Archive for the ‘video’ Category
Having a UPS is fairly common these days. However, one gripe I’ve always had and that you might too is the limited capacity you get on them. Even nicer $200+ ones might only give you a few minutes on a powerful PC, and for large capacity you could easily spend $1000 or more. Neither option was good for me. So I decided to make a better one myself.
To start with, I purchased 3 “Ultra” brand UPSs about a year ago. They are completely silent, small, and functional. Cheap, yes, but functional. However, with my machine on one of them, it only lasts around 3 minutes before powering off. This might be enough to shut it down, but if the power is out for only 15 minutes I’d rather just ride it through. Inside the UPS were 2 small sealed lead acid batteries, like you find in most UPS units, 12V each, in series. They are the same type of battery you find in cars, trucks and boats – just smaller. Using that logic, I took some common hardware and rebuilt this UPS. I did a small bit of research to determine the proper wire size given the load. The UPS used is an Ultra 1000VA. (warning, a small bit of profanity is in the video)…
The tools involved were simple. I had 20 feet of 10 Gauge wire, two ring terminals and several Male/Female disconnects. I needed wire strippers and wire crimpers for that. The UPS itself only required a screwdriver to take apart. I used a nice Dremel to bore a hole in the plastic, though realistically you could do that with a knife. For the batteries, I purchased battery boxes. It was a simple matter to remove the stock batteries, run and terminate the wire, then put the new batteries in place.
There are downsides to doing it with these batteries. Space, of course, and safety. These are standard lead-acid deep cycle batteries, meaning that they can and do release gas when discharging. For that reason, I have these batteries situated outside. To do this safely indoors, you need a well-ventilated room OR you need to use sealed batteries.
I am going to do this with the other two UPS units, too. Next time, however, several things will change. I am going to use sealed batteries, slightly more expensive but completely safe to use indoors. I will also use shorter cable lengths. I will remove the buzzer inside that makes that awful beep, and I will install a slow 80MM or perhaps 120MM fan inside, quiet but enough to bring some air over the unit in case sustained operation heats it up too much.
All in all, I spent about $300, including the tools, to make a UPS with an ~80AH capacity.
Erik posted this on his NATW (News around the web) post yesterday, but in case you missed it, this is too cool to bypass just like that – see the video after my comments below…
In case you haven’t noticed, every week day we have in our frontpage the “News around the web” coverage with 4-5 hand picked items of interest that sometimes deviate from our usual news but are well worth a read. The post also features a “Five years ago in TechSpot” story from our archives, just to give you some perspective of the technology today. Then it’s all rounded up with reviews and articles from fellow websites.
Major thumbs up to Johnny Chung Lee for his creativity using Wii’s hardware. I wonder where did the millions spent in the PS3 and Xbox 360 go? Especially when the later is essentially a rebadged PC.
Saw this on digg and I felt like sharing, geek humor anyone?
Simply hilarious. Sound effects remind me of Lost, which by the way goes back in air this week.
While I barely touched on the subject of high system requirements yesterday on my post about Vista and gaming, it got me thinking about my plans of upgrading my desktop system, where gaming
So, my last batch of major upgrades was over a year ago, when the Athlon X2 was still hip and so I’m running a 4400+ CPU with 2GB of memory on a speedy, but unfortunately very noisy 150GB Raptor HDD. Also just recently got to switch from an oldie GeForce 7800gt to a Radeon HD 3850, in fact I got two cards, but my SLI motherboard won’t let me run them in Crossfire. So, what’s the next step? Intel’s Core 2 Quad is my favorite route at the moment but I haven’t quite yet decided that, after all if my only motivation is gaming then a videocard upgrade should take precedence, but as you know both ATI and Nvidia will be playing the Multi-GPU card early this year which is not necessarily the GeForce 8800 Ultra we all wanted.
In the meantime I’m letting my plan unfold where I play Crysis as little and as slow as possible so when my upgrade finally comes, I still get to play it a bit with some more eye candy turned on :). Not to despair though, Far Cry 2 is up and coming, not to mention the wide number of good PC game releases we got last year, oh, and did you know Crysis is set to be a trilogy? Hopefully the sales will justify it.
