Weekly Photo Challenge: Windows

Kind of a prophetic theme for The Challenge this week… Windows.

I’ve been having a lot of trouble with my computer for the past month or so. In its old age it had been getting harder and harder to turn it on and then last week it just wouldn’t do anything more than make an “urr-URR-uur… tink” sound. One of my superpowers is knowing when women have had enough of my company, so I applied this knowledge to the fine art of computer troubleshooting.

Not being able to turn it on could only be one of four things… the power bar (which had been shutting down individual outlets over the past few months, so I had already replaced it), the motherboard (which I was kind of hoping it was fried so I’d be able to justify getting a new ‘puter), the power supply (the cheapest thing to replace after the power bar and the most likely cause of the problem), or that my PC had met a handsomer, richer, better-dressed, more ambitious guy who knows how to dance (remember, I’m applying my knowledge of women to computer troubleshooting). I was pretty sure it was the second-to-last problem because the computer failed before in a similar fashion due to a gammy power supply.

My brother, who has papers on his wall certifying his status as an electronics nerd, was unable to find the time to return my calls before I could stand it no longer… I decided to take the dinosaur by the horns and do it myself.

I headed down to Future Shop and parked at the rear. Coming in through the front mall entrance is treacherous… I’d have to walk past the iPod and the DVD sections (where I might get caught up in spasm of “browser’s loop” where I see a movie I like, which reminds me that the star was in another film that I really like, I look for that, and then that leads me to look for something else that I’d really, really like to look at and possibly buy). Then I’d have decide to run through the in-home theatre gauntlet or sidestep through their camera counter. Both are fraught with perils — I don’t have a large flat-panel TV so that’s always a temptation. Their camera section doesn’t offer much hardware that I’d like to acquire, but there are always shoppers making utterances to their companions like “the more pixels the better” or “You already have a camera on your cellphone so you don’t need a new camera to do the family portrait at the big reunion next month”. My tongue is very slimy so I have a hard time holding it.

So entering through the parking lot entrance my first stop would be the service department just to ask a few stupid questions and to see if they had a special where they’d waive the price of installing the power supply. After finishing there ($60 to install the thing!), I went to search for the power supply and wondered if we had any burn creme at home.

The bastards had changed things around since the last time I wandered through their computer section so I had to blinker myself  as a zigzagged through the aisles of stuff out of my reach until my lotto numbers pay off. I did take a look at the printers and when approached by the salesman, I asked if they sold eight-colour large format printers. Thankfully, they do not so I picked out a model of what I came to find and headed home.

Not really knowing what I was doing, I came up with a plan… I’d pull out the transformer box of the old unit while leaving all the wires attached, secure the new transformer in place, and then unplug the old wire from a device and immediately connect a new wire to it so there would be no way for me to screw things up. Sounds good, right?

So I removed the cover panels, noting the “Union made in Bedrock by the Fred Flintstone & Barney Rubble Computer Company” sticker inside. I told you this is an old computer!

I went about my plan with no smoke, fire, or insurance claims. Where did you think this post was going? Did you have so little faith in my problem-solving skills that you thought I was going to mess things up?

So anyways, my computer is now working, allowing me to finally get this post up and allowing my ‘puter to run Windows again. See the connection?

A winter morning looking out at the Niagara-on-the-Lake marina.

A statue looking out of a "window" at the grounds of the Ten Thousand Buddhas Sartra Stupa in Niagara Falls (Ontario).

Foggy morning.

Living room window with curtains closed. HDRI

Flower inside, snow and Christmas lights outside.

Flower inside, snow and Christmas lights outside.

...and my personal favourite, Mrs. HoaiPhai at the window one morning.

Hope you enjoyed my gallery of “windows” photos… see you next week!

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About HoaiPhai

I'm up late digging up the dirt. View all posts by HoaiPhai

26 responses to “Weekly Photo Challenge: Windows

  • 3rd Culture Children

    Very nice.. But almost scary… Like it, indeed. Greetings fro Brazil from http://3rdculturechildren.com

    • HoaiPhai

      Thank you kindly, stranger! What was the scary part? Was it something macabre in the images or the fact that I prattled on for a couple of thousand words about next to nothing? I loved your Windows Challenge photos… I really like the blue and white wall with the lamppost on the left. How did you manage a slideshow?

  • Stepping My Way to Bliss

    Great photos! Thanks for sharing them…and a little insight into your family world. Mrs. HoaiPhai looks lovely!

    • HoaiPhai

      Oh, she’s a honey alright! This small version doesn’t do justice to the printed version… in the larger one she looks more like a little girl looking out the window (or at least that’s how I saw her at the time and the large photo reminds me of that impression).

  • Carl D'Agostino

    A View from the Window sounds like good novel title.

    • HoaiPhai

      …and it was one hell of a great Hitchcock flick… Rear Window with James Stewart and Grace Kelly. James Stewart played a professional photographer who is confined to his apartment due to an injury sustained in the line of duty, bringing this comment full-circle!

  • Northern Narratives

    The first photo of the men walking with no ropes looks scary! Glad you fixed your computer 🙂

    • HoaiPhai

      I was out there, taking my last look of Korea before getting on the plane, and just couldn’t take my eyes off of them. I really didn’t want to see anything bad happen but it seemed inevitable. Thankfully, nothing happened but the guys were just walking around, casual as can be, so far off the ground with nothing but those ankle-high railings to grab onto if they slipped. You have to understand, I don’t really like heights much… a piggy back ride gets close to the limit of my comfort zone. I’ll have to post a wider angle picture to show how high up they were. As for the computer, I’m really glad to have it back. I feel like a crack addict who finally remembered where he hid his stash. There are a couple of posts floating around my head that I wanted to put together and I’ve got a whole lot of other people’s stuff to read. I’m going to have to take time off work and curtail my usual hygiene regimen if I’m ever going to catch up!

