Wednesday, 20 October 2010

On the Go

So I'm writing another blog post from the "comfort" of my iPhone. I'm in the car on my way to see the results show of Xfactor. I'm personally not mad about the show but Diana Vickers and Katy Perry will be there. So why not :)

But yeah my lovely Sony earphones are currently MIA. I haven't really had a good look for them yet so they'll probably show up but as a result I'm heading out with my Big Razer Carcharias headphones. Why not :-P. This week I also recieved my Corsair 60GB SSD and it is AMAZING!!! everything happens SO FAST! the difference is phenomenal, especially if you like to have lots of startup programs (which as a matter of fact i do :-) but yeah it's awesome. Got my OS + Documents + Game Saves + iTunes library file on there. Really makes for a nippy machine :D

In other news my brothers graphics card upgrade didn't really happen to plan :-S we fitted the monstrous graphics card in there and the board just couldn't see it. It just beeped no graphics card at me :-( I wondered if the card had gone kaput but it worked when I subsequently tried it in my machine. So after every conceivable test I had to conclude that the motherboard just wasn't going to play ball :-( in the end we replaced it with a GA-790X-UD3P (rev1.1) which my brother is half way through fitting now. He also received a Portal Mousemat and Aperture Science Mug that he ordered from Valve store in the US. Cost an Arm and a Leg to ship, but it made him happy so what are you going to do :-P

I meanwhile have been struggling to make time for anything that involves games or even re-setting up my OS. I still haven't got stuff like winrar installed yet. But I'm getting there slowly.

It's my birthday coming up soon and I've been trying to think of something awesome that my parents can get me (it is my 18th) they don't have the budget for a car or anything like that and really I don't need one. Living in London having a car would just be a hole I would pour money into rather than anything really useful. It would speed up a few things like getting to my GF's house or going out but all in all I don't really need one.

Just driving past D-Link's headquarters. Probably could of sapped some wifi for a few seconds but It probably would have broken in that time... D-Link :-/

Anyway I've been looking at Tablets and there's not the budget for an iPad or a Galaxy Tab. Which sort of leaves me in the realm of cheap Chinese tablets. But of course you ask "but why oh why would you want a tablet? You have an iPhone and a Netbook! What use could it be?" and id say, correct Matt ;-) however when it comes to watching a but of video on the go I do sometimes find the iPhone's screen a little small , which Is a subjective view yes but in some cases for me it just is. My netbook on the other hand is blessed with a beautiful 11.6" 1366*768 Display and also has a 320GB HDD. So you would think that would be perfect. But alas, my netbook has a keyboard and being essentially a small laptop. You sorta have to rest it on your lap. Which is fine, except in situations like when you are on the Bus, or in Public, or standing up, or having se... Anyway yeah there are times it is awkward so I though let's go for a 7" Android 2.1 / 2.2 tablet with a nice SD Card slot. That way I can buy a couple of cards and bung stuff on there. Watching video would be ideal! But as with all things Chinese there is one thing that let's them down. Battery Life. With the iPad apple has the entire SOC completely under their control and also have access to the most expensive battery tech out there. Combine those and in a 10" iPad you can get a good 10Hrs of battery life while browsing the net. Unfortunately Chinese tablets are cheap. And the two areas in which they suffer are battery life and stability. Whereas the iPad has it's 10hour battery life the Chinese's are lucky to get 5. Worse if you max out brightness and switch on Wifi you can cut it down to 2 1/2 hours. Bad times. So I'm questioning the wisdom of dropping £140 of birthday money on one which tbh. I couldn't really do much with away from a socket. They don't even charge off USB so It's not even like I could charge them from my U2O battery. The "best" on the Market is either the Wistech A81-E or the X5A. Neither of them are great. On the other hand Archos are coming out with their new 7o Internet tablet soon. With either 8gb of flash or a 250gb hdd. And it also has a 7hr video playback time (10hours browsing) so I'm waiting for that I guess :-/

All in all I'm pretty down. I've sent off the UCAS but I'm not optimistic about my chances of getting in some places. I'm hoping I can go to somewhere good. I just feel so crap lately. Ah well

Need to catch up on work anyway.

Video Of the Day has to be thisssss...

So that's that from me. Need to do this more often. This is Me, Saying it a it is in IT (and me) and the Weather is COLD!!!

Saturday, 9 October 2010


Well it's been a while since I published a piece to my blog and there are various reasons why. I sort of got frustrated that it gets no comments. It's just me talking to myself. It's kinda sad really. Also I am carrying my laptop to school less regularly, and until right now i did all my "blogging" on there. There's also the fact that my google adverts are broken :-( its not going up in pay even though it is going up in count. It's just that no one wants to read about my thoughts really. They're boring computer things that are only interesting to me. But oh well.

