Computing

Welcome, on this page I plan to give various advice associated with personal computers. Hopefully you will see pages on desktop and laptop mods that I carry out as well as some general advice and I have also included general details about this interest and my degree so far.

Move straight on to the projects section of this page....

. Most of my life seems to be lived with computers! I have been a software developer consultant for 10 years since leaving university, and studied Computer Science as a BSc degree.

In the day job, I mainly work with Business Inteligence applications. Oracle Hyperion EPM and Business Inteligence (OBIEE) are the main products, but I also develop and maintain custom software. In the day job I'm quite well known for handling a broad range of jobs, and known for making calculations or code run faster!

Outside the day job, I developed a second career building, maintaining and upgrading websites and have quite a few large ones to my name. Most of these are designed with the html + css put together by others, but almost all of the code working them is mine. My portfolio includes

The above sites are all in asp.net (with vb.net) - mainly because my company preferred it (years ago) so it's what I've picked up. Code in vb.net can be typed very quickly too! Many other smaller sites have come and gone too, some written in php.

Outside of the paid stuff, I'm quite a computer hardware wizz too. I spend most of my time on a laptop (Lenovo Flex 2-14), which has been thoroughly upgraded with SSD, RAM, Wifi (+ bios hack to recogise the wifi!) and a complete clean Windows reinstall. Runs sweet!

Then there are the other PCs:

  1. A PC in the living room for watching Blu-Rays + online content - Mini ITX, Core i3 2100T, 64GB SSD, Blu Ray drive, 2GB RAM, Windows 8.1
  2. A PC in the bedroom room for watching online content - Mini ITX (again), Celeron G560, 40GB SSD, 2GB RAM, Linux Mint 17
  3. A server hosting my data - Mini ITX (again of course!), Celeron G440, 128GB SSD, 2x 1TB hard drives (one for rsync backup), 4GB RAM, Linux Mint 17

And now we're in the world of phones and tablets, I'm a keen android user and have rooted and installed custom OS builds onto most of my devices. It's the way to have a faster device, with better battery life and the latest features!

. In the past I've been through lots of desktop upgrades. Before I sold it in 2011, my desktop had essentially been the same machine since 1995, but with component upgrades several times a year! I think the floppy drive was all that remained!

I have completed a computer science course at the University of Essex. This was a very varied computer science degree, consisting of many different modules, those being in the first year:
Intro to Discrete Maths, Intro Computer Systems, Intro to Programming, Intro to Software Engineering, Intro to Robotics and Intelligent machines, Intro to Artificial Intelligence, Professional Development and Practice and Programming with Java.

And in the second year:
Group Project, Types and Object (Java), Object Oriented Programming (Java), Introduction to Databases, Operating Systems and Networks, Information Retreival and Visualisation, Embedded processors for robotics and robot programming.

And the final year:
Final Year Project, spanning the whole year, Interactive Computer Graphics, Advanced Object Oriented Programming, Software Analysis and Design, Mobile Robots, Middleware and Further Concepts in Databases

Most modules were interesting. Some very difficult and challenging too!

My degree taught me the ability to program. The programming courses used Java, which although I feel is not the best language it seems very powerful.

Games

I have always had a keen interest in games, particularly PC games, although I have also spent hours playing console games. Some of the greatest multiplayer games I have played would have to be Worms World Party, Counter-Strike, Battlefield 1942, Armagetron, Raven Shield and Unreal Tournament - all very fun for LAN parties. Single player games that have also been fun are Mafia, Grand Theft Auto 3, Roller Coaster Tycoon, Railroad Tycoon 2 and many others.

I have also become a keen player of Unreal Tournament (most versions!), and Quake III still provides entertainment!

Most of these are from the distant past now though - even though I have a PS4 now, finding the time now I'm in the 30's is difficult!

Operating Systems

I currently use Microsoft Windows 8.1 on my laptop, and await the Windows 10 upgrade! I'm touched a few versions of Linux and run Linux Mint 17 on my server and bedroom PC. It's a real fast and nice OS.

In work land, Linux and Solaris I've also touched, including Oracle Exalytics and other red-hat / CentOS flavours!

Projects so far

PC Router NAS:

Homebuild PC Router NAS - Home made PC Router and NAS, running Linux. Full build instructions here of how you too can use PC hardware to create a brilliant home router and NAS solution!

Hardware:

PC Fan Controller - A small fan controller that is hard to overload (will even do delta's), a supplement to the circuit here.

Cooling mods - Some mods I have made to my case that allow much more efficient cooling at a low price.

LED mods - Just a simple change I made at the front of my case.

Blowhole Mod, Case Respray and Window - Here is a long four page article about how I made a blow hole in the top of my case and how I spent money and time respraying my case to make it look really nice and make a new window for it. I can now say I am proud of the look of my PC. Note: Lots of pictures!

Software:

Component Calculators - these are written in java and are also on my electronics page.

Thanks for reading