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.




Programming a 4D Systems Serial Display With an Arduino Board

I’ve just begun working on a new project and I’ve very briefly been playing with a 4D Systems serial display (the uLCD-32PTU to be precise), ordered from Sparkfun. I figured there was no way I was gonna drop any coin on their proprietary 4D Programming cable, because from what I read it just uses a standard FTDI chip. Fortunately I had my Arduino Duemilanove kicking around, which has the USB interface with a built in FTDI controller (as do most Arduino boards) .

This one’s dead simple, so long as you have a removable ATMega chip in your Arduino.

For Arduino’s with removable chips:

  1. Remove the ATMega chip
  2. Connect +5V, GND, Rx, Tx, and RESET straight from the serial display to the appropriate, matching pins of the Arduino’s header. You might mix the Rx and Tx up like I did the first time around; Rx on the display goes through the line marked Tx on the included 5-pin header cable and connects to Rx on the Arduino (so, ignoring the cable, Rx to Rx). Same idea for the Tx line.

If your chip isn’t removable, it’s more complicated (and might not work):

  1. Disable the ATMega chip by tying the RESET line to GND.
  2. Do the same as step 2 above, but do not connect the RESET line.
  3. The 4D Serial Display requires a momentary RESET pulse before the code can be loaded onto it (this is the DTR leg of the FTDI controller). Unfortunately, the DTR leg was tied to GND in step 1. You’ll have to manually trigger the RESET on the serial display right before it’s programmed. To do that you have to connect the display’s RESET to GND momentarily, right before the code download is initiated. It’s a matter of good timing (and would really, really suck for development purposes).


Of course, this could be applied to any board that is programmed through an FTDI controller. Hope it helps someone.


Shadow passed away last night at the age of 13.5. She really was a great friend. She was incredibly energetic, always showing off her toys, always looking to play a game. Whether the game be catch, or tug of war, or simply trying to avoid being fooled… “Who’s here!? Go see!”… she always loved to play. And yet she was so caring and emotional. If I were upset, she’d come nestle her head under my arms looking for a smile. When I came home from a semester of university, she’d ignore me for a few hours as her way of saying “Why the hell were you gone so long?”  My family has a lot of great memories with Shadow and all of her funny quirks. One of my favorite memories with her was going down to the river bottom.

Shadow’s all-time favorite place to go was the river. It was her Disney Land.


Her favorite thing to do at the river was play fetch with rocks. You could tell she considered herself a pro. She’d eagerly await a pebble thrown her way from the shore so she could show off her skills.


The pebble was too small for her to see sometimes, but once she heard the sploosh as it struck the water, she’d take off for it, sloshing through the knee-deep water.


Arriving at the drop zone, she’d start feeling around for the right rock. Sometimes it would take her several minutes as she sorted through all the rocks with her little paws, but she knew exactly what she was looking for.


Once she found it, she’d drop her head in for a final visual inspection and retrieval.


And then she’d erupt with the biggest boulder her mouth could possibly fit.


She’d carry it around for three or four paces just to show how awesome she is, then plunk it back into the water. It was very important to her that you immediately threw another rock for her to find, otherwise she would freak out. “THROW A ROCK I CAN’T WAIT ALL DAY.” (She took lessons from my dad.)


Pebble after pebble, she’d pull up the biggest rocks she could find.


Because little rocks are for sissies.


And Shadow was awesome.




But really, she just loved playing in the river.


When it was time to go, she’d downright refuse to get out until we were practically driving away.


Eventually she’d force herself to come out.


And as we drove away in the truck she looked incredibly sad.


But I know she had great memories of the river. And great memories of her life. I’ll always have great memories of you, Shadow.