Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category


Upgrading my PC

July 4, 2009

Every 12 to 18 months i go thru the process of upgrading the motherboard and CPU. For a small cost I get a performance upgrade. Depending I my needs and what I have changed since the last upgrade there may also be an upgrade in memory, graphics card and HDD. In the last upgrade I did all this plus installed a bigger power supply. I have been using the same Antec case for the last 3 years. Its big and give me plenty of room to move.

The specs before my upgrade were

  • O/S – Vista Ultimate (64 bit)
  • Processor – Intel Core 2 Duo – 6600 @ 2.40GHz
  • Memory – 3GB
  • Video – Nvidia GeForce 8600GT – 512mb
  • HDD – 1 x 120GB SATA (Primary) – 1 x 500GB SATA  – 1 x 1TB SATA
  • DVD/CD Combo reader/writer
  • Memory Card reader
  • Monitors – 21″ Samsung 215tw(1680 x 1050) – 24″ Dell (1920 x 1200)
  • Keyboard & mouse – Logitech MX3200 wireless
  • Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS
  • Altec Lanseng 621 Speakers

The specs after the upgrade are (new parts in bold)

  • O/S – Vista Ultimate  SP2 (64bit)
  • Processor – Intel Quad Core Q8300 2.5 GHz
  • Motherboard – MSI P45 Neo3
  • Memory – 8GB DDR2
  • Video 9800GT – 512mb
  • HDD – 1 x 150GB 10,000rpm (Primary) 2 x 1TB SATA (1 of the TB drives is new)
  • DVD/CD Combo reader/writer changed from IDE unit to SATA unit
  • Memory Card reader
  • Monitors – 21″ Samsung 215tw(1680 x 1050) – 24″ Dell (1920 x 1200)
  • Keyboard & mouse – Logitech Wave 2.4 /  Logitech MX1100 Mouse  both wireless
  • Altec Lanseng 621 Speakers
  • Power Supply -OCZ StealthXStream 500W SLI


It runs nicely and scores 5.9 in all categories on the Windows Experience Index. The fast primary makes program opening very snappy. One of the TB drives is a “Green” drive and there is a 1-2 second delay before the drive spins up. Not a major issue but I wouldn’t use one as a primary.

A majority of the parts where sourced online or from a local contact. For online I can recommend PC Case Gear.  Great prices and great service.

My next upgrade may or may not be to Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit. The pricing of Windows 7 upgrades (I want to do 3 other machines as well as this one) is on the high side. I was running Windows 7 RC on my HTPC (built between main PC upgrades) and really liked it but I have not had any issues with Vista on any of the 3 PCs that run it (one older one runs XP – this will upgraded later this year) and with the pricing on 7 I find it hard to justify the OS upgrade. It will be a wait and see on the OS upgrade.


Things that Annoy Me.

September 18, 2008

Its been a while since I been here  so I guess I should write something couldn’t think of anything vast so thought I would write a few things that annoy me.

  1. Itunes for Windows – the boring grey drab interface. It looks badly out of place on windows machines. Apple do suck at writing software for windows.
  2. Itunes for windows – why is not capable of monitoring folders and  adding any new content automatically. Windows Media Player does it. It is not that hard.
  3. Safari for windows – why the hell did apple both with this poor excuse for a browser. It cant even render fonts clearly. It also provides further proof that Apple suck at Windows software.
  4. OS fanboys who assume switching to their OS of choice will cure all your ills. GET OVER IT AND SHUT THE FUCK UP!!. Just because it works for you doesn’t mean it works for everyone. Despite what they think a lot of people use another OS because they want to.
  5. Vista FUD – the media and alleged experts are responsible for most of this. Despite what they tell U it will not cause your immediate death or will your computer blow up. I run it on 3 computers and guess what I am still alive and I like it.
  6. Google Gmail – FFS Google give people the option to turn conversation view off. Despite what you think not everybody thinks it is a great thing and fix up IMAP so it works properly if I say on my client to exclude a “folder” don’t continue to download it.

On another note lets talk about communicating with the community. Microsoft cop a lot of heat for a lot of things but out of Apple, Google and Microsoft, Microsoft is miles ahead of the others. A lot of the teams and individuals at Microsoft  have blogs. Apple  like there hardware and software is a closed shop. Sure google has blogs but how many allow you to leave comments and how many of their authors supply contact emails ? Not many, if any to quote Scribe. The Microsoft blogs nearly all allow you to leave comments (even bad ones) and many provide contact emails. Most of them will go out of there way if you have a genuine query or issue to help you. So well done to Microsoft for this you should be congratulated for the effort you put in.

