March 11th, 2010

Cold Weather

Spring must be around some other corner

So much for any hope of getting my car out of the garage.

Yesterday, most of the snow had melted.  The only remaining snow was some of the giant drifts, and even those were rapidly shrinking into nothingness.  The driveway was extremely muddy and I could see some considerable erosion in the neighbor's cornfields.  The grass was just beginning to turn green again and the sheep were tentatively grazing.

This morning, however, I was greeted with a sea of white.  It started raining yesterday evening and turned to snow overnight.  It's a very wet, sticky snow so there's no drifting.  Some of the flakes are enormous, more like snowballs than snowflakes.  It looks like we got about 1-1/2 to 2 inches so far and it's still coming down.

The forecast calls for snow from now through Saturday.  They claim there will be little or no accumulation, but that's what they originally said about today.
Evil Geniuses

Another reason to upgrade from XP

There was a rather interesting article on Ars Technica today.  http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2010/03/why-new-hard-disks-might-not-be-much-fun-for-xp-users.ars

New Advanced Format hard drives are being made with 4096 byte sectors, rather than the current long-time standard of 512 bytes.  While this won't be a problem for Vista, 7, MacOS or Linux, this will prove to be a problem with Windows XP (and older Windowses).  XP doesn't support anything other than 512 byte sectors, so it can't use these new drives.  To get around this, the drive manufacturers have created a system where the drive pretends to have 512 bytes while still maintaining 4096 bytes internally.  While NTFS normally works in 4096 byte clusters, the partition clusters don't quite line up with the sectors on the drive, forcing the drive to read each sector, modify the data, then rewrite the whole sector.  And it has to do this twice for each cluster.  This makes data writes several times slower than a current generation hard drive.  There is software that can realign the partitions, but even then there will still be a substantial (~10%) performance hit.

So if you're planning on installing a new hard drive in the near future, you may need to upgrade your OS.
Cooking - Homer Can't Cook

Quick Cincinnati Chili

2 cans Hormel Chili (with or without beans)
1 package spaghetti
water to prepare spaghetti
salt for spaghetti water
1/2 an onion, diced (optional)
grated cheddar cheese (optional)

Heat the chili.  Prepare spaghetti according to package directions.  Serve chili over spaghetti  Top with onion and/or cheese as desired.

Two-way:  Spaghetti and chili
Three-way:  Spaghetti, chili and cheese
Four-way:  Spaghetti, chili, cheese and onions
Five-way:  Spaghetti, chili, cheese, onions and beans.

You can use any brand of chili you like, but thin chilis (Hormel, Stagg or Wolf) work better than thick (Dennisons or Chili Man)
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