We’re Moving!

•March 18, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Yes, it’s that time. The Mad White Nerd now has it’s own website! Take a trek over to www.madwhitenerd.com and check us out!

The last year or so has been great. WordPress is an amazing platform (probably why it’s #1!) and I’m continuing to use their software on the new site. I want to thank everyone who reads this blog, and hope you will continue to follow me (and, hopefully, some of my friends!) as I try to transition into the mainstream web.

As of the time of this writing, the new site is currently under construction, but I’m about to post links to both the blog and the *NEW* forum in just a bit on the main page. Update your bookmarks, subscriptions, and RSS feeds, and I hope to see you soon!

Until the new site makes it all the way up, you can still follow along with me on both Facebook and Twitter, which I hope to start keeping more up-to-date as well.

This blog will be left up for search engine and archive purposes.

See you guys on the flip side!
–MWN

Skynet v1.4.1 is Up – System Specs and Stories

•January 28, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Ok, so the final build of Skynet (codename: The Terminator) is up and running. The final system specs are:

AMD Phenom II 1055T Thuban X6 Processor
MSI 890FXA-GD70 Motherboard
SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6950 Graphics Card
16Gb (4x4Gb) G.SKILL Ripjaws DDR3 1333 RAM
Rosewill 74-in-1 Card Reader with 3 extra USB 2.0 ports
LG WH10LS30 10X Blu-ray Burner
Seagate Barracuda XT ST32000641AS SATA 6gb/s (2 x 2tb, total of 4tb)

All ran via HDMI to my 32″ Plasma TV.

Thus far, the only thing I don’t like (now that I’ve figured out some .dll file issues, which I’ll explain below) is that the Motherboard’s RAID controller as well as it’s built-in Overclocking features…well…they just don’t work. I wanted to run the two hard drives in a RAID 0 array to increase the transfer rate, but it’s a no go. Oh well, I’m sure 6Gb/s transfer rate is enough. :D

Now, the reason this is v1.4.1 is…well…I’ve had to do 4 Windows Installations to finally manage to get this one .dll file to stop crashing everything. Turns out, it was a part of my security suite that was causing all the mayhem. The culprit was actually a program called ThreatFire which, for some unknown reason, is just not compatible with my system. After the 4th reinstall of Windows, I decided to start eliminating possible apps that could be causing all my stuff to crash. Luckily, I got it right on the first try. Something about the way ThreatFire works was essentially hogging all the resources of ntdll.dll, which is a core system file for Windows. Took about 4 days to figure all this out, but seeing as I spent about $1,721 on this computer, it was well worth it.

This thing scoffs at Crysis. I’m set to Ultra High (the maximum setting) on everything, and the frame rate was amazing (I don’t have an exact number yet, still trying to get the tools together for that). Fallout: New Vegas saw similar outcomes (all maxed out, not even a hiccup). Even the load times were non-existant. Fallout actually loaded faster than it would on the Xbox 360 or PS3. I would love to report on how it handles Final Fantasy XIV, but at the time of this writing FF14 can’t connect to the update servers for some reason.

So there you have it, my new computer system. As I find out what this thing can REALLY do, I’ll keep you guys updated!

The Terminator – The Final Build

•January 11, 2011 • Leave a Comment

An update to my previous post. All the parts are picked out. Total cost? $1,725.65

Case: AZZA Solano 1000R
MoBo: MSI 890FXA-GD70
CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1055T
PSU: AZZA Titan 900W PSAZ-900A14
GPU: SAPPHIRE 100312SR Radeon HD 6950
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 1333 DDR3 (4 x 4GB, total of 16gb)
CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER V8 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler
Disc Drive: LG WH10LS30 10X Blu-Ray Burner
HDD: Seagate Barracuda XT ST32000641AS SATA 6gb/s (2 x 2tb, total of 4tb)
Card Reader: Rosewill RCR-IC002

Free Stuff:
8gb Flash Drive from OCZ
Darksiders game for PC
$10.00 NewEgg Gift e-Card
Red/Cyan 3D Glasses
CyberLink PowerDVD 9, 3D Edition

All parts selected on NewEgg.com. Price would be lower except they have a warehouse in my state, so sales tax sucks. Shipping is less than $17.00 though! Thoughts? Comments? Leave em below, or over on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/madwhitenerd !

The Terminator – Yours for only $1,629.46?

