Well I Made It… Again…

Once again I have made it to the end of the Blaugust journey for another year, and I have to sit back and contemplate how it all went, what I liked or didn’t like and whether it was worth it.

It’s one of those feelings where I’m glad that I did it again but I’m happy that it’s over. It’s definitely better than last years exhausting effort. But there were times when I was forcing myself to sit down and type about something because it was another day and I didn’t want to break the chain. I knew that if I took a day off, I’d stop altogether. But I wasn’t completely happy with the result of some of those posts. That said, there was still plenty that I was happy with.

If I was in a position to have more of a mindset where I could spend more time and effort of writing blog posts then I would have made some better quality work. There were even plans that I had which never eventuated that could have with some more focus. But it’s still that weird feeling of procrastination and tight deadlines that seems to loom. That feeling of “I’ll set aside the time to do better tomorrow” which happens almost every day. There’s also that feeling where I don’t want to write about something I want to do or have done. Instead I just want to do the things that I want to do.

But this has also helped myself in some ways. Writing gives me that feeling of self evaluation. It lets me go over my thoughts. I’ve never had a regular diary but I have done it during stages of my life. And Blaugust does give me that space to have that is some form. But I do get to a point where I’m happy to have tomorrow not involve this pattern.

As for the future, I’m not going to make any promises like in the past. I said last year I was done with Blaugust, yet here I was again. So I not going to say whether I plan to do it again or not. I thing that day has to come around and a post on Facebook could give me the push again. But I can see myself taking a year off. I have no idea. I’m also not going to say “I’ll do occasional posts after the month is over” because I highly doubt it. But the idea of doing this in private is appealing to me. Letting me sit down and dwell over my thoughts and wishes can be beneficial. But for now, I’m done! I made it! I’m really looking forward to not having to worry about this tomorrow!

So until we meet again,

Have fun and stay sexy!

S

Trying to Benchmark

Righto. My PC hobby area is a total mess and I don’t even have by usual typing PC out at all right now. That’s because I’m experimenting with selecting a motherboard and CPU that best works with Windows XP.

I have three candidates. The first is a Gigabyte board that runs an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400. It seems to be going at 2.4 Ghz. My other two candidates are both boards for running an Intel Core 2 Duo 6600 that says it also runs at 2.4 Ghz. One board is an Intel and the other is a Gigabyte. My aim is to see which runs best so I can use it for an XP gaming rig. Welcome to the world of Benchmarking.

I don’t exactly know what I’m doing when it comes to benchmarking so I am keeping it minimal. It makes sense to keep the hardware as consistent as possible. So I need to use the same software and as much of the same hardware as possible to make the comparisons fair. I am using the same hard drive, gpu, soundcard and in some cases RAM sticks. I’ll use different ram on the intel to see if having more sticks help. Its dual channel, so 4 1GB sticks might be better than 2 2GB ones. On the software side the only software I’m using that is different are the motherboard drivers. Each will have the same things installed. DirectX 9c, The .NET Framework version 4, 3d Mark 2001 SE, 3d Mark 2003, CPUz, Quake 3, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2, Fraps and Beyond Good and Evil. My Hard drive is a Western Digital 80 GB SATA drive, my Soundcard is a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS and the Graphics Card is an Nvidia Geforce 9600 GT. Once I have it all worked out, I plan to put in an SSD and a Radeon HD 6850.

I guess I need to keep the same screen resolutions whenever I test anything. So my screen resolution will be 1024×768. I’ve run a bench on CPUz and both 3d Marks to get scores. I have recorded the FPS for Quake 3 with FRAPS (91 for the AMD) but the other games are more just by feel to see how well they work. I only have recorded scored for the AMD so far. I have to swap the motherboards to do the other two but I feel like I have a system now. Maybe it will make a difference. Maybe it won’t. I guess I’m going to find out. So until next time,

Have fun and stay sexy!

