Installing SSD in Alienware M17x R3

Necessary items:

Solid State Drive: This is the one I purchased. Decent deal.

Small screwdrivers (mine are from Amazon, scored for $5)


Yellow Claw mixtape No4 (for feeling like a champion)


Hardware install start time: 5:00pm

Went smoothly until whoever installed the screws in the drive bay decided to be an asshole. 25 minutes to get those damn things out. Otherwise, everything fit perfectly. The new drive is noticeably lighter than the old one, and built from plastic instead of metal.

Hardware install finish: 5:40pm

Elapsed time: 40 minutes


Software install start time: 5:45

1) Remove RAID array: found that info here

2) Pop in the Win7 install disk, install Windows

5:52pm – Uh-oh, Windows didn’t see my second hard drive in the list of possible drives. Could present a problem. But, selecting the SSD works. Continuing with the install regardless. Probably just have to format the secondary drive.

5:57pm – Grab a drink, wait for Windows to install.

6:12pm – Looks like Windows is about done installing.

3) Follow these instructions to install drivers and shit in the correct order.

6:14pm – Had to format the secondary hard drive, as expected.

6:21pm – Installed HM67 chipset driver; had to dig into the Resource DVD to find it. Time to restart.

6:27 – Installed Realtek PCIE & Audio drivers. Restart again. Boot time: 10 seconds.

6:40 – Installed more drivers. Blue screen of death after installing nVidia 460m driver.

7:02 – Seems the Wifi drivers don’t want to install.

7:33 – Had to go into device manager, right click unknown network device, then navigate to the unzipped Dell Half-mini Wifi card driver folder. Pain in my ass.

7:45 – Installing Windows updates.

8:06 – Installing update 18 of 139….. *sigh*

8:14 – 53 of 139…time to get a refill on my drink.

8:30 – 88 of 129

10:01 – finally done with all the updates! Now installing my Steam games.


Glad to be finally done with the install! It was fairly straightforward. Can’t wait to see how this performs in games.

My Litecoin Adventure: Part One

By now, most tech-savvy people know about the emerging crypto-currency known as Bitcoin. It’s also a popular hobby/business to mine for Bitcoin using a PC’s CPU or GPU . Last night, I found out about Litecoin, an interesting derivative of Bitcoin. Touted as ‘Silver to Bitcoin’s Gold,’ it promised easier mining and more profitability than Bitcoin. So I decided to try my hand at mining Litecoin.


I used the guide I found at to try my hand at CPU mining. On there is also very handy GPU mining guide.The mining pool I used is since they had no fees.

Since this is a more bleeding-edge technology compared to Bitcoin, I found the documentation available on the web to be a bit lacking. I tried the various mining programs with three PCs to assess their various mining capabilities. Today, we’ll look at the first machine I tested.

Macbook Pro 2013

2.6 GHz Intel Core i7 – 8GB 1600 MHz DDR3 – NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M 1024MB

This was, by far, the easiest machine to setup for mining. Since I had Homebrew installed already, it installed all the dependencies to use the miner programs I chose, CG Miner for GPU mining and MinerD for CPU mining.


CPU Mining: 45.40 khash/s

Not great.
Not great.

GPU Mining: 11.93 khash/s

Spoiler: it's damn slow.
Spoiler: it’s damn slow.

Using the Litecoin Profit Calculator I found here, I would make approximately $0.16 per day/$1.15 per week/$59.76 per year running both the CPU and GPU miners simultaneously.  Excluding the cost of electricity.

Why is my GPU performing worse than my CPU in terms of khash/s?

NVIDIA cards are notoriously bad for these kinds of mining operations. ATI and ASIC cards handle calculations differently, and are better suited for mining.

To be fair, if I spent time tuning the settings for these programs, I could most likely expect to squeak out up to 20% more performance out of my hardware.


In Summary…

Mining Litecoin on a 2013 Macbook Pro is not profitable. Many users also report that the strain the mining programs cause to the laptop can cause it to overheat. It’s an interesting proof-of-concept, but is not suited to this kind of endeavor.

Next time, I’ll be talking about running Litecoin miners on a PC!


NYC Business Trip

I went on an awesome trip!

I have been developing a service for internal use at AOL, and to present it to the client, I had the pleasure of visiting AOL Headquarters in Manhattan. I stayed in the Standard East Village hotel – absolutely gorgeous. I also got to visit, a fantastic startup that AOL recently acquired. They have a pub! Inside the office! 


I got to meet the new CTO of Patch, as well as a few great people in Headquarters. After work, I explored Greenwich Village and went to a small, expensive, but fantastic hookah bar – Kazuza.  This trip was amazing, and I’m incredibly thankful to AOL and Shawn Carnell for letting me join them.

Sophomore Year: a retrospective

This was a year of immense personal growth and exploration. My second year at Rochester Institute of Technology presented me with difficult challenges and opportunities to grow, and I embraced both.


My favorite class this year was a two-part study in User Experience design and development with professors Brian O’Keefe for part one and Sean Boyle for the second part. Professor O’Keefe truly seemed to love the subject and kept the class light with constant references to Back to the Future and Bruce Lee movies. For the second part, Professor Boyle did what he could to keep the class light, but the material was much more dense and the projects much more demanding. In a few weeks, our 4-man team built a site using Bootstrap that showcased an interface for a concept product. Though the coursework was stressful and I lost a lot of sleep, I ended up on the dean’s list this Spring with a GPA of 3.67.

Social growth was a crucial part of this year. I joined a fraternity, Sigma Alpha Mu. It was through them that I found that I truly enjoy philanthropic events. Mainly, this involved pestering people for money on the Quarter Mile at RIT. I spent a good amount of time volunteering at the local animal shelter. I also gained a bunch of new friends and learned how to plan a great event!

Another important step was my focus on getting an internship for the summer. After spending the winter polishing my portfolio, I applied to over 100 jobs. After a few interviews for a few interesting companies, I decided to work for AOL in Dulles, Virginia as an intern for the Central Engineering department. I’ve already been here a month! Halfway done with the internship already.

Time really flew by this year. I’m nervous and excited for the days to come.