Computing

The Promiscuous Beast

January 16, 2014 – 12:46 am

My first computer build, dubbed “The Modest Beast”, has served me well. Now its successor, “The Promiscuous Beast”, has risen to life!

Here are some pictures of the completed build:

comp1@2xcomp2@2xcomp3@2xcomp4@2xcomp5@2xcomp6@2x

Update:

After many BSODs, I’ve finally reached a stable overclock of 4.5GHz, up from the 3.5GHz stock speed. I probably could have reached 4.6GHz, but it would have required upping the voltage to 1.3, which was giving me temperatures around 90° Celsius under load, which I wasn’t crazy about. Under my current configuration, I’m getting temperatures under 80° Celsius while running AIDA64, and around 25° Celsius idle. I’ve read that with Haswell, it’s pretty much luck of the draw, and while my chip isn’t the greatest overclocker, I’m happy with the results.

Click here to view the parts list

CPU – Intel i7 4770k Quad-Core 3.5 GHz Haswell

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CPU Cooling – Corsair H100i Liquid Cooler

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Motherboard – ASUS Maximus VI Hero

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Graphics Card – XFX Double D Radeon R9 280X

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RAM – G.Skill Sniper 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3 1600

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SSD – Samsung 840 EVO 120GB

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HDD – Western Digital Black 1TB (x2)

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Power Supply – NZXT HALE82 v2 700W Modular

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DVD Drive – ASUS 24x DVD-RW

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Media Card Reader – Rowewill 5.25″ USB 3.0/USB 2.0/eSata Hub & Multi-in-1 Card Reader

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Wireless Card – TP-LINK TL-WN881ND Wireless N 2.4GHz 300Mbps PCIe Card

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Firewire Card – Vantec 3-Port Firewire 400 PCIe Card

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Side Fan – NZXT FZ-140mm (Red)

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Front Fans – NZXT FZ-120mm (Red) (x2)

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Case – NZXT Phantom 410 (White)

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Mouse – Logitech G600 (White)

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Keyboard – Rosewill Mechanical Keyboard w/ Cherry MX Brown Switches (White)

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Keycaps – Rosewill RIKA-12001

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Monitor – Monoprice 27″ IPS-ZERO-G 2560×1440

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Apps Computing

iPhone 5

April 26, 2013 – 5:19 pm

ip5@2x

I made the switch from Windows Phone 7 to the iPhone 5 about a couple months ago now, and I thought I’d post a few of my thoughts about it.

There’s plenty of other great apps and features I could go on about, but these are among my favorites. I really like the interface on Windows Phone 7, and Windows Phone 8 was kind of tempting. However, with the lack of apps, I hardly used them, and mainly just used my phone for texting. Now I can do so much more, but making phone calls will continue to not be one of those things.

Apps Computing

Windows 8

January 2, 2013 – 3:41 pm

win8@2x

At last, I’m back home for winter break after another semester at College Park. It is nice to be reunited with my beloved desktop computer, which I’ve finally been able to install Windows 8 on. I’ve got to say, I’m a fan. I’ve been using a Windows Phone for almost two years now and I like the Metro interface. I can’t say I really miss the old start menu at all, and once you learn your way around, and all the shortcuts, I’ve found it actually makes things easier. The ability to just press the windows key and start typing to launch the program you’re looking for is a nice feature, like spotlight on Mac or numerous app launcher programs. The new task manager is great too. Also, this is probably due to getting a fresh install more than anything, but I’ve noticed a considerable speed increase as well. Nothing like a good-old winter cleaning.

I like the fact that the same apps are available on both the tablet and the desktop. Not all apps are useful; for instance, it doesn’t make much sense using the Facebook, Amazon, or Wikipedia apps on the desktop when you can just as well use the full site. However, I enjoy the Netflix and Hulu apps, and other things like Fresh Paint and Jetpack Joyride are cool to have available on the desktop. There are plenty of iOS apps that I would like to be able to use on Mac and it’s unfortunate they can’t be. The built-in Mail, Calendar, People, Messaging, Weather, etc. apps are great as well and I’ve been using them quite a bit.

