Thoughts on new PC

I think I’ve decided on a set of components for upgrading my PC:

  • Asus A7V8X motherboard. Good reviews, excellent features (6 x USB 2.0 ports, 2 x Firewire, Gigabit ethernet, on-board sound, et al.), and a nice price point (£100).
  • AMD Athlon XP 2000+. Seems to offer the best price/performance ratio in the range I’m looking at right now.
  • 512MB DDR 2100 memory.
  • AcoustiCase ACC6606A quiet case. One of the things I don’t like about my current PC is that it’s really quite noisy. I don’t notice it so much when I’m working away at it, but when I’m doing something else, like watching TV, the background noise is annoying.
  • Matching ultra-quiet 300W PSU.
  • And a Zalman Flower Cooler to keep the CPU cool & quiet.

Total cost looks like it would be around £450. Hmm…

Rollovers with CSS

This is at least party for my own reference, because I have a habit of misplacing useful links like this in my bookmarks… But here is a pretty nifty guide to creating image rollover effects with CSS instead of JavaScript.


Just found a terrific resource for (largely biographical) historical information: “Spartacus Educational”. This seems to be part of SchoolNet, an educational resource run by EasyNet. I’ve only had a brief snuffle around on Schoolnet, but it looks to be an enormous collection of links and sub-sites by and for teachers and pupils. There are some great links here…lots of stuff I can see coming in handy when Alex gets a bit older.

Grand Theft Auto III: Vice City

I haven’t got all the way through GTAIII yet, but already Vice City is looking enormously appealing. And apparently the rest of the British game-buying public thinks so, too: 300,000 units shifted in Britain alone when it was released last weekend. Amazing.

David Weinberger has some interesting things to say about the game, and the morally dubious world it allows you to enter:

“Why is it that I find the computer game BlackHawk Down reprehensible but I’m ok with Grand Theft Auto 3 (GTA3)? In BlackHawk Down, you’re a righteous American soldier fighting local warlords who are starving their own people. In GTA3, you’re a hoodlum who succeeds by randomly killing innocent pedestrians and taking their money. Also, you hijack cars, kill policemen, and blow stuff up. Why do I have my moral polarity reversed when it comes to these two games?”

Opera 7: it’s here

The Opera 7 beta has arrived. And it’s glorious.

I’ve only just downloaded it, but it’s already clear to me that this is a fantastic step forward for the Opera browser. Check this out:

  • You can save and re-open sessions (sets of open windows), just as I had been hoping.
  • Multiple user accounts are supported. (Older versions of Opera could be tweaked to allow different users to have their own preferences/settings/favourites, but it was a bit of a hack.)
  • <link> tag site navigation is supported by means of a slick extra toolbar. Not many sites use these <link> tags yet, but Mozilla and Opera both support them, and I’m pretty sure they’ll be in Internet Explorer 7, too. It’s a great usability and accessibility feature. Within 2-3 years, I reckon that <link> tag site navigation will be ubiquitous across the web. (Note to self: must implement this on Sunpig now!)
  • New mail client program, called “M2”. I haven’t played with this yet, but it looks intriguing. It tries to go beyond a standard email program, and allow you to treat your mail as a freeform database kind of thing.

Also, the browser has been given a fresh new look, with rounded tabs and sexy transition effects on the menu buttons. All in all, it just looks utterly fabulous. I’ll try and do a more extensive review once I’ve had a chance to work with it some more.