New Toys

Dec. 11th, 2008 10:59 pm
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
Today I bought myself a new monitor because the old one SUCKED. I've been doing a fair bit of research, and I knew I wanted an IPS based monitor. I plumped for the Apple 20" Cinema Display. It seemed to be one of the more cost effective IPS LCD monitors that has a reasonable colour gamut.

I am not dissapointed. It's sharp as a pin, and the colours are gorgeous. Totally awesome buy. I would have liked the 24", but there is no adapter for mini-display port to DVI yet. And the 24" screen is like $300 more, and I really didn't want to spend that much on a new screen. This one is big enough for now.

Also it comes with a cloth in a box to clean it with. How wanky is that?

Mac Woes

Jun. 26th, 2008 09:58 pm
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
I am still having woes with my mac, but we have at least determined that they are software related. Some piece of software I am installing is screwing around with libraries and causing other programs to stop working properly. Aperture seems to be the worst victim, but there are others. I wonder if it's one of backup software products as that seems to be a good possibility. I really don't feel like spending yet another day reinstalling software piece by piece and seeing which one crashes aperture. I tried a bit of that before, but it didn't seem to get me very far. This time, aperture is functioning to some level at least, but try and do certain things and it crashes.

The weird thing is that I don't have that much software on my system:

Fugu
Ircle
Cisco VPN
Skype
Aperture
IntelliJ
Rosetta Stone
Home Design Studio Pro
MySQL Administrator
Microsoft Office
Omnigraffle
gVim
MSN Messanger
Mirra
Memeo LifeAgent

Plus all the standard Mac stuff (although garage band seems to have disappeared)

Some of those I didn't have before when it wasn't working, so it seems like I can rule those out.
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
I purchased a UBP80 from APC about a week ago. It got here on Tuesday. I tried to charge it with my laptop charger, but it refused to charge, and refused to switch on. I called APC support, and the guy was not very clue-full, but told me to try charging it on exactly the same settings as I had charged it on before, and if it didn't charge to call back for an RMA. I switched chargers on the off chance it was a problem with my charger, so I used [Bad username or site: marnanel'/ @ livejournal.com]'s charger. It didn't charge, and APC was closed by the time we got back to the house from going out. I called them this morning, and they were very helpful. They are overnighting me a new unit! and gave me a UPS pre paid shipping label to ship the defective unit back. Can't get better support than that.

I looked on a few websites, and it seems that about 1/6 people have had trouble with these types of units not working properly from APC. If the new one doesn't arrive tomorrow or arrives and is defective, I have a backup plan. Circuit city carries the UBP70 which is a little smaller, but still will be great for the plane trip to Vancouver. I'll order that and pick it up. The website suggests that the Exton store carries them which is close enough.
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
I so love Adobe Illustrator. It totally r0x0rs. I'm putting together a new layout for my website, which is sorely in need of an update. I picked up a couple of images from iStockPhoto.com (which is also totally awesome and cheap) for a couple of bucks, which look cool, and I'm still debating on the colour of things. I have a blue version and a red version. Maybe I'll post 'em and see what people think.

In other news my keyboard is starting to act up. The 'l' key is not responding as well as it should. Why is it that laptop keyboards never seem to last? The good part is that I have the super dooper warranty that will cover anything for two years, so if it really does give up the ghost, I will get a replacement keyboard. Warranties rule.

I'm thinking about picking up a firewire card for my laptop so that I can make some more music (Sarah decided that she would start using the computer with all my music on it for some reason I can't quite fathom - it's a piece of shit otherwise, it's an old Mac mini, with bugger all RAM and a crappy hard disc, but it runs Cubase okay). Ever since we put the music gear in the living room, I've been playing a lot more than I have for months. Even Riordon is showing some interest every so often, which is very happy.

Our Christmas cards are coming along. We have most of the pieces cut out now, and it's [livejournal.com profile] firinel's turn to sew things together. After that we have some stamping and some gluing to happen. Not sure who's been assigned what exactly, but I'm sure we'll figure that out when we get to it.

New Toy!!

Jul. 26th, 2007 10:13 pm
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
So I am writing this on my shiny new toy, a new Acer Aspire Laptop. It's got 1GB RAM (a little low) 17" display, 160GB HD, Wireless and a Core 2 Duo processor all for $650! Not only that but Staples (Where I got it (I know - STAPLES!!)) had a deal where if you buy 3 accessories or more you get 20% off your accessories, so my bag, mouse and USB hub were all 20% off too!

This of course all means that my old laptop, our study little iBook from 6 years ago, has finally bitten the dust :(.
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
Well - in the continuing saga of Sarah's Mum's computer. We got a call from her this week saying that she was having problems with the thing shutting itself off. It would beep like a cell phone in the distance, then shut off. I knew what was going on, the CPU was overheating. Oh crap I thought, I really hope it's not a bad CPU. So anyhow, we get the system here today, and I take a look. The Heatsink looks like it's coupled to the CPU ok, but the fan is running too slow. So we take it down to Microcenter to their tech support. They have a couple of guys that you can bring computers too and they help you with them. Well this guy was in a bad mood, and he was absolutely no help at all. I mean he didn't even bother to check the BIOS settings at first until I told him to look in the BIOS at the CPU temp. Somehow he thought that the temp sensor in the CPU Heatsink reading 43 Celsius was normal. Wow. Has this guy even taking a Computer's temperature before? So after waiting about 45 minutes for him to poke and prod the computer and tell us nothing, we decided to go with Alex's hunch - a bad motherboard. The BIOS was clearly reporting the CPU fan spinning at 0 RPM which was a bad sign. And I figured it was a mobo problem, so we got a new mobo. We got back here to home and I got the new board installed. Booted it, CPU idle temp of 34 Celsius. Much better. Clearly the fan was spinning faster too. So we started up one of Jacquie's programs and it worked fine, in fact it ran nice and fast. Total success.

Well - this was the first ECS mobo I tried, and I'm none too impressed.
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
The antec NSK1300: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129019

Compare and contrast: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811144111

Today, we have Sarah's mum in town. She needed a computer upgrade and has been oggling the Apevia case listed above that we have set up as a file server. After a little deliberation and comparing costs and watnot, we decided to take a trip to microcenter, and buy components for a new computer. I already had a CD Drive, and a hard drive that were suitable, we just needed RAM, a chassis, a CPU and a motherboard. Off we went in search of a micro ATX motherboard that had four memory slots. This is where we first ran afoul. The salesman handed me a board that didn't seem like it was microATX, but for some reason I believed him, and we picked out nice cosair RAM, and the antec chassis linked to above, and a Athlon 4800XP X2 CPU.

We get everything home and of course the mobo isn't microATX, so back I go to microcenter, and of course they don't have a four slot microATX board, they are all sold out, so I had to settle for a two slot one, and made my way back home. Long story short, I got everything put in the Apevia case no problem, system booted, and after a bit of kicking got windows 2000 installed no major problems.

Then I come to get the guts of the old kermit, in the new Antec Case. The build quality of the case is quite good, it's largely steel and heavy duty plastic and the side panels are well built in comparison with the Apevia's rather flimsy skin. From a size point of view it's slightly smaller than the Apevia which is desirable from a Micro ATX chassis. That is where the good stuff ends. Everything else is not so great. The case unlike the Apevia doesn't have a nice removable motherboard tray. It has little clippy things to install the mobo on, with just two screw points for your precious mobo. The PSU power leads come out vertically downards toward the mobo making installating just a bit more than simply ungainly. The PCI slots come with the over-the-top clip mechanism. This is a mechanism that allows a single metal piece to hold all your PCI cards in place at one time, making access in theory much simpler. In this case however, it also comes with screws to hold each individual PCI slot in place over the top of the PCI over bar, which is bizarre, meaning that to remove any individual PCI slot, you must first unscrew all PCI cards, then unscrew and remove the bar, then remove your single PCI card. Then replacing the bar, screw all the PCI cards back in. Talk about silly!! Now we come to the CD-ROM tray. The CD-ROM tray has a plastic front cover which is flimsy and silly. I think it might be removable, but to keep the overall look of the case, I left it in place. Bad move. I think the CD-ROM is now unlikely to work right from here on (I haven't actually booted yet). I'll probably have to go back an pop out the fake front plate.

This is an unusual negative review for Antec here. Normally I find their products well thought and quite excellent, a total win, but this case is a lost cause.

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