Computer Hardware

The real cost of programming

I’m doing some programming and really missing my dual screen capabilities that I used to have. I’m trying to follow MS’s online tutorial but its practically impossible to work with the help file and the ide on the screen at the same time and get some productive work done as the screen just isn’t big enough. I’m already running at 1280*1024 pixels – any larger and it would get really hard to read the text on the screen. Don’t think it will be long before I get a cheap graphics card and a second monitor (although this would will be a crt display). I’ll also need a proper computer desk to put the screen on (and some more memory would be nice)…..not forgetting the full cost of when it comes out of beta – ouch.

Are dead pixels really dead?

Mike in his sidebar had a post about a dead pixel fixing program which “works” by rapidly changing the colour of the pixel that is dead which makes it unsticky. I thought this would be great to run on the dead pixel on my screen only to find that when I went to look at the pixel it was already fixed. Here I was, thinking that dead pixels were final, my screen had snuffed it, it was no more – to (badly) quote a famous sketch.

New desktop

We purchased a new computer from shudder Compusa this morning. We got a very decently spec’ed HP Pavillion A1030N desktop with 512MB memory, 200GB hard disk, 3GHz Intel processor with HT (appears as 2 processors) technology,DVD writer (with lightscribe so I can pay a fortune and have my dvd labels laser engraved – ooooohhhh) and a dvdrom. We also purchased a Norwood Micro 17″ TFT screen to go with it, some speakers, blank dvd’s and a small UPS to power it all. I also got a USB2 wireless adapter so the pc can be set up in the basement (or anywhere we feel like) without being confined to the computer room. This is made by Hawking Technologies (who I’ve never heard of) so it was a bit of a risk buying it, but at $20 after rebates it was cheap enough and I could always return it – but it seems to be working fine.
The whole lot is way cheaper than buying it in the UK and the price gets better as the rebate checks come in (3 for this lot!)
After switching the machine on, going through the boot up procedure it was time to install the wireless adapter which went through without a hitch and connected to the wireless Lan a lot easier than other things I’ve connected. Then it was off to Windows Updates……
18 items and 19MB to download (and it then detects I have some GDI vulnerable programs). The machine also came bundled with some new antispyware software called SpySubtract which I must admit I’d never heard of. It had a 60 day trial so thats enough to let me see what its like.
The other bundled software includes Norton’s Internet protection suite (which will be uninstalled asap), Microsoft Works (useful for Word only), Microsoft Money (will be very handy for keeping track of our balances) and interestingly some WildTangent games. Now supposedly these games are not spyware, according to WildTangent’s support site but other spyware detection programs detect them as spyware as they report back pc specs and each user has a unique id. It will be interesting to see what spysubtract thinks of it. Personally I will remove it if SpySubtract doesn’t – I want to keep this machine as clean as possible.
Down points

  • Spysubtract keeps bugging me that it needs a new download to update it, even though the download program then says that the patch has already been applied
  • Adobe Reader 6 is installed not 7
  • WildTangent
  • HD has a recovery partition on it, but no instructions on how to use it (that I can see so far)

More updates as I carry on the installation of the machine.