Finally, here’s some Far Cry 2 video that recently hit the web:
If there was something that caught my attention during last year’s CES was the massive amount of flat panel TVs being used all around the floor. As you can imagine this year was even more packed in that sense, and it was only a matter of time until someone did not resist and did something naughty (and we must confess, very fun) about it. Gadget blog Gizmodo used a device called TV-B Gone to shut off dozens of flat screens scattered around the floor, at times entire walls and some others during presentations. They got it on tape, too (wait, is that the correct term anymore?) which adds to the fun of the prank since the YouTube video has already been watched over 40,000 times.
But then again, if you are the CEA (CES event organizers) or one of the expositors who have spent countless human hours organizing for a flawless showing, then you have to be pissed off… This added to the fact that CES is not open to the general public, but you must attend with an accredited badge can put the blog in a bad spot for immatureness or plain childish unprofessional play. If anything, Gizmodo has celebrated more the prank than apologized for it. CES organizers in the other hand have not taken it so lightly.
Whichever side you stand on, the fact is this has happened already and Gizmodo may not be able to get access to future CES expos. You can bet TV’s infrared receptors will be shut off from now on in this kind of events…
Every true PC gamer had this week marked on their calendars, Crysis the spiritual successor to Far Cry is out and I can tell you this is one game that will live up to the hype. By now you have probably read some of the reviews, even played the demo yourselves, and seen our videocard test where we show you a somewhat harsh reality that Crysis, being the most graphically advanced game out there, takes a toll on performance and you will need a very fast system to enjoy it to the max. Those with slower systems can still run it though as the engine scales relatively well.
But Crysis is no tech demo, the guys at Crytek have once again built a great enjoyable game upon a good engine and game software platform. I was very pissed off a few years ago when these guys did not get all the recognition they deserved for Far Cry (the original PC game) but it’s likely that won’t happen again.
I also wanted to mention that the full game happens to run a bit faster than the demo. I can’t quantify on the exact difference but from what I’ve seen on my own PC running the same first level, it seems overall smoother with a few things fixed here and there gameplay-wise, too. Looks like the developers were hard at work in the last few weeks between the demo and the full game release with last minute optimizations. On a GeForce 8800 GTS 320mb card I had to turn to some low quality settings to get really smooth gameplay on the demo, but on the full game I’m running comfortably with all at medium at 1680×1050, which is not too bad.
Finally, to get you on a positive Crysis mood here’s a YouTube video depicting some graphics capabilities using the Sandbox editor on DirectX9 with “very high” settings:
For over two years we have reported several times on this keyboard that is supposedly being actively developed by a group of russian designers and developers. So many times in fact I have pretty much told TechSpot news editors to stop posting news on this topic until we can see some actual progress…
For some, the project had already joined the leagues of Duke Nukem Forever (a.k.a. “vaporware”) but now there is a new video showing the keyboard in action, and without a doubt it looks pretty cool.
I wouldn’t hold my breath though with an expected retail price of $1,500+, you could just as well get a well equipped PC for that amount. Naturally, the Optimus Maximus is unique in that it uses tiny 48×48 OLED screens in every key which can then be customized to your desire even with small animations.
The first batch of 200 keyboards is expected to ship at the beginning of next month. Most definitely a gadget that will make it to every enthusiast’s dream PC list.
I didn’t know if adding some humor would be a good fit for the blog, but let’s say because I’m still trying to set the tone here (and keep those updates coming), let me experiment with a video from CollegeHumor.com that I just found to be hilarious. I’m sure many ten-somethings, and pretty much all twenty, thirty and forty-somethings will be familiar with Street Fighter, or so I hope…
This is only the first part, look here for the next episodes…
Missing from my Switcher 2.0 post yesterday was an explanation of what Expose is. I guess some people are just too lazy to follow some links, but then again that’s not uncommon, after all why should you care?
In the particular case of Expose I believe some movies are worth more than a thousand words…
Here’s an introductory video of Expose’s original implementation in Mac OS X :
Also the guys at DownloadSquad posted a video of Switcher 2.0 working on Windows, this was after they got word of its release from my post yesterday: