I’m back in my room in Grand Forks after getting back here late Monday afternoon. The drive back was particularly appealing this time, since Monday was the first sunny day that most of Minnesota had seen in more than 19 days. I also think it was the first time I’ve experienced good winter weather on the journey from Brainerd to Grand Forks. I really like how the countryside here looks under a nice blanket of windswept mounds of snow; take away the already low number of trees here and I’d like to think you’d get something that looks similar to Antarctica. Or so I’d surmise.
My vacation was all right, even though I wouldn’t have minded it being a bit shorter, since the last week was a bit boring. I think it’d be a better idea to stick that week off somewhere else – like a week-long fall break akin to the week-long spring break or something. I guess that wouldn’t be all that practical, though, since it would require school to start even earlier or continue on even closer to Christmas Eve.
Before I went back to school, I did manage to get something accomplished: I cleared my computer of unnecessary files and, in so doing, gained back some hard drive space that I had desperately yearned for. My hard drive wasn’t in danger of becoming completely full, but it did seem like the amount of free space was getting smaller and smaller each day.
So, what I did was get rid of a few programs that I had no use for as well as delete a bunch of insidious Windows files that, although largely unnecessary, sit on your computer indefinitely, taking up space that could be better used for something else.
All told, I cleared out 3.5 gigabytes of unneeded, unwanted files. I think that a good gigabyte of that came just from “temporary” files such as photos and scripts that Internet Explorer hid deeply within my computer. I discovered yet another reason to switch to using the Firefox browser, since it allows you to not only easily clear all of the files it caches and saves, but will also limit the amount of hard drive space that it devotes to these files. The default amount is 50 megabytes, a pretty miniscule amount in comparison to Internet Explorer’s space-hoarding ways.
To top the cleaning off, I ran Adaware to check for spyware and other assorted junk and then ran Regcleaner to deeply clean out the registry. It mostly got rid of links that referenced files that no longer existed.
Way back in November, when I was home for Thanksgiving, I got one of those external USB hard drives in hopes of being able to expand my total hard drive capacity and backup all of my (music and photo) files. I didn’t actually get around to opening the box of the drive until last Sunday, but, even so, I was pretty impressed with what I saw. I was able to hook the drive up to my computer and, after a round of partitioning and formatting, I transferred approximately 17 gigabytes of data. The whole drive holds 160 gigabytes total, so I’ll definitely have a while before it is completely full. Perhaps the nicest thing about it, though, is the fact that I can bring the drive back to school with me and have access to all my files from my computer at home.
The whole purpose behind all these shenanigans was really twofold. First, I wanted to be prepared for the switchover to Windows Vista when it is released later this year and, second, I wanted to also be prepared to purchase a new computer sometime after the new operating system is released.
In other news, I also went to Mille Lacs Kathio State Park over vacation to make use of something I got for Christmas: snowshoes! I snowshoed a bit down the self-guided snowshoe trail that goes through a bog and then also went down to the small waterfall formed by a dam on the Rum River that runs through the park. It was a lot of fun, too. There’s really nothing to walking with snowshoes; it’s like walking with fins instead of feet. And it's a whole lot easier than trudging through the snow with your legs sinking into it with every step.
Anyway, here are some pictures I took: