The Software Organizing Project part 1

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It’s kind of annoying when a project you think can be done in a few hours isn’t even complete in a full day. And yet that’s what happened with this week’s project.

I have two computers, the old Vista desktop I bought when I still had a decent paying job and the older XP laptop I received as a gift. I have plenty of software that was made for Windows XP and below, the last decent operating system for backwards-compatibility all the way back to the old DOS (short for disk operating system, which is really the heart of the computer; even today Windows is just an interface really). So even if I got something new I wouldn’t miss Vista if I can get 7 or 8 (until Microsoft and the various browsers stop supporting them as well) but I would miss XP. As it turns out I have a lot of Windows 95 software.

This week’s project was to get all of my software together and organize it for easy locating. I have a lot of games and some productivity software, and while much of it can run on Vista some of it can’t. My goal was to separate that, see what I might want to get rid of, and better organize the rest between my two computers. I was partly successful.

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Quick Report: Cleaning A Different Corner

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The corner near my Atari, VCR, and cable box was a bit cluttered but not as bad as other areas I needed to fix so I didn’t do much with it. However, I needed access to that corner to change the cable box (long story) and had to move the junk out of the way. You see where that ended up, and that did need to get cleaned up. So I took the opportunity to clean that up a bit rather than put all the junk back there and along the heater. That old computer will be dealt with when a friend of mine has time to look at it.

The tripod is there because I needed to judge the distance between the white drawers (where I have comics from that long-running project) and the cabinet where some of my games are. I didn’t want to lose access but I was hoping I could move it over and away from the heater. I don’t think there’s a fire hazard, I just thought it would be better not under the air conditioner. The tripod held up the door and…there isn’t enough clearance. So it has to stay where it is. I did manage to find a difference place for a ceiling fan we haven’t had the chance to use, move the Mini-Cons that were sitting on the floor where the clutter in the picture is, and at least got my photo studio case away from the heat. I also moved a box I don’t need anymore because I know I’m not sending what was in it back, but I might want to use it to send something in the future. I haven’t decided just yet but those go elsewhere anyway. The end result:

I can get to my windows again and it’s a lot cleaner. (This is before I moved the Mini-Cons.) I also have a better place to put the heater when Winter is over. (We seriously need new windows.) This opened up the floor space a bit more but I still need a new place to put those Transformers comics, which I can’t put in the closet currently. But I left it in better shape than it was when I had to move the stuff to reach the cable box, so I achieved that this week.

The Art Corner Clean-Up: Second Strike

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Update on this phase. Due to things happening during the week I didn’t get to devote as much attention as I planned to this part of the project, the one where I went over all the card backs with Transformers tech specs and other profiles, but I did go over them. I did send some stuff to recycling bin while still keeping stuff for a future art project that I still think I need. With that I moved on to the next part of art corner clean-up.

With the keyboard shelf now cleaned out of junk it was time to look at the middle shelf. (The bottom shelf will have to wait until I’ve continued my comic project and hopefully cleared up space for the comics sitting there to go where they belong.) This shelf has collected a bunch of various things. Primarily it’s where I have artwork that won’t fit in my huge art binder because of the paper size. See, most of the art was done on 8X11 paper because that’s what I used for years. It’s what goes into copiers or computer printers and that’s what was available. When I switched to Bristol Boards the smallest I could find was 9X12, and I can’t find binder sleeves that hold 9X12. This includes not only lineart for the comics I make but work on title cards for videos and other things I’ve worked on. Throw in a few magazines and it’s become something of a disaster. So this week the goal was to make this look less terrible.

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The Art Corner Clean-Up: First Strike

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If you’ve been here long enough you may remember my art corner, the spot I set up to my physical and digital drawing. While not too bad in comparison I just had the urge to clean this spot up a bit. The problem is I had a party to go to this week and thus didn’t have much time to do a big project. That’s on the top shelf there. The bottom shelf are Transformers comics from the IDW run that I don’t have a box for, the box containing my other Transformers comics already full from other companies runs. I like Transformers, obviously.

I didn’t even really complete this project; it would be more accurate to say I moved the clutter somewhere else, but I do a little cleaning and I’ll be finishing this project hopefully over the week. So what’s involved with it?

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Transformers Toy Report: Mutant Beast Wars Razor Claw

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The other Mutant I can find is Razor Claw. A raptor/wolverine hybrid…allegedly but I’ll get to that in the review, Razor Claw is described as loyal and self-sacrificing, really enjoys fighting Predacons, but only tolerates the Maximals for their helpfulness. Also he secretly wishes he could take on a robot mode, which makes me question the whole “total organic” viewpoint the Mutants had, a tie-in to the backstory of Beast Machines, the main line at the time.

For those of you who missed the previous review, Mutant Beast Wars used leftover Animorphs figures with the gimmick of switching between two beast modes. I don’t know a lot about the lore of the books or the live-action TV show adapting it, which is where the line comes from. I do know that it’s about a group of kids given the ability to turn into any animal they touch, which they use to help a friendly alien halt an invasion by the Yeerks, slug-like aliens who take over other people Invasion Of The Body Snatchers style. There were aliens in the Animorphs toyline, and one of Razor Claw’s modes looks like it was designed with aliens in mind.

