Archive for August, 2012

The Super User’s Windows 8 Guide

August 27, 2012 by kronos. 0 comments

Windows 8 is out for MSDN account holders (including students with MSDN-AA access)!  And it’s set to release on October 26th.  With that there are bound to be tons of questions in regards to Windows 8.   This post is meant to be a collection awesome questions/answers found on Super User that are tagged Windows 8.  This is what we’ve got so far:

General Understanding/Installation

The New Modern Apps

As time goes on, and more questions/answers come along, we’ll update this help all you Super Users out there with the new Windows 8.

A Super User’s Guide to Memory (QotW #40)

August 14, 2012 by kronos. 1 comments

Memory.  Every Super User knows that they need it, and if you’re like me, you can never get enough.  I know I somehow find ways to use up all 16 Gb of my memory on my desktop.  In fact, back in Nov 2010 Tom’s Hardware suggested that the minimum system RAM should be around 8Gb!

But what’s really frustrating is buying memory.  There are so many factors to consider that it can get overwhelming.  This is the same issue that Super User nathpilland had:

What am I looking for in RAM?

This is the one area of computer building that still has me in the dark, and I think a lot of people are with me… There are many different types of RAM, with each company having high and low end sticks. What is the difference between the high and low end? Also, what do the numbers in the latency mean? What is the speed rating (I know 1600 MHz is about normal) and how much is too much? What’s the difference between dual channel and single channel? Can you overclock/overvolt? Is there even a point to do so if this was possible? As you can see, I’m thoroughly confused here. I tried doing some research, but I can’t find this information anywhere on the internet. I’m not actually buying RAM, I’m just trying to get a better picture as to how all this works so I can be more educated on the hardware in computers.

So here we go.  This blog post is a stab at defining the basics you need to know about RAM.

A quick look over at NewEgg there were a few major categories that advertising threw at me:

  • Type (DDR, DDR2, DDR3)
  • Speed (typically in terms of 1066, 1333, 1600, etc)
  • Timings
  • CAS Latency

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Question of the Week: What are cookies and why am I being asked about them?

August 6, 2012 by kronos. 3 comments

A lot of people have heard about Internet “cookies” and often they have a bad connotation  to them, but to web developers they are very useful.  So what exactly are they?  The official Wikipedia definition states:

A cookie, also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie, is usually a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user’s web browser while a user is browsing a website. When the user browses the same website in the future, the data stored in the cookie can be retrieved by the website to notify the website of the user’s previous activity.  Cookies were designed to be a reliable mechanism for websites to remember the state of the website or activity the user had taken in the past. This can include clicking particular buttons, logging in, or a record of which pages were visited by the user even months or years ago.

This basically means that websites will save small pieces of data on your machine in plain text.  These have a wide range of uses, but here are some common examples that I can think of:

  1. Netflix: Isn’t is awesome how it remember where you last left off?  This is done through cookies
  2. Amazon (and other shopping sites): They remember what was in your basket last time you visited.
  3. Stack Exchange: Remembers you, so you don’t have to log in every time.  (Actually this is a WAY more complicated process detailed here, but you get the picture)

Keyboard Capers–A Field Guide to Keyboards

August 1, 2012 by journeymangeek. 2 comments


Most of us don’t give our keyboards (or mice, I suppose) a second thought. Most of my keyboards tended to be budget logitechs, which while decent lack a certain something.

I preferred the ThinkPad keyboards on my laptops, but when I need to, and tend to write at a single sitting, essays that are a few thousand words long, I needed something better.

If you want a shorter version of this whole blog post,I’d advice that you look at the layout(ergonomic vs standard, and number of keys), the switch type ( membrane/scissor vs mechanical (switch or buckling spring) and Key style (full sized concave, low profile or flat).

Personally, I’m not a fan of split keyboards, or ergonomic ones. They work for some people, by putting the hands in a more natural position while typing. The split keyboard tends to separate the standard QWERTY keyboard in two (though there’s no reason you cannot use Dvorak or Colemak or your local keyboard layout with them).

Microsoft natural keyboard Pro  source

A variant of that theme is the ‘bowl’ keyboard, which splits the keys into two bowl shaped depressions, popularised by the matron and kinesis advantage keyboard. The bowl keyboard design allows for fingers to reach keys with less movement, by fitting around the natural reach of a hand at rest

Advantage USB - Black

Kinesis Advantage

And finally, the Datahand, which is a pretty extreme case of ergonomic keyboards, with nearly no hand movement. It is very sci-fi looking, and supposedly incredibly comfortable once you get used to it.


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