The First Amendment

In Digital Media, we are beginning a new section for this second quarter. We are starting out with The First Amendment and learning a bit about our rights that we have in the United States. The first amendment covers the five basic freedoms: Speech, Press, Religion, Assembly, and Petition.

It goes:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The First Amendment is the first of ten amendments in the Bill of Rights, which was added to the Constitution in 1791. The First Amendment shows some of the rights we have in speaking but there are somethings it does not protect such as:

Material that contains a morbid interest in nudity, sex, or excretion.
Material that describes or shows sexual conduct in a patently offensive way.
Material that lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
It also does not protect material that contains obscenity or indecency, material that tells a lie to damage or defame the reputation of a person or organization, or material that provokes illegal action or violence.

As part of learning about our rights stated in the First Amendment, we have been reviewing court cases that show what the First Amendment can do to protect you in court. I am interested to learn the other amendments, not only for the sake of knowing them, but so I can understand my rights.

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It Runs!

This post is continued from my recent post on “The Computer I am Building.”

So after about a month, I have finally got my computer running. I spent around 2 weekends messing around with it, trying almost everything to get it to work, I eventually returned my motherboard. I read on one of the 50 forums I browsed over those 2 weeks that I may have fried my motherboard because I had used magnetic-tipped screw drivers. I returned the motherboard and got a new one that arrived last Tuesday, the 4th of October. I rebuilt the entire machine that Saturday with my dad this time. We figured I may have done one small thing wrong, and 2 minds are better than one, right? Wrong.

When we powered it on after meticulously looking over it for about and hour, it did the EXACT same thing as before… all noises, beeps, fans spinning, but no picture on the screen. At this point we about had it. I had just gotten a brand new motherboard, 12 some-odd dollars for shipping. Well one good thing came out of it, we knew the problem wasn’t the motherboard. Together we sighed, and after 30 minutes we called a computer technician my dad has done a lot of business with over the past years. We brought it over and they took it for the afternoon to check it out.

Later that evening we came to pick it up. They agreed that it was difficult to find what the problem was, but they got it. The problem of the matter was an incompatible power supply. Right when we heard this we were just completely shocked. For one, who would’ve thought? And another, how could the company, Tiger Direct, not have noticed this? I mean, don’t they build these to make sure everything works and it actually runs? The man said that the power supply that came with the kit had a 6 pin power connect for the motherboard, not the required 6 pin with a detachable 4 pin that connected to another slot on the motherboard. Apparently, the reason nothing was showing on the screen was because that the motherboard was not getting enough power from the power supply. During the assembly, we had noticed that there was a slot that we didn’t have a cable for, but there were so many ports on the motherboard that we knew we didn’t need, we kind of just passed over it and thought that the motherboard was fine without it. I still need to talk to Tiger about this.

I got home and powered it up. We set up the BIOS and I began formatting the 2TB hard drive to NTFS. I began this process at 8:22 p.m. on Saturday night. The formatting ended at 1:42 a.m. Sunday morning. When I woke up Sunday, I installed the spare copy of Windows XP Professional 2003 32 bit. This process was painfully slow, just like waiting for it to format. I got some homework done in the mean time. After it was complete, I had to install the XFX HD Radeon 5570 1GB graphics. Talk about annoying. For some reason, the stupid driver was not installing. I had it downloaded and everything. So again, I went back to the forums. One forum told me I had to look at the requirements on the card, and somehow I was taken to my specifications on my computer. I read that only 4GB of the RAM was being used. At this point I slapped myself for not remembering that a 32 bit OS can only handle 4GB of memory, I wasn’t even accessing the other 4GB of perfectly good RAM that was just wasting away in one of the slots on my motherboard. About now I had almost had it. I turned off the machine and finished my homework that day, putting it out of my mind.

The next day, to my surprise, my kind father took my computer the the gentlemen at the Computer House and ,not only did they install Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit (thank you dad), but they fixed the graphics driver and everything. It was the perfect way to end a slow Monday.

So now, I have a powerful machine that I have always wanted. It does everything I can imagine at faster than I can handle. The powerful processor and the massive amount of memory is letting me write this blog, have a game open, about 15 tabs in FireFox running, iTunes playing, a video processing to be ready to upload, and I am downloading music and yet, I feel it has enough in it to run more at the same time. This is my dream machine and I plan to enjoy it over my upcoming fall break. That is when I will be able to test its graphic ability and see how well it runs in graphic intense situations. I plan to upgrade this machine over the next few months, depending on what new technology comes around.

I am not done with Tiger Direct. They can expect a call from a very unhappy customer sometime Friday afternoon. I feel it is unnecessary that my dad and I had to put so much time and money into this just because Tiger didn’t include the compatible power supply. Over all we paid $55 for the technician fee, $48 for the correct power supply, and $12 for the shipping on the new motherboard. Total, I am asking for $115 back from Tiger, but I highly doubt that they will pay for the technician fee. But I would gladly take $60 back for what I have been through.

