Archive for May, 2006

Topics for Friday Night Party Line for June 2, 2006.

May 31, 2006

Here are the topics for Friday Night Party Line, June 2, 2006.  Some of these are from last week because we didn’t get to them.

Imagine yourself being 10 years old again.  Would your 10 year old self find you to be cool today?

I wonder if what one really enjoys in life can be distilled to one day. Can you describe your ultimate day? Can you think of how you would take the things you enjoy in life and put them all into one day, assuming you could do anything you want?

People are putting up videos of their children being born on YouTube.  I'm all for childbirth and all that, but do we really need to see the live event??   Would you do that?  Have people send such video links to you?  Have you seen these things?

There is a new friend making service called fo.rtuito.us.  It's not a dating site.  It gives you a new friend every 4 days without regard to gender, age, etc.  You communicate with this person back and forth and decide if you want to keep them as a friend.  Would you try such a site?

There is another website that just came out called stalkerati.com.  From the digg.com website:  “You type in the name of a friend and it will run searches on MySpace, Friendster, Facebook and more. Create profiles on your friends and save them to your "buddy list", then you can just click their name and see all their profiles later on! The buddy list also shows you who's online by checking their IM statuses.”

Have you ever written a complaint to a company about something?  Do you do it often?  Have you ever gone further and filed a complaint with the company’s regulator?  How did it work out for you?

At the University of Florida, the police there have become a fan of the fiction of a certain graduate student.  After reading his horror fiction on Live Journal, they've asked him to submit fingerprints and DNA.  What are your thoughts on this?

In the life imitates art category of the day, there are a group of computer geeks in Silicon Valley that have started their own fight club, like the movie “Fight Club.”  There are videos on the web that show these guys beating the crap out of each other.  Would you ever do such a thing?  Do you know anyone who has done this?

There was a big blow to the Space Elevator this week when it was discovered that carbon nanotubes might not be able to handle the job.  What do you think about the Space Elevator concept?  Will it ever get off the ground?

Henrik Ibsen is getting popular again and a number of items have been in the news about him recently.  Have you ever read or seen one of his plays?  Do you think he's worthy of all this new attention?

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Would your 10 year old self find you to be cool today?

May 29, 2006

Imagine yourself being 10 years old again.  I remember the time fondly.  It was the bicentennial.  On July 4th, I had a pair of red, white and blue overalls and I used to get candy at a corner store.  I liked exploring and fishing and looking for bugs.  I was just discovering comic books and I had a beer can collection.  When you're a kid, adults are presumed to be wise and helpful in any situation.  However, there are still some adults you like more than others.

Fast forward thirty years.  My daughter brought me a jar of bugs she had gathered from the yard at the get together we were attending.  I was eating a turkey burger and I told her not to put bugs in my face while I was eating.  It got me thinking.  The child of 10 would not have minded looking at the bugs at all.  In fact, he probably would have helped my daughter look for more.

That's the nature of change as we age.  Unfortunately the thrill of discovering what lies under rocks has diminished in my case over the years.  I will note though, that in southern Ohio, where we lived prior to 1976, there were different sorts of centipede down there than the ones up here.  The ones in there were red and had short legs.  The ones here are brown and have long hairy legs.  They seem to have some web ability too.  But I digress.

I've gone from a budding entomologist to someone who doesn't really want to know what lurks in the ground.  So would the 10 year old me think the 40 year old me is that cool?  He probably would think that as far as bugs and stuff that I wasn't too hip.  But if he saw my computers, I think he'd be pleased at how I turned out.  So what about you?
Would your 10 year old self find you to be cool today?

Pentium D 805 Overclocked to 4.05 GHz Benchmark.

May 28, 2006


Pentium D 805 Overclocked Benchmark

Originally uploaded by Thaed 3.

It's finished. You can see by the pic, that I now have a computer that performs like the expensive computers with a CPU that's 30% of the cost. Was it easy? Not really. Even last night, I had rock solid stability and I was doing bench mark testing. This morning, it was flaky. I tweaked it some more and now it's stable again.  For a hobbiest like me, that's fine. I've got 3 other computer that sit right next to it that I can switch to if there are problems. I'm confident that I can iron out any issues it may have. But this just illustrates how overclocking is not for everyone. If you don't love messing with your computer all the time, forget it. Also, if you only have one computer, for God's sake, don't do it. You could spend long periods without a computer at all. Oh, the humanity!

I do want to pass along some practical things I learned to other overclocking newbies. First, load your operating system with the computer set at it's system defaults, then overclock after you have a stable OS in place. I spent hours trying to get a version of windows on the machine with it being overclocked. I had an old copy of XP Professional that I was trying to load that I could not get to function no matter what I did. Later, I managed to get Win2k on it. Later today, I am planning on getting a copy of XP Home. I prefer Win2k in a lot of ways, but Age of Empires III won't run on Win2k. There are a lot of multimedia programs that seem to require XP too. People wonder how Microsoft will get people to switch to Vista? It's easy, they'll make software you need that won't run on XP or Win2k.

