The Techno-Bleg Thread

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D.A. Ridgely
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The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 31 May 2010, 18:42

A thread for dumb guys like me to ask smart guys (and gals) like you technical questions in lieu of, like, you know, something more drastic like doing the research myself or, gawd forfend, RTFM.

So,... first question. I'm feeling the need for (more) speed, computer-wise, and my handy-dandy Windows performance test tells me the video card is the weak link. I'm currently using the NVidia GeForce 9300, nForce 7301 video card integrated with the motherboard. I'm considering upgrading to this GeForce 9800. Am I being foolish? (Well, more so than usual?) Are there better alternatives in that roughly $100 bracket?

Next, more wish-list sort of question: a blu-ray burner. Too soon? The BD-R disks are friggin' expensive and the least expensive burner comes in at around $200. Anyone here so bleeding-edge they've already got one?

Final (for now) question for geeks with school age kids. Educational software recommendations? Especially elementary school level? We're setting our daughter up with a new (well, hand-me-down) computer to give her an alternative to the TV over the summer. I'm a generation or two removed from the kids' software market, so all suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanking you gurus in advance. *grin*

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Jadagul
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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by Jadagul » 31 May 2010, 19:24

DAR: not that I have kids or know much about educational software. But I will say that one of the things I'm most grateful to my Mom for is her insistence that I learn to touch-type properly. It's an ability I take for granted, but occasionally I'm reminded 1) that I type 2-3 times as fast as most of my friends, and 2) this is a huge productivity advantage.

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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by dhex » 31 May 2010, 19:46

no idea on educational software, should probably figure that out at some point maybe. perhaps some where in the world is carmen sandiego type stuff?

regarding video card, you'll see an increase in power, dunno how much over a 9300 but i'd hazard it'll be noticeable. i like evga a lot, for what it's worth.
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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 31 May 2010, 23:07

Jadagul, I agree. The speed reading and touch typing classes I took in elementary school were more valuable than just about anything else. But my sons already type and the focus with our daughter remains basic reading, writing & arithmetic.

dhex, it seems the trend is to online educational software which means the child's computer must have internet access and the parents must monitor and set parental controls, etc. (Mind you, I don't care if my teenage children surf porn, but I don't want it popping up uninvited with elementary school age kids.) As for the video card, what I read suggested that it would be much faster than what I've got but I have no frame of reference. All I know is the graphics card lowers the overall performance from around 5.5 to 4.5 (1 to 7.1 scale). For a hundred bucks, I'd be willing to upgrade. I'm not a gamer, however, and wouldn't be willing to spend much more.

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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by dbcooper » 01 Jun 2010, 04:12

What do you use your computer for? Unless you're gaming or doing 3D modelling video cards are seldom the weak link. For video playback (including flash) it's nice to have a card that supports hardware acceleration of decoding etc of HD content.
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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 01 Jun 2010, 09:12

I do neither. I do, however, watch a fair amount of video online. *shrug* Maybe it's no big deal, but the computer just seems, um, sluggish given the higher performance scores for the CPU, etc.

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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by dbcooper » 01 Jun 2010, 09:37

D.A. Ridgely wrote:I do neither. I do, however, watch a fair amount of video online. *shrug* Maybe it's no big deal, but the computer just seems, um, sluggish given the higher performance scores for the CPU, etc.
The 9300 should support hardware decoding of h264 video. Without this, online flash video (such as Hulu) can use quite a bit of your CPU. You might want to update your nvidia video drivers to the latest version, and install the latest flash 10.1 release candidate (it supports hardware video decoding).

http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/flashplayer10.html

(RC6 may not work with ABC news flash video, RC5 did. Only problem I know of).
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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by PicassoIII » 05 Jun 2010, 17:16

YouTube video to CD burnable mp3.

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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by dbcooper » 05 Jun 2010, 17:29

PicassoIII wrote:YouTube video to CD burnable mp3.
You want to download and demux youtube videos?
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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by PicassoIII » 05 Jun 2010, 18:25

dbcooper wrote:
PicassoIII wrote:YouTube video to CD burnable mp3.
You want to download and demux youtube videos?
Yes, so i can listen to Gary Newman live ... in cars.
And you provided the magic search term DB, thank you.

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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by dbcooper » 09 Jun 2010, 16:53

Don't buy a Logitech MX Performance. I bought one to replace my four year old (with recently fucked left button) MX Revolution. I will be returning it tomorrow as they've fucked up the best feature - the automatic transition to free-wheeling scrolling. Now you have to click a button. They've also replaced the page zoom wheel with something shitty. Micro-USB instead of cradle for charging is also shitty. The new tracking laser system is awesome though.