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Transformers Report: Mutant Beast Wars Icebird

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I’ll get more into the Animorphs toyline when I get to those toys, but what you need to know here is that they were based on the Nickelodeon adaptation of the book series in which kids can turn into animals. Because of the show, Hasbro was chosen to create toys based on the characters and their favorite animal forms due to their success with Transformers. The toys…well, let’s just say what works with robots doesn’t necessarily work with people and the line failed. One of the ideas created for the line were toys with two animal forms, which instead was brought into the Transformers.

Mutant Beast Wars was a bit of a shove-in to the Beast Wars timeframe as the toyline had already moved on to Beast Machines. The new premise was that the Mutants were Fuzors who, thanks to Megatron’s experiments, transformed from one animal to another rather than having a hybrid beast mode. They also gained strange, almost mystical powers and desire to get rid of technology altogether while being very dark and broody. In others they weren’t too fun at parties and wouldn’t party with the Maximals anyway. They may fight alongside them to stop Megatron but they didn’t care for their robotic allies anymore than they did their robotic enemies.

The only one that didn’t interest me in the line was Poison Bite, who turned from a barracuda to a scorpion. It just didn’t grab me…so to speak. I did pick up the other three but for some reason Soundwave (the bat/crocodile namesake of the famous Decepticon) has gone missing. So we’ll be looking at the other two. We begin this week with the leader and the one who can best showcase some of the quartet’s gimmicks, Icebird.

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2019: New Year, Same Old Clutter

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Hi, remember me?

I didn’t get to do any more clutter related projects for the rest of 2018 after I got my Christmas decorations up, which should be coming down this weekend. I was going to do a project this week but cleaning the bathroom took precedence. So I didn’t get that done. I should be back next week with a new toy review, depending on what happens during the week. I also have more clutter to organize or remove, including revisiting a few spots. I’m not done just yet.

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas (or whatever you do in December) and a Happy New Year. See you next week!

Christmas 2018 Decorating

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It’s Christmas time again, so again this year I put up my Christmas decorations. During our going-over of the too many Christmas decorations we had I found a few that would work in my little studio that Dad didn’t want to use and added them to my own set. There were a few I wouldn’t have minded having but we had no place for, like the big snow globes. I did find a small snow globe that fits, so that was good.

I forgot to take a picture of it, but the flying rig for that Reindeer display is getting worse than when I first reviewed it, and I’ve only been using it to keep the sleigh team standing. The part Rudolph connects to broke off of the rig completely. and I really hope the company has redesigned the thing by now because it’s otherwise still a nice display. As for the new decorations I put together a gallery to show them off.

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Christmas Decoration Overload

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The amount of Christmas decorations I have are fine; just enough to make the studio room festive. For the whole house however, we had way too many Christmas decorations. We had decorations we hadn’t put up in years even before my mom got sick and a few we never put out at all. Now that she’s gone and he’s gotten older he doesn’t want to put out all those decorations, just a small tree and a few things to make it look like Christmas. So this week my Dad and I went through the decorations and lightened our load.

The pictures you’ll be seeing in this week’s report is not from that project. I didn’t take any. The dishes project was a rarity. Usually when I help my dad out I don’t take pictures because he doesn’t really care about the blog so much as getting it done. Instead, to break the text wall, I’ll be using images of my own Christmas decorations for the benefit of your eyes.

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Quick Report: From Vinyl To Digital

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In a rare commentary for this site I talked about the return of vinyl records and made a defense for physical media not necessarily being clutter. I stand by that. I still enjoy playing records. My dad still enjoys playing records and has been going through all the old records he and my late mother collected over the years. I have a few but by the time I had regular income cassettes and CD had taken over. Records are great. I also like cassettes and CDs but most of our old 8-tracks are in too poor a shape to even play anymore so I think we got rid of them. That’s the problem with magnetic tape. It doesn’t last as long as vinyl and compact disks, and those don’t even last forever.

However, few people have a record player alarm clock (if that even exists) and good luck playing one in your car. I think they did make travel record players that you could use in a moving vehicle without it jumping but those were pricey and didn’t last long. I used to have a Mickey Mouse travel record player when I was a boy but I don’t remember if that was battery-powered or if you had to plug it in. I was sad when it stopped working. At some point in more recent years my parents were without a record player at all and needed a new one. Having a job at the time I was able to buy them a record player but couldn’t afford a decent system. Then I came across a device you could connect to the computer to record the vinyl to digital format for burning to CDs and I bought them that. My mother passed before I got it working, just another regret I have.

Not wanting to do that again to my dad this week I decided to forgo the clutter cleaning and get the player working so he could record music to the CDs to play by his bedside or in the car. At home he can use the regular record player he bought some time later (didn’t need a computer or extra speakers since it came with them) but not by his bed to wake up on days he needs to get up at a certain time, and certainly not while driving. I still don’t know why the music won’t play through the speakers but I found out where the recordings were saving to. I do have a problem with how it auto-separates tracks in an instrumental that takes a long enough pause in the song but I can always re-edit that in Audacity. The point is the thing works and I can make recordings of the records for use when he isn’t by the record player. It won’t replace the record. The sound isn’t the same. However, I do like having options and I have an old Doctor Who sound effects record I can digitize for use some time in the future. Now I just need to test the cassette tape set-up. We both have tape decks in our cars (I don’t have a CD player in mine) but he doesn’t have that by his bedside, either. It’s not as important to do right now, and I need to get ready for Christmas decorating next month. Someday though.

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