Kulture

Some sort of geeky Sh!t


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HTPCs in 1997

Posted on October 12, 2012 by | No Comments

It’s time for another Friday flashback, grab your jelly babies, don your scarf and jump in the TARDIS, today were going back to 1997. HTPCS were officially a thing in 1997 after the term was coined in 1996.




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HD Plex H5.S Fanless Chassis

Posted on October 11, 2012 by | No Comments

Kulture - best passively cooled silent HPC cases

In my previous post (10 of the best passively cooled HPC cases) I mentioned HD Plex and that their cases weren’t available. Well today I received word that their H5.S chassis is available.

If you are looking for a great looking HTPC chassis and don’t need an ODD? Then the H5.S might just suite you.




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10 of the best passively cooled HPC cases

Posted on October 7, 2012 by | 2 Comments

It could be said that a HTPC is any PC that lives in the living room (or wherever your entertainment area is), is connected to a TV, and used for media purposes. That would only be technically correct. While any PC can be used as a HTPC not any PC makes for a good HTPC. Most PCs rely on active cooling solutions, i.e. fans, which can… which do make noise and nothing can ruin a movie quite like the whirring of fans emanating from the HTPC. It’s in the same league of annoying as people talking in a movie theatre or having someone’s phone ring and them answering it while you are enjoying a movie.

The best HTPC is a silent HTPC. By silent I mean a HTPC with a total of zero fans, a passively cooled HTPC. If you are geeky enough to find building PCs fun then you will probably want to build your own HTPC. There are plenty of HTPC cases to choose from but the problem with the majority of them is that they rely on active cooling to exhale hot air. You could build a passivley cooled HTPC with a case like Silverstone’s LC13-E-USB3.0, a heat sink like Noctua’s NH-C12P SE14 or something similar, a low powered CPU, and then jettison all fans. While it may work it wouldn’t be the best solution. And there would be other issues to consider like for example the lid of what ever case you use probably won’t have sufficient ventilation to allow the hot air escape without taking a dremel to your shiny new case, that’s something I’m personally not too fond of considering that my last HTPC case (an Origen AE S16V) cost $500+.

If you want to build a proper passively cooled HTPC then the best option is to go with a case that is designed specifically for passive cooling.

I just built a new HTPC, my ultimate HTPC, and in my search for the perfect passively cooled HTPC case I came across many great passively cooled HTPC cases. I pondered for a long time before I decided to go with A-Tech Fabrications 2800-HP chassis. So I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the best cases I came across.

If you are looking for an excellent passively cooled HTPC case then continue reading. [Read more...]




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Logitech – Harmony Touch remote (Updated)

Posted on October 6, 2012 by | No Comments

UPDATE: I contacted logitech to ask when the Harmony Touch will be available in Aus and they say “The Harmony Touch will be available in store by early November 2012″ from the likes of Dick Smith, Big W, Officeworks, JB Hi Fi, Fluidtek (a Logitech shop), and most likely intendant PC shops I’m thinking and hoping that PC Case Gear and Scorptec will be stocking the Logitech harmony Touch remote.

The other day I noted Logitechs new universal remote the Harmony Touch. Well now it’s official now, Logitech as officially launched their latest and greatest universal remote the Harmony Touch. It has it’s own official web page and has it’s own promotional video.

The only problem is that it’s as expensive as it is sexy, at $250 it isn’t cheap, but from what I have seen so far it totally looks like it’s worth it.




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Tuesday tidbits

Posted on October 2, 2012 by | No Comments

If you are looking at building a HTPC and haven’t already purchased all of your hardware it may be worth while checking out the AMD’s Trinity: An HTPC Perspective article by Ganesh T S over at Anandtech.

One of the hardest things about building a HTPC IMO is choosing an excellent case. There are so many excellent cases to choose from it’s so hard to choose the perfect case. One case that is worth seriously considering is Streacom’s FC5 EVO HTPC chassis, check out Hardware Secrets review of the FC5 EVO, it’s an impressive case.

No HTPC is complete without a great remote control. Logitech have just released a new remote fresh from the factory, the Logitech Harmony Touch may be worth a look into if you are looking for an awesome universal remote. If you are into your gadget pr0n checkout Engadgets centerfold photos of it unboxed in the raw plastic.

Talking of remotes if you are looking for a remote for your smart phone then checkout Ceton’s Companion app that “works with Media Center PCs that use any type of TV tuner, not just Ceton tuners”. If you have an Android powered smart phone then check out the excellent Unifide Remote, it’s free! I’m currently testing both in a sudden last app standing death match to see if either of them can replace a normal or universal remote control.

TNW say happy 30th birthday to the ‘Compact Disc’. Like Alan Jones it’s popularity is in decline however it’s not going to die any time soon, unfortunately the same could be said about Alan Jones although I think more people would miss the CD than would miss that douche bag Alan Jones. I’m going to predict that vinyl records will out live CDs.




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HTC, Android, and screenshots

Posted on October 1, 2012 by | No Comments

Kulture - How to take a screenshot on a HTC Android smart phone

If you break out your favorite search engine and search for “Android Screenshots how to” you will most likely be informed that you need to root your phone and install an accompanying application just to take a screenshot. This may well be true on some phones but I know some HTC phones like the Desire S and Desire HD you can take a screenshot by pressing and holding down the power button and taping the home button.

