Saturday, May 30, 2015

I want to shrink my PC even further!

In a previous post I expressed my dissatisfaction towards the weight of my so-called Small Form Factor gaming PC. At 12.5kg, it is quite heavy for its size. Should I do something about it? Is it even possible?

I was pleased to see Linus do a super high-end build in the Silverstone SG13 case, which is half the size of my SG09 case at only 11.5 litres. I checked price of the case and it is quite cheap at only JPY 6,500. But it requires me to change a lot of components inside the case.

The following list comprises of the necessary changes to the components, listed from the most expensive to cheapest.

1. Graphics card: the Gigabyte GTX 970 Gaming G1 card I currently have in my PC is quite long. It would not fit in this tiny case. Linus had a hard time installing the Titan X GPU inside the case, which is same as the maximum length of the graphics card allowed. My current card extends another 1.7 inches. The price of the GTX 970 hasn't dropped much since I bought my card, but I doubt anyone would want to spend close the current retail price when they are not getting any warranty. I am looking to buy either a second hand GTX 980 with reference cooler or a shorter PCB version of the GTX 970 such as this one or this one. If I go down the 2nd
route, I would be seeing a reduction in performance as it would definitely not overclock as high as my Gigabyte card would, however overclocking doesn't make a huge difference to the gaming experience: just benchmarks.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Time to claim warranty for the Logitech G602 wireless mouse

We are at it again. Another Logitech mouse needs replacement. This time, it is the middle mouse button. Compared to the last time, when the left mouse button of the G500 completely went dead, this time is not completely dead. It has simply become too stiff to click. I still can hear the click when I press it with a normal force, however the click doesn’t get registered. If I press it harder, it would register.

This is not the first time it happened and last time, it miraculously recover all by itself. In fact, it has already recovered this time as well. But I don’t want to deal with this issue every now and then. So it is time for me to ask them for a replacement. I don’t want to click the button twice to close Chrome tabs or more importantly, throw grenades at the enemies in Crysis 3.

However this time, I think it is not entirely Logitech’s fault. It probably is partially the kid’s fault. He drops it on the floor regularly. But the floor is carpeted so it shouldn’t hurt the mouse much. But it surely must have an impact.

Although this is the closest reason for going ahead with the RMA, there is couple of other issues as well. Firstly, the side thumb buttons – at least the top row – seems to have sunken into the mouse. So they are difficult to click, especially when playing Crysis 3 where the margin for error is very slim.

Secondly, the teflon feet underneath the mouse have worn off. It is OK on a hard surface, but cannot be used on a cloth surface like the Steelseries QCK mouse pads.

So it was about time I RMAed the mouse. Hence, I contacted Logicool Customer Support the day before yesterday about it. They got back to me asking for further details - not about the issues, but about my name, contact details and captures of the invoice. I sent back the details they requested yesterday and today I received an email from them saying that they will send out a new unit to my address on the 29th, that is tomorrow. Hopefully, I will be able to use the new mouse during the weekend. Happiness!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Automated point of sale counters at the G.U. store

Automated POS Machines at GU Kawasaki

According to my wife, G.U. is the only place to buy decent quality clothes at a reasonable price in Japan. Last Saturday, we paid a visit to the G.U. store in Kawasaki. That's the one in the Dice building.

I hate shopping especially for clothes, so I took the kid for a walk around different floors in the Dice building. Once my wife had finished shopping, she called me back and asked me to pay for the clothes.

When I went to the area where the counters usually were, I could find any counters. Instead, there were few machines like ATMs scattered around that area. I watched from a distance and it seemed that you had to use them to make the payments. Luckily there was one person who was explaining to others how to operate the machines so I got in line with the queue.

What you have to do first of all is to open a little door in the bottom of the machine and put the clothes in it. Then you will be shown a screen to select (using your finger) if you are member of G.U store. This is due to the fact that they offer discounted prices on some items if you are a member. Since anyone can just say that he is a member, I suppose there is always someone there to confirm it. What you have to do to prove you are a member is just to open the G.U app on your mobile phone and browse to the Member's Page.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Can’t connect to the Camera–Nexus 5 with Lollipop

Nexus 5

Last January, I switched from iOS to Android. It definitely hasn't been a smooth ride since then, especially due to the numerous issues pertaining to Lollipop such as memory leak, numerous app crashes (which have become less frequent) and slowdowns, however there are some features that I have found to be brilliant. (More about that at a later date)

However, the biggest inconvenience I have come across in the past few days – especially after upgrading to 5.1 – is the inability to connect to the Camera after a while. When that happens, the stock camera app throws the following error message. Other camera apps cannot connect to the camera as well.


The easiest way to fix is to reboot the Nexus 5. Unfortunately, this is just a temporary fix. You will get the same error after a few hours. For example, I couldn’t connect to the camera app to take a quick snap of the screen of the ticketing machine at the station, even though I had rebooted the Nexus 5 soon after arriving at work in the morning. The error had already developed within 9 hours. I was really angry about it because one of the reasons why there is a camera in a phone is so that you can have a camera with you to snap a photo wherever you go. What’s the point of having one if it doesn’t work? If you have to wait for a minute or so to reboot the device first? Insane!

Friday, May 1, 2015

My new SSD–the Samsung 850 Evo 500GB–is here!


It took couple of days for Pasokon Koubou to ship the SSD and even when it reached me on the Sunday morning, I couldn't open up the package until late that night as we were getting ready to go out.

The design of the SSD looked very clean and professional. No fancy printings or stickers on it.

The SSD didn't come with an adapter or screws to hook it up. I had to use the screws that came with the case instead. I'm not sure if other manufacturers add those with their SSDs though.

It came with a software CD as well. I guess it contains software liken the Samsung SSD Magician and SSD Migration. You can download them from their website so the disk is useless. For majority of people. I doubt anyone who's buying an SSD these days is unable to connect to the Internet.

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