Know How... 111 (Transcript)
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Father Robert Ballecer: On this episode of know-how we are getting deeper into NFC, we are going to show you how to fix the Wi-Fi in your congested house, and believe me we are going to be doing our little desktop upgrade project.
Fr. Robert: Welcome to know how it is the twit show where we build, bend, break an upgrade. I’m father Robert Ballecer.
Bryan Burnett: And I’m Bryan Burnett.
Fr. Robert: For the next half hour or 45 minutes…
Bryan: Give or take. Depends on how long it takes to fill the knowledge hole.
Fr. Robert: That’s right. Because were all about the knowledge hole. we are talking about that whole in all of us that just demands to know more. That is what we do here on this show. Before we get into some NFC stuff… I do love me some NFC.
Bryan: It’s been a hot topic lately. Especially with the iPhone release.
Fr. Robert: You know the funny thing is no one talked about that until after it was released. It is going to have NFC and then was oh, not really.
Bryan: when I heard that had NFC I just assumed oh cool. But I should have remembered, oh wait it’s Apple.
Fr. Robert: I understand what they are doing. I mean Apple has always been about the experience. But honestly if you use NFC wrong you can really cause bad things. So Apple will probably include the other NFC features as they become available.
Bryan: Right. And there is a little security NFC thing that I will show you later will just tease you about it now.
Fr. Robert: Before that let’s talk a little bit about hackers and scammers. Have you heard about the Windows support hack?
Bryan: Oh that’s right. That is when you have errors on your Windows machine and you get a phone call from somebody saying they will fix it for you?
Fr. Robert: Typically how it works, you get a call from somebody who says, “Hello I’m so and so from Microsoft”… they call you up and say, “We’ve detected your computer having lots of issues. It is sending out traffic to the internet”. And then as proof they direct you to the log files. And the log files show you errors because that is what log files do. But for someone who doesn’t know about this they are going to get freaked out. They are going to think their computer really is packed. And then they say, “ you know what. We are going to help you out. Let me remote control your computer and I will get rid of all the bad stuff and I will make sure that it is secure.” So they have you download a program, it is a legitimate program that does remote control.
Bryan: So kind of like when we talked about RDP stuff.
Fr. Robert: What you use on the Mac?
Bryan: I use team viewer.
Fr. Robert: It is the same thing. It allows someone else to remote control your desktop. And actually that, they could do a number of things. Once they have control of your desktop they could make it download malware, they could change some of your settings.
Bryan: They can encrypt your entire hard drive.
Fr. Robert: That is the worst-case scenario. They could crypt lock everything and then they could say, if you want your computer back is going to be $600 in travelers checks.
Bryan: This happened to a friend of mine and he saw the mouse moving on the screen and he unplugged his laptop and didn't use it ever again. He put it under his bed and he never used it again.
Fr. Robert: Actually he was smart. What you can do is just yank the network plug, because if it’s not connected to the network they have no way of controlling it. But there is a better solution. I read about this over the weekend. There is a security researcher that I have met at DefCon. he is a brilliant man who heard about these Windows scams and he thought it was Windows people. But then someone scammed his grandparents. And he was ticked because he had to spend an entire day just cleaning off all the crap that they had installed. Thankfully they didn’t encrypt lock but he was upset. You are taking advantage of people who don’t know better. So he wrote a little piece of software. It is a module that runs in Metasploit. Metasploit is a framework. It is a way for you to build up little hacking tools.
Bryan: I’ve heard Rafael Nudge talk about that on your show, This Week In Enterprise Tech.
Fr. Robert: It can be misused so Metasploit does have that reputation as being a hacker tool. But it is really for security professionals who want to know can I throw something at a system that I have secured and will it get through? But what he did is that he wrote a module that attacks that remote control software. He does what is called a DLL injection. It looks like a text transcript that gets pushed into the DLL, which is the communication protocol between the remote and the host. And it goes back to the remote side, gets unencrypted, it gets turned into an executable program that runs. And when it runs, you now own the scammers computer. It reverses.
Bryan: So he found a vulnerability in the software.
Fr. Robert: It is called Zero Exploit. It hasn’t been patched. Remember this is legitimate software.
Bryan: It cannot be used for malicious purposes.
Fr. Robert: Exactly. He has now figured out a way for someone who is getting scammed to run a Metasploit module and say oh yeah. I’m not saying I would do it. IM saying that I have tested it and it works. But what I would do, most of these scammers are working off of the laptop. I would take over the laptop, take a picture of them, put their picture on my desktop and when the remote end they see a picture of themselves.
Bryan: Is this the virus you are talking about? I think it is inside the computer!
Fr. Robert: Now there are a lot of illegal things about this because it is still hacking.
Bryan: But if it is for revenge, it is sweet sweet revenge.
Fr. Robert: It is probably legally suspect. It is definitely ethically suspect. But, if I actually got one of these calls I would probably try it. On a virtual desktop.
Bryan: It is one of those feel-good stories where it is like I know somebody who has been attacked by this and finally somebody is biting back. You don’t have to lay down and just try and just take it.
Fr. Robert: And actually we have folks in our G plus community who has done this. He doesn’t use software but what he does is when he gets one of these calls, he tries to keep them online as long as possible. He says if he can keep them on the line for two hours its 2 hours they can’t be hacking someone else.
Bryan: That’s right. And it does feel good to kind of make them run around in circles a bit. Make them work for it.
Fr. Robert: I like to make people work. Do you know what working makes me do?
Bryan: It makes you hungry?
Fr. Robert: It makes me hungry. You may have guessed that I kind of snack little bit. Unfortunately, for a long time hearing twit the snacks that we had were not nutritious. Gummy bears and chips and lots of chocolate.
Bryan: For somebody who doesn’t have good willpower…
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Bryan: Cheddar potato fries. This is my only opportunity to eat these before anyone gets to them.
Fr. Robert: There used to be Santa Fe corn sticks, and those were my personal favorite. But I think I ate the last ones. The funny thing is we have noticed the proclivities of the Twit Brickhouse because there are a lot of people eating the Santa Fe corn sticks. The coconut paths are gone. The cheddar sticks are also mostly gone. But the ones that seem to stay around our dates. So we are not a big date's people. But that is what is so nice about nature box. When you figure out which ones you like, you put them in your monthly sample box. And it just gets to your door and it makes you feel better. Now you can drop the candy bar, you can drop the potato chips, because they are not good for you. Do what we do now. Get these delicious Nature Box snacks. And we are going to give you the chance to get free snacks with the sampler box featuring five of their most popular snacks. You will find snacks that are low in sugar, gluten free, spicy, and sweet, and savory. You will find all the different tastes that you may like. So in the afternoon when you get hungry like I do, rather than reaching for a candy bar that is high in processed sugar you can reach for a bad of naturey goodness. Folks we are going to give you a chance right now to get a box of five of their snacks, as sampler for you to figure out if nature boxes for you. Start your free trial by going to nature. Stay full, stay strong and start smacking smarter. Go to nature and we thank Nature Box for their support of Know-How. My personal favorite still has to be the Santa Fe corn sticks.
Bryan: You always say that, but I never see them.
Fr. Robert: I always intend to just take a little bit but then I can’t quit. Now, Bryan. You did an episode on NFC.
Bryan: Near Field Communications. We talked about the basics, what it does, how it works. And that was episode 103. So if you want to go back and check out some of that stuff you can. Recently, like last week, I was kind of here in the studio, I think I said some weird things. But I was actually in Orlando.
Fr. Robert: I remember you being here. In fact don’t we have video of Bryan in the studio last week? He was in episode. Right?
Bryan: It might be too quick of a toss up. But the show was out of control. How did I change my shirt so fast? And I grew out my beard really quick.
Fr. Robert: You are going to show us some more advanced NFC techniques.
