one on my YouTube channel. It might not mean anything to most people, but it's a vector graphic, which works much better when used in a printing process. A graphic artist might have come up with a better look, but I'm really happy with the design. It's simple and attractive. I'll probably order the cards tomorrow.

The printing company, Vistaprint, can also use the design on the front of a bill cap (hat). I'm excited about that idea because I won't want to wear my bike helmet during the day down there in Huntington Beach. I'll lock it up with my bike and keep my GoPro and gimbal with me. I'll wear the hat, which hopefully will invite some questions, and I'll be ready with my business cards.

And, by the way, to get that custom URL "YouTube.com/c/CyclingAdventuresforSeniors" I needed to qualify. I satisfied most of the requirements, but there was one — minimum number of subscribers — that was short. I had only 92. I needed 100. I told a friend at lunch and he said he'd work on it. When he returned to the office he started sending email and making phone calls. Minute by minute the number started climbing. By mid afternoon I had my 100 and secured my URL. Thank you Andrew.

And let me finish by reminding myself that every silver lining has a dark cloud. Interest in the Cycling Seniors channel has been less than lackluster. Of course, it's a new channel, still in its infancy, with only seven videos. However, I do need to keep my expectations reasonable. My Kitchen Vlog will observe its second anniversary in November. After two years, nearly 100 videos, each video still only attracts enough interest to get fewer than 150 views.

I've been thinking of experimenting with a month of paid advertising on Facebook, risking no more than about $50. Of course, Facebook has not been a popular social media platform lately; so maybe it would be a waste of my money. I'm thinking about it.

Wednesday 2018.8.1

It Ain't Lamb; It's Mutton (or spoiled)

Today I plan to video another episode for my Cycling Adventures for Seniors series on YouTube. The plan is to test another camp stove at a local park. This one is large enough hold a piece of wood. It looks like this:

It's a Uco Flatpack "Grill & Firepit" (their spelling, not mine) and, as you can easily surmise, it folds up for easy packing and transporting.

At the beginning of last month I blogged about assembling a firewood rack to organize the split red oak I bought from a neighbor. That wood is for grilling.

In my earlier test of a small camp stove, I sautéed a piece of fish using papier-mâché for fuel. For this video I want to do something a little more spectacular. I want to grill lamb over oak.

I bought a rack of lamb to prepare some Lamb Chops Saltimbocca. I've eaten many of these and they are delicious. As I've said in these blogs many times: I'm not much of a beef eater. If I want red meat, I usually choose lamb.

For the saltimbocca I cut the rack into double chops, two ribs to a chop. It gives me a thick cut of meat and that reduces the risk of overcooking it. Then I season the meat and wrap each chop with prosciutto. It looks like this when ready for cooking:

When I opened the package I knew I was in trouble. An "uh-oh" moment. The odor was powerful. It didn't smell like rotting meat. It smelled more like fish that isn't fresh. It was a strong gamey scent, almost like a wet dog in need of a bath.

I should have known, and I somewhat suspected there might be an issue. The rack was the largest in the meat case — 2.68 pounds. That's large for a rack of lamb. And that is sometimes a good indicator that the piece isn't lamb at all; it's mutton. Mutton is sheep. It's edible, but it's gamey. $32.13 is a lot to pay for a small piece of mutton. That's like paying $11.99 per pound for a package of hamburger. Unless you're buying ground Wagu beef, you wouldn't waste that kind of money.

A long time ago I taught myself an important rule for buying lamb — smaller is better. A smaller size would indicate a younger animal. There might not be a lot of meat on the bone, but it will be delicious meat.

As for the mutton, I brought it back to Costco for a refund and bought a smaller rack — 1.78 pounds, $21.34. (Which I was able to buy without a photo ID. We Californians are such rebels. Trump says we need a photo ID to buy groceries.)

And I found a deal I couldn't resist. I'd been thinking of getting a backpack for hauling things to a park when biking. There were two on the shelf, marked $9.97. A friend's brother used to work at Costco and he said prices that end with a 7 are clearance prices. A decent looking backpack for only about $10.00 seemed like an excellent deal; so I bought one. It isn't a high-tech backpack; it's a back-to-school model. But it will be good enough to pack with stuff for grilling and toss in the basket on the back of my bike.

A Beautiful Gift

Several months ago a fan of the web site sent me a beautiful gift. It's a ceramic canister, with lid, she found in an Italian pottery store that was going out of business. I'm sure she didn't pay much. She is a shrewd buyer who can easily spot an excellent bargain. She likes to buy such things and give them away as gifts.

She didn't realize the original price was still on the bottom — $159.00. Hand painted Italian pottery is not cheap. We have an Italian Pottery Outlet down in the city and except for looking for bargains on their clearance racks, I don't buy there. The prices are too high.

So what do I do with a quality Italian-made ceramic jar? I measured it, went to the local Home Depot store, and bought a spool of cotton twine for tying meats. Here is my string jar:

I used it in that cycling video when I showed how I prepped the lamb for grilling.