Tag: hardware

Entries for tag "hardware", ordered from most recent. Entry count: 21.

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# Unofficial Firmware for Canon PowerShot A610

Apr 2011

I have Canon PowerShow A610 digital camera. Today I've found a unofficial, free, powerful firmware for it, as well as other models from Canon. It's called CHDK - Canon Hacker Development Kit. Installation is quite easy and totally safe - it's enought to put the software onto SD card. On Windows this can be done with CardTricks application. The firmware adds some useful features, like:

I recommend this firmware to anyone who owns a Canon camera. Mine now looks like this:

Comments | #photography #hardware Share

# Digital Clock

Apr 2011

This entry won't be about programming, but still geeky :) I've recently bought a digital clock with projector and I like:

I like to keep an eye on all important parameters of my "system". In Windows, I just install Samurize and setup my config to show graph and current value of: CPU usage, physical memory load, network download/upload, disk read/write bytes/s and system IO bytes/s.

Under Linux/Gnome, I use System Monitor panel, which does similar job.

Similarly, I like to see "parameters" of my environment in real life :) The clock shows current time, date, day of week, as well as temperature and humidity. The equaliser visible at the bottom is a history of temperature difference from previous hours. Projector displays current time on the ceiling or wall, making it visible at night.

There are many kinds of such clocks. One should pay attention to whether it is powered by batteries only, turns on the display highlighting and projector only after pressing some button, or - just like mine - has a power supply and has the highlighting and projector on all the time.

Comments | #hardware Share

# On/Off Expo

Oct 2010

I've spent whole day on On/Off Expo that currently takes place in Warsaw. I've met many interesting people there from both gamedev.pl and demoscene. Poeple from demoscene organize a place there with "retro games" where everyone can play some games on old computers like Amiga or Commodore. But the rest of expo is about the newest and most advanced technology available to ordinary customer. You can find lots of hardware there like graphics cards, motherboards, pendrives, speakers, headphones, cellphones, 3D TVs and more. You can play on PC, Xbox 360, some driving and flight simulators, Guitar Hero, DJ Hero, Wii, Kinect and even the unreleased Tron Evolution game. Generally there are lots of attractions so if you live in Warsaw, I strongly recommend visiting the expo tomorrow. Here are my photos from this event. One of them:

Comments | #demoscene #hardware #events Share

# Radeon HD 5770

Apr 2010

I'm not a hardware specialist, so every time I want to buy something, I do a quick research to see what's currently available in stores, what's already a standard and what's an expensive novelty. Next I imagine in my mind a power(price) function and find its inflection point to see what product is most reasonable to buy ;)

I've been fan of Intel and NVIDIA, but I must admit that now my PC is dominated by AMD. Some time ago I wanted to buy a 4-core CPU. It turned out that Intel i7 processors are very expensive and that's how I've bought AMD Phenom II.

Now it's the same with graphics cards. I thought it's a good time to buy one with DirectX 11 support. I've been waiting for some time for these new cards from NVIDIA 4xx series, but now as they are available in stores I see they are very expensive, while I can have a GPU with DX11 support from AMD for about 600 PLN. My choice is Radeon HD 5770. It is not the most powerful card available (it actually has its power cut by half comparing to its higher versions), so I can see it's the speed what costs most. While for me the capabilities are more improtant. I just wanted a card with DX11 support. Of course AMD cards don't have CUDA technology, but well, it's vendor specific anyway while DX11 has Compute Shaders.

BTW, anyone wants to buy GeForce 8800 GT? :)

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# WTS Keyboard

Jan 2010

It definitely wasn't a good buy. I was dreaming about new keyboard with multimedia keys to control mp3 player instead of binding strange global hotkeys like Ctrl+Alt+Home, so I was more than happy when I chose nice looking A4-Tech X-SLIM KL-7MU model with USB, headphones and microphone extension cable. It was part of my hardware upgrade together with new processor, motherboard, monitor and more. I've also installed Windows 7 then.

It took place 1.5 months ago and I've experienced many things since then. Most things work fine but I couldn't get rid of strange feeling that coding on my new computer is less comfortable than before. I blamed it on Windows 7 and I was partially right as there is a scandalous flaw in this new Microsoft product - GUI is no longer hardware accelerated! So it's no suprise that I can often see windows and controls being drawn as I move them, scroll them or type my code, even after turning off all the animations, transparencies and even all this beautiful Aero. As a proof, look at this YouTube video: Windows 7 GUI slowness. I just feel like working under Linux before installing graphics drivers. What a shame, a big step backward...

But after comparing my experiences from work with these from home I've noticed that it has to do something with the keyboard. I've always been opposing to "flat", laptop-style keyboards and my new A4tech one is just like this. So I returned to my old-school, white keyboard. Now the GUI of Windows 7 still annoys me a bit, but coding is much better. You may tell it's the matter of taste but as for me, I'm sure now that I prefer to code on a keyboard with high "step", where I can clearly see, hear and feel whether I've pressed particular key or not. I just type faster and make less mistakes on such keyboard. I'm also sure it's not the matter of getting used to it as I tried to use laptop-style keyboard now for more than a month as well as for three months when I've been in USA and in both cases I couldn't start to like it. So now I want to sell my new great keyboard (see the auction). Anyone interested? :)

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# Unusual Devices at Work

Oct 2009

One of the best things in having a real job as a programmer is working with unusual devices that cannot be seen in an average house. For example when I worked at Microsoft I've been using a KVM - a device that allows a user to control multiple computers from a single keyboard, video monitor and mouse. At Metropolis Software we had Xbox 360 Devkits - gray boxes a bit taller than normal Xbox 360, which could execute and debug game code developed on the PC. And now in Cyfrowy Polsat we have numerous strange boxes doing different things, like RedRat, which simulates IR remote control.

I'm also dealing with a PDU (Power Distribution Unit). It can supply many devices and outlets can be turned on/off programatically via SNMP protocol. By the way, SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) is a UDP-based protocol for monitoring and controlling devices connected to a network, such as routers, advanced switches, printers etc. It looks like a hierarchical "property grid" with variables of different types (like string or number), which can be queried and set. There are many client applications, both free and commercial - just look at the list at SNMPLink.org portal. When it comes to libraries for programmers, I've found free Net-SNMP for C and SNMP++ for C++.

Comments | #hardware #networking Share

# Dobry zakup: Pendrive Kingston DataTraveler 150

Feb 2009

Podobno wielkim wyróżnieniem dla firmy jest, kiedy jej marka staje się nieoficjalną nazwą wszystkich podobnych produktów. Tak było z określeniem "walkman" na przenośny magnetofon czy "adidasy" na wszystkie buty sportowe, tak jest też z określeniem "pendrive" na przenośne pamięci flash.

Taki właśnie pendrive kupiłem sobie ostatnio i gorąco polecam. To Kingston DataTraveler 150. Dałem za niego na Allegro ok. 180 zł. Jego pojemność to 32 GB. Ponadto jest bardzo szybki - jego prędkość to (samodzielnie zmierzona, a nie deklarowana): odczyt 30 MB/s, zapis 15 MB/s. Dla porównania, mój poprzedni Kingston 2 GB miał odczyt 10 MB/s. Poza tym bardzo dobrym rozwiązaniem jest, że na czas podłączenia USB skuwkę można zatknąć od drugiej strony zamiast kłaść ją gdzieś na biurku, gdzie łatwo może się zgubić.

Pendrive Kingston DataTraveler 150

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# WD Raptor: Nieudany zakup

Nov 2008

Kupując rok temu nowy komputer pomyślałem sobie, że tym co najbardziej wszystko spowalnia jest w dzisiejszych czasach prędkość dysku. W końcu uruchamianie systemu, włączanie programów, ładowanie planszy w grach - to są te chwile, w których procesor czeka na wczytanie plików.

Początkowo chciałem zbudować sobie macierz dysków RAID. Po małym rozeznaniu stwierdziłem jednak, że sprawa nie jest prosta. Po pierwsze, RAID 0 jest szybki, ale mało bezpieczny, bo awaria któregokolwiek z dysków powoduje utratę danych. Po drugie, szybki i bezpieczny RAID 5 nie jest obsługiwany przez płyty główne, a jedynie przez dodatkowe kontrolery kosztujące od 1000 zł. Po trzecie, taki RAID od płyty głównej nie działa sam z siebie - trzeba go instalować w systemie, co może być kłopotliwe, kiedy ma się trzy różne systemy operacyjne.

Postanowiłem więc być sprytniejszy i kupić sobie superszybki dysk, który ma 10000 RPM (obrotów na minutę - zwykłe dyski do pecetów mają 7200 RPM). Kupiłem WD Raptor 74 GB płacąc za niego niemało. Teraz z całym przekonaniem chciałbym przyznać i przestrzec - to nie był dobry zakup. Taki dysk faktycznie jest szybszy, ale przyrost prędkości nie jest aż tak duży, żeby zrekompensować wysoką cenę (w tej chwili za nieco ponad 200 zł można kupić zwykły dysk o pojemności 500 GB). Co najgorsze, Raptor okropnie hałasuje charcząc podczas czytania i pisania tak jak te stare dyski sprzed 10 lat. W dzień to jest fajne, bo słychać kiedy dysk pracuje bez spoglądania na lampkę, ale w nocy nie daje spać.

BTW: Chce ktoś kupić dysk? 74 GB, bardzo szybki, cichy i tani ;) Zapraszam do mojej aukcji: Allegro: WD Raptor 74 GB, 10000 RPM - WD740ADFD.

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