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George Schizas Blog

Days in the life of a clone

New PC (almost)

My server PC’s motherboard was fried last week, so I decided to not replace it, but to upgrade my Workstation PC to a slightly better CPU, GPU, memory and motherboard, and use my old workstation PC as the new server. This is a work in progress obviously; the server PC is now just a Virtual PC and the actual hardware server (to be) is just a bunch of cables waiting to be put together.

So, I went to pick up my PC on Saturday, on a part of Metropolitan Athens that I’ve never been before (GPS is cool!). As luck would have it, I caught the most extreme rain I’ve ever seen! I might be exaggerating about the actual rain – but it was one of the few times I’ve ever seen hail, and the first one that I was driving.

The quality of the new case and PSU aren’t really that great. The motherboard/CPU/GPU/Memory is doing great so far (I got a 5,3 in Vista Experience Index), but half the SATA power jacks have broken when I connected them, and there were some disconnected cables in the case. Of course after working in the obscenely huge Coolermaster Stacker, the Coolermaster Centurion I got seems way too cramped. Unfortunately the disk encasement on Stacker is really a torture device to plug in and out, so the sideways plug-in of Centurion is really a breath of fresh air.

Unfortunately the motherboard/CPU change did not bode well with Windows Vista, so I had to reinstall them. So once again, I’ll be installing software after software and manually migrating setting after setting. There should be an easier way to do this. Even from hosed installations. Why, oh why did Microsoft replace the good old “In-place Upgrade”, a.k.a. “Repair Installation” of Windows XP with the dumbed-down, slow as hell, check-your-disk-when-it-doesn’t-need-it monstrosity that is “Repair Windows Startup Problems” (or something)? Bring Install-on-top back! This was really the way to solve such “trivial” problems as changing motherboards. And I’m afraid I’m going to have to do the same thing for the fourth time at work too!

Don’t get me wrong, I like Windows Vista. They are truly better than Windows XP in most matters. And in spite of the fact that I’ve gone for the most incompatible path imaginable, namely 64-bit Windows Vista (Ultimate), I’ve only met with very few problems, probably less than 10 cases. There are some incompatible drivers (I can only think of two, a USB-to-Serial cable, and I think a MIDI device) and I can only think of Sysinternals’ Process Monitor that didn’t capture 32-bit applications once, although this was probably due to the state of anarchy I’ve managed to brink my work’s PC configuration to. Problems with 64-bit are more of an “a-ha” problem, such as converting a web site to 32-bit, or using the 32-bit cscript.exe to start 32-bit ActiveX objects etc. I chose to do this of course, in order to experience the problem class that comes with 32-to-64-bit transition. Even my new motherboard’s manual has a warning that 32-bit windows cannot see more than about 3,5 GB of RAM. In this new PC I already have 4 GB…

50.000 km

I passed 50.000 km in my car today!

image_013

I have my SEAT Ibiza for just a few days over 6 years now, and I must say I’m quite happy with it. The only things that have broken down are just a fuse in the engine, the electric window mechanism and the turn signal lever (all fixed of course). It remains a very powerful car for its engine size (1400 cc, but 101 horsepower), and because it’s relatively light, it is not rare for other drivers to eat my dust :). It is very comfortable, to the point I prefer sitting in there to sitting on a normal chair, and in the rare cases I traveled long distances, I can’t say I was tired at the end (even though it "complained" that two or even four hours had passed and I should take a brake from driving). I’m of course very grateful for the air condition, as 47°C on the outside are really not tolerable without one! And of course it remains really fun to drive!

So, here’s to another 50.000 km!

Wardriving

Having actually starting to use my new mobile phone, I tried a wardriving experiment today. I downloaded and installed WiFiFoFum and ran it from the way from work to home. To my surprise, I discovered about 70 WiFi networks on the way, and about half of them unsecured! Unfortunately WiFiFoFum refused to play nice with the mobile’s GPS, so I don’t have the location of those networks. It would be nice, though.

Anyhow, 70 WiFi networks? In such a short space? (About 10 km). Ok, so a lot of the owners don’t realize they’re sharing their internet with just about everybody that drives/walks/stands outside their house. Still, that’s a lot of bandwidth!

Windows Vista Installed

Finally, after two months of having Windows Vista Ultimate RTM, I succeeded in finding the time to install them. I had to buy a new 500 GB hard disk first (because I managed to fill the 300GB one I bought previously!), but I have finally installed them. It took me about 20 minutes to actually install them, and about half an hour of researching what name I would give my computer. I finally ended up with the same name (Typhoeus), but I found out about a lot more ancient monsters 🙂

Anyhow, I’ve installed the bare minimum applications (Office 2007, 4NT, TextPad, Beyond Compare, uTorrent). I’m going to install the rest as it goes…

Mini PC

I’m off to buy a mini PC for the living room. Maybe I shouldn’t, but it seems like a better idea than buying a DVD player that can only play DVDs (and not DivX, XVid or even youtube videos). This is also a test of Word 2007 as a blog editor 🙂

Stacker Installation

The pictures, as promised:

Stacker

I got a new computer case! It is very big, I had to throw the seats of my Ibiza (my car) to carry it home. I’m really excited about it. I spent the night setting it up, and it’s even bigger on the inside 🙂

CM Stacker STC-T01

It is a CoolerMaster Stacker, and it has 11 5.25 drive bays! It houses everything I’ve got (2 Optical Drives, 3 Hard Disks, a LiveDrive and an LCD screen), and still has space for another round of the same!

Already I’ve dropped 5A°C in CPU temperature and 8A°C in motherboard.

I have pictures of the whole process of setting up everything and I’ll try to upload them (they are a LOT of pictures)

My PC is on fire!

That was weird!

My PC’s power supply burned up (it was really smelling!). I™ unscrewed almost everything and then I turned around part of the CPU fan, which seemed to be symmetric, i.e. this would not change anything. But of course it did!

Until now, my CPU was running on 68-78A°C. Now it’s running on 38-42A°C !!! This was a real shock! Furthermore the video out plug on my video card started to work. So I’m not buying a new video card 🙂

So much for “If it works don’t fix it”!

IRC and PCs

It seems I’ve lost my IRC nick… again. Noone has taken it (thank god), but as usual, I lost access lists and whatnot.

I think I’m going to recreate the “scheduled mIRC” thing…

On other news, I now have TWO pc’s to fix, both belonging to the same person. Luckily the first one just needs to have an active partition.

I am also the (proud?) owner of a new DVD (no slot-in this time. I think I’ve learned my lesson 🙁 ) and a new tv/radio card. The TV/FM is rather useless, because my *real* problem is that the video in/out plug on my video card does not work. Oh well, maybe I’m going to buy a new video card 🙂 (there goes my tax return money!)

No DVD-Rom

My DVD-Rom broke down. No more Pioneer for me (even though the slot-in thingie is very cool, it seems to break down very easily – especially when out of guarantee). So I’m off to buy a very normal and standard one, and also a new Plextor 52x CDRW, if I find it, and it’s under 100a‚¬. I’m also going to buy a TV Tuner card, because the video-in on my GeForce Ti4200 seems to have given up. Ok, so I couldn’t resist any more 🙂

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