Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category.

Looking for a small form factor PC

Stéphanie will move up here in less than two weeks time, so we’ve started looking for a new PC for her. It’s easier to buy a new than transporting the old one from Switzerland to Denmark.

Because we want to be cool and hip we’re looking for a SFF PC, a so-called small form factor PC. It’s those nice little boxes pioneered by Shuttle (they apparently call them XPC now). The system will not be used for games, but for office work, photo editing, etc. I’m thinking something like this:

  • SSF: Shuttle SD11G53,500 DKK ($600). This box includes a motherboard with integrated graphics card and a sound card.

  • CPU: Pentium M 730 1.6 GHz900 DKK ($155). Nice ultra-cool CPU that consumes a maximum of 27W under full load. It should be fairly fast too.

  • RAM: 2 GiB Dual DDR II SDRAM — 1,000 DKK ($170). I don’t care so much about the brand, but Stéphanie says that size matters :-)

  • HDD: Samsung SpinPoint P120 SP2514N 250 GB600 DKK ($100). I have two of these already and I’m quite satisfied with them. Silent PC Review recommends them too for their quiet operation.

  • DVD: Burner for ±RW — 300 DKK ($50). Again I don’t really care as long as it can read and write on all the silly plus and minus formats.

  • LCD: Samsung SyncMaster 204B4,000 DKK ($685). I hope this is a good 20 inch LCD monitor… I think it looks good and I’ve read positive comments about it, but I would very much like your input on this! So please leave a comment if you have any experience with this monitor or know about another good monitor in the same price range.

Please note how I managed to find three letter acronyms for all the components :-)

If you know of other good SFF systems then let me know! I like the Pentium M based system because it is low noise (when the computer has to be right there on the table it has to be quiet). But maybe this isn’t necessary? Tell us what you think.

Almost an overflow…

Having just commented on Janus’ comment about overflows in C#, I went to the kitchen to pour me a cup of apple juice. The bottle was almost empty so I poured out all of it. The result was this nice colorful view:

A cup full of apple juice

Maybe you can already see that the cup is full, very full infact! Here’s a close-up made at an angle almost level with the water:

Notice the curvy water!

I love the way the water curves instead of staying flat like water normally does :-) I also like the colors, I think this site needs some colors after all the long-winded discussions about C#…

Mencoding movies

A beautiful MPlayer logo I found... Yesterday I made a small five-minute movie with my camera to show Stéphanie around in our new appartment (which she hasn’t seen since she’s still in Switzerland). I thought the movie was small, but what is small in terms to minutes and seconds quickly becomes very large in terms to bits and bytes.

And as we all know: size does matter :-) (I’ve always wanted to include that in one of my posts…)

Seriously, size does matter, especially if you plan on sending the movie to someone. The five minutes of 640×480 MPEG movie weighted in with a whopping 114 MiB. With an upstream bandwidth of only 256 Kb/s (and here is really is Kb/s and not Kib/s since network equiptment don’t follow the binary units) it would take at least an hour to transfer the movie.

So what do you do? You bring our your mencoder and resize it. That was surpricingly easy to do:

mencoder a.mpg -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4 -vop scale=320:240 -oac copy -o b.mpg

That did the trick for me, converting a.mpg into b.mpg which was only 23 MiB. The new movie has about a quarter of the pixels in the old one, and the size reduction fits nicely with that. I guess I could have squizzed it some more by compressing it harder, but I have not investigated how to do that.

Where are the hand-ins?

I’m the teaching assistant for the Thursday class in dSik (the security course at [DAIMI][]) and the deadline for handing in the first assignment is tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. But so far I have only received five hand-ins… So I either have a very small class (yeah, then I won’t have to spend so much time correcting the hand-ins) or I have a class that likes to wait until the very last moment. Probably the last… I normally did my hand-ins like that :-)

I’m back online! Yeah!

Hurray for the Internet! I’ve managed to bring my computer back online after roughly a months break. My new connection is a 2 Mbit StofaNet connection — a nice upgrade from the 768 Kbit connection we had in Switzerland and I’m happily using it for installing my [Debian][] system!

It’s nice finally to have my computer online again — I can check and answer mail using the web-interfaces, but I somehow don’t get that much work done without my own computer. I hope that will change now ;-)