PC Build 2020

You learn something new every day. That’s what I believe, and I think it’s held true so far.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve done a lot of learning. You see, it’s been a while since I had to assemble a PC from scratch – the last one I did was a year ago. Over the past few weeks, it was my turn. To be honest, I didn’t need an upgrade, my PC was running fine, but since my nephews needed one to do school work from home (lockdown problems), I decided that it was time for me to get a new machine.

I said goodbye to my 10-year-old case (which had relatively new parts – the last upgrade was over 2 years ago) and scoured the internet for my next build. Jokes, I built my new PC first before giving away the old one. Since the experience is still fresh in my mind, I thought I’d write about it – maybe I’ll come back in five years’ time to see if anything has changed.

Cable management is a skill

In the past, I’ve never cared about properly managing the cables in my PC – I had a metal case with no windows, the only person who would know what it looked like was me. This time around, my case has a clear side panel which people can peek into. I decided to give it a shot. Initially, I tried doing it without any help, but I realized I needed some guidance. A few YouTube videos later, I got the hang of it.

It’s not the best job, but I’m proud of my first successful attempt. Cable management requires patience and some trial and error. One of my biggest mistakes was making cable bundles too thick – this prevented the side door from closing properly, so I had to unbundle the wires and try again. Also, there’s no reason to use zip ties if you have twist ties – they can look just as neat and be as functional.

Old cases have terrible airflow

Nothing much to say here except that I can game at around 40 degrees. On my old PC, it was around 70 degrees. I think all the space inside the case makes a big difference. Also, Cooler Master is pretty good when it comes to bang for the buck. I can recommend their cases if you need something budget-friendly.

Cooler Master CPU Coolers are a bitch to install

A year ago, I had problems installing my friend’s CPU cooler (Cooler Master). Turns out, you had to remove the fans before installing it. This time around, I faced the same issue, but I didn’t know I had to remove the fans because they weren’t in the instructions. I watched a YouTube tutorial to find out. I wish they’d follow Noctua’s footsteps – those mounting brackets are ingenious – I managed to install their coolers successfully on my first attempt by following a tiny two-page manual.

On a side note, isn’t it incredible how people are willing to take the time to upload helpful videos onto YouTube? I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the first person that video has helped out.

RGBs have standards

If you’re interested in having RGB components hooked up to your motherboard, you have to take note of the kind of connector they use. It wasn’t a big deal for me since I don’t care too much about RGBs, but my motherboard (which uses JRGB) didn’t support the connection on my Cooler Master CPU cooler RGB (JRAINBOW). While the lights work, I can’t use software to change the light settings. Fortunately, Cooler Master provided a little controller that you can fiddle around with to switch light modes.

RAM and motherboards

There is a reason the RAM slots on your motherboard are colored. You’re not supposed to simply stick the RAM in willy-nilly. Also, if the motherboard supports dual channel memory, get a dual-channel kit, or buy two RAM sticks. 8GB x 2 will perform better than a single 16GB stick. Also, don’t forget to enable XMP on your motherboard if you have high-performance RAM. If you don’t it won’t function at advertised speeds (nothing wrong with running at default speeds, but you could have paid for cheaper RAM instead).

Not all HDMI cables are equal

Because I gave away one of my monitors, I had to replace it with another (once you use two monitors, you never want to go back to one – you feel so handicapped). When I got the monitor, I kept using my old HDMI cable since it would be one less cable for me to unplug. Turns out, that was a bad idea. My monitor wouldn’t go to sleep when I had shut my PC down. Initially, I thought it was some monitor or software setting. I even tried exploring my BIOS to figure it out. I did some Googling and it turns out not all cables are equal. Long story short, I replaced the HDMI cable with the one the monitor came with and it now goes to sleep after the PC has turned off. I don’t know why, but that’s how I fixed the issue.

Speaking of new monitors, 144Hz displays are amazing. Even using Windows feels great! I had been using 60Hz screens forever since I never experienced fast refresh rate monitors before. Now that I have, it’s going to be difficult to switch back. Hopefully, 60Hz screens become a relic of the past in the future. Simply dragging windows or moving the cursor around is enjoyable. I would equate it to how responsive iOS is compared to Android – when it comes to scrolling up and down webpages, or just dragging icons around – people who have used both devices would know what I mean.

Mistakes:

I probably should’ve gotten a Ryzen processor – to be fair, I had bad experiences with an AMD machine in the past, which has led me to stick with Intel ever since then. But after reading and watching a lot more videos since I built the machine, AMD Ryzen is supposed to be the way to go – I could have saved myself quite a bit or upgraded my GPU (not that I needed to, my 980 Ti (thanks, Ken Jae) is more than adequate for me.

I removed one more rear PCI slot cover than I had intended to, and I can’t put it back without using glue.

Uninstalling your copy of Microsoft Office doesn’t give you an additional install (lol).


In conclusion, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge throughout the whole process and I look forward to the next time I put another computer together – I hope it’s not too soon (in my case, at least).

Learning never stops, until your heart (or brain) does.

Uncontrollable Lights; a First World Problem

Been a while since I wrote about a first world problem – I guess it’s time for a new one! Last night, for the first time in a long time, I had an internet outage (which was scheduled by Time Internet – just regular maintenance (on a side note, that’s one word I haven’t learned to spell. I get it wrong 50% of the time)). I had forgotten about it and was still awake when it happened.

Since I could no longer use the internet, I decided to go to bed. However, I tried turning off my lights with my Google Home Mini and was told that it couldn’t work because it had no access to the internet. And because of that, I had to turn my lights off by flicking the switches – something I hadn’t done in months.

Smart light bulbs are cool. In addition to letting you choose what color and brightness to flood your room with, they can power on and off automatically or at scheduled times. Honestly, they’re amazing and I doubt I would ever go back to regular light bulbs, but if they have one drawback, it’s their reliance on the internet.

When they’re offline, your only options are to turn them on or off – not too bad if you’re okay with their default state and color. Because once you turn off the main power (i.e. the wall switches), they reset to their default state when powered on again (note – this is just my experience with the Yeelight, maybe other smart bulbs can store settings).

Writing this post made me realize this isn’t a common problem at all. I did mention it was a first world problem. Also, it sounds like a really dumb rant. But I missed out a post last week and needed something to write about, so here we are. Smart lights are still cool, I’d recommend them if you enjoy controlling things with your voice. Or phone.

Speaking of phones, that iOS 14 announcement was something eh? iPhone users, welcome to Android!

Frustrating Investigations

During the lockdown, I’ve had some time to catch up on shows that I hadn’t watched before and a large chunk of them turned out to be crime/investigation series. While I enjoyed watching the shows (i.e. Broadchurch, The Stranger, Safe), there was something that irked me a lot about all of them – the people interviewed by the police are never upfront about the truth!

Everyone seems to have something to hide, and for some reason, they don’t care enough about the murdered victim to be upright with the cops. Because by the end of the show, I find myself thinking – this would have all been over in a day instead of weeks if they had spoken up initially.

Sure, it makes sense if guilty people are hiding the truth, but the majority of these people are just bystanders or have nothing to do with the case! Yet they keep silent even when opening up wouldn’t get them into trouble.

I’m sure it’s just the writers’ way of dragging the show past a single episode, but wouldn’t it be more compelling if detectives had to do actual crime-solving instead of verifying false statements? It’s obviously working because I keep watching these shows, but whenever the series end, I feel like I’ve wasted my time.

Maybe I’m just watching the wrong shows, but Netflix recommended them to me and they were interesting enough to sit through. So, whatever. It’s my own fault for indulging in them. I frustrate myself. Ugh.

Instagram ads are alright

I dislike ads. I’m sure most of you know that. I recommend uBlock Origin to everyone I know, I purposely purchased a domain name and rented server space so I could have an ad-free blog, and use a third-party YouTube app on my mobile devices so I don’t have to deal with them interrupting my videos.

Sometimes, ads can’t be avoided – like in the Instagram app. These advertisements show up in your feed after scrolling through a few posts, and other times they insert themselves in between stories of people you’re browsing. Most of the time I’ve received bullshit ads that I swipe away immediately, but recently I think the algorithm has me figured out (yay).

These days I don’t get any more adverts for strange sex toys, rubbish manga or cash-grabbing mobile games. Instead, I get music video ads that I watch and swipe up to. I like the fact that I can instantly load their YouTube video or Spotify page to continue listening to the whole song. While I haven’t found my next favorite band yet, I have discovered quite a lot of songs that I would have missed if it wasn’t for the intrusion.

Thank you for the encroaching commercials, Instagram (Facebook). For once, I can wholly support them, and I hope this trend keeps up.

In the meantime, do check out some of the bands I’ve discovered through the power of advertising:

Properties of Nature – You Didn’t Start a Fire in My Heart, You Started it in My House!

East of June – Rebel

PNKR – Olivia

LØE – People Have The Power (Official)

Evading the Commute, Falling Behind

If there’s one thing I never thought I’d say, it’s I kinda miss being behind the wheel. No, hear me out – I don’t miss traffic jams but I do miss listening to podcasts while driving. But wait, George, don’t you listen to podcasts because you’re trying to pass time in the car?

Yes, it’s true. However, during the past few months spent at home, I realized that I’ve fallen behind on my podcast queue. It’s starting to look like my Steam library. Because I don’t drive, I don’t listen to podcasts. So, why don’t I listen to podcasts when I’m not driving?

When I’m not driving, I’m usually doing something which requires my attention (not that I don’t pay attention while driving). In this case, it’s working from home, or watching a show, or playing a game. When I’m doing those things, I can’t have a podcast running in the background – I’ll either get distracted by what I’m listening to, or I’ll miss whatever the hosts are saying. There’s no in-between – or at least, I haven’t trained myself to be capable of doing such things.

I have limited time and attention span. I’m not sure if it’s a flaw, but I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one. Which is why I only listen to music while working. If I hear someone else talking at the same time, I end up losing my train of thought while writing. I definitely can’t watch a show at the same time. And with games, I end up not paying attention at all, which beats the whole point of listening.

What about listening before bed then? I used to do that but I end up falling asleep before finishing an episode and when I wake up the following day, I have to relisten to it to catch what I missed. Not a great use of time if I use it to consume the same content twice.

Is there a solution to this? Of course, but that would mean deprioritizing other things I enjoy so that I could squeeze podcast listening into my day. However, that’s something I’m not willing to do at the moment. I guess podcasts aren’t that important to me. If I was desperate to listen to them, I wouldn’t have this problem. Why the rant then?

Good point. Maybe I just wanted to write about working from home.

Working from home means you get to be more productive right out of bed. Just wash up, make your breakfast and sit yourself down in front of your computer, start working. I’m not complaining about working from home though. I think it is a good thing.

I also believe that this lockdown has a lot of companies rethinking their positions on letting employees work from anywhere (at least I hope so). As long as they get the work done, right? People save petrol and commute time. Nobody has to get stressed over traffic or risk getting into a vehicle-related accident. After all, the internet was invented for a reason.

Online Profile Privacy; Evening Drama Rebooted Plug

Back in the day, sharing your online contact details was a simple process.
You had your IM username (in ICQ’s case, it was your UIN) for people you want to chat with, and your email address for everything else. Most people would share either one without a second thought (assuming you were interested in speaking to the person requesting that information).

Now, with the number of different social networks available, it’s a bit more complex. Different online profiles have different amounts of information that you would like people to have access to, they all have different weights.

