Dell XPS X8500 – Time for a new computer

Dell XP 8500 - It Can't Get Here Fast Enough...
Dell XP 8500 – It Can’t Get Here Fast Enough…

I’ve been running an “iBuyPower” machine here for the last couple of years.  It’s not a bad machine at all – with a couple of issues.  This particular machine was probably only $500 and was designated as an entry level gaming machine when I bought it.  Of course what *I* use it for is a bit different – coding, web dev, Photoshop, email, search engine results tracking – usually a crap load of apps will be open at any time.  It also drives 3 monitors – now THIS whole setup IS nothing but pure, unadulterated GEEK-SAUCE 🙂

This box is based on an ASRock N68-VS3 UCC mobo. Originally equipped with a dual core proc (don’t remember the speed) but boosted it to a 6-core AMD Phenom II X6 1045T around Christmas time 2012.  Also went from 4GB of RAM to 8 GB RAM at the same time. And that was nice… but…

Getting a little slow and..

The box keeps popping USB connectors like nobody’s business.  The ASRock N68 has lost the front USB connectors, the audio in the front no longer works. I’ve had to resort to a USB adapter box to get enough USB ports to run all my attachments – and I’m NOT crazy with them.  A couple printers, iPhone, keyboard and mouse.  One more dead USB and I’m dead in the water. Say nothing about my little Lenovo tablet PC and occasional other connections. And seeing some drag when changing apps, virtual desktops and all that. Since I just finished a 100 page site for a company – ka-ching!!!! – it was time to look at upgrading to something a little stronger.

As well, I use a small battery of machines behind me to run general SEO programs. Checking rankings, boosting rankings, hunting proxies so “my buddy” Google doesn’t kill my IP off while CHECKING all these client website positions.  I guess they probably do need to draw the line somewhere or there would be nothing but seo people tying up their search engine servers, but truthfully, doing it as they do and slapping up reCaptchas… Honestly, all it takes are a few proxies to check those serps.  They’re still getting the same requests and having to cough up the same results, just takes a little more effort on MY part and some additional software. Probably just about the same thing as locking your front door.  “Huh, window. Rock.  I’m in”  Just makes it a little less inviting to have to get your SERPs that way LOL and probably stops a lot of people from actually checking to see what Google has in their servers. God forbid.

Current Crop of Computer Processor Cores.

Here’s what’s actually running here (at least the “work” side of it):

  1. AMD Sempron 3100+ 1.8 GHz – 429 CPUmarks
  2. AMD Athlon 64 x2 3800+ – 992 CPUmarks
  3. AMD Phenom II x6 1045T – 4927 CPUmarks
  4. *Intel i7 3770 3.4Ghz – 9449 CPUmarks

Oh yeah.  Retiring #1, demoting #2 to the slower processes, pushing #3 into main position and running several virtuals most likely and stepping up to the i7 as the main box.  No more drag-assing remote windows, 3 second delays on mouse clicks…  About to be a very happy geek sauce boy.

So, I see a hard drive coming out of my current machine, Win 7 Pro, going into the new machine to replace that awful Win 8 OS that the new box is shipping with, repurposing the current machine to SEO row behind me and ditching, believe it or not, an 11 year old machine with a <cough> 1.8GHz AMD Sempron 3100 proc and 1.5 GB of RAM.  Getting JUST a little long in the tooth. We’ll keep the dual core Ath 64 3800 back there (running Linux host OS, and XP virtuals in VirtualBox).  THEN we’ll be kicking up the love that IS an i7 proc with 16 GB of DDR3 RAM running a lean and mean Win7. Not sure if I’m going to run the newly repurposed box directly or set it up with Linux and run VirtualBox XP with it.  Would actually prefer to go that way, but we’ll see.  I’d actually like to do a nice fresh install of Win 7 on the new machine, but that takes SOOOOOO long to do and I sort of need to keep working.

I’m drooling at just the specs on this thing – fingers crossed that it kicks as hard as what I’m expecting! Find out more here at NewEgg.com

Google and History Repeating Itself

google-logoAs a dev that does web dev and SEO stuff – and having been IN the industry since 1997, WTF is Google doing these days???  My sites in general survived pretty well with the recent Penguin 2.0 update.  I didn’t really expect a whole lot of issues, but Google seems to go off in every direction at one time.  Keeping up with the gods that be of search engines, no one ever really has much of an idea as to what specifically is going to be rewarded or penalized with each new Google update.

Arbitrary SERP results and directions

It continually gripes me to see a bunch of directories leading the pack in local searches.  So if I search for a local “whatever”, I end up with lists of directories – Angie’s List, YellowPages, etc.  So let me get this right, I’m searching for a company, but Google is going to direct me to another place to search – and THAT is best result?

A Facebook page is the best source of information?

Recently, I’ve seen some disturbing directions – Facebook pages outranking actual websites. I really need to kick back with a beer and think about this development – and how exactly Google has come to the decision that this kind of content deserves top ranking. So if I have lots of Facebook friends – I can be the best ranked whatever in a search?  From MY experience, you can actually get a whole lot of people to “Like” your page – doesn’t mean that they use you by ANY means.  I get at least a request per week to “like” someone’s new business page. Hell, some of these people I DON’T even like- and SURELY will never use their services, but the requests still come.  And there are a lot of people who take the requests personally. Not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings, they automatically click that “Like” button – regardless of whether or not they’ve ever used, or intent to use, those services.  Without doubt, a lot of people DO like someone’s business page just because they’re buddies.   Unfortunately, that’s what Google seems to think belongs up there as a relevant result.  And of course, directories where I can ACTUALLY search for the results I want like YP, AngiesList et al – and more paid advertising.

Interesting read – http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2173677/Why-Google-Beat-Inktomi-the-Inside-Story-From-Former-Engineer

When Google first appeared on the surface, there was huge diversity on the search engine front.  Hotbot, AOL (LOL), Inktomi, AltaVista, et al.  And of course, I believe Microsoft (MSN in those days) had also dipped their toe in the pond at that point.  As a long term observer of Microsoft and their ham-fisted approach to many things in software and internet, they became and stayed the “evil empire”.  Their push and expected attempt at world domination doing it the Microsoft way – well, it all smacked of IBM and their attempted domination of the PC market with their MicroChannel architecture licensing slam.  If you do have a good idea and can impose your will on the masses, well that is a nice place to be – until you get carried away with yourself. However, when there’s other game out there that really is NOT fond of your attempts at imposed domination… Let’s just say I was all too happy to throw my “You need to try out this great new search engine, Google!” to everyone I met.  A fresh, surprising upstart that was giving good results without the arrogant Microsoft “You must drink OUR koolaid” approach.

What I’m seeing now in the world of Search Engines

Actually, my outlook on things is still the same, however, the company names have changed. I’m seeing yet another company, Google,  that I once held in the highest esteem, that is getting too big for it’s britches. Dictating who lives or who dies according to their own arbitrary and ever-changing recipe.  I’m seeing Google in the search engine world, I see them trying to duplicate the world of Facebook with their own Google+ and forcing everyone to drink THAT koolaid, seeing them develop their own OS (Android), seeing them delve into the world of hardware with their new Chromebook, . In short, what I’m seeing is another company trying to rule all facets of the digital world – and becoming the new ham fisted dictator in the process. Granted, if I was NOT in SEO work or working with PPC advertising, I probably would not even notice this that much, but I am and I do.

Google – History Repeats Itself?

It all seems eerily similar to the 90s when there was a company at the top of all computer food chains – Microsoft.  I was a Windows Systems Admin (and budding web dev) and had to wade through pages of onerous Microsoft licensing details, work around the “That’s not a flaw, that’s a feature..” b*llshit, and just take what Microsoft dished out regardless of how cockeyed or off the mark the idea was.   Remember Windows ME, more recently Vista, and IMHO, Windows 8?

At least these days, I have a choice of what OS to use.  Heck, I still have machines running XP – a fine OS that does 100% of what I want even if it IS from 2001.   Linux continues to rise in popularity.  Interestingly enough, Linux is what I use to RUN those Windows XP machines in VirtualBox.  Apple with the linux-based Mac OS is posing a very nice challenge to Windows.  It still has a much smaller user base, but I often find myself contemplating going that way – “It just works” would be a nice change.  All it would take is Microsoft really borking something up to create a serious shift in OS choices IMHO.  In addition to the MS “my way or the highway” arrogance in the general OS / Office areas back in the 90’s, there was their entry into the Internet world on their own terms – creating a browser that was compatible with… nothing – and attempting to dictate the standards because they were Microsoft.

That is where I see Google going.  Dictating standards because they can at this moment.  And it will only be a matter of time before there is a pushback from users fed up with being dictated to.  When we have to be paying to even appear on a search page – regardless of HOW fricking strong a website is – because we’re overshadowed by paid advertising, results chock full of directories and Facebook pages… well “You need to try out this great new search engine, Bing!”