eRacks Systems Tech Blog

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eRacks Open Source Systems announces a new line of high performance laptops powered by the third generation Intel i5/ i7 chipset. The new line is the perfect solution for Linux professionals, gamers, programmers, video editors and engineers. The new line will also feature dual hard drive bays which will vastly improve storage capacity and allow for RAID configurations. eRacks is proud to deliver a high-end mobile gaming machine with more processing power, more graphics performance and more storage options than anything else on the market.

The Intel i7 3610qm powered King laptop is designed for intensive computation and includes dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M GPU, earthshaking Sound Blaster X-Fi MB2 audio, subwoofer, programmable illuminated keyboard, 17.3″ (16:9) Full HD 1920×1080 LED-Backlit Display, 9-in-1 Card Reader, 8xDVDRW or BluRay optical drive and dual hard drive bays with support for RAID. Sophisticated engineering and design make sure all of these fit perfectly in a compact and cutting-edge portable form. The King can be configured with your choice of Linux OS, including dual boot options with support for Windows 7, Windows 8, Ubuntu, Centos, Linux Mint and many other Linux distros.

Every laptop is custom designed, configured and rigorously tested by eRacks in their California facility. Users will be able to work closely with the experts at eRacks regarding any questions about capabilities, compatibility and special system requirements. The unparalleled level of customer service ensures users get a laptop that will exactly meet their needs and exceed their expectations.

October 29th, 2012

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I’m a huge fan of the business model for the Kindle Fire. Amazon sells the hardware to the consumer at cost and makes a profit by selling content. It also offers a great platform for App developers to make money. Amazon was even kind enough to offer the source code for the original Kindle Fire a few weeks after it was released, allowing developers to customize the OS and create create custom ROMs. If Amazon is able to pull off this deal to acquire Texas Instruments chip division, they could potentially be able to offer the Kindle Fire at a lower price by cutting out the middle man and producing a chip in-house. Amazon would also be able to wipe out one of their main competitors in Barnes and Nobles by cutting off their chip supplier and forcing Barnes and Nobles to completely redesign the Nook. Frankly, I don’t think Barnes and Nobles is up to the task. They’re hanging on by a thread as it stands now.

With the amount of free books and apps available on Amazon, sometimes I wonder how the Kindle Fire makes any money at all. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says that Kindle Fire owners purchase 4 times the amount of books of non-owners. As a Kindle Fire owner myself, I’m inclined to believe him. I’ve read more in the year since I bought the Kindle Fire than I had in the previous ten. I’ve also been purchasing apps. A lot of those apps were created by small developers. I’m glad to see that Amazon is tapping into the market and creating an environment where the little guy can still get a slice of the pie. I think potential Texas Instruments OMAP acquisition would be good for everyone.

October 15th, 2012

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World of Warcraft is a social phenomenon that is completely unique in the entire span of the human experience. Millions of people inhabit a virtual universe that exists outside the constraints of the physical world. Many people become so preoccupied with the game that they lose jobs, friends, and spouses. Sociologists have suggested that video games like World of Warcraft might help fulfill some primal desire to hunt that is hard wired into our brain.

This weekend, a hacker exploited a weakness in the game and eviscerated hundreds of users and entire cities within the game. It immediately reminded me of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah from the Christian bible where God sends an angel to destroy two cities which are so morally corrupted that they must be completely purged. It begs the question: did the hacker feel the same way about World of Warcraft? Are the users so rotten that they too are beyond saving?

Blizzard was able to repair the damage to the game within about 4 hours. In an official statement, they acknowledged that they had not contacted the police about the incident. They did ask users for information that might identify the hacker. I don’t believe this particular hacker actually meant to destroy the game. Killing a character is only a minor nuisance because you can just re-spawn with hardly any consequence. The more obvious ways to do any meaningful damage would have been to attack the monetary system within the game or to completely reset characters on the server. Resetting a character would negate hundreds of hours of work. If this had been the case, many users might have left WOW and cancelled their subscriptions, never to return. I’m sure Blizzard has safeguards in place to keep this from happening. Also if you are looking for another online gaming experience check