Bryan: So, we were saying earlier that NFC has been a pretty hot topic because it is now coming out on the new iPhone addition. So it is time to re-familiarize so that people with the NFC can understand. I was at Disney World and they had implemented this system with these wristbands. And this reminded me of how convenient NFC can be when done right. And so, what you do is that when you get to the park you can get one of these wristbands. They tie your tab to the NFC tad and so when you go up to a ride or something you just tap it and it will tell you what time to be there for the ride. It is streamline everything. You can attach payments. Google has been doing this for a while with Google wallet, and that has been a nice thing for android users. But it is not super popular. You can’t do it everywhere. But because Disney has kind of a closed system, this worked at all the restaurants in the park. It is tied to my credit card. It worked. And it was very convenient. So I started trying to think of what other ways can I use the NFC to make things easier for me? In my daily found that I use it is a Moto X. They have something kind of cool, all Android phones can do this but you do have to have a rooted Android phone if you want to try this next time that I’m going to show you. For Moto X users, like myself, there is something called the Skip. These are little in and see tags that you can’t attach to your belt loop, your collar, or I was even thinking I just got the Moto 360, so if you really need to tie went to my band and be able to tap my phone and unlock it. I have encrypted my phone for safety reasons. And that means you have to have a pen code. While it is just a four digit number that you plug-in, it is still kind of a pain every time you turn on your phone you have to put in the pen. This way you can use an NFC tad just unlock it right away.
Fr. Robert: Nice. Now I know there are going to be some people who are going to say wait a minute, now you are putting your pan into something that someone else can still? That is true but it doesn’t mean that they have to take both the phone and the clip. They can’t just take one. They have to get both of them at the same time.
Bryan: And the nice thing about NFC is that you have to be really close to use it. So what I’ve done is that the tag on this little phone stand that I use every day on my desk. So somebody can steal this, take it, but unless they have my phone right next to it they are not going to be able to unlock the phone. If someone has physical access to your phone anyway were kind of…
Fr. Robert: I read a paper once that said people are far more likely to see you entering in your pen then being able to take your phone.
Bryan: Right. There was an article where somebody was saying you could use Google glass to record someone typing on their keyboard and putting a pan on their phone. And then it will calculate where their fingers were.
Fr. Robert: By where the fingers fall and where the shadows are in the sound. Because the frequency of the taps actually tells them how far away each one of those numbers were. And if you don’t actually have to type in anything, but the device is still encrypted, that actually is a good solution.
Bryan: I feel like we are living like the blade runners or something. When cameras could calculate your typing?
Fr. Robert: There was a short story that I read a long time ago about being able to rewind past events? Because of the number of shadows, you can actually calculate shadows based on residual radiation and such. This idea of being able to see things that you shouldn’t be able to see. That was a tangent.
Bryan: That was off-topic. Anyway, so I have my Moto X here right now. Typically if I wanted to get into it I would have to put in my pen. But, as I have set up this tag here I can just set it on the thing and it unlocks. So when I sit down at my desk I can just turn on my phone and set it on the dock and I don’t have to worry about it.
Fr. Robert: That is built into the Moto X. But, you could do that on other phones but you would have to run some sort of app.
Bryan: You would have to route it because by default you don’t have permission since NFC won’t be on if your screen is locked. So that is what you would have to route it.
Fr. Robert: In other words, don’t do that. Because if you routed in order to insert an NFC command before the log screen, all sorts of bad things can happen. And your phone isn’t designed to take that.
Bryan: This skip is like $10 or something like that on the Moto X. It is just an NFC tag so I bought a pack of 15 tags for $5. These little tags all come in blank and then you can write to it. This is how you will set it up. You go into your settings, scroll down to security and then since I have already enabled NFC on mine, it will be one of the options. Go to the NFC unlock option. Then I want to add paraditional moto skips or other NFC tags. Right here it shows a little menu and I’m going to put the NFC tag underneath. This is a blank NFC just erase whatever data is on it. To unlock it simply tap on the NFC tag with the back of your phone. Remember that NFC needs to be enabled from the Motorola Skip. So go into your settings and make sure NFC is turned on. And now it is set. So if I lock my phone using the power button, it goes back to the screen.
Fr. Robert: Nice. If you’ve got a Motoloa X you really probably should have it. Here is the thing, it only lets you program one tag at a time or multiple times?
Bryan: It will allow you to do multiple tasks. I did run into a snafu when I did one tag with a different pen, try to make another tag with a new pen. And it didn’t work. So you can do multiple tags, just don’t change your pen in between those tags. Because the old tag won’t remember. And me and Alex kind of played with it last night and we scanned the tags.
Fr. Robert: The one thing I will say in using tags to unlock security features on any device you have to treat the tad differently then you would like a USB drive. Make sure it is secure. Make sure it is in a place that you can control and I would even say don't make more than one of those at a time. If it is going to be your password, make sure that you have the one and so if you can’t get to your device then you can make another one and destroy your old pen.
