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  1. The other day I found a Gamer's Nexus video in my subscription feed. It was Steve Burke criticizing a magazine's article on how PC building is "hard" and to prove it wasn't, would do a speed build.

     

    Admittedly I didn't watch the whole video, nor did I read the article in question. But my overall takeaway is this: to all you people who build or built their machines, stop saying it's easy as if building a PC is like operating an elevator or using a phone.

     

    Now ignoring the other aspects of building a PC that conveniently get ignored, like identifying your needs, planning your budget, researching parts, testing, and if needed, troubleshooting, of course it's easy to build a PC if you've done it before. But to a fresh newbie, it still may be a nervous experience that really isn't all that easy for them.

     

    To put in another way, I think about the time I was leaning how to ride a motorcycle vs when I ride now. I was nervous about shifting gears around except up when accelerating and down when coming to a stop, I had trouble with the clutch, hills were a problem, going down even past 45 MPH scared me, lane splitting was something I dared not to do with moving traffic.

     

    Now, all of that no longer matters. I can shift just by my gut feeling. I have competent control of the clutch. I can manage most hills (though I'm sure San Francisco will humble me in a second). Highway speeds feel normal. I even lane split in moving traffic (and I survived LA).

     

    These are all more or less "natural" to me. I don't have to think about how to do the action, but merely when to do it. So riding a motorcycle is easy to me. I think it's easy. But it's not.

     

    Granted building a PC isn't this complex, risky, or what have you, but I wanted to illustrate a point. I'm sure most of you who built their own PC consulted the internet a few dozen times throughout each step of the process. I'm sure you spent a lot of time mulling over what's good for you or what's not. Or maybe you didn't and just copied someone else's build (though I'd argue you're sort of cheating). I'm sure when something went wrong, you nearly needed a change of underwear or blew a few blood vessels.

     

    If PC building were really easy for anyone, nobody would need to do or worry about any of this.

  2. So, I have not been exactly the most active blog member. I've been going through a job change- from IT Technician to Network Manager at the biggest school in my town. So proud. Anyway, places change, jobs change but people... people never change. A girl came up today asking for a "Geiger counter". If I was a halfwit I'd have no idea what she was on about but I know a few things about science, 3 to be exact. I said I'm the Network manager but she said "my teacher told me to go to the technician". "Well, maybe your teacher had the science technician in mind"? Damn.

     

    Over and out. I'll have probably less blog entries now since this sort of thing is rare unlike my previous job...

  3. After I used Windows 10 as my primary OS for many months, I realised that I wouldn't miss anything about it if I went back to Windows 7. And since I found that everything was more difficult, more frustrating, more ugly, and more time-consuming on Windows 10, I went back to Windows 7 as my primary OS. Windows 10 made the detail of just having an OS a chore and liability all on its own, whereas Windows 7 is just passively there, like an OS should be, and just works for whatever I decide to do, without any of the barriers, talk-back, and convolution of Windows 10.

     

    This post's sections include:

    1) General Windows 7, Windows 10 user experience comparison

    2) Gaming and application-wise

    3) The modern Microsoft factor

    4) My conclusion

     

     

     

    General Windows 7, Windows 10 user experience comparison:

     

    These are many of the reasons why I found Windows 7 to be a much more sophisticated, smartly-designed, and user-friendly OS than Windows 10:

     

    Windows 7 has a more useful and efficient start-menu design, that takes up less screen space, and requires less mouse travel distance to get to what you want. Pinning applications to a space-efficient list directly above the start button is a lot more space-smart, and functionally-useful than the live-tiles design in Windows 10.

     

    Windows 7 has an intelligent Windows Update set of choices, whereas in Windows 10, unless you edit Group Policies, you have basically no choice. The choice to defer updates is not useful, since deferring them still causes the same ambiguous and random update process to automatically occur, just a couple of months later. There isn't even a choice for how long to defer them. Also, with the Anniversary Update, Microsoft has reduced the availability of Group Policy options in Windows 10, a move which certainly wasn't done to be of any service to Windows 10 Pro license owners.

     

    Customizing file-associations in Windows 7 is straight-forward, while in Windows 10 it can be a repeating arm-wrestle with the OS, as sometimes Win 10 resets the file associations you've changed, and sometimes the ability to change file-associations "bugs," and it doesn't let it be changed, or doesn't list the application you want and doesn't provide any means to add the application you want to use to the list (such as to use Chrome to open URLs from offline, non-browser text).

     

    Windows 10's UI isn't very aesthetic to many people, and Windows 7's UI feels a lot more comfortable to me. Windows 10's UI can be changed to some extent, using programs like Startisback, Classic Shell, or  Start 10, and Aero Glass.

     

    Windows 10's data-collection is invasive, and it isn't straight-forward to turn it off. Microsoft has made effort to spread the settings for various aspects of data-collection in many different places, to make it challenging for a person to find them all and disable them all. And extra efforts may be required to put a more thorough stop to MS' collection of your data, such as those described in the link in my signature. Don't presume that just because you turned off telemetry and data-collection during the Win 10 installation process that you got it all. You'll find more data-collection settings in individual MS apps that need turning off in them after the OS has completed installation.

     

    Windows 10 has so far tended to often require users to redo their OS customization work with new big updates, which can have the magical ability to reset things back to the way MS wants them to be. For that reason, and because of data-collection, and because of file-association challenges, Windows 10 is not a user-friendly OS. It's a for-Microsoft OS, that a user might have to struggle with quite a bit to get the way they want, and to keep it the way they want. It's rather abusive, in this.

     

    In Windows 10, there are in-OS ads, which is something Windows 7 doesn't have. Does anyone want to see advertisement in their personal space? I don't.

     

    In Windows 10, Windows Defender is a nuisance, unless it is permanently disables in Group Policy Editor, and all system warning notifications are disabled (otherwise Windows 10 will constantly bother the user to re-enable Windows Defender).

     

    Windows 10 has (lots of) bugs, and while new versions and patches fix some, they also often create new ones, sometimes major ones. Windows 7 has been generally bug-free (or, few enough that I haven't encountered any since its release).

     

    Microsoft uses Windows 10 to pester users about whatever random thing they want to happen:

    http://www.theverge.com/2016/8/3/12369326/microsoft-windows-10-chrome-battery-life-notifications

    http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/3002960/windows-10-microsoft-is-spamming-chrome-users-with-pop-up-adverts

    https://linustechtips.com/main/topic/732600-windows-10-pushes-notifcaitons-to-remind-you-to-watch-the-superbowl-and-to-purchase-snacks/

    https://www.reddit.com/r/Windows10/comments/5xec80/is_nothing_sacred_advertisement_for_onedrive_in/

    https://www.extremetech.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Assistant-MS.jpg

    https://boards.4chan.org/g/thread/59233293

     

    I feel that the best thing I found about Windows 10 is that, after setting everything up the way that I'd like it, it functions pretty much like Windows 7, with the only differences being worse on Windows 10 than in Windows 7. But since it takes more work to set up than Windows 7, and since it takes work to keep Windows 10 set up the way I want it to be (since Microsoft's Win 10 updates seems to cause people's Windows 10 configurations to reset arbitrarily), I can't see why I would go with the OS that takes ongoing work to be good, rather than the OS that is simply good from the start.

     

    Areas in which I've discovered Windows 7 to be more configurable than Windows 10 include: Windows Updates, system restarting, the Group Policy editor, removing default apps, configuring what the default apps for file-types are, disabling background data-collection, account permissions, and visual customization.

     

     

     

    Gaming and Application-wise:


    There are no tangible performance differences between Windows 7 and Windows 10 in non DirectX 12 games and applications. While I haven't looked at benchmarks on the subject in a long time, last I saw, some games will perform better in one Windows OS compared to another, but, on average, across a large selection of games, Windows 7, 8, and 10 all perform within ~1 FPS of each other, with the two overall fastest Windows OSes being Windows 8, then Windows 7, with Windows 10 coming in last for performance in non DX12 games.

     

    On my dual-boot system, Windows 7 is the OS that's lighter on system resources, using only 13% RAM at idle, compared with 15% RAM-usage at idle in Win 10 (Anniversary Update version).

     

    Compatibility-wise, Windows 7 has better support for a larger amount of games and applications, having been the main gaming OS for a very long time, and continuing to be the OS with the largest market share. Because of this, Windows 7 also has a lot more community guides, fixes, and other materials to get games and applications to run on it, then does any other OS.


    Windows 7 is a more stable and reliable OS in general than Windows 10, and Windows 7 doesn't interfere with online gaming by automatically updating and sharing data, such as can occur in Windows 10, for whatever MS app and service wants to do that. There are more options available to Windows 7 owners, to ensure that there won't be any automatic updates while they're playing their games, and Windows 7 doesn't cloud-share OS updates to other Windows owners, which Windows 10 does, unless a person disables it.
     
    Windows 7 doesn't have directX 12, but it does have Vulkan, which accomplishes the same low-level hardware communication that improves application performance, and Windows 7 in Vulkan is just as good as Windows 10 in DX12. I think that Vulkan is more likely to become the industry standard than DX12, as it is available for all Windows, Linux, and more, OSes, whereas DX12 is only available in Windows 10. As Valve has expressed, there doesn't seem to be much point in making a game DX12, when making it Vulkan will make it accessible cross-platform.

