First post, by HunterZ
Currently having no life, I find myself sitting in front of my computer on a Friday night. In an attempt to make myself feel better, I've decided to bore you all with the latest stuff I've been doing with my new computer:
A New Old Monitor:
I don't know if I ever mentioned that I picked up an oldish 21" CRT montior on sale at Boeing Surplus for around $20. Seems to run well, although I'd like to open it and adjust the internal brightness and focus controls on the flyback transformer (since, as with many old CRTs, I have to turn the brightness all the way up to get it to a reasonable level).
I now have a dual-CRT setup on my Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB, with the 21" running at 1600x1200@75Hz and my 17" Samsung running at 1280x960@85Hz. This has proven essential with the 8 hours of telecommuting I've been putting in every week, as the development I do at work is on dual 1280x1024 LCDs.
Fancy Speakers Can Suck Too:
I plopped down somewhere between $250-300 for a set of Logitech Z-5500 speakers a couple months ago, and they have turned into a long story: around a month ago, a Cirrus Logic chip in the control box fried itself while the unit was in standby mode (i.e. turned "off" but still plugged in, so the power light was red instead of blue and the LCD display was off). At first, Logitech wanted me to pay to send the whole damned unit back (big-ass subwoofer and all!). Fortunately (as it turned out), I decided to wait a couple weeks because I was planning to go to Las Vegas for my roommates' wedding (which was a blast, btw, despite the travel agent totally fucking up my airplane and hotel reservations). I say this because when I called back a couple weeks later, I found out that I was bitten by what Logitech has since realized to be a significant design defect. As a result, they promised to ship me a brand new unit free of charge (and with no need to return my broken unit!) which would arrive in 7-10 business days.
Fast forward to today, which just happens to be the 10th business day: Having not received my speakers, I called Logitech and asked what was going on. I was informed that they hadn't started shipping the new revisions yet, and had told me that I was supposed to receive a new unit by today because they were being kept in the dark about when the new units would actually be available. They claimed that they (Logitech Sales) will now be receiving a shipment on the 22nd of this month, and since I called they will be sending my replacement via Priority shipping. I plan to call them back around the 26th or 27th to get an update.
What a mess!
My roommate has been complaining lately that we're running low on shared disk space on our LAN, so I started shopping around for hard drives. Yesterday I saw that my local computer parts store, CompuCare, was putting on a sale for 250GB Seagate SATA hard drives: $140 each, a savings of $50. The best deals on Pricewatch were only up to $5-10 less, so I stopped by and picked up two of them. When I got home, I realized that that cheap-o 550w power supply I got didn't have SATA power connectors (of course), and that Gigabyte was too cheap to include adapters with my motherboard. So, I ran back down there today and plopped down another $11 for a 1-Molex-to-2-SATA converter cable (I don't plan to do anything fancy like hot-swapping, so it should do fine).
I had the drives mounted in my case last night, so all I had to do was hook up the power and data cables. I then entered the config utility for the on-board Sil3512 chip on my mobo and set up a striped RAID 0 array with the auto-selected 16KB chunk size. I should mention that using the utility to set up the array took less time than writing about it just did.
Anyways, I booted into Windows XP (onto which I had already loaded the latest drivers for my SATA chip last night) and it saw the new drives as one big 500GB drive (yay!). It's been formatting for at least a good hour now, but is at 96%. I let Windows use its default allocation unit size of 4KB, as I couldn't find any good info on good striping chunk-versus-allocation unit size combinations. I figure it doesn't matter too much anyways, as I plan to use the drives mostly for large games and multimedia files (and probably my swap file). I'm not going to try to move my boot partition over there, as I don't think the risks and effort will be worth it.