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More RAM?Wednesday 18th February 2004
Yes, over the years my computer has had more than a field of sheep.
- Red Dwarf.

Until today I've had some nice OCZ technology RAM. Very good stuff, CAS 2.0, copper heat spreaders etc.

Problem was, just had one module, and I was pushing 512MB with things like Photoshop. Having two modules gives double the speed as they run in "dual channel" mode. The problem with getting this is if your memory isn't made in the same batch/production line then you can get mis-matches.

What I have now is two 512MB modules running in dual channel. This new memory is Corsair modules, alas only aluminum heat spreaders, but I don't really over clock.

Yes, my computer has only crashed 3 times since getting it. After running an extensive memory test I found no problems. Joy. So anyway, new BIOS for my IC7 motherboard, and hopefully no more problems...


New speakers.Tuesday 17th February 2004
I have just upgraded the speakers on my PC. Until recently they were very low range speakers, which were persistantly conking out (too many kicks over the years).

So as I have a nice Creative Audigy 2 ZS sound card, I thought I would get one of these accentric 7.1 surround systems. Then after some pondering, I decided no. My TV stuff only has 5.1, and even so, I don't think I own anything with more than 6 channels of sound.

Next idea was a 5.1 Dolby Digital system. Then it slowly dawned on me. I don't need film audio, with a centre channel for speach, main fronts for music and such, and rear effects.

I need all-around equal response. I don't watch films on my computer, that's why I have a 500W amp and Widescreen TV for. I use my PC to play games, and to listen to music when I do other things. So what I need is a good frequency response 20Hz-20KHz ideally - from all directions. Dolby Digital doesn't have a rear sub-woofer, you only get the mid and high range from the rear.

I don't think I could cope playing Operation Flashpoint and not hearing the distant rumble of a helicopter from my rear speakers. What have I done in the end? I've got two 2.1 and combined with good old analogue sound to get a 4.2 setup. Bliss.

I decided to buy two sets of Hercules 2.100 Silver speakers. Boasting 30Hz-20KHz for a good price. A measly 12.5W per satellite, but I don't need more than that on my PC. The punch from them isn't exactly great, and my pre-amp has had to been shunted up by about 3 times.

The subwoofer has a high cut-off of a staggering 150Hz, meaning the noise isn't very well distributed as my sub is underneath my desk. For reference, my main sub-woofer on my hi-fi has a cut off of 50Hz. This of course, is hardly surprising as the satellite speakers on these are tiny 1.5" thingys, on my Hi-Fi my main speakers are the same size as the sub's on these.

But all in all, better than my previous setup - I think. Now we get down to Hercules. Never buy anything from them. One of the subs wasn't working so I popped off the cover and had a butchers. Loose connection. On closer examination the connection in question had been heated so high, the surrounding plastic had been melted and the connector pushed through the board.

A bit of de-soldering later and I hard wired the sub speaker straight onto the pittiful PCB amp. The production level of these speakers are shoddy, and I wouldn't be surprised if they just fell apart. You would have a hard time passing GCSE Electronics if you produced that as course work.

Anyway, they work now, and seem to cope with an adequate level of noise - think the family will appriciate the lower out-put.


Why do you need faith?Monday 16th February 2004
So, in my latest attempt to destroy my liver I found myself reasoning with a friend along these lines.

If you are standing at the top of a large building, say for example, the buildings in the "jump" program in the Matrix - and; you had no sense of gravity. You were entirely unaware of it's existance. There was nothing pulling you down. Would you have any problem in walking off the edge of the building?

For those who need help, the answer is no. You wouldn't, as if you was not aware of this gravity thing, you would have concern over it.

So, now pose the question. Why don't you generally go stepping off buildings? Because you know that gravity exists, and if you do you will die. It's simple, you just know it, you wouldn't do it.

Now, the whole God thing. If - please imagine if you don't believe - if God exists, and you knew this was true, just as you know gravity encourages you to fall from buildings. If... you knew this, and you knew that if you didn't do what he asked of you, on pain of death. Say, for example, being fed feet first into a tree chipping machine; is there any reason why you wouldn't? No. You would have no real choice in the matter.

Such as you have no real choice in the matter of stepping of a building. You could do it, but you would regret it just after the point-of-no-return.

So what makes God different? Simply, you can't know he exists. This was established after an hour of physics and other such joys. So what do you have to do?

You have to believe that he exists, because if you don't, and don't do as he wishes, you will find yourself regretting it.