     

    Also, there doesn't currently seem to be any benefit for Nvidia cards in DX12, with Nvidia GPUs typically losing performance when running DX12 modes, compared to their performances while in DX11 mode. Because of this, and because of Vulkan's availability on previous Windows OSes, I think that Windows 10's DX12 has nothing to offer Nvidia GPU owners.
     
    Windows 10 has a lot of problems right now, and Microsoft, with their new QA strategy (having laid off most of their testing engineers), has, so far, been unable to stay on top of them. I would avoid Windows 10 just for that reason. But there are other issues with Windows 10 that make it not the most sound OS for gaming, whatever a person is looking to do with it.

     

     

     

    The modern Microsoft factor:

     

    In the last 3 years, Microsoft has fired around 20,000 employees (many of whom were testing engineers), has changed management, has rearranged internal development and testing structures, has completely shifted business strategies away from software-first to monetization-first, and as a result, is no longer capable of quality product design, or of producing competent software releases. As ridiculous as things seemed to be under Ballmer, Microsoft is a not the same company today, for the worse, and Windows is not the same product anymore, also for the worse. The new Microsoft didn't design and develop the Windows IP, and has simply inherited the Windows IP, and is now just looking for how they can exploit and prostitute every cranny of it. It's just like when a pharmaceutical company buys the rights for a drug that they didn't research or develop, and then jacks the price up by 5000%. Or, it's like when a big publisher buys a developer of a popular game, and turns their game into a dumbed-down, overly-generic version of its previous form.

     

    Currently, Windows 10 is probably the most buggy OS Microsoft has released since Windows ME, and each new major Win 10 update brings as many new bugs as it fixes. I think that Windows 10 simply is not a professional OS. It's like an indie-dev's prototype that never solidifies into anything great, but just morphs from one bloated and troubled presentation to another. Also, Win 10 is littered with "bugs" that are intentional, to keep people using MS services - things like issues with changing default apps away from MS ones. If a program starts doing that on a person's PC, it's called malware. And it's not different when Microsoft does it, through Windows. I think that it is fair to classify Windows 10 as malware, especially since it installed itself on so many PC systems without permission. And malware to be cleaned from a system. 

     

    I think that Windows 10 is not a professional OS, and many businesses agree, and see Windows 10 as a debacle to be avoided, with nothing to be gained over previous versions of Windows, but rather the liabilities of it being a perpetual beta OS, filled with a bunch of consumer crapware and half-baked phone/mobile apps that have no business on a PC. The redesign of Microsoft QA has led to the current situation where accepting Windows updates can actually be more of a liability than not updating Windows:

     

    http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/08/kindle-crashes-and-broken-powershell-something-isnt-right-with-windows-10-testing/

    http://www.infoworld.com/article/3107306/microsoft-windows/microsoft-admits-to-distributing-windows-printing-bugs-in-kb-3177725-and-kb-3176493.html

    https://redmondmag.com/articles/2016/06/16/june-patch-breaks-group-policy-settings.aspx

    http://windowsreport.com/partition-disappears-windows-10-anniversary-update/

    http://superuser.com/questions/1022063/windows-10-default-programs-keep-changing

    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/16-windows-10-anniversary-update-issues-fix/

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2016/08/15/microsoft-warns-windows-10-anniversary-update-crashes-problems/

    http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/717115/Windows-10-Anniversary-Update-Install-Problems-Fail

    https://www.thurrott.com/windows/windows-10/76719/microsoft-broken-millions-webcams-windows-10-anniversary-update

     

     

    Here's an article looking at what some of the changes have been to Microsoft's style of testing. With Microsoft having halved the number of OS testing engineers, there are bound to be differences between traditional Windows QA and modern Windows QA results: Why did Microsoft lay off 'Programmatic testers'?

     

    Windows today is not the Windows we are familiar with, and Microsoft today is not the Microsoft we are familiar with. I think that both of those things, in their modern forms, are shit.

     

    And, in both my opinion, and experience with using Windows 10 since its release, using Windows 10 is sort of like walking through a minefield, in that you never know when something is going to screw something up, or even everything up, but you know that there are issues lying in wait to go off, all over the place. And every so often, sometimes frequently, something happens to create frustration, and requires work, sometimes a lot of work, to get sorted out.

     

     

     

    My conclusion:

     

    Windows 10 is a hyper-invasive, user-fighting, buggy, perpetual beta/demo version of Windows, that is ad-supported, and which is a constant chore and headache to keep set up, and to get it to do what a user wants it to.

    On the other hand, Windows 7, at least up until June / July 2015, behaves like it is the full version of Windows, which just works, obeys the user, and doesn't collect a user's data for resale to make MS money, and doesn't try to trick the user at every turn, or even at all.

     

    In my view, Windows 10 is a snake-oil OS, and many people are merely caught up in a sentiment they have of Windows 10 being new and the future, and they just want to ride that fluffy feeling while shutting down their minds completely.

    Meanwhile, the I find reality to be that Windows 10 has less useful functionality than Windows 7, is a lot less stable and reliable than Windows 7, is less user-friendly than Windows 7, offers a PC admin less control than Windows 7, is more invasive than Windows 7, has in-OS ads which Windows 7 doesn't, has an excess of bloatware pre-installed while Windows 7 doesn't, and constantly resets customised file-associations to force people into using MS applications, which Windows 7 doesn't do.

  4. So hi peeps. I'm back, who's back, this guy he's back. Aw yeah!

    Been on some form of hiatus but I do wanna finish my upcoming design & start working on physical building my tower case from scratch hopefully this year. Still thinking & re-thinking important stuff and things that'll be totally custom as prototypes which can eventually become a working product. #Crossyourfingers

    Haven't made any updates because I'm just busy & need to find myself a job soon.

  5. SSL's Blog

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    Introduction

    Audio interference (as defined below under "Symptoms") is a defect in a system due to hardware, software or firmware problems. It is not an inevitable consequence of using an integrated audio codec or sound card.

     

    Purchase of a sound card or external DAC is not necessary to fix this issue in most cases.

     

    STEP 1: Sanity Check (START HERE FIRST)

    Before diving into an exhaustive troubleshooting process, do some basic pre-checks:

    • Ensure that audio connectors are inserted into the correct jack (headphones in headphone jack, speakers in line-out)
    • Ensure that audio connectors have the right wiring for the given jack (e.g. 3-pin plug to 3-pin jack, 4-pin to 4-pin, etc)
    • Ensure audio connectors are fully and firmly inserted into audio jacks
    • Ensure that software or drivers are properly configured (headphone mode for headphones, speaker mode for speakers)

    IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure that your system supports the type of device you are using. If you are using headphones, make sure that your audio source supports headphones and is CONFIGURED to support headphones. A "tinny" sound may mean that you are trying to use headphones while your audio is in speaker mode.

     

    Symptoms

    Audio interference manifests as any of the following sounds coming through speakers, headphones, or other audio recording and playback equipment. Coil whine coming directly from a power supply, GPU, or motherboard capacitor is not audio interference, although it may be related.

    • Continuous static, clicks, crackles, or pops; Rice Crispy sounds
    • Static or buzzing when moving the mouse, typing on the keyboard, or accessing physical drives
    • Static, buzzing, or crackling when in a game or during other heavy 3D workloads
    • Continuous hum or buzz around 60Hz and/or its harmonics
    • Intermittent buzzing that may follow a regular pattern

    Possible Causes

    The canned solution to audio interference is to get an external DAC or soundcard. This advice frequently results in needless expenditure and may not even address the underlying problem.

     

    Spoiler
    • Ground loop: A problem where there is more than one path to ground, with differing potential between the two grounds. This usually causes a continuous, audible hum or buzz around 60Hz or its harmonics.
    • SLI or Crossfire: Multi-GPU setups may cause various issues with audio processing.
    • Overclocking: Overclocks to the CPU, GPU, system RAM, or other components.
    • UEFI/BIOS: Out-of-date motherboard BIOS may degrade PCI performance or promote instability.
    • Drivers: Out-of-date drivers for audio or other components may cause high latency and degraded performance.
    • Software: Extraneous bloatware, particularly those that are audio-related, may reduce performance. Applications that run with a "realtime" priority may also be at fault.
    • Power management: OS and BIOS settings designed to save energy such as C1E and EIST.
    • Improper grounding: A (very) low quality power supply without proper ground connection or a motherboard not properly seated against the I/O plate may rob the system of a proper path to ground. Older AC wall outlets may also lack a true ground.
    • Electrical short: Improper electrical contact between components may cause various problems; an out of place motherboard standoff or contact between add-on cards are possible culprits.
    • Internal cabling: Poor quality power supply cables, GPU power splitters, extensions, and poor cable combinations/placement may contribute to power fluctuations and EMI. Low quality cables and adapters are a fire hazard.
    • External cabling: Data or analog audio cables running close or parallel to power cables, or any cable - whether data, audio, or AC - that lacks proper shielding/filtering may render the audio chain vulnerable to external RFI and EMI interference.
    • Electrical wiring: Improper wiring of AC wall sockets or lack of ground may cause issue with power delivery and proper grounding of components.
    • Network over AC (Powerline): Powerline networking causes massive amounts of RFI in the surrounding environment and may cause audible interference in sufficiently sensitive audio gear.
    • Component proximity: Placing sensitive audio equipment close to sources of EMI or RFI may introduce audio interference to the signal chain. These sources may include but are not limited to mobile phones, wireless access points, graphics cards, power transformers, and radio transmitters/transceivers.

