Friday, October 29, 2010

Quote Collection of the Week #2

Hope you enjoy :)

"Humans are very weird people." - Marcel Labuschagne

"When you see someone with amazing talent like that, makes you feel like you should be really good at something, but you're not." - Joshua Ball

"All I can hear is everything." - Daniel Smith

"Ten seconds after minute one." - Riaan Niemand

"I hate it when people look at me." - Riaan Niemand

"24-carat gold diamond." - Daniel Smith

"Craft the finest pizza with exotic tomatoes and the most forbidden cheese." - MySims Agents on DS
(Am I even allowed to eat that?)

"Stop being a modern-day turkey, listen..." - Nick Leask

Aubrey Hlongwane: "Is is ok if I use this book?"
Carol Dacre: "Yes."
Aubrey: "Good, 'cause I already have."

Thembani Ketse: "Hehehe..."
Daniel Smith: "What's that, Thembani?"
Thembani: "It's me laughing."

"We're pretty much just running programs." - Nick Leask

"One-horse onion sleigh..." - Nick Leask

"Just he was born and he was Dan." - Nick Leask

"Indecent Experience." - Daniel Smith

"Which is probable for the best." - unknown

"The tertiary pronoun 'them'." - Daniel Smith

"Electricity of Demand." - Piet-Hein van Eeghen

"I doubt it... No, definitely. Yes." - Julie Smith

"Males and e-males." - Piet-Hein van Eeghen

And here's my favourite:
"The food at the party wasn't good, 'cause I'm feeling sick. Must be that party food." - Nick Leask

Friday, October 22, 2010

Quote Collection of the Week #1

From now on (hopefully), every Friday evening I will be posting all the funny quotes uttered by those around me (and sometimes by me as well) over the past week.

Joshua Ball: "Marcel only marries for freaking looks!"
Nick Leask: "I do that also."

"What's all the difference of Psalms?" - Nick Leask

"Sorry guys, it's getting way to spiritual here for me." - Nick Leask

"The galaxies and milky lane." - Nick Leask

"Just this morning, it's funny, I was reading this morning." - Nick Leask

"Jellyfishes are jellyfishes." - Fransie O'Brien

"Magnifying glass enlarges things as a telescope does... or microscope." - Nick Leask

"When people ask me, what like, finite verbs and that, I just go blank." - Nick Leask

"Guys, I'm naked if anyone's wondering." - Marcel Labuschagne
(i.e. If no one is wondering, he's not naked.)

"If my heart was a compass, you'd be home." - Aubrey Hlongwane
(Followed by: "If my house was a home, you'd be a heart")
(The original lyrics of the song: "If my heart was a house, you'd be home.")

"I've just been cutting ions." - Taryn O'Brien

"I'm not nice with quotes." - Alex Strecker

"I, like, break the speed of sound." - Nick Leask

"Hey guys, I'm in the bathroom, you chops." - Thembani Ketse

"We didn't go anywhere, we just went around the corner." - Daniel Smith

On a Friday night: "Is anyone going to be at school tomorrow?" - Nick Leask

And here's my favourite:
"How many fishes are in a kilogram?" - Nick Leask

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Look mom, no mouse!

Using a computer with no mouse isn't as hard as you think... if you think it's hard. Pretty much every program has shortcut keys, as well as windows itself, and they pretty much do everything. Obviously you lose a few features like being able to draw stuff and play certain games.

Here's the thing: Using the mouse requires you to move it, and the bigger your screen, the more you have to move it to get to places. Think of those massive 30" Apple HD Cinema Displays, the distance between the menu bar and the dock is outrageous. The cursor has to pack a suitcase and padkos before it goes on it's vacation to South Desktop.

The keyboard, however, has not changed its basic size since it's conception due to the fact that the human hand has retained its overall dimensions. Moving your hand across the keyboard to reach a certain key can take split-seconds.

Some of the first keyboard shortcuts were introduced by Apple, of course because they are like the king of user interfaces. Here are some of the most used Command (or Apple) Key shortcuts:

+Q quits the current program (like totally quits it)
+W closes the current window (doesn't quit the program, though)
+T opens a new tab in Safari, Firefox, Chrome.
+Space opens a quick search with spotlight.
Shift+Command searches through menu items.

+Z undoes what you just did (resembles the action of striking out a mistake)
(+X cuts the currently selected text/item (resembles a scissors) basically like copying and then deleting the original) This has been removed from Mac OS
+C copies the currently selected text or item
+V pastes the currently copied or cut text or item (resembles an arrow pointing downward "into" the document/folder/whatever)

Although some of the letters have some sort of "meaning", isn't it oddly coincidental that all of these keys are in one continuous line right next to the Command button? meh...

Windows computers have their not-so-all-powerful Windows Key (or WINKEY, which is a pretty bad name depending on how you read it). Now that I think about it, the Windows Key is probably the least used function key on the keyboard, for the average computer use that is. Here are some of them.

Just by itself it opens the start menu
+D shows the desktop, press it again to bring all your windows back.
+M minimizes all windows.
+Shift+M unminimizes all the windows you minimized with the previous shortcut.
+R opens the run dialog.
+E opens an explorer window at "My Computer".
+F opens a search window.
+Tab cycles between taskbar items.
+Shift+Tab .smeti rabksat neewteb selcyc
+L locks the computer.
+U opens the utility manager, for stuff like the magnifier, Microsoft Sam's annoying text-to-speech and the the on-screen keyboard.
+Pause opens System Properties.

Windows 7 added a bunch more:

+1...9 opens or activates the first nine programs on the "Superbar".
+G cycles through desktop widgets.
+Arrow Keys manipulates the size and position of the active window. Play around with it, you'll get the idea.
+Home minimizes all but the active window.
+Space makes all the windows transparent (like mousing over the "show desktop" button).
+Tab doesn't do the same as XP, but rather activates that silly Aero Flip or whatever it's called.
+T does what WIN+Tab does in XP.
+B switches focus to the system tray.
+Plus zooms in
+Minus zooms out

Not to mention all the useful shortcut keys that don't use the Windows Key:

Alt+F4 is everyone's favourite, isn't it? Easy to use, it has one basic function: Quit! It also brings up the Shut-down dialog when only the desktop is visible (like when you've quit all your programs with it already! Muahahahaha!!)
Ctrl+Esc opens the start menu. I only ever used this on an old IBM laptop which didn't have a Windows Key, which is very frustrating since I rely on so many Win+ shortcuts...
Alt+Tab switches between windows. In Windows 7 and some Linux distros, all other windows except the one selected will be visible.
Alt+Shift+Tab .swodniw neewteb sehctiws
Alt+Enter does different things depending on the program. In explorer and Internet Explorer, it displays the properties of the selected file or webpage respectivly. In most games it toggles full-screen/windowed mode (e.g. Far Cry 2, DOSBox, etc.)
Ctrl+T opens a new tab in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, etc...
Alt+Space is like right-clicking on the title-bar.
F1 for help.
F2 renames selected file.
F3 for finding stuff, like words in documents and webages. Also "Find Next" while you are finding something.
F4 aciates the menu bar of a window. Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer and a few other programs have the menu hidden, F4 shows it. The Alt key by itself does the same.
F5 reloads/refreshes the page.
F8 opens Windows boot options (like Safe Mode, etc) when pressed during Windows boot.
F11 makes Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and other web browsers full screen, otherwise known as 'Kiosk' mode.
And don't forget that little key which opens the right-click menu. I find it very useful sometimes.

There are still hundreds more useful (and useless) shortcuts out there. Most are for specific programs (like the "F" keys in Corel Draw)

However, you are by no means limited to these shortcuts alone. There is an amazing utility called Autohotkey which allows you to create your own shortcuts for literally anything on your computer. It goes beyond keyboard shortcuts, as it also has features for the mouse and joysticks.

