Thursday, July 28, 2005


So we got a Roomba after our wedding, with some of the gift cards we received, some store credit, and a bit of cash. Real nice, vaccuums the whole apartment, even under the sofa. Word of advice? Make sure you know where your dog is when Roomba's doing its thing. Chester left a nice big pile in the wake of the Roomba, and when we found it it was going over the same spot over and over trying to get the crap up.

Brushes, dust bin, grill, wheels... all clogged with Chester doodie.

You don't know haet until you've cleaned dog shit out of your $250 robotic vaccuum cleaner.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Building a new computer, Part 5

I believe I am finished. I actually had to reinstall windows, this time started from SP1. After tinkering with things for a while, I concluded that the problems I was having could be attributed to a crappy screensaver. I downloaded this screensaver that had some pretty cool 3d effects, but after a while the screensaver would stutter and flash white overlay like it was trying to induce seizures. I had applied the screensaver to basically test the 3d card over long periods of time, but have since given up on it. Doom3 runs fine at 1024x768 on high with everything turned on. UT2004 plays flawlessly at the same settings and everything turned to MAX. Thief 3 is a little glitchy, but it may be running better now. Splinter Cell 3 ran great, but I uninstalled it cause I couldn't find a crack.

So windows is up to date (SP2 with all the updates), NAV 2005 antivirus installed, Office 2003, Daemon tools and tons of ISOs. This beast is ready to go.

Happy 7Eleven day, go get a free slurpee already.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Building a new computer, Part 4

Well, the new video card is here. I am posting this from the completed computer, and so far so good. The card I bought was cheaper, faster, and just overall better. Which just goes to show, ordering parts online is the way to go. Here is a screenshot of the desktop with the applied skin:

Monday, July 04, 2005

Building a new computer, Part 3

It's amazing how many problems you run into building a PC. From limitations in software, to hardware incompatibilities, to defective hardware/software, it can be a rocky road constructing a PC from the ground up. The first Windows XP SP2 CD I created had some problems... probably due to the customization I built into the install. I had to create another CD, sans customization, so I can use it on other PCs I build. Now that windows is functioning like I want it to, its time to load up with software. Mouse and keyboard drivers had to be updated with versions from Logitech's website, audio and video drivers all downloaded... I'm beginning to wonder why manufacturers even bother bundling CDs with their product. Odds are you are going to need to download new versions of it to be compatible with everything else. For instance, the mouse software worked fine, in everything except Firefox. Didn't recognize the back/forward buttons. Updated software, now it works fine.

The video card I got from Best Buy needs to go back. I've been wrangling with wierd graphics problems for 2 days now, and I've run out of viable options. I've removed and reinstalled the Catalyst drivers twice now, once with Driver Cleaner to remove any tidbits left behind. I get wierd graphics glitches... occasionally it will stutter, in the simplest things like a 3d screen saver or the 3D view in the Catalyst Control Center. Sometimes the whole screen will spasm with white overlay. Half the games I installed won't even run. Some do run, and they run beautifully, like UT2004 (with all the graphics turned up to MAX). Half-Life 2 runs, if a bit choppy at times. Haven't even tried Doom3 yet, but I'm sure it will have problems. Max Payne 2 wouldn't run, Far Cry had this wierd glitchy thing where it ran really fast, and crashed 75% of the time. I've ordered a new card from NewEgg and am going to have to wait until I get it to continue work on the computer, as you need a display adapter in order to see what is going on in the computer. Can't exactly work blind... although I could try and boot it and remote to the machine from my computer. Nah, better to just give it a rest for a bit, getting kinda burnt out.

I loaded a sweet looking skin for Windows, really goes with the whole blue and black theme I've got going. Will post a screenshot of it once I've got the new card installed.

Happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, July 03, 2005


Taking a break from posting about the computer. It's nearly done, I'll create another post once I'm satisfied. In the meantime, here's Mario. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Building a new computer, Part 2

So, the rest of the parts came today. Err, yesterday... as I write this it is indeed Saturday. As I started photographing all of the parts for this blog, I realized that somehow the video card I had picked out disappeared! It wasn't in the shipment of parts, it wasn't on the order confirmation, it even disappeared from the wish list I put together. So, I've got all the working parts I need, sans video card. A quick trip to Best Buy remedied that, and I picked up some CPU thermal paste while I was there. I spent a couple hours delicately placing the parts into the insides of the case. I must say, this is the nicest case I have had to work with. Thumb screws. rack slides for the optical drives, removable hard drive rack, 3 fans built into the case (Two 120mm and one 80mm on the side), glossy black finish on a air-light aluminum case. Yep, it's purty. Plus its got nice blue glowy lights all over it. The PSU I ordered matches the case, it has a blue LED inside it and the housing is glossy as well, more of a dark grey. The optical drives and floppy drive as well (gotta update the BIOS and load the SATA driver somehow...).

As I write this, the 500GB SATA2 RAID Ø array is formatting, at 50%. It took some doing to get windows to see the array for what it was. I blame Microsoft for shoddy programming. Did you know that windowsXP, pre SP1 or SP2 couldn't see large hard drives for what they were? Anything larger than 130 GB got truncated. Bad, bad microsoft. So I had to slipstream an install CD, load it up with SP2, SATA drivers, unattended install, and WM player 10, and it is formatting right now. I idly pass the time by writing this blog. Whoopie.

I used to be a night person. 3 AM bedtime was a norm for me. I guess when you gotta wake up at 5:30AM for your job, your sleeping habits change.

Another slight hitch was updating the BIOS. I origionally loaded the updated BIOS along with the SATA RAID drivers on the same floppy. For whatever reason, the BIOS update utility was not seeing the BIOS file, maybe too many other files for it to parse. I copied the BIOS onto another disk along with a backup to the BIOS and it decided to see it and update finally, so I am up to F4 on this board, and the dual core processor is recognized. The hardware is connected, the HDDs are formatting, and soon the OS will be loaded and we have a functional computer. My job will nowhere be complete however, arguably the longest stage is ahead of me: software updates and installs. Gotta bring windows up to date, drivers up to date, apps and games to install.

This picture was taken with the flash off to show how nice the blue LEDs play off the inside of this case. Looks actually took a back seat to horsepower in this bad boy, and yet they turned out rather nice. I think my brother's friend should actually consider naming this computer Tsunami... as the case is called that, and it has the name printed on the front of the case. That would actually make for a pretty cool naming scheme... Tsunami, Earthquake, Volcano... naming your network PCs after natural disasters that is. Check Exit Mundi for more natural disasters and end of the world scenarios.

My brain is beginning to shut down, I am rambling. 70% on the format and no end in site. I've never formatted something as big as 500GB before... glad I went with 500 instead of 600. I am a little worried that the drives are not SATA2... there was no mention of the specification on the drives themselves, and they are OEM so no boxes. Well, NewEgg has them listed as SATA2, and if they are not I will have to take that up with them. Lets post this blog and see how it looks, shall we?