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, 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.

May 23, 2009

PROLiNK PHS100 USB Wireless Modem

The problem with Windows 7 is finally solved.  I was unable to get it connected to the Internet after I installed Windows 7.  The modem showed cannot find connection port, or failed to connect to the Internet.  Changed to XP compatible mode didn’t help, neither it works after I upgraded the modem firmware.

Perhaps I don’t know how to use Google properly, I just couldn’t find any answer to the problem.  No broadband means no life to me (freakin’ net addict I’m).  So, after some tried and error, I finally made it to work - by creating a new Dial-up connection under Connections tab in Internet Options.  Set the Phone number to *98# and leave everything else as default.  That’s it!  (Yup, it’s Celcom Wireless Broadband number.  I’m using it when I’m away from home).

The PROLINK 3G Modem PC Manager will “work together” with the newly added Dial-up connection.   Why is it that way?  Why can’t it work by itself?  That, I have absolutely no clue.  Due to Windows 7 is still a RC version, maybe?  But as long as I can get my netbook connected to the Internet when I need it while on the go, I’m a happy man.

May 22, 2009

Windows Live Writer - Error 403! Forbidden

I started to use Windows Live Writer couple of weeks ago, it comes with Windows Live.  One good thing about this writer is that it allows you to add various blog accounts, just like how you can add several email accounts in Windows Live Mail. 

However, I encountered a problem when I was trying to publish a blog with photo attached to my account.  The server will return an Error 403.  The problem could be due to Picasa Web Albums (, Google, and Picasa are all linked) doesn’t automatically create a specific album to store the pictures during upload. 

So, to overcome this problem, simple.  Just login to the Picasa Web Albums with your Google ID and create an album titled “Windows Live Writer”, and voila!  No more error 403 or whatsoever.  Pictures attached in your new blog will automatically store in that album. 

Happy Blogging!

Windows 7 on EeePC 1000H

News on Windows 7 is going like a hot cake on the Internet now. Microsoft claims it’s build based on users suggestions and comments. I missed out the Beta released which they actually send out the installation disc. So I downloaded the current RC 32-bit version image file, size is around 2.3GB. It’s a Windows 7 Ultimate version. Product key will be issued from Microsoft website after the registration (Yea, you need to register yourself before the download). Burn the image file onto a DVD-R and you will have your own copy of installation disc.

As stated on the website, this is a RC release. So expect some troubleshooting. It’s for consumers to try out 1st hand before the final release, which should be available around end of this year.

Anyway, after some readings on reviews on the Internet of how people experience it with their old machines, as well as some notebook PC and netbook are actually come available with Windows 7 Beta pre-installed, I put it on my Asus EeePC 1000H, which I have had the memory ram upgraded to 2GB the 2nd day I bought it.

Since my EeePC comes with Windows XP Home, so upgrade installation is out of the question. Fresh installation is the only way, but it was a breeze anyway. Boot from the optical drive and just follow the on screen instruction. It takes about an hour to complete (didn’t actually time it). Once reboot into desktop, you get a fresh and clean look of Windows 7.

Win7 Desktop

Picture shown above is my desktop in Windows 7. I have changed the wallpaper and have installed some programs to try out. I especially like how the taskbar look now, everything is icon-based. Items categorised more neatly than in Vista, menu looks excellent, date and time are shown together too, simply nice. Of course, to make it run more smoother under Atom, some visual effects such as animated controls and fade/slide menu will have to be compromised but have no worries it will affect your Windows 7 experience. Everything still looks good as it is.

Not sure if it’s because of the Ultimate version, compare to Vista Home Premium on my main PC, there are some extra settings to play with under Control Panel. Just in case something doesn’t work properly, the troubleshoot section is very easy to use too although it might not solve the problem (duh!!). It’s still a RC version…you’ve been warned. My Internet connection through office router was setup automatically and runs perfectly, but my Prolink wireless USB modem just doesn’t work although I’ve set it to XP SP2 compatible mode.

Just as most of the mobile users stated, battery/power management is one big improvement compare to the previous version. Users have stated that Vista has better power management than XP, and Windows 7 is more better than Vista. I’m not sure about Vista on EeePC but Windows 7 sure does it better than the Asus power management utility tool ran on XP before this. As of now after running for 3 hours, and countless times of PC restarting and programs launching/closing, I still have 45% of usage time. Previously, I’d be left with around 30-35% of usage time by now.

Overall, this is the best Windows ever. Just hope that it will be a “Woo~Waah” OS when it’s ready with no crash or BSOD...possible? Let’s keep our fingers crossed now.

May 21, 2009

TB Hard Drive

Just not too long ago IT enthusiasts were excited and talking about the 1TB hard drive.  It seems to be more than enough for our everyday digital storage usage, particularly at home for ripped DVD movies, digital photo and music storage.  Not only most of us can’t fill it up after we stored all of our digital files (except those hardcore users or torrent freak), we can even do a full PC backup on top of that.

