Diskpart.exe, the silent hero of Windows.

I rarely use my Desktop these days.. I’m rather in favour of my 2019 MacBook Pro but with the pandemic, I’ve been gaming on the switch a lot more and saw that I could transfer my Witcher 3 saves from the Switch to the PC version (Using GoG’s cloud saves).

This started of a journey of bringing my Windows PC back upto date. A billion bits of software wanted updates and I didn’t have much in the way of space. For some reason or other I’d given 160GB of 512GB over to a linux partitio. That was essentially wiped straight away without hesitiation as far too many games still don’t support the plaform and this desktop only comes on to play them.

So this was done in is the Disk Management UI app that window provides. What became apparent was that there was a ~400MB partition in front of that 160GB one that the Disk Management apparently couldn’t touch…

So some brief Googling brought me onto: diskpart.exe :

No idea why this is only CLI based and Disk Management couldn’t handle this task but i’m mighty glad I know about it now.

Also being the elephant in a china shop that I am with my own stuff I forgot to make sure I accounted for Windows being able to boot properly so had a short venture off into making a Windows USB boot driver so I could recover the Windows Master Boot record (MBR). All is good now and I have a bit more space for like two games now 😉.

MacOS – Store screenshots in a different location!

Go to Spotlight (magnifying glass icon in the top right) search and open terminal (or your choice of shell). From there input (with the relevant path you want to store screenshots in):

defaults write com.apple.screencapture location ~/Pictures/Screenshots

It’s as simple as that! If you’re as trigger happy as me with cmd +Shift+4 for screenshots then you’ll find this a godsend in terms of not cluttering up your desktop.

Super handy if your work doesn’t permit the use of app like Skitch.

Sad to see Tesco bank reducing interest rates



Tesco Bank has been a long time choice of mine for its ease of use. With a current account that pays interest and with a rewards point scheme, it has a decent amount of appeal. It looks like they are following trends by other banks in reducing their benefits or making them harder to achieve. In this case, a drop from 3% > 1% interest on their current account offering isn’t enough to make me move as the rewards scheme is still of value, especially if you’re invested in the Tesco ecosystem (banking, mobile, food, clothes, baby items etc) but its always good to keep an eye on the market. My only real gripes with Tesco is lack of Android pay and Garmin pay support on their current accounts.

Santander who also reigned in their 123 account benefits, are also still pretty decent for cashback if you have your mortgage with them!

Really like the look of these Sony ANC headphones.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 look and seem to review pretty well, even up against Bose QC series. I was pretty disappointed in the ANC on the Samsung Level Over I purchased a few years back that i’m still using (they do look good and sound decent otherwise). This was coming from some Nokia BH-940s (Monster) which, yes looking back, haven’t aged well style wise but had very good Active noise cancelling. Maybe too good as you had to pay attention when out and about! My only concern for these Sony’s is the little vent/ mic on the cups facing upwards, that’d be a bad situation if it started raining and you were outside with these I suspect. Apart from that oversight. I really can’t wait to try out a pair!

Anyone got a pair? Let me know your likes and dislikes in the comments.

How Go-tcha Pokemon Go products get away with not being blocked.

So it seems that the Organizationally Unique Identifier (OUI) part of the MAC address of the bluetooth device is using Nintendo’s assigned address space to get around being blocked on MAC.

This is the initial part of the MAC 7C:BB:8A on the Go-tcha I have. Pop that into https://www.wireshark.org/tools/oui-lookup.html and you’ll see: 7C:BB:8A Nintendo Nintendo Co., Ltd. as the result. I suspect they might have gone even further to try and not get them blocked and tried to narrow down allocated address space in the rest of the MAC address for the Pokemon Go accessories range. It’d be a decent way to circumvent Nintendo blocking as this method could affect genuine product purchases.

Upgrading the old Shuttle SP35P2 PC.

So this shuttle PC used to be my main gaming PC way back, maybe 5+ years ago. It’s seen various graphics cards come and go and even been modded a bit to deal with the sheer heat some of those said cards put out. I’m still impressed with how Shuttle put these barebones PCs together. They really crammed a lot in there, trying to make as few compromises as possible.

The Configuration until recently was: Intel Core2 Quad Q6700, 4GB (2x2GB Kingston HyperX), 2TB 7200 RPM Seagate and a VTX 7870 Tahiti (which ran hotter than the sun!). Its still not a bad gaming PC under reasonable circumstances considering its age but I wanted to repurpose it as a HTPC. First up was the GPU’s age giving it the disadvantage of decoding certain media formats so that had to go! As I didn’t want to spend a ton on a GPU I did a little research and an Nvidia 1050 would suffice. Better yet I managed to get a Palit NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB KALMX Passive Graphics Card for £100 second hand Dec 2018 off eBay:

Silent beauty

As it was replacing this:

I didn’t think twice about it fitting in the Shuttle but actually the height clearance almost proved to be an issue as the 1050 Ti went above the PCB height!

Luckily for me it went in:

This picture doesn’t do it justice. It actually looks kinda roomy in there but trust me when I say it was a delicate job to get that in and not do damage to the motherboard. Almost more impressive was that this think took a 7870 and didn’t explode into a ball of flames (it did overheat at times so I took out the top second HHD tray and modded a 120mm fan into the roof (with blue LEDs and a grill).

I also added a 256GB I had spare for the OS so the 2TB is for storage only (nothing fancy. I’m OK if I ever lose the content, pictures etc are in the cloud).

All in all it’s a capable little system. The system fans could be a little quieter, but they are not unpleasant in the same room and I’ve also replaced the 2032 mobo battery as well as bumping the CPU to a Q9550. I got for that for £25 from CEX as it increases the clock speed slightly but also the L2 cache (8>12MB). Essentially traded that for the 7870 which was just laid to waste on my desk so the bump was free! Anything past that didn’t seem economical or would increase temps/fan noise. I was a bit disappointed to see that I could only stick 4GB in this motherboard as I have 2 spare slots still for RAM but as well. Not going to need more than that for movies..