Worried about Dust Bunnies?

The whole “dust bunny” thing is quite the exaggeration these days, in my experience and opinion. If you wanna see when dust bunnies really cause problems, you should’ve seen the ancient desktop computer I once battled! It had a terrible case design that limited airflow and took in junk for a long time.

The windows in the person’s cluttered home were never really opened. The guy—unfortunately in a wheelchair thus not quite as able—had a dog, and he smoked a lot, both weed and cigarettes. The vents were almost completely blocked by junk. The heatsinks? Utterly caked. The computer hadn’t been opened up in years.

He wanted me to clean the machine out, so I started to do just that. I honestly had such a hard time because of the disgusting smell and dust that initially went straight into my lungs, that I quit! Never again.

When you’re dragging out huge, thick lumps of crap that make you feel as though you’re emptying a vacuume cleaner as opposed to a computer, then you have a problem on your hands.

Once you experience that, you don’t care too much about a few bits of dust.

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Being Adult with MH Issues

This is a big issue that is personal to me. It’s 3:18am, so please bear with me while I attempt to gather my jumbled thoughts into a somewhat-coherent babble.

I have mental health issues, which admittedly isn’t exactly electrifying news for those of whom follow my blog. However, a lot of people don’t seem to realise that having MH issues can and often does stunt how we grow in society.

As a result of at least my OCD, anxiety, and depression, I didn’t socialize properly until I hit my early 20s. I began to suddenly develop a rather decent social life around that time. People often get this done earlier, but not me! Prior to said social discovery, I had only two friends, both of which also had problems of their own.

We pick up a lot from people we hang around with. We learn life skills from those who learned before us. When you have problems though, this can mean you’re often left behind, still trying to figure things out everybody else seems to have mastered.

Got a bank account? That’s great. For me, that was a very scary thing that I didn’t get sorted until I was about 24.

Why?

Because I didn’t have an income as a result of lack of knowledge because things just seemed different for me—I’m “different”.

But really, why no income?

Well, since getting a job just wasn’t practical, getting an income for me, meant getting benefits. I needed to actually understand my limitations, come to terms with said limitations, go to doctors, get judged pretty harshly, sign a bazillion forms, and then wait for ages to see if it all paid off.

It did.

For a long time though, it was something for which I was simply ill-prepared. I lacked the knowledge that it were even possible for me to get such an income. This is just an example of how my mental health issues have made my journey to independence a considerable struggle.

Take relationships. being with someone teaches you a lot. You learn about yourself, what you like, and what you don’t like. You get the opportunity to learn about your body. You start thinking all love-struck about the vast, wonderful future.

I didn’t have my first proper relationship until possibly 23 years of age, so before then I hadn’t even kissed a girl on anything other than the cheek. Don’t even get me started on the sexual stuff!

All the things we go through when we’re younger help shape us into the bitter, know-it-all adults we all eventually become. With these experiences, both good and bad, come a sort of maturity as we learn about ourselves and others.

Unfortunately, if you’re slow to pick these things up, those around you can get frustrated, particularly if they don’t have any real understanding of mental health issues. I’m sure it creates more issues when they think the solution is to push until they get the desired result. While a push here and there can do wonders, it’s not always so viable.

Let’s say you want to go to the shops, but you’re anxious, so you’re not yet ready. Would a good approach be for me to badger you, telling you that you’ll never go to the shops if you just sit around moaning about it? Just go. Stop being such a baby. We all get anxious. Grow up. You need to be more adult. Gosh!

The knowledgeable amongst you will realise that’s an ignorant and unfair approach. Genius though I’m not, I’d still personally try to approach that in a supportive manner, by encouraging them and targeting the anxiety, not the person.

I just wish people understood that this is a real thing. Try to appreciate that those with mental health problems can struggle to do things that you norms would consider simple.

It’s not our fault.

Thank you Mental Health and Invisible Illness Resources for sharing this.

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Angry at Stupid People

I came across something just now that got me thinking—do you often feel yourself getting angry at people’s apparent stupidity? Maybe it’s time to reassess.

It could be that you are angry with people who are supposedly stupid because you value intelligence so highly. You might strive for what you consider intelligence. You may have been ridiculed for any moment of stupidity, thus making you insecure.

Are you particularly concerned with not being stupid? Do you believe that being stupid is inherently a bad thing? I’m sure there are many people with a low IQ in the world who can achieve and function in, as well as contribute to society.

Maybe by accepting that it’s okay for you to not be smart all the time, you’ll appreciate that it’s okay for other people not to be smart all the time as well.

Perhaps you have high expectations of yourself. Maybe it’s time to accept that it’s okay not to be perfect. You are in-fact not perfect, because a perfect human is impossible. Perfection is subjective. You might be perfect to me, and flawed to another.

Can you be stupid? I can be stupid. I bet even Stephen Hawking—with his IQ of 160—has had moments of stupidity, however few I’m sure those were! Stupid is an imaginary concept; it’s not real. You can’t touch stupid. You can’t pick up, hold, and physically use stupid. Stupid is an idea; a notion.

Is a retarded person “stupid” or is he or she simply there, existing? Maybe Einstein was stupid. Intelligence is, after all, a matter of perspective. I’m sure Stephen considers you as someone with very low intelligence; does that make you stupid? No, because stupid is subjective.

The next time someone says you’re stupid or clever, ask yourself if that is who you truly are in this world, or whether that is just that person’s idea of you. Now consider the people with whom you’re so angry as a result of what is effectively your imagination.

