Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas.... :-)

Brandon and I celebrated Christmas Saturday morning. He leaves Sunday to go to his mom's for two weeks. He's been complaining for a while that his computer is slow. He wanted a laptop. That is not going to happen. However, Santa had a brilliant idea and I agreed. Santa brought him all the PARTS he needed to build a new computer (in his old case). Santa also brought him a Lego Mindstorm NXT robot and some books and a few other things.

I wasn't sure how well the project would go. Brandon has been saying for a while he wanted to learn more about computers...

The project went amazingly well. He was brilliant. He never complained and stuck with it until the end. He didn't even complain about my 20 minute introduction to computers whiteboard session:
We went through a lot.

Then we got started with the project. He had to first disconnect the existing system and open the case. Then he had to remove the existing PCI cards, power connectors, and pull out the hard drive and DVD drive. Then he removed the motherboard and the power supply.

He turned every screw and performed every action. I just gave him verbal guidance and took pictures. We re-iterated what the component's functions were along the way. Once the case was cleaned out, we blew it out with the air compressor. We were ready for phase two.

He put in the new power supply first. I had him read through parts of the motherboard manual and tell me what all the component on the motherboard were and where they were. Then he put in the supports for the new motherboard and installed the motherboard. Next he installed the new memory. Then we put in the new processor, explaining about thermal paste, heat sinks, and heat transfer surface area as we went. He connected the motherboard power leads and then put in the hard drive and DVD drive. He also connected the front panel leads too. I had him refer back to the manual for as much as possible.

It took between two and three hours, but the moment had come. It was time to turn it on. I explained that we usually miss something along the way and so it may not work the the first time we turn it on. However, it did work the first time. It has blue LEDs in the power supply. :-)

We got started installing Vista (64 bit since he knows a little about the difference between 8, 16, 32, and 64 bit now). His friends came over and wanted to play so I finished the OS and other software installs. Had to go buy a Netgear WN311B Wireless adapter since it has 64bit drivers and the Linksys does not. It took forever to get all the Vista updates too.

I had to get a tackle / tool box for the Mindstorm. At least with that he won't lose all the pieces at once....

See what I mean?

I hope your Christmas / Holiday goes as well as ours did!


  1. Wow! As one who is far too well versed on 'ctrl alt delete,' that is incredibly impressive! What a great job!

    You've also given me a tip. My son is getting a ton of Legos for Christmas, and I need to find a way to store all those pieces.

    Glad you had a good Christmas together!

  2. FADKOG,
    I think the tackle box I got him will work for a little while with this gadget. I'm not sure it will work with all of his Legos though. For those he just keeps them in a big box. I thought about a tool box too, one with one or two removable trays like I use for my actual tools. That would work just as well really. It is strong enough for me to sit on too, so it may even be better. :-)

  3. What a very cool present! And...what a great experience for your son. It's great or him to learn opening a computer and upgrading/fixing isn't as terrifying as most people think it is.

    I'm in the middle of refinishing some dollhouse furniture for my daughter...It's become a bigger project than I'd wanted! But, she will love it...

    What are you going to do for two weeks sans child?

  4. Angie,
    I'm going to decompress from the tantrum he just threw over his socks. :-(

  5. What a bummer that after all that work and anticipation....he had to leave and not play with the fruits of his labor for two weeks!

    This is the first year that my son will be away, beginning on Wed night for nine days or so.

    That's a bummer too!

  6. That's an awesome gift!! Fun & Knowledge!!!

    My girls are at their dad's right now... til Tuesday... it's quiet.. at the moment I'm not minding... is that bad?

  7. won,
    He got a bit of computer time for sure. He was so excited to play Runescape on high definition! He'll be getting a number of other things at his mom's to keep him busy. He and I could use the break from each other too.

    Not bad at all. Maybe they can bring some quarters back from him? We all need some time to ourselves, it is good for us and our children.

  8. And a new Geek is born! Well done! If you have some free time think about coming to richmond.

    Merry Christmas bro

  9. You are amazing!!! I love that you took the opportunity to teach him something. And it looks like he really enjoyed it too. Father/son time means so much more than the accomplishment. The journey with his dad will stay will him endlessly.

    Merry Christmas!

  10. is it just the angles, or does he look taller????

    glad you had a good christmas though i'm slightly disappointed you are turning him into a little you. lol. next time, buy him parts to a piano... haha.

  11. T,
    Merry Christmas to you too!

    Last year, I bought him a piano. I'm not turning him into a little me, I'm giving him opportunities and seeing what he sticks to. Honestly, he has gravitated more to this than anything else he has done, well aside from video games.

    I think I'm going to do just that. :-)

  12. You two simply blow me away. Wow. Wow. Wow.


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