Matt’s Tool Box

Here is a list of the stuff that keeps LargeGeek geeky…

Hardware & Gear

Dell XPS 12 — proving to be a fantastic mobile machine and suites my troubleshooting needs perfectly. Still have issues connecting to Dell’s own SonicWall devices via WiFi; which we use at my workplace.
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Intel Core i5-3317U @ 2.6 GHz
  • Intel HD 4000 graphics
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 128 GB mSATA SSD
“GoBag”- Waterfield Designs Macbook Air Wallet — a vertical ultrabook case makes sure I don’t mind toting the XPS12 along. Holds quite a few accouterments.  (
  • XPS 12 & Slim Power brick
  • HooToo USB 3.0 Hub & Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
  • Mini-DisplayPort-to-VGA adapter
  • Mini-DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter
  • A couple ethernet cables
  • A micro-USB cable for emergency device charging
  • Zalman ZM-VE300
  • 500 GB USB 3.0 WD MyPassport HDD
  • 2x Kinston DTSE9 8GB FlashDrives (one for sneaker-netting and the other for YUMI Multiboot tools)

Moto X Pure Edition (2014) — Modern power in not too large a package. And has the promise of staying up to date if Lenovo doesn’t screw us over. Running and loving Microsoft’s Arrow Launcher Beta lately.

Nexus 7 (2013) — Sees more use than my phone nowadays. Is my goto device any random tech need. Have never had a device that I can say nothing negative about.
Current Main Rig — Was built on a whim when I randomly came into possession of a new mobo and gets over some of the oddities that my old rig experienced.
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Intel Core i7-3770K @ 3.8 GHz
  • CoolerMaster Hyper 212 EVO cooler
  • MSI Z77A-G41 motherboard
  • 16 GB DDR3 RAM @ 1866MHz
  • Asus DCUII R9-290X
  • Boot Drive: Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB SSD
  • Storage Drive: 2TB WD Black
  • Optical: TSSTC DVD Burner
  • Antec TPQ 850W PSU
  • Corsair Obsidian 650D Case (2x CoolerMaster Blue LED 200mm fans, bypassed fan controller)
  • Ducky DK9008G2 Mechanical Keyboard w/ Black Cherry MX Switches (PBT)
  • A4Tech V7 Mouse ($25 mouse that performs like the $80 ones, just a tad too light)
HTPC | Server — Guts from my old main rig transplanted into a new case. Was built with the intention of being future proof and has proven so with some caveats. Due to Intel not having USB 3.0 and SATA III integrated for another couple generations it has third party controllers for them and drivers have been iffy for the life of the rig. Storage related BSODs are pedestrian for this board. It drives our living-room experience, serves our media library via Serviio, and hosts whatever game servers I happen to be into. 
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Intel Core i7 920 (Quad-core HT @ 2.66 GHz)
  • CoolerMaster Hyper 212 EVO w/ Noctua NF-F12 PWM
  • Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R (USB 3.0, SATA III)
  • 8 GB RAM @ 1333 MHz
  • AMD Radeon 6850 (bro’s old card)
  • 128GB Crucial M500 SSD
  • WD 1TB Caviar Black HDD
  • Some random DVD burner
  • Corsair 650W PSU
  • Corsair 200R
(Retired) Dell Inspiron E1505 (Core Duo, Rad.X1400) –AKA: Old Reliable, I have troubleshot more stuff with this machine than I care to remember. I rarely need a laptop, but when I do, she’s always there. Served as my main machine long ago. Has run every version of Windows from XP through 8RP, and numerous Linux distros. Will be finally replacing her with a Windows 8 tablet or ultrabook.
(Retired) Acer A500 — Mostly used to consume podcasts and the odd Netflix stream.
(Retired) Nexus One — Regret that this thing is so handicapped by its storage/memory config. Otherwise I might still be using it.
(Retired) Logitech MX518 Mouse — finally wore it out after nearly 8 years of service.
(Retired) HTC One X (Tegra 3, Unlocked) — Grandfathered into AT&T Unlimited data. Throw in my OtterBox Commuter case and it is indispensable. Since the most recent updates it is even better than it ever has been. And aside from some WiFi oddities, is a solid device.

 Security & Maintenance Software –

Windows Defender/Microsoft Security Essentials
CCleaner – Not that needed in the latest OSes but it still comes in very handy from time to time
Defragler – Not that needed in the latest OSes (and SSDs of course) but it still comes in very handy from time to time

Tools & Utilities –

GIMP for Windows
Filezilla – Is there any other FTP client woth bothering with? IDTS
Foxit Reader
TeamViewer – I wish they would let me pay them…in a reasonable way.
SyncToy – Only using to automate back-up of my Minecraft server since it runs in a RAM-Disk and I dont want to depend on the image if things fail
NetworkLatencyView – good for monitoring access to game, VOIP, & other ping sensitive servers.
PingInfoView – I use it at work to monitor our VPNs. First one that doesn’t over complicate a very simple task.

Troubleshooting & Repair –

YUMI Multiboot Utility
Highjack This
Puppy Linux – A whole lot of my friends and family owe their data to this
Ultimate Boot CD – Hands down best tool ever
Trinity Rescue Kit – stupid simple machine recovery
Clonszilla or Acronis
Kaspersky Bootable Anti-Virus – A little heavy for what it does, but it is worth it when you need to clean things up before scanning.
SpinRite – Controversial…and I don’t see why. Yeah similar results can be garnered with a live CD and a handful of other tools and hovering over the machine. Or you can set it and forget it with SpinRite.

Favorite Online Tools & Services

Chrome – for majority of web browsing
Firefox – still need it for some web gui’s
OneNote – synced via OneDrive
JungleDisk – OneDrive/SkyDrive kept breaking for me, so I decided to go with a real, robust back-up service. And they have a Sync feature as well…and it actually works.
DropBox – Mostly auto photo uploading and easy sharing
Feedly – Android & Chrome – I probably spend the majority of my ‘device’ time in Feedly.

Home Network

The Network Closet (i.e. my utility closet)
  1. Sagemcom F@st 1704 ADSL2 Modem in Bridge mode (12 Gbps/768 Mbps Windstream DSL)
  2. PFSense running on Atom D525 BlackBox (previously featured in my virtualized Smoothwall article)
  3. 16-Port Gigabit Switch (TRENDNet TEG-S16Dg)
  4. 12-Port Mini CAT6 Patch panel (from Monoprice)
  5. Bulk cable through cieling to Living Room and both bedrooms
  6. Terminates at 2-port CAT6 surface mount wallboxes
    • Living room drops from ceiling in front corner, sounds ugly but grey cable blends well into wall trim
    • Bedrooms drop in corner of closet and come out under corner of door and along carpet, ends up hidden well by furniture
  7. 8-port Gigabit Switch in Living room (TRENDnet TEG-S80G)