Another day, another scam.

I received an envelope from Imperial Majesty Cruise Line Vacations (aka Ramada Plaza Resort) today.

Inside the envelope, there was a travel voucher worth $1300. I was promised 4 days & 3 nights at a Ramada Plaza Resort in Florida, another 3 days & 2 nights at another Ramada Plaza Resort in Florida, a 2 night Caribbean Cruise and 7 days transportation by Alamo Rent-A-Car with unlimited mileage.

Too good to be true? Well, you know how the saying goes.

This Ramada Plaza Resort scam is fairly well-known. In fact, back in 2005, I filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and also the Florida Attorney General upon receiving this scam. They acknowledged the complaint as I received a formal response from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

This “deluxe” vacation package consists of two sub-standard hotels and a very old, poorly kept ship. This “deluxe” vacation package also violates the following sections of the Sellers of Travel Act: 559.932 (Vacation certificate disclosure), 559.933 (Vacation certificate cancellation and refund provisions) and 559.9335 (Violations).

If you have been scammed by Ramada Plaza Resort, contact me using the comments section of this blog entry. I have enough legal documentation to get you a full refund.

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 vs E6400

I finally managed to get my hands on the highly sought Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 CPU.

I’ve been waiting weeks for my reseller to receive stock on the CPU. I kicked myself for not purchasing it earlier from another reseller, as it fell to a low of $199, and recently the price surged to $260 due to a shortage of the CPU’s. I managed to acquire it for $222, which was a price I was willing to pay.

The Core 2 Duo E8400 is one of Intel’s first 45 nm CPU’s. Intel’s 45 nm CPU’s consume less power and run cooler than their 65 nm (Conroe) counterparts. They are also very overclockable. The CPU (stock) is currently running at 24C, which is significantly cooler than my E6400 at 40C.

I ran wPrime v1.61 to compare the computing power of both CPU’s. wPrime is a multithreaded benchmark that calculates the square-roots of large amounts of numbers — 32 million in this case. For this benchmark, I used Gigabyte’s P35-DS3L v2.0 motherboard (BIOS revision: F8b).

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 (3.00 GHz): 32M test completed in 26.952 seconds.
Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 (2.13 GHz): 32M test completed in 41.297 seconds.

I realize it’s not a fair clock-for-clock comparison, but it shows the sheer computing power of each CPU. Simple math shows us that the E8400 should be approximately 29% faster than the E6400. The E8400 beat the E6400 by a significant margin (as expected), 34.7%, using a combination of higher clock speed, a faster FSB (1333 MHz vs 1066 MHz) and more L2 cache (6 MB vs 2 MB).

Given the price point of the new Intel 45 nm CPU’s (T8xxx/T9xxx), I recommend waiting out and purchasing them over the current Conroe / 65 nm CPU’s (T5xxx/T7xxx).

Upgrading Red Hat 9 to CentOS 4.5

It’s been a few months since I last posted an entry to my blog. Life has been busy. This blog has been busy, in terms of web traffic to my Anonymous Letters and Starbucks posts below.

Time for a tech post. I had the privilege of upgrading an ancient Red Hat 9 Linux box to CentOS 4.5. Red Hat Linux has been EOL for a very long time, and was superceded by Fedora, which has had seven major releases. That’s the equivalent of running Windows 3.1 😉 Well, not quite :) Anyhow, the box at hand appeared to be a custom web server. I will outline the steps I used to successfully upgrade it to CentOS 4.5.

1. Download the CentOS 4.5 CD set or DVD image from
2. Put in CD 1 or the DVD image.
3. Reboot the old Red Hat 9 box and ensure that the BIOS allows booting from the CD/DVD drive.
4. Enter the following at the linux boot prompt and press Enter: linux upgradeany
5. The system will happily hum along while Red Hat 9 is upgraded to CentOS 4.5.
6. If ‘yum’ wasn’t installed, you will need to install it:
rpm -ivh
rpm -ivh
rpm -ivh
rpm -ivh
rpm -ivh

7. Now, run the following command and press Enter: yum update
8. Allow yum to run and update the required packages. Reboot if yum downloads and installs a new kernel.
9. Since the box in question had a custom Apache and PHP configuration, I reinstalled them manually:
yum install httpd
yum install php
yum install mysql
yum install mysql-server
yum install php-mysql

10. I had to update the MySQL configuration to point to the correct socket:
Update my.cnf:
instead of
and add the following to use your existing database passwords
11. Copy any required PHP extensions to new system path:
cp -R /usr/local/lib/php/extensions/* /usr/lib/php4
12. Edit /etc/php.ini:
error_reporting = E_ALL & ~E_NOTICE

13. Finally, set services to start up automatically:
chkconfig –level 345 httpd on
chkconfig –level 345 mysqld on
chkconfig –level 345 sendmail on

14. There you have it. The server should be happily running CentOS 4.5 now. Remember to keep it up-to-date by running yum update regularly.