Eventually, a new and better game will be released and users will migrate away from World of Warcraft. Video games will continue to enthrall and ensnare us. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry that shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, since people keep playing different games as multiplayer or casino games like baccarat online where people can gamble online. What we’re left with is a whole generation of socially inept hermits with skills that don’t translate to the real world. If they ever catch the hacker, chances are he’ll pay a hefty fine. He might even serve some jail time. History might see him in a different light. I imagine him sitting in filthy room, pizza boxes piled 4 feet high, hundreds of empty Mountain Dew bottles strewn across the floor, when suddenly he had a moment of clarity. Maybe he was only trying to set us free.

October 12th, 2012

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You already know that benefits come when you prioritize physical fitness. The trick is understanding what, exactly, “fitness” is and how you can go about achieving it.

That’s where the five components of fitness come in. They are the blueprint for the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM’s) physical activity guidelines and serve as a helpful tool for organizing and executing your own well-balanced workout routine.1

The five components of fitness are:

  • Cardiovascular endurance
  • Muscular strength
  • Muscular endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Body composition

Creating a fitness plan that incorporates each of these elements can help ensure that you get the most health benefits from your routine. Take a look to the latest okinawa flat belly tonic reviews.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) links regular physical activity to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, improved bone health, enhanced mental health, and improved quality of life with age.


Cardiovascular Endurance

Cardiovascular Endurance
Martin Novak / Getty Images

Cardiovascular endurance (also known as cardiorespiratory endurance or aerobic fitness) refers to your body’s ability to efficiently and effectively intake oxygen and deliver it to your body’s tissues by way of the heart, lungs, arteries, vessels, and veins. By engaging in regular exercise that challenges your heart and lungs, you can:

  • Maintain or even improve the efficient delivery and uptake of oxygen to your body’s systems
  • Enhance cellular metabolism
  • Ease the physical challenges of everyday life

Given that heart disease accounts for roughly 630,000 deaths in the United States each year, starting a workout program that enhances cardiovascular fitness is of particular importance. Running, walking, cycling, swimming, dancing, circuit training, and boxing are just a few of the many workouts designed to benefit heart health. Keep your temperature on a stable way with blast portable ac.

The ACSM’s physical activity guidelines call for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise.

The key, of course, is consistency. It may sound like a lot, but 150 minutes breaks down to just 20 to 30 minutes of exercise per day, five to seven days a week, depending on how hard you push yourself.

October 1st, 2012

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1. Ubuntu is more secure. Now that Windows is no longer supporting XP, many older systems are extremely vulnerable to viruses and hackers. Ubuntu is virtually virus free.
2. Ubuntu takes up less hard drive space. Many older systems are hampered by limited hard drive space. A full installation of Ubuntu only takes up 5GB of storage space. Users looking for a truly minimal version of Ubuntu should consider XUbuntu
3. Ubuntu is faster than Windows XP. A fully upgraded version of Windows XP eats up a ton of system resources. If you don’t re-install XP every few years, it can become extremely bogged down, eventually rendering your computer unusable. A fresh install of Ubuntu will usually yield a significant performance boost on older machines.
4. Ubuntu comes bundled with better software. LibreOffice, Firefox, and the Ubuntu Software Center are all included with Ubuntu completely free of charge. Ubuntu can do everything that Windows XP can do, and all for free with no hidden charges and no bloatware.
5. Ubuntu is fully customizable and compatible. Most comouters running Windows XP can be seamlessly and painlessly upgraded to Ubuntu without downloading a single driver. Ubuntu will automatically detect your hardware. After a quick install from an Ubuntu live cd, you can be up and running in a matter of minutes. Ubuntu is so intuitive and feels so familiar that most people who switch will never look back. Get your copy of Ubuntu here.