     

    STEP 2: Diagnostic Process

    As audio interference may be caused by an enormous range of problems, the purpose of diagnostics is to narrow down the proximate cause in as systematic fashion as possible. At this point do not directly attempt to solve the problem.

    • Perform each check in the following list. If the audio interference issue goes away, you have likely identified the cause. In some cases, no further steps may be required.
    • If the troubleshooting step fixes the issue but is not practical for normal use (such as booting in Windows Safe Mode or disabling an overclock), consult the corresponding Solutions and Workarounds section below.

    FIRST STEPS:

    1. Test different headphones/speakers on the system AND test the same headphones/speakers on a different system
      • This will determine if the problem is related to your system or your headphones/speakers
    2. Test all audio jacks/USB ports, both on the case and on the rear motherboard IO panel
      • A jack or port may be bad
    3. Reduce system master volume and/or game master volume from 100% to 75-80%
      • For microphones: reduce volume and turn down gain/boost if available
    4. Disable all audio effects in the Windows Sound and Audio Devices Properties
      • Audio effects in the Windows mixer reduce quality and can cause interference

    Check for Driver and Software Issues:

    • Try different settings in the audio drivers control panel or system audio settings
      • Ensure that if you are using headphones that your audio is in headphone mode
      • Ensure that if your audio settings have an impedance or gain setting that it is not too high or too low
    • Boot Windows in Safe Mode; if the interference stops it is likely caused by a driver
      • On Windows 7, 8, or 10, install LatencyMon to determine the responsible driver
      • On Windows XP or Vista, install DPC Latency Checker. You will need to systematically disable devices in hardware manager to narrow down the cause.
    • Disable unused audio devices in the Windows Device Manager
    • Check Task Manager for resource hogs and real-time priority processes
    • Perform a full virus scan

    Check for Power Management Issues:

    • Disable C1E (Enhanced halt state) and EIST (Intel SpeedStep) in BIOS
    • Set Windows Power Plan to Power Saver or High Performance
    • Disable all overclocks (CPU, GPU, RAM, etc)

    Check for Hardware Issues:

    • Disable unused/non-essential motherboard components at the BIOS level, such as NICs or RAID/SATA controllers
    • Disconnect ALL non-audio peripherals (including mouse, keyboard, and display)
    • Disconnect front audio header and use motherboard rear-panel or sound card; if you are already using rear-panel audio, try front-panel instead
    • Remove discrete graphics cards
    • Remove discrete soundcard

    Check for Electrical Shorts and Grounding Issues:

    • Remove case side panels; check for unwanted electrical contact between components such as wires and electrical contacts
    • Disconnect front audio header
    • Verify that the motherboard is firmly secured. Standoffs and screws should be firm. Ensure the motherboard is firmly seated in the IO plate, and that the IO plate is firmly seated in the case.
    • Verify that the power supply is properly secured in the case and that it is connected to a grounded (3-prong) outlet

    Check for Wireless Interference:

    • Relocate possible sources of EMI/RFI interference away from the computer and audio equipment (wireless access points, wireless peripherals, mobile phones, microwave ovens, etc)
    • Unplug other appliances that may be source of interference over AC power
      • This includes but is not limited to: household appliances, dimmer light switches, and other computers
    • Connect the system a different AC wall socket, preferably on a different circuit breaker

    Check External Cabling:

    • Try switching out audio signal or data transmission cables for working spares
    • If experiencing interference in only one channel of a multi-channel system, swap the channel cables
    • Move AC power cables as far away as possible from audio and digital cables, and eliminate parallel runs where possible
    • Swap compatible AC power cables or switch them out for a working spare

    Check Electrical Wiring:

    • Obtain and use an AC wall socket tester (usually available for less than $10); if issues are found, try a different outlet or re-wire
      • If you do not have a socket tester, try plugging your system into another outlet, preferably a kitchen or bathroom GFCI outlet, which are generally required to be grounded by code

    STEP 3: Solutions and Workarounds

    Audio Settings:

    • Disable microphone gain or effects in the Windows Sound and Audio Devices Properties
    • Test different sampling rates in the Windows Sound and Audio Devices Properties; for example 16 vs 24 bit, 44.1kHz vs 192kHz.

    Audio Device Conflict:

    • Disable unused audio devices in the Windows Sound and Audio Devices Properties OR Windows Device Manager
      This includes the HDMI audio output included on many GPUs
    • Disable unused recording devices in the Windows Sound and Audio Devices Properties OR Windows Device Manager

    Peripherals:

    • Try peripherals in different USB ports

    Add-on Cards:

    • Move add-on cards, including GPU, and ensure they are properly seated
    • Re-seat auxiliary power cables
    • Use different power harness combinations if available from power supply
    • Ensure that motherboard and IO plate are properly seated (grounded)
    • Disable SLI and remove one card; re-boot and re-enable SLI

    Software:

    • Disable unnecessary startup programs and services, especially those that are audio-related
      Exercise caution; some startup items might be essential to the proper function of your computer

    Drivers/BIOS:

    Flashing the BIOS or changing the CMOS can cause the memory and PCI performance to improve. Occasionally, this can cause performance to degrade. For more information about specific versions or for information about updates, please contact your motherboard manufacturer.

    • Download and install latest audio drivers from motherboard manufacturer website
      You may need to use a beta driver or even downgrade in some situations
    • Download and install latest graphics drivers from GPU manufacturer website
      You may need to use a beta driver or even downgrade in some situations
    • Remove and reinstall default Windows audio drivers (uninstall device and scan for hardware changes in Windows Device Manager)
    • Update other device drivers from motherboard manufacturer website
      For unused devices (SATA controllers, etc): Uninstall driver and disable device in BIOS or Windows Device Manager
    • Update motherboard BIOS using latest downlaod from motherboard manufacturer website (use caution)
    • Ensure that SATA devices are not conflicting with PCI memory resources. Changing to a different controller may help.

    Internal Cabling:

    • Re-route AND/OR add shielding to the front audio header cable
    • Try different power harness combinations from the power supply: for example, if using two PCIe power cables for a GPU, try a single cable with a splitter (if available)

    External Cabling:

    Electrical Wiring/Ground Loop:

    Sources and References

  6. SSL
    Latest Entry

    Work-in-progress compilation of known good value speakers. This list will mostly be limited to two-channel bookshelf type speakers under $500.

     

    Active Speakers

    Speakers that have a built-in amplifier, and sometimes DAC.

    • Behringer Truth B2031A
    • JBL LSR 305
    • Micaa PB42X
    • Vanatoo Transparent One

    Passive Speakers

    Speakers that require an external amplifier.

    • Micca MB42X
    • Philharmonic Audio The New Affordable Accurate Monitor

    Shit

    Due to sound quality, value, or both.

    • AudioEngine
    • Logitech (except z2300)
    • Fluance SX6
    • Mackie CR3
    • Monoprice 6.5" Two-Way
  7. While you might have thought that I abandoned this place, I haven't, it's just that the part prices are getting higher and higher on a pretty much weekly basis, and some components, such as GPUs and RAM, are shooting up in price due to limited stock and overall shortage

     

    But no worries, I can still make pretty good budget builds for light to moderate gaming.

     

    I'm going to do a little twist, I'm going to give nicknames to builds, not just "Budget build" or "Content creation monster".

     

    250$ "Spectator"

    Spoiler

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU:  Integrated with Motherboard
    Motherboard: ASRock - J3710-ITX Mini ITX Pentium J3710 Motherboard  ($95.98 @ Newegg) 
    Memory: Mushkin - Essentials 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1333 Memory  ($44.99 @ Newegg) 
    Storage: Western Digital - Caviar Green 500GB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($26.99 @ Amazon) 
    Video Card: Zotac - GeForce GT 710 1GB PCIE x1 Video Card  ($40.45 @ Amazon) 
    Case: Rosewill - R363-M-BK MicroATX Mid Tower Case w/400W Power Supply  ($44.99 @ Amazon) 
    Total: $253.40
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2017-08-07 04:53 EDT-0400

     

    400$ "Whistler"

    Spoiler

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: AMD - Athlon X4 845 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor  ($54.88 @ OutletPC) 
    Motherboard: Asus - A68HM-E Micro ATX FM2+ Motherboard  ($40.89 @ OutletPC) 
    Memory: Team - Vulcan 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory  ($51.99 @ Newegg) 
    Storage: Corsair - Force LS 60GB 2.5" Solid State Drive  ($46.99 @ Amazon) 
    Storage: Toshiba - P300 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($42.49 @ Amazon) 
    Video Card: PowerColor - Radeon RX 560 2GB Red Dragon OC V3 Video Card  ($93.98 @ Newegg) 
    Case: DIYPC - MA08-BK MicroATX Mini Tower Case  ($31.98 @ Newegg) 
    Power Supply: EVGA - 430W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply  ($34.88 @ OutletPC) 
    Total: $398.08
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2017-08-07 05:02 EDT-0400

     

    650$ "Maltese"

    Spoiler

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 1400 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor  ($156.88 @ OutletPC) 
    Motherboard: ASRock - AB350M Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard  ($59.99 @ Newegg) 
    Memory: Crucial - 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR4-2133 Memory  ($59.85 @ Amazon) 
    Storage: Western Digital - Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($59.88 @ OutletPC) 
    Video Card: Zotac - GeForce GTX 1060 6GB 6GB Mini Video Card  ($264.99 @ SuperBiiz) 
    Case: Rosewill - FBM-X1 MicroATX Mini Tower Case  ($26.99 @ Amazon) 
    Power Supply: Corsair - CX (2017) 450W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply  ($23.98 @ Newegg) 
    Total: $652.56
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2017-08-07 07:45 EDT-0400

     

    1000$ "Zeus"

    Spoiler

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel - Core i5-6600K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor  ($219.29 @ OutletPC) 
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master - MasterLiquid Lite 120 66.7 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler  ($39.99 @ Amazon) 
    Motherboard: ASRock - Z170 Pro4S ATX LGA1151 Motherboard  ($77.98 @ Newegg) 
    Memory: Team - Elite Plus 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR4-2133 Memory  ($60.99 @ Newegg) 
    Storage: Team - L5 LITE 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive  ($50.98 @ Newegg) 
    Storage: Western Digital - AV-GP 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($59.99 @ Amazon) 
    Video Card: Asus - GeForce GTX 1070 8GB Video Card  ($399.99 @ Newegg) 
    Case: Corsair - 100R ATX Mid Tower Case  ($42.98 @ Newegg) 
    Power Supply: EVGA - SuperNOVA G2 550W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply  ($72.98 @ Newegg) 
    Total: $1025.17
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2017-08-07 07:41 EDT-0400

     

    Thanks for viewing this and I hope you'll have fun time with these builds!