Alas my IT world moves on. My Main folding machine has been down for a week (cries) and I honestly thought the motherboard has finally bitten the dust. As I may have said before the P5N32E-SLI Doesn't support the E1400 so occasionally goes spastic. Anyway even after changing the CPU, fiddling with ram and graphics cards, I still couldn't get any display from any cards :'-( So I built the second folding machine, with the £20 Asus A8N SLI 939 board that I have running an 8800GS with a very custom cooler and the 8800GTS 512 from my folding machine. I also over-clocked the Athlon X2 3800+ 2.0Ghz to 2.4Ghz and am running a little SMP Client on it for around 650ppd. In total it's kicking out about 9.5k - 10.5k which is very nice. I've overclocked both gpu's by little bit and chucked some extra fans in with them. Its installed on a broken 80gb 2.5". I say broken because I believe it was stopped being used because It had bad sectors, but it's doing fine for now.
Anyway only last night I managed to get my main machine going. Didn't do anything different, it just decided to come back to life. I've left the 8800GTS 320 In there with the 9800GX2 and they're both doing fine. I decided to leave the 88 at it's factory oc'd clocks rather than the huge over-clock i've been running it at for months. It's getting old and the gain probably isn't worth the reduction in it's life. On the other hand I have found a nice OC for the E1400 :) I've got the chip running at 300*9 = 2700Mhz and because of the way the bonuses are awarded, the ppd has jumped from 680ppd to 1150ppd :-D a nice jump and the temps are still manageable. I tried for 3.0 but I got a lock in windows under load so I left it at the happy 2.7. It's now doing about 15k ppd which is not bad at all :) a combined 25k is a nice amount.
I am planning, however, to add either a GTS 450 or a GTS 460 768mb to the main machine (hence the empty slot) I'm hoping (with -advmethods) this will pull an extra 10k-14k ppd. If I can get up to 35k/40k ppd that would be really awesome.

In other pc news I'm thinking of getting an An android tablet. Specifically the Herotab X5A or the wistech A81-E I wanted something running android OS so I could learn the OS and have something to write apps on. I'd also like something with a bigger screen (than my 3.5" iPhone) to watch videos on while I'm on the go (or at home). Its an idea, but I'm looking at £120 -£180 which unfortunately money I just don't have :-( I also found a Point of View 7" Android 2.1 tablet with a decent battery. At £175 its not bad, but still my penniless state makes it look unlikely i'll get one.
On the positive side I managed to nab myself a 1 month old Corsair 60GB F60 Sandforce SSD for £70. Not bad at all. Should be coming soon and I'll have a nice super fast OS drive. :)
My brother has also (slightly unbelievably) bought himself a Sapphire 5870 Vapor-X 2GB Graphics Card O_O It's A beast of a card and will set you back ~£380 new. And I got it for him, 5 months old, for £240! He's a happy bunny. He also wants to buy the new NZXT Phantom Case (in White) and He's paying me back for a £100 BeQuiet 650w Dark Power Pro PSU. He got it brnad new (as an RMA replacement) but he's giving me £60 which I reckon is fair... He is my brother :-P

My gaming fortunes haven't changed alot :-( I bought F1 2010 which I loved for a while. But then the bugs set in. I was getting far too regular punctures as well as the fact that the pit crew would break and the pit lane would get blocked. Also the AI don't change their lap rate correctly all the time. This ultimately ended up with on my 4th race, my save file corrupted and i lost all my progress. I put it down but am now "trying" to get into it. I've finally managed to get it going with SLI (By using the same driver profile as Grid) and now it REALLY raggs my system! Both GPU's are running seriously warm and the CPU utilisation is massive, on a 4Ghz Quad! It's a seriously heavy game (I guess its lots of Physx Calculations) but at least now I am getting Silky-Smooth Frame-rates :) I'm still looking forward to TDU 2 and SW:TOR but there aren't many games other than that which interest me... Kinda Sucks.

Been Watching Lost on my Phone and Been listening to the Bit-Tech Podcast (Catching up should I say) Working at Work and falling behind on School Work. I'm coming to one of those Crux Points. UCAS App has to be in next week (If I want to apply to Oxford/Cambridge) and I've got tests and Homeworks I'm behind on (11 pieces), Bad Times.

Instead of Doing this Blog every day now I'm going to try and write about 2 entries a week. Maybe more maybe less. No one reads it anyway so I guess it doesn't really matter :)

Video of the Day has to be this one, Johnny Depp Showing the World what it means to be a good person. And how to make other people Happy. He got nothing out of this, and I'm sure made that little girl very happy.

So that's me, Telling it like it is in IT. No one's reading this anyway but who cares//.... Weather's Not bad.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

So I was at work today :-)

Unexpectedly last night I got a call asking me to come in to work today. Which To be honest I wasn't expecting because I was told explicitly that I wouldn't be needed until Friday. When two of the main members of staff are off and they need a hand. It is however my girlfriends birthday. Doh!

Anyways so I spent the day typing invoices out from Amazon orders into our system at work. It took all day but you could make it fun by making fun of the names of the people why were getting things delivered, or their addresses. Hehe. I had a nice time though, It makes a difference from builds work. We were so busy with the internet orders the systems got put on the backburner anyay.