September 24th, 2012

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With the release of the new Kindle Fire HD 8.9” in November, a lot of Kindle users are going to be upgrading.  Amazon allows previously purchased content to be stored in the cloud and transferred between devices, so users will be able to transfer all of their books, apps, music and movies to their new device. There are going to be a ton of used last gen Kindle Fire tablets going up for sale of craigslist with hundreds of dollars in pre-loaded content.  I’m considering upgrading myself, and the lucky person who buys my old Kindle Fire is going to be enjoying a side-loaded version of Grand Theft Auto 3, over 500 books, and a dozen free music albums.   For all of the criticism of the device by tech writers, the first generation of the Kindle Fire was Amazon’s best ever selling device and maintains a rating of 4/5 stars. It has a reputation for being relatively free of defects or malfunctions. Most of the people I know who actually own a Kindle Fire love it.  When I stop to think about, I’m finding myself hesitant to give mine up.  A recent hack that allows users to run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on my old Kindle Fire has me second guessing my decision to sell it. The Jelly Bean OS is still in the beta-testing stage on the Fire, but developers have worked out most of the major kinks. The International Business Times reports, “Issues with HD codecs are found to affect users on YouTube and Netflix. With Texas instruments reportedly updating the libion code for Jelly Bean, it should help Hashcode in fixing this issue soon. Apart from the codecs issue, the screen over-rotates while changing position, besides turning on UMS in the ROM appears to be a major difficulty.” A Kindle Fire with access to the Google Play store is defnitely a device worth keeping, especially when the alternative is selling it for 50$. It sounds like a more stable version of Jelly Bean for the Kindle could be released a few weeks after the new Kindle Fire is shipped and just in time for Christmas.   For now, users must manually install Jelly Bean onto the Kindle Fire in a relatively simple 4 step process.   Step 1: Download Android Jelly Bean 4.1.1 ROM for your Kindle Fire. It’s around 108MB and might be time consuming particularly on slower connections.   Step 2: Download Jelly Bean Gapps that needs to be flashed onto your device.   Step 3: Power off your device and boot into recovery.   Step 4: Flash the ROM/Gapps, which you downloaded in previous steps from ClockworkMod Recovery. Ensure you do a complete wipe of the data and cache. You are done. Just restart your device from CyanogenWorkMod (CWM) and your Kindle Fire should automatically boot into Android Jelly Bean 4.1.1. If you find issues with Wi-Fi after flashing, you just have to run the command: adb shell su and you are all set.

September 10th, 2012

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eRacks – Another vendor that has been around since 1999, eRacks offers quite a few desktop, server, and laptop options with Linux installed. Its website gives you full customization over just about everything from motherboards to extra software. eRacks will install a number of Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu, CentOS, and Gentoo, several BSD variants, and even Windows. It offers laptops starting at $879 and desktops starting at $395.”-

September 5th, 2012

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FlightGear Open Source Flight Simulator

On August 17, developers officially unveiled FlightGear v2.8. For the uninitiated, “FlightGear is an open source flight simulator with more than 400 aircraft, a seamless worldwide scenery database, a multi-player environment, a flexible open aircraft modeling system, multiple display support, and an open architecture.  Best of all, being open source, the simulator is owned by the community and everyone is encouraged to contribute.” The community has been around for over 15 years now, so the simulator has a ton of people contributing to the project.  It’s easily one of the best flight simulation programs in the world. As always, FlightGear is available for download completely free of charge through their website.

FlightGear 2.8 sports a number of new features. My favorite is a new automated system that allows users to make changes to the scenery. Users can now also select between summer and winter textures in-sim, and an improved atmospheric scattering and terrain haze model means the lighting of the terrain is more realistic.  The world scenery now includes over 20,000 airports. It has gotten so large and detailed that it now takes 3 DVD’s to hold the entire scenery database.

Want to know if your computer can support FlightGear? You’ll probably need a computer with a dedicated GPU. I imagine that the any computer with the new integrated Intel HD 4000 would be able to run FlightGear at a playable level.  According to the developers, “FlightGear requires a reasonable hardware accelerated 3D card with OpenGL drivers to achieve smooth frame rates. Software-only rendering typically yields frame rates in the neighborhood of several seconds per frame. But, with a 3D accelerated card you can expect much higher. On a 2-3Ghz class CPU with a GeForce card, frame rates in excess of 60 fps are reasonable to expect in most situations. The actual frame rate varies of course with scene complexity (which changes from area to area and changes as your view direction changes) and the specific details of your hardware.”

