SpartanNerd…Catching Up…

Has it really been three years since I posted anything?

This means that throughout Corona…throughout the last several MTG releases…Throughout the ending of MOTUC and the new Masters of the Universe lines that have come out. I have written zilch.

Well, it isn’t because I stopped being nerdy. Believe it or not, online teaching and also attending classes took all of my energy out for this project.

So here’s a few new things that have happened.

Masters of the Universe.– As the Classics line ended, I began to realize I just didn’t have enough space anymore. MOTUC items are pretty large. And I got lots of joy especially from my He-Man and Battlecat and also Skeletor and Panthor. But also the Griffin was one of my favorites. Vikor. But some of the others…I decided I could part with them. And then I decided when I saw the price I could fetch to go ahead and sell my core items. All I have left is Vikor and my custom Battleground Teela. I sold it all in May 2020. For $600. I use that money to re-invest in MOTU Mega Construx. I have the Castle Grayskull and basically every item they have released in that line. A downsize in square footage, it is easier to get these just by walking into a store. There are other advantages.

Sorry about the backdrop-less pic. This is a very large item. Kitchen table will have to do.

I decided early on that the MOTU Origins figures look too crappy…I don’t like the colors. And the Masterverse figures on first reveal, I thought “That He-Man looks “gutsy.” Meaning, the way the belt is that pale color yellow, it blends in too well with He-Man’s skin color on his belly. It looks like he has a gut. The other figures, the one that came out with the new CGI Anime line, do not appeal to me at all. I hear fans (Scott Neitlich) accepting what is going on apologetically, that this line is meant to appeal to the kids. But kids just don’t watch the cartoons anymore. Trust me. I know. Middle school teacher. So they are messing around with beloved source material and creating something “corrupt.”

I have picked up some of the MOTU Minis, and the Hot Wheels.

Magic the Gathering- For something that took up so much of my life and my children’s time, this has become a much rarer treat. Since the COVID-19 lockdowns, there haven’t been as many tournaments. We pretty much decided that SpellTable pretty much stinks. Arena isn’t a strong alternative. Now some tournaments have returned, but we have to drive a long way to get to them. Mostly these are Commander League events. And we haven’t really paid into the leagues on account we can’t reliably attend. Just the same, we have played EDH some. But the thrill of the old Modern tournaments is gone. I have done a few drafts and sealed. But it is doubtful that we will go and draft Double Masters II this weekend. That is $50 or more. To play maybe three rounds. Which I will have to drive a distance to get to … meaning I can’t stay out late in my old age driving home sleepy.

Oh yes…Secret Lair. At first I bought it all. I bought the super bundle…the one with the cats and the goblins. The Walking Dead. After awhile, I realized that this isn’t sustainable for me. They have churned out so many Secret Lairs, each with an enticing value usually, but then if you start adding all that up, you better be rich if you are a completist. I figure the Wizards/Hasbro weren’t achieving their bread and butter anymore on packs because people stopped playing. And Commander is so popular, but you can play virtually any cards you can find competitively even, that they had to capitalize on that crowd the best they could by dangling lots of shiny, pretty, artsy, and seemingly charitable carrots in front of them. So I certainly had to start pacing myself on this one. The last one I got was the Dracula one. I got my kid the pixel art lands. These things…they take forever to arrive. All the shipping delays and production delays that have plagued the past couple of years…Which brings me to the next big one.

Playstation 5. I got the money together for this…in fact some of the money from my MOTUC collection, plus some gifts, etc. I had the funds in hand right before Christmas 2020. And went to buy it, only to find…THERE WERE NONE. ANYWHERE. When did I finally get mine? OCTOBER 2021. Used! I am grateful…it has performed like a champ! You wouldn’t know. It didn’t come with a proper stand, so I had to get a third party one, which was supposed to charge the controllers and add extra fan-power. But none of that seems to be working. Still, it stands very well. The best two games for me have been Horizon: Zero Dawn, Horizon: Forbidden West, and Gran Tourismo. But I have lots more games. Spider-Man, Terraria, Mortal Kombat. I paid for the streaming services, but haven’t hardly used them…which brings me to

DISNEY+. Since this launched, I bundled with HULU (Which I already watched) and this has been what I have watched on TV. I have hung on to NetFlix for Stranger Things and Masters of the Universe: Revelation. (More on that on a different day.). The Mandalorian has been a terrific show! Obi Wan was pretty good. The Book of Boba Fett might as well have been season 3 of the Mandalorian. I haven’t watched anything else much on the service, though.

