Data Sciences Inc Reunion

Data Sciences Inc (DSI) was a small software vendor based in Laurel, MD. They produced enterprise software for advertising and circulation business of legacy media. I proudly worked there for over 12 years before they were acquired by Saxotech. The remnants of DSI slowly dissolved after that. She was a good company with good peeps. Some of the support staff got together for lunch and it was like old times. Really miss those days!

Stacy Mizrahi
DSI Support Team reunion

That XPS case has got to go

It didn’t take long for that 8300 XPS case to piss me off. The prior owner broke off several of the tension brackets on the face plate, causing misalignments and frequent pop offs.

I bought a new Phantecks ATX case. I have to tell ya, it’s been a long damn time since I’ve had to replace a case. Some of the changing standards on MBs over the last decade made this a little more challenging. For example, the fan power was 3 pin socket but the case uses 4 pin plugs. The USB 3.0 ports on the case didn’t match the USB 2.0 connectors. Thankfully I found conversion cables to rectify the problem. But little stuff like that can drive up your costs on what was originally $70 video rig. No LED slots on the MB for the disco fan lights so the case will have to control the show.

The new case cost me another $75 and I’ve spent about $12 in new cables. Not terrible but had it gone any further, I likely woulda scrapped the MB and just gotten a new one.

I have to say though, that new case is amazing for the price. Gone are the days where wires just flopped around. This thing has insane cable management! Can’t wait till she’s all together.

My daughters new animation PC

Got this used XPS so my daughter could start doing video animation. Turns out the face plate had most of its rivets busted so it just kind of hangs on. But the machine is a beast so I’m not gonna sweat it. Good specs and I got a used HD at a super cheap price Downloaded Windows 7 and did the free upgrade path to 10. Easy peasy.

Only thing that caught me was the video card (again). It had 3 ports, VGA, HDMI and DVI but it turns out you can only use 2 of the three. I’ll make due with 2 I guess.

iPhone SE 2020

In my neverending sniping of low prices on eBay, I landed an SE 2020 for $180. Let me repeat that : A 1 year old phone with the top-of-the line processor for $180!!! I honestly had no problems with my 8, but sometimes the price just dictates the upgrade. The lesson keeps repeating itself: patience and diligence will eventually bear fruits.

Replacing Jabra Evolve earpiece cushions is a snap.

I bought used Jabra Evolve 40 Headphones over the summer as I was sick and tired of my wireless headsets losing connectivity at the worst times. You can get some used Evolve headsets dirt cheap on ebay, literally 75% off their new value in most cases. And they are indeed good headsets. with nice crisp audio and a well designed volume/mute controller that can be detached from the headset itself. My only problem is that after about 3 months of use, the covering from the right earpiece became detached, revealing the foam underneath.

I could have easily purchased a new set as the price was so cheap, but I began to wonder if there was another alternative that would solve this problem and also save an otherwise good headset from the trash.

After a few trips to youtube, I found the product above. It’s cheap, its simple and it works. All you have to do is rip off the foam and the cover on the Evolve (its glued on). The replacement requires no glue, it slides over the plastic earpiece housing like a sock. Took me 60 seconds to install. And perhaps the best part is that the replacement cushion fits a little more snuggly on my ears (unexpected bonus).

Purchased Office

I’ve always been that plucky individual to use open source software when I know that 1) it works and 2) it doesn’t suck. The suck factor is complex but boils down to usability and function. If I have a hard time accomplishing a task, the suck factor increases.

This brings me to Libre Office, that open source MS Office clone that I’ve been using for nearly 4 years. And yes, it’s been damn right serviceable. I’ve made documents, spreadsheets and even ads using the suite without issue. There have been some clunkiness factors, but no show stoppers. It even does a bang up job doing word and excel conversions

I recently had do some advance filtering on a large dataset, and this was the catalyst for me buying MS Office. Needed to both sort and filter several columns, and damnit if I couldn’t get it to work in Libre. Checked on eBay and found a 365 license for damn cheap, so I picked it up.

Turns out that in excel, I still needed to make a formula to do what I needed to do. But when I found the instructions, it worked. I was hoping for a simpler solution, but the result was a working data set. That’s not say that Libre Office is crap. It got me by for 4 years! But sometimes paying a nominal fee for a product that doesn’t suck is worth it. For whatever reason, the Libre spreadsheet is a little clunkier when getting into advanced filters. I think the lesson here is that there is always a value position that has to be taken into account with the work you are doing. And at $38, I can handle that expense.