    Comment for any suggestions on optimizing these builds!

  8. I needed a new case that was somewhat portable (the P3 was not fun to carry around) because I recently sold my laptop. I settled on the 400C and it is gorgeous. Review coming soon.

    20170809_214056.thumb.jpg.9f26dacf21bcf6bdd7aa5da4ff7ae38d.jpg

  9. I'm a bit late but I have been studying a lot in my spare time in order to meet my schedule, so please forgive me for my lateness. Anyways.........!

     

    Now the book I am using to study this with has a "skip" section on the handwriting section if your aim is to just read/speak it, but if you wish to persist through this too, I've taken some sample shots of the pages' instructions. If you need clearer images, I went ahead and googled some more references for you that you can get to by clicking the title of the Spoiler Tag. All of the Handwriting section will be under a spoiler, since by itself it is huge and because it is skippable.
     

    ~Russian Handwriting~

    Spoiler

    umYjgxa.png

    r6nVsAz.png

    SHNHxb1.png

    lmH4Jt5.png

    1fs1vug.png

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Yup. That's the end of that. Feel free to practice it!

     

     

    More on Russian Pronunciation: Stress

     

    Just like in English (or many other languages) some syllables in Russian are pronounced more prominently than others. In English, for example, consider the differences of "Phótograph" and "Photógraphy". If you don't know the differences of the words, pronounce each carefully. Notice how in "Phótograph" you put more emphasis on the first syllable? And in the second word "Photógraphy" the stress is marked on the second syllable. Stress in Linguistics is signaled by an increased loudness, vowel length, full articulation of a vowel, and changes in pitch. If you need more information on syllables and stress, please consider looking into the links I have provided at the bottom of this entry under "Resources".

     

    Continuing on: In Russian, normal writing does not mark stress visually, just like in English, so it is important to learn the stress of words or the general stress rule. Be careful though with stress in words and most definitely names, since the traditional English pronunciation is often never matches the Russian. For example, English speakers tend to put stress on "влади́мир" (Vladimir) in the first syllable like so "Vládimir", but in Russian stress is always placed on the second syllable, like so "[Vla-de’е-meer]".

     

    Here are some more examples:

     

    • The writer Pasternak is "Пастерна́к" (not Pа́sternak)
    • Nabokov is "Набо́ков " (not Nа́bokov)
    • Oblomov (a man in Goncharо́v's famous novel) is "Обло́мов" (not О́blomov)

     

    Stress in Russian is heavier than it is in English and much harder to predict which syllable is going to get lucky and get marked for stress. Sometimes you will find that different forms of the same word will have different stresses. For example, in Russian hand "Рука́" and  hands "Ру́ки" have two completely different stresses. The first "Рука́" has stress on the end and the second word "Ру́ки" has stress on the first. It is one of the many reasons why you should learn the stress of words you are learning/know of...otherwise, if you do not know the stress, the safest method to proceed is to read it without stress at all, syllable by syllable.

     

    Next we delve into a bit more of the Linguistics of the language itself. If your goal is to just be understood, feel free to skip this. But if you are like me, you want to know how things work and why. If you are, the following six points will show you the small differences between Moscow Russian is written and the way it is pronounced.

     

    Softness;

     

    Many call it the indication of a good Russian accent and from what I have heard and dealt with, I'd agree with them. I learned more about what this is actually called (and generally more about it) from a friend (@aalsuvorov) who has been willing to educate me further in Russian. What it is is the correct pronunciation of soft consonants and you might be wondering what "soft consonants" are. Well,  "soft" means the consonant is pronounced with a simultaneous y sound. You can tell if a consonant is soft if it is followed by any of these letters/sounds:

    е ё и ю я or the soft sign "Ь".

     

    The main thing you must remember to do is pronounce the y sound with the consonant before it. Many people end up pronouncing the two separately instead of simultaneously. For example the word "сове́т" ('council') is pronounced [s-a-vy-е́-t] — that's five sounds. The vy (soft в) is not two sounds, but one! In English, we say it "s-o-v-i-e-t", six, instead of five sounds!

     

    Hard Consonants vs Soft Consonants;

     

    'Hard' consonants are pronounced just like in English, without the simultaneous y sound like in soft consonants. Earlier, in "", we learned there are twenty consonants. Of them, with the exception of "" and "", are all hard consonants. "" and "" are always soft! Of the other eighteen, fifteen of them will tell you if they are to be pronounced soft, as they will always be marked with any of "е ё и ю я" or the soft sign shown above. For example, "Л" [l] is hard but "Ль" [ly] is soft! That is to say, in Russian "[l]" and "[ly]" are two different sounds, but to many English speakers they probably just think it is a variant (allophone) of [l].

     

    For example, compare the [l] in "people" to the [l] in "leaf". Do you hear the difference (different dialects might make this hard though)? The [l] in "people"  is like "Л" (hard) while the [l] in "leaf" is like "Ль" (soft). Do you notice the differences? Here are some more examples of hard and soft consonants in Russian:

     

    • Мйло [meela] 'nice' - hard л
    • Мйля [meelya] 'mile' - soft ль
    • Лук [look] 'onion' - hard l
    • Люк [lyook] 'hatch' - [ly] is soft
    • Мат [mat] 'bad language', 'abuse'  - hard т
    • Мать [maty] 'mother' - soft ть
    • Мать [maty] 'mother' - hard М
    • Мять [myaty] 'to crumple' - soft [my]

     

    Before И the [y] element is less audible but please be aware that regardless the consonant is still soft.

     

    • Бить [beety] 'to beat' - soft Б

     

    However, if the 'Б' was hard, the vowel would not be и but ы. For example:

     

    • Быть [bity] 'to be' - hard Б

     

    Consonants that are always hard: Ж Ц Ш

     

    Even though the letters е ё и ю я ь mark the preceding consonant soft, there are exceptions...like most languages. Thankfully not as much as French, though. They are the following: Ж Ц Ш. These letters are always—always—pronounced hard (no [y] sound!), no matter the following letter. Like the word Жена́ 'wife' is pronounced [zhe-nа́] —the [y] of the letter e [ye] simply disappears.And in Жёны 'wives' is pronounced as if it were written like Жо́ны [zhо́-ni]. Ты зна́ешь 'you know' is actually pronounced as if it were written like Ты зна́еш [znа́-yesh]. The soft sign has no effect and has become historical in usage only.

     

    Oh, and before I forget to add it...after the letters 'Ж', 'Ц' and 'Ш' you should hear the vowel и [ee] pronounced as if it were actually ы [ i ]. As so:

     

    • Жить [zhity] 'to live'
    • Цирк [tsirk] 'circus'

     

     

    Next time on Learning Russian! (lol) we learn about voiced and unvoiced consonants! How fun! Stick around and just remember...practice makes perfect! Or so they say... :ph34r:

     

     

  10. So the first phone I ever got was when I was about 12, it was a Samsung Intensity, and my god was this phone awesome. It's slide out keyboard made it so I could text like a freak and the battery would easily last 2 days if I forgot to charge overnight it as I often did. To go with it was my first plan. Originally my mom was going to go with a texting based plan that came with 100 texts and 30 or so minutes but I convinced my mom to spend a few more bucks to get the unlimited texting plan. Boy was she happy when she got my first bill. Within a month I had managed to send more than 1,500 text messages. Oh yea, and I had some (at the time) cool looking skin for the phone that fell off as the months went on.

    The next phone that I got was the Xperia Play. I was able to get this around 2 years after using my Intensity because of my moms Twitter popularity. Rogers contacted my mom and said that they would give my mom, my brother, and myself, any phone of our choice for free. They gave us a list of a few phones and we took our picks. My brother, being more tech savvy than me at the time chose the Samsung Galaxy S2, my mom picked some random Windows phone, and I picked the Xperia Play. I picked it because I was 13 and addicted to stupid little mobile games. We got the phones and I was immediately hooked on all the silly Sony Play games. I used the phone pretty aggressively until the day it died. I was at my step-cousins cottage and we were going from inside to the outdoor hot tub. I slipped the Play into the pocket of my swimsuit (which I was wearing basically 24/7 at that point) and walked outside. Without thinking at all, I ran into the hot tub and sat in it for a matter of about 30 seconds until I realized my mistake. I yanked it out of my pocket and ran inside to drain it out. Due to the fact that I have an Asian step family we had lots of rice on hand. We tossed the phone into a bag of rice and left it there overnight. I came back to it the next day expecting this magical trick to work but came back disappointed. It was dead.