August 29th, 2012

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I recently bought a laptop from Amazon. I found a really good deal on a Sandisk Extreme 240GB solid state drive, so it only made sense to swap out the hard drive.  Rather than going through the hassle of re-installing Windows from scratch and then installing a dozen drivers, I decided to go the easy route and just clone the hard drive with Clonezilla onto the new SSD. I loaded the SSD into an external hard drive enclosure, connected it to the laptop, and fired up Clonezilla. In less than an hour, I had a perfect copy of Windows on my new drive. Well, almost perfect.

I ran a quick test with AS SSD Benchmark and it became clear that my write speeds of 85 MB/S were a slot slower than they should be.  The SSD was clearly not aligned properly.  After doing a little research, I found a great open source program calledGparted that was able to align my SSD.  The program runs off a bootable disk, so you have to download the file, mount it as an ISO with PowerISO, and then burn the program to a CD/DVD.  Then, re-start your computer. You’ll probably have to change your boot order in to force your computer to run from the Gparted live disk.  I wasted five minutes trying to open Gparted in Windows until I realized that it was bootable disk.


Lifehacker has a great tutorial on how to use the Gparted software, so I’ll borrow some of the instructions from them.  “Start up Gparted and find your SSD in the upper-right dropdown menu. Select it, and click on your first partition in the menu. Hit the Resize/Move button in the toolbar. Change the “Free Space Preceding” box to 2MB, uncheck “Round to Cylinders”, and hit “Resize/Move”. (If you’re using a newer live CD, check the “MiB” box). Hit Apply once and let it do its thing.” If you have a ton of data on your hard drive, this might take a while. Gparted has to move all of the data on your drive.


“Now hit Resize/Move again, and change the “Free Space Preceding” box to 1MB. Uncheck Round to Cylinders again, hit Resize/Move, then click Apply. Note that if you have multiple partitions on your SSD, you’ll need to repeat this process for each partition, not just the first one on the disk.” Again, all of your data has to be moved, so this step is going to take some time. After the program is finished doing its thing, your SSD will be perfectly aligned. You can verify this by running the AS SSD Benchmark test again and checking your read/write speeds. After alignment, my read speeds went up 30% and the write speeds on my SSD increased by over 300%. I definitively notice the speed increase. Windows 7 is booting in less than ten seconds. I’m going to run some speed comparison tests on Ubuntu this afternoon. I’ll do another post on the results.


August 20th, 2012

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eRacks Open Source Systems announces a new custom line of pre-configured ‘ready to ship’ desktop computers, rackmount servers, and Network Attached Storage servers. The new line was designed and assembled by eRacks expert team of computer engineers in their Southern California facility. Consumers will now have access to the same custom built enterprise-level computer systems used by NASA which were previously unavailable to the general public. The entire line of systems is also fully upgradeable. The ability to upgrade will typically extend the life of most systems by several years, saving consumers substantial time and money.

One of the highlights of the new Amazon storefront is the AresPro Dual Xeon Sixteen Core
desktop workstation. The AresPro line is the undiluted resolution for engineers, striking designers, video editors, high-end gamers, and video diversion designers seeking for an affordable and entirely upgradeable system. The eRacks AresPro line delivers more estimate power, better graphics performance and more storage options than anything else on the market. The sixteen core AresPro features a fractal design tower with a 1000watt PSU, SuperMicro X9DAI-0 Motherboard, dual Intel Xeon E5-2650 2.0GHz eight-core processor,32GB 1600MHz DDR3 Memory ,2 x 2TB SATA3 7200rpm hard drives, RAID 1, Nvidia 560TI Graphics, Asus Xonar DG 5.1 Sound Card, Blueray Burner, and Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit OS. All eRacks systems come with a Standard 1yr full / 3yr Limited Warranty, which includes one full one year parts and labor, and up to 3 years of individual components’ warranties as included by the manufacturer.

July 30th, 2012

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