Geek Time: GTX 970

Took advantage of the eBay 20% off tech stuff promo (selected retailers only) earlier and grabbed a new graphics card from the Kogan store. I ordered at a time when the Qantas Points Online Mall was running their double points promotion as well. *explodes from bargain*

Gigabyte GTX 970: Box
My new Gigabyte GTX 970 in the box!

It’s here! It’s here it’s here it’s here it’s here!

Gigabyte GTX 970: In the Case
Cable management? What’s that?

A long overdue upgrade! And cable management be damned! (Deja vu?)

Gigabyte GTX 970 vs EVGA GTX 470 Size
The new Gigabyte GTX 970 (top) is a few cm bigger than my old EVGA GTX 470 (bottom)

The new card is so quiet. Running the same two monitors, the 970 temperature under load is lower than my old 470 with fans spinning at a higher speed at idle. Seriously.

Time to geek! Things to stop caring about: friends, boyfriend, sleep, food, personal hygiene, work.

Schumann 1 & 2 at the Sydney Opera House

Valentine’s Day! Sydney Symphony Orchestra! Sydney Opera House! Schumann! Mendelssohn! Dumplings! Or more coherently, Valentine’s Day Sydney Symphony Orchestra Opera House Schumann Mendelssohn dumplings! Oops.

It’s a slightly rainy day that didn’t start out very smoothly, with one of my contact lenses deciding to rip and us having to make an extra trip back to pick up my spare lenses and all. Thankfully, everything was perfectly timed after and we could still grab a quick bite a tower of dumplings for dinner as planned.

I’m not normally one to celebrate commercial holidays, but they do make for a good excuse to do something special. Tonight, it was the SSO, conducted by David Robertson, performing Schumann’s first and second symphonies, and German violinist Christian Tetzlaff as the soloist for Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor. I used Richard’s birthday gift certificate to me (on top of the buffet dinner), so I was able to get us premium seats in one of the Circle Boxes. Spoilt? Me?

SSO at the Opera House: Schumann 1 & 2
SSO event at the Sydney Opera House: Schumann 1 & 2

Being a classical music nerd, I was already familiar with all three compositions, but picked up a lot of notes (especially from the second violins and violas) from the live orchestra that I missed from just listening to recordings. I was also more used to a faster third and fourth movement for Symphony No. 1. I suspect more people would prefer the violin concerto, but I loved all three.

I really can’t comment on the quality of the music otherwise being such an amateur violinist myself, but really did absolutely, massively enjoy the event and was still buzzing from the performance a while after. One thing, though, from Vickie the snob: People, you don’t clap between movements! cool

Selfie Inside Sydney Opera House Concert Hall
Happy Valentine’s Day! Just one selfie inside the Concert Hall! (Just one uploaded, that is. tongue )

The brother asked when I’d be the one on stage. Well, realistically never, but here’s hoping the experience wasn’t too dull for Richard for this to be our last time attending a classical music concert together. smile

Geek Shmeek

Geeking of the day. This fan:

Cooler Master MegaFlow 200 Red LED
Cooler Master MegaFlow 200 Red LED

Into this case.

… That is apparently not on the fan compatibility list so it won’t sit at the top nicely without hacks. The compatibility list is available everywhere online.

Geek fail, but geek still used the fan in the desired place because she’s too proud to return it. Geek is happy and embarrassed with the result at the same time, and writing in third person for no apparent reason.

My New HTC One M8 is Here

Old out-of-warranty phone not charging consistently + eBay 15th-anniversary site-wide 15% off + item delivery = one happy Vickie, with a big credit card bill next month!

Transitioning from my old HTC One XL to the new HTC One M8 was made so smooth by using the HTC Transfer Tool app, it… almost didn’t feel like a new phone. Ah, first world problems. tongue

The Order Experience (2014)

I needed a laptop for my upcoming overseas trip at the end of this month but my funds were very tight, so I was thrilled when I saw the huge list of manufacturer refurbished laptops on sale at at the end of the financial year. After a lot of research, I found the laptop I wanted within my budget and everything indicated that was a trustworthy seller. I put in my order on 24 June 2014 and eagerly waited for my laptop to arrive, which it did on 26 June 2014.

The laptop looked perfect on the outside but the performance was sluggish. The machine was meant to come with 2gb RAM soldered on the motherboard plus a 4gb stick, but a quick look in System Properties revealed that there’s only 2gb onboard. Being a computer geek, I wasn’t afraid to open the case to check if the RAM was just not sitting properly in the slot, which would be a problem I could easily fix myself.

