Aww yeah, thanks Nest!

So after my silly Garage Heist dropcam video gained moderate popularity, the fine people at Nest Labs decided to send me some free stuff! Everything I will need to thwart future heists.

The card puts it over the top. This really put a smile on my face today.

2013 Computer Build

Decided to build myself a new computer. I’ve upgraded everything less the keyboard and mouse. I’ve tried to go with top-end parts.

Monitors (x3): Dell Ultrasharp U2412M 24″ 16:10 IPS
Processor: Intel Core i7-4770K Haswell
Liquid Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H110
Video Card: EVGA GTX780 Superclocked w/ ACX Cooler
Motherboard: Asus Z87-Pro
Memory: Corsair Vengeance Pro 16GB (8GBx2) DDR3-1600 CL9
System Drive: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB SSD
Game Drives: Crucial M4 128GB x 2 (256GB raid 0)
Storage Drives: Seagate Barracudas 3TB x 4  (6TB raid 1)
Power Supply: Corsair Professional Series Gold AX850
Case: Corsair Obsidian 550D Quiet Mid-Tower
Speakers: Logitech Z906 5.1 THX Speaker System
Headset: Sennheiser HD280 Pro
Mouse: Logitech G700s
Keyboard: MaxKeyboard Nighthawk X8 Cherry MX Brown


Here are a few shitty pictures in case you don’t know what computers look like.


The computer is hidden behind the desk.




August 2006 – Modding my computer case

[Back when I was 16, I guess I had nothing better to do than modify how my computer case looked. Here is a forum post I made.]

In the past 2 weeks or so,  I’ve been messing around modding my computer case and improving the things that I just didnt like. 

My case is (was?) an Aspire X-plorer ATX mid tower case. Here are pics with possible brief descriptions of what I’ve done.

First, here are some pics of my case before I did any modding to it:

Now here are quite a few shots of what it looks like now after many hours in the garage =P:

Here you can see how I stealthed the DVD drive. (among other things)
This pic shows the switches (in the 3.25" bay) I put in to turn off certain fans and the cathode lights so I can actually sleep at night. Also seen here is the 120mm fan I cut in (with a wholesaw, of course...) and the new mesh i made because the old thing was just fugly, IMO.
Another shot of the custom mesh cover I made, with the fans and light switches off ('Cause c'mon, I gotta show off the craftmanship here =P)

To make the mesh into the exact spot it belongs it took several steps. First i traced the outline of the old mesh with a pencil. Then i scanned the piece of paper to my computer. After a half hour of work, I finished the template. I took a peice of wax paper, taped wide masking tape to it, cut it to 8.5x11, put it in the printer, and printed off a template. I pasted it to the new mesh I needed to cut out. The black outside edge is what I needed to cut, and the red line was where i needed to meticulously bend the mesh.
Onto the side panel: I cut a much larger window out as you can see. For window trim i took 14awg wire and stripped the insulation off in a clean motion, and put it on the edges. It worked out quite nicely. It is held on just by the pressure of the screws holding the window on. In the inside I put a case temp display in the top right corner. I painted the chassis white to glow nicely and contrast the black case. I added a Zalmon CPU cooler. I painted the handle (w/e it is?) of the door white to add contrast.

I cut the top window out to match the side panel (notice the side window near the handle and the top window near the fan). You can see how I also windowed my dvd drive and I also took my Aspire PSU (I know you guys hate these PSU’s – jeez they’re fine IMO…) and slightly modified it so i could make it face up, so that you can see its clear case through the top window. The 80 mm fan I cut in couldnt have fit any better since there is little room between the PSU and DVD drive to fit a fan.

Here's a better picture of the top.

[Sidestepping a bit,  here is a different post I made about the DVD drive]

To the right is a picture of my DVD drive. This morning I woke up with ambitions. I decided to hack up my drive, wire some LEDs into it, window it, paint it, and hope it still works.

This is a blurry pic of my wiring for the LEDs, seen from the underside of the drive (without the cover on).
From the top view, you can see how I arranged the LEDs.
For the covers, I cut the inside cover (underneath the very outer top cover) to a allow for a lot of exposure of the disc. I cut the outer cover to a large rectangular shape.
I then cut, placed, and riveted some acrylic plexiglass to to the top. I painted all the covers white (my case chassis is white)

 [Now back to the original post…]

Here are a few before and after GIFs of my case.

A shot of the inside of the case.
Another shot of the inside.