I noticed this today whilst perusing though a system sellers website and I noticed this website. And looking at Asetek's Water-cooler it is IDENTICAL to the Corsair Hydro H50. I was thinking, Blatant Plagiarism! But after a quick google I realised that Asetek and Corsair are partners, and Asetek sell the same products to the OEM Customers and Corsair to the Enthusiast market. So all is well in the world.

In good news for gamers (everywhere "apparently") Crysis 2 the Multiplatform Sibling/Traitor of one of the most advanced PC titles ever made. Will be released on March 25th next year. SEE WHAT I MEANT YESTERDAY!!! They're all too far away. And it's not even like Crysis 2 is going to push that much further Hardware wise anyway. All they've indicated they're doing is "Optimising" the engine (ie cutting off features to get it to run at any more than 5fps on the Archaic hardware in modern gaming consoles. It's a wonder they still cost ~£200. the Core hardware in the 360 is coming up to 6 years old. (I add one year for development time) By any standard that is ancient" Would you browse the web on a phone from 6 years ago? No. Would you try to decode HD video on an Ultraportable from 6 years ago? No. Would You attempt to play "HD" games on Hardware that is 6 Years old? No. It's absolutely ridiculous. It would be trivial to fit a better graphics chip in the new 360 and just make it so that games have to be written to use it (like the retina display on the iPhone 4) In fact, If Apple made a games console, At least it would be updated every now again (even if it used old tech like the "new" mac mini)

Soo I've gone off on another rant. Back to folding, I'm trialling the new 6.30 SMP Client for Folding on a CPU. I really didn't think the e1200 in my folding machine (which is already helping along 4 gpu clients) would be able to get an SMP unit in before the required deadline. But alas, FAHMON predicts that it will complete not just within the required deadline, but within the preferred deadline! and you can't sniff at 921 points :-) Also had to reduce my overlclock to get 24/7 stability with the temps i'm getting on this 965. Hoping that if i get the temps down a bit I can leave it folding with the SMP client 24/7 to boost the Main Folding machine while i undertake planning and construction of the second folding machine.

The First folding machine actually grew out of a very lucky purchase of mine, the Asus P5N32E-SLI motherboard second hand for £30 inc Shipping. It evolved and thanks to components like the Coolermaster Stacker and is now quite a high end folding machine. My second folding machine is going to be based around an old Asus A8N-SLI 939 board. I'm going to pair it with my old Athlon X2 3800+ 2.0Ghz Dual Core CPU. I'm also going to buy a new 8800GTS 512MB and fit it in the main folding machine. That way all the GPU's in that machine will have 128 SP's. The new folding machine will have the 8800GTS 320Mb that's currently in my folding machine. And my 8800GS 384Mb that's currently in my friends machine (but it's coming home now that he's bought a GTX 460) so that way, both machines will have matched SP cards. I'm hoping for combined ppd of above 30k. ~22 for the main rig and ~9k for the secondary rig. The new rig will be running off the old 425w Hiper PSU that was in the rig before I bought the XFX Black Edition 750W psu. It's going to be like a sibling. I'm really looking forward getting it going. temporarily its also going to run on the old 4.3GB Seagate drive from my very first desktop machine!

So that's the motion for me in technology. video of the day for me has to be this clip of Spore jar Jar. I've been watching back the good old episode one and Jar Jar is so mad! he just doesn't fit into star wars at all but he's just funny so this is him, reborn XD

So that's me, telling it like it in in IT. And Although probably next to no one will ever read this, I've just gotta say. The weather for the big pod race tommorow on tatooine looks HOT HOT HOT :)

Monday, 16 August 2010

Woops, I missed Monday's :-)

I find these days that, as sad as it is, I'm simply not enjoying gaming the same way I used to. The more I think about it, the more I wonder quite why it is. I have no patience anymore for playing new games and learning new interfaces, control setups and intricate details. It's like my Brain has said enough is enough. You have learnt all about this set of stories, stick with them. I Loved and always will love Kotor, and much in the same way I found the Witcher a very enjoyable experience. I played it all the way through and when I got to the end all I wanted to do was sit down and play it again! I enjoyed Crysis because it was the first FPS I really got into. but If you set the bar at crysis where do you go from there! Graphically very few other games can hold a candle to Crysis. And if the graphics look dated, to me, it can make the gameplay feel dated too.
But it's like I want more of the games and characters I love. I want the Witcher 2, I want Star Wars: The Old Republic, I want Crysis 2 (But why in a city?), And most of all I want TDU2. My Love for Test Drive Unlimited started Along time ago back when my rig had an Athlon 3200+ and a 7800GS. I could play the game at 1024 x 768 with no Antialiasing. but straight away I loved it. the freedom to drive. No agenda of the game, just freedom. No storyline, no pressure, just pure unbridled Driving. It's a formula that other games have and will continue to fail to copy. It's Real, Licensed Supercars. On an Island. With Traffic, A racetrack, tight corners, long straights, Everything you could want from A driving game. As I upgraded my machine and it became more powerful i began to ramp up the settings. I have now reached the point where I run the game maxxed out at 1680*1050 with 16xSLIAA. yes, SLI AA. It's awesome. And I cannot wait for the second. I have honestly sank more hours into that game than any other game I have ever played, even pokemon, And I still love it. I've also bought a Logitech Driving Force Pro which really adds to the enjoyment. I know the best ribbons of twisty roads through the mountains and Nothing is more fun than firing up a red Ferrari and disappearing into the Sunset.