S

I’ve flagged a few different options

Tonight is just one of those nights where I want to just be lazy. That means I won’t be typing all that much. Because I have a lavish dinner waiting for me. I went to the supermarket and got all sorts of nice treats like cheese, bread, chicken and dip. It’s very much a no fuss dinner but I’m really looking forward to it.

My day was mostly spent driving around looking in fabric stores. I am interested in making a new Port Adelaide cheer squad flag for showing off at games. One of my friend has offered to give me theirs when they get their new flag, but I really want to make another one of my own which really stands out.

My way of standing out is by using shiny fabric. I kind of have it narrowed down to two options. One is using something called “disco sequin” which looks like sequin covered fabric but is actually just really shiny dots. The other is a fabric that looks like it has glitter all through it. Both of them are only single sided so whatever I make has to have the fabric doubled over.

As for the visual idea I’m going for, I am looking to do something like the national flag of Seychelles. Only I would do it square rather than rectangular and with a different colour scheme. I like the idea of the corner of a sunburst.

It looks like I have a good idea going that I can work on during my time away from the game. So until tomorrow,

Have fun and stay sexy,

S

My solar power story is not so sunny

Today, I would have planned to have a different version of this interesting story to tell. Actually, I don’t think it would have turned out as interesting as it did. I guess I could leave it to you to be the judge.

I had been leaving this piece of news to surprise you all. Today we were booked in to have solar panels installed onto the roof of our house. They would have been attached but they wouldn’t be switched on for a few weeks as the various electricity companies would have to sort some more things out. The provider would have to do some paperwork and the company formerly known as ETSA (SA Power Networks is so much harder to drop in conversation, especially since SAPN in just not a pronounceable acronym)
would have to do some wiring to let the excess power flow into the grid. There is also a plan to have batteries installed later in the year.

But alas, that did not happen. Instead the installers decided it was not safe or responsible enough to do so without the right equipment. The problem is that the pitch of our roof is very steep. Much more of an issue than with other houses. They climbed up to the roof and decided that the height and pitch would make working on it really hard and they didn’t want anyone getting hurt or the panels getting broken from slipping off the roof. So they’re going to come back next week with a scissor lift to do the job safely.

(This is the point where I do a google image search to find out what a scissor lift is. Hmmm. Not sure how that’s going to help in the back of the house where there is a veranda they also have to deal with. But I digress.)

I guess, had they installed them without any issue, I wouldn’t have been able to write about how they couldn’t get them installed today. Instead it would have been a shorter story spent writing about what they looked like. I don’t think that would have been anywhere near as interesting. It would have been, however, much more convenient as I have to keep a room tidy. You see, the reason our roof is so steep is because this is a two story house and the roof starts at the top of the ground floor but the roof extends past the upper floor with occasional boxes cut out where rooms are located. This makes part of the inside roof accessible by a door inside a walk in wardrobe in one of the bedrooms. This happens to be a room where I spend a lot of time in messing around with tech gear (I’m in it right now typing this very blog post). So I have to keep the room neat in case they need access in there so now I need to keep it neat for another week at least. I even had to empty the wardrobe and keep everything in a neat pile in the corner of the room. I’m not putting it back though. I’d have to take it all out again and that just seems like wasted effort to me.

Oh well. I guess that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. I can live with it. The reward is still solar power. It’s just going to take a little bit longer than expected. So until next time,

Have fun and stay sexy!

S

My head hurts again

Hip hip hooray! I’ve had a bad day! My head hurst and it feels like the room is spinning. Apart from one appointment which I’ve had to go to (and is the cause of all of todays problems), I’ve spent most of the day in bed sleeping. I really should have called to reschedule but it felt like it was too late to do it. So now my body clock is in a complete state of being messed up. I could barely sleep at night, so by the time I had to wake, all I wanted to do was sleep.

This is really the most I can bring myself to type right now, so I think I’ll leave it at that. I might do something larger, but maybe not. But in the meantime, I need to find a way to make myself feel better. So until next time,

Have fun and stay sexy!

