My New Computer

I have being using my old computer for almost 4 years, it is about time to retire. It took me a while to put together the specification for my new computer. The new branding scheme of Intel processors is very confusing. I had to read a lot to understand what’s the difference between i3, i5 and i7. At the end, I figure that I don’t really need hyper-threading, so I am OK with a quad core i5.

I picked i5 760 based on the review on Tom’s Hardware. It suppose to give me the most bang for the buck. I picked a medium range graphics card, AMD 5750, base on Tom’s review as well. I do not play much games so I don’t need a high end graphics card and save my budget. I am big fans of Asus motherboard, I forgot how long I have been choosing Asus, probably since high school days when I built my own computer. I got a Asus P7P55D-E which support RAID, SATA3 and USB3. Motherboard is something too much trouble to upgrade, so I better pick one that can address the need in the next few years.

Since I got a SATA3 motherboard, I get a Western Digital SATA3 hard drive as well. It seems SATA3 is still pretty new, WD is the only manufacturer has SATA3 offering. I settle for a 1TB hard drive since I can reuse my two 500GB SATA2 hard drive, run a RAID0 and turn it into another 1TB hard drive. My computer has 2TB internal disk space, plus an external 1TB hard drive for backup, that makes it 3TB in total. Moreover, hard drive is pretty easy to upgrade in the future if I need more disk space. I also have another 2TB backup drive connect to my router and three hard drives with a total of 800GB in my old computer. I have almost 6TB of storage in my house.

I go cheap on RAM this time and only got 4GB. The moment I installed Windows 7 and virtual PC, I regretted my decision and wish I had bought more RAM. My major concern is there is virtually no 4GB dimm on the market. If I want to get 8GB of RAM, I will have to buy 4x2GB dimm and used up all my RAM slot in the motherboard. I will just wait a bit and get another 8GB of RAM when 4GB dimm is more common.

I was talked into getting a pretty good computer case. I used to get the cheaper case on sales, but this time I got a Fractal Design R3 computer case. It looks really cool with the shinny pearl black look. Other than the looking good, it is very functional. It has air filter to prevent dust building up inside the case. All screws of the case has padding so the case is very quiet, it won’t have the annoying humming sound when the parts gets loose. The internal design is very smart, the opening of the hard drive bay turned 90 degree and facing up instead of facing the mother board. The wiring is a lot more tidy and make changing hard drive very easy. I keep my old mouse and keyboard, but I get rid of my old 4.1 speakers and get a pair stereo speakers. My old 4.1 speakers just has too many wires.

I have to install drivers and software for both my new and old computer. I reformatted my old computer and put it in living room using the LED TV as a super size monitor. It is nice to have a second computer in the living room so I can use the living room space as well. The two computers are hooked connected in home network and all the hard drives are mapped. I set up VNC for them so I can control one machine from another. The living room computer is connected to my Wii USB hard drive, so I can use it to transfer downloaded Wii games. Setting up my two computers took up all my free time in the past 2 weeks, that’s why I am really falling behind in my blog update. The old computer is up and running with essential software, I can focus in finishing setting up my new computer, so my life can go back to normal.


I finally got a Wii, 3 years later to the party. I didn’t buy it, I inherited it from my cousin who moved back to Hong Kong. Although the console is free, but it does not come with any controllers. So I have to spent some money to buy a few controllers. $15 a Wii remote with nunchuk from eBay, much cheaper than buying from Future Shop.

Believe it or not, I never own any gaming console. I never have a Red-white Nintendo, no a Sega, not Playstation, no XBox. I am used to playing games on my computer. Wii is the first console I have and I did not even buy it. The feeling of playing games on TV is quite different. I feel I have less piracy because anyone walk by can see my screen. Playing games on the couch is actually not as comfortable as sitting on office chair in front of the computer. The couch is designed for sitting lay back, passively receive the content from the TV. Playing Wii requires active interaction and naturally draw your body closer to the TV, which is not the most comfortable position.

I have been debating whether or not soft mod my Wii for a few days. On one hand, I don’t want to go over the trouble of soft mod the Wii and risk bricking it. On the other hand, I would never spend $50 on a game. At last I swallow my pride as an engineer, paid $40 and let someone soft mod it for me. Soft mod is a must for Wii to play download games. So far I have downloaded a dozen of games, I have spent a bit more some time playing Super Mario and the Gundam Wii game which I think eventually I may finish them. For the other games, I opened each one of them and lost interested pretty soon. I found playing Video game is just a waste of time in general, especially some games won’t foster any collective memory.

Other than playing downloaded games, the bonus of soft mod my Wii is the Home Brew Channel. (Read more at Wiibrew) I can run all soft of applications and thinker with my Wii. I installed Google Earth for Wii, a VNC client to copy my desktop from my TV over the Wii using the Wii remote as a mouse. The gold mine is really tons of ancient gaming console emulator. I can downloaded ROMs of old games from Snesorama and ROM Nation. I have played old games with emulator on my computer, but it’s different. You gotta play console games on a TV. I found I enjoy playing those ancient games more than the new Wii games. I feel like the Wii emulators finally filling the hole in my heart that I did not own any console game in childhood.





Free money

I just got $90 from BCLC (British Columbia Lottery Corperation) totally risk free. BCLC is the government charted lottery company in BC. They just started a new online casino business. In order to attract customers, they give out $100 token any new registered customer who deposit $100 into the account. As an engineer who had learn probability, I know those are free money at once. I can easily cash out the $100 by playing sicbo (big-small), betting on big and small at the same time. I lost a few games to triples, but since I only bet a small mount each time, I still have $90 out of the $100 after all the tokens are converted to cash.

I wonder how much money BCLC loss by luring customer this way. BC has 4.5 million population, times $100 per person, that comes to $4.5 billion. According to BCLC’s balance sheet, it only has $3.1 billion of net asset. If everyone in BC did exactly what I did, take the money and never come back again, we can bankrupt BCLC! Maybe anti-gambling organization should mobilize everyone get their $100 free money. What’s a better way to fight against gambling by bankrupting the casino?

On top of that, I suspect how many customers will BCLC get for their online casino. Gambling in a real casino, at least you can feel the physical atmosphere of a casino. Gambling in an online casino, it’s like just playing a crappy video game with poor graphics. Your money only shows up as a number on screen and all you can do is just making a few mouse clicks. What’s the fun of that? Since the odd is against gamblers, you already lost the moment you bet. Why would anyone want to lose money by clicking the mouse? I can click the mouse for a lot less money. Any reasonable mind would not find any amusement from gambling in online casino.