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Just what you need.

February 7th, 2008

So I'm not even going to try to justify this purchase, or write a special column in the space below about how awesome it is. The fact of the matter is that everyone with a house needs a snowblower. I learned this the hard way, having to shovel 30cm of snow off my driveway. There is something that's not quite pleasant about spending 3 hours outside removing that white, powdery demonic substance from your lawn, which is why everyone, myself included, needs a snowblower.

today's real post will be up later in the day.

So I _CAN_ keep a schedule…

February 5th, 2008

Wow. I must say I'm impressed, that I actually managed to meet the first deadline. This is quite a shocker for myself, as I've never been one for being on time with anything. But let's not go down that road, as I prefer the "exceedingly frugal" road next to it.

A new school semester means that new subjects are starting, and old ones are ending. I just started English, which means there is going to be someone critiquing my writing. So I figure I can get some practice by writing on the ‘tubes. Now, where were we…

So this past Boxing Day, I decided to upgrade my slightly old computer. ‘Slightly old‘ is a poor choice of words in this situation, as the more "correct" approach would be to describe it as "Jesus's Ghetto Word Processor". But anyways, I decided to upgrade, which marks the first time I've upgraded a computer with decent parts. The next few weeks will therefore detail all the parts needed for one to build a PC, and recommendations from myself.

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So the first part needed to build a computer is the case itself. It's not really necessary, as seen by a couple servers I have laying around, but for those that prefer a proper case over shoe boxes, or worse, cereal boxes, this is for you;

I opted to go for the Antec P182 case, which is a wonderful piece of machinery. But in reality, a case is a matter of personal preference based on looks, and I can not decide what one might find most tasteful. I chose the P182 because it was on sale (always a plus), is incredibly quiet (unlike my motorcycle of a Pentium 4), and happens to look really shiny. I found the case incredibly well built, well designed, and a great value for the money, which I'd have to recommend to anyone. However, gamers, or enthusiasts, are likely going to benefit more from things like sound-dampened panels than my Mother, or that Old Lady from Across the Street will, so it's clearly aimed at a specific market segment.

Just to clarify, a case will fit any kind of computer if the mobo type matches the case type. For example, an mATX mobo will work in any mATX case. Additionally, a smaller mobo, like mATX, will fit in an ATX case; There will just be a lot of room.

You can find the P182 here in our price search.

Just a quick announcement…

February 4th, 2008

Starting this week, PriceDX is now going to *actually* be updated regularly. New articles will be posted on Tuesdays and Thursdays weekly, and we've got plenty of new content coming up.

Enjoy.

Do yourself a favor…

January 12th, 2008

Last week, I decided that I'd upgrade my network to remove a crappy router. It had been crashing hourly, and it was taking down my internet connection every so often. It wasn't a big deal, but it had to be fixed. Besides, procrastination is procrastination, and, when presented with an opportunity to pass time with an assignment due the next day, one must take it.

While changing the router, I accidentally knocked over the HDDs of one of my servers. As you can guess, the shock of a spinning drive hitting the concrete floor of my "server room" (read: laundry room) wasn't something that a hard disk likes to do, and therefore, decided that it wouldn't turn on anymore.

Now, I'm not a person who keeps important and irreplaceable data on my drives, since I've had my fair share fail on me. However, I did have a large collection of irreplaceable porn files needed to run my server, and ended up losing them. And now, I need to explain to the people that use my servers that the reason they don't work is because the admin knocked one over. By the way, if you used my servers, sucks to be you.

Do yourself a favor and go out and get some drives to do backups. You can get hard drive enclosures for pretty cheap, and you can build yourself an external hard drive for not much money. You can find both hard drives and enclosures in our price search here and here. Additionally, if you're not handy with a screwdriver, there are many companies that make external drives, which you can find here in our price search here. I went out and bought a pair of 500 gig drives, which is now more than big enough to hold my very important files.

Flash drives are awesome to have…

December 31st, 2007

So I picked up an 8gig SD card on Saturday, to use with my Asus Eee, which is pretty awesome to have. It's convenient to be able to have that much data on hand at a time, and, in my case, not have anything sticking out of the side of the laptop. It's amazing how much the price of flash memory has dropped, as I once paid over $130 for a single gigabyte.

Anyways, you can find SDHC cards for fairly cheap in our price search. Given that they're about to release 16 and 32 gig cards, it might be wise to wait, but for anyone needing that much flash memory, you can find it in our price search starting at under $25.

It's been a long week….

November 29th, 2007

Well, the plethora of Asus Eee's arrived over the week, and the staff of PriceDX have had more than enough fun playing with them. For me, I can't get over the thing. It arrived late Wednesday night, and I haven't put it down since.

I found the OS it comes with kinda lacking, as it doesn't have much installed with it, and comes with a lot of limitations. For example, we are having trouble installing GPS software on them, but alas, we shall overcome this software limitation. I installed XP on mine, and am rather impressed at how well it runs. Using a couple programs, I was able to get the thing to play H264@1280×720 (High Definition) at full speed, which is rarely seen on a computer of this price and size. Hell, on my desktop before I upgraded, I was unable to play this with a Pentium 4 @ 1.9 GHz.

The interface it comes with is rather simple to use. You can press shiny little buttons for "Work", "Play", "Learn" and "Settings", which are rather nice, as it allows non-technically-inclined people the ability to pick it up and use it. I let my Dad play with it over the weekend, and he was impressed. Trust me, the fact that he was able to turn it on by himself shows that it's officially "old-people certified."

