Distemper Rocked!

March 15th, 2009 by tungsai

This weekend we not only had an awesome practice with our new bassist Matt Riehle, but we got a limo ride into town and a free dinner (Well, on Mark & Autumn!!) at the Lafayette Brewing Company!

Unfortunately we all got sorta wasted, and practice went kinda downhill as time went on! Aargh! But we had a lot of fun! Our #1 fan, Billy, suggested a microphone get put in front of me. I liked the idea immensely, but drumming & singing simultaneously does take a bit more skill.

I have not uploaded new mp3’s yet, but you can always hear them at www.distempermusic.com/mp3s/. I personally would love it if we could get enough practice so that by October or so, we could actually be tight enough for others to enjoy.

The following morning, we headed to the Attica Country Club for breakfast… MAN! SO MUCH BACON!! I have never seen so much bacon- and it was actually GOOD. I had to limit myself cause I know bacon’s not the best thing for ya. 🙂

Photo Roundup

March 13th, 2009 by tungsai

Here we go with another round of “Weird Pics from Wayne’s Camera Phone”.

 

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The Infamous “Floopy Drive” from the last 2 blog posts

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Nice Fish

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This guy is effing hungry!!!

 

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The Tortise & the Hare sculpture from outside the Urbana Free Library. (Ever heard of a pay library? …Me neither)

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The Home Theatre PC Setup. The small monitor is no longer part of the setup.

I couldn’t let it end there…

March 11th, 2009 by tungsai

…So I tried to send a note off to the folks at Averatec just to let them know that they still suck. I found that they’ve been bought out by some other company called “Trigem”, so I ended up on the Trigem web site, and sent them this little note via their “Contact Us” page:

Although you are no longer “Averatec”, I still never forgive you for the travesty that is the C3500 “Tablet PC”.

Every time I go back and attempt to use this thing for something other than a paperweight, I am reaffirmed in my sorrow for ever having spent the money and time invested into this piece of total, utter crap.

I would just sell it, but it’s not even worth anything. Who would want a device where the screen shorts out, the battery doesn’t work, the USB comes loose, the DVD drive doesn’t work, the speakers are barely loud enough to hear, the stylus is worthless, and the operating system is non-reinstallable?

Maybe I can sell the Windows XP Product Key. Then perhaps, I could recoup a tiny bit of my long-forgotten money.

Oh- and as a parting gift, I’ve attached a photo of the BIOS, which refers to the “Floopy drive”. Gee, maybe that’s been my problem all along: I wasn’t using the correct type of media!

Anybody got a Floopy Disk? [Attached Image]Image260

 

When I clicked “Submit”, here’s what I got:

Microsoft OLE DB Provider for SQL Server ��� ‘80040e10’

�ʿ��� �Ű� ���� �� �� �� �̻� ���� �־����� �ʾҽ�ϴ�.

/us/company/contact_inputProc.asp, �� 121

 

Proving, once again, that they still suck.

No Floopy drive

March 11th, 2009 by tungsai

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This computer won’t boot… geez, checked the cd-rom… hmm… go into the BIOS… Oh! Here’s the problem- I need a Floopy disk!

 

Anybody got a floopy disk?

 

God, this was the worst $1200 I *ever* spent. NEVER EVER EVER buy an off-brand computer. EVER.

 

Especially Averatec.

New PC

March 6th, 2009 by tungsai

I have completed the months-long project of building a Home Theatre/Gaming “Living Room” computer. I will catalogue the parts & total cost, and show you the components I researched for this project.

I took my time, shopping around, but ultimately as so often, virtually everything except the Air Mouse, TV, and Video Card were purchased from NewEgg. If you have never heard of NewEgg, then you must have been living in a cave somewhere in Antartica, because it is *THE* only web site to buy computer equipment. Period. They are king of the online shopping, and nothing else even comes close.

Now that I’m done touting NewEgg, let’s have a look at the final product:

 

$70 ENERMAX Chakra ECA3052B Black SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case – Retail (N82E16811124114)

It has one HUGE 250 millimeter (25 centimeters) fan on the side. The huge fan is very quiet, yet moves a lot of air. It has a facade for the CD=ROM drive.

This case had a new feature I was not familar with regarding the installation of the hard drives & DVD drive. It does not use screws to hold them in. It uses a tightening system; hmm, hard to describe. You insert the drive, then slide a plastic slider. when you slide it all the way, then it clamps down on the drive and then the drive cannot move. It works quite well.

$90 after rebate CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply – Retail (N82E16817139006)

It’s a good thing I didn’t go with my original choice in power supplies. I was going to get an el-cheapo 450 watt unit, but when I was going through my wish list with Dad, he started thinking about giving me the video card, and then

$46 ZALMAN CNPS 9500 AM2 2 Ball CPU Cooling Fan/Heatsink – Retail (N82E16835118004)

This is the first time I’ve ever bought an after-market CPU fan. This, and the power supply, made me feel like a money-burning consumer more than anything, but I must admit that it does its job quite well. Very well. I was afraid it might not fit in the case, but according to the reviews for the case, almost everything fit.

Installing it was a bit of a pain. Installing this thing was probably the most difficult part of the build. Read the photo gallery album for the details on the build.