Some mods worth mentioning that I never explained:

  •  removed the four lit corners on the front of the case and painted the clear plastic they were black.
  •  painted the power and reset buttons white to match the theme
  •  cut out the rear fan mesh and put a 120mm fan in

And finally… A shot of the entire finished product:

Suggestions, questions, and comments are extremely appreciated!


[The end. I was really proud of what I made and had a lot of fun. The computer is still being used today.]

Expensive Electronics I Hate

1. BlackBerry Bold 9000 and BlackBerry Bold 9700

I went through two Bold 9000’s. The trackball on both of them ended up becoming completely unusable. My friend also owned a 9000 (owns a new one now) – the standby button broke and then later on the trackball went as well. My dad also had a 9000 work phone – the trackball went on it. I thought that the Bold 9700 would remedy my issue, since it does away with the trackball. Well, the tracking is no longer an issue, but after a couple months of use my screen randomly goes all effed up; that’s the only way I can describe it – here’s an image. On the other hand, I’ve owned an iPod Touch 2g since before my first BlackBerry, and I have never had an issue with it, and the App Store completely destroys BlackBerry App World. Needless to say, I plan on getting an iPhone 4 in the coming months.

2. Razer Mamba

Before I purchased this $160 mouse I read countless consumer and professional reviews, all of which stated this mouse was the second (first) coming of Jesus Christ, more or less. It’s an OK mouse, but I wouldn’t pay more than $50 for it. When in wireless mode, the battery lasts about 5 hours. Even in wired mode, I occasionally (not often) experience a complete loss of mouse movement, and I need to unplug the mouse and plug it back in – it’s a software issue, not a USB cable or power issue. Speaking of software, the Razer control panel is a piece of garbage. Profile management is completely broken; in order to add a profile I ended up having to add a text entry in one of the .ini files. After having more than one profile, I realized the auto-switch upon loading a game rarely works, and if it does work it doesn’t auto-switch back when the game is closed. The macro functionality doesn’t work either, at all. I can’t describe how utterly useless this Razer control panel is. What I can do is change what every button does, change the dpi and scroll sensitivity, polling rates, and lighting. There is an on-the-fly display for the DPI settings; unfortunately, it doesn’t overlay on top of DirectShow – i.e. you can’t see it while playing any games. The button location for DPI changing is at the top left of the mouse. Half of the time I find myself left clicking while I stretch my index finger over the top to change the DPI settings, even after months of practice. On my old Habu, the DPI buttons were behind the scroll wheel – a perfect fricking location. On top of all that, when I restart my computer the DPI setting defaults back to 5600 DPI. That being said, the mouse looks awesome, and I am convinced most reviewers are deceived by the eye candy and the amount of money they blew on it. No one wants to admit they wasted money. Please don’t buy this mouse.

3. Nintendo Wii

Super Smash Bros. Brawl came out and I wanted it bad. I bought a Wii, a couple controllers, and Brawl. It was an impulse purchase. After a month of Brawl I was bored. I ordered a mod chip – and I did enjoy installing it and troubleshooting my problems – probably the most fun I’ve had with my Wii. Anyway, I downloaded loads of games, the only one I liked was Super Mario Galaxy. A couple months ago my friend told me about how he had all his Wii games running off of an external hard drive. I bought a new external to do the same for my Wii. I downloaded loads of games again, about 25 in total. I thoroughly enjoyed New Super Mario Bros. Wii. I also enjoyed Super Mario Galaxy 2, although I haven’t played very much of it. All the games I have downloaded are considered the “best of the best”, or “crem de la crem” for you Frenchies out there, and I like about 4/25 of them. Needless to say, the Wii sucks because almost all of the games suck, really, really bad.

4. TI-83 Plus

I can’t believe high schools force students to buy these over priced, out dated, massive pieces of shit. For $100 you get a 96×64 monochrome screen, a 6MHz processor, 512KB of ROM (of which about 350KB are used by the OS), and I think they might give you 4 AAA batteries in the box if you’re lucky. Hell, if you already own an iPod Touch or iPhone you can get a virtual TI-83 from the App Store. For $220 the Touch will get you a 480×320 LCD screen, 833 MHz processor, 256MB of DRAM, 8GB of storage, internal Lion battery, and all the other shenanigans like Wifi and Bluetooth. Oh, and it comes with a cable to connect it to your computer – you have to order one separately for the TI-83.

Wacom Bamboo Pen Tablet

Yesterday I had an overwhelming urge to buy something, since I had a pocket full of gift cards from Christmas. I landed upon the tablet pens at Future Shop and thought they might be fun to try. Given the history of items I have randomly purchased, I knew there was a very good chance I would be taking it back. Needless to say, I bought the Wacom Bamboo Pen Tablet.