Empty Ram Slot
Inside the U840W from a clearly empty RAM slot

Nope. The RAM slot was empty. I quickly fired up a support email to about the issue of the missing 4gb RAM stick, expecting them to rectify the situation efficiently. I received this response the next morning.

Hello Vickie,

Thankyou for your email.

The two gigabyte’s of memory are allocated to your graphics card, you should have four gigabytes of ram memory.

could you kindly right click on your “my computer” icon and select properties from the dropdown menu.

This will show the hardware installed on your computer as well as some other details.

Can you please take a screen shot of this information and email the screenshot to me.

To take a screenshot you click the “printscreen” button on your keyboard, then go to Microsoft paint and press “control and the letter V” on your keyboard to paste the screenshot into Microsoft paint.

You then need to save the file and attach it to an email back to us here.

If you cannot reply to this email, then email me at [redacted]

If you cannot do this we can have it returned back to us but there is a big chance that if we find that the laptop has been sent to you with the correct hardware that we will send it back as is, because this is more an issue of understanding what you are looking at.


Quickly followed by:

Hello Again Vickie,

This guide I found online may help with taking a screenshot if you are not sure.


My face flushed up from the perceived condescending tone and insult when I read the emails; but of course the staff wouldn’t have a clue that I write codes and build rigs in my free time. I took a deep breath and sent the screenshot as requested. An item return authorisation was shortly arranged, and my laptop was gone on 7 July 2014 (delay on my part) with a receipt confirmation on 10 July 2014. I expected the laptop to be replaced. 4 hours after the confirmation email, however, I received another email informing me of a refund sans shipping fees being processed. I wrote politely to support again about the situation including reference numbers, apologising that perhaps I didn’t state explicitly that I wanted the item replaced, not refunded.

Another staff responded the next morning:

Good morning Vickie,

Thank you for your email.

The reason that you were refunded is that as we are not a computer company and are simply re-sellers for this item we are unable to add parts to the laptops.

I have also requested that our Buyers confirm if this has 2, 4 or 6 GB of RAM which is free to use.

There is the possibility that the RAM is 6GB but the only available space is 4GB due to a graphics card being used and possibly other items using the RAM as well.

As such [first staff] determined that as we cannot add to the RAM on the laptop and have still to have the information about this confirmed a refund for you would have been the most viable option.

Kind regards,

No to the 2/4/6gb RAM comment, but fair enough about not being able to just plug in the missing RAM stick themselves. I revealed that I am in fact very computer hardware literate and what they suggested was probably incorrect, and that I would appreciate it if they could please replace the item.

Good afternoon Vickie,

We originally refunded you as we can not confirm what the 6GB is allocated to.

Our buyers have advised that the empty RAM slot is to allow for a further expansion of the memory and not for a card which is missing.

As such the 6GB of RAM may only have 2 GB free 2GB allocated to the graphics card and another 2 specifically dedicated.

If you still wish to have this replaced instead of the refund we are more than happy to accommodate you, however please be advised that the RAM slot is supposed to be empty on arrival to you.

Kind regards,

Your buyers were wrong. Very wrong. I felt like I was hitting my head against a brick wall, and then thought perhaps the manufacturer’s tech support’s words would carry more weight. The next day, I forwarded that email correspondence to and, once again, requested the item replacement at no extra cost than what I originally paid for.

Good afternoon Vickie,

Thanks for forwarding this on to us.

Just to confirm you did advise the Toshiba tech support that this is a refurbished item correct?

Kind regards,

Facepalm. But before I could respond, I received this 10 minutes after:

Good afternoon,

I have confirmed with our buyer that this should have the 2GB on board and the 4GB as a card in the RAM slot.

As such I am more than happy to send this out to you at the original cost that you paid for it.

If you have the same problem again and discover the RAM slot is empty, perhaps contact Toshiba as the laptop will be under warranty and as such they are responsible for placing the RAM into the laptop prior to them sending them to us as we are simply re-sellers and cannot do the work ourselves.

Kind regards,

I finally received my laptop on 17 July 2014, this time with all 6gb of RAM, but the sides of the screen had light but noticeable scratches all over. I sighed and convinced myself that the cosmetic damage would probably happen over time regardless… which is actually quite unlikely.

If I hadn’t been a geek, I would have used this laptop thinking it was a slow piece of junk without knowing that it had a defect. The customer service staff might be right that I could have gone to the manufacturer if there’s a missing part in a refurbished item that came in a sealed box, but I expected a reseller to be so, so much better.

You get what you paid for, I guess.

A Glimpse of My Childhood

Mum decided to clean up my room back in Hong Kong that I no longer use since moving to Sydney. She asked what to do with these (photos all hers; unedited):

Wow. Memories!