Blog of an Open Mind

Open Minded Thinking from the Open Minded Solutions team…

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Build your Own Computer – Pt. 4 – The final fiddling

September 19th, 2008 · No Comments

OK I actually completed this project some time ago but hadn’t got round to posting the last section which was simply putting the last few bits together and tidying up.

This was actually the easiest bit in terms of jumper identification as the Asus motherboard manual is so clear and concise so it didn’t present any great difficulty. Some parts like fitting the cables round the case to help airflow were tricky but the pictures below show the system with the final few parts added:

Sound card fitted into the motherboard

Sound card fitted into motherboard

Wiring looms hidden behind the back casing

Wiring looms hidden behind the back casing

The finished interior

The finished interior

Another view of the completed interior

Another view of the completed interior

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Build your Own Computer – Pt. 3 – Fitting the Motherboard & bits

September 9th, 2008 · No Comments

Well the motherboard finally arrived so I now have all the parts to crack on and finish this beast! A pic of the motherboard contents is below…

Motherboard

Motherboard


The “scariest” part for me was fitting the CPU as this is where it could all of gone horribly wrong. Luckily both the CPU and socket have notches to prevent incorrect insertion so that fear was largely unfounded.

Fitting the fan above the CPU was very tricky as I had to use some force to ensure the fan was secure over the CPU so I’m glad I did that before installing the board into the case. I also fitted my 4x1GB RAM sticks before wiggling the board into place on the built in risers and aligning the rear ports.

As you can see from the pic below, there wasn’t a lot of space left after I did this!

Motherboard fitted into case

Motherboard fitted into case

Now it’s just a case of plugging all the bits into the right place!

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Build Your Own Computer – Pt. 2 – Fitting the PSU…

September 4th, 2008 · No Comments

How do you get a square peg into a round hole? With great difficulty!

This is what I found today trying to squeeze this puppy into the case.

Although the Antec case has excellent routing and ducting to allow cables to move around the case without disrupting airflow, getting the bugger into the PSU cage is a feat of endurance!

On the plus side it’s incredibly solid and fully grommeted to eliminate vibration. Plus it has oodles of power for all the fans and the processor so this will all help keep the speed up.

PSU Fitted

PSU Fitted

The pic above shows the two raptors installed and the cables looking a little messy at the moment.

I’ll be tidying it all up tomorrow when the motherboard finally arrives…

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Build Your Own Computer – Part One

September 4th, 2008 · No Comments

Now surprising as this may seem from a geek like me but I have never actually built my own computer system from scratch although this has always been one of the things I’ve always wanted to do.

Faced with rising temperatures and sluggishness in my current system, I made the decision to upgrade the core components and custom build my own system.

Now before starting I decided to draw up a list of wants and needs. This obviously dictated what parts I purchased and the spec so…

  • Cooling is paramount due to the heavy usage
  • Multi-tasking speed due to the large nbumber of applications
  • Sufficient storage space for multiple disks
  • Ability to upgrade further in the future

With the fantastic help of Simon at Computer Products Limited, who also supplied all the parts at an excellent price, I settled on the following spec for the new machine:

The remaining components such as the RAM, graphics cards and two other disks were taken from the existing system to be added to new beast.

At the time of writing I’m just waiting for the motherboard to appear and then I can really crack on. I’ve have made a start and took some pics though:

Side view of the empty Antec case

Side view of the empty Antec case


Front view of the case with the hinged door open

Next job, fitting the PSU…

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Flogging a dead horse?

August 12th, 2008 · No Comments

Three years ago Alex Tew of www.milliondollarhomepage.com fame cam up with a fantastic and simple idea that made him a boat load of cash. He even popped up on a business forum I use when at the time I said it was a great idea:

http://www.shell-livewire.com/forums…?threadid=8598

His next idea www.pixellotto.com flopped miserably but now he is selling a limited run of 1,000 posters of the MDH home page with 100 signed by him:

http://www.milliondollarhomepage.com/poster/

This will easily net him a cool £25,000 in sales so is he a shrewd entrepreneur or is just lucky and flogging a dead horse?

Personally I think he had a great idea but just failed to capitalise on it’s success.

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Numpties of the highest order….

August 8th, 2008 · No Comments

We use one of the countries leading payment gateway services to download a small text file for updating currency rates for eCommerce stores.

This morning I downloaded 5,863 alert emails telling me the service had failed!

Logging onto their site someone has dropped a massive spanner and forbidden access to the text file! Ringing them got a “Oh thats odd, we’ll get onto it straight away” response.

Why the bloody hell do they change such critical stuff with no notice or thought?? It drives me nuts when companies as big as this just break stuff and then wait for someone to ring them. Idiots…

Now I can’t name and shame but lets say they operate a Secure environment for when you are Trading online….

And breath…

I feel better now

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WordPress permalinks are broken after upgrading to v2.6

August 7th, 2008 · No Comments

The latest realease of WordPress (v2.6) has a rather odd bug that is not only annoying but a massive show stopper. I came across the bug myself when I recently upgraded the blog last month and it’s popping up all over the place so I though a quick post would help…

In essence, the problem lies with how the permalinks are rendered by the WordPress code. After upgrading to 2.6 your permalinks may simply go to a built in 404 page. The problem is within the rewrite rules to produce sexy links and the fix is very quick and simple.

Log in to your WordPress admin section and then go to:

Settings > Permalinks

Scroll down and at the bottom under the optional section simply add /category in the category field and /tag in the tag field.

Click save and your permalinks should then start working again with no change to the actual structure of the URL itself.

And that’s it. Next week, how to save the planet from global warming and also a 10 second guide to becoming irresistible to women…

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More things you didn’t know or care about…

July 25th, 2008 · No Comments

Following on from the 300 things blog post (which generates an obscene amount of incoming traffic through Google weirdly enough), my beloved sent me this today on the email thang and it does tie in quite nicely…

Many years ago in Scotland , a new game was invented. It was ruled ‘Gentlemen Only…Ladies Forbidden’…and thus the word GOLF entered into the English language.

The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time TV were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than the U.S. Treasury.

Men can read smaller print than women can; women can hear better.

Coca-Cola was originally green.

It is impossible to lick your elbow.

Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.

The first novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer.

The San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.

Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from
history:
Spades – King David Hearts – Charlemagne Clubs -Alexander, the Great Diamonds – Julius Caesar

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.

Q. Most boat owners name their boats. What is the most popular boat name requested?
A. Obsession

Q. If you were to spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you would find the letter ‘A’?
A. One thousand

Q. What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser printers all have in common?
A. All were invented by women. (Of course)

Q. What is the only food that doesn’t spoil?
A. Honey

In Shakespeare’s time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes.
When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase……… ‘goodnight, sleep tight.’
(hmm don’t know if I believe this one either)

It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride’s father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon.

In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts… So in old England , when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them ‘Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down.’
It’s where we get the phrase ‘mind your P’s and Q’s’ (or this one)

Many years ago in England , pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim, or handle, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. ‘Wet your whistle’ is the phrase inspired by this practice. (hmm)

At least 75% of people who read this will try to lick their elbow!

I cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg.
The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in what oredr the ltteers in a word are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is that the first and last ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it wouthit a porbelm. This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?

And finally you know you are living in 2008 when…

1. You accidentally enter your PIN on the microwave.
2. You haven’t played solitaire with real cards in years.
3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three.
4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.
5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don’t have e-mail addresses.
6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.
7. Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen
8. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn’t even have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.
10. You get up in the morning and go on line before getting your coffee.
11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. : )
12. You’re reading this and nodding and laughing.
13. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.
14. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.
15. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn’t a #9 on this list.

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Have we been done over?

July 18th, 2008 · No Comments

Rumours abound that the blog is a source of malware. Well we did find a couple of naughty links in some of the posts so we’ve cleaned them up, deleted users, updated passwords, spun round three times on our heads and sacrificed a live chicken.

Oh we’ve also told Google to stop blocking us so hopefully normal service should resume shortly 😉

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Is Google becoming the new PayPal?

January 11th, 2008 · No Comments

For the first time since its launch, traffic to the Google Checkout system has exceeded that of PayPals more established serviced.

According to reports from Hitwise’s Robin Goad, for the first time Google has taken a small lead in the battle to become the number one eCommerce software payment provider of choice. Although only launched in the UK in the last 18 months, Google checkout has already proved incredibly popular when compared against PayPal, partly for the strong brand behind it but also for the sometime poor history PayPal has had in the past. This doesn’t of course mean that more transactions are being processed by Google Checkout but that cannot be far away…

Unsurprisingly, the majority, some 59.1%, of traffic to PayPal comes from its parent company eBay, 12.4% from Google (irony is always amusing) and only 2.2% from shopping and classified ad sites. Conversely, Google gets the bulk of its own traffic from retailers, a whopping 45.3%.

Retention is also a lot higher for Google with 43.4% of users visiting another shopping site after checkout against just 26.7% for PayPal.

This basically means that there are more users abandoning their carts using Google Checkout than those using PayPal.

This in itself is surprising as both gateways offer a clear and simple interface for eCommerce software providers and a rapid checkout is essential. In addition, the implementation of Google Checkout for eCommerce software solutions is actually more complex than the simple PayPal “Buy Now” button.

So what does this mean for eCommerce software solutions, store owners and shoppers?

Well Google certainly has the brand and traffic to push their solution forward whereas PayPal is owned by the largest Auction site in the world so they both have solid sources of traffic. Developers may be snubbing the complex interface of the Google eCommerce offering band shoppers seem to prefer the simplicity of PayPal.

The best solution for eCommerce software providers therefore is to offer a choice to their users which is why Open Mind Commerce supports both gateways as well as over ten other payment options.

Choice is good, choice is important, shoppers shouldn’t be restricted to just one solution and should be given the freedom to choose.

As for the future it will certainly be interesting to watch the battle of the giants shape up…

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