Ok thats enough from me. Catch ya later.


Random Stuff and Rants

May 21, 2008
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Ok this post isn’t about anything in particular just my thoughts on some things. Some good and some bad.


Like many I am an occasional vistor to It constantly amazes me the amount of lists and pointless headlines exist. For example as I look at Digg now I see

  1. Top 10 Fights in Movie History
  2. Seven things we want from the Hobbit
  3. 8 Diets That Will Make you Sh*t your Pants
  4. Top 10 Animated Videos From Radiohead’s In Rainbows Contest
  5. 10 Strangest Names EVAR (this ones both a list and misleading and misspelled – the EVAR part is pointless and sounds like a excited 10 year old.
  6. 5 Giant Holes That Devoured Everything Around Them [pics]

thats only a example from the first 2 pages.  Headlines with “Best Ever” and  “Must See” seem to exist in abundance and I am pretty sure none of them are the “best ever” or I must see other ones.  Those sort headlines just scream of idiots trying to attract attention to themselves and apparently the population of idiots is enough to get them to the front pages on digg. I just ignore those items for the crap they generally are.


It amazes me (when  I should really know better) the amount of pointless comments that are posted on forums and places like youtube. With TV shows you get the constant “the new ones are not as good as the old ones” without offering any reason why except their  “expertise” . You also get the comment (mainly on youtube)  “That was crap” or “that wasted x minutes of my life” or “I could do better”.  Here’s a clue people if you don’t like something don’t spend x minutes watching it you are free to look and listen to other stuff and if you can do better either put up or shut up. I realise alot of these are mindless trolls but they ruin the experience for everyone. Of course you are free to criticise contributors but if you do at least make it constructive and well thought out. “You suck” doesn’t qualify and either.

Ebay forcing Australians to use Paypal

Ebay in Australia have decided that from Jun 17 all sellers must use paypal in a majority of cases.  Ebay claim this is for buyer protection but I suspect it is more to grab more fees. Guess who owns Paypals. I would encourage all Australians to look elsewhere at places like that treat their customers with some respect something which ebay has trouble doing.

Read article at APCMAG


It’s the little things

April 23, 2008

The more I use technology the more I have come to the conclusion that its the little things that cause the most frustration.

As I previously blogged I am using a copy of Visual Studio 2008 Pro after upgrading from 2005 (well not really upgraded I still have 2005 installed as well). While 2008 is a sound product there are a couple of little things that are absolutely frustrating.

1 – absolute positioning of controls.  Labels (in particular) and some other controls cannot be positioned absolutely without editing the source code. Ok for 1 or 2 but an absolute pain in the ass. Microsoft say this will be fixed with service pack 1 but then give no indication of when seemingly brushing it off as a minor thing. Well for me its not it made me stop using 2008 and revert back to 2005 for web development.

2. – deployment projects do not add the desktop icon , start menu shortcut when you install it on the client machines. The program installs fine but you have to manually add links on the start menu and the desktop. Again not a seemingly big problem but a major league pain in the ass.

I would advise anyone to avoid using 2008 for serious development until the small but incredibly frustrating issues are sorted.

Update: I have solved the installer issue. I uninstalled Visual Studio 2005 (I will move to a virtual PC) and this process now functions as expected.

Update 2 : Missed mentioning another one of the little things in VS 2008 that annoys me. With the web designer you cant select multiple controls again VS2005 not an issue.

On a side note – I would like to look at Microsofts expression products but since I use Firefox 3 Beta 5 I cant use siverlight so I cant get any product info and I refuse to use IE.


What I Use

November 9, 2007

After reading the post on the Vista team blog I pointed a comment to this blog to show what computer equipment I use. Reading it just now I realise that it is missing some details so I will give a clearer idea of what I use. I will update this this as things change.

