When Sarah Palin booked a flight to Europe, the French immediately surrendered.

calendar   Monday - July 29, 2013

No More Gay Penalty

Only 60 years after he was driven to suicide ...

Alan Turing, credited with ending WWII, to be given posthumous pardon

The “Father of Computer Science” — who played a key role in defeating the Nazis during World War II — is set to be posthumously pardoned of his gross indecency conviction, according to a new report.

WWII hero Alan Turing is widely credited with hastening the falls of the Nazis because he cracked the German Enigma, which allowed U-boats to securely communicate in the North Atlantic.

Turing, who was gay, was later convicted under anti-homosexuality legislation and sentenced to chemical castration.

In 1954, Turing, 41, was found dead of cyanide poisoning — a half-eaten apple sitting on his bedside table.

The government signalled on Friday that it is prepared to support a backbench bill that would pardon Turing, who died from cyanide poisoning at the age of 41 in 1954 after he was subjected to “chemical castration”.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, a government whip, told peers that the government would table the third reading of the Alan Turing (statutory pardon) bill at the end of October if no amendments are made. “If nobody tables an amendment to this bill, its supporters can be assured that it will have speedy passage to the House of Commons,” Ahmad said.

The announcement marks a change of heart by the government, which declined last year to grant pardons to the 49,000 gay men, now dead, who were convicted under the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act. They include Oscar Wilde.

Turing broke German ciphers using the bombe method, which allowed the code-breakers to crack the German Enigma code. His colleague Tommy Flowers built the Colossus computer. [Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, a government whip] Ahmad described Turing as “one of the fathers, if not the father, of computer science”.

[ Liberal Democrat peer Lord ]Sharkey has campaigned for a pardon after being taught mathematics at Manchester University in the 1960s by Robin Gandy, Turing’s only doctoral student, who became a close friend and was the executor of his will.

Sharkey said: “As I think everybody knows, he was convicted in 1952 of gross indecency and sentenced to chemical castration. He committed suicide two years later. The government know that Turing was a hero and a very great man. They acknowledge that he was cruelly treated. They must have seen the esteem in which he is held here and around the world.”

[long retired Bletchley Park aide] Lady Trumpington told peers: “The block I worked in was devoted to German naval codes. Only once was I asked to deliver a paper to Alan Turing, so … I cannot claim that I knew him. However, I am certain that but for his work we would have lost the war through starvation.”

If I recall my ancient computer history properly, Turing was also adept at riding a unicycle and playing the accordion. No word yet on whether the UK has finally decriminalized those activities as well.

And headlines being what they are, obviously Turing didn’t end the war all by himself. But he did break the code, and that was invaluable in ending the Blitz ... although it was Churchill’s decision to let Coventry be bombed.

link to the Alan Turing story

Minor Update: a somewhat contrary view from Max Hastings: these were the laws of the time, so by what right does today’s UK go about pardoning or apologizing for past wrongs? Or, as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton might put it, “At this point, what difference does it make?” Not that she, or her husband for that matter, are any strangers themselves to meaningless apologies.

Well, I suppose the point is that it’s never too late to try and do the right thing. Granted, 60 years after the guy is dead is rather pushing the envelope.

The secondary argument, “what about the other 49,000 homosexuals also convicted?” may be moot; the way I read the Guardian article it seems as if all of them could be cleared of their long-ago offenses.

And when you come right down to it, the Allies were only too happy to forgive a bunch of Nazis and take them on board. Almost all of the early brains in NASA had earlier worked for Adolf (eg SS Major Werner von Braun). Revisionism can downplay their involvement, but come on. They didn’t NOT know. So what’s a little power bottom action compared to that? What they ought to be apologizing for is not standing up for their man, who saved the lives of millions by shortening the war by a year or more. But not one of them did; not a single string was pulled for Turing. That’s abhorrent. Things should have been swept under the rug as they were done for so many others with far more “dirt” in their dustpans.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/29/2013 at 04:32 PM   
Filed Under: • Computers and CyberspaceHistoryWar-Stories •  
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calendar   Friday - July 26, 2013

Attention Drew…

… and anybody else who’s interested:

Drew, I don’t worry about the summer rerun season—haven’t watched TV for almost two decades. But I do have this magic card that allows me to checkout and watch all kinds of movies and TV shows. It’s called a library card. I don’t even have to go to the library to browse anymore. The library catalog is online now. All that’s required is login, do a search, and if your library has what your looking for, reserve it. I’ve set my home library up as the closest branch so the library system sends my reserved items to my local branch and sends me an email notifying me that it’s ready for pickup. Easy.