Bryan: Right. That is why I have one on my nightstand Home, and I have one on the dock that I use at work. And that is it. But there are other nifty NFC tags that you can get. There is actually a ring one that you can get has an NFC built-in that you can write to. That is a little bit more discreet. Nobody is really going to assume that you haven’t NFC tag on your reading. I try to use the Disney bracelet again but it is pretty locked down. I couldn't write to it, I could read it that it wasn’t anything that I could do with it.
Fr. Robert: So there are one time NFC tags where you write it once and then you cannot rewrite it.
Bryan: You can lock these from the program if you go back to episode 103 and see the NFC tools app that I use, you can lock the NFC tags. And then the only way you can change them is to erase them.
Fr. Robert: Fantastic. What are we going to see next for NFC?
Bryan: The next thing is to use NFC to tie actions together.
Fr. Robert: Okay. This is what we wanted.
Bryan: So, sometimes when I get to work I want to check in to the twit Brickhouse and then I want a text message or an email to go out to let my significant other know that I arrive safely. Because I write a motorcycle and it can be a little dangerous and she worries about me. The next tag or the next app that I’m going to use is called trigger. This app is pretty handy because it comes free with a lot of different things that you can trigger. I have it on my home screen here. Here is the app and I’m going to open it up. I have already created a task. Check into the brick house. And I will send an email to myself, that is what I was texting earlier today. I am going to make a new task so I hit the plus button. And it is pretty straightforward. Add one or more triggers by clicking the above. So the first thing I want to do is that there are options where if you run a task on a certain network for Bluetooth, but in this case we are using an NFC tag. Once we have finished creating this, there are also restriction. This can only be used certain times on certain days. So you could use these little sticky backs and stick this under your desk. You’ll know that it can only be activated on these times on these days. I’m just going to leave the restrictions off. Then we will add our fist task. You can go down to social media because we are going to be doing a four square check in. I’m going to be doing four square check in at a venue. This is handy because you can search your area. I’ll choose Twit master control. I’ll add that to the task. And then this is the next task that we can add in sequetion to it. Plus, new task, and this is named task two. I want to send a message. Because I don’t want to show any text or phone numbers, I’ll just do an email. Add to task and then now we can program this tag. Tag written successfully. So, that is done.
Fr. Robert: You could use a combination of triggers. From date, time, connected to different networks. It sees various devices so for example think of everything that might happen when you get close to your desk. If you are getting close to your desk at work there is going to be a particular Wi-Fi signal that it will see, there will be a Bluetooth signal that it will see from the computer, it will know that it is probably going to be between the hours of nine and five because those are the typical daylight hours. And then it can trigger something that says, Hey I’m at work! You wouldn’t want to do that, but you could. That is very cool. I like the whole idea of being able to take various parameters that your phone can see and make it do a task on those parameters.
Bryan: Right. It is the sequence of events that you can type together and it just simplifies it. We will see if it works. I will tap the tag, trigger loads up, task one and tasks to at the very top it is hard to see. So I should have checked into twit master control and I will double check that. And I should receive an email in just a little bit. And there it is.
Fr. Robert: This is a really simple case. A very simple setup. But I think we can see what you can do with this. I want to play with this and see if maybe I can make it trigger the Philips Hue Bold.
Bryan: There were recipes on If This, Then That. You could set it to water your garden or trigger it from when you leave the house. I think Russell has it set up where he has a tag on his front door and he taps it and all the lights come on in his house. But he has gone way deeper.
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Fr. Robert: What do you say we get onto some Wi-Fi?
Bryan: Is this a tank or a router?
