Adventures in Laptop Repair 
Tuesday, 27 October, 2009, 20:24
Posted by Administrator
I can't say I'm doing the laptop repair this time, but I can say that on-site warranties are excellent ... which means that non-on-site warranties suck. Such is the case with a particular Latitude E5500 in this office. The power plug on the side of the laptop is damaged and unable to accept an AC adapter, so the laptop cannot charge unless it's sitting in its docking station. Therefore, the user will be without her laptop for 5-7 business days, and will be on a Lenovo T43. Not the fastest laptop in the world, especially when you throw Windows 7 on it, but it's better than nothing.
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Planning another build 
Tuesday, 27 October, 2009, 13:49
Posted by Administrator
Yep, I'm planning to build another PC. I have enough spare parts to build a computer for Julie. This includes motherboard, CPU, RAM, power supply, case, video card, and optical drives (though I'll only use one -- the DVD burner). The only things I'm missing are hard drives, a UPS, a monitor, a keyboard, a mouse, and a desk to put them on. All fairly minor things (well, apart from the desk). They're not hugely powerful parts, but they're definitely superior to the laptop she's using now. I'm seriously considering making it a Hackintosh -- it would definitely fit her needs better than the laptop does now, because she uses iTunes quite heavily and loves the features of iPhoto -- but it may end up being a Windows 7 machine.

The only thing that's up in the air with Julie's machine is which case to use. I've got an Antec P160 and a Lian-Li PC-V2000B (both without windows ... Google Image Search is quite helpful here). I'm leaning more toward the P160 here because the V2000B is freaking huge, and because I've already done a bit of customization to it (replaced all green, red, and blue case LEDs with UV ones).

I'm also getting the upgrade itch for my own machine ... I'm not going up to an i5 or an i7 yet, though. Perhaps I'll bump the CPU up to one with more L2 cache -- I use an E6850 at home and an E8400 at work and the E8400 simply feels faster, even though they're both 3GHz dual cores with 1333MHz FSBs. I also need to bump up my hard disk space to accommodate my ever-expanding photo collection.

Nerdy post, I know, but what do you expect?
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Almost Done 
Thursday, 1 October, 2009, 04:37
Posted by Administrator
Well, my trip to Sydney is almost at an end. While it was indeed mainly for work, there was plenty of sightseeing and tourist stuff going on. I'd say I was over the jet lag almost immediately, but running around the way we did was indeed quite tiring ... I guess I'll have Sunday to rest, and then it's back to work on Monday. Good times.

I'll be leaving here at 1:20PM on October 3rd and will be getting to Chicago at 6:40PM on ... October 3rd. That's one of the cool things about flying back, but it'll probably result in confusion -- it will be the longest October 3rd ever.

Pre-flight jitters started a couple days ago already. Not too thrilled about that, but I guess there's really not much I can do about that. I mean, I can climb a bridge over Sydney Harbor, I can take an elevator almost 1000 feet above Sydney, but stepping on a plane freaks me out. Thankfully the flight back to the US is about an hour shorter than the flight to Australia ... but that last leg from LA to Chicago is going to feel incredibly long.

Anyway ... building on my last submission, HSDPA is much cooler than 3G. I guess I'm not impressed because I'm used to EDGE (which is apparently what AT&T calls 3G) on the BlackBerry, but if I sit just right in the apartment I get a damn quick connection using that USB card. It's not fast enough for a Skype video call, but it does voice calls quite well without killing my other browsing sessions.
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In the Dark 
Monday, 21 September, 2009, 12:58
Posted by Administrator
A few of us went to Bondi Beach tonight. Unfortunately it was quite dark, but it seems like a pretty fun place. It would probably be even more fun when it's light out ... though we'll have to wait 'til the weekend to experience that first-hand. Beer flows like water there.

Furthermore, I'm not entirely sure why mobile phone companies are so pumped about 3G. It's really not that exciting ... nor is it that fast. I mean, I'm on a 3G card now and for most of what I'm doing it's okay, as long as I'm running Firefox with AdBlock. I think Julie is at work right now but I'm pretty sure that, if I were to log onto this 3G connection and do a Skype call, it would suck. There is no reason to have such an epic crush on 3G.

In other news, after we got back from Bondi I turned on the TV and had a quick look at a Cricket match. I can't figure out the damn scoring. I can tell what the guys do, but where I come from, 177-6 is either 171, or a really bad day for a basketball team.
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Hello from the future! 
Monday, 21 September, 2009, 07:33
Posted by Administrator
Okay, well it's not really the future ... but right now, it's 2:33AM in Chicago and it's 5:33 PM in Sydney. So, if you really want to play that way, yes I am in the future. It's a nice future, but nothing's really that different.

The flight over here wasn't that bad, though I didn't have much room to do anything on the plane. The lady in front of me put her seat all the way back, which pretty much put the seatback TV right in my face. I couldn't open my laptop more than 30 degrees, so even though I found the electrical outlet in the back of the seat in front of me, I couldn't play Left 4 Dead on the plane like I had planned. I also couldn't mess with the DS because, quite frankly, I didn't have the patience (yes, I didn't have the patience to even play Super Mario Bros.).

What was awesome, though, was that the seatback TV had a whole bunch of on-demand programming. There were movies from this year, too -- I managed to watch X-Men Origins: Wolverine a few hours before we landed in Sydney yesterday. The Qantas A380 has a small video camera embedded in the tail, so I could actually see what was going on outside even though I didn't have a window seat -- that was freaking brilliant.

Saw the Sydney office in person for the first time today. It really is one big area with desks all jammed together. I haven't taken any pictures of it yet.

As you can see I have obtained Internet access via an Optus 3G USB stick. I understand it has a 2GB limit, though, so I need to use it somewhat sparingly ... Walt and Jeff have a wireless modem and it turns out their apartment is right next to mine, so we'll see if we can rig up a wireless network I can join. That way, I can get on Skype with people and not worry about maxing out the Optus card, effectively taking it out of commission for the rest of the month.

So ... long update today, but all in all we're having a pretty good time :)
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