•January 10, 2011 • 2 Comments

So, I’ve been plotting a super high-end desktop for a little over a year now, and it looks like it’s finally about to come to fruition. I’ve dubbed this creation “The Terminator” because…well, I’m afraid it might walk out of the house and start killing things. Here’s the parts list, just click for more details and pictures:

Case by AZZA
Power Supply by AZZA
MoBo by MSI
HDD by Seagate x2
Video Card by Sapphire (w/ free 8GB Flash Drive)
Card Reader by Rosewill
RAM by G.SKILL
Six-Core Processor by AMD (w/ Darksiders game and $10 Gift Card)
Blu-Ray Burner by LG (w/ 3D Glasses and Cyberlink PowerDVD 9)

So basically, this thing’s already a beast, but can still be added to once my wallet recovers. Funny part is, I only overshot my budget by $142.46. What? I set my budget like $400 lower than what I could actually spend. Ah? Ah? That even includes the fact I have to pay NewEgg some sales tax! Likes? Dislikes?

Quick Quips – Presenting the new Droidberry by Motorola!

•October 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Hey guys, just a quickie here, but when I was browsing my RSS feeds I came across this link:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2370298,00.asp

Now, at first I was like “OOOH! New Android stuff…” but then when I looked at the slideshow, my only thought was, “When the hell did Blackberry get knocked up by a Droid?”

I read the review, and the hardware sounds strictly inferior to other Droids that you can potentially get way cheaper than this one. Do you agree?

Thoughts? Comments? Sound off down below, or on Twitter or Facebook.

Technorati Code: JZ8RE2HHVR9N

A3 – Android App Attack: The Basics

•October 4, 2010 • 2 Comments

Hidy Ho there, neighbors! I’m back, with a new gadget and a whole slew of information!

A few weeks ago, I took the plunge and got an early upgrade to the Motorola Droid 2. This being my first smartphone, I was ecstatic to see what all it could do. My inner technophile jumped for joy. The first couple of weeks went by with me just downloading a few meaningless apps, setting up my Facebook and Twitter accounts, tweaking settings, etc. Then came the time I began researching USEFUL apps as well as the idea of Rooting my phone (the Android version of Jailbreaking, essentially).

So, after taking some time to figure out how the Android OS works and messing with some apps, I now present, for your reading pleasure, a list of apps that I feel are excellent for an Android user to have. This list will encompass several things, including Social Networking, basic user experience improvement, a few games, and some other entertaining widgets and gadgets. Apps will be listed by title in the Market, followed by the developer, so that you know exactly what to look for when you download them. Also, all the apps listed are free or have a free version.

Ready? Here we go!