S

A Case for a new Case

I’m having one of those forgetful days today. It’s almost 6PM and I haven’t made a post at all. Just as I was going to leave the house too. Oh well, I guess I could tell you about other computer ideas I have, but for my modern PC.

I was checking something in the internals of my computer case. I had noticed two things. My optical drive was screwed and I hasn’t plugged one of my CPU fans in properly. So if I was going to plug that fan into the right pins so it could work as it should (my heatsink was so good that it didn’t affect anything and it was only the secondary fan in a tower cooler), then I may as well take the faulty bluray drive out. I don’t have any bluray disks anyway, and I have a USB DVD writer if I need disk access (which I’ve been using anyway). So I thought it would be great to just put the face plate back.

That was when the plastic clip snapped, making it impossible to keep the face plate in place.

In the mean time, it’s being held in place with duct tape, but not very well. Any slight piece of pressure and that face plate will fall right off. So as a more permanent solution, either I need something else to put in it’s place or a new case entirely.

I like the idea of a new case to be honest. This was never the one I originally wanted when building my machine. It was just that the one I wanted wasn’t in stock. It only has one USB 3.0 port and one USB 2.0 port. But it still uses the plug required for two of each. This makes it hard to add USB expansion bay without getting an external card for more USB 3.0 ports or not having the single one connected. It’s crappy. But I’ve already got a new set of 3 120mm fans for the case which I would hope to put in a new one if I wanted to.

The old case also has another drawback that I don’t like. The ventilation in the top. It’s just a set of large mesh holes the size of a DVD case with no fan mounts. This means it is really easy to fry my machine if I spill water on top of the case. It also makes the machine really loud as there is no sound filtering.

I still have the option of just slapping a new optical drive in it or get a USB expansion bay with a USB 3.0 card, but the more I type this, the more I just want a nice new case. It needs to have the following things.

5.25 Drive Bays
Two USB 3.0 ports (or none at all to just use a face plate instead)
2.5 inch and 3.5 inch drive slots (for my SSD and HD)
Mounts for 120mm fans
No power supply is required (or I’ll just steal it for another project)
No clear windows or flashy leds (except for the power and HD if necessary)
Elegant (this is subjective, but I don’t want something that looks stupid)
A reasonable price (nothing over $100 dollars and preferably something way less)

At this rate of researching though, I think I have come to the conclusion that it might be better just spending $20 on a DVD drive and being done with it. Perhaps finding a way to cover up the top ventilation holes or mounting fans to it. That’s because I can’t seem to find the perfect case. I can get ones that are close, but to similar to what I already have to not justify getting another one. I may just have another optical drive lying around so I won’t even have to spend any money at all.

So until next time,

Have fun and stay sexy!

S

Re-routing my Router

So, I have come to the end of my football journey for this year. Port Adelaide didn’t win and even if they did, Geelong won as well. Thereby making the possibility of finals doubly impossible. I am more relieved than disappointed as now I can finally have some space to find myself and get ready to come back next year. My Friday nights will be free from banner makings to do what I want again. I could go back to EVAC if I wanted to, but I think I want to have a few weeks to myself to do whatever I want to. My friends are going to the Legends game to have some fun next week. It seems like a great way to just let my hair down and enjoy myself.

Today I was finally able to do something I had been planning to do but needed the space and lack of Internet to do so. I wanted to move the location of the router. It has always existed in my bedroom, which has been convenient for connecting my PC and anything I wanted. But it has reached a stage where it has become more of a hassle. The room lights up like a disco whenever the led lights blink from activity. And whenever there is an issue, people have to go into my room to diagnose the router.

