Shout-out to all of the people working in education right now, I think we’re all doing pretty amazing!

Just wanted to take a minute to say that as an IT technician for a high school that the last week has been the most challenging of my working career. I know as well that it has been the same for the all of the senior leaders, teaching staff, admin teams, pastoral teams, caretakers, IT teams, cleaners and all other support staff that work in schools, academies, colleges, universities, nurseries etc. all around the country and in fact the world.

I want to say that everyone has played an amazing and very important part in our ability to prevent the spread of the virus within our buildings, and to be able to take advantage of new technology and enable remote learning/remote working during these difficult times all in aid to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus as well as preventing disruption of all children’s education as much as possible. For that, I can say that I am proud to be a part of #TeamBoughey and I’m proud to be part of #UETrustIT – I’m proud of all of the hard work we have done, and will continue to do, to make all of this possible. As well as and not forgetting that we need to provide effectively a childminding service for vulnerable children, and children of key workers. Schools will also be checking in on all students that don’t attend during the period of closure remotely, either by phone or online, which is a completely new concept to us all but will enable schools to remain safeguarding our communities dispite the doors being closed.

The amount of work being put in and the teamwork between all members of school staff all around the country (and again, around the world) is incredible, so we must take a minute to think about them as we are all, at the moment, in this together – we are all having to deal with this uncertainty, but we are staying strong to get through this and we are working together to adapt to the changes required by us in these unprecedented times.

Remember, wash your hands for at least 25 seconds, use hand sanitizer if necessary. Take the advice in social distancing, minimise social gatherings – we need to take this seriously. If you have symptoms, self isolate including isolating all those that live with you for 14 days. It isn’t just about ourselves, we have to think about everyone else, this is non discriminative and could well affect someone you love and care for.

Most of all stay positive, be kind and look after one another. This is a real test on our humanity and one that we have not faced anything like in all of our lives. Try not to panic too much, remember that the vast majority will recover from this condition if they get it, and only a small amount by comparison will die. We just need to protect the elderly and the vulnerable in our families, and in our communities, as much as we can.

We can get through this. I’m sure of it.

Peace and love everyone.

Niall

PS – If you’ve read all of that, I’m impressed.

Another year means another gaming marathon at Synectics Solutions (#3 so far!) and for the first time (and in less than 12 hours now!) I take on the challenge by spending 24 hours gaming – all in order to try and raise some money for a charity that is close to mine and many others hearts, the Douglas Macmillan Hospice. You can support me by donating through JustGiving at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/niall-24-hour-game-marathon-2018 – if you want to see our Synectics team effort please visit the team page at https://www.justgiving.com/companyteams/synecticsgamingmarathon2018.

Thank you to those who have already donated, it means a lot! So far as I write this, I’ve raised £75 of my £100 target which is great considering this is prior to the event! If you haven’t already please donate. If not for me or the challenge, just for the DMH, who help so many people and so many families in times when they need it most. If you are not aware of who the Dougie Mac are or what they do, please view their website https://www.dmhospice.org.uk/.

I will hopefully be streaming through my twitch page, https://www.twitch.tv/mrniallyd/ and will also be doing some streaming throughout the day and night (if anyone’s awake!) over Facebook to report how we’re all doing. There will be 20+ participants in the challenge this year, some others will be streaming throughout the day and night so if you don’t particularly want to sponsor me but want to support someone else for the cause then that’s great too! Check out the team just giving page. Please note as well that other participants are raising money for the Alzheimers society which is another great cause – more information can be found out about them here – https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/ 

I will be playing a mixture of games between the PS4 console and the PC and keeping myself awake on plenty of coffee and plenty of snacks! I will mainly be playing on GTA V on the PC but will be playing other games throughout the event (likely FIFA, Destiny, Watch Dogs 2, + more) – I know there are also going to be some challenges this year so that will be fun to take part in, as if gaming for 24 hours isn’t challenging enough!

If you would like to join me during the event, feel free – I could use the company! My STEAM, GTA V and PS4 gamertags are all ‘MrNiallyD’ and/or you can join me on my Discord server at https://discord.gg/sx44gfg.

This years marathon will take place on 26th October at 10am.

Please share!

Remember: Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never share them with anyone or send you unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. They’ll make sure Gift Aid (an additional 25%) is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer, too. That means more money goes to the charity, faster, with JustGiving.

You could also make a cash donation/bank transfer to me and/or directly to the charity if this is preferred. If you would like your donation to be counted as sponsoring for the event, then please let me know and I can input the information to the justgiving page so we can see a live total. You will also be able to donate £1 – £10 via SMS message – information to make donations via other methods than justgiving will be given on request.

In the first two posts in this series, I talked about taking the computer apart and rebuilding it, and also detailed the specifications of my PC.

Since I was going down the route of cleaning up, rebuilding and re-purposing my PC for gaming – I needed a desk. It was Lynda’s idea to move the PC to the other side of the living room – and a friend of mine kindly has lent me an Acer 24″ monitor. After purchasing needed cables, I went ahead and moved this across.

I don’t own a computer desk, or even a table big enough. So I went ahead and used a piece of wood that I had, cut it into shape and screwed this to a table and a bookshelf that I already had in the corner. Set up my PC and the set up was looking pretty nice. (Just lacking a computer/gaming chair).

Since the monitor had DVI and HDMI inputs, I also decided to move my Playstation 4 out of the bedroom and into this set up. And I must say, the difference between monitor and TV on PS4 really is noticeable – I’ve heard people say it before, but trust me – you really can see the difference on a 0ms lag monitor.

Here was the initial set up:
Please ignore the mess 🙁

 

After doing this, Lynda had a great idea to paint this and create a cool design. So between us, we decided to make the desk blue due to the computer lighting up that colour. We also decided to have some graffiti writing on here and eventually agreed that this would be “Gaming is life”. So we had a look on fontspace for a few hours, found a font and then Lynda got designing. She played around with blue, purple, red and black until getting to this:

 

Just thought I would share as Lynda did an amazing job at my desk for me. So thanks so much babe! 🙂

Again excuse the mess, hope you like the set up.

Okay, so in the last post I shared what I had actually done to the PC; summarising having a new graphics cards, new fans and an SSD. Since having the SSD, I must say I have seen a tremendous difference in performance (as you would expect). The PC now starts up to it’s login screen in less than 10 seconds. For Windows 10 Professional, that’s pretty good.

So here I will talk about the specs in my PC, they’re nothing special but they do the job I want it to and it works pretty good. The highest temperatures I have seen so far (through running a game) are in the mid 70s, which is a little high but it seems to keep it around there so I’m not worried too much. When idling it sits around 30C, and during a stress test – I got it to 81C before killing off the test.

So, from piriform speccy, I have got the specs of my PC that I have home built over the last couple of years:

OS:
Windows 10 Professional x64
CPU:
AMD A10-5800K Quad Core 3.8GHz
RAM:
12GB dual channel 1600MHz crucial DDR3 (1x 4GB, 1x 8GB)
Board:
Gigabyte F2A58M-HD2 (P0)
Graphics:
3071MB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB
Storage:
238GB Samsung SSD 850 PRO 256GB ATA Device (SSD)
232GB Hitachi HDP725025GLA380 ATA Device (SATA)
1863GB Seagate ST2000DM001-9YN164 ATA Device (SATA)
465GB Seagate ST3500312CS ATA Device (SATA)
Audio:
Lexicon Alpha external Audio Interface (USB)
Venom USB headset
PSU:
Corsair GS600W

I also have an optical CD/DVD +/- RW drive which is currently installed in the case but disconnected from SATA and power to free up space for more storage. I will look at replacing the 250GB drive soon with a 500GB or 1TB drive to increase this further.

Hey all, so I guess I thought I should write a post about a little project I did myself lately – which was to rebuild the PC. I recently purchased a nVidia GeForce 1060 graphics card, and when I went to fit it – noticed that my Desktop PC could use a clean up inside as it was full of dust, dog hair and the rest of it. The fans were also getting noisy (I think the bearing was going on one or two). Here is a photo of what it started out like:

So yeah, it needed a clean out – as you can tell. So it was off to purchase an air duster and also to get the computer apart. I took out literally every component until I was left with the barebones case that I could clean:

 

Whilst I had it apart, I also had another idea. Since my computer was previously only used as a home file server also connected to plex and mainly used for streaming – and now I was gonna try and get back into PC gaming – I would steal the SSD from my laptop and put it in the computer to give it a nice boost. I kept the existing drives in the PC for storage, but added the SSD – removing the DVD/RW drive from connectivity.

So the computer was finally cleaned out and put back together. The graphics card installed and all ready to go:

I must admit this photo was taken before the SSD was actually installed.

 

I must also mention that since the above photo, I have cleaned out the CPU fan and heat sink with an airduster. The reason it wasn’t done when the case was pulled apart is I didn’t want to upset the seating of the processor as the thought of having to re-do that is a painful one.

Another thing that troubled me always was fans. The cooling set up I had before wasn’t ideal – it consisted of various USB fans, plus the stock CPU and case fan that you see in the picture. And for gaming, I’m gonna need some more intensive cooling than just that. I also made the decision to light up my case blue – considering the PSU already does this and the USB fan that i installed to the back of the case does.

I went crazy and bought 2 fans for the top of the case that light up blue. Installed these and here are the results:

 

Looks pretty cool, especially with the effect of the PSU lighting blue up through the bottom of the case, and a USB fan lighting up blue at the back. But, I’m a little crazy – so I also went out and bought some LED lights for my case to brighten up the case and hopefully show off the internals through the venting in the side. Here are my final results (the lights were off for this photo):

 

Looks pretty sweet, right?