This is the coolest thing that I have discovered lately! Do you have a HTC Android phone, does it work on your phone? Do you have another Android phone and know how to take screenshots on it? Share the knowledge and leave a comment.




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Building the perfect HTPC: Pt II

Posted on September 23, 2012 by | 2 Comments

So I have decided that I’m going to build a new HTPC to alleviate the acoustic and heat issues that I have with my current HTPC.

In addition to solving the heat and acoustic issues I have some other goals and requirements for my new HTPC build which are to:

Use as few moving parts as possible to reduce noise.
To achieve this goal I’m going to ditch any fans and use a passively cooled case.

Build a super power efficient HTPC. A power efficient HTPC will not only run cooler it will also use less power which means lower power bills.
This goal wil be achieved by using low powered parts, like SSDs, low TDP CPU etc…

Build a smaller, leaner meaner HTPC.
This will depend on the case but is achievable by using a mITX case and motherboard, using a slim slot loading ODD will also help keep the overall profile of the case nice and thin.

The new HTPC has to have a Blu-ray ODD for backing up DVDs and Blu-ray DVDs as well as a large 500GB+ HDD for local storage because Windows Media Centre can’t record to a shared network drive.

With these goals in mind I set out to spec my new HTPC. After a lot of research I came up with these specifications:

Case: A-Tech Fabrication 2800HP
Motherboard: Intel DH77DF H77
CPU: Intel Core i7-3770T
RAM: Corsair CML8GX3M2A1600C9 8GB Kit (2x4GB) 1600Mhz DDR3
HDD #1: Corsair Force Series GT 120GB SSD
HDD #2: Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EZRX 1TB
ODD: Sony Optiarc BC-5650H
TV Tuner: DigitalNow Quad DVB-T Receiver
Wireless NIC: Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 Mini PCIe (6235AN-HMWWB)
PSU: 160 Watt PicoPSU

[Read more...]




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Building the perfect HTPC: Pt I

Posted on September 22, 2012 by | No Comments

Kulture - HTPCs are great

Most people don’t want their PC to make any noise at all, but I’m not most people. I like the quiet humming sound that the fans make in my gaming PC, it’s a nice comforting sound that I find strangely satisfying. However I don’t want to hear the sound of whirring fans emanating from my HTPC. When it comes to HTPCs silence is golden.

The thing is my current HTPC is more silver than golden, literally, the case is a silver Origin AE S16V case. Unfortunately it is a bit louder than I’d like. Additionally it runs uncomfortably warm even though the temperatures are well with in the thermal limits of the CPU, an Intel E6300 that has a TDP of 65 watts. I have employed three fans to exhale the hot air, individually the fans are essentially silent but together they make the quietest whirring noise as they expel hot air from within the case. The noise is kind of like the rainbow effect that some projectors exhibit, you probably won’t notice it but if you do you won’t be able to stop noticing it and it will annoy you to the point of distraction. It bugs me, it bugs me enough to do something about it. [Read more...]




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Friday flashback

Posted on May 25, 2012 by | No Comments

Today were flashing back to the 90s when $1999 would get you an Amstrad PC with a hard drive! And they will even throw in a printer, literally.




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The easiest way to try different Linux distros

Posted on May 23, 2012 by | No Comments

In the world of Linux there are more flavours than you can poke a stick at. If you are looking at switching to Linux then one of the biggest challenges you will face is finding your favourite flavour of Linux. There are so many flavours to try, it can be intimidating and time consuming. Luckily there are plenty of ways to sample different flavours of Linux, some are easier than others.

The most common way of trying a different flavour of Linux is to burn a live CD. A live CD will let you load Linux into memory from the live CD rather than installing it on your HDD. It’s quicker and easier than dual booting Operating Systems.
But the problem with live CDs is that they are not persistent. That means that any changes you make aren’t remembered, i.e. next time you boot from the CD you will be back at square one. You will have to change settings, install programs etc. again because changes you made will be forgotten when you reboot or shut down your PC. Although this could also be a blessing in disguise for noobs who might be prone to breaking things.
If you need or want persistence you could use Linux in a Virtual Machine which can be slightly harder and take a little longer than burning a CD, but it’s still easier than dual booting and you get persistence.
Another problem with live CDs is that they eat up blank media like a kid eats candy, sure CD/DVD-Rs or CD/DVD-RWs are cheap but they still cost money.

If you have a spare USB flash drive (even if you don’t you can pick one up for less than the cost of a spindle of CD/DVD-Rs) then I’d suggest trying Universal USB Installer “a Live Linux USB Creator that allows you to choose from a selection of Linux Distributions to put on your USB Flash Drive.”. It’s as easy as 1 2 3 to use, it’s relatively noob friendly, although it’s not 100% idiot proof, and takes care of creating the bootable USB flash drive for you.
You select which flavour of Linux you want to try from the drop down menu. If you don’t have the ISO then the program will provide you a link to the home page. If you have the ISO then you point the utility to the ISO, sometimes it’s smart enough to find the ISO itself. Then you tell it the drive letter of your USB flash drive, click create and wait. It will take about 5 minutes after which you will have a fully bootable USB flash drive containing your selected flavour of Linux.




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