One day, when it was time to fix it yet again, I had an epiphany. Why not move the router out of my bedroom and into the TV room? This is what we call the room immediately outside the bedroom door. It is more of a rumpus room where there was a second smaller TV from which the room colloquially got its name. This was the TV where the SNES was plugged in and where the games were played. Where the older computer was located which was more accessible than the one in the office (and the one where all the computer games were installed). The room nowadays is one that I use as more of a home theatre with a 40 inch TV and a 5.1 surround sound system. I also have a PC connected so I can watch YouTube videos in comfort as well as any other video files from different sources (yaar). But I had run and ethernet cable from my bedroom under the door to a switch so I could connect my PC and any other wired networking devices.

The idea I had was swapping the locations of the router and the ethrernet switch with each other. But I would need to run a second cable outside my bedroom to do this. This time it would be a coaxal cable (that’s because it’s HFC internet connection). This wouldn’t be that hard to do as I could just follow the path of the ethernet cable. The only tricky part would be finding the right cable.

I tried pricing the various options up. The first option was getting coax by the metre and making one by attaching the right plugs. It didn’t turn out to be worth the money. The cost of the crimping tools were too much to justify for only one cable. And I didn’t know whom I could ask to try to borrow them. I also wasn’t exactly sure what the right length was for my needs. The next option was to find a place that could make one for me. An antenna place would probably be able to, but I thought it would also be expensive.

But then there was a third option I stumbled upon as I was looking through Bunnings one day. They sold the right coax cable in a 10 meter length. It had the right plugs too. (f-type connectors). I had measured how much I needed and found out that this length would be more than enough. If I wanted to I could even lift the cable off the ground and route it over my doorway instead of having it snake along the ground and under the rug. So $39.95 later I had just what I needed. It was not great value in my opinion, but it was still the cheapest and most convenient option. And, most importantly, it works too! That’s why you’re able to read this now. Now the router is in a more central location of the house which should make wifi signals more even, but I’ve yet to check if there is still a signal in the back shed. That could be the down side, but it’s something I can deal with. But overall, I am very happy. So until next time,

Have Fun and Stay Sexy!

S

My Computer Ideas

So when I went to bed, Malcom Turnbull was the Liberal leader and now when I have woken up, it’s Scot Morrison. What a strange week in Australian Politics it has been.

I think today I’m going to use this opportunity to list all of the old computing ideas I want o try out with the hardware that I have (or wish to buy). I’m think of this because there is one that is staring me in the face.

A way to triple boot MS-DOS 6.22, Windows 98 and Windows 2000. This is an idea I have for my Windows 98 PC. It has the hardware to do most things but I kinda just want to see if it’s possible so I can pick what OS I want on the fly. I don’t know if the SB live sound card would be compatible with Windows 3.x though. The same is true with my Geforece FX 5700. It might me able to do high resolutions if I use an older driver for something like a RIVA TNT, but I don’t quite know.

My other curiosity is finding a way to hot swap SSD’s. But I would need to find a 2.5 compatible front drive bay to do it. Especially in black. I think you can get them for 3.5 and 5.25 bays. Or at least you could get a 5.25 to 3.5 slot. That would cover up one of the dodgy face plates on my case if that’s true. It used to say “Leader” printed on the front but I sanded it off because I didn’t want it there. But the appearance and texture of the sanded surface no longer matches the case. Perhaps I could find a bay that also has some USB 2.0 ports in it so I don’t have to use the dodgy ones on the front. The reason the swapable SSD idea is in my mind is because it might work better than triple booting and be great for getting files on and off of a driver quite easily.

My other option is finding the same swapable drive bay that I have in my DOS machine. But it uses IDE as the interface so I’m unsure if I can squeeze an IDE to sata adapter into the bay with an SSD. It could work but I feel like it would be iffy. It’s something I should test with the beige ones I have before finding a black one. But finding them onlile is not a tricky task. At least with the SATA bays I should be able to connect the SATA to IDE adapter to the back easily.

One of my software projects is trying to find some really old versions of linux and finding how easy or hard they are to install. Or perhaps doing the same with OS 2 or other older operating systems.

