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[ The PC Guide | Site Guide | Version History and Old Site Updates ]

Old Site Updates - December 1997

December 27, 1997, 3:00 pm EST:

  • Business As Usual: Hi Everyone! OK, my mini-hiatus is over and I am back to work on the site. I hope all of you had a good holiday. (Or for you lucky ones still on vacation, hope you are still having a good one! :) ) This update will be a small one but in the new few weeks lots of new things will be happening related to the site.
  • Heatsink Guide Link: I added a link to The Heatsink Guide. This site has lots of excellent information on heatsinks, thermal compound, and other essential cooling matters related to CPUs.
  • Your Mileage May Vary: I received some feedback to my earlier comments about always using new inkjet cartridges in HP inkjet printers. It seems that some folks are having good luck refilling cartridges and saving a fair bit of money doing so. In some ways this is a tradeoff: refilling cartridges can save you money, but using new cartridges is the best way to keep the inside of the printer clean, and minimize possible problems with your printer. Cost vs. reliability is a common equation in the PC world.
  • Giant Magnetoresistive Heads: I added a new section to my page on hard disk read/write head technologies, with a couple of paragraphs on the new giant magnetoresistive (GMR) heads being used on the latest hard disks. This evolution from the more commonly-found magnetoresistive (MR) heads increases hard disk size and speed. They are used in IBM's new Deskstar 16GP and 14GXP hard drives.
  • Intel Class Action Suit Rebate: If you purchased a PC containing an Intel Pentium 120 or 133 MHz processor between October 23, 1995 and January 5, 1996 in the United States, you are entitled to receive a $50 rebate on certain Intel OverDrive processors. This is a result of a class action suit against Intel for overstating its iCOMP processor benchmark index. See this page for more details.

December 18, 1997, 11:00 pm EST:

  • Happy Holidays! Just want to wish Happy Holidays to all of you, my loyal readers. Have a great holiday season, and thanks for making The PC Guide so successful in its first three months.
  • Outta Here: As mentioned below I am starting my "Internet vacation" tomorrow. I will be responding to email when I come back on-line on the 23rd.

December 13, 1997, 11:00 pm EST:

  • "Internet Vacation": I spend a large amount of time online; it's not uncommon for me to be on the 'net for most of the day on weekends (off and on) and even during the week I am on a lot. I enjoy being online, but every once in a while I really need a break from the Web site and everything else. The only way to do it is to quit "cold turkey" for a while, what I call an "Internet Vacation". I'll be taking one of these from December 19th to December 23rd, and during this time will not be updating the site or responding to email. I'll post a reminder before I "go on vacation".
  • Thanks, Bill!: It has come to my attention that due to a bug in the Windows version of ScanDisk, those installing the Disk Edition to their hard disk drives may encounter errors using ScanDisk. This occurs because ScanDisk doesn't like the deep nesting of folders in the area of the Boot Problem Troubleshooter. Using the DOS version of ScanDisk, or Norton Disk Doctor, will get around this problem, but otherwise you will have to delete the Boot Problem Troubleshooter from your installation or tolerate these errors. Sorry, I will hopefully be able to fix this for the next version of the Disk Edition (even though it's really Bill's fault. :^) ) In the meanwhile I have added a note to the site and also updated the Disk Edition files themselves (costing me several hours, sigh).
  • Uncached RAM Update: I've added a paragraph to the section discussing RAM cacheability that addresses a common question: "What's the performance hit when putting more memory in a system than it can cache?" There's no simple answer to that question. I also wanted to make it clear that having uncached memory in a system is better than swapping to the hard disk. If adding more memory to your system than it can cache will prevent it from using the swap file--you should do it.
  • Windows NT Resource: I added a link to JSI Inc. This is a great resource on Windows NT, containing hundreds of tips and tricks, and also many Windows NT links.
  • An Artist I Am Not: Thanks to those of you who have already entered the Graphics Contest. I am pleased with the entries I have seen so far and hope to get a few more. Since I joined the Link Exchange and the contest isn't over for several weeks, I had to do a banner up myself until the contest was completed. Unfortunately, it really sucked. :^) I got some great advice and a banner to use in the meantime from Jay Tierney of Jay's Graphix, which seems to work well. Check out his site for some very cool stuff.
  • Minor Fixes: I fixed some more typos and made some more minor changes in various areas of the site.