If that isn’t easy enough, there’s an App for Macs called Library Books. Here’s a screen-shot:


It sits right at the top of my desktop, turns green when items are ready for pickup, turns red when items are due. Click on it and it turns blue and lists your items out, what is ready for pickup, etc. Don’t know if Windows has something similar. Did I mention that Library Books was free? I said was because now it’s like $1.99 in the Mac App Store but I’ve refused to upgrade.


Posted by Christopher   United States  on 07/26/2013 at 07:51 PM   
Filed Under: • Computers and CyberspaceDaily Life •  
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calendar   Thursday - July 18, 2013

Fun With Ads

Das Leben Is Zu Kurz

Für Den Falschen Job

Not exactly new, this 2009 anti-ad ad campaign for an employment agency in Germany features the right people doing the wrong kind of work. “Billboards” were placed on the side of vending machines in popular locations, and the rest ... is viral internet history. Love it.

“Life’s too short for the wrong job.”




Links? Dude, it’s viral. Google it up; the stuff is everywhere.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/18/2013 at 11:51 PM   
Filed Under: • Computers and CyberspaceHumor •  
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Meh, plus making infinite tasks take only seconds

Sorry, not much from me right now. I’m trying to get a whole bunch of things done here, all sorts of stuff that got set aside when I was sick.

Interesting sort of news on that license plate scanning story. Once upon a time, when I was studying computers in college, in a brutally difficult course on algorithm analysis, I got introduced to Aleph Zero, the concept of countable infinity. Countable. Infinity. I know, right? Anyway, the concept applies to computer programs that are actual algorithms - which are defined as repetitive but finite processes - that would simply run until the end of time before they finished. And that’s my first thought about the license plate scanning story: given a few dozen million traffic cams or cop car mounted scanners, it would take forever to plot the movement history of all the tens of millions of cars in the USA.

But on second thought, I learned about old Aleph Zero when a red hot PC ran at around 66Mhz. 10x faster is 660Mhz. 100x faster is 6.6Ghz, about twice the speed of today’s best desktop machine. But while today’s PC is about 50 times faster, it also has up to 8 subprocessing units in it, and since this plate searching thing is pretty much a linear task, any one of those could handle the job for one license plate at a time. So figure that a good PC can do 400 times (50x8) the work that a machine from back then can do.  Still, Aleph Zero divided by 400 still equals Aleph Zero; that kind of power increase doesn’t make a dent in infinity. Scalar (4) times 2 orders of magnitude (10x10=100) isn’t much.

But if we move beyond the mundane world of personal computers, countable infinity starts to take a beating. The Chinese admit to having a supercomputer that churns data as fast as 338 MILLION modern PCs. Keyword: admit. Take a guess what they really have, and aren’t telling you. And do you think that our own NSA is far behind? Or more likely, far ahead and not saying a word? We already know about the phone call and email tapping stuff. And now folks have figured out that all those CCTV cameras can feed facial recognition software ... in real time. So, is keeping track of where everyone is in their cars at all times still a finite, countably infinite, effectively impossible task? Let’s take a fast look at the math.

Pull a number out of your hat, or whatever hypothetical guess storage device you use. Guess that the task of tracking all the cars every day would take about 100,000 years of computation on an old PC, each and every day. Now make a tiny assumption, that the NSA has supercomputers (how many? LOTS!) a decent step faster than the ChiComs admit theirs are. Call it 500 million times faster. 500,000,000 faster than today’s PC, which itself does 400 times as much work as the 66Mhz machine from 1993. Ignore that factor of 400 entirely for now. 500 million is a scalar of 5 followed by 100,000,000 - 9 orders of magnitude. So the 100,000 year task - which is 36,525,000 days including leap years gets divided by 500,000,000, and we get 0.07305 days, which is just 1 hour and 45 minutes. Now let’s factor in Modern PC against Old PC, so we divide 1.75 hours - 105 minutes - by 400. And the answer comes up 0.26298 minutes, or just under 16 seconds. Aleph Zero is dead: one of NSA’s supercomputers by itself can keep track of the whereabouts of every car in the USA just 16 seconds behind realtime. Well, given a nearly continuous data feed from all those scanners. If they check in any less often than that, say once every 30 seconds, then NSA can easily stay just one update behind, which is as close to realtime as anything other than a targeted missile strike will ever need. So be aware: it can be done.

