Friday, June 7, 2013

How Can I Play my Old PC Games on a Modern Computer?

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Use Windows 8 Picture Passwords to Learn Information

Windows: In the newest version of Windows, you can create a picture password that you unlock with a series of taps or drags. Try using this to drill yourself on information you want to learn.

The picture password works with a series of three motion. You can circle, tap, or drag across certain parts of the photo. To unlock your machine, you need any combination of three of these gestures. By using photos of something that you're trying to learn (like the periodic table example above), you can quiz yourself every time you unlock your computer.

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Fried Dessert Plantains a la Colombiana

DSCN3726.JPGThis is the the story of two little brothers, who grew up together but had to walk separated paths. Now, they're travelling the world, looking for adventures, wonders and treasures. Both brothers are gifted: one inherited his mother's great culinary skills and learned how to cook tasty dishes. There is no impossible recipe for him and he always has the perfect touch to make everything delicious!

On the other hand, the second brother learned how to... build junkbots and stuff using plastic trash.

But not today, because Instructables' Fried Day caught me on town, so I will share with you how to make delicious plantains filled with mozzarella cheese and some typical Colombian sweets: Arequipe (or "Dulce de Leche") and Bocadillo (guava paste), a dessert so easy to prepare even the not-cook-in-a-million-years sibling of the Caicedo-Langer family can prepare. This is my first kitchen instructable, so I hope you enjoy it.

CAUTION: Due to their thick consistency, hot arequipe and bocadillo are known to be extremely tongue burners ("Napalm in your mouth" level). So, before eating, wait a few minutes until these sweets get warm.

DSCN3677.JPGIf you are in South America you won't have problem finding the ingredients. But if you are in North America, probably you will need to visit the latino neighborhood of your city. In San Francisco there is Mission District, in Mission St. and 22nd.
Mature plantains: you can determinate it by the peel color: yellow with big black spots. Mozzarella cheese: In Colombia, we use "Doblecrema" cheese. But Mozzarella is your best choice. Arequipe: It has different name in South America, depending of the country you are: Arequipe, Cajeta, Manjar, Manjar Blanco, Dulce de Leche. If you can't find it, here is an instructable of how to do it. Bocadillo: A traditional guava paste from Colombia. Most of the times, you can find it enveloped on plantain leaves. If you can't find the Bocadillo, you will have to use only Arequipe. Oil: Canola or peanut.

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MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming Series Motherboard Review

Legit Motherboard Reviews

MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming Series Motherboard Review

Micro Star International, more commonly known as MSI recently sent us over one of their recently released Intel Z77 Gaming motherboards. What they sent over isn't your average mom and pop motherboard. The MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming motherboard is a beast of a motherboard and geared for those looking only for the best. Although there are several others in the MSI Gaming Series, the MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming is the top dog of the series. The MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming is available for as little as $169.99. The Z77A-G45 Gaming and Z77A-G43 are available for $139.00 and $109.99. Each of the boards has its respective place, but we are going to focus on the flagship board of the gaming series the Z77A-GD65 Gaming.

The MSI Z77 series of motherboards are built with the intent of giving gamers the top features and technology so that the can be at their best and not have to worry about their hardware. According to MSI the Gaming boards have 'The best weapons at hand'.

The highest frag and the lowest lag with Killer E2200Game networkingMilitary Class III componentsGaming device portOptimized for multiple graphics cardsBoosting performance thanks to OC Genie IITop quality audio solution with Sound Blaster CinemaSupports DDR3 3000 memory for super fast loading

Each of the above features adds to the performance of the Z77A-GD65 Gaming motherboard and would make a great addition to any gamers arsenal.

Killer E2200 NIC

The Killer E2200 Intelligent Networking Platform is built for maximum networking performance for online games and high-quality streaming media. Featuring Advanced Stream Detect, Killer E2200 automatically detects and accelerates game traffic ahead of other network traffic for smoother, stutter-free in-game performance and the competitive edge. With this exclusive, automatic traffic prioritization, games and real-time chat get priority over low-level system chatter, giving you the lowest latency for game data on the most controllable network hardware available. Through the detection and prioritization of gaming traffic you can finally fully utilize your network without fear of being kicked from an on-line game because of high ping. This enables true multi-tasking without manually enabling or disabling applications, updates and installations. Killer networking actually allows you to use your PC 24 hours a day.

