Jul 20

twwThe West Wing – one of my favorite TV shows of all time – is now part of Amazon’s Prime Instant Video library, meaning Prime members can now watch all seven seasons free.  Like all Amazon Instant Video, you can watch on your computer, the Kindle Fire, or any number of compatible Smart TVs and set-top boxes. The XBox and PS3 game consoles are also compatible with the service.

If you’re not a Prime Member you can join, of course, pay to watch The West Wing on Amazon Instant Video, or purchase the DVDs

Irrespective of your political leanings, it’s a great show.  

A clip from The West Wing
Apr 05

ssd_swapIf you have a large 1TB or 2TB boot drive in your Windows PC, you probably won’t care about this article; a few lost gigabytes means jack to you. If, on the other hand, you’re using a high-speed SSD as a boot drive, every gigabyte counts, and you’ll want to read on. 

Most Windows users with SSDs probably have either 64GB or 128GB models (256GB, 512GB, and other large capacity models are still quite pricey).  Filling these drives with applications, videos, photos and games is easy, but we expect these things to occupy our precious gigs of space.  What we probably don’t expect – and certainly don’t like – is having 10-15GB taken up for no good reason at all. And, for most users, that’s exactly what the HIBERFIL.SYS and PAGEFILE.SYS files do: take up space and offer nothing in return.

What follows is a quick outline of how to get rid of these two files and free up space on your SSD or hard drive.

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Jan 30

Different but the Same: Building a Dell XPS 8300 YourselfI was chatting with a friend over the weekend who is in the market for a new PC. The object of his affection was the Dell XPS 8300, a high-end desktop with a Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, and a 24-inch monitor.  It was going to cost him just shy of $2000 with tax (Dell has a retail location in this state) and he was worried about spending so much money in this economy.

That got me thinking; how much cash could my friend save by building the PC himself, or – if I were to volunteer – having me build it for him?  I knew it would be a pretty sizeable chunk of change. 

So I did my research.  I looked at the $1850 Dell XPS 8300 and started compiling a list of components that matched or approximated the hardware and performance of  the XPS 8300.  What I found didn’t surprise me much, but it shocked the hell out of him: 

If he built his own PC, he could end up with the same (or maybe better) machine for about half the price, $900 less, in fact.  My friend’s game, so I thought I would share the project with you in case you’d like to save yourself just shy of a grand, too.

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