This thought crossed my mind earlier today when I was asked to request to join a Facebook group and to inform the person in charge of that group over Whatsapp instead of Facebook. In my mind, I was thinking, why? Why not keep everything on Facebook, since the platform facilitates both groups and messaging. Then I thought, maybe that person didn’t want to share their personal Facebook profile.

But that person gave me their phone number (which was on the signature of the email) – something I have always rated as more personal than a Facebook profile. On the other hand, this person might have given me a business number to reach out via Whatsapp instead. Then I thought some more – why didn’t that person just make a business Facebook profile for such situations in the first place?

And then I concluded that maybe I’m just overthinking things.

For reference, this is what my social media privacy levels are:
Phone number, email: for friends, family, and work.
Facebook: for my friends and acquaintances.
Instagram, Twitter, Twitch, Soundcloud, YouTube, this blog: for the public.
LinkedIn: for future employers and friends? I’m not sure yet. I only created an account (earlier this year) to apply for jobs, and I have less than 10 people in my network. I don’t even log on to it unless I get an email alert.

Pretty much everything is available to the public, and the only reason my phone number and email address aren’t is to avoid spam. If I could put it all up there without such problems, I’d probably do it. After all, the internet is around to make you easily contactable.

I don’t have multiple accounts and only use my various accounts for different purposes – but if anyone from the other circles find their way to my other accounts, I’m not bothered by it. I believe that anything online is pretty much public, so I don’t post anything online that I don’t want people to see.

While writing this piece, I got carried away with work and when I returned, I lost my original train of thought. I think it was about how different people treat their details differently, and most people are probably a lot more concerned about their online privacy than I am. Maybe I’ll return to this topic in the future. Possible Evening Drama Rebooted topic?

Also, if you haven’t been following, I’ve been hosting a weekly live show called Evening Drama Rebooted on Twitch for the past few weeks. We’ve managed to keep the show going for eight episodes despite not having consistent times – quite an achievement, in my opinion. It’s about me, Seng Yip, and Christin shooting the shit over random topics. The show was born at the start of the MCO and should go on at least until it ends. No idea about our future plans yet. And yes, the name is a throwback to a group blog we used to write for. Check out our past episodes on YouTube.

The Botanist

Today, I learned about the existence of David Goodall – a renowned 104-year-old botanist who flew from Australia to Switzerland to utilize the country’s assisted-suicide facilities. While stories like these are probably more common than I imagine (albeit, with younger people), what made this occasion special was the invitation of press coverage.

You see, Goodall had a mission. He was a representative of Exit International – a nonprofit advocating the legalization of euthanasia. He wanted the world to know that some people want to die, despite being perfectly healthy and of sound mind. You don’t have to be broody and depressed to want to die. Sometimes you’ve just had enough of life, and that’s reason enough.

In his own words when asked if he was happy, “No, I am not happy. I want to die.”

And sure enough, the media brought his story to light. They covered his life, his decisions, and his situation. It sparked a lot of debate, and while I don’t know if Goodall’s death directed impacted any policies worldwide, it gave him the attention he was looking for.

Goodall wasn’t enjoying his life. He no longer could do the things he enjoyed despite being healthy. Sure, he was slowly deteriorating, but it was a slow process. He lost the ability to drive, his eyesight started failing, he had a fall in his home and was only discovered after two days by his cleaner. His quality of life wasn’t great and yet he was still illegible for assisted suicide in Victoria, Australia – the only state where it’s legal but only if you’re terminally ill.

He didn’t know how long he was going to live for, but whatever that number was, it was too much for him. He announced his plans to his family in April 2018 and set his plan in motion. A month later, he flew to Switzerland and was administered a lethal dose of Nembutal (by his hand), to the soundtrack of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.

Usually, I’m not an advocate for suicide – but hey,  if someone in his position requests for assisted suicide and they are in the right mind, I think it should be granted.  It’s a long and troublesome process that nobody applies for on a whim. You’ve got to want it if you want it. Also, it’s not cheap (sorry, poor people, you’ll have to do it illegally – or do something stupid like Bruce Willis in Die Hard 3).