  • LauncherPro by Federico Carnales – This app replaces your basic home screen with one which is a bit more customizable. You have the option of having 5 rows of icons rather than 4, as well as up to 7 home screens to scroll through. You can also customize the icons at the bottom of the home screen with things such as shortcuts to your gmail, including an option to show the number of unread text messages or e-mail. It can be kind of slow if you have a lot of apps running, but that’s what this next app is for.
  • Advanced Task Killer by ReChild – You know how, on your Windows PC, you hit Ctrl-Alt-Del and can open Task Manager to kill off programs that are running in the background? This is essentially the Android version of Task Manager. It uses very little memory and battery power, and automatically ends unused apps in order to preserve the precious internal memory and battery power. I believe it was the very first app I downloaded. You can change how often it kills apps, and can also do it manually if need be. There’s also a white list you can add apps to so that ATK ignores them. You won’t normally have to, though; this thing’s pretty intelligent.
  • Coin Flip by AJAS – Pretty simple. A digital quarter you can flip. I’m sure I don’t need to list the uses. Actually uses your phone’s motion detection, so you only have to flick your phone to flip the coin. You can also tap the screen if you’re accident prone.
  • Last.fm by Last.fm Ltd. – Most people have heard of Pandora Radio by now, and they also have an app for Android if you’ve used it in the past. Last.fm is almost the same as Pandora, in that it plays music according to what you’ve listened to. For instance, if you start a station for Linkin Park, you’ll not only get songs from LP, you’ll hear from bands such as Creed, Fort Minor, and Godsmack. Once you’ve listened to a couple stations, you’ll be given your own “library”, which plays music according to ALL the music you’ve listened to on Last.fm’s network. Pretty cool, especially if you use the Firefox plugin. (Also has a widget you can place on a home screen so you don’t have to go in the app each time you want to change stations.)
  • Wi-Fi Locator by YOUniversal Ideas – A simple app that uses your GPS location along with Google Maps to show you nearby public Wi-Fi hotspots. Pretty nice if you’re hunting a place to set up your laptop. Note that your GPS must be turned on for this to work effectively.
  • Trap! by Matt Wachowski – A pretty entertaining game where you’re presented with a box, and inside the box are a bunch of bouncing balls. The object of the game is to draw lines which section off the box, trying to fill as much of the area inside as possible. The catch? The balls can’t touch your line while it’s being drawn. Special powerups such as Freeze Ball, Ghost Ball, and score multipliers make for an addictive experience. How high can you score?
  • Urbanspoon by Urbanspoon Team – Ever been in that situation where everyone’s hungry but no one knows what they want? Let me introduce Urbanspoon. This app will determine your general location, and will randomly determine a restaurant from criteria such as City, Type of food (Mexican, Italian, Sushi, Burgers, etc.), and price range (From 1 to 3 $ signs, with $$$ being the most expensive). Tight on money? Just lock the price slot at $. Don’t want to go out of town? Lock in your city. Surprisingly useful pretty often.
  • OpenSpark by Akop Karapetyan – This one’s for the Xbox Live people out there. This app, upon installation, will ask for your Xbox Live information such as Gamertag and Windows Live ID. After that, it will list your Xbox Live friends, show their and your profile information, and even allows you to message and add your friends! No more writing down gamertags just to lose and forget them 2 hours later.
  • Paypal by Paypal Mobile – Should be pretty obvious on this one. Allows you to check your balance in your Paypal account, and send and receive money on the fly. Even includes the Bump function that Apple advertised for the iPhone. Speaking of Bumping…
  • Bump by Bump Technologies, Inc. – Want to exchange more than money with people? How about pictures? Video? Maybe some contact info? Bump is your app. Simply select the information to send, bump phones with your buddy, and BOOM! it’s sent. Supposedly works with iPhones too!
  • Paper Toss by Backflip Studios Inc. – Remember when you were shooting paper balls at the trash can, and your boss yelled at you? Fear not, for now you can do it on your phone (if your boss allows phones, that is)! It even has fans set up so you have to account for wind. How many can you make in a row?
  • GetGlue by AdaptiveBlue – A social networking app. It can stand alone, or it can tie into Facebook and Twitter. Glue allows you to check in, comment on, and review various things such as movies, video games, and the random wine you’re drinking. It has a sort of achievement system, awarding stickers which, once you’ve collected enough, you can actually order so as to decorate things with. A good way to find new movies or games, as well as to let the world know how much you suck at Halo: Reach.
  • Foursquare by foursquare – the big cousin to Glue, Foursquare can tie into Facebook, allowing you to check in to places you travel to. What’s interesting about this, is that certain places such as restaurants have specials for the “mayor” of that particular location. For example, the local Pizza Hut here offers a free order of breadsticks once a week to the mayor with the purchase of any pizza. Pretty cool, especially if you travel a lot.
  • Wheres My Droid by alienmanfc6 – So, tell me if you’ve ever been in this situation: You have no idea where your phone is, and you can’t just call it because it’s on vibrate or silent. With Wheres My Droid, you don’t have that problem anymore as long as you can text yourself. Once you install this app, your phone watches for a key phrase in text messages. If it receives it, the app will bring your phone out of silent mode and start ringing. Nice, eh?
  • EasyTether Lite by Mobile Stream – You know the commercial where Verizon advertises the 3G Mobile Hotspot ability of some of their phones? What they don’t tell you is that it costs $20 a month extra to use it, and it’s capped at 2 gigabytes of data. Why pay that, when there’s a free solution? EasyTether Lite allows you to connect your phone to your computer, and use your 3G Web connection to access most websites. The free version, however, doesn’t allow secure, encrypted pages (aka Https:// sites). Great for facebook and the like, though! (Note for those who have rooted their phones: try out Barnacle Wifi by syzm.net. It actually does the Wifi hotspot, allowing more than just one computer or device to connect. I had to use the Legacy version for my laptop running Ubuntu to connect, however.)
  • Dropbox by Dropbox, Inc. – Here’s a great one for students. Ever worked hard on an essay, just to leave your flash drive at home? Dropbox allows a user to store their files online. Just set it up on your phone and your PC, and anything you put in your dropbox folder is automatically synced to any other device tied to your account. So, type that paper on your desktop, and almost instantly pull it up on your laptop or phone for e-mailing or printing. Dropbox even has a web interface, so you can even pull up your files and download them to a school computer or at your friend’s house. They even give your files their own special URL, so you can share them with friends! Free accounts have a 2 GB storage capacity, with the option to subscribe for larger space. Great for sharing pictures!
  • Barcode Scanner by ZXing Team – You wouldn’t think you’d need this app, but with the advent of QR codes being used on webpages, it becomes epically more useful. This app uses your phone’s camera to scan and read the information from barcodes. From there, you can do a variety of things including, but not limited to: Go to the URL embedded in the code, search for product information and reviews, find out what the product’s price is online. Definitely has saved me a ton of time when trying out apps that are still in beta, such as Trillian.
  • BLEEP Me! by Foncannon Inc – Got a potty-mouthed friend? Now you can exercise FCC-level censorship with your very own BLEEP button! Simply touch the screen and you’ve instantly bleeped those sorry mother *******. Comes with a variety of sounds, including the doinging spring and a chattering dolphin.
  • Tweetcaster for Twitter by Handmark – Probably the best Twitter app I’ve found on the market. Supports multiple accounts (unlike the official Twitter app), has a fairly easy interface, and allows you to quickly retweet, view links, and tweet yourself. Searching for people to follow, and following them once you’ve found them, could definitely be improved however. The cool part about this app is that you can create a widget on your home page for EACH account, allowing you to instantly tweet without needing to load the app, switch accounts, etc. The widgets could do with updating a bit more often, however.
  • Volumer++ by mokkouyou – An app that gives you a bit more control over the different volume levels on your phone. For example, you can change the volume level for apps and videos without actually loading one, while leaving your ringer volume untouched. Also has toggles for vibrate, total silence, and even a Wifi toggle. Also leaves a notification, so that you can quickly change volume levels without leaving your current app.
  • Best Matrix Live Wallpaper by Yu Xin – This isn’t actually an app, but I figured other fans like me would like it. Gives you a wallpaper of characters raining down from the top of your screen, just like in the Keanu Reeves movie, The Matrix. You can even change the color, if green isn’t your thing.
  • Taskos To Do List | Task List by Taskos.com – Pretty simple to-do list. Simply add something to it, and check it off when it’s done. Great for when you’ve got a hectic schedule .
  • FREE Caller ID & 411 Search! by phonetell – PhoneTell is a substitute for your normal dialer on your phone. It has a real-time caller ID, using internet-style name lookup so it can even ID numbers that aren’t in your contact list. Also has a yellowpages feature for when you can’t remember the number to the Dominoes up the street. Even better though, is the answering-machine-like feature. If you set yourself to busy, PhoneTell will automatically send any calls to voicemail, and can even send an automatic text message telling people you’re busy.
  • Shake – Uninstall by Zosq Labs – A pretty fun little piece of software for app whores like myself. When you enable its service, Shake will monitor any apps you run and, if you shake your phone, gives you the option to uninstall them. Good for doing a massive cleanup of your phone. Don’t worry though, it won’t allow you to uninstall core applications like G-Mail (or bloatware like the Blockbuster app :S). It also can’t uninstall itself. If you’re still worried, however, just use the notification it places to open and disable the service. And even if you DO uninstall an app accidentally, all apps can be redownloaded free of charge.