Comics- I have moved back into collecting these. I picked up IDW’s “Best of” TMNT books. I am looking to get a frame to display them in.

I have been collecting all of the IDW Transformers books…this was actually how I got back into collecting comics. IDW decided to reboot the franchise, and I felt it was a good “jumping in” place. Highlights of this have been “Shattered Glass” and “King Grimlock.” The main story kind of meandered a little bit. I was introduced to a bunch of characters I didn’t know or had forgotten. I also got into “Beast Wars”… which was admittedly NOT MY CARTOON. Unfortunately, IDW passed on the license, and all of these stories have come to a wrap up, which has seemed very rushed. But my love of getting the covers and important/valuable books has become rooted again. I collected up all of the “Batman/Catwoman” story, got back into Spider-Man and Ghost Rider. But I have dropped DC for the most part. In fact, almost everything they have been publishing in any form is tripe that panders to anyone except the classic fan. I thought “The Batman” was a much slower slog than it needed to be. My next problem is the amount of room this hobby is taking up…

Gundam- I built my first Master Grade…EW EPYON. I am still applying decals. But this has been a terrific project! I eill post pictures when I finish.

It is good to be coming back to the blogosphere…an I hope to have a review tomorrow!

Technology Review…IOS7

I don’t like it as good as I liked the old versions…IOS 6.whatever.

The flat icons don’t do it for me.  Isn’t 2D a step backwards?

The redesigned Calendar, Clock, Newstand, Game Center, Messages, Music don’t do it for me.  The camera’s “Square” feature is un-needed.  And the Camera doesn’t look as good all around.

So there you have it.

I like the new animations.  The “fly-in” looks great.  I like that tilting the phone creates a movement effect with the icons.  (Have you noticed that yet?)  I like iTunes Radio, but am not sure that should be included…That is everywhere, not just on IOS7.  I like the softer sound scheme a little better.  Siri sound better.  I am keeping HER female…Safari is better…more visual than before.

IOS7 looks better on my iPad Mini than on my iPhone 4S.

These are my thoughts.  What are yours?

Repaired MacBook Pro!

First of all, I have to thank the Lord Jesus.  He takes us through these kinds of trials.   And I learned so much going through the ordeal.  So many things.

Today I was at work, bothered by every technology issue.  These folks I work with have delegated some of the technology help to me.  Five times a day someone’s Windows 8 tablet/computer hangs, doesn’t sync, fails to recognize peripherals, etc.  SpartanNerd that I am, perhaps I am a little bit TOO unafraid of computers!  They keep me hopping, and I am happy to help.  (How often does Mac OSX hang or fail to recognize peripherals….NEVER!  We should have got macs!)

But what bothers me, is that I could not fix my own MacBook Pro, which took a nasty fall in May and hasn’t worked correctly since.  I can fix everyone else’s problem but my own.

Now I’ve opened this machine several, several times.  Stared at it, poked at the wires.  Removed things.    Nothing worked.  It always would go to sleep shortly after showing me the apple screen.  Also in Bootcamp mode with Windows 7.  The only mode that would work was Windows Safe Mode for some reason.  But then the machine is severely stunted, so….

I detailed my workaround in this post.  Basically, I trial-and-error-ed the mac hard reset and PRAM clear over and over, restarting until I heard the fans blow, which apparently prevented the machine from sleeping.  But in this weird, undocumented mode, the keyboard and trackpad do not work.  So I have been using an Apple bluetooth mouse and keyboard that I have laying around for my iMac.  These items didn’t work that great with the iMac, but they have been a lifesaver in my situation.  Furthermore, in this stunted mode the computer is much more sluggish.  And the Superdrive wouldn’t work.

But not now.  After today’s revelation!  How come I never saw it before?

I recently discovered that I could go into this secret mode, and cause the fans to stop blowing after startup, by choosing “Sleep” from the apple menu, and then causing it to wake up.  I discovered this by accident…The bluetooth mouse is very sensitive.  I would choose “sleep,” the screen would darken and fan would stop, but before I could flip the switch on the mouse, the movement would wake it back up….but the fans were not blowing.  This little accident got me thinking about the problem some more.

My thought process was….”Maybe the ribbon cable from the keyboard is loose somehow…That’s why it won’t wake up.”  I thought of this in the past, but when I saw how hard it was to fool with the MacBook Pro Unibody Topcase, I backed off.  You more or less have to disassemble the whole thing.  But today, with newfound courage and “what do I have to lose,” I decided to go ahead with the operation.