Here’s why it’s okay for old people to want to die even if they’re not close to death – they’ve lived for a long time. They’ve probably done everything they’ve ever wanted to do in life, there’s nothing more to experience – they’ve hit the max level cap. Especially for people like Goodall – he’s been married thrice, lived in multiple countries, and earned accolades for his work. For crying out loud, he used to perform in a theater till he was 90, and was still working at the age of 103!

Goodall didn’t want to be a burden on people (my man) and dreaded the thought of living in a nursing home. It was going to be beneficial to his family since they wouldn’t have to care or worry about him anymore. I thought that was very selfless of him. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I agree with euthanasia.

I’m sure I won’t live until anywhere near a hundred, but in the event where I require assistance to end my existence, this post is up for everyone to read if they were unconvinced by my decision.

You fought a good fight, Mr. Goodall, rest in peace.

On Being Productive

I don’t consider myself the most productive person in the world, far from it. However, I am more productive than some people (according to them). As discussed in last week’s Evening Drama episode, there are things I do to help me in this aspect, so I thought I’d elaborate a bit more.

If you’re here for a list:

  1. Make things as easy as possible for yourself to be productive.
  2. Breakdown tasks into achievable portions. Scale down large ideas if you have to.
  3. Reward yourself. You’re more inclined to finish off your work if you know you’ll enjoy yourself later.

Long version:

Make things as easy as possible for yourself to be productive.

One of the best ways to make or break habits is to modify the situation. For example, if you want to stop smoking, you could start by getting rid of all your cigarettes. If you want a smoke you’ll have to ask someone for it or go out to buy a pack. If your gym is walking distance compared to an hour-long drive away, you’re more likely to stick with the former. Change the conditions of what you have to do so that you don’t have to go through too many hurdles to stay productive.

For example, if I’m planning to write or draw for the day, I launch WordPress, Google Docs, or Manga Studio on my computer. Knowing that an app is open makes me more inclined to work on my writing or comics because I’ve removed the hurdle of launching it.

Other things that can help – having a nice workspace. Clean up your desk, untangle your wires, make sure you have what you need to work within arm’s reach. If you have to leave your desk to get a tool in the middle of your work, you’re just giving yourself extra obstacles. Do your best to have everything prepared beforehand.

Breakdown tasks into achievable portions. Scale down large ideas if you have to.

Based on how fast you work and how much time you have, set yourself goals that are achievable for the day. If you only have an hour to spend on your projects, it’s more reasonable to write one chapter instead of five. It’s better to output small amounts of work consistently than nothing at all. If time only permits you to draw a single comic panel for the day, then just do that. Don’t aim to draw five pages if you can’t work that fast. You’ll only discourage yourself when you don’t achieve your goals.

If you think your project is too big, don’t be afraid to scale it down. Turn it into bite-sized chunks so you have no issues completing it. If something is too much to handle, chances are, you’ll set it aside until you finally ‘have time’. No, break it apart, and do something now.

I’ve learned quite a lot from my time blogging and drawing Animal Bus. At my blogging ‘peak’, I would write five posts a week, that gradually slowed down to three, then two, and now once a week. To be fair, I was feeling the burnout and I was running out of ideas (I found myself repeating topics when writing drafts). I decided to cut down the amount of writing. This allowed me to spend more time writing longer pieces, something I enjoyed more, which resulted in higher quality posts (at least I think so haha).

When I started Animal Bus, I had a lot of free time. But as the weeks went on and I eventually launched the comic, I found myself with less free time. I couldn’t keep up the full-color vision I had for it. I decided to scale down with imperfect coloring. It still took too much time, so I switched to leaving it black and white. And now, it is manageable. I didn’t think I would be able to keep up with the weekly upload schedule, but since the downgrade to no colors, it hasn’t been an issue. In the future, if I want to color it, I can always go back.

Again, like the first point – the idea is to make things as easy as possible for yourself to turn it into a habit.

Reward yourself. You’re more inclined to finish off your work if you know you’ll enjoy yourself later.

This one is a no brainer. I usually tell myself that I can watch a show, play a game, or have a cigarette only after finishing a task. While it may sound stupid, it works. I trick myself into working for a reward all the time. If dogs can pull off tricks for treats, so can humans. Make sure you follow through and only reward yourself when the task is completed. If not, this method won’t be effective. Just like when a dog knows it can earn treats without doing tricks, it’ll be less inclined to do so – after all, why work for something when it can take the easy way out?


This ended up being longer than expected but hopefully, some of you find it helpful. If you have productivity tips of your own, feel free to share in the comments! I’m always looking to learn new tricks.

Shiver Me Timbers

Why isn’t it offensive to mimic a pirate accent? What even is the pirate accent? Did all pirates speak like that? Do pirates speak like that? Did they have the same accent but in different languages around the world? What was the origin of the pirate accent?

And just like every question I’ve asked in the past, it has already been answered.

Pirates didn’t speak the way we hear or read about in books or movies – they’re all a product of Hollywood. Mostly thanks to Disney’s first completely live-action film – Treasure Island (1950) starring Robert Newton. On another note, it’s amusing that Disney is still making movies glorifying pirates despite their strong stance against piracy.

According to reports, Newton decided to use an exaggerated version of his West Country accent for his character in the film, setting the stereotype for how pirates spoke back then. So you have him to thank for our perception of pirates.

West Country English is what people from the southwest of England spoke – not just pirates. Which makes sense since pirates came from all over the world, not only from England. It would be impossible for all of them to have the same accents (unless it was a rule they had to follow).

Do pirates today get offended by how they are portrayed in the media? Pirates are supposed to be tough nuts who don’t give a fuck about what people say, right? I did a quick search on modern pirates and it turns out that Four Year Strong resemble pirates more than they will ever be.

Somali pirates, photographed in 2012
When you’re holding guns, there’s no need to look fearsome.

Conclusion? What we know about pirates is the result of many years of Hollywood stereotyping. Like nerdy Asian kids, autistic savants, and Mexican drug dealers. No complaints here, I’m just looking forward to a pirates film with a sprinkle of Cthulhu magic, leviathans, and an easycore rendition of Bella Ciao. Come on, Álex Pina, you can do it!

Bad Beer Served Chilled

Ever wonder why drinks that are meant to be consumed at a certain temperature taste worse when they are not? I was thinking that to myself the other day when I left a cup of coffee on my desk because it was initially too hot to drink. I didn’t know the answer, so I did some googling. Today I learned that temperature can drastically affect the way a drink tastes.

If a drink is too hot or cold, the taste receptors in your tongue don’t work as well as they’re supposed to. This means, at extreme temperatures, you don’t taste the full flavor of whatever you’re putting into your mouth. You don’t taste the full bitterness of coffee or beer, which makes the drink more pleasant.

When your drink cools down or warms up to a more acceptable temperature, you can taste more of the flavors that make up the drink, making it more bitter or sweeter, and amplifying what it truly tastes like.

For coffee, this isn’t too bad. I enjoy the bitterness of a strong coffee even if it’s warm, but when it comes to beer, it always tastes terrible to me.

Turns out, I’ve been doing it wrong (or drinking the wrong beers). Apparently, bad beer is served cold so that it tastes palatable when you’re chugging it down. When it has warmed up, you can experience all of its flavors, which often brings up the comparison to piss. Good beer is supposed to be consumed at close to room temperature so that you can taste all of its flavors.

I haven’t had many beers at room temperature (not a thing here in Malaysia), but the next time I have something more premium or some craft, I’ll give it a shot warm. Won’t be anytime soon, but for now, I’ll make do with cold diet sodas and instant coffee until this Movement Control Order has been lifted.