Driving somewhere? There’s a gov’t record of that

Chances are, your local or state police departments have photographs of your car in their files, noting where you were driving on a particular day, even if you never did anything wrong.

Using automated scanners, law enforcement agencies across the country have amassed millions of digital records on the location and movement of every vehicle with a license plate, according to a study published Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union. Affixed to police cars, bridges or buildings, the scanners capture images of passing or parked vehicles and note their location, uploading that information into police databases. Departments keep the records for weeks or years, sometimes indefinitely.

As the technology becomes cheaper and more ubiquitous, and federal grants focus on aiding local terrorist detection, even small police agencies are able to deploy more sophisticated surveillance systems. While the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that a judge’s approval is needed to track a car with GPS, networks of plate scanners allow police effectively to track a driver’s location, sometimes several times every day, with few legal restrictions. The ACLU says the scanners assemble what it calls a “single, high-resolution image of our lives.”

The license plate readers alert police to an automobile associated with an investigation, “but such instances account for a tiny fraction of license plate scans, and too many police departments are storing millions of records about innocent drivers,” the ACLU said.

“Private companies are also using license plate readers and sharing the information they collect with police with little or no oversight or privacy protections. A lack of regulation means that policies governing how long our location data is kept vary widely,” the ACLU said.

The civil liberties group is advocating legislation regulating the use of the technology.

The readers have been proliferating at “worrying speed” and are typically mounted on bridges, overpasses and patrol cars, the ACLU said.

The devices use high-speed cameras, and the software analyzes the photographs to retrieve the plate number, the group said.

The system then runs the data against “hot lists” of plate numbers and produces an instant alert when a match, or “hit,” registers, the group said. The hot lists include the National Crime Information Center file, which includes stolen cars and vehicles used in the commission of a crime.

“License plate readers would pose few civil liberties risks if they only checked plates against hot lists and these hot lists were implemented soundly. But these systems are configured to store the photograph, the license plate number, and the date, time, and location where all vehicles are seen — not just the data of vehicles that generate hits,” the ACLU report said.

The growing collection of data allows police to create “a single, high-resolution image of our lives,” and the constant monitoring “can chill the exercise of our cherished rights to free speech and association,” the group said.

The “good news” here is that without the computing power of the federal government, tracking all vehicles or even one of them goes right back to being an Aleph Zero algorithm. In other words, your local town or county will never be able to afford the cost of the top-end computers that have the power to do the job. Phew. Of course, the bad news part of that good news is that all it takes is your local po-po streaming the data to the feds. And my goodness, given both the nationalization and militarization of police departments across the country since 9/11, and all of those “walls” Jamie Gorlick spent so much time building coming crashing down thanks to the Patriot Act and other bits of Big Brother legislation ... you’d never ever think your local donut eaters would be passing along data like this. Not them, not ever!

Think again.

So, shouldn’t this pretty much put an instant end to crime? Between the drones and the CCTV and the NSA, wouldn’t the Forces Of Goodness pretty much be able to track anything and anyone and thus capture the bad guys right away? Well no. To do that, we need to have a CCTV camera on every corner, every quarter mile or so on every road.  And a whole army of citizens to target the analysis. Which would cost trillions. Which would cost $Aleph Zero dollars. But it’s for the chiiiildren, and think of how many jobs that would create or save!!!11!


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/18/2013 at 04:30 PM   
Filed Under: • Computers and CyberspaceCrimeGovernment •  
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calendar   Sunday - June 23, 2013

wanted, easy answer for tech question. if that exists.

Got a problem ppl.


It doesn’t.  Maddening because when it says “End Task” and I click on that, it does nothing.

Anyone know of a solution or work around that isn’t complicated?

Much appreciated if ya do.

