Counting steps, trying to build a pc, a finally some good news…


I have been wearing this Fitbit fitness tracker for a while now and always wondered just accurate it is. I know it is pretty bad because it often says that I walk when I’m seating in cubicle, when I sleep, or when I play video games. While I don’t have another proper fitness tracker to test it against, though I should be receiving one of the new pebble smart watch some time in September, I do have another device with a built in step counter: a Nintendo 3DS.

Nintendo love trying to push gaming in weird direction and one of the ways they did that with the 3DS was the step counter. By walking around with the 3DS in sleep mode, you could earn gold coins, up to 10 a day I believe, that you could use as Virtual currency in certain games. I don’t know how many games actually used that feature, but the only one I have is Lego Star Wars The Clone Wars.

I was Going to walk to get a sandwich anyways so I though I would do an experiment and see how big of a difference there would be between the two. After walking the close to two miles to the sandwich shop I examined the the two counts. The Fitbit Counted 3114 steps while the 3DS counted 2979 steps, A number far closer than I would have expected. Knowing the Fitbit has a tendency to over count, I surprised at how good the step counter on the 3DS was. It is not a very scientific analysis, having only two points of data, but that gives me a good baseline for when I get the pebble watch and maybe any other tracker I might get, like one of those fancy Garmin running GPS enabled watches my parents are using.


It is no secret that I like to play video games, and one of the most practical platform is obviously the Computer. Games that were made years ago can easily be ran on modern systems, and despite what some people say on the internet, you can upgrade your system every few years for less than say buying a new Apple computer.

The computer I currently have is getting dated. It is an MSI gaming laptop I bought it in summer of 2013. It was pretty good back then bought now, it has a some trouble playing the newest games. I can play the latest DOOM at 45 FPS if I set everything to low but that is not really the best way to play games. It runs this weird bastard Nvidia laptop GPU: a 765m. Maybe it is supposed to be between a 760m and 770m? I guess it does not matter now. My plan was to retire my old and sluggish macbook pro and use while my gaming laptop becomes my workstation and have a new proper gaming PC.

I have been buying part for the past few months in hope of making the best Bang for buck computer, and this is what I ended up designing:


It would a nice and Compact Mini-ITX computer powered by an Intel I5 6400 CPU and an AMD RX 480 graphic card, with 16GB of DDR4 RAM and an 480 GB SSD. All the hardware cost me only $750 (add $100 for a Windows 10 license) which is a good value for a budget computer. In fact it is barely more expensive than the cheapest Nvidia GTX 1080, their latest flagship gaming card. Building a computer is all that hard as long as you make sure all the components are compatible.

The hardest part of all the assembling process was trying to connect the power cable to the different ports. It is a fairly small case and I have large hands. But with a little bit of patience I was rewarded!

Look at this beauty! Truly PC master race!

So? How does it perform? Can I finally  run games better than on the old potato of computer? Can I hit the fabled 1000 frames per seconds in Minecraft? Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men? Yeah, turns out not everything was flawless as I first hoped…


As you can see from the picture above, there is a massive hole in the back of the case where one should fine the Power supply. It’s not in the computer anymore because it was complete dead, like hopelessly dead. When you turned it on, it would make that distinct electrical buzzing noise of a short circuit and smelled of fried electronic. Looking through the ventilation hole, I found what seems to be the culprit:


That looks like one of the capacitor for the voltage regulating circuit decided to explode and leak everywhere, making it completely useless, and the most likely source of the failure. Good thing is that Corsair, the manufacturer of the power supply, has a three year warranty on their product which means I’ll get it replaced for free. I guess I’ll have to wait a couple more weeks before I can get my computer up running….


To wrap things up for this week, how about some good news?

As I might have mentioned in previous blog post, I am contractor from a British contracting firm for a client here in Nebraska. My contract was for two years and that contract is about to come to an end this October. My hope was to become a full time employee here rather than staying a contractor going to another client.

I have talked to manager about my interest in becoming a full time employee but he never told any specifics  about what or when things would happen. Then earlier this week, I got wind that some of the other contractor that were working at another location where let go of before the end their contract. That got me slightly worried, but that fear was short lived. Yesterday, first thing in the morning my manager came to me and asked if I had time to talk with one of the directors. This was a brief discussion about them proposing me a senior programing position at the company. This made me very happy especially the proposed pay that would be about 45% more than I am currently paid!

Nothing starts a weekend better than news of a massive salary upgrade!



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