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—Found this guide on tonymacx86’s website after a serious crash (when will I learn). I had so much fun playing around with this I had to share. Read the rest of this entry »

Cool vs. Noise — a delicate balance in my quest for the silence of the fans. I ask myself, “just how many fans are too many before I find myself having to crank up the volume on a riveting scene of Burn Notice?” Fans do the job, but they can be annoyingly loud for the purposes of home entertainment.

One of the problems I’m having with Trinity’s fan setup is airflow optimization. There really isn’t enough space to direct air in a straight path over the components I want to keep cool, mainly the CPU. From the power supply, to the mess of wiring, air is buffeting around the case’s many obstacles. I’ve tidied things up quite a bit with wire sheathing and cable ties, but it’s still pretty messy. Read the rest of this entry »

Soon after successfully getting Trinity up and running I was already thinking of ways to improve her. One of the things bugging me were those two front facing USB ports.
Plugging-in my keyboard and wireless mouse left me with no open ports up front for say, a quick external hard drive transfer. I noticed that the motherboard had an extra internal USB header and thought adding more ports should be a snap. While I was at it, I could throw in an SD card reader for off-loading my camera or phone. There was one problem: How would I implement it? Most SD card readers on the market come in the form of USB dongles or 3.5″ bay devices designed to fit inside the case. I was already using the one 3.5″ bay I had for the hard drive and I really hate dongles. This needed to be built-in. Read the rest of this entry »

I sort of did it before with Silvia; triple booting Ubuntu 10.04, the original Windows XP installation that came with her, and Windows 7 Enterprise just for the heck of it all on one drive. GRUB handled the selection process on startup, and after tweaking the countdown timer I was pleased with it. Doing something similar with a hackintosh on the first try was an ambitious idea (if I do say so myself), but I wanted one machine to rule them all.

I suspected that getting three of today’s major platforms to play nice together on one drive was going to be a serious headache. It would probably be much simpler to use a separate hard drive for each OS, but that would be rather boring wouldn’t it? Plus I only had one drive and, with the recent flooding in Thailand, purchasing another one was kind of out of the budget. Tony put up a guide on dual booting, but adding Ubuntu was a big question mark. Once again, lifehacker proved itself to be an invaluable resource. Read the rest of this entry »

—Silvia (part one)…

December 21, 2011

My very first computer was a Dell Inspiron 600m laptop which I affectionately named Silvia for somewhat obvious reasons. It had a 30GB hard drive, the then spanking new “Centrino” chipset (a 1.3GHz Pentium M processor combined with an Intel wireless card for power efficiency), and a whopping 384MB of RAM. I was so pleased with my acquisition. It was thin for its time and I really liked its shape. The grey on grey plastic with silver lettering and blue accents. The removable optical drive which could be swapped for other components (I also got a floppy drive). Sure it only had 2 USB ports but who cared? I finally had a computer to call my own. It worked great for less than a year, then the power button started acting up, media keys died, fan clogged eventually causing the hard to drive to overheat… Well, this might have been the end, but it actually posed several challenges for me to overcome and learn from. And with the internet, that Dell service manual, and a screwdriver set from Radio Shack Read the rest of this entry »

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