Whew! That was a long list! I’ll be back another time with more apps for your app-whorish inner technophile, but I think that covers the basics and then some for now. Special thanks goes out to @Cool3stNerd for suggesting several of the apps above! Follow him on Facebook, or on Twitter by clicking his name. You can also find his official blog at this link right here. You can also follow me @MadWhiteNerd on Twitter, as well as be my fan on Facebook right over here.

Thanks for reading, and check back for more apps, and more random tech! Matter of fact, why don’t you subscribe over in the sidebar?

Till next time!

Daily Do’s – Networking Windows 7 and Ubuntu for File Sharing

•September 6, 2010 • 2 Comments

I’m back! Did you miss me? Of course you did… but anyways, it’s great to be back.

So I set out on an escapade today. I’ve acquired some new toys recently, and as such have had to reconfigure my network a bit. It was definitely interesting when I decided to network a laptop running Ubuntu 10.04 with a desktop running Windows 7 Ultimate. I have made it work, however, and now I’m going to show you how. If you don’t want a long story, the list of steps is at the bottom.

First off, the equipment in question:

HP G60 Laptop (2008, Wal-mart Edition) running Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx)

Acer Aspire AX3200-U3600A Desktop running Windows 7 Ultimate

Girlfriend’s laptop with Win7 Ultimate (Not important to the equation, but this machine will come up in the story below)

Linksys Wireless-G Router (Cheapest G router in Wal-mart. I don’t think your router will matter but you never know).

And on with the show…

Ok, so the endeavor started simply enough: Once I cleared all of Windows 7’s Homegroups off my network (an interesting task to say the least), I set up a new Homegroup so that any computers regularly attached to my network could share files.

