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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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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!
Site Updates - November 1997
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