Looks like a dodgy amazon seller will be getting an order tomorrow for an MX Revolution which has been sitting on a shelf > 12 months.
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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by Timothy » 13 Jul 2010, 01:00

The best mouse I have ever owned is an MS scroll wheel optical jobbie that came with a $20 Comfort Curve keyboard.
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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by Pham Nuwen » 13 Jul 2010, 01:48

I bought an HTC HD2 as an early birthday present for the GF. It's fucking amazing! I was watching Transformers on it with no lag and a picture almost as good as my tv. Comes with a 16 gig card and a 1 gig processor. It's awesome . . . til I try the tubez on it. I guess I'm spoiled by my android phone but it runs like a blackberry. In other words, like shit. There are a ton of background programs running that aren't needed and are just running through the battery. Plus multiple steps are required just to get rid of default settings*. Working through it has left me pissed off at anything windows based.

* For instance, I keep resizing the screen and it just goes back to default. I've already changed the default but like the browser settings I have to apparently change the settings in other areas to keep my changes. Why? The developer must be one ballsy guy to go out of his way to keep anyone from changing the settings. This is the kind of annoyance that impacts sales.

Edit.
Last edited by Pham Nuwen on 13 Jul 2010, 04:55, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by Hugh Akston » 13 Jul 2010, 03:30

Pham, everything you said was completely understandable with one exception.

Why were you watching Transformers?
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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by Pham Nuwen » 13 Jul 2010, 04:54

Hugh Akston wrote:Pham, everything you said was completely understandable with one exception.

Why were you watching Transformers?
Oh. It comes pre packaged apparently. As well as the sequel. I just skipped over Bay's attempt at plot and went straight to the showdowns.
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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by Jadagul » 15 Jul 2010, 06:36

A kinda odd one, mainly aimed at dhex who sounds like he'd know the answer. I want to get a small mixing board or something for my computer setup--I have like two or three things that have sound output (computer, phone, Gamecube) and three or four that take sound input (speakers, headphones, wireless headphones, sometimes other sets of headphones, maybe my electric keyboard). I want to be able to control the volumes independently and use any of my outputs for any of my inputs (but it's not important that I be able to, say, get my computer piped to my headphones and my gamecube piped to speakers--only plan to have one thing going at a time). Just don't want to have to fool around with wires all the time. What's good for handling this sort of thing? A small mixing board is my first thought, but I don't know if there's a better or cheaper alternative.

edit: for example, I was looking at this:

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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by dhex » 15 Jul 2010, 09:24

you'd have to diagram out what's going in and what's going out of the box. for your phone, do you really want to talk to people over a pair of speakers? that seems...weird.

most mixers have a headphone jack (usually 1/4" so you'll need an 1/8 - 1/4 adapter) so that's kinda gravy. never used wireless headphones so no idea how they work.

i'm a little confused at what's going on with all this stuff, but the behringer will at least take care of your input issue and give you a headphone jack. what kind of speakers do you have? cause you'll probably only get 1/4" outs from the mixer (two pairs actually, a main mix and a control room mix, which you could send to something else like an input on a soundcard or whatever).
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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 15 Jul 2010, 09:33

Do they all connect by RCA plugs? Do you only want to control volume but have no other signal processing capacity?

I'm a bit confused by the objective here, too. Do you, e.g., really want to port your phone through your stereo speakers?

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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by Jadagul » 15 Jul 2010, 16:27

Sorry, "phone" because it's also my mp3 player. Don't need anything terribly complicated, just want to control volume (basically, neither the Gamecube nor my good headphones have a volume control anywhere, so I want to put one somewhere in between them--otherwise it's just too damn loud).

Most of my plugs are 1/8" mini plugs, but I have various adapters between 1/8 and 1/4. The wireless headphones are RCA. But I don't mind buying plug adapters. Just wondering if anyone had a better idea.

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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 15 Jul 2010, 18:33

I don't know. Even a small mixer sounds like both an incomplete solution, given the need for various adapters, and overkill. You can get an add-on volume control for the headphones for around $20 or less (e.g.,
). I know nothing about game systems.

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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by dhex » 16 Jul 2010, 08:58

ok, i think i gotcha.

yeah, a small mixer will do this for you. behringer isn't the best thing in the universe, but it's cheap.
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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by dead_elvis » 16 Jul 2010, 12:40

Has anybody ever recovered a "click o' death" hard drive? About what can one expect to pay for recovery?

Wife's drive on her Macbook went down, never backed it up because it wasn't important stuff we couldn't live without, but now we suspect there were probably pictures on there that aren't saved anywhere else.
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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by dhex » 16 Jul 2010, 13:30

more money than a few photos are worth, probably.
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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by Hugh Akston » 16 Jul 2010, 14:51

I ended up paying about $1,200 for a HD recovery. Not really worth it unless you have some important documents or nuclear launch codes.
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Re: The Techno-Bleg Thread

Post by dbcooper » 17 Jul 2010, 13:05

dead_elvis wrote:Has anybody ever recovered a "click o' death" hard drive? About what can one expect to pay for recovery?

Wife's drive on her Macbook went down, never backed it up because it wasn't important stuff we couldn't live without, but now we suspect there were probably pictures on there that aren't saved anywhere else.
If it's just a few bad sectors rather than a failure of the drive mechanism you can normally pop the drive in an enclosure and transfer most of the data via USB.
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