Author Archive

The Ideapad Y570

February 5, 2012 by Simon Sheehan. 5 comments

Lenovo Y570 – The Review

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The Path of Destruction: rm -rf

July 25, 2011 by Simon Sheehan. 3 comments

This week at Super User, MaxMackie asked “How far will you get with a ‘rm -rf /’” ?  Within minutes of the post, it had not only my attention, but others as well. It had 39 upvotes just eight short hours later, and answers and thoughts poured in.

I’ve often wondered how far the system will actually get if you run rm -rf /. I doubt the OS would be able to erase itself (?)

We’ve all heard the stories – and please, don’t try this at home! rm -rf has caused a LOT of problems with accidental usage in the past. It is a linux/unix command which erases all files recursively, and won’t stop to ask if you’re sure. Adding the extra / has it start at the root directory – meaning you’re erasing the whole system! But if we did run this on the entire system, how far would the trail of destruction go? I took it upon myself to find out. I fired up VirtualBox, and installed a new copy of Fedora 15 (XFCE). Within minutes I had a fresh install all set and ready to destroy.

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What makes a Computer overheat?

July 11, 2011 by Simon Sheehan. 4 comments

Every week, the Super User community nominated and votes on an interesting Question of the Week, which we write about on the blog. One nominee that interested me was:

What makes a laptop overheat?

Is there a correlation between CPU usage and heat? RAM usage? Other things? How can software affect overheating in a laptop?

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Living on the Bleeding Edge of Firefox

June 7, 2011 by Simon Sheehan. 3 comments

As an avid Firefox user since it began, I’ve developed a great liking towards the browser and its consistent updates. As version 3.6 phased into a 4.0 Beta, I just had to try it out. But then I thought to myself: If i like to try out the new beta’s, why not just go to the bleeding edge? And with that, my journey began – Welcome to Nightly. Welcome to Nightly

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QoTW: How do I set PATH and other environment variables?

June 6, 2011 by Simon Sheehan. 1 comments

 

How do I set PATH and other environment variables?

Questions about setting environment variables the PATH are very common here, and in most cases the answers are very similar to each other. In the future it would be nice to have a good Q/A for this. So the question is: How do I set the executable PATH and other environment variables on major operating systems? A good answer would include a simple explanation of what environment variables and especially PATH mean to the OS, as well as simple guidelines on how to set them accordingly.

Being an avid computer user for years now, the PATH is something that has crossed me quite a few times now. So when I saw this question, it was time to put my learning hat on.

One of the most well-known is called PATH on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. It specifies the directories in which executable programs* are located on the machine that can be started without knowing and typing the whole path to the file on the command line. (Or in Windows, the Run dialog in the Start Menu or Windows Key+R).

So now that we know what the PATH is, where are these things set? With a quick look around, I found it was easily found on Windows 7, by simply popping open the Start Menu and typing in “Environment.” The first option was Edit environment variables for your account. Click it, and here we are:

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QoTW: How safe is it to leave your computer on during a storm?

May 30, 2011 by Simon Sheehan. 3 comments

A few days ago, my area had a little storm roll in. It didn’t sound bad at first, but then I saw one big dark cloud. With a crack of thunder, I realized we were in for a thunder storm. As I sat typing away at my computer, it came to mind that there might be a power surge. Now what was I supposed to do about my computer if that happened? I took it to the friendly people at Super User, to find out:

Is it bad to leave your computer on during a thunderstorm?

Generally when I hear the crack of thunder, my PC goes off immediately. Today I’m working though, and wondered – how bad is it to leave it on? If the power goes out, will it kill it? I use a power strip – that protects it, right?

In minutes I had a response from Randolf Richardson, who explained that my poor little power bar just wouldn’t stand up to any power surge. As the thunder and lightning went on outside, I continued reading through the comments flooding in.

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The Alien dream of every Techie

May 27, 2011 by Simon Sheehan. 1 comments

Hardware, that single thing every techie could likely go on for hours about. Being myself, I’m a tad out of date as usual, but I did get to have a neat experience that nearly tipped my inner nerd over the edge.

I took a trip with my class to a local college, into a course called “Game Engine Development.” We were using UDK, the Unreal Development Kit for the entire day. Now at home, I had tried this before, on my computer, which is:

  • Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300 @ 2.5 GHz
  • 4GB DDR2 RAM
  • nVidia GT 220 (1GB)
  • Plain old stock coolers

We walked down an empty hall, to a plain white down. Entered a room, unlit. Then with the flick of a light switch, my mind was blown. A room, filled with monitors. Nice Dell ones, 23 inch at my guess. At first I thought we might be a little squished together, the monitors seemed close. But nope, it was dual monitors. Being stuck with just a 20 inch single monitor at home, I was instantly enthralled. I sat down at a chair, and looked around, seeing where my computer was. Under the desk, what I had originally thought was a cooler, was actually an Alienware Computer. The Area 51.

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Gnome 3.0 is here!

May 20, 2011 by Simon Sheehan. 1 comments

Assuming everyone has already heard of Canonical’s Unity Desktop environment, which for the latest version of Ubuntu (11.04), is pushing Gnome off to the side. But fear not! Gnome is still alive and kicking!

Since last October was saw the release of Gnome 2.32.1, a stable and relatively nice desktop environment for the casual user. As of April, we saw the first release of 3.0, and at first sight all I could say was “Wow.”

Gnome-Shell

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