$53 G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK – Retail (N82E16820231166)

Yeah, yeah, 4 gigs. I wanted 8, but… I found out that ONLY Vista 64-bit (Or possibly Windows 7) can utilize more than 4gb of RAM. This is not the fastest RAM that is out there now; but around the time I was pricing out the system, it was in the top end. Hell, it’s still pretty damn good.

$11 for two ENERMAX UC-8EB 80mm Case Fan – Retail (N82E16811999199)

THESE PUPPIES ROCK!! Out of all the devices I put together for this computer, THESE cheap-ass case fans were the biggest delightful surprise. WHISPER QUIET. I mean, you cannot even HEAR them. As far as airflow, they’re not the super-gusty mega-blowing super fans. But that’s why I bought the Enermax case with the giant fan! BUY THESE. Buy five of them, and replace every fan in your system with one of these. You will be amazed.

$150 AMD Phenom 9750 2.4GHz Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HD9750XAGHBOX – Retail (N82E16819103250)

QUAD CORE BABY!!! FOUR 64-bit processors.

For some reason, this unit is no longer sold. I’m sure you can probably get a better one for cheaper by now. CPU prices drop faster than acid at a dead show.

$139 GIGABYTE GA-MA790GP-DS4H AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard – Retail (N82E16813128352)

It’s a motherboard. I originally purchased this mobo primarily because it has HDMI Out. However, I ended up receiving a very nice gift in the video card that is now installed in the HTPC. I did not expect this machine to become a gaming machine, but my dad gave me such an awesome vid card, that it catapulted this up into the higher-end machine range.

$95 SAMSUNG HD103UI 1TB 5400 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive – OEM (N82E16822152135)

This Terabyte hard drive was purchased not for its speed, but for its low power consumption (meaning less heat), and quietness. Higher RPM drives are louder. I happened to grab this while it was on sale, a couple months before I bought the rest of the items.

$20 AZiO AWU254 USB 2.0 802.11g 54Mbps Wireless Pen Adapter – Retail (N82E16833340004)

This is essentially the network card for the machine. Since it’s in the living room, I didn’t want to run a wire through the apartment… hence, wireless. Also grabbed while on sale.

$35
Gyration GyroTransport Air Mouse with 512MB USB Drive

This was not purchased from NewEgg. It was purchased from woot.com. It is an “Air Mouse”. It is like a Wii controller: You hold it in your hand, and it actually picks up the movement of your hand and translates that to mouse movement. VERY NIFTY!!! Perfect for a Home Theatre PC setup, eh?

Woot.com only sells stuff for one day, but you find great bargains. Good luck finding this at the same price I paid!

$85 vista Let’s not forget the Operating System! I bought Windows Vista Ultimate from the Illinois University stores, who give an employee discount.
Total:    
$794   There ya go. Note that this does NOT include the hand-me-down video card I received; however I think that card would sell for about 200 right now. It is because of that card that I am able to run GTA IV, the most resource-hog-heavy game I have ever encountered hands down.

Now for the real-life photos of the equipment, after I received it. NOTE: You can click on the pictures to see the full version.

 IMG_4088 Here’s a close-up of the top front of the case. It’s got audio, 2 usb, an external SATA, and power/reset buttons on the top.
IMG_4093 Here’s a nice inside-view of that monster 250mm case fan. It’s reversible via a switch. I actually have it blowing into the computer. This, plus the Zalman CPU cooling fan, keep the inside real cool.

TOTAL NUMBER OF FANS = 6

3 case fans
1 cpu fan
1 Power Supply fan
1 vid card fan

IMG_4131 The motherboard is stylin’ with all the different colored stuff and the big “GIGABYTE” logo on the big heat sink.
IMG_4139 Here’s the CPU fan, after the CPU has been installed and the fan put on top of it. This was probably the hardest part. I knew I’d have to attach the fan before inserting the mobo into the case.
IMG_4142 An extreme close-up view of how the heat sink fits on top of the CPU.
IMG_4145 Here we have the power supply snugly installed into the case.
IMG_4149 And here we have the motherboard installed as well. See the plastic sliders for the drives I was telling you about? Click on the picture to zoom in & you can see perhaps what I mean.
IMG_4152 super-awesome mega-quiet fan in the front…
IMG_4153 …And one in the back!
   

That’s pretty much it. the thing has performed quite well so far, knock on wood. Media Center crashes every once in a while, but I blame crappy OS programming.

FIN 232 Notes & Thoughts

March 3rd, 2009 by tungsai

As you may or may not know, I’m attending (“Auditing”, as it were) a Personal Wealth management Course. This is good knowledge. Every time I think I may know everything I need to know about some aspect of personal finance, or wealth management, I learn more.

 

If you want to match up your portfolio for your 401(k), 403(b), Roth, or just your own personal portfolio, to what a Ph. D. in Finance does, here’s what he says.

Fund Type Percent of Portfolio Notes
S&P 500 Index 10%  
US Large Value 16.5% “Value” refers to companies that are underdogs, so to speak.
US Small Cap 10%  
US Small Cap Value 16.5%  
US Mid Cap 10%  
US REIT 7% REIT = “Real Estate Investment Trust”
“Total International” Fund 25% “Total International” is the name of the fund.
Emerging Markets 5% This is also the name of the fund.