I’ve tried talking to the puter but that doesn’t work.  And I discovered that swearing at it doesn’t work either.  I even threatened to shoot it once but it reminded me that we are in England and that just wouldn’t do.  At best I can give it an ASBO but it even laffed at that.


Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 06/23/2013 at 12:34 PM   
Filed Under: • Computers and Cyberspace •  
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calendar   Tuesday - May 07, 2013

https and a question on tech

I was going thru a computer magazine, just browsing and came upon this.  It looked interesting but the blurb in the mag. went into little if any detail. Which is my ungeek way of saying they didn’t tell me it might be a mite confusing.  Except to Drew and his peers in the tech world, of which I am still a lowly outsider.

For example,

This means that while someone spying on your Internet traffic will be able to see what websites you’re connecting too, they will not be able to see what you are doing on that website.

What’s that mean?  If you were visiting a gun site or a porn site, they could well guess what you were doing.
So I guess my question is, is there any real value in this?  Or is it bells and whistles, smoke and mirrors?
Here is the link.  And they have it for Chrome as well.

I’m always nervous about installing new features and stuff that I am not familiar with.  I do know what HTTPS means ok. Just thought it might be a good idea to run this by some of you more tech savvy people before I click on anything.




Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 05/07/2013 at 02:06 PM   
Filed Under: • Computers and Cyberspace •  
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calendar   Monday - May 06, 2013


I’ve been having problems with my built-in Apple DVD SuperDrive. After hanging out on Apple and iMac discussion boards, somebody finally said something that made sense. It’s a vertically-mounted drive. Doesn’t take much for the disk to be just 1/1000th of a micron off. So I bought an external, and horizontal, SeaTech SuperDrive. So far, so good.


Posted by Christopher   United States  on 05/06/2013 at 01:00 AM   
Filed Under: • Computers and Cyberspace •  
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calendar   Thursday - April 11, 2013

That Sucking Sound As Sales Evaporate

Windows 8 blamed for biggest PC shipment plunge ever

Global PC shipments fell by 13.9 percent in the first quarter of 2013, and according to analyst firm IDC , Windows 8 could very well be the reason.

On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that 76.3 million PC units shipped during the most recent financial period, marking the biggest decline since the IDC began publishing quarterly numbers 19 years ago.

“The reaction to Windows 8 is real,” Jay Chou, an IDC analyst, said to The Wall Street Journal.

Increased demand for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have also played a role in this decline, but Windows 8 hasn’t helped. IDC continued to say that the OS actually contributed to the slump, saying that Windows 8 devices come with “features that don’t excel in a tablet mode” and take away from traditional PC usage.

PC demand for business users has declined as well. According to Chou, companies now buy computers every four or five years as opposed to every three years. Estimates for global PC shipments may fall even lower than the already-grim 1.3 percent contraction for 2013, IDC told WSJ.

“At this point, unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market,” said Bob O’Donnell, IDC Program Vice President, Clients and Displays. “While some consumers appreciate the new form factors and touch capabilities of Windows 8, the radical changes to the UI, removal of the familiar Start button, and the costs associated with touch have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices.”

Some folks like it, but most don’t. And even if you could afford a touch screen monitor - regular sized models appear to cost 2 to 4 times more than a new PC - you’ll still be using it in vertical mode as a desktop. Instead of on your lap, horizontal mode, like you’d use a tablet. The OS is perhaps a few years ahead of the tech ... and everyone is expecting a HUGE OS release this year (aka Windows 9) that does away with the thing, and gives back the Start button and makes everything more W7-ish. July’s SP1 release is already seen as merely a band-aid over a sucking chest wound.

The Windows Blue update expected this summer promises several enhancements, including the ability to view more apps on the screen at once and easier access to settings, but it may not be enough.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/11/2013 at 05:40 PM   
Filed Under: • Computers and Cyberspace •  
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calendar   Wednesday - April 03, 2013

Netwoik? Fuggedabowdit.

