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WFG Retired
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Posts posted by CodeOptimist

  1. Am I the only person who likes the standard Windows 2000/2003 theme ("Windows Classic" in XP)? :D

    That's what I've been using for a long time now, so you're definetly not alone. :) The default WinXP skin has an initial "awe" factor, but eventually I got tired of the candy-coated interface. The Classic theme is the most minimalistic and least resource-hungry, so that's what I'll be sticking with.

    If I was forced to go with a WinXP theme, I'd go with the default blue (silver is so-so, and olive green is horrid), or use the "Royale" theme that comes with WinMCE and will work on WinXP (if you can find it). It's still candy-coated, but it's slicker and not too bad.

    (Incidentally, I'll probably do the same thing with Vista that I've done with XP: check out the flashy new interface for a while, and then stick to Classic)

  2. Since my work is primarily on the Windows platform, I use Notepad the most (for quick-'n-dirty stuff). I'll open up Programmer's Notepad if I need to do some serious editing (especially when I run into Notepad's goofy bugs).

  3. Same as for the previous speeds - it's about $45/month.

    @Chris: Hmm, never heard of an ISP capping bandwidth, at least in my area - is that something that's done more often in the UK than the US? Anyhow, congrats on the new service ;)

  4. Recently, I had a tech from our ISP come by to look at a problem that had been driving me nuts over the past 6-12 months. It seemed our cable modem would randomly drop connection to the cable network and then slowly renegotiate it, knocking us offline for 20 seconds or more, if it came back up by itself at all. (Actually, it wasn't completely random: it seemed to happen during times of high bandwidth use (VoIP, gaming, etc), which made it even more aggrivating)

    After contacting tech support once ("hmm, can't find any problem, must be fine"), trying three different routers and three different cable modems, I was starting to think that the problem could be caused by a wiring problem in our house. I finally got a competent tech guy out; he ran some tests and thought that our signal levels were a bit off, which he mentioned could be caused by a bad splitter somewhere in the lines. (bingo!) He replaced it, and I haven't had any problems with the connection since.

    Anyways, I was happy to get the problem finally fixed. A week or two later, I noticed something else: my download speeds had about doubled! At first I thought it may have been a result of getting everything straightened out with the faulty wiring, but I checked our ISP's website and saw a big notice about speeds being increased to 7Mbps. Apparently, it was supposed to be 5Mbps before, but our downstream would previously max out at about 400KBps and hover around 300-350KBps (in other words, about a 2.5-3Mbps connection downstream), and upload was about 40KBps -- so, roughly speaking, our connection was 3000/300Kbps.

    Now, I'm regularly getting speeds of 600-800KBps(!), so we're very close to the newly-advertised 7Mbps mark. SpeakEasy's speed test reports 6.6Mbps down (but still only ~370Kbps up, oh well). I think that getting the wiring fixed probably helps the connection efficiency, but anyhow, I'm really happy about both getting the connection problem fixed and getting a near-2X increase in downstream bandwidth. Woot for Time Warner Cable! ;)

  5. Nice proof-of-concept, Chris! Other than the minor issues that have already been mentioned, it looks pretty sweet. WinAmp was stopped when I loaded the page, so I probably was responsible for unexpectedly starting a blast of loud music at your house. :P

    I really like any project where people control things over the Internet (I've seen train sets, neon displays, webcams, Christmas lights, etc). I've been trying to come up with some idea for a cool remote-control project like this, but I think my consumer cable connection wouldn't be able to handle much load :)

  6. After glancing at some benchmarks, it seems that the D930 and the X2 3800+ are fairly close in performance (closer than I would have guessed); the 3800+ does pull away in some games, but I'm not sure if it's enough to warrant the fairly steep price difference. (here's a good price/performance ratio reference)

    On the whole, both chips take the lead in a couple of areas, and the effect seems to balance itself out a bit. After factoring in the cost, the D930 seems like a better deal at the moment (gulp, I just recommended an Intel CPU! :P).

    Putting a X1900 in an nForce4 motherboard is fine; graphics cards are pretty much chipset-/motherboard-agnostic, except when it comes to Crossfire or SLI (which you need special, compatible chipsets to do).

  7. I guess my feeling is somewhat the opposite of yours, Cory; my opinion of Sony has remained sour since the story about the DRM software they were using broke. I suppose that's only the music division of Sony, though, and I think they make some good products in other areas (although I wouldn't buy a Sony computer, just like I wouldn't buy any other brand-name system :P).

  8. Unfortunately, that could be caused by a couple of things. Are these computers running XP Home or Pro? Are there firewalls running? Does each computer have at least one shared directory? Have you run the Network Setup Wizard on each machine?

    ... Some ideas to start with :P

  9. Geil makes some good memory IIRC, so you should be great there. I'd personally go with an AMD processor, but that's just my bias. :D I think that Maxtor was recently acquired by Seagate; not sure how that'll affect the product line (if at all). I actually like Seagate drives the best, since they come with a 5-year warranty (Maxtor and Western Digital drives usually have 1 or 3 year warranties).

    Looks like a good system! :P

    My Dell has fine components. It lets you pick them all out yourself.

    From a list of Dell-approved components, of course. :)

  10. All of your hardware is fine; you just need to configure the software side of things. Windows networking can be great, or horrible, depending on the circumstances and Murphy's law. :P Ideally, all you have to do is set both computers to the same workgroup (Control Panel -> System -> Computer Name -> Change) and then share a directory.

    There's a good newbie tutorial here and a more technical one here. Google turns up more good info.

  11. I think I'd go for the HP machine myself. AMD = t3h 0wn (:P), and even if 2GB of RAM is overkill now, there's no telling how soon it will be more 'mainstream'. Vista is sounding pretty RAM-hungry from what I've read.

    BTW, just to avert any possible confusion: you can run the 32-bit version Windows XP just fine on a 64-bit processor; both Intel and AMD's 64-bit chips are fully compatible with 32-bit code. (AMD did this first... muahaha) Of course, the advantage of a 64-bit processor is that you have the option of moving to a 64-bit OS if you want to in the future.

  12. Not been here in a while :) My dad told me to go onto one of those forums where I could get an answer to a computer question... couldn't think of a better place.


    Ok, I'm getting ready to get a computer, and I've been shopping around a lot online. I've noticed on places like the Circuit City web-site that the computers with a AMD processor have a better rating that those that have a Pentium.

    I was just wondering which do you guys think are better, why or why not? My dad is pretty hard core Pentium user and he usually isn't open to change, but he is thinking about getting a AMD if its better.

    Good question. AMD is very popular with gamers and geeks in general because in general, AMD processors are more efficient and more powerful (and less expensive) than comparable Intel processors. Personally, I've always gone with AMD processors, and will continue to go with them because their processors are a much better deal from a price standpoint.

    A good place to read up on this type of stuff is AnandTech and the AnandTech forums. I've learned quite a bit from visiting that site over the years :P

  13. 1.) A handful of billion dollars

    2.) The best education

    3.) A great family

    Aw, you don't have a great family? I'm sorry. :sad:

    I think what he means is that he'd like to have a great family in the future, as in his own family. :P

    Hmm... I'd LIKE to post this:

    1. Unlimited time

    2. Unlimited resources

    3. To never lose the ability to dream

    ... but I think Oyvind wants more "practical" wishes. :P So, I'll say:

    1. Everything I need to create films (equipment, crew, etc.)

    2. To pioneer a space-mining operation (metals/organics from (NEO?) asteroids)

    3. To become independently wealthy

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