    Following my Play's death, I went back to the phone that my brother had been using from the free Rogers deal, the Galaxy S2. This phone was amazing. It was my first real android phone and It was able to survive just about anything (given that it did have an Otterbox Commuter case) This phone was my introduction into the tech and app world. In my year or so of using this phone, it must have survived hundreds of drops. From everything to rivers, concrete floors, stairs, and if i'm honest, some on purpose drops (to demonstrate its toughness of course). I can't remember anytime that this phone failed me and it always seemed to have enough juice to just barely make it through the day. The day it left my hands was a sad day but also a good day because I got it's successor!

    I got the S3 (and sold my S2) around late 2013 when my brother jumped on the Nexus 5. This phone was like those Russian dolls that split open only to reveal another doll. It kept giving and giving. It could run anything I really needed, had a massive screen compared to what In was used to and my god did it look good. I treated this phone like it was my kid until I metaphorically dropped my kid on his head. It was around Mid-April 2014 and I was in my weight-lifting class using it to listen to music. I went to do a bench press that my friend was kidding around about and told me to do. I knew that I wasn't going to be able to do more than one but I gave it my best shot anyway. I set my phone off to the side a little bit and proceeded to try the press I did it once until my arms gave up and I dropped the 50lb weights off to the side. "YO YO WATCH OUT YOU ALMOST HIT YOUR PHONE." I turned to them wide eyed and picked up the phone. Goodbye sweet love. The weight had landed on the backside of the phone and right on the bottom corner. It smashed the screen but the phones internals were fine. They thought I was kidding when I said it was dead. I was not. The class was over and I walked calmly the locker to get changed. I wasn't as upset as I was expecting to be considering that I had just killed a fairly relevant phone. I went home following the end of school and told my parents about my phones death.

    After losing most of my parents trust with technology, they gave me the phone that we had lying around for a few years. My brothers old Xperia Arc. This phone was my brothers before we had gotten the free ones. It felt like a dinosaur to me coming from the Galaxy S3. It can't run even the simplest of apps without lagging out and sometimes just outright crashing. If all goes as planned, I will not have this piece of junk for much longer. Thanks to the gods at OnePlus, once the Black 64gb version of the One is released I will be fighting until the last breath to get an invite and buy it.

    Here's pictures of all the phones I have used in order of owning/using and in the colour I had them in:

    Samsung Intensity

    Verizon-Samsung-Intensity-SCH-U450-Messaging-Phone-Flamingo-Red.jpg

    Xperia Play

    XperiaPlay.png

    Samsung Galaxy S2

    samsung-galaxy-s2-sii-skyrocket-hd-sgh-i757-lte_MCO-F-2794349136_062012.jpg

    Samsung Galaxy S3

    pebble-blue-samsung-galaxy-s-iii.jpg

    Xperia Arc (Current)

    Sony-Xperia-Arc-1.jpg

    Future Oneplus ONE

    oneplus-one-schwarz.jpg

    Thanks for reading!

  11. blog-0691779001449344123.jpg

    A new entry, been some time... lot of changes in my life. Most of you have probably noticed my activity on the Forum has dropped off a lot over the past while. Not nearly as involved in the Folding section as I want to be. I really need to thank @tobben and @Imakuni for all their help in supporting the folding team and users on the forum.

     

    This past fall my wife and I separated. It was something coming for a long time. I am doing much better now. But of course had to scramble, lot of changes and my life has been pretty busy sorting all that out.

     

    I now have my own place and getting settled in, adjusting to the new normal. :)

     

    Starting all the folding systems back up, and helps I don't pay for power now. Right now I have 5 GPU's folding away. I would like to get more, I have tons of spare parts, just no spare GPU's. If anyone wants to make a GPU donation, I will accept. :D All Titan cards welcome. lol

     

    Have also spent time consolidating a lot of systems as room is a premium now. Ungraded my unRaid server to the latest version and have taken advantage of Dockers and VM functionality. With 3 Dockers and 2 VM's running I was able to eliminate 6 systems I had going and make better use of the unRaid hardware, so a win-win situation.

     

    Looking forward to getting more Folding going and living life. :)

     

    The unRaid server was upgraded with a MSI Xpower motherboard, a 4790K and 16GB of ram to handle all the load. Also swapped out the Antec 1200 case as it didn't support XL-ATX and got myself a CM Storm Stryker. Must say, very nice case.

    Then I upgraded my main rig with the new Thermaltake Core X2 and a bunch more radiator space to handle both 780's folding full time and not need to run the fans at a god awful speed.

     

    Need to swap one of the GPU folding systems into a new case today with better airflow, cards are overheating.

     

    Well, that's all for now kiddies... Happy Whaling!

  12. blog-0304887001430352682.gifMinor disclaimer: This is a continuation of other blog posts. This is also not tech related whatsoever. It's more personal than anything, but I might as well continue to update you guys on where I stand.

    Just a quick, unprofessional post which I am indeed, for the second time, reference my initial blog post of ambitions I made over a year ago.

    Things are working out for the better...slowly, but surely, hence the title of this post. My current goal is to play at Stanford University via full ride football scholarship and while that seems extremely far fetched, I plan on making it happen. So far many coaches have contacted personally and I've met one in person (hopefully I'll meet a few more these upcoming weeks through spring football), and right now, things are looking good. Not spectacular or even great, but good, and well...I can't complain much.

    Regardless of my current situation, the power of the offer (basically, the school offers the student athlete a potential spot on the team without any pay of tuition) is unbelievable. I just need 1. One measly one to keep my hopes and keep on trugging, and honestly, when one comes, several more come because exposure hits that newly offered player like a joyous plague.

    Anyway, school is ending on May 21 and I'm praying to God that I will get something from someone before then. Welp, I guess I'll end this off with one of my favorite pump songs ever:

    That's it for now guys.

    Question of the Day: What goal are you guys working for currently?

    -ONOTech

  13. This is the review of the Shure SE215, not to be confused with the SE215LTD which is a variant of the SE215 introduced at a later date.

    At first

    Coming from basically using <$40 earphones i did not know what to expect from this. I was utterly disappointed in the how the earphones fit in my ears and how lackluster they sound, i really thought that the sounds quality would have dramatically changed after switching from low grade entry tier audio products. Low bass response, confused mid and highs.

    Which leads to the next point, after a period of 5 months, i learnt how to use the included foam and silicon tips properly to obtain a great seal, the included silicon tips provided provide a balanced sound and as i would like to rate it 7/10 in terms of noise isolation and with the included foam tips, 9/10 in terms of noise isolation. (Medium sized comply eartips are 8.5/10)

     

    After my stock cable was damaged with the right side being faulty, i replaced the stock cable with the FiiO RC-SE1 replacement cables.

    I found these to be more detailed and less warm in terms of audio quality than the stock cables, with slight but noticeable treble boosts probably because of a higher Silver content in the SPC(Silver plated copper) wires.

    However, the micro-phonics on this particular cable are downright atrocious. If the stock cables would have 7/10 in terms of micro-phonics, these new replacement cables would have gotten a 1/10.

    I straight up discourage anyone who gets annoyed easily when music is not playing and the cables rubs with each other. Otherwise, when playing music the micro-phonics can barely be heard and the cable is of great quality and certain to last for a long time.

     

    I am going to try out the ATH E40s in a few weeks time and maybe i can provide a comparison of that when i get myself on them :D.

  14.  

    It is generally accepted that macOS is immune to viruses and malware. In general, this is true, because, for the entire history of the operating system, viruses written for it can be counted on the fingers.

     

    I want to understand why this is happening and what to do in order not to get infected with those rare instances of malware.

     

     Among my acquaintances who use Mac device, there is no a single person who has an antivirus or someone who would say that he got a malicious code or any virus. There are several reasons for this. Of course, one can argue that macOS X is a Unix-like operating system and, therefore, it is invulnerable. We reject this primitive thought since there are some viruses for macOS, which means that the system, like any other, is vulnerable.

     

    The main reason why there are so few viruses written for Mac is that there are very few Mac devices themselves. If we compare the number of Windows personal computers and Macs that exist today in the world, it turns out that the Mac devices make only 7%. Attackers who want to steal credit card numbers are more likely to be interested in the audience of Windows PC users because of their large number.

     

    Some say that to protect your Mac from the hypothetical possibility of installing malicious software, you need to install an antivirus. This is the most logical solution, according to most users.

     

    Here is the list of viruses that I found information about:

     

    1982: Elk Cloner

    1987: nVIR

    1990: MDEF

    1995-1996: Concept / Laroux

    1998: SevenDust 666 / AutoStart 9805

    2004 and 2006: Renepo / Leap-A

    2007: RSPlug-A

    2009: iWorkS-A Trojan

    2011: MacDefender

    2012: Flashback / SabPub

     

    What we have here: only 10 malicious programs. In my opinion, only MacDefender represented a real threat to users of macOS - stealing credit card numbers. As you understand, security updates have already come out for these viruses, and they do not represent threats.

    Let's return to antiviruses. What do you think, given the information written above, how often do you need to update the antivirus database for Mac? The answer is once a year or less.