My Main PC

  • O/S – Vista Business (32 bit)
  • Processor – Intel Core 2 Duo – 6600 @ 2.40GHz
  • Memory – 3GB
  • Video – Nvidia GeForce 8600GT – 512mb
  • HDD – 1 x 120GB SATA (Primary) – 1 x 500GB SATA
  • DVD/CD Combo reader/writer
  • Memory Card reader
  • Monitors – 21″ Samsung 215tw(1680 x 1050) – 24″ Dell (1920 x 1200)
  • Keyboard & mouse – Logitech MX3200 wireless
  • Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS
  • Altec Lanseng 621 Speakers
  • External USB 200G HDD used for Backup

    This was built by me and lives in a Antec Case


  • Acer TravelMate 4234WLMi
  • Core 2 Duo T5600 / 1.83 GHz – Centrino Duo
  • RAM 1.5 GB
  • GeForce Go 7300 Video
  • O/S Vista Business (32 bit)


Canon Pixma ip5000

Portable Music Devices

Ipod 80G Black Classic using – Shure SE210 Sound Isolating Earphones (Black)
Ipod Nano 2nd Gen 2GB – Using ER-6 earphones

I use WIndows Media Player as my main jukebox but rip CDs and subscribe to podcasts via Itunes. All music tracks are mp3 format.

Digital Camera

  • Canon EOS 400D (Rebel XTi)
  • Twin lens kit (18-55) & 75-300
  • Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 Lens
  • BG-E3 Battery Grip

Game Consoles

  • Nintendo Wii
  • Sony PS3
  • Xbox 360 Pro  – currently serving as a paperweight (avoid this console at all costs)
  • Wireless Steering wheel for Xbox

Software (Not all listed just the main stuff)

  1. Office 2007 Home and Student
  2. Outlook 2007
  3. FireFox
  4. Dreamweaver CS3
  5. Visual Studio 2005 – Standard Edition
  6. Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2
  7. WIndows Live Writer
  8. Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0
  9. ImgBurn
  10. NOD32 – AntiVirus

Vista Experience – PC upgrade take 2

October 1, 2007

Ok as I have mentioned before I did attempt to update my main PC to vista about 7 months ago now. I nearly stuck with it except for the problem with the DVD and CD drive no longer being usable.

Well about 1 month ago now the PC went thru a major hardware upgrade. The motherboard was upgraded, the CPU was upgraded to a Core 2 Duo 6600 @ 2.40 Ghz, new memory was obtained and a total of 3 gigs installed. Finally a 500G sata HDD drive was added. The original 120G SATA was kept as the primary drive. The CD-RW was removed and the DVD-RW was left as the main unit. The floppy drive was removed and a memory card reader put in its place.

As before I went the the “dual install” to get a clean install of Vista from my upgrade DVD.  Microsoft need to seriously look at the decision they made to not allow clean install upgrades using the previous version media to verify the upgrade.

The other thing that pissed me off no end was have to reactivate again and having to do so over the phone because it wouldn’t activate because it had been activated (ONCE only) 7 month previous. Microsoft should allow you deactivate a copy so you can reinstall it elsewhere. However like a lot of the stuff Microsoft has done in this area (WGA the other) it appears to have been done without alot of fore thought.

Anyway the upgrade has gone well and Vista and all my software is behaving perfectly. It just further reinforces my thought that alot of the bad press out there is in fact plain and simple FUD or people haven’t planned their upgrades properly and checked all their hardware and software before they proceeded.

My PC has a “Windows Experience Index” of 5.2(see below) which isnt bad and may have been slightly higher had I not used the “old” 120G as the primary driver.


Thats all for this post next I will talk about some of my other gadgets and my experiences with them


Currently listening to : Driving Wheels – Jimmy Barnes


Fanboys and the damage they do

August 4, 2007

If you have spent any time on forums or on places like digg or slashdot you will come across them. Fanboys – users who fanatically  support  a OS or hardware manufacturer to the point that they are blind to any actual problems with their OS/Hardware. At their worst they are arrogant , ignorant people who do more damage to the thing they support than good and are often the reason people avoid getting into the thing they support. It becomes pointless trying to have reasonable conversation with people like this and in the end they end up frustrating and turning away people that may have been considering they tech they support.

There are the 3 basic groups you can find out there and some of those have groups within them.

Mac Fanboys

Mac fanboys have been some of the worst I have come across. They will say something is brilliant and blindly ignore the faults within the device etc. witness the excessive hype that was the iphone. Sure its a good phone but it has a lot off issues which started to become apparent as more level headed reviewers gave their feedback.

Linux Fanboys.

Often come across as elitist snobs who look down their noses at people who ask what they consider to be “stupid” questions. To make it worse there are splinter groups with linux that attach each other. The ubuntu vs gentoo or pick any of the 100’s of distro and witness the fanboism that exists between those groups.

Windows/Microsoft fanboys

Not as obvious as the other but this I think is to do that they are a very small % in a huge area. I probably have seen less of these more because most of my expertise is in this area so I tend to solve my own issues but I have seen enough to know they can be as bad as the others

Currently listening to : Buzz Out Loud – 531