Well, I gave up trying to make a network. I thought I’d done everything right, but it just wouldn’t click. I had both machines wired to the Wireless transponder/router thingy, and the Win 7 machine could clearly recognize the wifi “network”, but couldn’t see beyond it. Same thing for the XP machine. So after several dozen attempts I got sick of unhooking the monitor and schlepping it up and down stairs ( I only have the one monitor ), and umpteen reboots ... so I went to Walmart and bought a 32GB flash drive, a portable memory chip hardly bigger or thicker than a dime. And I put my entire old hard drive on it, with plenty of room to spare. 14 years worth of work, data, and accumulated programs. Heck, I can put my 3 DVDs full of bridge pictures and vacation pictures on there, and still have room left over. It isn’t fast; it’s only USB 2.0. So no way I would transfer the data to the HDD and then use the flash as a boot disk. Not sure that it’s even big enough, but Win 7 is eager to do all sorts of kinky things with it. Even gave me a list. Click Here For More!


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/03/2013 at 10:33 PM   
Filed Under: • Computers and Cyberspace •  
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calendar   Sunday - March 31, 2013

a question on tech.

A senior moment?

Until Drew’s post, I forgot it was Easter Sunday and so, perhaps this won’t be seen by a lot of you, and probably not by Drew til tomorrow.

I have a tech type question.

Take a look at this screen shot. It’s my C:

I have had differing opinions on the use of indexing. Not a lot of opinions, just a couple.  But you know, the more I can learn the better off I’ll be. Or at least the better off my puter will be.

Is there any need for indexing unless you’re an accountant or someone in a profession? 

I have read in a pc magazine that this will slow you down, not make things faster. 

Opinions please?



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 03/31/2013 at 11:35 AM   
Filed Under: • Computers and Cyberspace •  
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calendar   Friday - March 29, 2013

it’s Here!

The new PC arrived about 90 minutes ago. I took everything out of the box and just looked at it for awhile. It’s all black and sinister looking with chrome piping around the edge of the front panel. Pretty neat. The DVD has a spring loaded trapdoor on it, like the dust cover on an M16. Also neat. The top of the case has a little depression in it for your hand held devices, and there are 2 USB 3.0 ports, a microphone jack, and a headphone jack right there. So I hooked it all up, turned things on. And it came to life just fine. So this is my first post from my new i7 machine. I’m going to name him Hecho, after my surprise at finding him hecho en Mexico.

Oooh, the new keyboard is nearly flat. It doesn’t weigh a third what the old keyboard weighs. Actually, the whole machine is lightweight. Great big box, but the Fed-Ex guy carried it with one hand. No kidding; the PC itself probably doesn’t weigh 10lbs. That’s a far cry from the nut busting weight of the old one. Thank goodness that one’s old 18” CRT monitor died a few years back. That sucker must have tipped the scales at 50lb.

So, I’m up and running. Now to figure out Windows 7, get Outlook going, blah blah. Oh, and I have to see if either WiFi or Ethernet is faster. And then finagle moving files across. And exploring what kind of bloatware Dell put on the system (doesn’t look like much, since this is a “business” machine). So I might be busy for a bit.

Gah, I am not used to this new keyboard at all! But it’s quieter. I was hoping the keys would light up, but no. Oh well.

I like the mouse. I can adjust the speed of the thing right from the top. Cool. Now to figure out what these extra buttons on each side do.

See ya ...


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/29/2013 at 08:52 PM   
Filed Under: • Computers and Cyberspace •  
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calendar   Thursday - March 28, 2013

Hecho En Mexico

Still waiting for my new PC to arrive. It shipped several days ago. I pulled up the tracking link from the email Dell sent me, but the Fed-Ex site doesn’t give me much data. My machine went through Fed’s Fort Worth processing center in about 8 hours, 3 days ago. That’s all it shows. Almost. At the top of the window is a source line. It says that my shipment originated in Juarez. What??? Dude, that’s, like, Mexico!

Yup. No sher, schmitlock. The iconic computer company from Austin Texas doesn’t make computers in Austin Texas any longer. Not for years actually. Turns out that they don’t even make computers in the United States anymore either, having closed assembly plants all over and laid off thousands. And this is old news. Well excuuuuuuse me, I haven’t been paying attention to the details of the computer world for at least half a decade. I know it’s a cut throat industry, one that is constantly evolving, changing, and inventing new ground shaking paradigms almost daily. So I shouldn’t be surprised. And I should have put 01 and 01 together and seen that they add up to 10 when I shopped for the PC online and saw that all their machines have been “packagized”; the old “build it your way” components option list a thing of the distant past. Who am I kidding? Almost all the parts come from Indonesia or China. Things might be designed here, but they’re built there. So why bother to even assemble them here? Silly Drew.

