June 24, 2010


Just a couple months back, me and my friend were talking about how digital camera has changed the way we take photos. Rewind my memory back to 15 years ago, we used to go out to do photo shooting, in film, using SLR camera. During that time, photo shooting was not as convenient as today consider we have to buy films, and the cost to develop in photo lab. Not to mention results can only be seen after photo is developed, the whole photo session can be ruined by small mistakes.

We put down our camera after we finished college to pursue our career. During the last few years, although we did snap some pictures, we were only using "point-and-shoot" camera as it's more affordable. Until recently, the local market is flooded with DSLR camera and so the price has dropped to a more consumer-friendly level. So we think it's a good time to pick our camera again.

After been looking and researched around, I finally picked my unit a couple weeks ago - Nikon D5000. I won't go into its performance and details as there are a lot on the Internet. However, a good review can be found here.

I have setup a new blog for my photography journey, and hope that I can really enjoy it from now on...


An Olympus OM2 with Tamron SP lens given by an uncle when I was studying overseas.

My new toy - Nikon D5000.

May 29, 2010

PC to HDTV via HDMI cable

If you have tried to connect your PC to your HDTV via HDMI cable before, you will most likely have experienced problems like overscan, desktop off screen, extreme high bright/contrast pictures, and the wording font is just unreadable. I have been struggling trying to find a solution, thinking that there must be a way to overcome this problem instead of just connect through the D-Sub cable.
So after been checking the net and playing with the TV menu, I realised that it's just a pretty simple setting...DUH! Perhaps TV manufacturers should put it down on the printed menu. Anyway, since I'm using Samsung LCD and Plasma TV, and NVIDIA GPU, so I'm not sure about other brands TV but I guess the menu should be more or less the same.
At the back of the TV (LCD and Plasma), you will find a HDMI port (either HDMI 1 or HDMI 2) labelled as DVI. Connect your PC to this port using either DVI-HDMI or HDMI-HDMI cable. Then, go to the TV menu, and go to Edit Name under Input menu. From there, you choose either PC or DVI PC depends on what is showed on the TV menu. Now go to change the screen resolution or screen size from your PC or the GPU setting menu...and VOILA! Everything is now crystal sharp like a real PC monitor! As simple as that. Now not only we can watching movies, we can also surf the Internet without having to torture our eyes.

March 1, 2010

Anti-Virus for Windows Home Server

Most of you may probably have known, while some antivirus software are free for personal use, server based programs normally will ask for a premium. Same goes to Windows Home Server. Since it’s based on Windows Server 2003, PC version mostly won’t be compatible. For an example, I am using Avast Home on my PC, but it won’t install on the server. Fortunately, there are always good people out there, especially those who write open source program, which means it’s free (they only ask users for some donation to support their hard work).

So, after searching here and there, I came across this WHSClamAV. Based on ClamAV, and implemented on Windows Home Server by the guy Al West. Write up is available at MSWHS.com.

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February 28, 2010

Aspire easyStore H340 Mod #1

Bought the Home Server yesterday, and I did the first mod today (really speechless about my pairs of itchy hands…). Anyway, I noticed that the system runs quite hot. With the stock 120mm fan running at 900+rpm, CPU idle at 60c+, while System temp is at around 50c+ (non air-cond room).

The stock fan (from AVC, Taiwan) was attached to a pair of nice metal bracket with rubber type feet, to reduce vibration I suppose, although you can hardly feel any when it’s only spinning below 1k rpm. Anyway, the fan was sitting more towards the top side to blow directly on the 4 HDD bays. It’d be better if it can blow those heatsinks on the mobo too.

I replaced the stock 120mm with a Cooler Master 140mm unit. The 140mm wouldn’t fit on the bracket. So forget about mounting it onto the bracket, I used cable tie to hold it, slightly tilted so that it can blow on the heatsinks too. Fan speed is around 1050rpm. The result, everything is cooler inside this small casing now. CPU is max at 52c under 80% usage, while System is staying at 40c. The screen shot below was taken when the server was idling.


In conclusion:



CPU TempIdle






System TempIdle






It’s quite a good improvement consider the fan cost only RM29.

Next mod: larger heatsink, if I can find a suitable one in the local market, or perhaps a larger PC casing.

* Note: My Q6600 @ 3.3GHz / 1.424V is idle at around 36c under a CM V8. So…gonna try to reduce another 12c on the server…

Aspire easyStore H340

27022010043 After a long searched and countless time of frustration to get this Windows Home Server, I finally have it! From LHS (Karamunsing), at RM1299 (around USD382). The shop owner was quite surprise to see there is actually someone who’s interested in this product. According to him, Acer asked him if he would like to sell such product, so he tried it out by ordered 1 unit…and it’s quite a coincidence that I dropped by his shop after he had it on the shelves for few days.

Anyway, if you’d like to know the spec:27022010046

  • Intel Atom 230 processor (1.6GHz / 512K Cache / 533MHz HSB)
  • Intel 945GC Express Chipset
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2GB DDR2 Memory
  • 256MB flash ROM
  • 1TB 7200RPM HDD
  • Genuine Windows Home Server OS

So, does it worth the money? What if you DIY (estimated 27022010048cost):

  • RM200 – Intel Atom & the mobo
  • RM130 – 2GB RAM
  • RM300 – 1TB HDD
  • RM340 – WHS OS
  • RM100 – for the small and pretty casing
  • RM240 – for the 4 hot swap HDD bays

That will add up to RM1310. Won’t differ much if you DIY one unit. Unless you are planning to run FreeNas, then you can save that OS cost for another 1TB of HDD. Anyway, the unit comes without keyboard/mouse and video out port. So just plug in the power cord, connect the RJ45 to your Switch or Router, everything else is setup through the neat GUI web interface from network client PC.

27022010052Things suppose to work out flawlessly (at least it was when I was setting up the 120-day trial last time), but sometimes we just have to expect the unexpected. I am not sure if the retailer’s staffs have been messing with the machine (although the shop owner did tell me it’s not yet configured), or is it Acer people who tried it out before they pushed it to their dealer. The unit is pre-configured, with a password…when the password is only suppose to be created by the user when he runs it for the 1st time after he bought it (it’s like when you take home a branded PC fresh out from the box, everything suppose to be fresh, no password, no user name and stuff).

Luckily, whoever that fellow was, he set the password at the “Password Hint” to27022010050o. So that makes things went smooth for a short moment, before I encountered another problem – unable to detect Windows Home Server. Reset server and software reinstallation didn’t help either. Crap!

After few times try and error, noticed that it’s due to this Acer H340 messed up with my D-Link NAS. It’s using my NAS IP. So, reconfigured both units IP and things finally worked out good. Reset password, download and run those updates, and now it’s backing up my home office PCs...


February 1, 2010

Windows Home Server – Sad Case

Time flies, and my WHS trial copy expired.  During the past 120 days, I have been looking here and there trying to get an original copy of the program (or even together with the PC if I have to).  However, no luck for us Malaysian.  I emailed my enquiry to Microsoft USA, telling them about the case, hoping that they might be able to help me out but the representative redirect me to Microsoft Malaysia…WTF, can’t they read the damn mail properly?

Since hp is one of the Microsoft’s partners on this product, I contacted a friend who works in a hp retail outlet, who also has a few contacts working in Microsoft Malaysia.  So she got an answer for me.  Her friend introduced Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition, which costs RM2k+…DUH!! 

Someone said that it possible to buy from Amazon and activate it from Malaysia.  But looks like Amazon now doesn’t ship it out from the USA. 

So, 3 choices:

1)  Forget about the whole damn WHS thing;

2)  Buy or download a pirate copy;

3)  Use the trial version, the follow the AntiWPA group and see what crack they have.

I believe Microsoft is trying their best on anti piracy, but what is freakin’ wrong with selling WHS in Malaysia?  If I still can’t get an original copy, then “Jack Sparrow” will be my only friend…

September 1, 2009

Computer Keyboard

A good computer keyboard will improve your productivity, be it word processing, messaging, gaming, or whatever you can think of which need input from the keyboard. Besides, a good keyboard will add an elegant touch to your desk and your workstation too.

To some people, keyboard is simply just an input tool. To some, however, they collect it. I myself is not elite enough to, say, keyboard collector as things can get expensive when you are talking about branded stuff such as Logitech. It costs as low as around RM30 for a classic keyboard, and a good gaming unit can go up to few hundred RM. To me, however, I just can’t resist not to have a browse through the keyboard section whenever I go to computer shops although my current unit may still in good shape.

9728_1_0 Anyway, I always think that an illuminated keyboard will be nice due to my office can get pretty dimmed in the afternoon, and I just don’t like to switch on the lights during day time. So when I saw the Logitech keyboard which has the illuminating feature in an IT shop few days ago, I can’t help but decided to bring it home.

The packaging is nice, and the keyboard layout is clean and neat, and like any other keyboard, you will need to get use to it when using it for the 1st time but it won’t take long.

logitech_illuminated_keyboard_2The size of the keyboard is about the same as average keyboard but only at about a CM thick. Illumination can be adjusted with a key press and only the characters are illuminated, in white. So you can have just the right amount of light you need instead of the whole keyboard backlit in bright red or blue like those gaming keyboards which in my opinion, it’s a stress to the eyes.

Like all the multimedia keyboards out there, it comes with all the necessary media keys. Pair with the Logitech’s SetPoint software and those buttons will be customizable. A standard USB connector will ensure its compatibility with any kind of PCs out there.

I always like the laptop style keyboard, short key stroke, silence, and precise. And this illuminated keyboard is just what I have been looking for. So if you are looking for an elegant keyboard and have a little bit of budget, give it a try. Although it can’t consider cheap at RM299 for a wired keyboard.

August 31, 2009

Windows Home Server

Wow...another 3 months has passed since my last post. Well, been buzy setting up my new home. Yea, finally moved in on the 4th last month. Anyway, back to the subject, I get to know this Windows Home Server thing few months back, although it's been on the market for quite some times. Looks good and promising, and is available through famous vendors like hp and acer. However, perhaps Microsoft thinks that people from 3rd world country like Malaysia will not need a server at home or it's simply trying to encourage software piracy, those pretty server is not available here although you can download the trial copy from their website and build your own server (more on that later). I have went to a couple of local hp retail outlets and most of the IT shops in Karamunsing, and none of them seems to know about it...

Anyway, since I have downloaded a trial copy few months back, so the only way to try it will be building my own server. Excuse of my PC appearance, it's only a temporary unit. It will have a new casing soon. Hardware used are:

Processor: C2D E4300
Mobo: Abit AW9D
RAM: OCZ 1066 2GB Kit
GPU: GeForce 7300GT
PSU: FSP Group Saga II 500W
Optical Drive: External

Installation was pretty simple although you might need to have your hardware drivers in hand due to the OS is based on Windows Server 2003. So newer hardware drivers will be missing, mine was LAN and GPU drivers, and those mobo chipset drivers.

Connect it to your switch/router, and it will detect all the client PCs automatically, and you then need to download and install a small program (from your newly setup server) onto all the client PCs so that they will be able to login to the server. The little program will put a share folder on all the client PCs too. Neat and simple. One good thing about it, you don't have to be an IT expert to run this thing.

Anyway, after installation and activation (key is available through Microsoft Connect) you will have 120-day evaluation period to play with it. To continue using the product after that, you either find a way to get the OEM installation disc (it's available in amazon.com, but they don't ship to Malaysia...duh!!), or, be "Matt Farrell". Well, I want to buy the original...but seems like Microsoft just doesn't wanna give a damn. So...

Ok, since it's working good. I went to buy a new casing for it, a CM690 (pretty good for air circulation and ventilation), together with a 1TB HDD to expand the storage. For a normal desktop PC, adding additional HDD means you will add another driver letter, or simply RAID it before you install the OS to make it a single large volume disk.

In Windows Home Server, however, a disk wizard will pop up to help you to decide. In case you just simply want to expand the storage space (for your data), it will automatically help you to merge those drives. So you won't have to remember all your data locations (eg. Picture in drive D, Video in drive E, and adult video in *cough* drive X...*cough*). Just go to drive D and all your files will be in there. As simple as that.

It's temporary sitting on top of my daily/gaming rig for better air circulation and easy for me to access. Naah, it won't fall down by itself, no earthquake anyway...*touch wood*. Oh yea, streaming media to PS3? Playing MKV files with PS3? No worries, just download and install this little program in your server and you will be able to enjoy your collection on your big screen in no time.