Startup Control Panel (StartupCPL) is an awesome tool that lets you control exactly what programs load when you boot up your computer. Unless you just formatted, you probably have a bunch of crap loading that slows down your computer. Almost all of it can be turned off without breaking anything. Try it out and see how much time you can save.
I just upgraded my 16-month-old AMD 5000+ to an AMD 6400+ and my NVIDIA 7950GT-KO to an NVIDIA 8800GT and my 3DMark06 score of 5,704 rose to 11,338 (almost double). More importantly, games will be running more smoothly! :) I’ve been waiting to do this upgrade before playing through HL2:EP2, BioShock, Crysis, and CoD4. Hopefully I can find some time for gaming this summer!
One reason I chose the MSI NX8800GT video card is that it comes overclocked and runs cooler than most of the regular 8800GTs. It accomplishes this by taking up 2 PCI slots with its giant heatsink. Unfortunately it’s also so long that I had to remove a hard drive from the opposite side of the case just to make it fit! I need to consolidate my drives anyway, so this will give me some motivation.
Now I just need to get my Steam account working so I can play some games. For some reason I got locked out of it yesterday and their password reset process isn’t working so well.
If you’re interested in buying my used AMD 5000+ or NVIDIA 7950GT-KO just send me an email.
Their admin interface is really clean and fast, and they have tons of OSes to choose from. Check them out if you’re in the market for a host.
I installed Ubuntu on my desktop again since I felt like desktop Linux was getting much closer to a state where I’d be willing to make the switch. My experience has been so much better than previous Gentoo and Ubuntu installs (even my wireless worked out of the box!) but there were still a few critical things I had to fix myself.
Fonts in Linux look like crap by default. The Sharp Fonts tutorial solved all my ugly font problems in about 5 minutes. This is a problem I never actually solved the other times I tried Linux on the desktop. Now pages in Firefox look just like they would in Windows Firefox (crical for web development!). I realize that Microsoft won’t let anyone repackage and redistribute their fonts, but someone could still automate the Sharp Fonts tutorial and distribute the script with the default installation.
2. Mouse buttons
I have a Microsoft Habu mouse with buttons on the side that I like to use as forward/back buttons while browsing. Of course these didn’t work with the default xorg config but this tutorial on the Gentoo Wiki had the exact config I needed! Debugging this yourself can take a long, long time.
It turns out that Linux or Ubuntu aren’t really to blame for my sound issues. The Sound Blaster X-Fi card I have just has really bad Linux support. Is Creative good at making drivers for any OS? Luckily the onboard sound on my motherboard (Asus M2N32-SLI) works just fine and is supported by ALSA and OSS.
4. Firefox’s backspace action
I hadn’t realized this before, but I hit backspace all the time in Firefox to navigate back. I’m not sure why this is disabled in the default install, but it’s easily switched in about:config by setting the
browser.backspace_action preference to 0.
Some other thoughts about the switch…
- IEs 4 Linux – testing stuff in IE6 is now really easy! I’m not able to test IE7 without booting a VM, but luckily it behaves well most of the time.
- Thunderbird works much better with IMAP than I expected it to.
- I was hoping gedit would be more like Textmate than it is. This tutorial helps a lot, but I can’t find a way to get the keybinds to be the same. At the very least, I’d like emacs-style keybinds in gedit.
I’ve also been using Ubuntu as the OS on my new VPS from VPSLink.com which is hosting this site. More on them in the future…