     

    Antivirus software for macOS is more harmful than useful. There is convincing evidence that Kaspersky AntiVirus very actively collects information about the user and sends it to its servers. There is information that computers with Kaspersky AntiVirus can participate in DDoS-attacks at the discretion of the developer of this antivirus. It's worth thinking about whether you need a Trojan program and also pay for it.

     

    You still have to be careful not to get malware on your Mac device. Some malicious software tools like Safe Finder may also collect your data or show unwanted ads.

  15. So I got a PowerBook G4. Yay! Only problem is, Mac OS X 10.5.8 is just borderline useful in 2016, especially on a PowerPC machine with 512MB RAM. That, and I grew frustrated with the way how Mac OS X is designed. So, I decided to install Linux on it. Here's how things went down:
     

    • Downloaded Ubuntu MATE 15.10 PowerPC ISO
    • Wrote it to an 8GB flash drive using LiLi
    • Tried booting to it, it wouldn't boot
    • Tried using the Mini ISO instead
    • Mini ISO was missing a lot of things
    • When I finally got it working, it was missing a lot of kernel modules (among other things) and was incredibly slow, almost slower than Mac OS X was; it was also extremely prone to breaking
    • Finally figure out what I was doing wrong, used dd to write the ISO to the flash drive instead of LiLi and it booted
    • Installed Ubuntu graphically, after working around a bug I encountered early on in my adventure that causes Ubuntu to crash if I don't type "radeon.agpmode=-1" into the yaboot prompt when booting or yaboot.conf file
    • Using nano in a tty, I added "radeon.agpmode=-1" to yaboot.conf, updated the boot partition and rebooted to keep it from crashing
    • Couldn't get wireless working, still used Ethernet for internetting
    • Got sound working by editing the config files and alsamixer in a terminal
    • Still couldn't get wireless working, put in an 802.11g PC Card into the PCMCIA slot instead

     

    And now I have a more useful PowerBook G4. Runs much better than OS X did, too, and it'll run even better when I upgrade it to 2GB RAM. Maybe an SSD too... but getting to this point took so friggin' long and I'm glad it's over.

     

    JXA7T9e.png

  16. blog-0887478001417113428.jpgI'm lost, I don't know what to do! I've been friends with this girl for a few years and last week we went to the movies together, we were supposed to go with a group of friends but they didn't get their tickets in time so we went alone. For some reason I don't know something changed between us, on Monday it was as usual but as the rumors of us dating intensified I felt this weird tension between us. Then today I find out she likes me, and I am lost. I like her as a friend, she's one of my best friends but I don't think I like her in the sense that I want to be her boyfriend. I feel really shitty though, breaking her heart makes me feel like crap, I'm friendzoning her, and I hate it. I'm afraid that if it doesn't work out it destroys our friendship and I don't want that. I feel like crap. :(
  17. nvidia-logo.pngintel-inside-2013.pngamd-logo.png

     

    …is a pretty unique one. Let me explain.

     

    When I was a child, I would entertain myself with all sorts of PC games. My favourites were old ones – usually, they were W2K-compatible – including RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, Age of Empires I and II, Pharaoh/Cleopatra, Caesar III, and a few other ones I can’t remember. As I grew older, I started programming, and gradually outgrew video games; the more I learned about computers, the less interest I had in games.

     

    rct2.png

     

    Throughout all of this time, there was no such thing as a “gaming PC” to me. Never heard that in my life back then. I had a relative who built PCs, and I thought that was real cool when I was young, but I was still afraid of it all and unsure so I stayed away. By the time I became educated enough to build a PC, Haswell was the here-and-now, and my interest in gaming was almost out the window… almost. I knew what a GPU was and all, but I never had a need for one!

     

    pwenet-pcpp.png

     

    As the years waned on, I learned more and more about the Internet, and learned how to protect my identity and privacy OTI. I started using GNU/Linux more and more frequently, still only playing games on Windows on occasion. Finally, in 2014 I quit using Windows altogether, and with it my gaming habits took another deathly blow. As the dust settled, and as Broadwell hit the market (better late than never), ideas about what I really wanted out of my system began to form.

     

    intel.png

     

    Broadwell put a whole new light in my eyes, for what a good system running Linux could be. Because of the current state of affairs with dedicated GPU (dGPU) drivers being a deplorable mess on our operating system (see this image for details), and the fact that the only good drivers on Linux were Intel’s, I knew I had no choice but to choose Intel for my GPU needs. It was like a match made in heaven: with how little I played video games being sated by an Iris Pro iGPU, on top of having 128MiB of L4 cache plus an unlocked design and four hyperthreaded cores with VT-x and VT-d… it was all I could ask for.

     

    cpu.png

     

    …but sadly, Broadwell and I were not meant to be. The LGA 1150 platform was on its way out, along with DDR3 and the rest of the Haswell-era junk. I wanted something new, running fast DDR4 DIMMs with large capacities and good speeds, and I wanted a Skylake chip for sure. Skylake… it was such a pristine name to grace my ears. I had to have it. And so, piecing a build together over the course of a few months, I finally built Henen-nesw, a working tractor beam Skylake PC running a Core i3 with Intel HD graphics. Later on I was enticed by rumours of the next step in Intel’s lineup—Kaby Lake—having SKUs built like Broadwell but with all of the modern amenities that Skylake had. And at that point… I was set for Kaby Lake-S Iris Pro.

     

    skylake-die.jpg

     

    …Now, all this time I haven’t said one word about that NIC. Why? Well, I thought I’d save it for my loyal readers, who push through to the end! Mwahahaha! Thank you!

     

    So I’ve gone over how in love I am with Intel’s soon-to-be-released Kaby Lake Iris Pro graphics. We all know at this point that I simply have no use for Nvidia’s or AMD’s dGPUs at all on the mainstream. But I’ll tell you, while I won’t spend $250 on a dGPU, I will spend $250 on a network card.

     

    But why?

     

    Interestingly enough, Google Fiber (yes, fibre optics) is under construction right now in our metro! And I would love more than anything to get the best internet speeds and even greater speeds on my intranet, enjoying over 1 gigabyte per second locally, and 1 gigabit per second through the tubes. Google Fiber has even put our suburb specifically on the map, too! And considering our unique location for running cables, Google may cut us some slack and let us sign up just for that.


    One can only hope, right?

     

    …right?

     

    ;)

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    @Hackentosher Gave me another idea for a project. Designing a case. This would be awesome for learning CAD and to use sketchup. I also forgot to add Eclipse Engine to my project list!

     

    Project 5: Custom case

    Project 6: Eclipse Engine I 

  18. This is a perhaps a more eloquent and elaborated presentation of what I was wanting to speak in the thread 7-times Microsoft MVP finds Windows 10 Enterprise collects too much data at minimum, calls for legal action.

     

    The relevant links from that thread are these:

     

    Windows, Spying, and a Twitter Rant

    Screenshots showing high levels of contact with Microsoft servers after employing all efforts to stop data-transmission

    Additional screenshots of further Microsoft server activity, discovered later

     

     

    I would like to give some personal commentary to the subject that those links are about.

     


    If a politician steals millions of taxpayer dollars, which is only a few cents from each person, they go to jail. So what about when Microsoft is continuously piggy-backing on everybody's PC systems to enrich themselves? Microsoft is using people's own hardware, software licenses, electricity, computing power, data, time, and private activity for non-sanctioned business use, and the profit of Microsoft's executives.

     

    Microsoft's data-mining is no different than a virus that is distributed to people's PCs to min mines digital coins using their CPU and CPU power, with the earnings being deposited in the e-wallet of the virus' creator. You could also look at it like someone setting up a mining farm, but connecting all their systems to their neighbour's electricity supply - except that in the case of Microsoft's data-mining, they are not using their own hardware, software licenses, and everything else, but those of the people whose systems are sending data to Microsoft... and so the coin-mining virus is a more suitable analogy.

     


    Every aspect of Microsoft collecting data from people's PC systems and personally-owned Windows licenses is already established in law as being illegal. But some people are taking a bit of time to work through the understanding that leads to that recognition, because software-license owners are traditionally just not on the lookout for stuff like this and usually just focus on using their software, and not technical legal aspects or ethical implications behind its operation. Also, Microsoft being a well-known company whose products people have used for years throws a lot of people for a loop, I think, because they are used to just assuming that whatever they're doing must check out, somehow. Well, this doesn't. It's illegal from head to toe.

     

    It's theft, but it's also Unjust Enrichment - which is the situation where one party is making profit for itself at the unjust expense of others. A current UE case involves ZeniMax targeting Samsung for Unjust Enrichment over VR technology that ZeniMax claims belongs to them but is profiting Samsung.

     

    If you unilaterally utilize somebody property, or copyrights to make yourself money, who is legally entitled to the proceeds? Legal entitlement goes to whom the required property and rights that the profit is dependent upon belong to. 

     


    A person who argues that by using Windows 10 a person agrees to send Microsoft their data would be wrong, because sending Microsoft data is not essential to making use of the software functionality that was paid for when buying a Windows license, and so conditioning usage of the paid-for functionality on unrelated and Microsoft-profiting access to personal and private data would not pass the Reasonable Person test.

     

    Also, such an argument would be in ignorance that the data sent to Microsoft doesn't come from only the owned software license, but also a person's personally-owned  hardware, electricity, computational time, uniquely-generated data, and personal / private activity - things for which there can be no entitlement for Microsoft to use any more than a car salesperson can claim that if you buy a vehicle from them, then they have access to use your garage and everything in it, including the power source hooked up to it.