This may prove a problem, how can you believe in something that it is impossible to prove (see earlier point on physics). What you need to do is take all your reasoning, what you think is acceptable, and how you conceive the universe - and put it to one side. You then need to go over this, or take a 'leap of faith'. Push aside your reasoning and logic and just accept it. Have faith in the existence of God, and believe that if you follow your path how he hints, will mean you won't regret it later.

Either way, I thought it was a good way of putting faith into context.


Stupidity anonymousTuesday 10th February 2004
I don't claim to be any genious (although others do, natch); but I would say that I have what's called 'common sense'. The problem with that phrase it would seem to inidicate that most people are supposed to have it.

This is probably true, just may day lacked in it. We all have them. Various brushes with the shallow end of the gene pool, alas one of them was my own Sister, so I can't blame genes... entirely.

First, at work. Some accentric lady decides that she is going to complain to WatchDog because we (nothing to do with her insurance, but hey) would not fix her car when she didn't know who the other person involved in an accident was. Which is fair enough, but this is just another case of people buying the cheapest insurance they can (ThirdParty), and not reading the policy, or understanding that it's called ThirdParty insurance because it only protects the ThirdParty in an accident, not the first (i.e. yourself).

Second is just a general winding up at work. After been doing one thing for 6 months a senior member of staff asks me why I am doing it. Usual response comes with "I was told to, why?", and so on. Anyway, as most of the things that appear to have no reason, never can have why answered. For the sake of statistics I did a quick scout around of staff working in our department. The numpteys (people like me who are employed for next to nothing and do the worst job etc) are inundated with qualifications. Subjects ranging from the oh so famous degrees in Geography, Business, Computer Science stretching to the more obsecure such as Classical Civilisations. The same question posed to the senior staff drummed up a GNVQ in business concepts - collectively.

Nothing against these people, all really nice people, not really with the whole the reason why we are doing what we are is because we have enough skills to be out of the job when we get bored of the coffee.

Then we have the third, and aged old one. Computer problems. "It doesn't work, fix it now!" - free of charge or course. Well after levering a floppy disk out of a drive with a pair of tweasers and explaining that post-it notes shouldn't go into to computers like that we get to the real problem.

4 full resolution bitmaps in a word document which is supposed to be for a local news paper artical. Fine, put it on a CD. No, this newspaper (a major one) will only accept on floppy disk, in word format, with pictures embedded. Why anybody in their right-mind would believe such a thing is beyond me. I suggest at how to get around the problem, but this is ignored. I then help by suggesting closing the temporary 3MB image that word has flung into Photoshop. Which is met with screams of "NO" (again no idea, as I was the person who opened it in the first place just before being shunted out the way).

At this point I decided that it wasn't worth the effort and decided to go and watch a film. Of course, just before the climax of the film I am beckoned to assist in the same problem another kind soul had been dragged into dealing with. Took two minutes to detail what and how, and went back to the film.

I'm a horrible person, all this anger against people who I really like and think are swell guys? Yes, not right is it. But people please, think before you open your mouth, move, or generally get out of bed.


w00t - I'm backSaturday 7th February 2004
Yay, joy to The Nexus (my current hosting company).

After downgrading to an insecure and old featured version of PHP my site broke. They have upgraded in a record time of 6 months. This is all part of changing their servers and stuff. Of course, I am still paying something like 160/year for this professional package. In the past 6 months the "new improved" servers have had these features removed:

# PHP 4.3 -> PHP 4.0 (then back to 4.3 the other day)
# No more SSH support for clients
# Changed all e-mail logins (without telling)
# Changed internal directory structure, twice.
# Removed SSL certificates and no longer offer
# Removed public FTP access and deleted all files on FTP without informing clients.

I am currently trying to shift my domain for obvious reasons, but alas the window they gave me to move it was over Christmas, when everybody was closed, so it didn't happen, and I have yet to receive a new one.

So anyway, what else has happened in my life? I've got a new job, really enjoyed it, and now I hate it. Pay is lowest national average for what I do, yet I live in the second most expensive city in the country. I have to work over-time just to keep my work at a sane level.

Management has got a priority problem and has decided everything is first priority, effectively removing our ability to prioritise anything (if everything is 1st, what's can we de-prioritise?).

And to top it off, it's a nice open-plan office, meaning viruses spread like butter in hell. Naturally, you don't get paid for being ill, unless it's more than a week and then it's only statutary sick-pay which would just about pay for the bus fair into town.

So yeah, life is good.


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