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Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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The penguins are coming! The penguins are coming!
color cycle (slow)
So for an extraordinarily dull and unpleasant weekend, it was interesting and I had a lot of fun, relatively speaking.

I went home from last Thursday night instead of Friday afternoon for the purposes of a weekend trip to visit relatives. Not really my idea, but my father somewhat insisted; my mother has been out there helping them with assorted medical things plus the annual Bartholemew County 4-H Fair, where her church has a lemonade stand. He missed her, so he wanted to head out to Indiana for the weekend to visit her, and my relatives. Also to fix my aunt Joyce's computer.

The latter- the fixing of the computer- made things interesting. I tend to find my mother's family unpleasant to be around; I can't deal with how loud they all are (hearing trouble for all of them, but I can't handle their level of sheer loud) and I have a great dislike of their ridiculous social games that inevitably end in about one screaming match every two days. I do my best not to take sides.

But this was an escape! I had a viable excuse to occupy my time away from my actual relatives! A blessed relief, the computer repair somehow took the entire trip. What of it I didn't spend sleeping, that is; my father and I decided that the most realistic thing for our competing sleep schedules to do was to leave at 5:30 AM, before I go to bed and just after he wakes up, with me sleeping in the car. The 5:30 AM departure worked; me sleeping in the car didn't. I was rather out of it and more than moderately irritable by the time I arrived, but a half-hour nap on my aunt's couch... helped, but wasn't sufficient. The upshot to this, though, was that I fell asleep at the hotel almost immediately upon attempting to do so, and my sleep schedule has been essentially repaired. (We have to stay at a hotel for allergy reasons; my aunt's house is a horrible mess, and the carpets haven't been cleaned for years. I have asthma trouble there during the day, and I have to retreat to a motel room to which I have brought an air cleaner to breathe.) It's a very good thing my sleep schedule is patched- it let me get my notecard done for today's exam, something I'd planned on doing over the weekend but then I was informed that those plans were to be put on hold for a weekend trip. I just hope I can finish that lab assignment, too...

Anyway, fixing my aunt's computer was a two-step process. The first was removing her firewall and virus scanner, believe it or not- Norton Internet Security 2005 was too much for her five-year-old computer to handle, even after we tripled the memory. (Added 256 more MB of RAM to her 128 MB.) ZoneAlarm is a sufficient substitute, however. This made her Windows ME install at least as workable as ME ever gets, but this was still fairly slow.

Y'all should know by now what my solution to any inherent Windows problem is: Linux!

My aunt is now an experiment, which I'll likely try to post a proper web-page of and try to get on /. at some point. Can a truly incompetent computer user learn Linux in usermode? There's no way she can administrate that thing, which is why I'm root and have her computer set up to accept SSH logins. Preliminary answer: She's doing just fine, and finds it a shitload of a lot better than Windows. She's happy with a 2min 30sec boot time; it's slower than Windows' primary boot, but not worse once one finishes waiting for all of Windows to load (not just the desktop to appear) to a usable level, something that is nearly instantaneous with KDE coming up under Linux.

Since her computer was FAT32, YAST could repartition it without data loss. She's got a dual-boot machine now, but she prefers Linux! She finds it faster and no harder to use than Windows, she's developed a preference for Firefox over IE (we did install Firefox under Windows), and she's caught on to Evolution as being nearly identical to Outlook Express. She likes the KNewsTicker I have running at the top of the screen on her request. She finds the setup sufficiently like Windows to have had all of a half-hour learning curve and feel comfortable. I'd call this a successful experiment so far. I've taught her about panel hiding buttons, which she likes, and how to shut down properly. I did reset the thing to run on only one desktop (instead of the default two or my preferred four), because it's complexity she doesn't need; I'm not going to push my luck.