So to say that I don't enjoy gaming anymore is a lie. It's simply that I have all the franchises I want to enjoy. I don't like Mass Effect 1 or 2 because they feel like a bad copy of Kotor. I preffer Kotor. I dont enjoy Dragon Age all that much because It feels a bit like a copy of the Witcher. I would rather play the Witcher. And Every other FPS doesn't give me the same enjoyment as firing up a match in Steel Mill, or Excavation. I also find myself being lazy and only playing games if I can use my Xbox 360 controller. I would never play a game on a 360 though because I couldn't cope with the lack of anti-aliasing. It's annoying because the main game I have at the moment that I play with the Xbox controller is Just Cause 2. And I don't have to patience to 100% every settlement. So I find myself just messing around. All my driving games need the wheel and I have to be bothered to set up the wheel and tidy my desk ¬.¬

So anyway, I'm too lazy and now I'm just waiting for the Witcher 2, TDU 2, The Old Republic, And Formula 1 2010. Being a Big F1 Fan I'm obviously really looking forward to this aswell. :-) I'd love to have the money for a new HP IPS 24" Monitor, A 128GB Crucial Real SSD + PCI-E Controller, And a Logitech G27 Steering Wheel. All Of Which have a combined Price Tag of about £1000... But oh well.

Anyway I realise this is now Tuesday (night) and the reason I didn't get round to posting anything yesterday is I spent the day with my girlfriend, who's lovely! I'm really lucky to have her and she makes me really happy (Even if she's so clumsy AND put chocolate in my Coke Cola, take it from me, it doesn't work :-) In other news my cousins got their Mini 311's today. They said that its taking them a bit of time to get used to typing on them, not because of hte keyboard but the mouse. Like with lots of laptops with trackpads, sometimes your finger brushes against them and moves the mouse. Because of the Mini 311's diminutive size, this is a little bit more difficult to adjust to. However I've found that once you do, the keyboard is a pleasure to type on. overall the only changes I would make to the 311 is the use of a CULV processor with the ION chip and I would magically have super low SSD prices so I could chuck in a nice 256Gb Drive. Even if there's a bottleneck to the HDD controller of 100M/s (kinda annoying) but you still get the instantaneous access times which would make the OS feel a chunk snappier. That again is the reason I would have an M11x. the added weight would annoy me because to be honest at 1.4kg the 311 is already at the upper weight of what I want to carry about (charger adds ~0.3kG) So realistically I don't think an M11X would quite work for me (even if they're awesome)

Anyway this is Monday's Post and Monday's post needs a video of the day! but today its a sad one :-( There aren't many cars out there that are Iconic. There are a few for sure, but to me, the Ferrari 458 Italia is the perfect amalgamation of Design and Technology. Which makes seeing one wrapped around a lamp post all the more sad. Stupid Hoomans. It's like they say in computers " Ah yes sir we've diagnosed the problem. There seems to be a T, W, A, T in the interface between the Chair and Keyboard and Mouse" :-D

Sad times, Anyway this Is Me, Saying it like it is in IT. And the weather is DARK!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

20k Points Per Day :-D

So I sat up until 3 this morning fixing and reconfiguring my folding machine (Specs in the sidebar and click the "folding machine" to see progress). the motherboard had decided to stop posting so it was a battle to get it back to life. I had to swap in an Old Pentium 3.0Ghz that the board liked and "fiddle" with the whole machine. I moved ram, tried all three PCI-E slots and tried repeatedly clearing the CMOS. Nothing I did seemed to want to make it startup. I was just about to give up on it when I fired it up one more time and it sprung to life! I got a lovely post screen and set about reconfiguring the BIOS. I set the APM settings so that as long as the machine has a Power lead it just switches itself on and gets folding. It's using a Wireless "n" adaptor so I can move the machine anywhere and just hook it up to the web to get folding. I had to add a new fourth GPU client and add the tracking info in FAHMON and I also decided to set all fan speeds to 100%. I thought this was a good idea as all the cards are so tightly packed together. The new XFX 750W PSU is also a Success. It looks great (not essential but nice) and has all the modular options i need. Oddly It has a moulded 4+4 cpu power and a moulded 8 pin lead. Would have thought they'd make the 8 pin modular but meh, just means one more cable to hide. HWMonitor Pro is also Awesome! remote monitoring of temps means I dont have to hold a full VNC connection open which is nice, very happy with that.

