Category: Computer Stuff

Computer Adventures.

New Laptop #2

Well for those of you I don’t talk to on a regular bases here is a little update:

I have graduated from Canadore College and received my “Computer System Technology – Networking Program”. So that’s it, I’m done. Not so much. I have deiced to go back for another 3 years for the “Computer Programmer Analyst”. So this now brings me to the reason for this post, I got a new laptop. :)

I knew my old Dell 640m just wasn’t going to cut it for the new program. So I order my self a Dell Studio XPS. Here are the specs:

  • Intel® CoreTM i5 540M (2.53GHz/3MB cache)
  • Genuine Windows® 7 Professional 64-Bit
  • 4GB Shared Dual Channel DDR3
  • ATI HD5730 Mobility RadeonTM
  • 15.6 inch display (1920×1080)
  • 500GB5 SATA hard drive (7200RPM)
  • 8X DVD+/-RW Slot-load Drive
  • 6 Cell Battery
  • 2.0MP Integrated Webcam
  • 802.11n

Doing the comparison to my old one, this is quite the beast.

The new one doesn’t excite me as much as the old one does. I plan on running Kubuntu on the old one, and get to enjoy having a real web test server again. Also want to play with some of the new KDE environment stuff as its been a few years since I have used it.
If you have ideas of things I should post please comment below!

OpenSUSE – You suck

This semester at school we have a class called “Second Operating System”. Just like you would expect, we are learning Linux. Unfortunately, the teachers have opted to go with OpenSUSE as the primary OS to teach. First day was to do the setup on either our laptops or the desktop machines the school provides. I opted to install OpenSUSE in Sun’s VirtualBox.

VirtualBox is a great desktop test environment mostly used by programmers to test programs in. It supports Linux and Windows as a gust operating system allowing you to install operating systems on a base Windows install. This means that I don’t have to dual boot 2 operating systems.

After installing openSUSE, first thing I wanted to do was install the Addition tools that come with VirtualBox. This will allows the mouse to flow between the virtual machine and the actual machines desktop freely. It also allows the display to run in “Seamless mode”. Seamless mode run the guest OS right on top of the desktop of the machine seamlessly.

The problem with this is you need to install the kernel source headers. Not a big deal with most OS’s but with OpenSUSE, she wasn’t going to go willing. In Ubuntu when you go to install the kernel source headers it asks you if you really want to do this then enables the correct repositories. OpenSUSE says it doesn’t exist then you have to go hunting for how to do it. So I did what ever n00b does and went to Google and tryed finding a site that shows how to install the files that were required.

Turns out that if you go in about 5 menus deep in the crap thing they call a control panel, there is a spot where you can add the repos. It gives you a nice list of about 20 repos that if you didn’t have any prior Linux knowledge you would have no idea what one to add. So I added all of them.

I ran a repo update using there crappy application manager. It took 30 minutes to check all the repos and 6 of them failed. Explain that to me. :S So after using the search feature found exactly what I was looking for. After that everything installed and ran fine, accept a few things:

  1. Seamless mode doesn’t work
  2. Internet is up and down (no other VM does this)
  3. Installing any application is the biggest pain in the but ever

To conclude, I hate OpenSUSE. I don’t recommend using it at all. They make doing anything twice as difficult as it should be. Why make it so hard?


Mac vs PC

A battle that might never end between Mac and PC users. A battle that is won but no one on the PC side will admit it.

The battle between Mac and PC have been going on for years and years. This history behind Apple and Microsoft has always been to “out do” the other. Microsoft I hate to brake it to you… but you lost.

I recommended my second Mac out to a friend of myna who was getting a laptop to do her writing on. She got it in November and has never had a issue with it. My laptop is a little older but still has some good hardware in it. I run XP Pro hooked to my domain at home. Over the time she has had her nice running Mac, I have formatted my Windows based laptop 10 times. That’s right, 10 times. And not only just the formatting but I don’t think any peace of software has worked correctly on it. Even Miro couldn’t play video back with out horrid lag and being very choppy.

Every since the last format, it’s been acting really weird with the file sync to my home server but today was the day it finally died.

