This season will feature “theme days”. You can track your points and achievements on the Nerd Trivia website.
Nerd Trivia is a side project by work colleague and friend Laura Massey (@lauralollipop). Laura is regularly a co-host on Major Nelson’s Xbox podcast. Throughout the day, nerd-related trivia questions are asked via @NerdTrivia and followers have a certain amount of time to answer the question to earn points and achievements. Laura runs the show, I’m just a minion helping create some nerdy questions for people to answer.
A couple of months ago, I purchased a P8Z68-V motherboard from ASUS to give my desktop PC here at home a much needed upgrade. This motherboard has built-in support for USB 3.0, SATA 6Gbps support, UEFI BIOS and a bunch of other super cool features. It also supports Intel’s second-generation Core processors so I picked up a second-generation Core i7.
After installing the new motherboard in my PC, I went out to grab the most updated drivers and BIOS updates from the manufacturer, etc.. The version of the UEFI BIOS that ships with the motherboard was a few months old so I naturally wanted to update it. I went to ASUS’s website, grabbed the latest BIOS ROM file, and put it on a USB thumb drive. To update the UEFI BIOS on this motherboard, you have to go in to the UEFI BIOS and fire up ASUS’s “EZ-Update” for the BIOS under “Advanced Mode”. “EZ-Update” will detect the ROM on the USB thumb drive and update the BIOS. Of course, this wasn’t happening for me. Every time I tried to install the update, it would throw an error telling that the update file (ROM file) is "is not a EFI BIOS". After scratching my head trying to figure out why I was getting this error, I stumbled upon this forum post on AnandTech. Apparently, if you try to update the BIOS using the update file provided from ASUS named with what they name it – it won’t work. You sort of have to rename the file (8 characters). Nice. It also can’t be in a folder on the USB thumb drive and the USB thumb drive needs to be formatted with FAT32. My problem though was simply the naming of the file. The real kicker is ASUS provides no guidance on this as far as I can see on their support website. Still, not entirely sure why ASUS simply just doesn’t provide the update files for the UEFI BIOS in the supported naming format right off-the-bat on their support website. So there you have it. If you have this motherboard and can’t update the UEFI BIOS, that’s why.
On a slightly different note, I am having a weird issue with this PC where unpredictably the PC will reboot by itself and be unable to find the hard drive in which Windows is installed on – leaving the PC at a weird blinking underscore state. Eventually, if I reboot and go into the UEFIO BIOS, look around, and reboot again – it’ll boot into Windows just fine. This issue happens at random and the PC can go weeks without incident. I had ran some diagnostics on the hard drive and as far as I can tell, the drive is fine. I thought updating the BIOS might solve the issue but no dice.
At the end of June, I took a drive down Highway 12 through the Cowlitz River Valley to Yakima here in Washington State. I discovered it had many amazing and beautiful sights. However, I neglected to charge the battery in my camera – missing out on the opportunity to take some awesome photos. Today’s nice weather provided me with the opportunity to head out that way again – this time with the battery in my camera fully charged! Of all the shots I took on my little road trip, these are my favorites.
I had to get to Highway 12 first which took a bit of some driving though which is fine by me! I love road trips and have my Zune HD filled with all my music (I recently had to purchase a 64GB Zune HD as my music collection no longer fit on my 32GB Zune HD). I have a bunch of playlists and what not and on road trips I turn the volume up and just drive.
My car has Ford Sync (it’s a Focus) which has awesome integration with the Zune and I can use the steering wheel controls to do everything I need with my music – or use my voice. Anyway, back to the pictures….
I took Interstate 90 out to Ellensburg, WA then Highway 97 south to Yakima where I’d then hit Highway 12 going west.
The above shot is a series of photos I “stitched” together with Windows Live Photo Gallery. This was from a view-point off Highway 97 heading toward Yakima outside Ellensburg. The shot is a panoramic view overlooking Ellensburg.
I like bridges. In the above photo is the Fred G. Redmon Bridge (or Selah Creek Bridge) spanning Selah Creek outside Selah, WA.
And here is a panoramic shot with the bridge and Selah Creek. I also like canyons. This was a small one though.
These two shots are from Rimrock Lake. The first photo is looking out over Rimrock Lake (I was at the east end of the lake at the time). The second photo is of a rock face on a cliff just above the lake. I like taking photos of rock formations but this particular view was interesting to with because of the clouds above.
This photo was taken up the road a bit at Clear Creek Falls. This shot is looking east and down at Clear Lake or Rimrock Lake (I’m not entirely sure which is in view in the background).