So anyway I've noticed how the mobile phone market is turning quite suddenly into a mirror of the PC market. The release of the first antivirus packages for Android mean that it's quickly turning into the Windows of mobile phones. The thing is, No one really uses windows mobile, yes there are a few users but its not as prevalent as Android (kinda like Linux). This makes Android a big target, much like Windows XP is now, And given reports of how many viral applications and exploits there are for the operating system, it seems that it isn't the most secure of OS's. The iPhone's OS gives you quite a limited smartphone experience in the way it limits your choice. You may do things Apple's way, and only Apple's way. With Android you do get much greater choice. You can pick a media player that works for you, you could argue that Apple's software works "for everyone" but in alot of cases it still might not be what you want.

It's an endless argument but at the end of the day all that matters is you have the choice to choose the one that works for you. The fact I have an iPhone surprises alot of people and often myself. I bought an iPhone 3G back when there wasn't really anything else on the market that could match it. Using the 3G for 18 months meant that I "invested" in the platform. I build up databases of texts, contacts and save data for games and applications. I'd spent money on the individual applications themselves and organised my entire music library into iTunes. More importantly I had experience with it and understand the limits and boundries of the operating system. At the end of my 18 month contract I was adament that I would move to Android. I wanted the "free-er" experience with the choice I expect from technology. But having played with a few of the top end android phones of the time, I found their lack of a cohesive approach to design a bit of a turn off and also the fact that they didn't pay as much attention to having a responsive intuitive user interface. For example on the desire, I found that when you opened the applications menu the entire interface lagged up to an almost unusable level.

I know that if I owned an Android phone, I would come to love it. With time I would personalise it and set it up just the way i liked it. The worry is that your phone is something you entrust with alot of personal information. In mine there's lots of sensitive data that I would not want getting into other peoples hands. The idea that I would have to be especially careful what I did with my android phone, or run antivirus software that slowed down the entire system is a bit of a down side for me. We aren't there yet, so it didnt affect my decision this time round. But next time i'm picking a phone, I reckon it may be more of a concern.

Folding machine is still running well. PPD depends quite heavily on which work unit I get and drifts between 18500ppd and 21000 ppd. The combined potential PPD of my home is now over 40000 ppd but alot of it is either not running F@H or not running it 24/7

Saw this video today and it's a (slightly archaic) reminder of how important CPU cooling is :-)

So thats, Me, Telling it like it is in IT, and the Weather is SUNNY!!!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

"A Virus Day"

Once again I'm writing this blog from a train, the baker street fast service from moor park. Which is really bumpy today! Not that it's actually a baker street service today, theres no service between aldgate and uxbridge... Grrrr. Today however I am armed with my Razer bluetooth mouse which at ~£20 is awesome, works brilliantly and connects in about 3 seconds from being turned on.

At work today it was distinctly a "virus day." The whole time was spent playing with virus removal software. I Had one particularly impressive "security suite" that really dug itself into the computer. It effectively disabled internet explorer, only letting you access a few of its own webpages, and a Viagra advert. It then stopped you from running most .exe files, crucially, things like mbam.exe, hijackthis.exe etc etc.This also included security software like Bullguard which was already instaled on the system. Even that simply wouldn't run. I plugged in my pendrive with the intention of installing malwarebytes and to my surprise found that mbam-setup-1.46.exe executed fine! Result. So the installer ran all the way through and then went to run mbam.exe itself. No such luck. mbam.exe was on it's "list" and I got presented with a "mbam.exe is infected, do you want to activate your Security Suite?" clicking yes took you to the website where they asked for $69.99 for a "lifetime" subscription. One of the most entertaining things was the way they threw in random words under features like "Remote Administrator" "Deep Mesh Scanning." etc. Shows just how much they want to catch out the unwary / uneducated user.
So at this Point I ventured into Program Files (which would you believe I was told was infected!) and then headed over to the Malwarebytes folder (which was infected by the way) and then renamed the mbam.exe to mbam-setup-1.46.exe which was the only .exe that I had known to run. It worked and from then on I had a fully operational, and soon after updated, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. I started a Full system scan and left that running, because the fingers of this virus looked like they spread deep into the system. And decided then to focus on how I could get back functionality of the browser afterwards (as experience told me that these things often have a certain "aftermath" in the browser department. Hijack this was infected (of course) so a quick moment of genius later :) Hijackthis.exe became mbam-setup-1.46.exe and hey presto I had Hijackthis Fully operational.
While the Malwarebytes scan was running, I did a Hijackthis scan and saw there was a lot of entries that in any normal system, simply shouldn't be there. the best tell for these is the Randomly generated names that they use. The advantage for the virus writers is that by randomly creating the names, if you google it, you get no results. the downside is that to an experienced user they stand out like a sore thumb. So having selected about 15 different entries (which ranged from BHO's to Startup apps) I hit fix and prayed. In that one fell swoop, bang, it was all gone. the false security centre, the "security suite", the Browser redirects and blocks, the loopback proxy server setup, the disallowed .exe's and all the popups about how every single peice of the system was infected. All gone. Malwarebytes by this point was a good 10 minutes into its scan and had still found nothing. Bad Malwarebytes.
So I ran the Bullguard Installer again to get it going and let that do its scan. Both it and Malwarebytes found no other infected files. I'd got them all with Hijackthis. Humans 1 : Computers 0

At the end of the day it was just a simple victory in a computer workshop over a quite invasive virus but it felt good. A nice little victory for me. And it's taught me a lesson. Since Windows 7 was released I think it's caused a few people to get lazy when it comes to setting up and maintaining the system. It does almost everything for you! It installs your drivers for you, updates itself for you, defragments and indexes itself for you, suggests solutions to problems for you, almost everything. And that's the moral of this story. There's still no substitute for getting your hands dirty and doing it manually.