What's interesting to me is what's obvious to me vs. what's obvious to her. Intuitive: file permissions. Intuitive: panel hiding. Non-intuitive: tabbed browsing. Counterintuitive: middle-click mark buffer paste. Counterintuitive: scroll wheel usage. Intuitive: the correct name of the panel. Non-intuitive: the correct name of the K menu. (It's got a SuSE logo, so I can't blame her for that.) Intuitive: Firefox in general. Non-intuitive: logging in to your own computer. (I've got her comptuer set to auto-login, now- security hole for anybody else who uses the physical computer, like the rest of the family, but it's no worse than a shared single-user Windows- it's actually preferable, as they don't have root.) Drastically counterintuitive: free softare. She can't really wrap her brain around the idea that all of this is free, and I didn't have to pay for it and it's legal. She sort of understands, but couldn't accept that I wanted to set up the computer to help her and to act as an experiment to see if Linux is ready for novice users; she paid me for my time. (That covers how I'll buy Robo Rally when it's re-relased later in the week, but it's still a little embarassing. I just wanted to help, not to get paid!)

So I'm going to conclude that when there is an experienced administrator and installation-person behind it, Linux is ready for novice users. Just not novice users trying to be administrators. But we'll see how things go in the coming months...

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I'm glad you had what seems to have been the enjoyable task of converting someone to using Linux to offset having to visit relatives at a inconvenient time. Good luck on your exam and lab.

I'm almost scared to ask but was the "relatively speaking" in the first paragraph intended as a pun? ... Either way, it set me to fighting totally cracking up in my office -- when I really didn't want to explain to my officemate that I was taking a 5-minute brain break by reading LJ.

You know a lot about computers. Do you know any way to overclock a Celeron processor?

One gigahertz, while mindblowing when I first got it, is just barely enough to keep up these days.

Sorry, my specialty is software. I'm useless under the hood, and I don't know how to overclock a processor.

I do know that it's probably not the best idea to do so. The clock is generally set pretty near the physical propogation time of the circuitry, so there's not much overclocking safely possible...

Having done a number of courses that dealt with hardware, and currently designing hardware, I second Kistaro's recommendation against overclocking your machine, as the consequences are potentially unpredictable operation. Depending on the design of the processor, data corruption may also be a possibility, were a signal change to propogate a little too slowly in some part of the circuit.

I've read articles that it is possible to get the clock between 10-20% above normal if the chip was lucky enough to get good materials, which mine did.(it's running at 1002 megahertz now, and has never dropped below 1000. That's a good sign.) I have a program, EVEREST home Edition. Look that the stats of my computer:

Manufacturer: Intel
Version: Celeron(tm)
External Clock: 100 MHz
Maximum Clock: 1600 MHz
Current Clock: 1000 MHz
Type: Central Processor
Voltage: 3.3 V, 2.9 V
Status: Enabled
Upgrade: ZIF
Socket Designation: 370PGA

I think the max clock speaks for itself (not that I would push it above 1200 MHz).

Interesting. I would have expected that demands for faster processors would have caused Intel to run the current clock closer to the maximum clock.

Unfortunately, I only know how to design hardware and program software and am not much good with doing anything with actual working machines except normal day-to-day stuff, though I do wish you the best of luck (from my 700MHz machine ,'P ).

It's an '01, and it's a Celeron, so having a clock speed desgined to blow minds is not what it was desgined for(that's what the Pentium line is good at). Celeron's are very cheap and easy on the energy bill, and are notorously hard to overclock.

Ah. It's a lack of little pieces of information like that that make me occassionally sound like an idiot. I seriously think that all computer science or computer engineering programs ought to have a class on current technology. It might be outdated information in a few years, but it would sure make the graduates sound more like they know what they're talking about.

I'm also vaguely amused, seeing as mine's an '01 Pentium and slower.

The date on the case says 10/16/01. I'm not 100% sure that the hardware inside is the same date, I was just assuming it was. Celerons are still new, even the worst can compete with low end Pentiums. What kind do you have?