But this doesn’t stop me. I have some friends that have heard good things about my machine and are considering buying parts for me to assemble for them. I plan to keep working with computers my entire life. Hey, Michael Dell started out building computers from his dorm, who says I can’t try?

Steve Jobs, gone from us today.

Today Steve Jobs, chairman and Co-Founder of Apple Inc, died today at age 56. After stepping down as CEO in late August, many knew it was looking rough for Jobs. He had created a company with success like non-other and is looked up to by his customers, his family, and his 49,000 employees as one of the most creative and remembered men.

The past 7 years have been a roller coaster for Jobs when it came to his health and his business. In 2004 Jobs had undergone surgery to treat a rare form of pancreatic cancer. After his liver transplant in 2009, he took a sixth-month leave of absence. All this happening in the peak of his business, Jobs was ill and overwhelmed.

Steve Jobs is known for his blue jeans, black turtle neck, and casual stage appearance. Jobs was an artist in his line of work, inspired by the Buddhist religion and hiking in India as a teenager. Steve Jobs mastered his art and created products that are innovations in today’s technology. He will be missed by all, rest in peace – Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

Photo Collage

This week, in Digital Media, we finished up a project that we were working on. The project was to take pictures around the FRA school campus of objects, or things, that spell out FRANKLIN ROAD ACADEMY and our name. We could not take pictures of actual text, but we could use the same photos over again. This is what I did:

Photo Collage

Some of the pictures you have to think about for a while, and I did reuse a lot of pictures. If I could, I would spend more time getting different pictures rather than reusing.

Gojo Ethiopian Cafe

This is not one of my normal posts, but I figure I could mix it up a bit.

On a weekend in July my family and I went to this small Ethiopian restaurant, for my sister’s birthday, here in Nashville, TN. My older sister had heard about it and told us it was very “exotic” food we could get no where other than Gojo Ethiopian Cafe and Restaurant.

When we walked in it was very quiet, we were early for lunch, and we sat down. The building is fairly small with a side room, a main room with the entrance, the kitchen, and a bar near the cash register. It is cozy and smells like their signature tea, which is to die for. The room is decorated with pots and quilts on the wall.

When we sat down they brought us little cups to taste the tea because we heard it was great but wanted to try it. We all loved it. Their tea tastes a lot like cinnamon and a variety of other spices. When we were looking through this menu we decided to get the “Specialty Platter” that came with a vegetarian meal for my older sister, and other types of meat for everyone else. We didn’t really know what to expect so when we got it we were shocked.

The center of Ethiopian cuisine all fits around this soft flat bread called enjera. Enjera is a perforated bread that my family called “spongy bread” (we didn’t know the official name). When the dish arrived it had small servings of chicken, lamb, beef, and vegetarian food scooped and placed onto the enjera platter. What you do to eat it, without utensils, is tear off a piece of rolled up enjera and wrap the scoops of food in it.

I was really surprised when I tried it. The food was really good by itself and with the enjera. We learned when we were close to finishing the meal that it is traditional to eat the enjera your food was served on after you finish the meal. I thought this was really interesting because it felt like we were eating a plate our food was just served on.

The people there were really nice and the service was excellent. I have nothing to criticize it on and I am most likely going to return soon. I would give them a 8 out of 10 all around. Also, to add an extra bonus, they have a great website: http://www.gojoethio.com

If you live in Nashville I would strongly recommend checking Gojo Ethiopian out. They are located on the corner of Nolensville Road and Thompson Lane.

Enjera Bread

Enjera "Spongy" Bread

The Computer I Am Building

For a long time I have wanted to build my own machine. I wanted something powerful, a beast. The computer I would build could “run NASA” and design jumbo-jets… and this summer, I saved up enough to just do that.

Unfortunately, my budget didn’t cover NASA’s specs and Boeing had to reconsider, but it is still a monster. At the time I knew little about building computers, but I knew the basics. It started when I wanted something that could actually process a video and upload it quickly. I was really into my YouTube Channel at the time and nothing was powerful that I had my hands on. I decided to check out TigerDirect for some cheap powerhouses. The only thing I could find was a little shy of $700, a goal that might take a couple of summers at my rates. Then I came across “barebones PCs” that you build on your own. A barebones PC is a little PC kit that comes with most of the parts in building a desktop computer. Fully customizable, this was just what I wanted. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was stepping in a big puddle and the water was coming through my shoes.

This is all I wanted, a barebones PC that I could equip with an arsenal of parts. You have the motherboard, the processor, the CPU fan, the RAM, the graphics card, the hard drive, the disc drive, etc., I was in heaven. To give it to you straight, I had myself focused on certain specs that could do anything I wanted. As time passes I can upgrade all these parts and keep my monster angry and hungry for more power.

