My parents need a new computer

I had the longest arms so I had to hold the camera

My parents now have “the broadband” and are in need of a new computer. Their Dell desktop PC (that I customized for them when I lived in Chicago) is about 8 years old. It is now time for a new PC. Since I’m now a total Mac head, I am in need of some PC suggestions…my Macbook Pro is about 4 years old and I will never go back to a PC or MS Windows.

My parents have a budget of about $600 to $700 for a new computer. I’ve been looking at and, but haven’t been able to configure a desktop that meets their requirements without going over budget. The added cost of Windows 7 Professional and Microsoft Office – the useful edition – keeps putting me above $700.

Here are the basic requirements for the new computer:

  • Windows 7*
  • Microsoft Office Home and Business 2010
  • 4GB’s of ram
  • 19 in. LCD

Does anyone have any ideas for a reliable yet inexpensive computer setup that meets these requirements?

*I wonder if Windows 7 Home Premium is as useless as Dell and HP make it seem to be? Is Windows 7 Professional worth the added cost?

**Every post that mentions computers should really include a Commodore 64. Just saying:
commodore 64

Indian Hills Community College

I attended Indian Hills Community College (IHCC) in Ottumwa, Iowa from 1995 to 1997. During my time at IHCC I joined the jazz band, played my trombone for the pep band and signed up for my first email account with Hotmail. It was a phenomenally developmental period in my life. My IHCC academic advisor, Tom Stewart, is still a close mentor and friend. My love of higher education began at IHCC.

As a member of eduStyle, I frequently submit higher education websites for community review. When Indian Hills recently re-designed their website, I immediately submitted the new site design to eduStyle. I was unaware that my IHCC story was one of the featured stories on the homepage. I had submitted answers, over a year ago, to a questionnaire about my IHCC experiences. When the new site design was entered in on eduStyle, the site thumbnail showed a different homepage image. Brad J. Ward notified me via Twitter of my “celebrity” status.

The new design is definitely an improvement compared to the previous iteration:

Indian Hills new design

Continue reading Indian Hills Community College

The Nadas

The Nadas

Listen to “Feels Like Home”

I’ve been listening to the Nadas for quite a while. At least 12 years of auditory enjoyment. I remember seeing them perform at the OP in Cedar Falls, Iowa while I was a student at the University of Northern Iowa. I’ve seen them perform at venues in Iowa, in Chicago, IL and at a friends wedding in Minnesota. I’ve watched these guys grow up while I myself was maturing. When the inevitable occurs and the Nadas retire/break-up, I’m going to be bummed out. They have been a musical constant in my eclectic musical collection. I wonder if they’ll ever make it out to Oregon for a gig?

Listen to “Blue Lights”

Listen to “Coming Home”

Continue reading The Nadas

Blogger & Academic Advisor

Eric Stoller blogging the 2008 Iowa floods

Advisor Creates Blog About Flood

Damage from this summer’s flooding in Iowa extended all the way to Oregon State.

Eric Stoller, an academic advisor at OSU, is from Columbus Junction, Iowa; a town of about 2,000 people that was besieged by water in June when the Iowa and Cedar Rivers overran their banks.

“The only way I could do something to help was to put information up on my blog,” Stoller said.

The transplanted Iowan is quite tech savvy. In a previous job, he worked as a Web consultant and he also built the OSU Admissions department’s blog. He started his personal blog in 2004, mostly as a way to publish his academic work and social justice views. In June, Stoller began posting flood photos and links to Southeast Iowa flooding news stories.

Columbus Junction to record flood history

The people of Columbus Junction will not soon forget about the floodwaters that ravaged their business district.

Humanities Iowa is making sure of it.

The organization, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, has granted $1,910 to that city to assess the impact of the flood on the business community. Nitza Lopez Castillo, the city’s assistant marketing director, said the floodwaters wiped out about half of the city’s commercial strip.

