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 Intelligence applications. Oracle Hyperion EPM and Business Intelligence (OBIEE) are the main products (now moving into their cloud offerings such as Oracle Analytics Cloud), 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 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, mostly my uncle, but most of the code behind 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 written very quickly, and because it is object oriented .NET, it is pretty much equivalent to their C# offering. Many other smaller websites I have helped write have come and gone too, some written in php.

Outside of the paid stuff, I have a good interest in computer hardware too. I spend most of my time on a laptop (HP Pavilion 14 bf-101na), which has been thoroughly upgraded with better SSD, double the RAM, dual channel Wifi AC, 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 8100, 128GB SSD (from laptop above), Blu Ray drive, 8GB RAM, Windows 10
  2. A PC in the bedroom room for watching online content - Mini ITX (again), Core i5 2390T, 40GB SSD, 4GB RAM, Windows 10
  3. A PC in the small bedroom (office) room for working and some gaming - Mini ITX (again), Core i7 3770S, 128GB SSD, 8GB RAM, Linux Mint 18
  4. A router and server handling my Internet and hosting my data - Mini ITX (again of course!), Core i5 3475S, 128GB SSD, 2x 2TB hard drives (raid 1), 8GB RAM, Linux Ubuntu 18.04

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, except recent ones. It used to be the way to have a faster device, with better battery life and the latest features! However my current phone (OnePlus 5) runs well enough out-of-box.

. 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 Retrieval 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, and many years since 2004 I'm thankful because I Java is used in Oracle product, Android app development and is extremely well used.

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 during my past would have to be (all with friends!) Worms World Party , Counter-Strike, Battlefield 1942, Unreal Tournament - all very fun for LAN parties. Single player games that have also been fun are Mafia, Grand Theft Auto 3 through to 5, Roller Coaster Tycoon, Railroad Tycoon 2 and many others.

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 10 on my laptop. I'm also familiar with a few versions of Linux and run Linux Mint 18 on my bedroom/office PC as well as a travel laptop (Leveno 120S). On my server I run Ubuntu 18.04.

In work land, Oracle Linux and Solaris I know, including Oracle Exalytics and other Red-Hat / CentOS flavours!

Projects so far

PC Router NAS:

Homebuild PC Router NAS - Updated Ubuntu 18.04 - Home made PC Router and NAS, running Linux Ubuntu 18.04. Full build instructions here of how you too can use PC hardware to create a brilliant home router and NAS solution! This is a fully updated set of pages for version 18.04 with installation instructions, more secure VPN setup and better detail of NAS installation.

Homebuild PC Router NAS - Original 16.04 guide - Home made PC Router and NAS, running Linux Ubuntu 16.04 with VM router. Obsoleted by above guide, for reference only.

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 were originally written in Java applets but are now asp.net pages. They are also on my electronics page.

Thanks for reading