Another source of my love for Windows 8 stems from the resolution of a problem I’ve been having with my audio interface ever since I’ve gotten it (and the one before it as well, which I returned because I assumed the interface was the problem… turns out it wasn’t). I was unable to use it as my default sound card without getting nothing but awful static for sound, and I constantly had to power cycle the interface every time I opened a program like Reason or Samplitude in order for it to work. I ended up having to feed the output from the built in sound card on my motherboard as an input into the interface to get sound from the computer to come through my speakers. Anyways, ever since I installed Windows 8, this problem has gone away completely. I’m able to use the interface as my default sound card and I no longer have to reboot it for it to work properly. This makes me happy.

Overall I think Windows 8 is a solid upgrade. Anyone who doesn’t like the new interface or misses the old start menu can install another shell like this one, but really once you learn a couple shortcuts you won’t miss a thing!

Computing

MacBook Air

July 6, 2012 – 1:23 pm

air@2x

My laptop has finally received a long-overdue upgrade. After going through my second power cord, the cord on my old 15″ Dell is hanging on by a couple of alligator clips. I just received my new MacBook Air last Monday, and it is wonderful. It really is amazing how light and thin it is; two aspects which weren’t even really my main motive for choosing the Air over the Pro (more-so the SSD and higher resolution screen; sure you can configure a Pro with an SSD, but that adds yet another $200 to the already high price). The new retina MacBook Pro looks amazing, but they’re just too expensive, and definitely overkill. Having my desktop, the MacBook Air provides all that I need on the mobile end of things. The hard drive is only 128GB, which sounds tiny, but I hardly need more than that. With Spotify and iTunes Match, I no longer need all 56GB of music in my iTunes library, and all other documents I may need can be kept on an external drive. With the SSD everything is ridiculously fast, from rebooting, to launching apps, to copying files. It’s incredible. The battery life has also been extremely good. The trackpad, with it’s multi-touch gestures, and the keyboard, which I am typing on now, are both great as well. I can’t remember the last time I’ve used a CD drive, so that’s certainly something I don’t miss; and as far as the lack of ports goes, with the occasional need for a USB hub, there’s really no others I need. For classes where I need to bring my laptop with me, it’s going to be a lot nicer carrying this in my backpack than my late 6+ pound laptop; the Air being less than half that. Being on such a big campus means lots of walking. I like the 13″ form factor much better for a laptop. 15″ just seems too big, and 17″ is just preposterous (no offense to those getting their mobile desktop on). This is my first Mac, and while I do like OSX, I’m still a fan of Windows. Anyways, I couldn’t be happier, and I’d definitely recommend the Air to anyone looking for a ultraportable laptop!

Apps Clocks Computing

Fraction Clock

February 14, 2012 – 8:29 pm

fraction@2x

I’ve had this idea for a while now so I finally decided to try and throw it together. The idea is this: a clock that tells time in reduced fractions. For example, think of the time 8:18pm as the fractions 20/24 : 18/60. So we’re on the 20th hour out of 24 hours total, and the 18th minute out of 60 minutes total. Now reduce both of those fractions to their simplest form and you get 5/6 : 3/10. It might seem nearly impossible to read and pretty impractical, but it does give an interesting new perspective on time (e.g. “3/10ths of the hour have just gone by”). Anyways, I coded up a little java applet that does exactly this, which you can check out here (you’ll have to click “run” and it might take a second to load). Go take a look!

Artwork Computing Miscellaneous Music The Clock Project Video

2011 Update!

January 19, 2011 – 9:27 am

logitech@2x

martin@2x

So I decided to post a little update to note the new occurrences in the fascinating life of Micah Jayne. It is now 2011! Hooray! I suppose I’m a few weeks late, but no matter. On to business!

And I believe that is all for now! Hopefully I’ll start posting more frequently instead skimming over a dozen different topics like in this one. You can expect some more updates on many of these things soon!

Computing Music

Computer Built, New Desk, & New Audio Interface!

June 1, 2010 – 9:30 pm

My new computer has been built and up and running for about 2 and half months now. I’ve overclocked it to 3.3GHz and it’s been running great, and is quite the improvement over my previous laptop. Also, after being backordered for about a month, my new desk finally arrived last friday and I put it together. It has 8 rack spaces built into it for various musical equipment. My previous desk, made out of 2 old speakers and shelves, wasn’t exactly “stable,” and it’s nice to have something I can rest my wrists on without it leaning forward. The new desk also looks a lot better and has a lot more work space. My new audio interface, the Echo Audiofire Pre8, just arrived today and I installed it in one of the rack spaces on my new desk. It sounds great, and even with a cheap condenser mic there’s a night-and-day difference compared to my Blue Snowball. It has 8 preamps, 16 ins and outs, and 2 inputs with mic phase, impedance, pad, hi-pass, and DI switches. Guitars and basses sound great even with a direct in with the DI switch enabled running through an amp modeler like Guitar Rig 4. You’ll get to hear some of my new work through the new interface soon. Below are some pictures of my new set up:

newcomputer@2x

pre8@2x

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Computing

My New Computer

March 10, 2010 – 2:59 am

The parts have arrived. Let the building commence!

Here are the specs:

CPU – Intel i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz Quad-Core

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CPU Cooling – Cooler Maser Hyper 212

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Motherboard – Asus P7P55D

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Graphics Card – XFX ATI Radeon HD 5770

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RAM – 4GB G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3 1300

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Hard Drives – 2 Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB in RAID 0

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Power Supply – Corsair TX650W

power@2x

DVD Drive – Lite-On 24x Internal DVD Writer w/ LightScribe

dvd@2x

Media Card Reader – Rosewill 40-in-1 Internal Card Reader

cardreader@2x

Additional Case Fan – Apevia 120mm Blue LED Case Fan

fan@2x

Case – NZXT Apollo Black

case@2x

Grand Total: $1036.85

Apps Computing

The iPad

February 23, 2010 – 8:23 pm

ipad@2x

“The range of jokes that we can make about the iPad is as wide as the useless piece of **** itself” (Agi, 2010). Its unwieldy size does make it quite the target for ridicule. It also seems a bit of a digression to have a fullscreen device after we all have seemed to migrate towards widescreen resolutions. This, of course, is accompanied by its lack of flash support, multi-tasking, replaceable battery, expandable memory, camera, video output, and USB ports. Jony Ive, Senior Vice President of Industrial Design at Apple boasts:

You know, it’s true when something exceeds your ability to understand how it works, it sort of becomes magical, and that’s exactly what the iPad is. It’s hard to see how something so simple, so thin, and so light could possibly be so capable. (Apple, 2010)

Though what is so “magical” about this oversized iPhone – minus the phone, that is, – and what exactly is it capable of?

Apple brags on its “unbelievable…price…that’s well within reach” (“iPad pricing,” 2010). The prices range from $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version up to $699 for 64GB (“iPad pricing,” 2010). For the Wi-Fi + 3G version, the price starts at $629 for 16GB. If one wants the 64GB Wi-Fi + 3G capable version, they will be shelling out a cost close to that of a new MacBook – $829 (“iPad pricing,” 2010). Going for the 64GB version is not such a bad idea either, considering there is no way to expand the memory space in the future. These prices on the 3G models do not, of course, include the data plan required to use the 3G capabilities, which is sold separately (“iPad pricing,” 2010). According to an analysis done by Brian Marshall of BroadPoint AmTech, the cost of production for the 16GB Wi-Fi version iPad is only $270.50 (Keizer, 2010). This includes both the cost of parts, as well as labor (Keizer, 2010). After factoring in another $20 for under-warranty service costs, this brings in Apple a 42.9% profit margin (Keizer, 2010). Interestingly enough, however, the only cost difference between the Wi-Fi and 3G versions is a mere $16 (Keizer, 2010). This brings the profit margin up 9 percentage points to 52% on the 3G 16GB model (Keizer, 2010). The price is still rather modest compared to some of Apple’s other products. Is the price justified for what it can do, however? How does it stack up against its competitors – other tablets as well as netbooks and e-readers?

“The iPad is the best way to browse the web,” says Scott Forstall, Senior Vice President of iPhone software (Apple, 2010). In order to achieve this, however, flash support is needed. Otherwise, you cannot experience the entire web, and it is not the best experience possible. An aspect ratio of 4:3 also limits your viewing range. Along with web surfing, Forstall also claims that “[the iPad] is an unbelievable device for watching video” (Apple, 2010). Once again, with a 4:3 aspect ratio screen, however, this means letterboxing, wasting a large portion of the screen. While you can zoom to fill the whole screen with the video, this means parts of the video on both sides are being cut out. This causes you to lose content and because of this you are not experiencing the full video. The iPad does not provide the best video viewing experience.

The iPad is expected to compete with the Amazon Kindle and other e-readers. What is most unique about these e-readers, however, is not just their portability, or even that you can store many books on them, but the technology they bestow. These e-readers use a technology called E ink, developed in 1997 (“E ink,” 2010). What is special about this “E ink” is that it does a very good job of mimicking the experience of reading real ink on paper, along with having extremely low power consumption (“Electronic paper,” 2010). This E ink does not emit its own light, but reflects ambient light, making it considerably more comfortable to read than conventional displays, and can also be easily read in direct sunlight (“Electronic paper,” 2010). The iPad does not use E ink technology, and its bright LED screen may cause eye strain after extended use. In this sense, it cannot effectively compete with the Kindle and other e-readers because it is a completely different type of product, though they do share similar features.

Finally, another downfall of the iPad is how crippled it is. The operating system it runs is no different than that of the iPhone. It only runs the iPhone OS, and the only applications that can be installed on it are those available in Apple’s app store. There is no way to even download an application made for the iPhone from the web and everything must be done through the app store. Interestingly, Apple will not allow any apps in the app store which compete with the default functions of the iPad. This means no alternate web browsers, calendars, etc. If one is unhappy with the calendar application on the iPad, or if they want an email program with more features – tough luck. Furthermore, with no flash support in the browser, this deters one from playing flash games on the web. So if one wants to play a game on their iPad, they must download a game app through the app store. Additionally, with no multi-tasking you can only run one app at a time; with no USB ports, there is no way to plug in any alternate input device, or USB flash drive, among many other utilities; with no camera, there will be no picture taking or video chats; with no video output, its 9.7 inch screen is all there is; with no replaceable battery, when its estimated ten hour battery life starts to degrade, the owner is at the mercy of how long it is willing to hold a charge. The iPad is very limited as to what you can do with it.

Though the concept of it seems interesting, all of its irrevocable flaws are simply too large to look over. There is no way it can compete with netbooks, e-readers, or other tablets. It seems to be awkwardly stuck somewhere in between an iPhone and a laptop, but cannot replace nor compete with either. Additionally, for those who have both a laptop and an iPhone, it just seems pointless. Perhaps once it is jailbroken its true potential may shine. As for now, we will wait until then, or for the next generation, as Apple’s first generation products have generally never been anything to hit home about. Then maybe the iPad will become the “magical” device it aspires to be.

References

Agi, J. (Producer). (2010). The iPad is a comedy gold mine. [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1928558

Apple. (Producer). (2010). Apple – iPad – introducing the iPad. [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-YAQ1wfNqc

E ink. (2010). Wikipedia. Retrieved (2010, February 18) from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eink

Electronic paper. (2010). Wikipedia. Retrieved (2010, February 18) from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_paper

iPad pricing. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.apple.com/ipad/pricing/

Keizer, G. (2010, January 29). Apple makes $208 on each $499 iPad. Computerworld, Retrieved from http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9150045/Apple_makes_208_on_each_499_iPad?taxonomyId=163&pageNumber=1

Computing

24 Inch Monitor

November 6, 2009 – 1:02 am

dell@2x

I just got my new monitor in the mail last saturday. It is a Dell ST2410. 24 inches of pure gloriousness. It’s quite the transition from being used to my 15 inch laptop screen. It’s crazy how much more of everything I can do now, and with 1920 x 1080 resolution and aero snap on Windows 7, it’s almost like having 2 monitors. And yes, WoW looks amazing on this. Here’s a picture of my current desk setup:

monitor@2x

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