Amp's blog

Amp Blasts: Intel

Note: Like always, this is intended to be somewhat comedic despite having some elements of truth.

Today, I take aim on the biggest CPU maker for personal computers, Intel. The reason that I am taking aim against them though is not for the reasons most people think I would. The reality is that Intel's products are better than AMD's products since the introduction of the Core 2 Duo and the introduction of the Core i5 and Core i7 has solidified this further. However, there are a couple of things that I strongly take issue with.

First off, there is the OTHER hardware that it makes such as it's sound hardware, networking hardware, and graphics hardware. While their high end networking hardware is high end, most of their products are not and are lower quality. The sound hardware used is of the AC'97 sound codec design and does not use hardware acceleration, which I consider to be a huge step backwards compared to prior generations of sound hardware. There is also the graphics hardware, which has been nothing short of terrible for most things practical until enough people finally galvanized Intel to including it on the processor itself, but it is still nothing to write home about. They need to stick with making higher end equipment and stop making lower quality work as it is not making them any legitimate profit in the end due to it being practically given away.

Then there is the Intel Atom, which I consider to be nothing short of a war crime of a processor. This 1.6 ghz design was used for net-books and could not handle videos worth anything. While it did get better, it was a mediocre product and the move to Haskell shows that Intel does acknowledge this since it is going to become a relic of the past. This is not my biggest gripe however.

Amp Blasts: Newegg

Like always, these are my views and opinions and are protected by the SX usage policy.

I may take some nuclear shit for going after Newegg as most of us have used it to buy hardware at some point. For that matter, I will mention that I used this site to purchase my motherboard, processor, and ram as the deals were very good and the vendor warranties made these purchases can't miss. However, some recent issues that have come to light are those that I feel need to be mentioned. With that in mind, let's talk about a few of these.

First off, the Egg Saver shipping, is not good at all. The best example of this is that I am STILL waiting on Heart of the Swarm to arrive, which I pre-ordered and it shipped from less than TWO STATES AWAY. This item shipped out a week ago and this has become outright abysmal to where I will have to contend with their support over this should it not appear in the next couple of days. Seriously, if the shipping is egg saver, you're fucked.

Then there is the bigger issue at hand with regards to some of their deals as recently, Newegg is starting to push the horrific scam known as Mail In Rebates. I remember Circuit City doing this for quite a while, and they kept getting in trouble for it until they finally stopped it. There are countless sites that talk about how awful these are and I don't really want to go into detail. Suffice it to say, I refuse to hand over any money outside of advertised price, as such I consider a price mentioned with mail in rebate to be nothing but a load of bullshit.

The biggest issue at hand is how they wish to try to hit people with RMA costs even when it shouldn't happen. This practice is nothing short of dirty and only hurts the customer. If a piece of hardware is unsatisfactory or does not work as advertised, this charge should NEVER happen. This is the biggest reason why I've went for products that had warranties OUTSIDE of Newegg.

Mini-Review: Tunnelr VPN service

Recently, I did a blasts post about the six strikes policy. While it was changed to only go after public torrent sites, it does feel like more and more the monitoring and filtering is reaching a point where it is unacceptable. As a result, I decided to test out the Tunnelr VPN service at RaT's recommendation. Now for my usage I opted to go for the OpenVPN solution, but there are also SSH and PPTP tunnel services available through them. Overall, it is about what I expected in terms of the good and bad when using a tunnel service.

The good aspect is that on a wired connection, you get a consistently good connection so speeds should be close to your maximum. However, I can confirm that on Windows OpenVPN is MUCH slower on wireless so do take that into consideration. Another issue at hand is that as there are many people using these servers, there may be issues with users who may be using tunnel services for nefarious methods and google will block searching from whatever it considers to be nefarious or use a CAPCHA to confirm that you are a real user. Aside from this, I have had a pretty good experience with this service and would recommend it to people who want a good tunnel that focuses on anonymity but without having to spend a considerable amount of money.

Nvidia's TITANIC: Set up to sink!

Recently, Nvidia launched the TITAN videocard which is intended to be the end all, be all single GPU videocard which could have really helped give them an advantage over AMD. With rumors of the Radeon HD 8000 series being pushed back towards the end of the year, there are no new products in sight from that series. However, it was the handling of TITAN that doomed the videocard.

The basic reality is this, I mentioned in a blasts post that videocards going over $400 was madness. In the case of this videocard, it is $1000 which I find to be just outright stupid given the fact that performance for it is not as good as the Geforce GTX 690 videocard, a dual GPU card that is the same price. I know that the compute speed of this videocard is considered to be a noted improvement over the 600 series, but what's the point. If Nvidia is going to price they products so that they are almost guaranteed to fail then they shouldn't be surprised when they do.

Amp Blasts: Membrane Keyboards

I don't know what the hell is the deal, but in many cases it feels like the quality of computer peripherals has went backwards in recent years. While USB is great for mobile storage, it is a definite step backwards for game controllers due to the poll based nature having a delay whereas the interrupt based nature of Parallel ports and PS/2 ports did not have this. There is also the fact that sound in PCs went backwards due to the remove of hardware accelerated sound in Windows Vista and 7. (Oddly enough, Windows 8 actually brought this feature back so as much as I hate to say it, Microsoft did SOMETHING right with that release.) The biggest issue though is how in the past 20+ years we have actually went backwards with regard to keyboard quality.

Now, most people won't think of this and most people under 25 don't know this, but most keyboards from the 80s were mechanical by design. Mechanical keyboards used physical switches to determine if the key has been pressed. As a result of these switches, we would have a strong, tactile response given from them. However, mechanical keyboards are rather expensive, with the starting price for a good entry level solution being in the $90 range.

The overwhelming majority of keyboards that are used these days are membrane based keyboards. These types of keys require the key to be pressed completely down and are rather mushy by comparison. What makes this worse is that for people who have higher amounts of finger strength (Hi RaT!) they will die within 2-3 years. Furthermore, while they are rated for 5 million keystrokes on a key, they usually fall strongly short of that number, whereas mechanical keys are rated for 50 million keystrokes and the switches can be replaced on an individual basis with relative ease.

Amp Blasts: The Six Strikes Policy

Well, after years of misunderstanding how to utilize the internet so that rather than worry about piracy, they could make more money by using it as a tool to better serve potential customers, it seems that some companies finally got their way. The whining, moaning, bitching, and complaining done by the MPAA, RIAA, and numerous other entertainment companies now has us facing an imminent threat to our own security and privacy. There are many murmurs that at some point this month, the six strikes policy will go into effect with five of the largest ISPs. The truth of the matter though is that we need to show them that we won't tolerate this.

The basic fact of the matter is that the six strikes policy is broken as all hell. The truth is that some people will be deterred from using torrents to keep from being flagged. However, the MarkMonitor system used did falsely flag HBO's website for copyright infringement even though the content posted on the site was for its own shows. In light of this, I think that there will be some major instances of false flagging unless major improvements are made to the software.

What is of greater concern is the increasing loss of privacy. At what point did we agree to give ISPs the right to snoop to what we are using the internet for? Personally, I don't ever remember doing so and if they want to be little nibshits maybe I should start downloading goatse on an hourly basis so that if they do snoop they'll get the shock of their life! However, we need to make a statement to them that says we don't like being snooped on.

Amp Blasts: Richard Stallman

Disclaimer: The following post is Amp's opinions and does not represent SoldierX. At the same time, I will reiterate that these posts are covered by this site's usage policy.

Here's the scenario. We have an individual who is essentially unemployed. On a regular basis, he is spouting off opinions and theories that are extreme, and in some cases outright insane. He has a neck-beard and a hairstyle that suggests questionable grooming habits at best. Most importantly, he has not contributed much of anything in recent years. In most scenario, individuals like this would be reviled and mocked heavily online. So why the fuck are we giving a free pass to Richard Stallman when he has essentially become this type of individual in recent years?

New content debates

I know its been a while since I've posted anything on here. As many members of SX can tell you, I have been very busy working on outside projects that can actually serve to be useful to my future work here. Recently though, I have looked a little bit into the basics of SQL injection as part of an outside project and I do wonder if a introductory tutorial on this topic would be a good read? If people think so, please let us know.

Amp Blasts: Cisc0ninja

This post has been redeacted as honestly, I felt I didn't do an effective job in the point of doing blasts post. (humor first and foremost)

Hackintosh: Is it worth it?

Recently, I built a new desktop for the first time since 2005. Usually I do one to two upgrades on an annual basis, but in recent years this was changed as I used my laptop as my primary computer and my desktop was mainly for games and entertainment. With my laptop's motherboard dying though, I decided to start using my desktop more. Now the machine specs I went with were the following:

Intel Core i5 3570 (Normally functions at 3.4 ghz speed, but for me it went up to 3.6 ghz straight out of the gate due to the turbo boost when I ran Prime 95 tests)
Gigabyte H77-DS3H motherboard (Chose that over X77 as I don't need overclocking)
Nvidia Geforce 480 GTX
Sound Blaster Audigy 4 (I'm hanging on to that like grim death)
BD-ROM Drive and DVD-+RW Drive
16 gigs of 1600 mhz DDR3 RAM

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