Hardware

Don't leave chocolate beside laptop exhaust vent

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A silly one this time. Whatever you do don't leave chocolate, be it chocolate pieces, chocolate covered nuts or anything chocolate related, sitting against the exhaust vent of a laptop as the chocolate will melt onto and into your laptop and will probably void its warranty. Just don't do it.

Slow network? Reboot your modem!

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An odd one today. Over the past few days (week?) I've noticed that our cable Internet connection was a bit slower than usual, basically lots of latency and downloads running at 1/10th their usual speed which makes running a VPN connection a real pain. Calling tech support didn't get anywhere as they insist that you disconnect any router that you might have wired up and directly connect one computer to the line. I figured for SCOs and Googles (s'n'gs) that I'd try doing what they asked anyway. During the course of attempting to get my desktop to properly recognize the DHCP connection I power-cycled the cable modem probably three times and after doing so the connection suddenly was faster. To verify that the router wasn't at fault I didn't cycle its power at all, then reconnected it after the initial test and everything was working correctly again - cycling the power on the modem fixed the problem? I'm not sure why this would have happened, but it did and I'll remember it for the future.

Cheap 3Ware RAID cards are awesome

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Just a quick tip this time. As part of a server reshuffle at work we picked up a 3Ware Escalade 7006-2 PCI IDE RAID card that has turned out to be quite brilliant. Instead of dealing with CPU and I/O-intensive software RAID (as this particular server was set up with before), now we have reliable, hardware driven RAID that only cost $100! It was unbelievably easy to set up to boot, I simply plugged in the card with the machine's two 33gb drives, did a quick firmware update, booted into the BIOS-level configuration panel and within 30 seconds had a RAID-1 (drive mirror) setup created. My SP4-slipstreamed Windows 2000 Server installation went without a hitch, besides catching the driver-installation prompt before it disappeared, and right now I'm installing the usual boat-load of Windows Updates. This is one card that I thoroughly recommend to anyone who needs some basic drive redundancy, and as its available on ebay for $100 there's no reason not to put it on all your basic servers or anywhere else you would otherwise use software-based RAID.

A huge thanks to Bryan Smith who tipped me off to this card, and continued thanks to him for the continued tips and insight.

New PC for work

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Next Friday I'll be receiving a new PC at work:

  • AMD Athlon64 X2 3800+ (dual-core)
  • 1gb RAM
  • 160gb SATA-150 HD
  • DVD reader (I already have a DVD burner to throw into it)
  • Asus Geforce 6800 video card
  • Creative Labs Audigy LS
  • Mitsumi 13-in-1 floppy / memory card reader
  • Windows XP Pro
  • MS Office 2003 Standard

A pricely machine, but one with enough horse-power to keep me going for a good while.

One thing I'm not sure on is what motherboard it have. Given that they offer SLI I'm going to assume it is an nForce4 SLI of some sort, but there's a tonne of them so it coould be anything.

So why did they decide to get it for me? At work I tend to do a lot of extras beyond my description of "web developer" - general IT work, etc. Lately they've started doing more and more with videos - making DVDs, editing & converting video footage, etc, and then it became apparent that my old 1.8GHz PentiumIV wasn't doing so well they offered to let me order a replacement.

The PC is being built by Vision Computers in Atlanta, my boss' boss has been listening to advertisements for them on the radio for a while now and wanted to try them, and given that the machine will be delivered in a week after being ordered (most built-to-order places take longer than that just to build it, never mind delivery times) I must say I'm impressed so far. Along with that comes 3 years parts & warranty service (you cover shipping charges) as standard it becomes an even nicer deal for management, who are always concerned about these things. I must say, though, I was surprised to see them offer only one AMD option whereas they had eight Intel options for desktops, along with their eight Intel-based servers and nine Intel-based laptops.

Anyway, it arrives next Friday and I suspect I'll be spending most of that day installing the beastie with all the software I currently use - Directory Opus, Dreamweaver, Window Blinds, Firefox, Thunderbird, etc, etc.

Yay! :-)

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