For anyone looking for a lightweight computer, this is definitely for you. I've carried it with me for the past two days, and the fact that it fits in the change compartment of my backpack says a lot about the size. I don't even notice I have it with me, which is nice, because I can go on the internet anywhere. When I say anywhere, I mean anywhere, as you can even walk and hold the unit, and still manage to type with your thumbs. For the business traveler, consider it an over sized blackberry.

This is by far the best piece of gadgetry I've ever had, so I can definitely recommend it to anyone. You can find it in our price search starting at $399.

I need a laptop =)

November 14th, 2007

For anyone that wants a new computer, they've probably realized that they can be very expensive. The whole ordeal of purchasing, upgrading, and funneling money towards a machine can be a difficult and daunting task, and anyone with a limited budget or that happens to be a student is probably limited in what they can get.

I've been looking for a laptop for awhile, as I can always use an excuse to blog in class, and I was surprised to find that I would be reduced to "pure crap" without spending an arm and a leg. Given that I use both of those at school, spending truckloads of money wasn't an option.

Asus recently released the Eee PC, a tiny computer that runs Linux, and shows up at less than $400 in our Price Search. Given my limited budget, and the need for a tiny laptop for taking notes in class / playing Starcraft on, I figured this would be perfect. I'll be reviewing the unit I ordered sometime next week, so for anyone interested in a cheap Linux-Powered laptop, or anyone that doesn't want to lug around a huge notebook, this is for you.

I need a new TV…

November 11th, 2007

Ugh, so much homework. Doesn't leave much time to do stuff, but that's the result of being a student.

For many students who have gone away to school, it's not uncommon to find oneself without a TV. Especially with the holiday season soon approaching, and new/awesome game releases sneaking up on you from left and right every week. For students without a TV that want to play console games for cheap, Adaptec has a product called the GameBridge, which I picked up last week for less than 20 bucks. It's an impressive piece of hardware, which allows you to play console games using a computer. Not only is it cheap, at less than 20 dollars, it's also incredibly cool and allows you to use it as a general TV tuner. You can find it here in our price search: GameBridge at PriceDX!

Adaptec Gamebridge

Loud Noises are a good thing…

September 13th, 2007

Ugh. September. Why must this month torment me so? Maybe it's the pile of work that comes with being a high-school student, or the fact that I need to get up at 7. Still, there are some benefits to this month, as we'll see in the later weeks.

Getting up early requires a good alarm clock, one capable of vibrating one's house. I don't exactly have one at my disposal, so I was forced to make my own.

There are many types of speakers available for computer, ranging from a simple 2.1 audio setup, or headphones, to something with more drivers than days of the year. I've got a pair of Logitech X-530's here, which are pretty good, but there's tons more out there, like the X540's, or higher. Our price search lists the X540's at just over 50 bucks, which is a great price.

Logitech X540's at PriceDX

Logitech X540's

You can also get things which are more professional, such as the Logitech 5500's, which we have starting at $314 on our price search:

Logitech Z5500's

Logitech isn't the only one making speakers. Altec Lansing also makes really good desktop speakers, and they have a huge price range, from 10 dollars to hundreds, depending on the quality one desires.

Altec Lansing @ PriceDX

It's great that there's something out there for me, but it still can't get me up in the mornings. I should go look up the cost of an airhorn about now.

And so it begins…

August 29th, 2007

Ugh. End of August. That means school approaches soon.

Don't remind me.

I had to pick up my timetable today. There was something satisfying in knowing that I singlehandedly made the head of IT disappear, but that's besides the point. Since schools around the corner for a bunch of people, I thought I'd cover some articles related to the whole "Back to School" thing.

The first article coming up is about building your own NAS and Server. Tons of kids complain to me that x stops working right before a project is due. Building your own server is an exceedingly cheap way of making your computer work always, and it has it's own advantages.

Let's Begin:

So I'm preparing to launch my second server. It cost me absolutely nothing, though the situation may be different for you. I won't be covering all parts, but I'll mention some.

Having your server allows for a few amazing things. My brother goes to boarding school, and has to put up with Websense (shudder). Having a server at home allows him to access any site he wants from school, download torrents, and much more, and for me, the server pays for itself, since I rent out my torrent proxy to friends. I also use it to make backups, using a DOS script, and use it as a print server.

The first step is to locate a crappy computer. I'm using a not-so-crappy computer that a friend gave me, but still, same goes for you. You're likely to find something in your basement, dumpster, or closet, as all you need is an old compy.

I'm using a P4@1.9, HP Mobo, 768MB of RAM, and a 60 gig HDD I had laying around. These are higher end parts, but my first server was a P3 that sucks.

Set the thing up. Keep in mind that you don't need a graphics card, or monitor, or keyboard, or mouse, or anything of the sort. Find an empty closet to dump this in when you're done.

Install VNC onto it, so you can pretend you have a monitor. This is crucial, as it allows you to control it to fix anything.

Once the thing is working, stash it in a closet. Get it ready for 24/7 uptime, attach a printer, and you're good to go. If it's done right, you can store backups of files on it (I have it done automatically with a script: copy C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\My Documents X:\ I have this working on startup, so it backs up all my work. This prevents me from losing any data, and it helps keep my late nights to a minimum. (SC games don't count).

The next step, though slightly more advanced, is to install Apache. Get it working, and download a copy of PHProxy. This will let you surf the web using your internet connection at university, so you can go on Facebook / Myspace / Porn. And no ones the wiser.

There are commercial products that do the above, but I prefer to build my own. I'm frugal! Here are some of the products that do the same things.

Asus makes this one, for 179, (Asus WL-700gE), which acts as a router too!

I have an HP one my brother got at school, which is amazingly wonderful. I don't think they sell it in Canada though…

Anyways, there are tons of options out there, so choose wisely, as they're great to have.




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