And of course I had to get a photo of Clear Creek Falls! The Falls were a bit obscured unfortunately but the sound was amazing of all that water running off the rocks. There might have been a trail that leads down further but I was in flip flops. Hiking in flip flops doesn’t quite work – I know from first-hand experience but that’s a long story for another day.
And my favorite shot of the day…
Just outside of White Pass off Highway 12 is a awesome view-point of Mt. Rainier. In my blog post previously about Highway 12 I took this same shot with my Windows Phone. I’m glad I was able to get the shot with a better camera and with a better zoom.
I had an incredible day and wonderful road trip. I did come to the realization that because I had a late start today heading out – by the time I hit all the sights on Highway 12 the sun was heading down and the lighting was a bit different than what I was expecting.
I uploaded the above photos (except the photo of the Zune HD) to Flickr via Windows Live Photo Gallery and also tweaked the color in Photo Gallery as well.
Those of you visiting my blog here will find that it lacks a bunch of content that I’ve blogged about previously both here and from my very old blog called MSTechToday. Due to poor management practices on my part and switching from different host providers and blog services – much of that content is pretty much gone because I didn’t properly keep a good backup of my site offline. I spent some time this week looking over years worth of backed up data and I’ve yet to find anything recoverable with regards to my old content.
Visiting my blog today you wouldn’t have guessed I’ve actually been blogging since late 2005. As I sit here thinking about it – a lot of hard work and hours of writing has gone down the drain. And it’s upsetting and of course my fault.
So here I am to provide some tips after learning my lesson here so that you don’t have to.
Always keep a offline backup of your blog (or website). Don’t rely on just your hosting provider to do backups. Do your own and keep it stored offline someplace safe (e.g. external hard drive, USB stick, etc.). For me, I keep a local backup of my blog on a second hard drive on my PC at home which is backed up every night to a Windows Home Server. So I have multiple places where my blog’s backup exists even if my PC or Windows Home Server decides to stop working.
If someone else is managing your blog (or website), double check with them if they are doing backups. I know quite a few bloggers out there who rely on someone else to manage their blog for them such as doing all the “behind-the-scenes” stuff. It is important to make sure they are doing backups of your blog. You should make sure they regularly provide you with a physical copy of the backups for your blog in some fashion. If you aren’t a technical person, it might be a good idea to get the backup and run it by someone else you know who might be technical. A second opinion is always good especially when dealing with your online content. The last thing you want is to be under the impression the person managing your site has been taking care of you only to lose everything you’ve posted.
A backup of your blog doesn’t just include backing up all the files – backup the database too. Many blogs today such as WordPress write a lot of content to a database. You NEED backups of your database to restore your blog. A theme can be reconstructed through files you backup separately but if you lose your database, much of your content could be gone. WordPress specifically offers several good database backup plugins you can use that make backing up your database super easy.
Hopefully you don’t have to make the same mistake I did to learn a lesson on backing up your blog. If you have any other tips regarding keeping your blog or website backed up, leave a comment below.
Today was a wonderful day in Washington State with lots of sunshine. So far this year, we’ve been lacking in sun so it was nice to get some today. To take advantage of the nice weather, I took off for a bit of a road trip toward the eastern side of the state. I’ve been doing a lot of road trips lately blasting music from my Zune and exploring new places and taking photos. I am finding it a nice way to unwind from a busy week.
Today, I decided to hit Highway 12 starting from just south of Napavine and headed east toward Yakima.
Let me tell you, the Cowlitz River Valley is incredible. And when you get over through White Pass it continues to offer up amazing sights of the Cascades.
While the road trip was amazing, unfortunately the battery to my camera was completely dead. To quote American Dad’s Steve Smith: “I guess I just picked a whole bouquet of oopsie-daisies.”
In short – always carry a backup battery for your camera that’s fully charged!
I did however take this shot of Mt. Rainier from my Windows Phone:
Not too shabby.
I fully intend to take the drive again – this time with my camera full charged and ready to go!
I spent the evening tonight dusting off my blog here. It’s gotten very little attention lately – something I am hoping to change!
I updated my theme a bit. The theme is a work-in-progress. I actually built it from scratch learning from code examples and other themes on how to construct a basic theme. Going forward, you can expect the theme to grow as I continue to learn to make it better. Although, it’s about the content not how the site looks, right? I am hoping to eventually do some things with HTML5. Keep in mind, I designed the site with IE9 in mind but I’ve tested it out with the latest Chrome release and have seen no issues there. I play to add pinning and Jump List support for my site with IE9 in the very near future.
Another thing I did this evening was I added Disqus to the site for managing comments. You can now sign-in with a variety of services to leave a comment. I see this as an interesting experiment although I know a lot of folks using Disqus are quite happy with the service.
More to come!