Dec 182012
 
Instagram logo

Instagram logo

Today, 18th December 2012, Instagram announced that they would be changing their Terms of Service effective 16th January 2013. After that date, Instagram will be able to repackage any photo submitted to the service and sell it for advertising purposes without informing the photographer. This means that your photo could be used to advertise any product – even ones you are opposed to. Further, if there are any legal claims about the content of the images used for advertising purposes, the liability will lie with the photographer, not Instagram.

The only way to opt out of the new rules, is to delete your Instagram account (however, the new TOS will only apply to photos uploaded after the new TOS becomes active) – by logging in either using the mobile app, or the web page confirms your acceptance of the new rules.

This change in the TOS has angered a number of photographers online and they have been venting on Twitter and Facebook. The Anonymous hacker collective has urged Instagram users to boycott the service (see the hashtag #boycottInstagram).

Instagram is a fabulous tool which allows photos to be taken and instantly uploaded – If you want to, you can add a variety of filters and frames with a couple of clicks. This makes it a very immediate medium for sharing thoughts and breaking news as it happens.

Flickr Logo

Flickr Logo

There is, however, an alternative in the newly released Flickr Mobile App which is available for Android and iOS.

The Flickr App is very similar to Instagram in that it allows you to take a photo and add one of a number of filters to the image. I don’t see an option in the Flickr App to add frames, but I rarely use them anyway. The Flickr App does not restrict the image to being square, and the image is much higher resolution. The Flickr Terms of Service are much more agreeable to photographers too.

But, what if you already have photos on Instagram which you would like to migrate to Flickr?

The best method I have found, is to use the free service at OpenPhoto.me which allows you to download photos from Flickr, Facebook or Instagram in bulk. Signing up is free, and you can choose to save your photos to a Dropbox account which is also free. If you would like a larger-than-normal Dropbox account, please sign up using my affiliate link: http://db.tt/7Gg69v4h

Note: OpenPhoto.me is currently undergoing an upgrade, but if you sign up now, they will let you know when the service is available – you have until January 16th 2013 before the new Instagram TOS becomes active.

Let me know your thoughts on the new TOS and the Flickr App!

UPDATE: [22:00GMT 18 Dec 2012] Instagram have issued a clarification of what they meant by the new TOS – http://blog.instagram.com/post/38252135408/thank-you-and-were-listening U-turn or genuine mistake?

Nov 172012
 

On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, Microsoft released 6 security bulletins in their regular ‘Patch Tuesdy’. After installing the bulletins and rebooting my Acer V3-571 laptop which is running Windows 8 Pro (64-bit) I found that I no longer had a wireless connection to my network. The Wireless Network Adapter in this laptop is an  Atheros AR5BWB222.

The device manager showed that the device was having a problem:

Device Manager

The Windows 8 Device manager showing an exclamation mark against the wireless adapter.

Further, the properties of the device showed that the device was unable to start. Attempting to update the driver reported that the latest driver was already installed – even connecting to a wired network and allowing the Device Manger to search the internet for a better driver was unsuccessful.

The solution is to visit the Acer website at www.acer.com, go to the  support section and choose driver downloads. Enter either your computer model number (in my case V3-571), or the serial number from the sticker which you will find on your machine.

Choose the ‘drivers’ tab and locate the driver for the Atheros Wireless LAN  (see the screenshot below)

Acer driver download

The driver download page on the Acer website, www.acer.com

Device properties

The properties of the wireless device show that it is unable to start.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The driver is 37Mb in size and comes as a zip file. Save it to your hard drive and, once the download is complete, extract the zip file to a folder.

(It may be a good idea to download all the drivers for your computer and store them in case you need them when you don’t have access to the internet)

Back in the device properties window, choose the ‘Driver’ tab and click the ‘Update Driver’ button.

When you are prompted ‘How do you want to search for driver software?’choose ‘Browse my computer for driver software’ and navigate to the folder into which you extracted the zip file. Follow the wizard to completion and the driver will be installed.

Check the device manager and you should now no longer see the exclamation mark against the wireless adapter.