The other thing I learned is that when I visited the Extreme Overclocking forum to check some things, I found out that there are a lot of people much more into this than I am who have done some pretty crazy stuff with overclocking. I also learned that while the Pentium 805 D is fine for overclocking, it is hardly the darling of enthusiasts.

Finally, I want to pass along the fact that high speed computing is addicting. With the Raptor hard drives set at RAID 0 and with the high speed memory and overclocked processor, this computer is fast. Even doing stupid stuff like browsing, it's fast. Right down the line, everything you do is faster than on other machines. Impatient people like me, love that. But I know what's going to happen. I'm going to want all my computers to run that way. I'm going to want blistering speed for all four of my main machines. So don't go down this route unless you can resist speed addiction. It's too late for me now.

Friday Night Party Line Episode 9 is up!

May 26, 2006

Friday Night Party Line Episode 9 is up! Here's the link. A big thank you to Kelly, Marc and Scott (from the Geeknights podcast) for participating! Here is the RSS feed and as you know it’s on iTunes and Yahoo as well. 

See below for the topics.  We covered the first seven.

Computer Upgrade Progress Report.

May 25, 2006

I got all of my parts last night, so I decided to have a go at starting the upgrade even though I only had a couple of hours.  While I work on my computers all the time, I had not worked with a completely new mobo, chip, memory, etc. for a few years.  My, my, things have changed!  The SATA drives don’t require switch settings.  That’s nice.  The G-Force 7800 is a monster.  It reminds me of the old cards I used to put into my original IBM XT.  The thing is enormous!  The fact that you can fit two of them on my motherboard blows me away.  Who would spend $800 on that?  One of these cards alone is more than I need.  There’s a great deal of bloat too.  This thing has all these HD TV outputs that I’m not going to use. 

Installing the water cooler was just a pain in the ass.  It’s supposed to be easy, but the setup for the 805 D chip is just a kluge.  You use these long plastic pins and a piece of metal to secure the cooling plate in place.  You can still move it a little after it’s secure.  Not cool.

The mini-tower case I’m using is not a small case.  Yet, this thing is so jam packed, it’s like working on a modern day foreign car.  In fact, I felt a lot like a mechanic last night who is used to working on cars from the old days and who is surprised with all the newfangled doohickies.  I managed though.  I had thought that I’d be putting 3 IDE 250 GB IDE drives in the box, but there’s only going to be room for one.  I need to start investing in network storage.

Normally, when I build a computer, it starts up the first time I flip the switch.  Last night, I had no such glory.  My power supply isn’t the right one.  I’m off to Best Buy at lunch to get a new 500 watt unit.  I don’t have time to work on the system tonight, but I want to have it for the weekend.  It’s amazing to me because even though I’ve got the hardware site pretty much finished, I still have a lot to do yet with overclocking, setting up the RAID 0 and installing the OS. 

I’m really looking forward to the weekend and finishing this beast.

Topics for FNPL podcast May 26, 2006.

May 24, 2006

Kelly, Marc and Ray are scheduled to be on the show (and maybe others, TBA). These are the planned topics for Friday Night Party Line this Friday:

Have you played with the new free Skype out yet? We're going to on Friday Night. We're going to call various other podcasts to test it out.

What are, in your opinion, the three worst magazines out there today and why?

Are you polychonic or monochonic?

Digitizing your life: what do you think of the MyLifeBits project, Gordon Bell and the SenseCam?

Has someone ever asked to go somewhere with them to help them (when you really haven't wanted to)? What did you do and why didn't you want to go?

It's almost summertime and the living is about to be easy. Or is it? What do you do in the summer that you don't do in the winter? Do you spend less time online? Are you a warm weather person or a cold weather person? Does your city have any seasonal activities that makes it special?

Have you ever built your own computer? Have you ever overclocked anything? Would you ever want to?

At the University of Florida, the police there have become a fan of the fiction of a certain graduate student. After reading his horror fiction on Live Journal, they've asked him to submit fingerprints and DNA. What are your thoughts on this?

Henrik Ibsen is getting popular again and a number of items have been in the news about him recently. Have you ever read or seen one of his plays? Do you think he's worthy of all this new attention?

There was a big blow to the Space Elevator this week when it was discovered that carbon nanotubes might not be able to handle the job. What do you think about the Space Elevator concept? Will it ever get off the ground?

Computer upgrade leads to fiscal irresponsibility.