After working an entire summer, 4 days a week, 3-4 hours a day, I came up with around $500. I know that is not that much for working the ENTIRE summer, but I did what any person would do, and try to enjoy their summer while they could. So, NO, I did not work everyday. Back to my point… With this money I had purchase the following parts:

1. GIGABYTE M68MT nForce 630a Socket AM3 Motherboard
2. AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition OEM Processor (3.10 Ghz)
3. Thermaltake CL-P0503 70mm CPU Cooler
4. Lite-On Internal 24X DVD Writer
5. ADATA 4GB DDR3-1333MHz Premier Series Desktop RAM (x2)
6. Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB Hard Drive (3.5″)
7. XFX Radeon HD 5570 1GB DDR3 PCIe 2.1 DirectX 11
8. DiabloTek Elite 450W PSU ATX Mid Tower Case

I ordered the parts Saturday, September 10, 2011. They arrived Tuesday night, around 6:15 pm. Sadly, I was sick Tuesday and Wednesday and did not get to touch it until Wednesday night. I put all the parts together, solving this hog of a puzzle, in about 2 hours (keep in mind this was my first time putting a computer together). I followed the motherboard and mid tower case instructions and had wired everything to exact details. I took it upstairs to my room to connect it to my monitor. The moment of truth…

I plugged in the power supply and connected the VGA to the back. Flipped the switch, hit power. My beast lit up in bright blue and red on the front, cheering with joy… but blank monitor. (insert sadface)

I immediately shut it off, hoping it wouldn’t explode. I grabbed the manual and briskly flipped through it. I power-read for a good 15 minutes and couldn’t figure it out. By about now it was almost 7:30 and I had a lot of homework still. I decided to put it out of my mind and figure it out this weekend.

This is where I stand. I couldn’t stop thinking about it this entire day and I will probably tweak with it tonight. I don’t want to, but if there is no solution, I may I have to accept defeat and take it to professional help. Which (1) I can’t afford (which means having to pay back my dad) and (2) WOULD BE SO WEAK OF ME!

I will look at it again tonight and pray to the gods of “Motherboard Manual” that there is one silly thing I missed that is kicking me in the shins.

If I figure anything out I will post a weekend blog post on what’s going on.

Thanks, Henry

My Barebones PC

Yeah I know the wires are messy... SHHHHhhh

XFX Radeon HD 5570 1GB DDR3 PCIe 2.1 DirectX 11

My Graphics Card (XFX Radeon HD 5570 1GB)

How To Properly Livestream Your PC or Console

Something new is roaming around on the web these days in the general area of commentaries and Let’s Play videos…. LIVESTREAMING! Livestreaming is VERY popular and there are many sites who host livestream channels. The most well known is Justin.tv. Justin.tv has a constant livestream of anything you can imagine, from gaming to news reports. I know a couple people, and I have done so myself, who livestream about once a week to Justin.tv. The one thing that surprises me when they livestream are the programs they use and the quality they get out of their streaming software.

The most popular livestreaming software is Dyyno broadcaster. Dyyno is a sponsored software that you can get 10 free broadcasts from and it is available straight from the Justin.tv site. The quality is choppy, not meant for casting gaming content, and keeps asking if you would like to pay. Plus, there are very little customization options with Dyyno. There are many other programs out there that are JUST like Dyyno, all wanting you to buy their license, but take my word and don’t use their product. There is a nifty little program I found that was recommended to me from a very famous YouTuber/Gaming Broadcaster, TotalBiscuit (a.k.a CynicalBrit). He told me about Xsplit.

Xsplit is a free HD livestreaming software meant for PC gaming, but it works well with Capture Cards (see my previous blog post on capture cards for more info). Xsplit is still a freeware since it is beta and it works beautifully. When first starting Xsplit you need to make an account. With that account you can download the Xsplit software and begin broadcasting.

Xsplit Log In

The Xsplit log in screen

Once you log in you will be given a screen with “Scenes” that you can broadcast things on. First, you need to set up your broadcast. Start this by selecting “Broadcast” at the top and select “Edit Channels.” From here you need to click “Add” and sign into your Justin.tv account. See below for the screenshot of my Xsplit screen.

Xsplit

My Xsplit Screen

Once you have added a channel, click the “Add” in the bottom left corner to add a source of video or audio to your scene. On that selected menu, you can add a file (picture/video from your hard drive/file), screen region (quality is great on high FPS under the settings), and plenty other options. This is where you can set up your console through the USB driver or your Screen Region for your PC livestream. The audio and video settings are fairly easy and you shouldn’t have many problems with them.

The highest quality I have gotten out of Xsplit is 1080p, but the audio was not working correctly. I would strongly recommend doing this on a computer with at least 4gb of RAM because running this and a graphic intense game eats up your CPU very quickly.

If you have any questions please leave a comment and I’ll reply back to you. Thanks!