Let me know if there are any common, useful shortcuts I missed out. I have a feeling I've missed at least one very important one. lol

I would post some of my Autohotkey scripts, but my computer with all of them is broken. I promise to post all of them when it's up and running again.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Overclock a Dinosaur

Since I messed up my computer with the whole cpu cooler fiasco, I've had to go back to my old PC. The specs are as follows:

Processor: AMD Sempron 2500+ @1.5GHz (166MHz * 9.0)
Motherboard: ASRock K7VM3, Rated FSB: 333MHz
Memory: 2x 1GB DDR @200MHz
Graphics: Inno3D GeForce 6600 @300MHz, 256MB @500MHz
Hard Drives (2): Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm 200GB + 80GB (P-ATA IDE)
Optical Drive: LG Super Multi DVD re-writer
ISO 300WSwitching Power Supply
Operating System: Windows XP Service Pack 3

For the technologically challenged: it's crap. These days you can get a fridge with more processing power than this thing. (ok I'm over exaggerating, I'm actually writing this blog post on it within Firefox 3.6.8 while playing music through iTunes 10)

Being used to my "reasonable" Core 2 Duo and HD4870 I was extremely dissatisfied with the above setup. Tests showed a very sad eight frames per second (average) on lowest graphics settings in Crysis @800x600, and less than one frame per second when blowing up buildings with the rocket launcher, physics set at medium. Enabling shadows halved the average frame rate to around four frames per second. Dropping screen size below 800x600 did not make much of a difference, the issue of pixel count giving way to other factors such as shaders and polygon count that may not rely on screen resolution (as far as I know, just speculating here).

Since this old brontosaurus of a pc isn't really of much value to me (besides sentimental value. I wouldn't sell it to anyone, although I doubt I'll get anything for it if I did) I thought I might take a stab at this whole overclocking thing. I've overclocked my HD4870 before, but this is the first time I'll be overclocking a processor.

To all you folks out there who think overclocking is a fun experience (actually it isn't very fun) and a quick way to get more power without buying new hardware, make sure know what you're doing before you do it, or just don't do it. Don't say I didn't warn you...

Since this old rig (oil rig?) is old, none of it's components really output an impressive amount of heat, giving me good headroom for bumping the hertz up a little bit. Even with really lame stock coolers, the processor usually didn't go higher than forty under load, and the GPU stuck around the sixties, also not changing much under load. I didn't burn my fingers on the GPU like I always did with my 4870 every time I stuck my hand in the case.
(Temperatures are in degrees Celsius, for all you Americans reading this, convert!)

the Overclock:

The ASRock K7VM3 has a feature they call Hybrid Booster "safe" overclocking. This allows for easy changing of the bus speed within BIOS. Over-enthusiastically I took a huge leap from a bus speed of 166MHz to 233MHz. NOTE: This is a stupid thing to do! Always overclock in small increments, like 5MHz, and every time rebooting and checking up on how the computer does under the new speed. Thankfully ASRock's "safe" overclocking did not allow my idiotic jump, and promptly reset the bus speed.

I still didn't quite take the 5MHz advise very well (and by no means am I encouraging this behavior) and increased it in 10MHz steps. And I don't know if the Crysis CPU Benchmark constitutes as a CPU stability test, but it definitely allowed me to see that the overclocking was working.

The K7VM3 uses jumpers to set the CPU multiplier. The manual shows, in a rather confusing way, where to put the jumpers to get the desired multiplier. By default (with no jumpers) the multiplier is at 9.0, and can be increased (or decreased) in steps of 0.5, up to a whopping 24. I set it to 10.0 and very excitedly switched it on and... It didn't work.... it still showed 9.0 no matter what I did. Sadly, this specific processor is locked to 9.0 and cannot be changed without possible mutilation. I'm not going to try that!

I stopped at a bus speed of 200MHz, resulting in a substantial CPU clock speed increase of 300MHz to 1.8GHz. Very happy I tested it on Crysis and saw an increase of one frame per second in the CPU benchmark! w00t! :)

To overclock the GPU was much easier, but unfortunately not as fantastic. Using RivaTuner, I was able to push the core clock speed by 17MHz (yippee....) and the memory frequency by 14MHz (wow....). Not all that great of an overclock but an overclock nonetheless.

However, I am a little concerned about the current stability of the system. Since the overclock, Firefox has randomly quit (which it never does) twice and earlier the computer reset without warning, Windows later telling me that there was a serious error and had no explanation as to what happened. I'm glad nothing has happened while writing this blog...

I will do some tests with Prime95 soon and will post the results. I don't know if I want to see the results...

Other tools used: CPU-Z and GPU-Z