Additional Hardware

I talked myself into needing (ok, severely wanting) a VFD display for my PC- and I noticed some Matrix Orbital units at MicroCenter when I visitited on Friday; I decided to go have a look at the other site out in Marietta and I found a MX6 (actually one of their discontinued PLED dislapys) for about $90- which is less expensive than online. I have been playing around with the different plugs for the LCDC Software (the software that drives the display) at PlasticRandom- but it looks like I need to install the ATI control panel to get the GPU stats up.

I also picked up a ThermalTake fan controller- but I am still experimenting with if I can use he MX6 to control the fans (there are three headers on the back, but so far they only appear to be for power and speed monitoring of the attached fans).

Another note: I was trying some CPU monitoring softwares (MBM5, SpeedFan, or some other one) shut my systems fans off completely- my CPU was up to 74c before I noticed! After a reboot all was good.

On a different tangent, I purchased a Linksys Skype iPhone (model CIT200) and I am thoroughly impressed with the sound quality! There is USB receiver that plugs into my PC and it makes a 1.9Ghz wireless link to the phone. There is a piece of CIT200 software that sits in the system tray and maintains a connection between Skype and the phone; Skype's extra features and low cost (about $45 year for unlimited land-line in/out calls to anyone within the US- or worldwide if they are a Skype user!) makes this so much more appealing (and portable) than a normal landline/cell phone!

VoIP is the way that it all is going in the next few years- I keep trying to tell people that, but everyone is 'yea, right'. Once WiFi gets cheap (free?) and the urban coverage is there I think we will see an end to the 'charge-per-minute' monarchies. (maybe they can do WiFi like they do satellite TV/Radio?)

Engadet had a review, but I didn't see it until after I bought the unit.


More Upgrades

I did some system upgrades:

  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ CPU

  • Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe
  • Antec P150 Case w/ Antec 430W NeoPower
  • Zantec CNPS9500 AN3
I used my current video card, RAM, DVD-R drive and hard drives and my Windows Vista 'Experience' increased a bit:


I was going to purchase the above hardware from Newegg, but it turned out that the local Fry's had everything in stock: the CPU was only $17 more than Newegg, so I did a little math and found that that entire purchase at Fry's would be about 7% more. There were a couple of other things that swayed me towards Fry's:

  1. I initially was going for the Antec P180 case (no power supply)- but Fry's had the P150 (w/ 430W power supply) on sale for less than the P180
  2. There is an additional $50 mail-in-rebate on the P150- so it actually will be less than Newegg's price.

  3. If something doesn't work, return/replacement time is hours instead of days.

  4. Instant gratification
The system is now up and running- last night I tried Windows XP and today I converted to Vista Home Premium. Both seem to run a little better than before- and the USB issue I was having with my old motherboard and Vista appears to be specific to that system- so there are still some issues with Vista and the Gigabyte GA-8NXPD-SLI board.

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Smammers- Begone!

I mentioned a few blogs back that I was moving my domain to Godaddy to try out the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) DNS entry that allows me to specify which hosts are allowed to send e-mails for my brooskie.com domain; this has been in place for about four days and I have not received a single non-deliverable bounce-back for that domain in the past three days! All I can say is that spammers can bite my ass if they want to hijack my domain name to send their crap!

The DNS transition was fairly painless after my prior registrar released the domain (5 days later). I received an email from GoDaddy and logged in and setup my email forwarding and domain hosting- and I had to do then was upload my web page files. GoDaddy offers a lot of options that the others do not seem to have and they snuck in free basic domain hosting when I wasn't looking (good deal!)


More WoW Updates...

Ok, so the first update was just WoW v1.0 to v1.12 for 495MB... That downloaded and updated- and now the v1.12 to v2.0 update is going for another 492MB! d'oh!

The Burning Crusade...

I did it again- I signed up for World of Warcraft... I can just imagine the long nights with no sleep and the wasted time- just like it was before (and before that). The new add on for WoW came out Tuesday: The Burning Crusade... I was at Fry's earlier looking at some motherboards and it caught my eye (there is a huge table just buried with copies in the middle of the gaming section).