Then, manufacturer announced and released the 1.5TB hard drive, and 1TB unit price dropped to a more wallet-friendly RM338, to be exact (available in Karamunsing, I myself just bough a couple of that weeks ago). 

Now, just recently, 2TB hard drive news pop up in all PC magazines.  Although priced at RM12xx at the moment, it will go down soon or later.   For those who don’t know, it’s around 2000GB (for easy calculation), or 2000000MB!  If an average mp3 file sized at 4MB, how many songs can we fit in a 2TB drive?  How about an average 700MB AVI files we ripped from a DVD movie?  How many of those files can we fit into this hard drive?  You do the maths.  My sister, an average PC user, got a shocked when I told her how far a hard drive capacity has gone to now.  She backup all her downloaded TV series on DVD-R then packed them nicely in shoes boxes (what a way..!).  So, I suggested her to get a 1TB or 1.5TB hard drive to store all her downloads then share them across the home network. 

For more advanced PC users, hobbyists, modders, or whatever name you like to call them, storage capacity can never be enough.  Especially when we are talking about ripping our media to the highest possible quality.  A MPEG2 DVD rip can go as large as 5GB, and 10 times or more for a BD movie.  So, with a 2TB drive to store DVD rips at average 5GB per file, that’s about 400 movies.  You say that’s a lot of movies?  Not to a movie freak.

I’ll build a media server once my house is ready, to serve the living rooms and home theater room.  Server storage capacity?  Well, currently targeting at a 10-bay PC case…and hard drive manufacturers are planning to roll out 3TB drive soon.

Welcome to the Terabyte Era!

May 18, 2009

My Home Network

Go to any IT or AV forum, you will find topics that are related to home network, for simply file sharing or multimedia streaming to every corner in the house, or even a more complicated ones. For my objectives, a simple one will do.

Anyway, the objectives of the setup are:
  1. Have a central data storage or home server;
  2. Media streaming to ground floor and 1st floor living room;
  3. Media streaming to home theatre;
  4. Media streaming to master bedroom;
  5. And, Internet access from all the location mentioned above.

I never really look into a central storage before and thus all my data files are spread across my PC, laptop, and several external hard drives. All without a central network. It can become frustrated and tedious sometimes when you need to access a file and only realized that it’s stored somewhere else. Besides, it won’t be more troublesome when my fiancĂ©e wants to browse through some stock pictures from business supplier while I’m in the middle kicking some monster ass.

So, to make things simple and for me to have an uninterrupted-entertainment session in the future, I bought a network attached storage (NAS) at a local IT shop couple of weeks ago. It’s a D-Link DNS-323, not the top end product but able to server me my requirement. This little thing can do more than just storing files. Product review is available here, or you might want to check out the official site. I asked for a NAS product few years back in CPS, and it cost around RM1K that time. I will see how this thing goes 1st, and later I will try out the Windows Home Server.

Anyway, since I’m the one who will do the download and movie/music ripping, this device will be sitting in my home office connecting to the home network via my Belkin N+ modem router. So in order to play the media stored in this device from other location in the house, I guess the best way is to stream to the HTPC in every location mentioned above. That way, not only I can enjoy movie/music, I can even go online with the HTPC. Why make myself only able to surf the web in the office, right?

Ok, time to copy all my media files to the device now. Not really a lot at the moment, but for sure it’s not going to be a few minutes job.

Until then…..

May 15, 2009

All These While…

Life has been busy, in everything, and I just realized that my last post was over a year ago…aaah, I’ve been lazy! 

Time flies, and so does technology.  Especially in IT industry, only the rich can lay hands on all the latest gadgets.  So what did I get myself in the past 14 months?  Not much I’d say…

After I got myself a new casing, as seen in the previous post, I spent quite some times on PC gaming, and was into home theater stuffs later in the year.  Which also burn a big hole in my pocket! 

After I had my home theater setup, I went back for some PC games again.  Followed by a new Razer Tarantula gaming keyboard, review here, and a Microsoft Razer Habu gaming mouse.  These toys weren’t cheap, but they will bring your PC gaming experience to a new level, if you know how to configure and utilize it.  Why settle you gaming peripherals with a cheap one?  20 bucks keyboard and a RM10 chicken-brand mouse sure can do the job you might say, then might as well we just stick to the granny black and white TV set.  Oh well, personal preference and hobby I’d say.  Even if our gaming skill doesn’t get improve, at least those toys will shine up our table.

Can’t recall when it actually started, PC performance items have found their place in some IT shops in Karamunsing Complex.  Although can’t compare with Lowyat in KL, at least local enthusiasts don’t have to order every single item from KL now.