I've got a Pentium III. I got it in the summer of '01, but the processor may be a touch older. They did have 1 GHz machines on the market then, but they were new enough that I went with something that had been around a little longer on the advice of one of my parents, who feared potential bugs in brand-new technology. I know that whenever I get around to getting a new computer, I'll definitely look into processors a lot more; there's far more options now than were available then, or at least than I knew of.

Oh, and I'm currently in a semi-random friending phase, so I hope you don't mind that I friended you.

Here is a hint when you go looking for one, just because it has more GHz does not mean it is faster. Intel has 3.4 GHz Pentium 4 processers, but rival compaines have slower processers that perform equally fast in real-world testing. I read why, but I can't remember enough to explain it. Try looking at www.pcworld.com, you might find something about why there.

I'll be adding you as a friend too.

The big question here, is which core is it? If it's Tualatin core, you may be able to get it up to 1200mHz easily; I definitely wouldn't try much beyond that; since 1.4gHz was the highest Tualatin ever shipped at; all celerons after are P4-based and archetecturally unrelated (well, save that they're all x86 family, but that's getting technical). Be sure you have good RAM; as far as I can tell, the Celery is multiplier locked, so overclocking will be by throttling the FSB, which will effect the RAM as well.

CPU Properties
CPU Type Intel Celeron II, 1000 MHz (10 x 100)
CPU Alias Celeron III, Coppermine Lite, Coppermine-128
CPU Stepping cD0
Instruction Set x86, MMX, SSE
Original Clock 1000 MHz
L1 Code Cache 16 KB
L1 Data Cache 16 KB
L2 Cache 128 KB (On-Die, ATC, Full-Speed)

CPU Physical Info
Package Type 370 Pin FC-PGA
Package Size 4.95 cm x 4.95 cm
Transistors 28.1 million
Process Technology 6M, 0.18 um, CMOS
Die Size 95 mm2
Core Voltage 1.75 V
I/O Voltage 3.3 V
Typical Power 9 - 22 W (depending on clock speed)
Maximum Power 14.0 - 33.0 W (depending on clock speed)

I don't see anything about the core type, so I'm hoping this could tell you what kind it is. The ram can be used at 100 or 133 MHz.

It's a Coppermine core; which is unfortunate, because you'll have less headroom to work with. Intel only managed to get CuMine up to 1.3gHz, and discontinued the 1.3gHz part very quickly for stability issues. From some brief reading about CuMine overclocking, some people have still managed higher numbers, but you'll probably get 1.1-1.2gHz tops. Since you've got 133mHz rated RAM, your best bet is to edge the FSB up -very- gradually; when it starts misbehaving, take it down a notch or two from that point; then run the system under heavy load and see if it stays stable.

Ok, but I still don't know how to edge the FSB up. I think I have to do something with BIOS, but I don't know what.

If it's an overclocking friendly board, then there'll be a setting for the FSB in the BIOS, and it will allow adjustments by small increments (often 1 or 5mHz). It's usually under 'Chipset Features' 'Advanced Chipset Features', or something of similar ilk. Before poking it, also make sure you know where your CMOS clear jumper is, in case you overclock too much and the system won't boot afterwards; many BIOSes are smart enough to downclock after such a failure, but some aren't, so you have to clear them to get the board to boot at factory default.

I looked under the BIOS menus, and FSB wasn't even mentioned in any of the lists. Now what should I do?

If it helps any, I have an AMI BIOS.

It may be done a few different ways; they may just have it listed as CPU speed. What kind of board?

The motherboard chipset is an Intel Whitney i180E on the north bridge, and an Intel 82801AA ICH on the south bridge.

It is a Brookings board, manufactured by Gateway.

The only thing I saw that dealt with speed was the PCI bus, and that just has a few presets to choose from.

Ahh. Because it's an OEM board, it may not have any overclocking options in BIOS.

So I'm stuck with it as-is?

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