First-time Rig

Update: Changed my CPU cooler from Scythe Mugen 2 to CoolerMaster V8 instead.

This is like a dream come true for me.  Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve always fantasized of building my own PC. I can’t even count in my hands how many times I’ve spec’ed a gaming rig, only to be forgotten.  Why I still haven’t tried up to this point, I’m not sure.  Maybe because I didn’t have enough to actually go out and buy them.  Or maybe I was just to chickenshit about messing up and throwing all that money to waste.  I can still remember when I started replacing parts in my computer where you manually have to set your own DMAs and IRQs in the BIOS, while trying to figure out which jumper configuration you need to set your hard drive and whether to set it either as a primary master or slave…all of that while trying not to blow yourself up (confession: I’ve actually seen sparks fly during these occasions.).

Anyways, that was all in the past now.  These days, everything is like Lego.  You just stack everything up and hopefully all the fail-safes built into the motherboard kicks in. Everything is color-coded and labeled neatly, that the only way you could screw up (other than faulty components)  is if you read the manual upside down.

Another good thing these days is the pricing. Deflation on computer parts (and tech stuff in general) is already a given. However before, when you want to find the best prices, you literally have to walk through each store and ask for the price and compare it by hand.  Now, with price comparison sites like or (in Canada) there’s no excuse for not getting the best deals.  And then there’s the beauty of price matching where your local store can match the best deals online while saving yourself some hefty shipping fee.

So with all these reasons, I was really running out of reasons not to do it. I started fantasizing again last year, and built another spec sheet for that elusive build but started forgetting about it again.  Until a few months ago, when StarCraft II came out.  It ran fine on my laptop and was able to finish it but only using the lowest settings.  And one of the best things in any blizzard game is the cinematics – from the first WarCraft all the way to WarCraft 3. But this time, Blizzard made a lot of use out of their in-game cinematics vs. the pre-rendered ones, and that put the final nail in the coffin for me to upgrade to a “real” PC.

The most arduous task when building a PC is not how to put the parts together, but knowing which parts to get.  It’s really hard to find a balance between budget and power given the plethora of options available. So after months of research, here is what I came up with:

CPU i7 930 2.8GHz
Mobo Asus P6X58D-E
Video Card XFX Radeon 5770 1GB HD577X-ZNFC
Ram Mushkin Blackline 3x2GB
SSD Kingston SNV425-S2/64GB 2.5″ 64GB SATA II
HD WD Caviar Blue 1TB WD10EALS
Case CM 690 II Advanced
Heat Sink CoolerMaster V8
PSU Silverstone Strider ST75F 750W (modular)
Monitor Dell 22″ IPS 2209WA
DVD drive Sony AD-7260S-0B
Keyboard Razer Arctosa

This comes with a hefty tag of $1200, $1400 including the IPS monitor (which is still a bargain).  I’ve started to purchase some of these when I can but it’ll take time.  It’s got a hefty price tag, but I think it hits that balance that I need, especially now that I’ve got a list of labor-intensive games I’m dying to play, including Crysis and Far Cry 2. With this list, I don’t think I’ll be having any buyer’s remorse anytime soon (unless prices dramatically drop).

I’ll do another post when I’ve finally gotten all of these together, and start to finally put them together.


Filed under: Uncategorized,

How you holding up?

It’s been a long six months. Tons on my TODO list and here I am still sitting on the spoils of my laziness for all I care. To tell you the truth, I have been secretly writing up half-finished (or half-started for you pessimists) posts on this blog but never got the guts to post them. I’ve been looking for stuff to work on but at the end of the day, it all gets to me and I come crashing down. Nothing ever gets accomplished around here. Just to recap:

November: marks the start of my quarter-century life crisis.

December: revisited the Big Apple (pics still not included), this time trekking the city on our own. Still did the tourist-y stuff but less huffing and puffing around like the last time. Hit MOMA, FAO Schwartz, The Apple store at 5th avenue, saw some guy propose at the Rockefeller skating rink while watching the christmas lights display at Saks, breakfast and “adventure” at Central Park. We also saw Chicago with Ashlee Simpson (which was surprisingly good) and got hustled at Times Square. Went to the apartment that John Lennon got shot, and then browsing through MET. Not much dining, but got to eat at Bubba Gump’s (eh) and TAO (loved the one in Vegas). Wall Street and downtown was not much to go around on.  Subway can be daunting but really straightforward after a while.  Next time around, I’d like to hit the other 4 boroughs and mix up with the locals more..and more museums and restaurants.  Never sleeps, that city does.

January: Attended a software conference in Montreal (out of my own pocket..oh the inhumanity).  Lots of French-speaking bagels and whatnot.  Learned how to say “no” in French (just drop the pitch a tad lower and pretend you’re angry at the world).  Hit up some of the clubs (since they’re supposedly reknowned in the world) till around 3am (which I’ve never done, and probably never will) and can tell how sexually desperate some people are.  Old Montreal could’ve been a nice visit, except for the fact that they’re close on Wednesdays for some reason.  Didn’t get the chance to go to museums, but had the opportunity to visit EA games slave labor factory.  Talked to THE only javaScript guru and heard from known (some controversial) hardcore sec guys. Next time I’m in Quebec, I should really hit the slopes.  I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

February:  work.

March:  I’ve finally started settling down and started doing some need-to-do chores.  I’ve started to get some of my teeth work done, start finishing off my G license, started playing guitar again and get some recording done, got myself a new phone, and start budgeting for the next trip.  After this, I think I’ll start buckling down and start saving up for that volunteer work that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.   Then maybe, just maybe, I’ll start thinking about what to do with my life.

Filed under: life, , ,

Facebook and YOU: An Edumacation on its Privacy Policy

Let’s face it, the concept of privacy does not exist on the web. That’s already a given. Your friends knows that, your mom knows that, even our dog knows that. However, I don’t think people realize just how much they are giving away and for what.  And this is where Facebook comes in: it’s the gleaming, shimmering example how much of a cesspool of privacy problems the web can be. To their credit, much has changed since then, but few issues still remains.  The biggest of all is just how much of personal and private information third-party apps can collect about you.  A seemingly innocent game of Facebook poker or scrabble might not seem innocent once they start scraping your personal data without you, or Facebook knowing.  This might sound hypocritical since Google et al. essentially does the same, but you’d imagine that a sole web application that harbours that much personal information might be a little more considerate and upfront about what it does to the drunken pictures you post on your page.

Thus, while Facebook continually overhauls its policy, here are some tips on how to defend yourself against the seemingly losing battle for right of privacy.  Thus, you shouldn’t be surprised the next time you login to Facebook and  see a picture of yourself plastered in a dating advertisment.  You’ve been warned.  As for me, I’m still staying away from Facebook…but that’s probably because I’m just lazy.

Filed under: web, , ,

Canadian Tax Dollars at Work

Lobbyists and the government: Holding Canada back technologically since the 1900’s

Filed under: Canada, , , ,

Whaddya know…

…and here you’re thinking that it can’t happen in this day and age.

Moral Lesson? Don’t dismiss it too quickly the next time that script-kiddie wannabe CS freshman or that know-it-all coworker brags about finding a bug in GCC. There’s always hope for everyone.

Filed under: Uncategorized,


" I would like to change the world, but I don't know where the source code is. "


Geofrey Josef Flores is a Software Developer at IBM Toronto. He finished hisSoftware Engineering degree at University of Toronto on June 2009. As a frustrated artist he occasionally shoots with his Nikon D40x , and with music inclinations that includes playing guitar and singing. He apparently likes to talk about himself in third person as well.


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