“For tomorrow’s kids and grandkids, we should have this here in town for history purposes,” she said of the assessment, which will include a Power Point presentation, photographs, oral histories and more. “Columbus Junction has books in the library with the city’s history through the years, and this is something to add.”

via The Quad City Times

Viva Columbus Junction, Iowa

This video is from a 2004 Iowa Public Television story on my hometown of Columbus Junction, Iowa. It’s an interesting clip and it has a variety of different viewpoints. It’s a 10 minute synopsis of my hometown. Enjoy.

via IPTV

The face of Iowa is changing. This past year, the number of Hispanic students surpassed the number of Anglo students in the small school district of Columbus Junction in southeast Iowa.

Living in Iowa profiles Araceli and Maria, a couple of teenagers who recently immigrated to Iowa from Mexico, and find out how they are adapting to school in a new country with new rules and a new language.

We’ll also meet educators from Columbus Junction who are committed to helping immigrant students learn to speak English and to succeed in their new school.

Blogging back to Iowa

Eric Stoller blogging in Corvallis Oregon

My blog was featured in a news story in the local Corvallis newspaper, the Gazette Times: “Former Iowan blogs back to his flooded homeland“.

I have 3 copies of the print edition, per my mom’s request, that I need to mail back to Iowa.

When I purchased them the cashier asked if I was in the paper. I said yes and she rolled her eyes ;-) .

While he’s lived in Corvallis for nearly four years, Eric Stoller will always identify himself as an Iowan.

He spent more than 20 years living in Iowa, and has close ties to his family in Columbus Junction. So when reports of massive flooding of his home state began appearing on the news, he paid close attention to the water’s progress. When it hit his hometown, he started blogging.

“I was in Oregon, and (so) blogging seemed like the only thing that I could do,” Stoller said. “It was cathartic. I quickly went through several (Internet) searches for information about Southeast Iowa flooding.”

Iowa flood video from Oakville

Hogs in Iowa after flooding in Oakville Iowa hundreds of pigs died
Video of flooding in Oakville, Iowa. Hundreds of hogs died when floodwaters swept into hog confinement buildings after the levees broke in Oakville. This video gives a compelling account of the emotional impact of flooding in Oakville, Iowa. A few hogs were rescued, however, several were euthanized. Please note, some of the images in the video are quite graphic.

Jeff Boyer never imagined that one day he would be riding over his corn fields in a fishing boat. But early Thursday morning, he and his wife, Barb, were doing just that, as they went to assess the damage to what had been a highly productive 1,000-acre family farm.

The farm sat just below the convergence of the Iowa and Mississippi Rivers near the tiny town of Oakville, Iowa. Five days earlier, the Boyers and their neighbors lost a frantic battle to save their homes and farms when the levee that had held back the Iowa River broke, submerging the entire town of Oakville and flooding 17,000 acres of prime farmland.

video auto-plays after the jump…
Continue reading Iowa flood video from Oakville

Flooding + Southeast Iowa Satellite Photos

Satellite photographs of flooding in Southeast Iowa from the Des Moines Register show the differences in river water levels from 2007 to 2008. Specific satellite imagery is available on the DMR site for Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.
Satellite photo of flooding in Southeast Iowa  Cedar Rapids and Iowa City before and after comparison
via the Des Moines Register

Flooding + Iowa + Potential Cause

Iowa Flooding Could Be An Act of Man, Experts Say

Kamyar Enshayan, director of an environmental center at the University of Northern Iowa, suspects that this natural disaster wasn’t really all that natural. He points out that the heavy rains fell on a landscape radically reengineered by humans. Plowed fields have replaced tallgrass prairies. Fields have been meticulously drained with underground pipes. Streams and creeks have been straightened. Most of the wetlands are gone. Flood plains have been filled and developed.

“We’ve done numerous things to the landscape that took away these water-absorbing functions,” he said. “Agriculture must respect the limits of nature.”

[S]ome Iowans who study the environment suspect that changes in the land, both recently and over the past century or so, have made Iowa’s terrain not only highly profitable but also highly vulnerable to flooding.

via the Washington Post