May 22, 2006

I was a bad boy today. No, this is not THAT kind of blog. I was bad because I bought computer parts on credit. Remember yesterday when I said I didn’t have enough money for the video card? Well today, I bought it anyway. $400 on a video card. And, it gets worse. I bought a second Raptor drive so I could run them set up in RAID 0 for blistering boot times. NewEgg gets $500 more of my money… that I don’t have.

Someone told me that I need cooling units for the Raptors too. Eek! I’m not going to buy them just yet, but it’s just a matter of time. I’m setting a really bad precedent here.

Normally, I’m not like that. Yes, I am a computer addict. There’s no question about that. But normally, I pay off my Visa bills every month (actually Discover). I used my Visa for this purchase so I could easily keep it separate from our joint expenses (read: hide it from my wife).

Now don’t worry. When I say I don’t have the money, I mean I don’t have my individual "allowance" money such that it is. My kids will not starve and I will pay my mortgage. But I might not pay my Visa off this month. One thing I do know is that I’m going to have a kick-ass computer.

Computer Upgrade.

May 21, 2006

Ever since I got my new video camera, I've been hungry for more computer speed so I can edit HD video. While I have a ton of computers, none of them are very powerful. In the June issue of CPU magazine, Marco Chiappetta shows how to overclock a Pentium D 805 chip to 4.05 GHz. Chiappetta used an Asus P5WDG2-WS motherboard, the 805 chip, Corsair DDR2-675 RAM, a 36 GB Raptor drive and a Corsair Nautilus 500 water cooler. He also added a GeForce 7800 GTX graphics card, but I couldn't afford that upgrade right now.

For everything but the water cooler, NewEgg is shipping the lot to me for $678.27 with expedited processing. I bought a SATA cable too. I had to go with Zipzoomfly for the water cooler as NewEgg didn't have it in stock.

The plan is to have everything in hand for a nifty Memorial day weekend project. We'll see how it goes. I'm going to keep the case and power supply in my existing machine along with the two optical drives. The existing hard drives and mobo will get bumped down to another unit. I'm not sure what yet, but I may mod an old dell case. I don't really want to reuse the graphics card for the new machine. I haven't figured out what to do in that regard yet. At $837.25 out the door, I'm pretty much spent on this upgrade. I'm thinking that I can add a high end graphics card later if I want. Great graphics aren't that important at the moment.

It's always very exciting to do an upgrade and it will be even more exciting to have a computer with some oomph again. As an added bonus, the three 250 GB drives I ordered from Woot.com last week should be in this week. Those will provide the "slow" storage for the unit. I cannot wait!

Digitizing Your Life.

May 20, 2006

On the plane back from Las Vegas last week, I was reading the June 2006 Popular Science and I came across Michael Myser's article entitled "You'll Enjoy Total Recall."  Myser discussed Gordon Bell and how he's been recording his whole life digitally for his MyLifeBits project.  The article left me open-mouthed and gave me one of those "hey, I've thought of doing that before" moments.  So I dug deeper.  Much of this concept comes from a guy named Vannevar Bush who wrote in 1945 about his Memex concept of supplementing one's memory.  Bell has worn a prototype camera called a SenseCam that takes thousands of pictures a day of whatever he's involved in.  Presumably, there is a microphone as well.  He's also manually digitized books and photos and other things concerning his life. 

I recommend reading some of the files associated with these links and watching the video"MyLifeBits a personal database for everything" is particularly interesting.  Not only is this a system for capturing all the events of one's life, it's also an organizational system.  It takes the data coming in from cameras, microphones, keyloggers, screen captures and what have you and automatically meta tags it so you don't have to.  The goal is to avoid having an individual become his or her own file clerk, curator or biographer.  The key is being able to review the information you capture quickly and easily.  If you can't do that, what's the point?

While this technology is thrilling, it is also plain scary.  How many things do you do every day that you don't want to be recorded?  I can safely say, in my case, every single trip to the bathroom.  Plus, if you do work that is confidential, this is practically impossible to use.  Loved ones aren't going to be too crazy about it either; especially the ones you go to bed with at night.  Law enforcement would love for everyone to wear a SenseCam.  While it would be the end of privacy, it would also solve a lot of crime. 

Something like this is coming, however.  It's inevitable.  Microsoft is funding MyLifeBits and the SenseCam.  I have strong yet mixed feelings about it.  It would be very useful to someone who is as forgetful as I am, but it would also be invasive.  I'm willing to bet that just as we see soccer moms with Borg like blue-tooth headsets flashing in their ears, so we will see them soon, smiling at Starbucks with SenseCams around their necks.  Smile for the camera, honey!

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FNPL Hiatus.

May 18, 2006

That’s right folks, Friday Night Party Line is going on hiatus this week.  Real life is intruding on my internet life and I have obligations which cannot be avoided.  (I have to watch my kids while my wife plays Bunko).  We should be back next week with new topics and excellent guests.