I started installing WoW on Vista (the program told me I didn't have sufficient CPU- with Athlon X2 3800- not a real good sign for Vista compatibility) and signed up again on the WoW site. I also had to upgrade my account to reflect the add on (another CD key). After installing the 4 WoW CDs, I logged on to see how big the update is- 425MB! I am not even sure if I need the update as it may be includeded in the Burning Crusade add on (another 4 CDs)

I have a level 57 Orc warrior named Broo on Dalaron- or at least I hope I still do!

During the install I setup Skype and purchased a SkypeOut plan (12 months unlimited for $12.50) and SkypeIn plan (3 months for $10). The later gives me voicemail and a number for in-bound calls (678-389-9405). I also installed the Skype PocketPC client on my Dell Axim, so I have another phone number (at least while I am in range of an 802.11b/g signal). I really think that VoIP is the way everything will go in the next 2-3 years (i.e. no more 'cellular phones' and no more land lines -but the later will take some time). Once we have some nice metro Wifi blankets, it will all change...


DNS Defence Tools

It appears that some spammer has taken it upon themselves to use my domain name (brooskie.com) as a reply address for their junk- I am getting 20-30 non deliverable reports (NDRs) per day with dfadsf@brooskie.com (random example) as the reply address...

There is a DNS entry called the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) that allows me to specify what domains are authorized to send mail for brooskie.com (or other domains)- it is a little confusing to setup, so I have purchased broo2.com and flamingchud.com to play around with.

My main domain is currently in transfer from my old registrar of DirectNIC to GoDaddy; DirectNIC wasn't a bad registrar, but they lacked some of the control and features that GoDaddy has... We shall she how my eMail traverses over the next 24-48 hours!


New HD and Video card in Vista...

HD and Video Upgrades

I upgraded my video card to a Radeon X1900GT and added a new WD Raptor 64GB drive- both of those items rate as a 5.9 on Vista performance:

My next upgrade will be to an AM2 motherboard- after my tax check comes in! :o)

I am running Vista again- not sure why, maybe I just wanted to see how my rating went up from prior install. Lots of applications are stating 'Vista Ready' and still do not work- namely Nero Burning ROM ('Object Expected' errors when viewing video thumbnails) and NetLimiter 4.09 (Need uber-admin rights to allow/deny access for applications).

I am still also having the USB issue with my GA-8ANXP-SLI motherboard; none of my on-board USB ports will support mass storage devices (MSD)- I get 'unkown device' for thumb-drives, HDs, digital cameras and memory card readers... But they all work form the add-in USB cards and through a USB hub. I guess this will be resolved when I upgrade my mobo...

Well- a fairly uneventful weekend (save another trip to the gym and tanning) and back to work in the morning!


more diablo IIs on sale... And more PS3s...

i.e. One good deal and one not so good deal...

More PS3s at another Atlanta Best Buy...

hmmm... Not a good sign for Sony- hopefully there will be a 'killer app' for PS3 soon...


Random Stuff for the day

Big news for yesterday: The Apple iPhone - The Apple iPhone runs OS X - Engadget. I want one of these, but there is no way I will sign a 2 year contract with Cingular and pay $600- Hell, I might as well go and buy a PS3 while I am at it! The sad part is, if there was no contract and it was $700 I would start saving up for one...

On another note- I am still seem to be approved beta test a GSM phone for Cingular- just no info since the application... I have checked back a few times and the forums are up, but no NDA or info- I doubt is is possible, but it would be absolutely fucking awesome if I got to test out an iPhone! (of course I wouldn't be able to tell anyone if I did because of NDA!)

My pre-order album from the Cruxshadows entitled Dreamcypher shipped out on Friday- and it looks like someone posted the album (224kbps variable) on NewsBin- I guess it this is one of those times where I won't have to feel guilty as I have actually purchased the album! I am going to import it into iTunes and make a new play list for listening to on the way to work in the morning...

I went to the gym again today- mostly cardio; yesterday was upper body with a little cardio. Bonnie and I went to the L.A. Fitness out by perimeter- and they have a racquetball court and swimming lanes out there; I need to get another racket as I used to love racquetball!