Open up the network connections screen and enable the wireless device if necessary. Reconnect to the wireless network as normal (you will need to enter your wireless password when prompted).

You should now have wireless access to your network and the internet.

I hope this helps you get back online – let me know in the comments how you get on!

Sep 252012
 

So, you have ripped an audiobook from CD and imported it into iTunes, but it’s showing up as an album in amongst your music – how do you move it into the books section?

The problem with having them amongst your music is that your iPod doesn’t necessarily remember where in the track you were – this means that you end up listening to the first part of the file again if you take a break from the book. Luckily, the solution is simple.

  1. Open iTunes and, in the music section, highlight all the files which make up your book.
  2. Right-click (ctrl-click on Mac) one of the highlighted files and choose ‘Get Info’
  3. Choose ‘Yes’ when it asks if you want to get information for multiple items
  4. In the ‘Info’ tab, choose an appropriate genre – maybe ‘Audiobook’, or ‘Nonfiction’
  5. Click the ‘Options’ tab and make these changes:
    • Media kind: Audiobook
    • Remember position: Yes
    • Skip when shuffling: Yes
    • Gapless album: Yes
  6. Click ‘OK’ and wait for iTunes to process all the files

Your book will now show up under the Books section of iTunes – Sync your iPod and everything should be as you want it.

Sep 042012
 

When I was a teenager, I was slim and sporty – I was a keen member of my local swimming club and swam at Scottish Schools level, I ran cross country and track at lunchtimes and evenings, I played squash for a while and competed in a few biathalons. When I was 18, I went to university and bought a flat right round the corner from “Scotland‘s Fish and Chip Shop of the Year 1989, 1990, 1993″.

After going undercover as a fattie for nearly 20 years, I’ve decided it is time to remove my disguise.

I’ve tried dieting before, but I’ve never stuck with them for very long. This time it’s been different, I signed up with myFitnessPal and downloaded the mobile application for my phone. During the sign-up process, you give various information about yourself; your age, sex, weight, height etc. and it gives you recommendations of what your ideal weight is, and how many calories you should be eating in order to lose the excess. The mobile application lets you track everything you are eating and drinking so you always know whether you are on target or not. If you are eating prepackaged food, you can scan the barcode and all the nutritional information is automatically recorded for you – I haven’t found many items which are not in their database.

I’ve only been on the diet for 6 weeks, but I have found it really easy to stay within my calorie target each day and have seen great results.

Before I started watching the calories, an average day would have consisted of:

Breakfast

  • Bacon roll with back pudding and brown sauce (at the weekend I might have a fry up)
  • Small bottle of fresh orange (gotta be healthy!)

Lunch

  • Fish and chips or Lasagne or whatever was on in the canteen
  • Bottle of diet coke

Dinner

  • Macaroni cheese or Pizza or some other microwave meal
  • Bottle of diet coke

Snacks

  • Chocolate bar or crisps or biscuits

It’s no wonder I was overweight.

My diet now is much better, and I don’t feel hungry as I have with other diets. I also don’t feel guilty about anything I am eating because I know how many calories it has and can ‘budget’.

Breakfast

  • Small bowl of All Bran or Bran Flakes with Skimmed Milk

Lunch

  • Salad or Soup
  • Bottle of sparkling water

Dinner

  • Low calorie microwave meal / Steamed chicken & vegetables
  • Bottle of sparkling water

Snacks

  • Fresh fruit or Cereal with skimmed milk

6 weeks ago, I weighed 95kg (209lbs), this morning I was 87.6kg (193lbs) so that’s 8kg(18.5lbs) lost so far. This tracker should show any progress which I have made since making this post.

Created by MyFitnessPal – Nutrition Facts For Foods

 Even though this is not a huge amout of weight lost so far, I have noticed huge changes to how I look and feel.

The first thing I noticed was that my face, neck and arms were slimmer. I didn’t initially see any difference in my waist size, but it is now comfortably 2 inches smaller than it was and I have bought new trousers as the 0ld ones were just too loose.

It’s not just my size which has changed. When I tried jogging recently, I found I could only run for a few minutes before my calves cramped up – I actually tore the muscle due to this – I wasn’t tired or particularly out of breath when this happened, I just couldn’t run longer than a few minutes. Even if I walked briskly, I found my legs getting tight and sore. Now I have none of these problems and I am enjoying walking 40 minutes or so fairly briskly to get home from work each night and have no pain in my legs. I used to get regular headaches too, but since changing my diet I have had none – I can only assume that they were caused by the foods I was eating, or a lack of water (I am now drinking much more water).

So, if you are a bit overweight, or unfit, give MyFitnessPal a try for a few weeks – dieting isn’t as difficult as everyone makes out and I have had real results in only a few weeks. Let me know in the comments how much you like the new you!

 

 

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Jul 152012
 

I’m sure you’ve seen reports in the news recently of all the online services which have been hacked causing their users’ passwords to be exposed. Assuming the website has followed best practice and only stored password hashes, this shouldn’t be a big deal as it will take the hackers some time to decode the password and in that time you can log on and change your password. However, a lot of people will use the same password on multiple services. This means that, if a hacker gets access to one password, he may be able to log into lots of other services using your account.

The Security industry is constantly reminding people not to use the same password for multiple services, but this is an almost impossible task. I recently spent a couple of days tracking down all my online accounts and setting secure passwords on all of them – I found 78 different accounts – there is no way I could remember 78 unique passwords without some sort of reminder.

A few years ago I came up with one solution, but I think I now have a better one.

My original solution was to come up with a password which I would be able to remember – I used a line from a book, taking the first letter of each letter to make up the password.

For example, if I chose the line “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”, my password would be IwabcdiA,atcws13. That’s not a bad starting point as it’s easily memorable, 17 characters long, it has upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. But, we now need some way to make it unique to each site.

I added the consonants from the site name to the middle of the password. For example, www.google.com would become “Ggl” and my password would be IwabcdiA,Gglatcws13. My twitter password would be IwabcdiA,Twttratcws13.The problem with this system is that an attacker who finds one of your passwords might recognise the string “Twttr” as being related to Twitter and be able to guess your other passwords.

I realised that it would be more secure to have completely unique passwords for every site, and tried to find a way of performing some sort of hashing algorithm on the domain name with and appended salt mentally to produce a unique password. It turns out this is pretty difficult to do. I came up with the following system which will allow you to work out your password with a pen and paper – I think this is better than having your passwords written down, and does not rely on having access to a password manager (although I have a solution to that too!)

Ok, bare with me – this gets a bit complicated, but after you have done it a couple of times it becomes easier.

I’m not a cryptographer, so I can’t vouch for this being at all secure, use it at your own risk. In my opinion, though, it must be more secure than using the same password in multiple places.

  1. Firstly, choose a secret number, say 5 numbers long. I’ll use 35187 as an example – this is used for every password
  2. Next, take the domain name – example.com
  3. Use RotX on each of the numbers where X is a digit of your secret number. RotX just means to count X letters through the alphabet from your starting letter. So, C Rot5 would become H (count in your head “C,d,e,f,g,H”) We will change our domain name e+3, x+5, a+1, m+8, p+7 (then repeat your number as necessary) l+3, e+5, .+1 (I’ll come back to the dot in a second), c+ 8, o+7, m+3
  4. We now have hcbuwoj.kvp
  5. Where there is punctuation, count the number of characters before the symbol and use [shift]+number to create a symbol. In this case, hcbuwoj has 7 characters, and [shift]+7 gives an & symbol.
  6. We now have hcbuwoj&kvp
  7. Transpose (swap) each pair of characters – this becomes chubow&jvkp
  8. Capitalise all characters which are on the left side of the keyboard – this becomes ChuBoW&jkp
  9. Before each group of capital letters, enter the number of preceding lower case letters – we now have 0Chu2Bo1W&jkp
  10. Before each number insert [shift]+[n+1], that is, increase the number by one and insert the symbol which you get by typing shift and the number. On a UK keyboard, this gives !0Chu£2Bo”1W&jkp which is your final password.

You can, of course, come up with your own set of steps and customise to suit your own taste. The idea is to come up with a password which looks as random as possible and does not obviously relate to the original domain name.

This system may be useful where you are travelling across borders and do not want to transport passwords which could be intercepted by the authorities.

You can make some changes to the above steps to speed up the generation process – for example step 8 can be done at the same time as step 3.

Do you have any better systems, or see any holes in the system? Let me know in the comments!

Jul 132012
 

Recently, there has been a spate of websites being hacked and passwords being exposed.

Although I do use unique passwords on all sites they all followed a rule which meant that, if one password was exposed, it wouldn’t take a genius to work out the others. I know that a lot of people use the same password for multiple online accounts. And who can blame them, I have found I have 59 different accounts (that I know of!) – who can remember that many unique passwords?

I decided it was time to come up with a better system. I wasn’t interested storing the passwords on my computer as I wouldn’t have access to them on my phone, or at work, or if I was using a friend’s computer.

I considered writing them down and carrying them in my wallet as has been suggested previously by Bruce Schneier, but I didn’t want to face the mad dash to change my passwords if I ever lost my wallet.

I came up with a system which will give you a secure(?) password for every site, but it has drawbacks. I may post the method later.

I did some research and found that it is possible to use a password manager and share the database via Dropbox which makes it available on all your computers and on your mobile phone. Problem solved!

Here are the steps you will need to follow to set it up for yourself.

  • Sign up for a Dropbox account and install the client on your desktop computer. If you use this link, we both get some extra free space and I will be forever thankful to you Smilehttp://db.tt/4Db0HSpj
  • Download KeePass from http://keepass.info/download.html It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. I suggest you download the Classic Edition rather than the Professional Edition as it will allow you to write passwords on your mobile (The professional edition will only allow read access from your phone)
  • Install KeePass, following the wizard and run it when complete.
  • Create a new database in KeePass by choosing File > New
  • Choose a strong password as the master password – this will be the only password you need to remember.
  • Repeat the password when prompted.
  • You should now see the main KeePass window with categories under which you can save passwords.
  • See the excellent Keepass FAQ for details on how to enter and generate secure passwords (it’s easy)

image

  • Save the database to your local Dropbox folder.

image

  • Close the desktop client.
  • Download the Dropbox app for your phone and install it – enter the details you used when signing up for your dropbox account.
  • Download the appropriate client for your mobile phone. I use Android, so downloaded KeePassDroid.
  • Open the mobile Dropbox client and you should see the .kdb – click on it and it will open in KeePass.
  • Enter the secure password you set up earlier and click ‘OK’
  • You will now see the General group – click on it and you will see the same sub-groups which you saw in the desktop client. Once you have stored your passwords, you will be able to access them under the appropriate group.

So, now all my passwords are secure, how do I use them on my phone?

  • Open the General group, then the Internet sub-group – you will see all your website logins.
  • Click the site you want to access.
  • In the notifications bar at the top of the screen, you will see two new entries with padlock symbols next to them: Copy username to clipboard and Copy password to clipboard
  • Click the URL of the site and navigate to the login screen
  • Choose ‘Copy username to clipboard’ from your notification area and paste it into the Username field on the Website
  • Choose ‘Copy password to clipboard’ from your notification area and paste it into the Password field on the Website
  • Click ‘Login’ – you are in the site without having to memorise your password!

Now, go and change all your passwords choosing secure, unique passwords and store them in your password manager. If a hacker gets one of your passwords, your other accounts will still be safe, and if you choose complex enough passwords, the hacker may not even be able to get your password at all if they are stored as hashes by the website.

If you’ve found this useful, please sign up to Dropbox using my link so we both get some extra free space! Thanks!

May 192012
 

This morning, I put my LP-E6 battery for my Canon EOS 7D camera on to charge in the standard LC-E6E charger, but it did not charge at all.

The charger has a single LED which shows the charging state of the battery. While charging, the LED is orange – it flashes once and pauses when the battery is less than 50% charged, twice and a pause when the battery is less than 75% charged and three flashes and a pause when the charge is less than 100%. Once the battery is fully charged, the LED turns green and lights continuously.

*   *   *   *   *  < 50%
**  **  **  ** ** < 75%
*** *** *** *** *** <100%
******************** = Problem!

When I connected the battery, it flashed orange rapidly with no pause.

To fix the problem, I unplugged the charger, I cleaned all four contacts using a dry duster. There are two copper ‘blades’ and two silver ‘bent wire’ contacts. The charger seems to gather lots of dust. I also cleaned the contacts on the battery taking great care not to touch them with anything conductive. The exposed contacts can be rubbed gently with a cloth, but the two slots which connect to the ‘blades’ on the charger are harder to clean. I folded a clean piece of paper in half and gently pushed it into the slots – there was a small amount of fluff which came out of the slots.

When I put the battery on to charge again, it was showing 50% charged and after a few minutes showed 75%.

I hope this will save you spending £75 on a new battery, or £50 or a new charger!

Feb 262012
 

What is an SSL certificate?
At its most basic level, an SSL certificate is used to encrypt electronic communication, to authenticate users or devices, and to sign electronic communication. There are various types of SSL certificate – Web Server certificates, Email certificates, code signing certificates etc.
Here, I will describe the process of creating a new SSL certificate for use on a website as this is the most common use for certificates. At some point, I may write further guides describing different types too.

What are the components of an SSL certificate?
SSL certificates contain a number of pieces of information:
Subject – the name of the entity being identified by the certificate.
Private key – never seen by the client.
Public key – associated with the private key.
Issuer – the name of the Certification Authority who has signed the certificate.
Serial number – a unique identifier for the certificate
Validity period – the start and end dates between which the certificate can be considered valid.
Usage – a description of what the associated public/private  key pair can be used for.
Digital Signature – the signature of the issuer.

The certificate uses Public Key cryptography to encrypt, sign and authenticate.
The private key is known only to the owner of the certificate. A piece of information encrypted with this key can only be decrypted by the associated public key.

How do we communicate securely?
Let’s assume a situation where I want to communicate securely with you. I make a connection to your web server and request your certificate. Your server supplies the certificate which contains your public key. I generate a master key which we will both use to encrypt our communication. I encrypt the master key with your public key and send it to you. You are the only person who can decrypt the master key as you are the only person who knows your private key.

We have now securely exchanged a master key without anyone else being able to know it and can communicate securely.

What is signing?
In the same way you can sign a letter to ‘prove’ that it was written by you (assuming no one is capable of forging your signature), you can digitally sign an electronic communication to prove it was created by you – this also confirms that the content has not been changed since you signed it (and means you can’t deny the document was created by you)
When you digitally sign a document, you hash the content and encrypt the hash value with your private key. This is then sent with your certificate and the document. When I receive the signed document, I can decrypt the hash using your public key from the certificate. I then hash the document myself and confirm the two hashes match.

But, how do I know you are you?
Communicating securely is fine, but how do I know you are who you claim to be and not someone pretending to be you?
Public Key Cryptography to the rescue again!
When you create a certificate, you can have it signed by a Certification Authority (CA) – they will do some checks to confirm your identity; generally by doing a WHOIS search against your domain name and verifying your name and address.
Once they have established that you own the domain for which you are creating the certificate, they will digitally sign the certificate for you. This means they are vouching for your identity.
Every web browser comes with a list of CAs which it trusts – there are hundreds of them. When I receive your certificate, I check who it was issued by. If it was issued by a CA which I trust, I am able to confirm that it is signed by them and I know that I can trust the certificate.

Great, how do I create a web certificate then?
The high level steps to create a certificate signed by a CA are:
Create a public/private key pair.
Send the public key and certificate info to a trusted CA
The CA creates and signs a certificate which contains your domain name and private key.
You install the certificate on your web sever where it is associated with the private key.

Creating the key pair.
I will use the Microsoft IIS web sever as an example because I am most familiar with it. Other web severs use similar steps.
IIS has a wizard to step you through creating a certificate…
In IIS, right-click on your website and choose ‘properties’.
On the Directory Security tab, click the Server Certificate button this will open the wizard.
Choose ‘Create a new certificate’ then ‘Prepare the request now, but send it later’.
Enter the details as you are prompted for them and, at the end, save the certificate request somewhere you can find it.

You have now created the keypair and prepared a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) ready to submit to your favorite Certification Authority.
The CSR is a block of text which is uploaded to the CA as part of the enrolment process. Once enrolment is complete, the CA will provide you with your new certificate – either as some text displayed on screen or as a file in an email. Either way, it should be saved as a file on your web server.

Installing to certificate
Back in the certificate wizard in IIS, choose ‘Process the pending request’
Choose the file supplied by your CA and follow the wizard to install your certificate.

The certificate should now be served when you visit the website in your browser on port 443. (https://)
You should probably make a secure backup of the certificate now by exporting it from the certificates snap-in.

For Apache servers, the CSR is created using the OpenSSL software – there are plenty of guides online.

 

If you have found this article useful, please consider purchasing an SSL certificate from Godaddy using my affiliate link – http://x.co/lesault – It will help me keep the site online! Thanks.

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Dec 152011
 
P2E safe

Burg Wächter P2E safe

I have recently purchased a free-standing home safe from Burg Wächter (sometimes spelt Burg Waechter). The Pointsafe range comes in four sizes P1, P2, P3 and P4 and is available with an electronic pad lock or a key. I bought the electronic P2E version. The electronic version comes with two ‘override’ keys in case you forget the combination. Remember to store these keys securely, but not in your safe!

The safe is rated for £1000 cash or £10000 jewellery, so is not a high security safe but sounds about right for the things I would store in a home safe (passport and other documents, a small amount of emergency cash and a backup of my photographs on disk). The P2E version has single skinned walls (3.5mm steel) and a double skinned door. There is an internal metal shelf, and the floor is felt-lined. The back and floor each have two holes for fixing the safe to a wall or floor with the supplied bolts, plastic blanking cover the holes at the back.  The door seems solid, with two locking bolts which extend 16mm when locked. The door hinge is visible at the bottom of the door – this may be a weakness. The external dimensions of the safe are 255(h)x350(w)x300(d), internally they are 248(h)x343(w)x241(d). The volume is 20.5l and the safe weighs 16.5Kg. The safe is large enough for A4 paper with a little room to spare, but you will have to bend it to fit it through the door.

The keypad is responsive and makes a quiet beep when you press the buttons. The single line LCD display is not backlit so can be difficult to read, but you really don’t need to read it when opening or closing the safe. When not in use, the display shows the current time.

The bolts are driven by an internal motor rather than by turning a handle on the front – this should make the safe less susceptible to opening by ‘bumping’. After entering the correct code, the spring-loaded door swings open automatically.

The batteries (4xAA) are accessible from the outside of the safe, and the emergency keyhole is located behind them. The keys are four-sided cruciform keys which make the lock harder to pick and the keys harder to duplicate than a standard or tubular key.

The safe comes with the batteries, keys and two fixing bolts hidden in the packaging – be careful you don’t throw them out!

The electronic lock has two codes – the user code (1-6 digits) which you would use day to day for opening the safe and a master code (8 digits) which should be stored safely to allow the safe to be opened if the user code is forgotten (again, don’t store this in the safe!) The safe can also be set into ‘hotel mode’ which means a new user code needs to be entered in order to lock the safe if it is left open for more than 5 minutes.

The default user code is 168 and default master code is 12345678 – these should both be changed as soon as possible.

Overall, this seems to be a reasonable home safe which does not have many of the common security problems often seen in cheaper safes.

The user manual(pdf) is available on the Burg-Wächter website.

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Oct 012011
 

Zalman CPU CoolerMy current workstation is a Dell Dimension 9200 and it has served me well for the past 6 years or so, but it is starting to show its age, so I decided to build myself a new one. The most intensive work I do on my workstation is editing large photos from my DSLR, and editing HD video from the same camera. A nice fast processor and lots of RAM will make a huge difference.

I found that amazon.co.uk had very competitive prices and this has the added advantage of only dealing with one supplier – you may be able to find some of the parts cheaper else where, the prices seem to change daily!

The prices below are correct as of 30/09/2011.

CPU: Intel Sandybridge i7-2600 Core i7 Quad-Core Processor (3.40GHz, 8MB Cache, Socket 1155) £230.04
Buy one for yourself at Amazon

Note: When I received this processor, it came with a small heatsink and fan. The heatsink has thermal compound pre-applied. You can probably save yourself some money by not buying the CPU coolerI have specified below.

Motherboard: Gigabyte Z68X-UD5-B3 (GA-Z68X-UD5-B3) £261.91
Buy one for yourself at Amazon

This motherboard allows overclocking the CPU, and I have read at least one report of the i7 2600 being overclocked to 4GHz, so I may give this a go. If I was more serious about overclocking, I would have gone for the unlocked 2600k which is only a few quid more expensive.

RAM: M4A1600CCorsair CMZ16GX39B 16GB (4x4GB) 1600MHz CL9 DDR3 Vengeance Blu Memory Four Module Kit £90.18
Buy one for yourself at Amazon

Graphics Card: Gigabyte GV-R687OC-1GD; 1024 MB; GDDR5-SDRAM; 256 bit; 4200 MHz; ATI Radeon; Radeon HD 6870 (GV-R687OC-1GD) £219.10
Buy one for yourself at Amazon

Power Supply: CiT 750W Power Supply Unit with PSU and Dual 12V Rails – Black Edition £27.99
Buy one for yourself at Amazon

This is a pretty cheap power supply – I’ll see how it holds up and maybe upgrade to something better if necessary.

As expected, this power supply wasn’t up to the job. The motherboard needs a 20+4-pin ATX power connecter and an extra 4+4-pin CPU power connector. Additionally, the Graphics card needs 2×6-pin PCI-E power connectors which were not all available on the cheap power supply. I bought an OCZ TECHNOLOGY OCZ-ZS750W-UK OCZ ZS Series 750W Power Supply from the ever helpful Silicon Edinburgh

Buy one for yourself at Amazon

Hard Drive: Seagate ST31000524AS 3.5 inch Barracuda 1TB GB 7200rpm SATA Drive with 32MB Buffer £44.29
Buy one for yourself at Amazon

DVD/CD: Sony AD-7261S-0B 24x Internal DVDRWRAM SATA Black Lightscribe £18.02
Buy one for yourself at Amazon

CPU Cooler: Zalman CNPS9900-NT CPU Cooler (PC World £29.97)
Buy one for yourself at Amazon (£36.99)

I’ve heard really good things about this CPU cooler, and it should keep the chip a reasonable temperature if I do decide to overclock – besides, it’s got a green LED fan, so it must be good 😉

Note: This cooler comes with a tube of thermal grease, so you don’t need to buy any extra unless you have a preferred brand.

Case: Antec Three Hundred Midi Case £49.98
Buy one for yourself at Amazon

A nice plain-looking case with plenty of space for expansion, it comes with a 140mm top fan, a 120mm rear fan and has the option of adding two more 120mm fans on the front if I find it is running hot or noisy.

The courier who was delivering this screwed up and did not deliver at the scheduled time, so I have cancelled the order. I bought an Antec VSK-1000 Tower Case from Silicon Edinburgh – the case has plenty of room for the graphics card, is well made and looks great.
Buy one for yourself at Amazon

Monitor: Samsung 2443BW 24 Inch Monitor – Black (already owned)
Buy one for yourself at Amazon(£223.69)

This means I have spent a total of £971.48, and I suppose I’ll have about another £20 worth of parts to buy where I can’t cannibalize my old PC. So I come in right on my budget of £1000.

The build went really smoothly, nothing complicated when it comes to putting the hardware together – just ensure that you connect the 24-pin and 8-pin power connectors to the motherboard and the two 6-pin power connectors to the graphics card. The cables can all be routed neatly through the cable management system.

I’m happy with the performance too. My Dimension 9200 scored 4889 on a Geekbench test, the new workstation scores 11534 (these are the 32-bit tests done with the free version of Geekbench – I may purchase it and do some more accurate testing.

If you want to build the same system, here are all the parts you need:

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