Tag Archive: Hardware

Will my new desktop be an HTPC?

December 31, 2008 2:57 pm Published by 2 Comments

It’s been several years since microATX motherboards became commonplace, kicking the Home Theater PC movement into high gear. While researching hardware to build a new desktop computer, I ran into an interesting question: Can it be an HTPC? The “HT” part of the quotient would require it to be able to connect to my television, which is currently in a different room than my desktop, and I want to be able to still sit down at the computer. I don’t want heavy VGA running from the machine down the hallway. So it seems like I’ve only got a couple of options:

  1. Run cables down the hallway, and hope M doesn’t notice. (Good luck).
  2. Wireless video. Half junk, half expensive vapor.
  3. A thin client like a Sun Ray on my desktop.
  4. Give up and pick either a new desktop, or an HTPC.

Right now, option 3 sounds the most promising. There are a handful of people who have talked about hooking high-end thin clients up to their TV to act as a home theater interface, but I’ve found no discussion of doing it the other way, as far as I can tell. I’ll be investigating this deeper over the next few weeks. But experimentation might be too expensive; I might just end up going for option 4.

USB cable nastiness

October 2, 2006 1:47 pm Published by 3 Comments

I am in need of a product that I am virtually sure exists.  I can’t, for the life of me, seem to find a place that sells this product — although I suspect that’s just a difficulty with putting my thoughts into search terms.  I also am even having a difficulty envisioning what it might look like.  So I ask for your help.  I need some way to easily keep all of my different USB cables (iPod, Palm, phone, camera, video camera, et al) as easily accessible and not-ugly as possible.  Requirements:

  • A hub, or at least some way to not have to reach around my tower to get the right cable plugged in.  I only have six USB ports, and including my keyboard, mouse, and printer, I have far more devices, so there currently ends up being a lot of juggling.
  • Some sort of cable hiding solution.  Cable ugliness is the number one cause of premature death, followed closely by the goddamn Nihilanth.
  • The cables should be easy to remove, so that I don’t have to spend fifteen minutes pulling one out just to bring it to a friend’s house.

Just a simple USB hub that I can plug things into solves the biggest part of the problem: the pain of juggling.  But I still have to keep the cables neatly tucked away in a little bin next to the desk.  Is there a better solution that I’m missing?  I can’t be the only person with this problem.

WWDC 2006

August 7, 2006 7:04 pm Published by 7 Comments

Is anyone else unimpressed with Apple’s WWDC announcements today? They’re cool, I guess, but there was no real bang. Certainly no surprise. I suppose if I had a Mac, I might be excited about some of the Leopard details, but none of them seem especially groundbreaking to me. The Mac Pro was not only rumored for weeks, but doesn’t seem especially spectacular or surprising. (Let’s see, Macbook, Macbook Pro, iMac, Mac Mini.. Hmm.. What else could they transition to Intel?)

Okay, 16GB of RAM and 2TB of disk in a desktop is pretty impressive. But.. I dunno. What am I missing?

Recent Desktop Woes

February 20, 2006 8:16 am Published by

The biggest disadvantage to building your own desktop is that when things go wrong, you actually have to figure out what it is. A couple weeks ago, in the middle of a game, my desktop shut itself off. It would no longer get so far as POSTing, and sometimes the power supply wouldn’t do anything when I hit the power button. After some fiddling, I determined that it was most likely the motherboard, and since I had a three-year warranty, I sent it back to MSI for repairs.

When a different motherboard (of the same model) came back, it still wasn’t working. This narrowed it down to the (cheap) power supply or the (less cheap) processor. I randomly came across a great rebate deal on a 350W power supply at CompUSA, so I ran there and purchased it. I was lucky, and that did it. It only cost me ten dollars in the end, and my computer now seems quieter, too.

I only wish it hadn’t taken a month.

Tungsten X

April 14, 2005 3:16 pm Published by

I’m starting to really like the looks (not to mention the rumored specs) of the upcoming PalmOne Tungsten X (a.k.a. LifeDrive). Since my current PDA is a six-year-old Handspring Visor, this would be a tempting upgrade.

Unfortunately, it’ll probably end up costing nearly as much as the LCD screen I’m fantasizing about considering.