December 11, 1997, 9:00 pm EST:

  • Somewhat Back to Normal: Sorry about the dearth of updates on the site of late. The cold I had last week extended well into this week, plus I've been busy with a lot of different things on and off the site. I am hoping to start some more new content towards the end of the month, and in the meantime will be busying myself with updates and fixes.
  • Chaaaaaarge It: I've had a number of people ask me about being able to use Visa or Mastercard for Disk Edition purchases. Well, it was a bit difficult to set up, but with any luck, I will be able to accept all of the major credit cards by the end of the month. I'll post an update when it's done.
  • Battle of the Modem Standards Over: It seems that finally, the 56K modem war between rivals Rockwell and US Robotics (now owned by 3Com) is over. The two giants have agreed on a new standard that both will support. Read more about this here.

December 6, 1997, 11:00 pm EST:

  • Disk Edition Update: Many thanks to those of you who have already ordered the Disk Edition. I made a few more updates to the pages describing it (including revising the 5 MB estimate for the download to 4 MB). The CD-ROM and download versions of the Disk Edition are now complete, and I hope to ship the first CD-ROMs on Monday. Those of who you ordered last week should be hearing from me soon. Thanks again for the support.
  • Graphics Contest: As I mentioned about a week ago, I am running a small contest for any of you artists out there who want to leave a permanent mark on this web site. :^) I need a logo and some banners for the site and since I have basically no artistic abilities, I hoped that some of you out there might be interested in helping out. Read this page for details on the contest, and thanks a lot to anyone who participates.
  • Hardware Quick Links: I have added a section to the front page that contains a button linking the System Optimization page. I hope in time to add several other buttons that go to some of the other good general hardware sites on the Web (which in turn will have similar buttons leading to mine). The "Hardware Quick Links" title itself takes you directly to my links area containing many more links.
  • Link Exchange Banners: I have added banners for the Link Exchange to the bottom of each of my pages. These banners are an effective way of helping me to get the word out about the site. This helps everyone, since right now I am spending far too much time just trying to promote this site, and I'd like to spend more time adding content to The PC Guide. I'll consider any feedback you might have on this.
  • Link Added to Thermalnet.com: I added a link to Thermalnet.com. Many common problem with PCs relate to thermal issues and cooling; this is a site that specializes in information and reviews of cooling products and related items. It also contains general hardware reviews, a hardware buyer's guide and more.
  • ATX Updates: I made a large number of changes to over a dozen web pages to reflect my experiences assembling a new ATX form factor PC last week. These include changes to Reference Guide pages on system cases, power supplies and motherboards, updates to the New PC Assembly Procedure and other changes as well. The New PC Assembly Procedure now reflects the requirements for building an ATX PC much better than it did before. I also added some more troubleshooting instructions to the Troubleshooting Expert related to power issues with ATX systems.
  • Wear Leveling Feature: I ran into a Western Digital hard disk this week that had a feature called "wear leveling". When idle, the disk moves the heads from track to track over the surface of the disk. The idea is to prevent the heads from resting in the same place over the surface of the disk, to reduce the chance of premature failure due to physical wearout. I have added information about this feature to the reference and troubleshooting sections on hard disks.
  • Overclocking Update: I made some minor tweaks to a couple of the pages on overclocking, as a result of feedback after my PC World News Radio feature last week.
  • Browser Control: I added a section to the file system optimization page describing how to rein in the browser cache to save disk space. (I featured this in a Tip Of The Day last week.)

December 2, 1997, 10:00 pm EST:

  • Huh, What Planet Am I On?: Well, it's that time of year again and I have a whopper of a cold, which is why the updates and tips of the day have been less frequent. Thanks for your patience, and try not to get too close to your CRT for the next few days while reading the site, as I wouldn't want you to catch anything. :^)
  • Disk Edition Update: The Disk Edition is basically complete. I have made the necessary changes and created the self-extracting archive. Being paranoid, I still have some more tests I want to do before declaring myself "done". I also have to thoroughly test the CD-R creation process. Due to the work still remaining and the item immediately above, it may not be until Monday that the first disks get sent out. I apologize for the slight delay.
  • ATX--Been There, Done That: OK, I just assembled my first ATX form factor PC today. Aside from struggling with an incorrect case component or two it went fine, and was not really that much different from doing an AT system. My six-word summary: costs more money, takes less time. I will be updating the Reference Guide sections on power supplies and cases, and the New PC Assembly Procedure, to reflect my experiences this week. Look for these this coming weekend.
  • Background Check: I've received some feedback from a couple of people saying that the background on the site makes it difficult to read the text. I am therefore considering changing the background, perhaps lightening it up or changing it in some other way. If anyone else has any comments on the background (good or bad) please let me know. Also let me know if you have any suggestions for a replacement background; it has to be something I can use for free (free includes no mandatory link to the source page) and something in a gray/white theme. Thanks for any help!

Next: Old Site Updates - November 1997


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