Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Last M.A.M.E standing 7: Updating. Come back next year.

While I wasn't looking to create some kind of earth conquering super computer, even some kind of primary school intelligence would be a good start..

Going to take over the world. Maybe next year.

While cleaning up my work desk inside the house today I came across my old wireless usb adapter. Yes the same wireless usb adapter that one day stopped working all of a sudden so instead of throwing it out, I tucked it away for a semi rainy day. And after debating with myself whether or not it was worth a one way ticket to the bin again out of interest I put it in Project M.A.M.E and lo and behold...

Wait...both lights are on this time??

...the damn thing worked! Maybe it was the years of exile in the old computer desk, maybe it didn't like the router I was using, maybe it really wanted to be part of my arcade machine experience. Whatever the reason, it should hands with my home network almost immediately and suddenly my process of getting things on this computer much much easier.

(Previously to load anything onto the shed located project M.A.M.E would require finding what I'd need on the laptop, copying it to a USB, making a quick coffee and then walking everything over 7.5 metres to the shed, plugging it in and hoping it didn't crash and that I had the right download in the first place. While I enjoyed the brews, I wasn't updating anything in a hurry.)

So now that I had wireless access, I could finally update everything. And even better, I could have a self aware system that could tell me what it needed when it needed it, find it online and install the damn thing without me flicking the kettle on. Had I created the next Ultron in a gaming system? Hopefully yes! (Yes I'm aware that hooking up a computer to the net doesn't immediately turn it into a world hating killing machine but this is me and I do enjoy exaggerating badly so bare with this..)

However in giving the rig access to the information superhighway, I managed to expose a major weakness in how things work. Mainly how sloooooooow things happen when attempting to do anything more than loading up an old arcade game. Chrome, slow. Attempting to do more than one thing, super slow. Installing anything of average size - come back in a week. Yes, my lack of memory seems to have taken my Ultron and introduced him to the world of tomato plants that never actually sprout tomatoes. Which means things go like this:

Almigo: Ahh good, you're awake. Now listening, you're going to have to update everything. We're going to need system updates, Nvidia updates for the GeForce, the lastest version of Direct-X and while you're at it, any kind of upd-

Ultbong: Duuuuuude! It's sooooo good to see you!

Almigo: Wait, what?

Ultbong: Maaaan, I love what you've done with this shed! Hey, are we going to play Punisher now?

Almigo: No I need you to run some updates first.

Ultbong: Sure thing....

(1 minute later)

Ultbong: ...boss!

Almigo: Did you just fall asleep?

Ultbong: Hell nah dawg, I'm just updating. I found the first thing that needed to be updated though.

Almigo: Which is?

Ultbong: What?

Almigo: The thing that needs to be updated first?

Ultbong: Oh do you know what it is dude? Share man!

Almigo: No you were about to tell me!

Ultbong: I was? Oh yeah...yeah I was. Wait, let me see what it was...

(Three minutes later)

Almigo: (Frustrated) Anything?

Ultbong: Yeah the updater...

Almigo: Yes?

Ultbong: ..needs updating. Yeah you might want to come back in a week. Maybe bring some donuts dude?

I think an investment in decent ram might be on the cards shortly...(read ASAP)


Out of interest I was on Facebook today looking at local computer groups and stumbled across one with plenty of old school bits and pieces for rigs like mine. After chatting to Mr Mysterious (called this because when I went to pick up the parts he sent his girlfriend out who lied that he wasn't at home right now but hey he did leave the sticks that's 10 bucks thanks very much kthanxbai) I managed to score a couple of 1 GB DDR2 sticks for a fiver each. #score

The ten dollar turbo upgrade

Put them together = computer screen explodes in a furry of color and you can't read a single thing. Pretty, but useless. Clear the cmos, try again.

Put the ProMos in by itself = black screen of death. Can't see shit, can't do shit. Might be stuffed, might not be able to be used by my system for some reason. Still useless. Clear the cmos, try once more.

However put the Kingston in by itself and incredibly it reveals itself to be not one but 2 gigs of ferocious memory fury. Well that was a nice surprise! Combined with my original 512kb stick and sudden we have five times the memory we started with and does it hammer now! The slow front end now zooms, things load sometime this century, I do something and the computer responds like it should - I am not used to such luxuries!

Costs so far:

Motherboard: $20
New capacitors: $6.40
Bosch 1500w 184mm circular saw: $79*
Irwin 40T Carbide blade 184mm: $22*
Oh hey you look damn good safety work shades: $12
Speakers: Free
Speaker amp: Free
2 Gigs of random DDR2 Ram: $10
Wire for speakers: $5

Total so far: $154.40


It looks like my PS2 port has crapped itself and I'm all out of USB keyboards. Yes, my random luck with this monster continues...


Materials go missing, bigger solutions are found, costs go...down? Wait a minute...


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