It’s funny because I sit here writing this and reading the slides during the XP Pro install.
“Music and entertainment just got better” This is a great line. I have always had issues playing 340kbps music files.
“Now it’s easier to get help — and to help others!” Yeah it’s easy if grandma can forward the ports through her router.
“The computer will be faster and more reliable” Lets just all take a minute and laugh.
“Get support for the latest hardware and software” It goes on about Direct X 9 after that. Does that mean Miro should have been able to play my shows?
“Surfing the Internet: safe, fast and flexible” If you use Firefox :P
“Explore your creative side with photos and videos” but they can’t be to big or else explore will crash.
“Windows Movie Maker makes it easy and fun to capture, and edit video” Yeah right. If your trying to make a video slid show of picture, Windows will crash due to buffering issues.

So to sum up. Windows sucks. I’ll let you know how much better it is now that it’s formatted.

Edit: Ok I haven’t even posted this yet and I already have my first issue. USB stick with all my drivers on it won’t come up in My Computer… O look 5th times the charm!

Crossfader on Behringer DX 1000

Now that I have my computer up and running I have been messing around with a program called Virtual DJ. If your into making your own mixes and DJing then this might be a program you want to check out.

Virtual DJ is really cool and feature packed. One of the features is it lets you set 2 sound cards to be the output for Decks A and B allowing you to use a external mixer as your control for your crossfading and main mix output.

After doing this and playing some songs I noticed that the Crossfader on my DJ board (Behringer DX 1000) was cutting the sound out to soon so by the time the slider had made it to the middle both tracks were at half volume. What I wanted was to have Deck A be on full volume till the slider hit half way and then have the volume decline but all of this happening while Desk B’s volume is coming up.

I remember reading in the instructions that you could adjust the slop and overlap of the crossfader. I figured it would be like two knobs on the back or something but the adjustment is on the main motherboard inside of the case. This sounded like a great excuse to take it apart :D

After removing all the back screws I came to this.

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Looking closer down need the Crossfader I found the two potentiometers.

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According to the instructions it says not to mess with the overlap but to turn the Slop potentiometers all the way to the right to get what I wanted. (Make sure you check the instructions before doing this to your board) So then after putting all 10 screws back in I hooked the board up and away it went. PERFECT!

That was a fairly simple adjustment and I hope this will help you tune your board to what you want.

I Blake Miller do not take responsibility for damages you might cause to your equipment.


Computer Issues? Your telling me!

I have not been around many of my local online community’s recently do to major computer issues I have been suffering through.

In my last post I made you all aware that I had ordered a new bare bones kit from Well I received all the parts, put it together, turned it on… install Windows XP Pro… Install drivers then bam… random reboot. So I ran it for about a week. Very fast bur random reboots. I ran the great utility “Dr Watson” that’s built into Windows to see what was going on. Checking through logs I found that every reboot was caused by the nVidea driver taking a dump.

My first thought was the video cards so I took on of the XFX nVidea 8400 GS’s out. Again, still the same problem. So then my second thought was RAM… Took 3GB of the OCZ RAM out. Still same issue. Last thought was power supply… changed that… still same issue.

My calm father called MSI and gave them the situation of what was going on. They gave us a tag number and we shipped the board back.

A week later we were starting to get concerned about where the board had gone because we had herd nothing from MSI. That Friday a package showed up from MSI with a brand new mother board.

Again, hooked it up, installed Windows XP… still same problem.

Well I was pissed by this point. (Who wouldn’t be)

So me and my dad were talking about the MSI mother board. All of our computers we have ever built we always used AMD processor, ASUS mother boards and ATI graphics cards. Having a MSI mother board and nVidea graphics cards was a new realm but we figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. Every thing pointed back to the motherboard.

We order a nice ASUS N2M-SLI from ShadowTech Computer Services. (There located a few blocks away from my house) The next day the motherboard was in and still the same problem but this time when we went to install Window s we would get a memory flow error… something witched I have never seen before. This time we called up our friend Tim from ShadowTech and asked him about the problem.

Tim nicely tolled us that OCZ RAM needs to have voltage bumped up for it to run stable. Sure enough, bumped up the voltage and away it went. 4GB of RAM… AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 5400+ 2.81 GHz and XFX 8400+ GS running software SLI.

Not bad for a months worth of screwing around… Now I just need to find where the Christmas video’s went :P


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