But it didn’t come to that!  After I removed the battery, hard drive, DVD drive, some of the cooling system…I realized I could see the enclosure magnets…How come I never noticed them before…I think it had something to do with removing the hard drive.  But as I looked at those, I began to think….The sensor…must be somewhere up here near the magnets?   If it is not in the screen.

So I checked the keyboard cable.  It was fine.

I thought about the sensor some more…and found one for sale on eBay.  Now I didn’t buy it…I just looked at it….It is connected to the battery indicator lights….Those little LEDs that tell you how full the battery is if you press a little nearly invisible button.

So my reasoning was…”Can the machine work if I remove those?  How about if I just disconnect them?”  Guess what…


What I Learned

Where does Jesus fit in this story?  As I was disassembling the machine, I thought, “If I break it, oh well.  I was planning on replacing it anyway.”  Then I stopped and said a prayer right then and there.

Today it was Jesus who revealed the fix to me.

What have I learned from this three months of torturing?  (To me, that’s what it has been.)

I am too attached to my stuff.  I have had some near depression because of this.  Remember the long blog hiatus?  It’s not that I couldn’t blog.  I didn’t feel like it.  I didn’t feel like using my other mac, my iPad mini, or my iPhone to blog.  I didn’t feel like using my work-issued PC (though I probably wouldn’t have anyway) or another laptop I have access too.

Because my favorite machine was broken.

I also only recorded one song this summer….Because of my broken laptop.  Notwithstanding I had the ability to record other ways….(iRig, Guitar to USB, digital monitors, Digitech GNX4, or other mentioned devices.)

I came out of my funk about the time the BIG LOTS MOTUC thing hit.  I bit the bullet, and forced my Macbook Pro to work for me so I could review figures.  But the rituals that I had to do to make it work were killing it for me.

What else did I learn… Nothing as deep.  Now I know how to replace/upgrade the hard drive, remove and replace the SuperDrive, and remove and replace the battery.  All of which I was convinced I would have to go to the genius bar to do.

I was going to grudgingly buy a new mac, probably at around $1300.  Jesus kept me from this by helping me fix it today….Now I have one more blessing to count!

Technology News from the EDGE OF THE WORLD

I have spoken at length about my Mac woes.  Time for some good news!

Here is how I got my MacBook Pro to work again.

It turns out that there is a part inside called the SMC.  This stands for System Management Controller, or something like that.  The SMC works the low level functions of the Mac.  In fact, of most computerized devices.  It controls the Power switch, the battery charging, etc.

What I think is wrong with my Mac, is that when it took its great fall, the Power Management Unit was damaged.  Also, the keyboard is also apparently damaged.

The Mac will turn on, and sometimes make it to the Login screen, but shortly after goes to sleep and refuses to wake up..  If it DOES get past the Login screen, you MIGHT have five minutes of a workable machine, before the keyboard and trackpad stop working.  Then it will also probably go to sleep.

So here is my work-around, at least until I can get a replacement.  (I’m eyeing those MacBook Airs…Maybe even the 11 inch model!)

My work-around is the result of lots of trial and error, I might add, and that a computer repair guy couldn’t fix it.

To reset the SMC, you use the hotkey combination SHIFT-CONTROL-OPTION-POWER.   I turn on the Mac as usual, and then immediately do this combination.  Then turn it on, then repeat.  Then repeat.  Then repeat.  UNTIL….I hear the fan blow.  That’s right.  There is a fan inside a MACBOOK PRO.  Who knew? You never heard it before!

My theory was that if I could make the fan blow, the machine would not go to sleep.  AND I WAS RIGHT!  And then I could figure out what was wrong, fix it, and all would be cool again.   No so much….

You see, the keyboard still doesn’t work in this strange mode.  Also, the machine doesn’t even see its battery.  Bear in mind that it could be running on that battery, but it still doesn’t acknowledge it.  At any time it could cut out on me.  So I keep it plugged in.

Turns out that the USB ports work just fine.  So I can attach a mouse and keyboard….or even better…use that old Apple BlueTooth keyboard that I have laying around.  I finally got that thing to work again!  (True shouts of joy!)

So my Macbook acts like a desktop model.  That is it in a nutshell.  I won’t lie.  It runs a little slower than it used to.

The light is there, at the end of the tunnel.  But we can enjoy our last days together!

Anyone out there had similar trouble in the past?  Let me know!