  • :Punchie

    Cool. How did you get that nice defused shading on Mrs. HoaiPhai at the window?

    Is that a photoshop filter or a certain analog film speed?

    • HoaiPhai

      Glad you liked it and I’m surprised you even noticed because the effect was reduced when I downsampled the image to post here. The printed version (8½ x 11) is much nicer. I took the photo and gave it “the treatment” over two years ago but here’s what I remember of how I did it…
      1. I shoot in RAW so I used the Nikon software that came with the camera to adjust the colour balance and convert the file to a TIFF.
      2. Opened the TIFF in Photoshop and then duplicated the layer so I had two identical versions of the image.
      3. I took the top layer and applied a Gaussian blur to it. I think that I might have inversed that layer’s colours first, then applied the blur, and then inverted them back to normal.
      4. Then on the upper slightly-blurred layer I either set a slight amount of transparency and/or used a layer blending mode other than “normal” to punch up the detail but retaining the dreamy effect.
      5. I resized the image for output (when I originally printed it and then again when I resized it for posting here) by going into “Image Size”, selecting “Percent”, and downsizing by entering “90%” many times. This reduces the image size in increments of 10% and I’ve found that it really helps preserve image quality. I have set up custom-made Photoshop “actions” to resize the native dimensions of the camera’s files to half-letter size (for printing two-up on 8½ x 11), 8½ x 11, and for posting here on WordPress at 471 pixels (I made two actions for this… 471 pixels along the long and short edges).

      I’m not at home at the moment but if you’d like me to look up the layer blending or transparency settings in step #4, let me know and I’ll open the file again see exactly what I did.

      Wouldn’t it be great if Photoshop created a log within the metadata of each image of all the changes you made so you could easily duplicate the same effects in other images?

  • ceceliafutch

    I loved your take on the windows challenge….the whole thing! Great post, lovely pics, especially the last one.

    • HoaiPhai

      Glad you liked the post. I’ve not been able to spend much time blogging lately and I appreciate you coming round for a vist even when I haven’t been dropping by you blog!

  • The Good Greatsby

    I sure wish I had that superpower to know when women had had enough of me, although it would have been most helpful a couple decades ago.

    • HoaiPhai

      I’ve always had a sixth sense about when women didn’t want me around. Maybe it developed because I got so much exposure to that particular “vibe”. Unfortunately, I never developed the complimentary superpower… knowing when women want me around. I could have cried at my 25th high school reunion when a couple of former classmates that I had major crushes on (sequentially, not concurrently) came up and told me that they had crushes on me. Either I missed out on a lot of Saturday nights in the company of ladies who smelt a whole lot better than my friend Fat Tommy, or I was targeted at the reunion in a scheme where a bunch of high school hotties all tell the same loser that he had chance but missed out.

  • gojulesgo

    Great introduction to such a good photo theme! I’m partial to the last one, too!

    • HoaiPhai

      Thanks! I’ll let you in on a little secret… I usually save the best for last. Reading and/or looking at all the pedestrian content that leads up to the grand finale is the price people have to pay for the goodie at the end.

  • thebigbookofdating

    These shots are really fantastic

    • HoaiPhai

      Thanks so much! I hope you like my submission to last week’s challenge that I just got around to posting this week. Things are kind of laid-back around here at times.

  • Ape No. 1

    You correlation of Windows and windows made the first image so much more powerful. I hope real windows don’t crash as much as virtual ones.

    • HoaiPhai

      Living up here in Canada so close to Santa’s Village things tend to get a might nippy for about six or seven months a year so when it came time to put in new double glazed argon-filled windows all around the house, I took a hint from my operating system and put crashproof horizontal sliders and crank opening ones that pivot along the vertical axis.

      Actually, I never really had problems with Windows (the operating system) crashing, just individual programs written by fly-by-night operations that conflict with other software. The only times I’ve had O/S problems was when I picked up a virus or two in my early naïve years of computing. I spent years in school and then working in a couple of places that were Mac environments. The Macs are OK (in my book), but if you really want to get into the system and screw things up manually, PCs are the way to go. I’ve paid the price, however… I’m beginning to look a bit like “PC Guy” from the old Mac mud slinging commercials.

      By the way, if you know any kids who want to write to Santa, here’s the address. They’ll even get a letter back in just about any major language but I don’t know if Saint Nick does idiomatic Australian. How does Aussie Santa speak to kids, by the way? “Crikey, Billy! That’s a tall order… how do you expect me to pack an electric Surround 5.1 didgeridoo into me sleigh?” All kidding aside, I’m serious about writing to Santa. Here’s his address…

      Santa Claus
      North Pole, Canada
      H0H 0H0

      The “H0H 0H0” is the postal code… very important!

  • jennygoth

    love the pics and mrs h she looks like a little lost girl xxjen

    • HoaiPhai

      Ta! It was early in the morning and she was watching birds or rabbits or something and just enjoying the show. She turned and gave me a quick smile, and then turned her attention outdoors again. I guess my estimation of how the photo looks is tempered by the events surrounding it but, now that you mention it, she does look a little pensive… like she’s waiting for her lost puppy to come home or something.

  • The Hook

    You have real talent for the lens, my friend!

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