The shame about Saturdays is there often isn't a great deal going on in the tech world. I've borrowed a couple of old P4's to try to get my Folding@Home Machine back to life tonight. The New XFX PSU is waiting to go in, and I'm going to take pictures of the whole process for my AQA Bacc A level project. Really hoping I can get hold of a Q6600 soon otherwise I might just get a different dual core chip cheap. Something like an E6300 or an E2160. Something that will work nicely in the folding machine and be fast enough to hold up 4 gpu clients. Also I should be able to get a nice little overclock out of those chips, which I've been afraid to do to my E1400 because chances are it'll just brick again.

Really looking forward to the new IE9 and it's GPU accelerated Bretherin. The latest Chrome 5 works really well though and I love how Chrome Updates completely unobtrusively. Adobe (Flash) and Sun (Java) Could learn a thing or two from Google in that regard.

I was thinking today what my perfect laptop would be. And frustratingly I knew exactly what it is and it does exist. It would be a fully kitted out Alienware M11x but with a newer gen graphics card, based on the GF 104 or 106 die. About 240 SP's would fit the bill nicely. Preferably without the Alienware badge (but I wouldn't say no to the lights :) The price tag of course would be astronomical but what can you do.

The new 11" Macbook Air sounds interesting. Perfect screen dimensions obviously, and it's effectively going to be a netbook, but with the inevitable £1000+ price tag, I;m guessing it'll be CULV rather than Atom. Probably one of the new CULV i3 chips. Given the way Apple like to chuck in a GPU we could hope that It'll also have a Geforce9300M/Ion But i'm not holding my breath with the sort of dimensions were talking about. At this point, I'm still not convinced their not going to use an External Battery! It's interesting that from a design point of view what you get from Apple hardware *is* A more "expensive" design for better or worse. There are not however many full sized 15" laptops that can get a solid 10 hours out of the battery. So even if you bought it and bootcamped it straight away it would have a feature that you'd have to work hard to get with any other notebook, Especially given most of the laptops in their price range are either 17" or Gaming Notebooks or Both. That's not to say I'd ever buy one, I Love my Mini 311 and I especially love that It's cheap but well designed. It's cheap and there's no real comprimise. Yes it's an Atom and that wont be fast enough for some people but actually, if you set up the system properly, it is enough. And I'm adamant the 11" Form Factor is pretty much the best when it comes to combining Screen size/resolution, performance, keyboard size, and battery life. I think the M11x is a great design and I really look forward to equivalent designs from other Laptop manufacturers. I have to say though I hate the Idea of these 11" netbooks with the scrawny little 1.2Ghz Atom and intel graphics. What's the point of that! they're not even any cheaper than the 311! Grrrrr

In work today we also had a lovely Acer laptop that was completely dead... and 1 year and 15 days old. Sickening isn't it. Cmon Acer get your act together you CAN make things that last! I know it! Please! My girlfriends laptop is an Acer (I didn't tell them what to buy) but her's is now pushing on for 2 years old. I put windows 7 on there for her (one of my own legit licenses) and it's not a bad machine all round.

Video of the day has to be this one. For many raisins. It's a Tune any F1 followers will revel in, It's Glastonbury and thats cool, It's Florence and the Machine who alot of people like and did I mention its available in HD (which is of course important) and the Bass Solo is EPIC!!!!!!!!!!

So that's all for today. This is me, Saying it like it is in IT. And the Weather is Really Rather Awesome!

Friday, 13 August 2010

I Hate Cities

In a Sideline Piece I just want to say how much I hate cities. Having spent a few days out in the countryside I returned to London via train as I mentioned earlier. There was a disturbance on the train, someone called out over the intercom that they needed police assistance to sort out two guys walking down the train. God knows.

Anyway so I wanted to use the toilet after my two hour train ride but I overheard a lady saying that the toilets were out of use. "Fine" I thought, "I'll go in the station." so I go through the barrier and spy a burger king. I was hungry, so I went to see if they had a toilet aswell. Nope. So I went to find somewhere that did. The station toilets were 30p to use, and all I had on me was a £20 note. So after a few minutes of worrying what to do I decided to go to Boots, and find something where they'd have to give me change that includes a 20p and a 10p. A bottle of coke at a ridiculous £1.18 did the job. So I went to the toilets (they stank) and then went to get my lunch. I bought a meal after some considerable wait and then went to find somewhere to sit. I settled on a set of 8 chairs where two were free. Result, or so I thought.