Making my own ATX form card is another thing I’m planning to try out. It’s an expansion that is used to add A PS/2 mouse port, USB and an IR reader to an older AT style motherboard in the mid 90’s. My DOS machine has one and I’m using a really dodgy bracket with a PS/2 port to make that work. But I want to see if I can make one that has PS/2 and USB. I don’t really care about the IR port. This would have to need a visit to Jaycar and tying to get the right parts like the ports, wire leads and pin plug for the motherboard. It looks a bit like an IDE cable but has less pins. There are pin out pics on the internet because at least it kept to a standard. Then I’d need to find a way to mount it to an expansion bracket.

And finally. Finding a way to attach an SD card adapter to a rear mounted bracket slot. The IDE to compact flash adapters are commonly found in this setup but not the SD card ones. When they first came out, they wouldn’t even fit in a slot that actually had any port on the motherboard because it was placed too low on the slot. And any ones left on ebay are only in the UK and have insane postage on them. So I want to make my own mounting bracket with the loose ones I have. I need to find a way to get tiny little mounting screw posts that are either tiny right angle brackets or ones that are cut out from the bracket and bent into place. This will take some research on my part and lots of trial and error.

Well that’s all the things I can think of from the top of my head. So until next time,

Have fun and stay sexy!

S

What a week its been

This has been a strange week in Australian Politics. I wasn’t paying much attention at first, but then the leadership challenge happened on Tuesday. And today, after Dutton didn’t beat Turnbull, they’ve getting ready to have another go again. For the fist time in a long time I’m actually watching the Senate. Penny Wong has proposed a motion of no confidence. I don’t think it will go through, but it’s making for entertaining viewing.

I don’t have many plans for today. I thing all I have to do is go to a banner making at Alberton and gat my DJ set made. I got the online form extended and it made it to the facebook pace, but it was snuch into another post with barely any promotion again. I can’t belive how much the others don’t get it. Just a simple post plugging the request form with a link that hasn’t been burried into another post. That’s all I thought would be all it needed. But, no. Why would that happen? The mind boggles at the stupidity.

Well I’m still going to let tomorrow go well for me. I can do whatever I want with my DJ set, picking the song that I want to play sprinkled with requests. A few uf us are not going to sit in our regular seat nut will stand on the hill instead. That way we can meet up with people we don’t always get to sit with and just have some fun. I’m not bringing my big flag so I have less gear to manage. But I’ve reached a point where I kind of just want this Port Adelaide stint to be put out if it’s misery. I feel like we all need a time to have some space and for those who are acting like small children should have their toys taken away from them and be forced to sit in the corner for six months.

So until next time,

Have fun and stay sexy!

S

How my DJ request idea went

Today I had a deadline to make. Well, it was more like everybody else’s deadline to make. I just set the thing. I had a Google form that I had created because I wanted song requests for my DJ set this Friday. I don’t know if I can say wether or not it was a success or not.

You see, I am usually getting requests for songs but either on the day or at a point that is really inconvenient for me. So I thought I would finally give everyone the chance to actually request with enough time. I essentially gave everyone one and a half weeks time to do so leaving 4PM today as the cut-off. Fifteen songs, I got fifteen total, and some of them are my own it’s not quite what I was asking for, and whist I would call this useable, I wouldn’t call it a success. It suffered from a lack of promotion. I was hoping the group that I do DJ sets for would share it to their facebook page. They did place the link in a group email that gets sent out every week and on an event page from the LAST event. But it didn’t get what I wanted. In fact, the most responses I got were a result of me promoting it to my personal facebook account. I tried, but I guess there is only so much I can do. So no doubt I will still get verbal requests from people who didn’t know about my online form because the people tasked with sharing it didn’t do their job properly despite having ample time to do so. At least if I get asked to do something like requests in the future, I know what I can tell them if I don’t want to be involved.

I guess it gives me the excuse to play music that I like to make up the time, or just do a short set if I want to. The possibilities are limitless. So until next time,

Have fun and stay sexy!

S