Michael Ramsey – The Website! This is a Tagline?


New Computer! – Part 2: Videocard, HDD and Errors Galore

Not long after I completed my initial build of my new computer I hosted a house warming party. Part way through this party my computer BSODed. It had run fine for several days (sans-excrete video card) and I had setup quite a bit of software without issue. Needless to say, this was a concerning turn of events; particularly considering all the computer had been doing was playing music when the BSOD happened.

The BSOD issue began to happen repeatedly but inconsistently. Sometimes after the computer restarted, the RAID controller would report that one of the drives had failed. Following another reboot it would load windows fine, but the Intel RAID software would report an error which I had to clear. I tried all sorts of things to figure out what the issue was. Here's a short list of some of the things I tried:

  • Reinstalled Windows multiple times.
  • Tried alternate versions of Windows.
  • RAID 1 (instead of RAID 0).
  • No RAID - both disks.
  • memtest86 for an entire night.
  • Alternate versions of drivers.
  • Not installing any software that was not absolutely necessary.
  • Driver updates and downgrades.
  • BIOS updates.
  • Firmware updates.
  • … and tons of other stuff.

New Computer! – Part 1: The Initial Build

In March (2012), just before moving to my new apartment, my computer died. It was a Core2Duo E6600 in an MSI 975x-Platinum Power Up Edition motherboard. I got it just after the Core2 line first came out and it lasted me a good 5 and a half years. In the end I had OCed (overclocked) it a fair bit and upgraded the RAM and videocard (my BFG GeForce 8800 died on me, and the wonderful people over there were very quick to replace it with a GTX 265 or something). This let me play current games at somewhat acceptable frame rates on medium or high settings in the last years of my computer's life. It suddenly started randomly trying to reboot and then failing to POST. This went from being an occasional random event to a frequent one, and from there it began to happen withing 5-10 minutes of boot. I think it was the PSU that finally went.

Instead of fixing it, I divided to hold off and get a new computer. 5+ years is a more than acceptably life span for a high end gaming PC, and the performance just wasn't there anymore. So I started reading a ton of Tom's Hardware and other gaming/enthusiast hardware sites and waiting on both nVidia's new GeForce cards and Intel's Ivy Bridge CPUs to hit the market.

I did a ton of research, carefully going through reviews, articles, benchmarks and marketing material to come up with just the right set of hardware to get the maximum performance for my budget. Finally, I came up with the hardware that would become my new computer.

The Hardware


UTM Parameters for Better Online Marketing Tracking

Some sort of Pagoda in Burma

Sydney-Hobarth Yacht Race - 1971

Tracking marketing efforts is obviously quite important. If you're going to spend time and money on trying to sell more products, get more ad clicks, or achieve some other goal, you'll want to be as sure as possible you can track these conversions back to the appropriate source. With programs like Google Analytics it is easy to segment people coming from other websites or search engines since this referrer data is automatically passed and collected. In other cases, it's not quite so easy to pin down where a visitor came from.

"UTM" stands for Urchin Tracking Module. It was developed by a company that was bought out by Google in 2005 and the UTM technology was implemented in Google Analytics (though you can achieve similar functionality in some other analytics programs of course).


What Happened? Formerly “Learning PHP – Part 4″

Some sort of Pagoda in Burma

A Burmese Pagoda … I guess (at least that's what the limited information on The Commons seems to indicate)

Well, it's quite evident that I completely stopped posting. I've actually started a number of posts over the last year, but put off finishing them. The main reason for this was that I started out well ahead of what I was posting about. I thought it would be more interesting to cover it all step by step, but found I was much more interested in actually working on projects than I was writing posts.

That being said, I've still had some intention of coming back to posting. I've got a bunch of interesting stuff to put up. Notably, I've nearly completed a product management system that I've built from the ground up and I built a new computer just recently, which I took plenty of photos of. I'll probably come back to covering some basics again, but for now I'm going to switch to just posting whatever I'm most inspired to write about.

I've also learned a lot more about the inner workings of WordPress over the last year, so I'm interested in working on creating a theme and some plugins from scratch. It seems like somethign I ought to do (and would be fun) having spent plenty of time already tooling about with existing plugins and themes. Oh, and I switched domains from mokembo.com to michaelramsey.ca - yay for personalized domains!

The Learning PHP Post:

Having talked about some of the basics covered at the start of PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites it's about time to move on to the actual exercises. Starting out involved covering the creation of HTML forms, which I didn't really talk about in either of my HTML Review posts. Submitting data to a PHP script from an HTML form makes sense as the first exercise since it's extremely basic and central to many possible things you might want to do with PHP.

Making an HTML Form

Here's the form: http://michaelramsey.ca/learning/form.html

For now, that's all I had for this post. I'm just going to leave this as is until I have the time and inclanation to go all the way back to stuff that, at this poinst, was more than a year ago.


Learning PHP – Part 3: Variables

Gen. Jose Hernandez (from The Commons)

Well, somehow I managed to let more than a month slip by without getting this post up. Between being quite busy for a lot of the time, and a bit of procrastination it was easy to fall behind. I've been making progress off and on through PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites, but with the extremely hot weather in Toronto lately, it has been difficult to get any reading done on the subway sometimes.

Scalar Variables

Variables are the subject of this long delayed post. Variables are used in PHP in much the same way that they are in virtually any other major scripting or programming language. Variables use in PHP is fairly informal. A variable's name must start with a dollar sign and be followed with a letter or underscore (e.g. $variable); beyond that it can be called more or less whatever you want. Unlike in some other languages, variables can be created on the fly, and don't have to be declared or initialized beforehand.


A Quick Update On Things In General


Classing Sheep (from The Commons)

I've been putting off getting my next PHP post up for awhile now. Things just seem to keep getting in the way. At work I've been either out or working through my lunches, and at home I've been busy with budget stuff and Emily looking for a job among other things. Part of it is that I wasn't able to get access to all but the most standard ports for internet traffic at work, which stopped me from doing any MySQL stuff. Anyway, I've hardly forgotten about my project. I've had an opportunity to work on some PHP stuff at work for our website. So at least things haven't fallen completely by the wayside this last couple weeks.

I figured to keep the site active I'd put this post up, and talk about a variety of random stuff in it. One thing I'd like to talk about is the pictures I've been using for posts. Anyone who has been visiting my site regularly will have noticed the old-timey photos I've been using. These are all from The Commons, a repository of public realm photography housed on flickr. It's tons of fun to peruse if you've got a bit of time to kill. All sorts of interesting archival photography. I like switching between looking up photos of famous events in history and thinking up more obscure searches to see what comes up.