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Sticking to nVidia’s Graphics Cards!

Never would I have imagined it would be so much hassle returning to an AMD graphics card. It wasn’t even a day before the MSI “Gaming” R9 290 OC was drop-kicked out the window. Performance isn’t always everything.

The ability to successfully cap a game’s fps was sorely lacking, at least with this GPU and driver package, the latter of which was the latest. AMD’s capping feature within the control panel was a nice attempt which completely failed to cap Borderlands, GTA 5 or Fallout 4. Furthermore, Fallout 4 refused to even start with it enabled to even 60fps.

This was a real issue for me because I’m a stickler for a consistent frame rate. I play games at 60fps only if they can keep it consistently, or at least the great majority of the time. Otherwise, I typically cap to 30fps and max it; it’s not ideal, but it’s somewhat like the best of both the console and PC worlds.

A few other things that were off-putting with this graphics card is that it ran very hot, and the fans would start to squeal upon ramping up. Sure, AMD says the R9 290 safely supports 95c; I’m not convinced, and still feel that is too hot, especially when all that heat is being chucked around the rig. My Zalmon Z11 is pretty well air-cooled, and I’m not in a particularly hot country, but none-the-less I don’t feel comfortable with that kinda heat. The card ramped up to 88c and would’ve gladly gone higher had it the chance.

It wasn’t all bad, as the 2012 game Hitman Absolution ran well, maintaining 60fps from what I saw. Every setting, bar 1, was maxed with 4x AA. However, the game would drop a lot of frames during certain scenes which seemed to be down to the “Level of Detail” setting which I lowered a little. Problem was solved, but on the other card I cap to 30fps and max it all; no problem. I also enjoyed the display colors the red corner offered, as opposed to nVidia’s more washed-out look.

I’m finally seeing that performance is not the most important thing: functionality is, at least to me. I had a headache with the drivers. Sure, they installed fine the first time around, but when I tried to uninstall the driver to put on a different version, I lost visuals completely and upon restarting the computer, both screens were entirely corrupted beyond any use. It was reminiscent of the instability I’d experienced before with Linux.

I decided that was enough. I opened my bitch up, shoved that ASUS 760 OC back where it belongs, sealed her tight, and loaded this rig up with a vengeance. Now things “just work” as they should’ve done in the first place.

Fallout 4 and GTA 5 were fine, but they couldn’t consistently keep 60fps, or at least without stuttering. I could’ve lowered lots of settings, but I had expected more from this card, given its specs. I was so close with GTA 5, though; I would get stuttering which I can only assume was down to the occasional dip below 60fps. I’m realising that obsessing over 60fps is causing more harm than good.

I’ve tried to keep an open mind with regards to what people have said about AMD’s drivers over the years, but this has left a very bad impression. I’m just relieved I didn’t throw down a bunch of monies on that card!

I shan’t be revisiting AMD graphics cards any time soon, for the simple reason that nVidia’s cards and/or drivers—currently and in my experience—work and have features I consider absolutely essential.

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Back to an AMD Graphics Card

I’ve been with nVidia for a very, very long time. The last AMD GPU I had was in-fact so old that it was still ATI; I can’t even remember its name. Since then I’ve had a standard, passively-cooled 400 series card, a PNY 550Ti, an MSI Twin Frozr II 560Ti OC, and most recently, an ASUS 760 OC.

I’ve just upgraded to a new GPU, but this time it’s not nVidia, this time it’s an MSI R9 290 OC, “Gaming” iteration, courtesy of AMD. There are two versions of these cards: 4G and 8G, which is stupid marketing crap for 4GB and 8GB, respectively! Mine’s the 4GB version, which should suit my needs well enough.

If you’re confused as to why I’m upgrading to a card that was released late 2013, from a card that was also released that year, despite their vast difference in performance, it’s because I got it free along with some more Corsair XMS3 1600MHz DDR3 RAM, putting my current total up to 10GB.

As I cannot find this card on Amazon, I’ll point you to Sapphire’s version, which is currently selling as new for approximately £260, whereas the ASUS 760 OC isn’t even on there anymore. However, the 960—performing very similar to the former, but more modern and efficient—is selling for about £163, new.

Once I removed nVidia from my system as best I could, I got this chunky, hefty beast into the rig (t’was a tight fit in a Zalmon Z11!) and began downloading, then installing AMD’s software and drivers.

The first thing I noticed once everything had started up, is that everything was very sharp, and dark. Black now truly looks as dark as night, which is wonderful on my IPS display from ASUS. At first thing I thought something went wrong, but I did a quick Google search and found that this is actually a common attribute of AMD GPUs: color clarity.

I had a quick peek at AMD’s control panel and found it to be easy on the eyes, while still maintaining functionality; a considerable difference from the old days! I also had little issue in finding the right driver package for the job.

Prior to running any games, a concern of mine is whether the lack of PhysX will prevent me playing games like Borderlands, a game I’ve been happily revisiting as of late. Heat and power are two other concerns of mine, particularly the former.

I’m particularly excited because the R9 290 has 4GB VRAM to the 760’s 2GB, which really was becoming a problem in newer games like Fallout 4, GTA5, and Doom. On top of that, a much higher memory bus interface width of a whopping 512-bit, next to the 760’s 256-bit.

I’m looking forward to testing this GPU and seeing what AMD has to offer.

To be continued…

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