Fr. Robert: This is the new AC1900. It is a nice device. You may not have this, but we do have a member of the Know It Alls who has an issue with wifi in his house. This was from Don Burgess who said: Hi, this may have been covered in a KH podcast but I have a 3,600 sq foot house where my internet modem and router are upstairs and I need WiFi coverage upstairs and downstairs. I have a TP Link Dual Band Router upstairs with a Cisco Dual Band Router running DD-WRT down stairs. My house is not wired with Cat5 so I am using a PowerLink connection between both WiFi routers and having a big drop in speed between the upstairs WiFi and the downstairs WiFi. Is there any other way to speed up the two connections without drilling holes in the wall to put a Line in between them. Can someone point me in the direction of solutions or remind me of a KH podcast that I might not have seen? Thanks. Well Don, we have a couple suggestions for you. I know that in the forums people were suggesting use a Wi-Fi repeater. I would say that is absolutely the last resort. Because Wi-Fi repeaters, especially inexpensive ones, are basically signal jammers. So what a Wi-Fi repeater will do is that it will receive at a Wi-Fi signal and then it will rebroadcast. The problem is that most of those don’t have clean chips, clean power amplifiers. So you end up with a lot of noise. You will get something, but it will be horrible. The first thing you want to do is that you want to see what Wi-Fi signals are in the area. There are any number of free utilities, I will let you find it either from your android, your iPhone or your laptop. Something like Wi-Fi analyzer or net stumbler will tell you what Wi-Fi networks you can see in your area. That is the first thing you have to do. Make sure that your AP’s are set to a channel that is not being used. And make sure your APs are only on one, six, or 11. Those are the only channels. Anything else you are only causing interference. The other thing to check is to make sure that you don’t have DHCP enabled on both devices. I have seen this sometimes, where people will have two routers and then he has and ethernet adapter between the router upstairs and the router downstairs. You should not be serving two different sets of addresses. That is a bad thing.
Bryan: Is it your net going into your net?
Fr. Robert: It is even worse than that. Essentially you end up having devices struggle over what IP address to use. If you want a war zone, then do that. The first router should have its DHCP server off. Then you should go from a land port to the power line adapter, to the power line adapter downstairs, to the land port their and that router should be set for AP mode. It doesn’t do anything else. Now what is AP mode? You said you were using DD-WRT so this is WRT the is powering the know-how desk. If you look at this, you get a couple of different choices of how you are going to use your wireless interface. You can make it an AP, you can make a client, you can make it a bridge. The also in the set up, you get to tell your router whether or not it is going to have its DCHP server enabled. So if you turn this off, if you shut off the DHCP server and go back to wireless and just make it in AP, essentially it makes it a dumb box. All it is going to do is take in the connection and broadcast it. That is it. And that is what you want to do. I am thinking that you probably have done that because you sound like a savvy user. But if you haven’t taken that step, try that and see if it works. Also, I know there are differing opinions about this but I always use the same SSID’s. If your clients are configured right, your device should automatically choose a network that is the strongest. Which means it would automatically roam upstairs and downstairs. Now here is where we get kind of funny. Because this is really going to deep hand on how he has his house set up. You are using powerline network. I have found that to be very useful, but only if you have a decent power network in your house. Don’t have it plugged in to a power strip, don’t have it plugged into a line condition or it has to go straight into the wall. And, the line that you are using should be on the same breaker. If it is not on the same breaker it is transiting some electrical junction and it can really disable or completely knockout throughput altogether. There is one other thing you can do. I know that you don’t want to drill holes through your wall but you can run something can to a wired connection without having to drill holes in your house. And that is to do this. I have the option of putting this into a client bridge. Essentially what that means is that it turns my access point into a client. It receives a wireless signal, which would then go out the ethernet ports on the router. If you want to buy something that could run DD WRT you could put that new router as close to the router upstairs as possible so that it is getting a strong signal and then you could run a wire from that to the actual AP that is serving the downstairs. And if you keep them far apart, for example if you have your upstairs router here and your downstairs router here and you have the client bridge here than it is a very short distance. Then you run a cable from the client bridge to the AP that serves the floor.
Bryan: That is pretty cool.
Fr. Robert: It is a nice, easy way to do it if you really don’t want to drill holes. But the best way is to drill holes.
Bryan: The situation I have at my house is where we get the Internet is on the very far end of the house by the front door. But of course my bedroom is the complete farthest away. So, what I think I am going to do is hook up another router, but you have to have one that is compatible right?
Fr. Robert: Most routers have some sort of client - bridge option. If they are decent. But DD-WRT is really the way to go. It is kind of the standard. It is what we use for all our projects.
Bryan: If you go to the website you can type in your router model and it will give you a list of compatible routers. But I notice that my older router I can use that it does give a warning that you can break it if you don’t follow instructions. We have covered that on previous episodes.
Fr. Robert: Now, let’s go ahead and talk about something that I know you want and that is desktop upgrades. We had been teasing this for a while. It can be kind of confusing. We always have people coming to our groups and say the only way to build a computer is to build piece by piece. And I used to do that.
