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PC

30/08/2012

A. Tabone

I have just built a PC, for the first time. I did it for the experience (learned quite some new stuff on specific hardware + it feels good). I needed a new PC, mainly for programming purposes. Running Visual Studio .NET on a VirtualBox instance on my MacBook was quite tedious (I still love my MacBook though).

The parts I bought were the following:

  • Processor: Intel Core i53450 (LGA1155)
  • Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP
  • Graphics card: NVidia Gainward GeForce GT 630
  • Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8Gb DDR3
  • Power supply: Hummer 650W
  • Hard disk: OCZ Agility 3 120Gb SSD
  • A DVD reader/writer
  • A Cooler Master Elite 330U case
  • And, of course, a keyboard, mouse, and display.
I believe the parts reflect a mid-range machine: definitely not a platform for 2011+ gaming but neither a low-end PC for simply browsing the Internet.

I decided to install Windows 8 Release Preview as my operating system. Windows 8 is scheduled to be on sale on the 26th October 2012, so until then I prefer to try out the preview version rather than buying Windows 7.

The following are the online resources I used to decide on what to buy, how to assemble the various parts, and install the necessary software:

  1. Lifehacker’s guide on how to build a PC – This is the most essential online resource I found, covering everything from deciding on which parts to buy up through installing the operating system. This video explains how to assemble and wire the various parts into a functional PC.
  2. I discovered I had to use thermal paste between the processor and its heat sink. This video explains how best to apply it.
  3. Wiring all the parts together is probably the toughest part of the PC assembly process. This forum helped me figure out how to plug the power LED wires into the motherboard.
  4. I later bought a wireless adapter, to be able to connect to my home network wirelessly. This forum helped me overcome a problem I encountered when installing the device driver on Windows 8 preview.
Resources 3 and 4 above are hardware-specific.

Asking around for opinions (real face-to-face conversations, not just through online social networks) proved insightful. The major lessons were learned by reading each individual user manual that came with each component, i.e. RTFM 😉

A. Tabone

HackerEngine

07/04/2012

A. Tabone

HackerEngine is a Rails app designed to sell digital goods.

HackerEngine uses

HackerEngine may be customized for various e-commerce purposes, not just the selling of digital goods. For example, it may be customized for selling physical goods or services.

One of the best features of HackerEngine is that, once purchased, future updates may be downloaded in real time through its Github repository. Hence new functionality may be fetched and used immediately. Futhermore, the app is covered by a thorough test suite.

I love the idea of having the basic feature set ready to use, and then customizing it for your needs.

HackerEngine was created by Ben Orenstein and Chad Mazzola.

Reference: http://hackerengine.com/

Enough by Patrick Rhone

26/03/2012

A. Tabone

What is “enough”? 

The author compares our quest to find what is enough for us to a tight rope artist who has to find the right balance, based on both her/his center of gravity and the conditions of the surrounding environment, to be able to walk the rope. We must regularly question everything we do and use to assess what is enough for us.

Time and attention are the most important resources we have. Enough is when we allot these resources, with care, to the activities we value most.

The tools we use should match our initial intentions to use them. We must treat our environments (home, office, entertainment, etc) as sacred, leaving out of them what is irrelevant, and thus allowing these environments to help us focus on the current purpose.

Saying “No” to something is actually saying “Yes” to something else. It is ok to miss out on things that seem urgent but are usually not important, such as social media and breaking news.

We should embrace limitations.

“Creating limits often helps foster creative solutions to seemingly difficult problems.”

The author also ponders on the cost of things: the cost of adding features in a software application, the effort it takes for a cup of coffee to be prepared. Nothing is free, everything has a cost (such as the hidden intentions of social media sites).

The book describes methods to identify what is enough, some of which are:

  • switching the time we allot to activities, for a period of time, in order to learn to re-value and re-prioritize activities
  • finding time for solitude
  • managing emails (use it at specific time periods, unsubscribe from irrelevant news letters, treat it as sacred)
  • the 3 chairs exercise: communication in solitude (oneself), friendship (one-to-one), and society (many-to-many)

Enough is a personal metric. This book is a cry for questioning our lifestyle, in search of the right balance we must hit in order to live life to the full.

“Enough is the realization and recognition of the truth of our existence.”

I highly recommend this book. The perspectives given by the author will make you question your activities and act to improve your life. It is a short book, a collection of short essays which are easy to read. A few interludes between some of the essays make the book even richer.

You can get your copy of Enough from this link: http://www.enoughbook.com/

About the author

Patrick Rhone is a technologist, author, and blogger at minimalmac.com

_why

17/03/2012

A. Tabone

Why The Lucky Stiff, aka _why, was a programmer active in the Ruby community. He is known for authoring the book “Why’s (poignant) Guide to Ruby”. _why committed an “infosuicide” in late 2009, but is still remembered in the Ruby world for his particular character and the wisdom he tried to share.