I sat down to eat my burger and it literally burnt my hands! As did the Chips! So I settled on sipping some coke and waiting for it all to cool down. Now at this point I should stress I was inside, completely covered over in London Victoria rail station. And then It started to rain... On my head... Inside. Marvellous.

There were a set op pipes above my head that I decided must be to blame, but I could not be asked to move, the only other option I had was stand, even in the burger king there were no seats, just benches to lean against. So i sat there, water trickling down on my head. Eventually a man i na blue uniform turned up on one of those little electric vehicles, he took out a clipboard and started ticking a few things.

A beggar came past asking for money, I didn't actually realise that's what he was until he'd passed me, I had my headphones on, Ironically listening to "Under the waves" by Pendulum. the Blue man told the beggar "not in here" and the poor guy limped off. I felt a bit bad but what can you do. It was at this moment I realised I hated cities. The number of people and the cramped atmosphere everywhere you go, the no phone reception on the underground, the way that everyone needs to make their cut. even if it means charging 30p to go to the bloomin toilet.

In the countryside there's open spaces and calm. There's no hustle and bustle. And the more I think about it, the more I'd like to live outside a city... As long as the internet connections alright though cos dude, I'm not going down to like less than 2mb

Mobile Technology

I'm currently sat on a 2 hour train service into London victoria and its fun to look at all the tech that I'm using as I travel. My HP Mini's battery timer is telling me I have a good 3hr 20Mins of battery left to use writing this blog, browsing the web, doing a bit of classic gaming and generally doing online and offline things. The online part is made doable by my Mifi. Its sat there hooking my laptop up to the 3 Mobile network pretty well. Its a snappy service most of the time anyway. And on my left is my Phone. I'm listening to music and it's using its GPS to tell me the speed of the train. (89mph atm) It's just awesome the way tech has come along. But all I want to do is look out the window and enjoy the view. I'm on the way home so that I can make it into work tommorow and I really do enjoy my job and feel very privileged to do it.

As a PC technician I cover building pc's of all shapes, sizes and specs. Aswell as diagnosing and fixing lots of Hardware and Software problems. I really enjoy working with the team of people at the shop and it always gives me something to look forward to at the weekend. There's tough parts, Dealing with stroppy customers or those who simply wont listen or accept anything your saying, and then there's intermittent problems. oooooh I hate intermittent problems.

An interesting thing I've found about my 311 is that running on access virus scanning really slows down the system. I'm still waiting for them to develop virus scanning that uses the GPU to offload the work. alas. Kaspersky were working on the idea at one point, but i've not heard anything about it since. All I can say is that where most computers age and get further behind the performance curve, This little Mini is only getting better. With better GPU support for almost everything I simply can't wait for the future of this machine! I'm hearing rumblings about the new IE9 Beta being available in september and that promises to bring GPU acceleration to Browsing. That means faster page rendering times, faster HTML5 features, Generally awesome stuff for the Mini. I wish apple would add some gpu acceleration to Quicktime, but I'm not holding my breath. Once a bit more of the works been done and all the tough stuff is offloaded to GPU's its going to be an interesting way to upgrade an old machine. And I reckon it will do good things for the sale of budget GPU's.

Even now Badaboom on my ION converts H.264 at ~35Fps. That's past viewable speeds! With the right software I could watch back a video as I convert it on the fly, With an ATOM!!! Speaking of which I tried an iPhone App Streamtome the other day. Promises ot convert videos on your computer on the fly and stream them over your LAN or over the net. Unfortunately I haven't yet been able to get it to work with a single video (tried various formats) but I haven't really had time to look into it propperly. Oh by the way. Down to 88% battery left (and because I'm just typing not doing much with the system, Battery Bar reckons I've still got 3hrs 42Minutes left :-) happy days.

Video of the day has got to be this one, saw it the other day and lol'd a bit. Links back to what I was saying about the GTX 460 the other day which BY THE WAY, has got a new BIOS you can flash which raises the clocks on all the cards... And It's Official from EVGA O__O
Anyway Enjoy

So there you have it peeps, this is Andrew Girdler, telling it like it is in IT, and the weather is Sunny!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

The Mini 311 Takes Off!

Well today I'm visiting family and they've all been taken aback by my Mini 311 today. Google + iPlayer are now working together really well! Playing back HD content in Chrome CPU usage (on a single core atom) is now only 10% - 15%! GPU usage sits around 10% jumps to ~50% when theres lots of action but it makes for a great very viewable experience. Much better than it was 8 months ago.

Anyway four of my family have decided to BUY a Compaq Mini 311! Like i said at only £229 from Amazon, two of my cousins, my brother and my grandma decided to buy one! One cousin for full blown laptop use, the other for music and portable stuff (in parallel with another laptop). My brother wants one for some classic gaming and my grandma just wants a cheap little laptop! I'm really happy that it's gone down so well with everyone (even if the touchpad isn't the best in the world)

Been really impressed with My Mifi. It has its ups and downs. On the beach it had no reception at all while my Vodafone iPhone held onto a GPRS signal. But today I've found that while I was upstairs in the house i'm staying in, My laptop connected to My Mifi (while I thought it was on the wireless) and was really fast. I was getting d/l speeds of 2.5 Mb/s and u/l speeds of 1.6Mb/s
Pretty Impressive for mobile internet. Really shows you how the mobile internet networks of Britain have changed.