    Additionally, the idea that Microsoft could exert any authority over an instance of the Windows OS after they've sold the license that represents the OS instance to somebody is a violation of the first-sale doctrine, which makes clear that such authorities and privileges pass to the owner of the property, in this case, the owner of the software license and the instance of the OS it represents, once it is sold. And the SCOTUS has just made a unanimous, 8 - 0 in favour, re-affirmation that decision-making rights leave from the seller to the buyer at the first-sale of an item.

     


    I fully believe that seven-times Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award recipient Mark Burnett is right when he says "What we need to do is fix this, even if that means getting lawmakers involved. It can only get worse from here". Though, I believe it is important for big reasons beyond simple control and security of the OS.

     

    Microsoft is stealing digital property, computational power, and electrical resources from everybody, and is making non-licensed usage of people's hardware property, the housing of that hardware, and are exploiting people's personal behaviours while those people are staying within their personal and private spaces (non-online activities). And in the process of violating Windows license-owners' rights over their property, resources, time, and behaviour, Microsoft is unjustly enriching its company and executives.

     

    If action is not taken against those who commit these violations, then all established societal and legal notions of what property is, who possesses decision-making rights over it, how much a person can use their position to unfairly exploit others against their natural desire... then all existing understanding of those things becomes argued against, and a precedent is established where a person's property is anyone's to use by unilateral decision, and a seller of goods can enslave and overrule aspects of people's own private lives and property as part of their conditions for their sale. Effectively, a sale becomes not a transaction of goods for money, but a mechanism for enslavement and subjugation, with the seller acting as if they held a commercial license over a plethora of the buyer's possessions and entitlements.
     
    A person whose personal and private PC system environment (non-online spaces) is sending data to Microsoft through telemetry, data-collection, and analytics of their behaviour is an employee of Microsoft who does not get paid, or receive any company benefits.

  19. This is a combat report for a game known as Ikariam, my friends said im a good writer, i got happy and wanted to write about something, this was occuring at the time and there was a lot of tension. Alas I live to tell the tale.

    5692108b981c955bdbca75156c71ebdd.png

    Its seemingly a normal day the new recruits are finally getting the grips of knowing the advantages and disadvantages of their spears and their phalanx formation is taking shape.

    Alas over 100 men burst out of the woods, ten rams smash their way though the gates, the defending army springs into action, they had training but they havent gone up against real enemies before and they have more units, the walls are the main defense and they have already been broken, luckily the archers are preventing any enemy

    127ff1743b342b85c61ce081b71b06bb.png

    We have taken major casualties, the walls are nearly destroyed. They still out number us but we still have more confirmed kills. We cant push up however due to the wall of arrows. They have a better defence and offence, it doesnt seem good. We are ordering all citizens to cease their work and get to get homes, as a failsafe we are moving our valuable goods to the other colonies, we may die but we still have our resources, the other colonies may have to go on without us. We have requested for emergency support.

    Word has however reached the colonies, the troops are being prepared, we will be able to help our allies if there are any left to defend.

    3135a122e093862cceaa22f1500c46d6.png

    It has gone to hell, civilians have taken up arms and tried to help with the defence, without proper training they walked into a hail of arrows and perished. To make matters worse we have no arrows left furthermore all of our swordmen have fallen in battle. Morale is dropping fast, word has been received that we will have reinforcements bu as to how long they will take, we have no idea. We just have to hold the line no matter what.

    409b632ec2d85f8dd9a1c8e47dbe8b05.png

    We are on the verge of defeat, the formation has fallen and the archers are being forced to don the armor of their fallen comrades and do what they can to protect the town, the rock clingers have no rocks left either. The arrows have however stopped, maybe the enemy has no arrows either, a few of the archers acted as decoys and gave their lives to give us a chance to incur damage to their forces, it may have taken many of them out but its not enough. Without support we are done for.

    8a70db4725a9bb73b923a6588ba43409.png

    The thoughts of surrendering were present, a few of the men ran for their lives off into the distance, no one has the energy to chase them down. But it was then that we heard a roar from behind us, it was the reinforcements, they had come in support, fifty of them ran straight past us. It appeared that we werent the only people that were exhausted, they barely put up a fight before we routed their units. All of them, only their ram crews survived as they ran away.

    So we were victorious but its not much of a victory as we lost so many people, the death toll is at 84, many families have been destroyed, we thanked those that fort from the other colonies but they just wanted to return home.

    So now, we rebuild.

  20. blog-0618365001426859863.pngFor some time now, educational web service lynda.com has been known for sponsoring various publications. lynda.com offers you a wide variety of online courses to improve your personal skills, mainly in media applications such as web design, photography or video editing. Today, lynda.com closes a hole in their choice of courses by starting to offer a professional course on sponsor integration.

    Here's why: If you thought that the creators of a youtube channel with over one million subscribers could maintain a certain degree of professionalism when integrating their sponsors, you were wrong. Many times it has been proven that some people really need to practise. From now on, they will not only be able to better follow their guidelines for the integration, but also report their own experience with the service, which is generally described as decent.

    TeNLhEr.png

    That guy says he learned how to have sex online - certainly not on lynda.com. Yet.

    The course covers topics such as "transitioning to the advertisement", "reading your sponsor guidelines right" or "how not to laugh when a rapper's name is in the product name". Especially the lesson on remembering the details of a special offer is expected to serve a high demand. So instead of wondering wether the girl on the lynda.com-logo shaves her legs or not, the sponsorship recipient can now fully focus on advertising the service.

  21. I haven't done anything that would require benchmarking in ages. Last change made to my old log file was 2014 after I changed some case fans and wanted to check if they did something to temps. This July I changed graphics card which is something I would say anyone should run their own sequence after. So after any bigger change (CPU/GPU mainly) anyone should run same benchmarks they have run before change. I will come back to this in a moment. In my situation need was really big. I went from 2011 midrange card to 2013 top end card. Something that in paper is bit better than 280X, card that I was eyeing for upgrade year ago. Yes, talking about used cards. Upgrade was from GTX 560Ti factory OC'd to reference GTX 780. Benchmarks would look awesome. In numbers if not actually, but thats more about nature of tests themselves.

     

    So why this post? Well, so I can refer to it when someone asks advice about benchmarking. Since my last run was 3 years ago and I haven't really played any new games, all my game benchmarks are pretty bad choices. Like NFS Shift and Battlefield Bad Company 2. There might be Battlefield 3, but thats it. This new batch won't have any real gameplay. Because of two reasons. 1. I still lack good games for realistic benchmarking, Battlefield 4 is probably on the heavier side. So nah on games. And 2. I don't want to buy games just because I could get good benchmark out of them. Even games with benchmark tools would be just for it since I don't play 3rd person single player adventure/action games (Metro 2033, Tomb Raider, Witcher 3). This will be list of benchmarks which are free and provide good base for anyone looking to create their own sequence.

     

    1. What is my "sequence"?

     

    I use term "sequence" to describe procedure where I run multiple tests, check temps and mark down scores. Marking down scores and temps is good practice in general. Not just for bragging, but to check how much you spending money actually improves the systems performance. So my sequence involves having few monitoring software open, taking numbers in notepad and running several benchmarks one by one. Yes, it will take some time, some 1.5h for me. But you need to do it once and then you can just refer notes later if someone asks something. I've used temp readings many times to advice on high temps under stress tests and idles on my older hardware.

     

    To actual point. I have 10 software, 12 tests, 1 main monitoring software with 2 others running, notepad with template for scores and temps and FRAPS for one odd out fps reading. I cover tests later. I happen to have 2 monitors, but all this can be done on one monitor. 2nd is good for having all monitoring software there. Like in this manor:

    2nd_monitoring.thumb.png.1795b7d076ff4785661f9d97cdad8fb1.png

     

    So MSI Afterburner is present because of habit of looking at graphs. I actually don't use it for GPU temp monitoring anymore, but habit of looking at fan and temp graphs remains. Main screen is where I look at GPU temp when test is running. Mainly since its new piece and I want to see how my fan settings are holding. Main software here is RealTemp with GPU temp monitoring open. I reset Maximum readings after every test to get reliable readings for all tests individually. Under them all is my normal main monitoring software, OpenHardwareMonitor. Notepad is on main monitor since I don't need it until after test finishes.

     

    Things I do and would recommend. I have habit of doing this after cold boot. I would recommend booting before running sequence. Its easiest way, since there's least amount of extra software running on background. For this sequence I added way of closing all extra stuff I have open. Skype, several driver software's, basically anything except multimonitor manager, fan controls and virus scanner. Some might close virus scanner too, but I don't mind it. Then another boot after all testing is done. To get everything working as normal. I would recommend setting any fan profiles like you are going to use them before running test on new components. Makes more realistic comparison. As for temps, I have idle's. Which I will take after first test has run. Reason being that idle's coming directly from boot will be lower than what you are going to see any other time. For testing temps I use max temp. Its most relevant. Since RealTemp shows temps for all cores, I use average with easy count. Take highest and lowest and split difference with upward rounding. Like 66C and 58C would be 62C (8/2=4, 58+4=62C) or 67C and 60C would be 64C (7/2=3.5, round up 4).

     

    2. Tests and score keeping

     

    Let's start with synthetic benchmarks. I will give some background on why I use software listed here, where to get it and what settings to use (if needed).