But that posed a new question: How do I get my laptop, freshly wiped with Linux installed, to appear within the network on my Windows machine? If you were to do some Googling, you’ll read a lot about a package for Ubuntu called Samba. (Foreshadowing: This eventually solved the problem) From what I read, however, it seemed that was only for the Linux machine to recognize Windows File Shares, which my laptop was already doing no problem. I could access files on my desktop from my laptop no problem, I was just trying to do the reverse!

Well, I created a folder that I intended to drop files I wanted to share into, and attempted to set file sharing to “On” for that folder. Lo’ and behold, it told me I needed to install Samba! Ok, so I did that, giving superuser permissions and all that. Voila! There was my laptop, not inside my Homegroup but definitely inside the Network.

~ZING!~

Oh, but if it were just that simple. When I tried to access the shared folders on my laptop, it asked for a Username and Password! I had even enabled Guest access for the folder, which was supposed to allow people without usernames on the machine to access the shared files. Still, Windows just wouldn’t go for it without a username and password.

Coincidentally, I had just messed with User permissions earlier, and something drew me back into the System -> Administration -> Users and Groups menu. I considered many options, such as changing the administration permissions I had just given myself, thinking maybe Linux wouldn’t allow a remote computer to login with an admin account. Then I remembered something: the Domain that Windows had tagged on when I tried to log in (which was the network name of my PC; I’ll call it NERD-PC for now).

Back inside the Users and Groups window, I proceeded to add a new user. When prompted for a username, I gave it the name “NERD-PC/admin” (where admin matches my actual username on the laptop) and just named it “remote” for the short name. I even applied the same password as my original account. The user was created, and made just a “Desktop User” which simply means it can’t (un)install programs or change any system settings. I didn’t care about that, I just wanted my files!

So, after taking a breath, I attempted to log in from the Windows machine again. I just used my normal username “admin” and my password as if I were logging  into the laptop itself. And…

*drumroll*

Bam! There were my files. All my pictures, music, etc. that I had backed up before the wipe. I could easily transfer/copy them to my Windows machine! w00t! After that, it was just a matter of making a shortcut to the laptop, as you still can’t get a linux machine into a Windows 7 Homegroup. Still, WAY easier than constantly swapping around a USB Drive.

===================================================

So for those who don’t like reading, a simple list of steps:

Make sure your Windows 7 Homegroup is setup and properly configured.

Make sure your Linux machine can see the Windows machines on the network. ( Places -> Network -> Windows Network -> WORKGROUP {or the name of your Homegroup if different} ) Note: if you just try to click on the PC’s name before going into Windows Network, it will ask for a username and password. Going into Windows Network first apparently bypasses this. See the PS at the bottom for tips on how to make a shortcut to this location!

Once that’s done, create (or determine) the folder(s) you want your Ubuntu machine to share on the network. Right click them, then click Sharing Options. If you check the box next to Share this Folder, Ubuntu will prompt you to install Samba if you don’t already have it, which you should do. After that, enter a share name for the folder. Guest access is NOT required.

Now, if you open Explorer on the Windows machine, and click Network in the navigation bar on the left, the name of your Linux machine should appear. Double click, and it should ask for a username and password. Make note of the Domain under where it asks for the password.

Back on the Linux machine, go to System -> Administration -> Users and Groups, and click Add.

When the Create New User dialog comes up, in the Name field, enter DOMAIN/accountname. In Short Name, name it something like remote or network. When asked for a password, you may either set one, or Ubuntu can randomly generate one for you. Just make sure you remember what you use! Leave the box next to “Don’t ask for password on login” unchecked.

Once the account is created, close the Users Settings window, then jump back on your Windows machine. Go back into your network, and try to get back into the Linux machine’s shared folders. This time, use your new account you just made on the Linux machine, except remove the DOMAIN/ from the username. You may choose to remember the credentials if you wish.

If everything went right, you should now be able to pull any shared files from your Linux machine onto your Windows 7 PC.

========================================================

So, that’s it. It sounds way more complicated than it is, I promise. Sound off in the comments or on Facebook if you have any questions, praise, or flames!

P.S. To make a shortcut to a folder in Ubuntu, right click your desktop and click Create Launcher. For Type, set it to Location. Name it, then plug in the path to the folder you want in the Location field (if you use Browse, it’ll want you to actually point it at a file. If it does, just erase the file name and extension from the Location field). Comment if you wish, then click OK. Done!

P.P.S. I’ve recently gotten myself a Droid 2. Nifty! But I’m looking for app recommendations. I’ve posted a status on Facebook for app suggestions. My favorites may get featured in a future blog post!

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.