Bryan: I’ve done that too. It is a fun project.
Fr. Robert: It is a fun project, it is a great way to learn. However there are a couple of disadvantages. The first thing is that it is not cheap anymore. It used to be that was the cheapest way to get yourself it desktop. And you got the parts you wanted rather than the parts that they gave you. But with the state of consumer electronics today, a box that you buy pre-prepared, the components in that box are almost always going to be more expensive if you buy them separately. Also if you build it by yourself you don’t get a warranty.
Bryan: Something goes wrong you are going to have to figure it out yourself.
Fr. Robert: So as much as I love rebuilding…
Bryan: I am probably going to build my next project. But I can’t legitimize it by saying it is going to be cheaper.
Fr. Robert: It also really bothers me when you have people who are newbies and know nothing about this. By something and then use it and then after you use it, upgrade it.
Bryan: Especially if you are not looking for a project that you just want to start. Then maybe you should buy a prepackaged and put your own graphics card or SSD in it. But maybe you want to know which is the best thing for your buck which gives you the best performance.
Fr. Robert: And that is what we are going to do. Over the next couple of weeks we are going to do a series of episodes that show you what each upgrade can give you. We are going to upgrade the memory, the video card, the hard drive to tell you if this is what you should spend your money on. And believe it or not, it is not a super easy answer.
Bryan: It never is. Unless you have that laptop that we talked about I think two shows ago.
Fr. Robert: Which was super easy because I think it was a 2 1/2 time increase with just $100 part. Here is a few things you have to know. You have to know the CPU type of your computer, you should also know the memory type - does it use DDR3, does it use something older? You need to know that. It is not hard to know, but make sure you have that. But also you need to know what speed does your memory run at. Is it 1333, is it 2400, is it 1600? That is information you want to have a headed time because you don’t want to buy parts that you didn’t need.
Bryan: Definitely. One of the things that I used to do in building a PC is that you have the motherboard booklet and you can go through and figure a lot of that stuff out. But I guess if you bought your PC you can just go online?
Fr. Robert: Go to the spec sheet online on the manufactures website and you can find out things like how many PCI spots to you have, how fast are they, do you have only one time 16, and the rest are times one? That is all good information to have so that you can make an informed decision about what to buy. The other big thing is how many SATA ports do you have? Some of these boxes only have two, one for the hard drive and one for the CD-ROM drive. If that is the case, then you know that you can’t put four SATA drives unless you want to put another interface card. And I think the one that a lot of enthusiasts will like is how big is your power supply? If it is price-performance box they probably put a power supply that is bare minimum. Which means if you are going to be putting a huge video card you are going to need to upgrade the power.
Bryan: Power supply is probably one of the first things you want to look at. Because a bad power supply, if that does go south than there goes the rest of your computer.
Fr. Robert: But we are going to take you through the first segment and that is all about memory. We started with the AG3 Predator gaming desktop from Acer. We reviewed one of these champions of the price-performance budget box a few weeks back on Before You Buy and we couldn’t recommend the box enough for turnkey gaming. Our Predator was equipped with an Intel I7 CPU, an Nvidea GTX60 video card, which is powerful but aging, 8 GB of DDR3 memory and a 1 TB 7200 RPM rotating drive. so there is definitely room for improvement, but the question is what should we spend our money on? The first thing we needed was a baseline for performance comparison. We ran PC Mark 8 on the machine’s default configuration and it earned a conventional score of 3934. With the baseline set, it was time to get upgrading. The first part we decided to upgrade was the memory. For the simple reason that it is the easiest system component to upgrade. Some like to go with the lowest price memory modules that they can find, but I am not one of those people. Bad memory is horrible. Because it can cause intermittent hard to track problems in a high-performance system. Problems that can masquerade with symptoms that point to the video card, the storage device, or the CPU. It is best to get memory that you know will work and be done with it. As with all installs, make sure to disconnect the power supply and then follow your manufactures directions for opening your case. Since you are going to be handling electronics, make sure that you have grounded yourself to prevent static discharge through this sensitive components that you are handling. The iFixit strap is perfect for the job. I use a strap connected to my ankle to free up my hands. The Acer Predator Uses a compact chassis so we needed to remove the video card to