How to make $800,000,000

My roommate's best friend's sister (that is a neat relational chain) just closed a multi-billion dollar deal- and she is making $800 Million as her commission...

Wow- talk about not having to work for the rest of your life; I am guessing $264 mil to taxes (Uncle Sam needs his 33%!) and if she puts $400 mil into investments (giving $136 mil for immediate spending on stuff- see below) she will make $20 mil a year in interest (assuming a fairly low rate of 5%). I think I am in the wrong line of work...

I still need to find out exactly what was sold- I it was either a small country or a lot of ball-bearings!

From the initial plans, it looks like my roommate my go off on a 6 month cruise (on the new $30 mil yacht that was purchased- I am guessing that is the 150' model) and she may not need to worry about money too much as her best friend's sister is almost a billionaire... (maybe I can get her to buy me a HD-DVD drive for my xBox 360!)

My News Feeds

So what kind of news do I read? Mostly gadget stuff- see for yourself; here is my OPML file...

New NZB Site!

I stumbled across a great NZB site called Merlin's Portal- it has good searches and 90 days retention. Combine this with Giganews and NewsBin Pro (which has it's own newsbin search) and I have a pretty kick-ass binary news ensemble (i.e. I can find about anything).

Now if I can get the NewsBin Pro developer to talk to the ExQueues developer...

Other good binary news sites/stuff:

NFOrce - NFO (info) files for new releases

FTD Lookup - You enter the FTD# from a post and you get the NFO file

Video Upgrade

I upgraded my Gigabyte 3D1 video card (dual 6600GT SLI on one video card) to a ATI Radeon X1900GT. 3DMark06 scores went up a bit:

Gigabyte 3D1:

3DMarks: 2705

SM 2.0 1076

HDR/SM3.0 1071

CPU 1464

Radeon X1900GT

3DMarks: 4376

SM 2.0 1693

HDR/SM3.0 1896

CPU 1515

Overall it looks like about 60%- pretty decent. However, it looks like my card is not 'unlockable' to upgrade to 16 pipelines (currently 12):


HTPC Usefull Links

Building a Home Theater PC (HTPC) can be a pain- but I have found some useful things that have helped me out:

  • GB-PVR - a Freeware Personal Video Recorder (PVR) with lots of great features
  • TVersity Media Server - A media server that converts videos to WMV (on the fly!) and appears as a windows media serer for and xBox 360

  • Real Alternative - An alternative codec for the bloated Real Networks Player
  • QuickTime Alternative - A codec to play MOV and QT files
  • FFDShow - an excellent free codec pack- includes support for XViD, DivX and many others.


Yet ANOTHER Blogging Tool...

Ok, so here goes another blogging tool- this one is called Performancing for Firefox- it is a Firefox (duh!) addon that adds context to the menu and pops up a window when I am ready to blog... Very cool so far.

Some add-ons too- My favorite is a Flickr Image upload tool: I can drag an image into the screen and it will upload to Flickr and link to my blog! If Live Writer gets this functionality I will be set!

Yes! It finally happened!!!

Diablo II and Diablo II expansion pack for $9.98 each at Target (closeout)- instead of the normal $39.99 for the boxed set... I guess I can FINALLY play online via BattleNet (although it is about 6 years outdated!). Time to test them out on a GeForce 6600GT SLI! :)

PS3s on sale at BestBuy...

...and no one really seems to care.

Edit: I went back on Saturday and the stack looks exactly the same... I will look again tomorrow if I decide to get the Radeon X1900GT (to see if I can unlock it to 16 pipelines!).

Edit #2: Sunday afteroon and they were down to two units! I think the main issue with these are the $600 price tag...


AACS Crack InfoBroo

Some interesting info about the AACS (the DRM protection for the new HD-DVD and Blu-Ray formats) crack that is said to have been discovered:

What exactly does BackupHDDVD do? Oh, and version 1.0 is released. - Engadget

Basically looks like someone the private key(s) in memory and wrote a program to extract the video (and remove the DRM).

So how about the recording studios stop calling everyone a potential thief/pirate- and investing millions of dollars to keep us from stealing their content with DRM- and just make movies that are worth buying?