Looking forward to getting home and getting my folding machine running "to the max" hope to get that 22K ppd sorted :-) today had to Teamviewer my home machine and set it up again folding ) as microsoft decided to restart it for updates ¬.¬

Found some remenants of a nasty trojan I removed last week. Had a BHO built into it that was still somewhat active in IE in my Windows 7 install. Seemed only to be redirecting me every now and again. Anyway a quick manual check over with Hijackthis soon saw to that. But worryingly neither Microsoft Security Essentials or AVG or Malwarebytes managed to sort those bits out! clueless users would be left with an unusable IE and intrestingly Firefox too, although Chrome was unnaffected (woop for chrome)

Video of the day is a reference to the quake games of old mixed in with some modern humor. Involving the much loathed Justin "Joke" Beiber. And no I don't care if i spelt it right, i cannot be bothered to google him... too much effort. Anyway love the vid.

Hope everyone is having a nice summer anyway. This is me, saying it like it is in IT, And the weather is Rainy!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010


It's been ages since I created this blog but now I’m really going to go with it. Just hit it. I'm going to create a YouTube account for this and maybe even a new Facebook page and a twitter. Why not, bombard the world with the thoughts of Andrew Girdler, or at least, the bits of the world who care!
At the moment my thoughts are that for £229 the HP Mini 311 is an ABSOLUTE BARGAIN!!!
Seriously guys, ION netbook that has a custom overclockable BIOS so you can OC the 1.6 GHz Atom to 2.2 Ghz+ its great and with Adobe Flash 10.1 it can cope with HD video as well! Really awesome and I'd advise it to anyone. Buy it from Amazon Guys, Best prices around (as normal)
Also OMG the GTX 460 is a steal at the moment. A friend of mine just went for the EVGA SC model from Scan. Slight price premium but you can't argue with a 10 year warranty :-) Anyone looking to upgrade from a single old 8800, this is the card for you, serious performance bump + DX11 feature set all at a price that can be swallowed. Aim for the 1GB version, Budget permitting
And People out there,
What do you guys think if schools replaced IT with a lesson which taught practical skills for computers? Like getting rid of viruses, speeding up a computer, sorting out when the internet breaks, knowing what makes a good pc and a bad one. Wouldn't that be better than "using excel, word and PowerPoint" In 1 generation we'd make the whole world a more computer literate place. You heard it here first folks :-)
Fun vid of the day Apple gets Attacked... Always fun. Is it Animatronics or CG. I know the answer but do you? ;-)
Currently working on my Folding@Home machine (folding for CPC/Bittech) just added a smoking 9800GX2 into the mix and hoping to get some LGA775 Quad core goodness in there soon. Hoping to get a good 22K ppd out of my main machine and then build a second rig starting at about 5k PPD and working that one up. Built the 22K PPD machine for ~ £180 and the secret is... second hand forums :-)
I've got the new iPhone 4 and some days I love it some days I regret it. Today was a decidedly regret it day. Wished I had of gone android but its fun watching the Smartphone market starting to reflect the PC market. Android is Windows and iOS is OSX. Makes for interesting viewing.
I was just wishing I had a good way of transferring files off my cousins PC. I'm sure "there’s an App for that" but its usability I'd rather have built into the OS. The only ways there are messy :-(
In other news vista is terrible
Sorry that’s not news its fact...
Anyway yeah PC Sales are falling according to the Inq today. Reflected in the face that although I hoped to be working a large chunk of the summer holidays I’m now not. Kind of sucks but oh well :-(
Anyways, this is me, Saying it like it is in IT, and the weather is nice

Thursday, 13 May 2010

XFX Rma Procedure

So at the moment i'm in the process of RMA-ing an XFX GTX 260 XXX. Cost me £245 back in the day. And it's the longest most frustrating procedure I've ever been through (except for an ASUS RMA I'll cover at another time) It's been locking and dying and eventually I called it and organised sending it back. It's been over 2 weeks and it still hasn't been tested. I'm hoping they offer me a decend refund (at least £150 given that's the Scan cost of a 260) and hen i'm going to buy a second 280 from Videocardshop and SLI the Hell out of them. (I'll cover why I chose to do this over upgrading later) I've left three messages on a thread I started on the Hexus Scan Forum and got no response so far which is pretty crap. they've been sat there for days and other threads have had replies just not mine... fail scan.

So anyway just awaiting news now, Hope things get sorted out pronto

Starting Out

For a while now I've been meaning to create a blog where I can publicly put forward my thoughts and feelings about what's going on for me and globally in Custom PC's. Be That Hardware, Software, Gaming, Modding, Folding or anything else, I'm going to write about it and someone out there might just read it. We'll see what will unfold...