Guess I was fooling myself; I never gave it any thought, but if I had I would have thought ... Dell; American. The story of Dell Computers is a classic American Success tale, a story of how one man made millions - billions, dozens of them - and built a huge company by providing a better product to the marketplace. But the outsourcing seed was always there, even at the very beginning. The very first Dell computers were IBM PCs that were overstocks. They weren’t selling, so college student Michael Dell bought them up for a song and modified them on the cheap. Being IBM made products back in the days when IBM meant something, those early PCs were way overbuilt. Underclocked, so that they’d run cold and last forever. So he replaced the system clock, a 10¢ part, with a faster one. So his rebranded PCs ran 50% faster and cost 2/3 of IBM’s PCs. And he got rich. That’s the legend. Ah, but that was long ago and far away. Like all big business, Dell has long since gone multi-national. But even though they’re retrenching right now, Dell is still the greatest greatest tale ever told in the entire history of capitalism. 60 billion in annual sales. Crivens!

So I’ll have a Hecho PC. Just so long as it’s built with the English version of Windows, and the box not used to smuggle drugs in with. (shocked reaction!! Drew, that’s racist!! [no, it’s actually nationalist. Can we get past this stuck on stupid “racist” crap? Not all stereotypes are race based, and one blanket term does not cover them. Expand your mind, you simple monkey. {das raaaciss!!} Oh shut up.] )


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/28/2013 at 01:35 PM   
Filed Under: • Computers and CyberspaceOutsourcing •  
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calendar   Wednesday - March 20, 2013

Oh Swell, It’s a Dell

“PC news”

I looked and I looked, and all that DIY stuff is awesome, and I know what upgrade parts I’ll want someday, and I’m certain I can build one. BUT.

But for now I’m going with the OTB solution (Open The Box). I took everything everyone told me into consideration ... and even though I’ll probably never be able to use the full power of it, I went with the i7 3770/H77 machine. Not the 3770K chip or the Z77 chipset. The i5 builds were only $130 less, but that was with half the RAM and half the HD, and that HD was not even a SATA 6Gb/s interface either. And a crappier graphics card, or none. Not that mine came with any kind of wonder card, but it’s better than CPU mounted graphics, especially the ones on the lesser CPUS. I did find a decent i3 system for about half the price, but it was stripped and built with cheap parts. I had a big debate with myself about future-proofing, and I decided to err on the side of speedy this time.

This box has just about everything I could ever want built in or added on, right down to a 7 button laser mouse. 7? I’ve got 5 on this one, including the wheel. Don’t know what I’ll do with more.

So, someday ... a couple weeks ... and a new PC will arrive.

My network guy from bowling league wasn’t much help, but he did strongly advise me against Windows 8. That was my plan anyway; it’s got a very bad reputation. So I got 7 Pro, which gives me XP mode if I need it, and Dell threw in the W7P disks for $3. Windows 8 is a FAIL OS: all the vendors are discounting it $100 with new systems, PC industry blogs say that 8 has barely penetrated the market 2.5%, the same as Mac, and that one of Microsoft’s selling points for the Win 8 Pro version is that you can downgrade it. Downgrading is a selling point? Horry clap. Nobody wants this red-headed step child.

Now, to wait for SSD prices to drop. Mwahahahahaaa! (actually that gives me some time to pay this bugger off. Like, a whole year?)

A big shout out to all who gave good comment advice ... especially the link to, a place saturated in geek awesome.

Sure, I probably paid too much, although I got the machine for a bit less than the listed price. Enough less to cover most of the tax ... damn them, the internet should be free, not charging taxes for interstate commerce!! You bastards! But a kit machine doesn’t come with 24-7 in home tech support for a year either. Just in case, right?


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/20/2013 at 10:44 PM   
Filed Under: • Computers and Cyberspace •  
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calendar   Tuesday - March 19, 2013

PC Parts - Overwhelming!

Thanks for the great response to my PC post. I’m looking at motherboards, RAM, and other parts right now. It’s pretty overwhelming; there is simply so much to choose from.

