The pleasure of Geany Integrated Development Environment

Way back in 1985 I learned enough Assembler on the Commodore 64 (C64) to put a Ghostbusters sprite that I'd drawn up on graph paper on the screen. Beyond that I was able to figure out the code to make the sprite move when you moved the joystick up/down/left/right. This is about as far as I got with Assembler. Developing games was an interest way back then, but the barrier to entry seemed very high. I didn't know anyone in the business and those programmers I knew were occupied writing code.

A Windows 8.1 annoyance(s)

In my capacity at Computer Recycling I'm an advocate for both closed and open source software. My preference at home for more than a dozen years has been open source software. Open source software does almost everything I want. But I realize the necessity of having an open view to both open and closed software in my work. With that in mind I went out and bought Windows 8.1 (from Walmart for $118CDN+taxes) yesterday. I installed the 64-bit version on my desktop machine, which has the following specifications:

Fix: Cannot Memtest Compaq dx2200 micro-tower

The Working Centre's Computer Recycling Project received a generous donation of several HP Compaq dx2200 micro-towers recently. These plain (but elegant) looking towers are roughly 13 1/2 inches tall and 16 inches deep making them great machines for most spaces. One of the steps we do when refurbishing systems is to run Memtest86 to ensure systems don't have bad RAM. We boot Memtest via our PXE (network) server as we do with a lot of different tools. When we ran Memtest86 on the dx2200s the system rebooted almost instantly. We tried Memtest86 on a second dx2200 and it also rebooted.

IPSJ Computer Museum

Having "grown up" in the era of personal computers, starting with the Commodore 64, I love learning about systems I didn't have exposure to. Yesterday I came across a very cool web-based museum, the IPSJ Computer Museum. The IPSJ Computer Museum is:

a virtual museum where you can find information about historical Japanese computers and the people engaged in the development of those computers.

Canada Computers currently (August 6, 2014) has a deal on Logitech G105 keyboard

Awhile back I wrote about the LED Logitech G105 keyboard I bought at Wallmart for $59 plus taxes. It looks like Canada Computers currently (as of August 6, 2014) has a better deal at $44.99 plus taxes. I complained a bit about it not being exactly what I imagined, but it's a darned good keyboard - I like it better than most keyboards.

Linksys WRT150N Wireless-N Home Router surprise

As a tech-nut from time to time I like to check out thrift shops, garage sales and other sales for used technology. A few days ago I picked up this Linksys WRT150N Wireless-N home router. I've had lots of wireless routers in the past, DLink, Netgear, Linksys, Belkin and some other lesser known routers. I bought the router as a backup because I've found after awhile wireless routers tend to start dropping more packets. The best of the group was a Linksys router I flashed with the tomato custom firmware.

VLC startup Audio CD fix

These instructions are for Linux, specifically Xubuntu 12.04.

Our computer refurbishing project was running into an issue on our Xubuntu machines where when someone put in an audio CD VLC would load with the following error:

Your input can't be opened:

VLC is unable to open the MRL 'dvd:///dev/sr0'. Check the log for details.

The first 64bit operating system(s)

This afternoon I spent some time reading part of the 20th edition of Scott Mueller's Upgrading and Repairing PCs. It might seem crazy but I've enjoyed reading the book since a lot of the historical technology is technology that I "grew up" with. Some of the technology mentioned I owned, some I didn't own, and some is missing (I owned a 10MHz 8086-compatible NEC V20 chip). I'm barely into Processor Specifications, Chapter 3. On page 37 Scott writes:

...it wasn't until the release of Windows Vista x64 in 2007 that 64-bit computing would begin to go mainstream.

Refurbishing an ASRock-based Pentium 4 PC with Xubuntu Linux

Recently a computer with a nice looking black case came in to the Working Centre's Computer Refurbishing Project. When we received the case we could smell the distinct smell of cigarette smoke on the case. The case looked in pretty good shape and when we opened up the case we found that the motherboard was in good shape (no bad capacitors) and it had both Serial ATA (SATA) and a PCI Express slot (decent video). The system had a fair amount of tar and dirt inside. Rather than trying to clean each individual component we replaced:

2bits.com

Notice a speed difference? I mentioned a few posts back about how I switched the site from shared hosting to a VPS. I also switched content management systems from Wordpress to Drupal (Wordpress is great, but I've always loved the modularity of Drupal). But the real speed difference is due to the excellent server provisioning and tuning by our good friends at 2bits.com. Thanks Khalid!

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