access the system memory. Typically you want to first pull the power plug from the edge of the card and then remove any mechanisms that secure the card to the chassis. A small plastic tab on that PC allows you to pull the card free from the motherboard. RPC has four memory slots that rather then pick up for generic 8 GB sticks, I decided to go with a matched set of four from Kingston’s hyper X beast line. It included for, 8 GB DDR three 2133 MHz memory modules complete with heat spreaders. Though it will set you back about $330 that price is about average for 32 GB of high performance memory and these modules come with a lifetime warranty. Motherboards have plastic tabs on each side of their memory slots that allow you to remove the current memory parts simply by pressing down and away from the slots. With two, 4 GB modules in the machine we could have just added to, 8 GB memory modules for a total of 24 GB, but since we bought a matched set we went ahead and replaced the existing memory. Once the old memory parts are out, line the new winds up with the socket. You will notice that the card edges of the memory modules are spaced unequally and that the interface is slotted. This makes it impossible to push the module in the wrong way and it also makes sure that you can’t install a wrong module. Different types are slotted differently. Once they are facing the right direction push each corner of the module gently until you hear a snap of the tabs moving into place. We first bumped the memory from 8 GB to 16 GB and then using the same GTX660 video card and 1 TB rotating drive we ran PC Mark 8 again getting a score of 4166. That means that our $165 investment, remember that we are only using half of the 32 GB kit for this test, increased performance by 5.9% over the baseline. Or .0004% for dollar spent. We then install the other two memory modules to bump the system to a total of 32 GB. Leaving the rest of the system the same, we ran the benchmark again and received a total of 3984. that is an increase of4.53 % or .0001% increase per dollar. Strangely enough to PC Mark 8, a 16 GB upgrade is more of a performance boost than a 32 GB upgrade.
Fr. Robert: We started with the memory upgrade because it is the most difficult to see benchmarks that are really good at figuring out the performance game from a lot of memory. That is just not what they do. The problem is that adding memory really just adds the capacity to do those calculations.
Bryan: Right. And most of the performance you will see from that much memory will be in video editing, a bunch of things open at once kind of thing. Multiple tabs or multiple programs.
Fr. Robert: Which is why Acer included only 8 GB to start out with. Because they said if this is a gaming desktop, really most of the performance games you are going to get with 8 GB. There may be a little bit from 8 to 16, but if you are gaming you’re not getting anything from 16 to 32. If you are video editing, however, 32 GB makes all the difference. We are going to be going through a couple of segments. Next week we will look at replacing the video card. This came with a D4660, which is a decent card. It is fast. But, there is faster. So we are going to bump that up to see if that is where you should spend your money. Personally I would say at least have 16 GB of memory in your computer, because I do video editing I would always make sure it is 32 GB. But if you are looking for a quick pick me up, it is probably not going to be the memory.
Bryan: That memory is usually the cheapest upgrade.
Fr. Robert: Well, it depends. If you buy super cheap memory it is the cheapest. The reason why I won’t do it is my time is more valuable than that. I can’t have my computer acting wonky in the middle of video editing because that means I have lost the number of hours that went into creating that project.
Bryan: From my experience if you do have weird problems with your computer, RAM is usually the hardest one to identify. It is not the first thing I look at.
Fr. Robert: It is not the first thing you look at because it is just a stick what could go wrong? That is why I am saying that it masks its self as other problems. You may think it is the video card. And sometimes it is just bad memory. You pay now, or you pay later. So that is it for this episode of know-how. I know that was a lot of stuff. We covered a lot of topics. Everything from the hack to NFC, to fixing your Wi-Fi to the first of several segments on upgrading your desktop. But, folks we are not going to just leave you alone dangling in the wind. We’ve got show notes. Where can they find those?
Bryan: We have show notes on twit.tv/KH and that is also where you can find past episodes that we did reference a couple of things. Check that out, you can subscribe there. Also if you want to chime in on our Google plus community you can add your own projects that you are working on, ask questions. We have over 7000 members all of whom are very knowledgeable and usually answer the questions way quicker than we could. It is definitely a cool place to hang out. There are also other ways to get a hold of this right?
Bryan: I am @cranky_hippo.
Fr. Robert: Until next week, I’m Father Robert Ballecer.
Bryan: I’m Bryan Burnett.
Fr. Robert: And now that you know how…
Bryan: Go do it!