     

    3DMark https://www.futuremark.com/downloads/3dmark.zip

    If you have had gaming PC for some time, you know this software already. Futuremark's (Yay! for Finnish company) 3DMark has been industry standard for almost 20 years. Its combined benchmark, meaning that it tests both GPU and CPU within single run. First 3DMark I've used is 3DMark03. I've had 05, 06. Vantage and 11. 3DMark06 was used for long time because of its DX9 support. Until Vantage with DX10.1 it was only thing to test new hardware reliably. Thats important. Because of the way benchmarks work, if you change something the score will also differ. So comparing two results between different versions of software can cause issues. I first noticed this fact with FurMark.

     

    But back to 3DMark. Free version has 3-4 tests. Most common is FireStrike which is for current gen gaming PCs. You can run it with lower end hardware if you are like me and want before upgrade scores to compare. I also used tad lighter SkyDiver. Mainly because I couldn't get 06 running anymore. So let both tests run, mark score to notepad, mark max temps for GPU and CPU, remember to let temps go back to "idle" in between and reset max readings before running the test. Thats it. Free version doesn't have any settings to toggle. Only thing I would like to toggle is Demo.

     

    CINEBENCH R15

    Yes, they actually have product name in caps. Maxon makes professional 3D modeling and animation software as their main source of income. But Cinebench has become one reason for their homepage to get constant traffic. It has 2 tests, individually for CPU and GPU. GPU uses OpenCL, CPU renders image using all available threads. Cinebench gives some comparison for similar systems, but I wouldn't look that graph too much. I also don't think it as very taxing software. Run tests for both CPU and GPU, with temp normalization in between.

     

    This is among those software with this batch that has single part focus on testing. I don't have just for CPU, but I might look into that part more. Intel Extreme Tuning Utility has CPU testing, but I don't know if it works with AMD. Anyway, having whole benchmark just for single component has some advantages. Like if you'd like to test air cooling myth about radiating GPU heat. So running GPU only test would raise only GPUs temp notably and do something to CPUs temp also. I don't look at utilization when I run these tests, but it could be one thing to check also if you want to gather more data.

     

    Catzilla http://www.catzilla.com/download

    ALLBenchmark's test is different from the two above because it  has very noticeable sound effects and music. Otherwise its just another combined benchmark. I've used it since I heard about it from OC3D's TinyTomLogan. TTL is someone who's opinion on OC and CPU performance means a lot to me. I've picked other go-to software from him with OCCT, a stress test software for CPU. But back to Catzilla. Basic version only has 540p benchmark, but you get 720p one by creating account to their site. Easy thing with Google, Twitter or Facebook linking. Rest of the stuff is like before.

     

    RealBench https://rog.asus.com/rog-pro/realbench-v2-leaderboard/

    ASUS' RealBench is combined test which uses real life tasks for benchmarking. Image manipulation, rendering, video encoding and multitasking. Besides giving total score, you get score per test. I mark all of them down. I got to see how much GPU did bottleneck CPU on CPU heavy tasks. Result? Not that much. But some.

     

    UserBenchmark

    This is new to my lineup. I haven't looked much into what it actually measures. But looks to be lighter side combined test. I would say it replaces Novabench I had on earlier lineup. Results are given in three categories, for Gaming, Desktop and Workstation in percentage. I marked those percentages as results.

     

    Heaven and Valley

    These two from Unigine are pure GPU tests. Heaven is what is commonly used for GPU OC testing, temp testing and benchmarking by reviewers. Valley is bit heavier, so I'd say running them both is good practice. Like with 3DMark, there are more tests you can use. I used highest presets for both, Extreme for Heaven and ExtremeHD for Valley.

     

    FFXIV: Stormblood

    Like said earlier, I don't have real gameplay benchmarks in this set. So this game from 2013 is lower end gaming benchmark for me. It has preset for Mazximum settings, but I pumped those bit more. You can check my settings from PDF attached. I use score as scoring, but you could have also given FPS.

    (FFXIV_Stormbloo_benchmark_LoGiCalDrm_config.pdf)

     

    Star Swarm http://store.steampowered.com/app/267130/Star_Swarm_Stress_Test/

    This game engine benchmark is free on Steam. Released 2014 by Oxide Games, guys behind Ashes of Singularity, its has capability of simulating space battle game. There are few options to simulate different style of games. I used Attract with Extreme settings. Score will be given as average FPS. You can select some other combination, important part being that same settings are used before and after any upgrade made to keep score consistent.

     

    demo2 https://files.scene.org/view/parties/2015/assembly15/demo/demo2_by_ekspert.zip

    This one is something I cooked up. Its newer than both other gaming style benchmarks, its done with Unreal Engine 4 and I have no clue if it has any relation to real world or not. Its Demo made by group called Ekspert for Assembly LAN Demo Compo 2015, in which it placed 2nd. There are few remarks I want to make about demo's and demoscene before going actual benchmarking part. Demoscene is all about digital art. Animation, coding, graphics, music, indie game development. At least in Europe, many software and game dev companies have their roots deep into demoscene. If you are doing the things I mentioned above and want to show off your skills by competing, maybe look if there are parties/compo's held in your area. The two known Finnish companies with demoscene background are Futuremark (surprise, surprise) and Rovio. One for making first PC demo at the time when Amiga and Commodore 64 were main platforms, other for making mobile game back when those were played on Nokia N-Cage's.

     

    Now back to benchmarking part. Demo2 doesn't have built-in scoring system. So I've used FRAPS to calculate average FPS. Running 1080p version gives warning about using Fraps for recording purposes, but loads just fine after that. I start benchmark counter as soon as demo starts and check scores afterwards. Nothing more to it.

     

    Others?

    As I said along the lines, I would like to have more modern game benchmarks, as well as CPU only benchmark. So I will be looking around for those and adding them here. If someone reading this has ideas about free or cheap games with included benchmarks, please let me know.

     

    3. Scores and comparison

     

    At this point you should have raw data text file. Something like this one I'm using:

    benchmsrk.txt

    Which includes system specs for each test cycle. This would be the file you are updating during tests. Feel free to use it as template or comparison. But what now? Well, you can just compare by eye results, use it to quickly refer temps and so on. But what if you want know how much better system performance is after upgrade. Thats where Excel (or Sheets, Calc and so on) comes in. Copying results to Excel (&co) can be annoying, but do it once to get template correct and maybe adjust .txt file to help in future. Here's my .xlsx for reference. Also free to be used as template or comparison:

    benchmark_LoGiCalDrm.xlsx

     

    In file I've got some extended system info and notes about tests. Which are pretty much same as in here. But main thing is +- column (Excel hint: add < ' > in front of symbol to exclude any automatic formula). It calculates how many percentage better new score is compared to last. Works best when score changes less than 100% or new score is over twice the value of old. Formula used is pretty simple:

    =(<new>/<old>)-1

    Shown in percentage. You can add color coding and such if needed. If new value are over twice bigger, remove <-1> to get accurate score.

     

    There's some oddness in that file in CPU temps. I had issue with Speedfan missing fan profiles for 2 front intakes. Which I fixed after I had changed to new GPU. So those are something to ignore.

     

    4. Conclusion

     

    I hope this helps those who are new to benchmarking. Note that this is just how I do things and you should be taking it as guide or advice. Make it your own. I will be doing some fixes along the lines, but as I will not be getting major upgrade in few years, its quite possible I'll be making another batch of tests when next upgrade is on me.

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    Most people describe Beats as either overpriced or that they sound awful. Two things statements in that sentence, "overpriced, and "sound awful", need to be addressed. Consumers say that Beats is overpriced, but compared to what? You can't say something is overpriced unless you can compare it to something that has a better value than what you are calling overpriced. Secondly, people say that Beats sound terrible simple because the music they listen to doesn't fit the sound signature that Beats implements in their headphones. I'm not trying to defend Beats nor am I trying to rant about them what I'm trying to say is that sound is subjective and what may sound good to one person, may sound like total shit to another person. I don't personally like Beats by Dre because the music I listen to doesn't go well with the Beats sound signature and that the bass is overpowering but I have a friend who listens to a lot of bass heavy music who owns a pair of Razer Kraken headphones who would love the way Beats sound. I tell him that he would love a pair but he says he doesn't want to spend an additional 150 plus dollars on another pair of headphones which brings me to my next point. Yes Beats are not cheap but there is a big reason why. If you go around asking people about headphone brands they've heard about most people would most likely bring up Beats. There's two causes for this. One, Dr. Dre. put his name one them. Dr. Dre, as we all know is a very famous artist. Since, Dr. Dre endorsed this headphone brand, people figured oh, if he makes these headphones then they have to be good. The second cause is this, Beats spends a ton of money of packaging, and advertisement. Beats, I'd be willing to bet, costs less than 200 dollars is parts to make but many of them cost over twice as much. If you go around asking people if they have heard of brands like Audio Technica or Sennheiser most consumers would probably say no. That's because Beats spend a ton of money on marketing to get their name out there. Beats also spend a ton of money on packaging. I got a pair of Beats and returned them after a week. The unboxing experience was probably the best unboxing I had for a pair of headphones. As a result Beats owns over 64% of the headphone market. That is HUGE. Beats are also extremely well built and look "great" (looks are subjective). It seems that Beats does everything so well except the sound according to most people. In the end when you are in the market for a pair of headphones choose your price range, and what you care more about, sound or build quality and looks. That's all I have to say. In Linus Tech Tip outro fashion, like this blog if you liked, dislike it if you disliked it (wait you can't dislike posts here), leave a comment if your feelings are mixed and don't forget to subscribe (but why would you :)).