I've a keen interest in computers and like to keep up to date with new products and technologies. Some of the areas I'm interested in include image processing, graphics and anything to do with astronomy. Around the turn of the century when I was on CompuServe, I was a WUGNET technical associate on the FCLASS (Foundation classes) forum on CompuServe. After this I started frequenting the MFC Usenet groups and CodeProject forums helping out anyone with their MFC problems. In April 2007, I was made an MVP by MS in the area of "Windows SDK" which subsequently became "Visual C++". Now most of my spare time is spent developing new C++ code which I publish on this web site.

 

My Main Development Workstation "OBSIDIAN" (Purchased from scan.co.uk in December 2014)
Intel Core i7 5930K CPU with a Corsair H100 Water cooler. This CPU has 6 cores and with hyper-threading brings the count to 12.
Asus X99-Deluxe Motherboard
8 sticks of Corsair 8GB DDR4 PC4-21300 DIMMs. This provides a total of 64GB of main memory
A Samsung 850 PRO SSD boot drive and a 3 TB Seagate ST3000DM001 Barracuda data drive.
EVGA FTX 980 Superclocked Graphics card
Corsair Obsidian 550D mid-tower case
3XS RM1000W Modular Gold Silent PSU
Windows 10 Pro x64 Version 20H2 is the installed operating system. I also have Vista, XP, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 2003, Windows 2008, Windows 2012, Windows 2016, Ubuntu and a number of other OSes set up as virtual machines using Windows Hyper-V for testing on.
A LG 16x Blu-ray writer
A Scan 3XS 5.25" card reader
Microsoft Wired Desktop 600 Keyboard and Mouse
3 Monitors: A new 32" Acer B326HK 4K UHD Monitor purchased from BeachAudio in the US from Ebay, and two 24" ASUS VG236 3D LCD monitors on either side of the B326HK monitor.

It's been 4 years since I purchased my last desktop computer and for my new computer I pretty much really treated myself<ggg>. PC Technology has definitely advanced and the SSD boot drive makes Windows start up in about 20 seconds from cold. The motherboard is maxed out with 64 GB of memory meaning I can fire up multiple VM's at the same time without worrying about memory issues. The CPU is also very high-end and can work through tough tasks such as video encoding in minutes. The graphics card is also the most powerful GPU from NVIDIA at the time of purchase and I played Far Cry 4 and Wolfenstein: The New Order over Christmas on it. The video encoding can also take advantage of CUDA on the graphics card, meaning that encoding is much faster than my older "CORE_I7" machine. Its also a very quiet machine thanks to the water cooling and the computer case which has special sound damping foam installed in it.

 

My Server Machine "SPUTNIK" (Purchased from scan.co.uk in September 2020)
A 3XS 4U server with an AMD Ryzen 9 3950X CPU.
Logic Case 4U rackmount case with 16 3.5" hot swappable drive bays
Asus Prime X570-Pro AM4 Motherboard
128 GB of Corsair DDR4 DDR4 3200MHz memory
1000w Corsair RM100X modular power supply
A Notua NH-U12S CPU cooler. The case fans were also replaced with three be quiet! BL066 Silent Wings Fans and two Notua NF-R8-REDUX fans. This leads to the server being very quiet with the loudest noises coming from it are the hard disks in the drive bays.
2TB Corsair Force MP600 PCIe 4 NVMe SSD acting as the main boot drive.
9 * 16 TB Seagate EXOS HDDs. These hard drives are setup in a RAID5 configuration controlled by a 16 Port Broadcom MegaRAID SAS 9361-16i controller. The total available disk space is 101 TB of disk space with one of the hard drives configured as a global hot spare.
Windows Server 2019 Standard