Gaming Device Port

You want more FPS, lower ping, but why use a pro-gaming mouse with old-fashioned standards? MSI Gaming Device Port is optimized for high polling rate mice (500 to 1000 Hz) which lowers your mouse's response time from 8 milliseconds to 1 millisecond! This gives a much smoother mouse response in games. The additional gold plating on the ports enhances the durability drastically and ensures your PS/2 and USB ports are always working when you ship out to a LAN party.

Gaming Benefits

More ResponsiveSmoother GameplayFaster Reactions

Technical Benefits

3x More Gold than regular connectors10x longer lifetime when plugging and unpluggingPrevents Oxidation

The onboard audio performance of a motherboard is almost always questionable for some and good enough for others. Lately though each motherboard manufacturer has found ways to try and set themselves aside from the crowd. Some have replaced the typical Realtek audio codec with another, others have had the Realtek audio codec set up to use third party software. In the case of the MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming, MSI is utilizing Creative Sound Blaster Cinema software to hopefully boost the sound quality quality and performance of the onboard Realtek ALC898 Hi Definition audio Codec. I would have liked to see MSI step it up a notch and use an actual Creative Audio chip, after all, MSI is going after the die-hard gamers out there that are likely using dedicated sound cards.

Military Class 3

Many of the remaining features are the same technologies that we have seen on MSI motherboard in recent times. All the components on the MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming motherboard are Military Class III Components. The Military Class III Components consist of DrMOS II, Hi-c Cap, Solid CAPS, and Super Ferrite Chokes. Below is the explanation of each of these components from MSI


DrMOS is the next-gen Mosfet which is used to deliver the power for the CPU. MSI DrMOS does not waste much power, stays cool and is more power efficient than other powersaving solutions. Because DrMOS is a 3-in-1 chip it delivers much more power with less components needed. This solution gives you the power to break world records.


A Hi-c CAP is a very small, but super-efficient capacitor. Besides ensuring enough spacing around a CPU socket to install large coolers, it also allows for 93% energy efficiency. Thanks to Hi-c CAP's MSI mainboards are the most energy efficient in the market.

Solid CAP

With their aluminum core design, Solid CAP's have been a staple in high-end design mainboard designs and provides lower Equivalent Series Resistance (ESR) as well as its over-10-year lifespan.

Super Ferrite Choke

Super Ferrite Chokes use a Ferrite core that is Super-Permeable. This allows the Super Ferrite Chokes to run at a 35 degree Celsius lower temperature, have a 30% higher current capacity, a 20% improvement in power efficiency and better overclocking power stability.

Beyond the Military Class III technologies, we have features such as Super Charger, Click BIOS II, Total Fan Control, and the ever so important Dragon Heat-Sink... Each of these features plays an important roll in the performance of the MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming motherboard (yes even the Dragon Heat-sink that is over-sized to aid in heat dissipation).

Supports 3rd Gen Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron processors for LGA 1155 socketSupport four DDR3 DIMMs 1066/1333/1600*/1866*/2000*/2133*/2200*/2400*/2600*/2667*/2800*/3000*(OC) DRAM (32GB Max)Supports Dual-Channel mode3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots4 x PCIe 2.0 x1 slots

SATAIII controller integrated in Intel Z77 chipset

Up to 6Gb/s transfer speed.Supports two SATA ports (SATA1~2) by Z77

SATAIII controller integrated in ASMedia ASM 1061 chipset

Up to 6Gb/s transfer speed.Supports two SATA ports (SATA7~8) by ASM 1061

SATAII controller integrated in Intel Z77 chipset

Up to 3Gb/s transfer speed.Supports four SATA ports (SATA3~6)


SATA1~6 ports support Intel Rapid Storage Technology enterprise (AHCI / RAID 0/1/5/10) by Intel Z772 USB 3.0 rear I/O ports by Intel Z771 USB 3.0 onboard connector by Intel Z77Chipset integrated by Realtek ALC898Supports Sound Blaster CinemaSupports one PCI Express LAN 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet by Killer E2205 GigabitSupports ATI CrossFire TechnologySupports NVIDIA SLI TechnologySupports Lucid Virtu Universal MVPATX 24-Pin power connector8-pin ATX 12V power connectorCPU x 1 / System x 4 FAN connectors3 x USB 2.0 connectors1 x USB 3.0 connector1 x IEEE 1394 connecto1 x Multi BIOS Switch1 x TPM Module connector1 x Front Panel connector1 x Front Panel Audio connector1 x Chassis Intrusion connector1 x Debug LED panel1 x Voice Genie connector (optional)1 x MultiConnect Panel connector (optional)1 x V-Check Points Set1 x Power button1 x OC Genie button1 x Reset button1 x Clear CMOS jumper1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port1 x Clear CMOS button1 x Coaxial S/PDIF-out port1 x Optical S/PDIF-out port4 x USB 2.0 ports2 x USB 3.0 ports1 x RJ45 LAN jack1 x 6 in 1 audio jack1 x HDMI port with max. resolution up to 1920x1200 @60Hz1 x DVI-D port with max. resolution up to 1920x1200 @60Hz1 x VGA port with max. resolution up to 2048x1536 @75HzThe motherboard BIOS provides "Plug & Play" BIOS which detects the peripheral devices and expansion cards of the board automatically.The motherboard provides a Desktop Management Interface(DMI) function which records your motherboard specifications.30.5cm(L) x 24.5cm(W) ATX Form Factor

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How to Make a Better Strawberry Pallet Planter

Over the past year I've come across scores of diy pallet projects, some of them intriguing and others not quite there yet but still having potential. One that I see time and again is the idea of using a single wooden pallet as a strawberry planter. Filled with soil and with plants inserted in the gaps they're usually leaned up against a wall but sometimes bolted on to keep from tumbling over. It's a clever idea but I've steered away from trying it myself because I suspect that they'll require constant watering and erosion control and also because I'm not convinced that they'll work long term. Almost every image I've found of pallet planters look to be newly planted rather than a tried and tested design.

Still I was interested in the idea and with the gift of eight pristine wooden pallets, I started scouring the internet looking for alternative tutorials. Ones that offered increased stability, more soil capacity and better aesthetics. Eventually, after finding nothing that really jumped out at me, I came to the conclusion that I'd have to come up with my own design. After thinking about the process for this post I'm quite sure that anyone who is comfortable using a hammer and hand-saw could complete this project too. Though I'll be honest and say it's much easier if you have a jigsaw and a few other extra tools.

For this project you will need the following materials:
- A suitable pallet as described in the next two steps
- A hand-saw or jigsaw
- Electric drill or hammer
- Two sizes of screws and nails - approx. lengths 4 cm (1-1/2") and 8cm (3")

- Heavy duty chisel/wedge and iron mallet
- Non-toxic paint and paintbrush

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Basic Concrete Countertop

The basics for making a concrete countertop are simply building your mold, pouring and finishing the concrete. There are several acceptable materials for building the form, but we chose cheap and easily obtainable...melamine coated particle board. You'll need a piece larger than your desired finished dimensions, we chose a 4 foot x 8 foot piece 3/4 inch thick. Other items needed are:

- Additional melamine boards for the sides of the form
- Sturdy and LEVEL sawhorses to build on (our finished top weighed around 400 lbs)
- 3/8 inch rebar for inner support
- Remesh for more inner support
- Wire for attaching the rebar and remesh to the form
- Screws for building the form (we used 3 inch and 1 5/8 inch drywall screws)
- Drill (you MUST pre-drill the particle board to avoid splitting)
- Saw(s), circular hand saw and/or table saw to cut the form sides. We also used a chop saw.
- Silicone caulk in a color easily seen on your Melamine (we used black)
- Concrete tools consisting of float(s) and trowel(s)
- Long screed board
- Hacksaw/bolt cutter/wire cutters for cutting your rebar, remesh, and hanging wire
- Level
- Rubbing alcohol
- Concrete (of course). We used Quikrete 5000 without additives like fibers or water reducer.
- Pigment of choice. We used a little black so the natural color would just darken a bit.
- Concrete mixer. Ours was rented and we mixed and filled everything in 4 hours.

Before you build your countertop, you should definitely build a test form. We built two 1 x 2 foot forms with rebar and remesh to test pouring consistency, color, technique etc. This also allows you to test finishing techniques on something other than the real countertop. Please don't skip this step.

Plan the size and shape of your top and mark it out on the Melamine sheet. We didn't need to make any templates since ours was a simple rectangle and was going on an island and not against a wall. Be sure to take into account the thickness of the boards being used for the walls when drawing the guidelines.

*While our sawhorses were both sturdy and level, they were only on the ends of the mold base. After curing, we noticed a very slight bow in the countertop. In retrospect, we should have had two additional supports across the length. *

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