The pen itself is fascinating. It’s wireless. It has buttons. It doesn’t use batteries. How the hell? After some googling, I got the jist of how it works. From what I gather, there is a grid of wires inside the tablet pad. When the pen becomes close enough, the grid induces a current into a small winding inside the pen which is then stored in some capacitors momentarily. This magnetic coupling with the grid also provides all the tracking information when the pen is hovering above the pad. Pretty epic if you ask me.

So anyway, here is what I think.


– The pad feels very well made. The plastics are nice and everything is solid.
– It’s very sleek and pleasant to look at.
– The pen tracks exactly how I’d want it to track. It feels accurate.
– Pressure sensitivity works well in Fireworks and Photoshop.
– The pen is weighted well.
– Battery-less design is very nice.
– Three extra pen tips are included.


– There isn’t many options for the programmable pen buttons. The default settings are pretty good though.
– The “Bamboo Pen” does not have an eraser on the back of the pen, and yet the “Bamboo Pen and Touch” does. This doesn’t make sense. I want an eraser =(.
– The dual monitor support is flawed. When using multiple monitors, the horizontal tracking is faster than the vertical tracking and it impossible to draw properly with. An option to only track on one monitor is needed. I have to disable one of my monitors to use the pen properly. This is a big issue.
-The pen is a little too fat for my liking.

Overall, the pen is good. I’ve had a ton of fun trying to paint and draw with it for the past day. There is no way I will be taking it back. Here is a painting I did with it earlier today. I’m not exactly an artist, hopefully I can get better.

School, Games, Computers

Lately I haven’t had much motivation to post about anything. I’m now settled in Edmonton for another year of school, and everything is going smoothly; however, Math 201 (Differential equations) and Math 209 (Calc. III) are freaking me out. The last few lectures pretty much everything has been going over my head.

Besides school, not much else is new. I bought NHL10 this week for my PS3, and it’s a pretty awesome game. There isn’t any major gameplay changes, but it feels like they made a ton of minor tweaks to enhance the realism. One popular “enhancement” I don’t like: fighting after the whistle. a) It slows down the games pace a lot, and b) my cpu team-mates like to take penalties during this time and it’s frustrating.

I also tried Resident Evil 5 and Need For Speed: Shift for the PC:

RE5 was a let down to me. The controls are very sluggish with a keyboard and mouse. It’s pretty pathetic that I have to use my Xbox 360 controller on a PC shooter in order to have decent controls. Other than controls, the game is beautiful and immersive.

Quite surprisingly, Need For Speed: Shift is an excellent game! I’ve only played a few races, but I’m impressed. The graphics are a little dated, but the driving mechanics have been overhauled to handle more like a racing simulator. The game just feels good.

Oh yeah, and I ordered a new printer and a new mouse from

The printer is a monochrome laser Brother HL2140. It is my third printer in less than a year. I’m quite happy with it, but then again I said that for the last two printers.
Pros: only cost $72.57; short power-on time; fast 23 ppm; relatively quiet; crisp text; cheap toner; compact; large paper tray
Cons: no duplexing ability (not even manual); included toner rated at 1000 pages while replacement toner is 1500 pages

As for the mouse, it’s a Razer Mamba! Right off the bat, let me just say I have no rational reasoning as to why I ordered this VERY expensive mouse. The last few months I have been looking for a new mouse since my Habu continued to have a double-clicking issue. I clicked through lists and lists of mice, and the Mamba is honestly the only one that caught my eye. I would have went with the Logitech MX Revolution but I HATE the free scrolling wheel ability (because it comes at the cost of the middle click). So anyway, the Mamba is amazing. Everything about it is pure overkill. I’ll do a mini-review in another post.

And one more thing. My friend Simon altered his website so his Facebook status would automatically update in his website description. Not to be left out, I found a widget that would do the same for me. It’s called StatusPress. I particularly like this version. It was kind of a pain the ass to find/make a Facebook RSS feed of my own status. This used to be very easy, it was right on the main page. Instead, I had to make a new Facebook account, add the real me as a friend, find the notes page and copy the rss link, then edit the rss link so it was for status instead of notes. Why Facebook, why…?

Huge Flash Drive

DataTraveler 300Well, someone said my posts are too long to bother reading, I’ll try and make them shorter and more to the point from now on. Yesterday I was thinking about how wicked it would be to have a huge flash drive. Today I read that Kingston is going to produce the DataTraveler 300 touting a 256 GB capacity. This excites me. It’s only a matter of time before this kind of high capacity flash memory makes it’s way to mp3 players and cell phones. *drools*                                                               Source: