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Where Have I Been? and the Summer of Hardy Haron July 7, 2008

Posted by amazingrando in General, Windows-Linux Transition.
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Thanks to all of you that have been submitting comments.  I’ll try to research a few and update the entries.  I think there are a few tweaks needed for Hardy Haron too.  So, where have I been?  Well, it was the first year of my PhD program and I was buried in work and shuttling back and forth between France and Singapore.  It’s finally over and I will be enjoying some of the slower pace of the summer by moving to Hardy and trying out some new stuff: HD video, encryption, WEP cracking, bibliographic databases, etc.  If you have any requests for me to try to figure out, let me know!

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Overclocking the Intel Core 2 Duo E4300 makes me happy! May 15, 2007

Posted by amazingrando in General.
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In the last few years I’ve been running computers from Dell and HP, but when I first switched to PCs from the Mac about 10 years ago I always built my own machines. Back in the day of the overclocking my Celeron 300MHz processor to 464Mhz it was great fun. The Celery (Celeron) was cheap and you could very easily squeeze a 50% or greater overclock out of it with just a bit of tweaking and some better cooling. Heck, often you could get that without anything but the stock cooler.

Recently I sold my Dell Optiplex Pentium D system and decided to build a system of my own. I picked up an EVGA nForce 680i SLI motherboard, which is an amazing board. Fast, stable, and loaded with all the extras. I suppose that’s why it’s getting so many rave reviews. Reading up on the overclockability of the E4300 processor, I got one of those for now with an eye to a quad-core processor later in the year. I also picked up some nice PQI Turbo DDR2 RAM (2GB kit).

So today I finally got around to some testing. I only have the stock cooler on the processor and I haven’t fiddled with any voltages yet, but the results are impressive:

cpu-z-4300-ocd.png

I’ve got it running at 3.0GHz very stably with a 1.35GHz FSB. I ran the PCMark05 CPU and Memory benchmarks to see just what that means in terms of performance:

Stock Settings
9 x 200 = 1.8GHz CPU, 800MHz FSB 5-5-5-16 timing

Stock Speed
CPU: 4516
Memory: 4038

Overclocked Settings
9 x 337.5 = 3.0GHz CPU, 1350MHz FSB, 4-4-4-12 timing

Overclocked Speed
CPU: 7689
Memory: 6470

With that overclocking, I’m getting a 70% increase in CPU performance and a 60% increase in memory performance – for free! w00t!

How does that compare to other CPUs? Well, check this out. Sharky Extreme has a good review of the Core 2 Duo processors and the processors’ respective PCMark05 CPU and memory performance figures. The results are fantastic.  My overclocked $115 processor beats out the $970 Core Duo 2 X6800 Extreme CPU (well, at stock speed anyhow). Happy days! 🙂

My system / Core 2 Duo X6800
CPU: 7689 / 7515
Memory: 6470 / 6059

Censorship is Evil – Fight it! (updated) May 3, 2007

Posted by amazingrando in Ethics, General, Politics, Ranting.
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Franklin Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms - Thanks to
Franklin Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms – Thanks to dbking

“Censorship of anything, at any time, in any place, on whatever pretense, has always been and always be the last resort of the boob and the bigot.”
— Eugene Gladstone O’Neill, American playwright

There’s a good story on DailyTech.com about a lot of people getting angry about censorship that was taking place on Digg.com. You can also read about it on CNet. What is at issue is a string of letters and numbers that constitute a key for HD-DVD and Blu-Ray encryption. The AACS has sent nasty letters to Google to take down any blogs they host that discuss AACS encryption circumvention, and in particular have the key. And Google dutifully complied, taking down blog after blog. People submitted Digg stories about this, but quickly found that they were censored by Digg.com… at least until Digg came to their senses. And, kudos to them for standing up for freedom.

The bottom line of the story is that there this random string of letters and numbers and information about AACS that could land someone in jail if published. But why? Expressing them does not mean that you are cracking their encryption. There’s no act. It’s letters and numbers. This is like arresting you for murder because you watched an episode of CSI and you would know some of the tricks of the trade. Moreover, these companies have done a cost-benefit analysis with your freedoms and decided that it’s better to avoid lawsuits than to stand up for freedom.

Exercise your right to free speech and Digg the story at Digg.com. Meanwhile, enjoy a random string of 32 letters and numbers:

09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0

UPDATE: There’s an excellent article about the consequences of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) at eff.org. Read it and share it.

UPDATE2: The New York Times also has another good story on the Internet rebellion

The Penguin Trail Starts Here… April 4, 2007

Posted by amazingrando in General, Windows-Linux Transition.
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Welcome to The Penguin Trail, my little blog to share some of the insights of moving from Windows XP to Ubuntu Linux, and other geeky tidbits.

Why am I making this move, you make ask. Well, here are some of the reasons:

  • Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) lowers the barriers to access to the latest technology for those of limited means, everywhere in the world. The more people who use FOSS, the better it gets.
  • Linux can be stupid simple to use, but also amazingly powerful and customizable. I like that mix
  • Windows can be really annoying. It’s bloated, not particularly stable, and most applications are commercial (which = expen$ive)
  • Linux is free and community support can be amazing. For example, I reported a bug in Ubuntu (see the Launchpad) and had developers asking for more information within a few hours. Another time I had a quick question about whether upgrading my CPU would be automatically detected by Ubuntu. I hopped on an IRC channel and had my answer within two minutes. Can you imagine that with Microsoft?
  • Because it’s cool

Taking the plunge

P.S. The Linux icon is a Penguin, in case you didn’t know