Previously to this computer I was using a Synology RS2416+ rack mounted NAS which provided 70 TB of network storage. This device was running with the Intel Atom processors which suffered from the hardware bricking issue and eventually after a number of years this NAS died. I decided to revert back to normal PC hardware for this server. This machine serves as my main network server and with the amount of memory installed allows me to run multiple VMs on it using Microsoft Hyper-V. One of these VM's runs the Unifi Controller software which manages the Wi-Fi throughout my house via Unifi AP AC-LR and AP HD access points. I also have a Unifi 48 port gigabit switch which the controller software manages. Other VMs on this machine allow me to try out insider builds of Windows Server and Windows 10. This server also hosts the version control system for my network and runs the Blue Iris network video monitoring software for my security cameras. The server gets its power through a APC SMT 100 Watt rack mounted UPS. This server is also connected to the USB port on the UPS meaning that it will safely power down when the UPS's battery is critically low. I also use a piece of commercial software called ViceVersa Pro which provides numerous file synchronisation strategies to backup my client computers to each other and this server.

 

My Internet Connections
Finally, as of October 2018, I now have a 1Gb Fiber To The Home (FTTH) package with Eir. The speed of the package is amazing and I have a custom built 2U pfSense router bought from ComputerPlanet.co.uk instead of the Eir supplied F2000 device to do the routing for the connection. I have been following the build out of the Rural FTTH network from Eir over the last few months on boards.ie and it finally arrived in my local village this summer. The fiber cable was brought in overhead from a telegraph pole just in front of my house to the gable of my house and the engineer did a really neat job hiding the cable behind the facia board before it went inside the house. The cost is €100 per month and there is no downloads limits but there is a fair usage policy. Prior to getting FTTH I have also ported my landline to VoIP a number of months ago and that is with IrishVoip.com.
From January 2014 up till October 2018, I had 2 Vodafone Ireland 4G dongles with external antennas. They provided my main connection for my home office. It provided a nice 5 - 40 Mbps connection most of the time.
Also up till October 2018, I had a 3Mbps downstream / 256Kbps upstream DSL2 connection from Eir. I had to get a new phone line installed to get the DSL as my old phone line was a split line and was unsuitable for broadband. Prior to February 2007, I had a Satellite connection via Educom which provided DirecPC access here in Ireland. The connection I was getting via the satellite connection was nominally 640 Kbps downstream and 128 Kbps upstream. I also had wireless Internet at one stage for a number of years from a local supplier called Alpha Broadband.

 

Other Peripherals
A StarTech 4POSTRACK36 36U Rack Cabinet with a number of shelves, casters, Power Distribution Units, 20" Viewsonic VP201b LCD rack mounted monitor & cable management panels.
A 2U rackmount server from ComputerPlanet.co.uk with an Intel I3-8100 CPU running TVHeadend on Ubuntu 20.04 with 2 Digital Devices DuoFlex DVB-T tuners and 6 DuoFlex DVB-S2 tuners. These TV tuners provide 4 Astra-28 feeds, a single feed for Astra-19 and a single feed for Hotbird-13. I then connect to the TVHeadend backend throughout my house with Kodi frontends on a number of PC NUCs and Android TV boxes. This allows me to record all channels on SaorView along with up to 6 satellite channels at the same time. All recordings are then stored on my "SPUTNIK" file server.
A HP Color LaserJet CP2025dn printer
A HP Scanjet 200 Flatbed Scanner
Two APC Smart-UPS 1000VA UPSs. These provide backup power for my pfSense router, network switch, VoIP, Wifi Access points, tvheadend and "SPUTNIK" servers.

 

Development tools I use
Visual Studio 2019, 2017, 2015, 2013, 2012, 2010, 2008 and 2005: I am in the process of making my code C++ Core Guidelines compliant and as such this will mean that more and more of my code will only target VC 2019 and/or 2017. It is just becoming too much of a chore supporting older compilers. All my code also supports all combinations of ASCII/Unicode, Debug/Release, x86/x64, Warning Level 4, /Analyze & /permissive- clean. On a VM of Windows XP, I also have access to VC 1.5, VC 5, VC 6 & Visual Studio .NET 2002 and Visual Studio .NET 2003.
Visual SourceSafe 2005: A version control system is an absolutely essential tool once you have multiple developers or versions of software floating around. There are of course much better version control systems as of 2020 but I would lose all the version history with all my code if I was to migrate to a newer system.
MicroAngelo: Great little icon browser and editor.