And the evil little audiophile demon that lives in my head has been awakened and is starting to stamp his sharp little hooves and demand top-level stuff. Problem is, I don’t know what top-level stuff is. The ASUS boards are myraid; I’m assuming Form Factor ATX is a standard size motherboard that fits in a standard “mini tower” case. Fine by me; I don’t need a PC the size of a box of tissues. But gosh, the choices. I’m still thinking Ivy Bridge, so Intel i3 - i7, but I don’t know from Adam about z77 vs z77 Express etc. And here I was the other day, ready to plop down money for an i7/H77 system! And RAM? CRIVENS!! There is an infinite selection! Every “hot” system I saw for sale online from the PC companies came with 1600Mhz DDR3, but these boards run - or CAN run?? - 2400Mhz DDR3, 50% faster and just $50 more expensive. In the old, old days, faster RAM made a huge difference. Now? I have no idea.

I know I want a board with at least 1 SATA III port because that SSD route seems an awesome way to go, even if I don’t go there first thing. I think I want a built-in ethernet port, and a built-in WiFi thinger. Both, just in case. But sound boards are also built-in these days? Coolness, or crappola? And reasonable video cards? I’m beginning to feel ... well, not exactly OLD, but a bit on the Rip Van Winkle side: the last time I messed about with cards and slots was to put a Perstor card in my 286 machine ( a wonder-board that piggybacked the HD controller and tripled the capacity of my Seagate ST-4096 HD ), and in those days all this stuff was an ad-on, so you needed slots, more slots, and more slots. Now I’m seeing boards with just 2-4 slots, but with so much stuff built into the mobo itself, yeah, maybe that’s enough. But. More confusion! There are at least 3 kinds of PCI slot now! My current PC has 1, and it’s original PCI, no -E, Express, Zip, or whatever.

Ok. Calm down Drew. Walk away from the candy store; assume Christmas is over. The idea is to build a good machine and get out the door for $800, or close to it. For a running PC with OS. And that’s going to be a challenge, because so much of what is out there for the DIYer seems so much better than what Dell or Acer sells you; it’s not even in the same ballpark. Unless the human-observable performance difference between “bargain” and “white hot” are nearly indistinguishable for anything less than NASA-level number crunching. And, BIG DUH, I’d better grab my actual NEEDS by the sack and give them a squeeze, so that their screams drown out the drooling clamor of the WANTS. But I’m new to all this, so it’s hard. I’m in the candy store, and there are 128 different kinds of fancy organic licorice for sale, but yesterday the only stuff I was aware of was Twizzlers. Which is rubberized crap.  Ooh, look - Danish hilyatsprach, an extra strong licorice with 3% anise seed oil, 10% organic Italian licorice root, and no molasses! But with salt! Ooh, tasty!

The dangerous thing is that I have a natural eye for quality. I walk into ta jewelry store and look in the case, and automatically point to the best quality diamonds and emeralds, when I was actually shopping for garnets.

This is going to be very hard. Thanks. Really; I do enjoy a challenge.

ASUS P8Z77-V LE Intel 7 Series Motherboard - ATX, Socket H2 (LGA1155), Intel Z77 Express, 2400MHz DDR3 (O.C.), SATA III (6Gb/s), RAID, 8-CH Audio, Gigabit LAN, USB 3.0, PCIe 3.0, CrossFireX Ready

Friday this was gibberish. Today I half understand it, although I have to Google up CrossFireX ... but I’m guessing it means a doubled GPU. Just guessing.

ASUS P8Z77-V PRO Intel 7 Series Motherboard - ATX, Socket H2 (LGA1155), Intel Z77, 2400MHz DDR3 (O.C.), SATA III (6Gb/s), RAID, 8-CH Audio, Gigabit LAN, USB 3.0, PCIe 3.0, WiFi-N, SLI/CrossFireX

$25 difference between the two. Both are expensive. The later has the latest and greatest version of Wifi built-in. Cool. But SLI/CrossFireX? Similar thing, but I’m doing the big Scooby Doo “ma-roouh??” here. So much stuff to learn!


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/19/2013 at 12:35 PM   
Filed Under: • Computers and Cyberspace •  
Comments (9) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.


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