New System

I have *finally* been able, with considerable help from some great people, to put together a new desktop gaming machine. Not only that but it’s exceeded my expectations by quite a bit.

You see, I had been slowly, ever so slowly, saving money toward purchasing a new system. I had no illusions, I knew that even the best I could do would essentially be a Retail POS System. Not that there is anything basically wrong with a pre-built retail system . . . If you’re only going to use it for web browsing, shopping, balancing your checkbook and playing a few simple games.

However if you plan to use it, like I am, to play demanding games like Minecraft and to edit and render high definition video and detailed 3D models in Blender, then your basic off the shelf computer just isn’t going to cut it.

Oh, it’ll probably do ok, so long as you’re not in a hurry and don’t have a deadline. It would probably still render that high definition video, it will just take two to ten times as long to do it. Ditto for animated 3D models in Blender.

I’m kinda behind on posting my Minecraft videos here but as I get caught up you will no doubt notice a definite improvement in video quality and later, a similar improvement in audio quality by around episode 220 of the main world series.

Joey’s Christmas List

As the Christmas holidays draw closer more and more people are getting their Christmas “I want” lists in order. Joey B is no different in that respect. He’s made his list. Not only that he’s printed it out and sent copies of it to anyone that he thinks might give him a gift for Christmas.

I got a copy of that list in the mail and It’s an interesting list because the only thing on it is a list of samsung lcd tvs. A the top of the page is a brief paragraph in which he explains that he’s wanted a flat screen High Definition TV since they first came out. He goes on to say that he’s done a lot of research and has decided that the samsung models that he has listed are the best choices.

He also says that another reason he likes them is because the linkstick device that samsung sells will allow him to use the flat screen hi def tv as a computer monitor that will make browsing the interenet a stunning visual experience.

This may sound like an expensive Christmas list but believe me, around here that one is mild. I can’t wait to see Chucky’s list. Now there’s a guy with expensive tastes!

[tags]nutjob hills, christmas, christmas list, gifts[/tags]

Why Are Laptop Speakers So Weak?

In the little over a year since I got this laptop I have been very satisfied with it’s performance. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it is easily the best, most powerful, computer I have ever owned. (it’s also my first dual core machine)

Yet there is one thing that I don’t care for and that is that I can’t get much in the way of volume out of it unless I plug in a set of external speakers. The sound from the built in speakers just can’t get loud enough in most circumstances to be really useful.

Now I realize that there isn’t room for the speakers to be physically bigger and there’s also the matter of how much power is available to drive ’em when the machine is running on batteries. On the other hand I almost always run on external power. I only use the batteries when I have to move the computer which is rare.

At the very least it would be nice to be able to pump more amplifier power to the speakers when running on external power.

[tags]laptop, speakers, sound, low sound volume[/tags]

Contaminated Water – He’s Allergic To It

In a move that I honestly wouldn’t have predicted Lester, a local kid known for his many allergies and “sensitivities” has decided that he’s going to go on a three month hiking trip this summer. The reason that it’s kind of hard to believe is that this kid is allergic to just about anything you can name. He’s also extremely sensitive to changes in the water. He can’t even drink the water in a town 30 miles away without getting sick because of the differences between that water and what he’s accustomed to here in Nutjob Hills. It’s no big deal to most people but to him it’s the same as drinking contaminated water out of a ditch near a chemical plant. He’s that sensitive to changes and anytime he goes anywhere he is guaranteed to be owned by Montezuma’s revenge at the very least.

You see, even the most pure drinking water around still has a low level of bacteria and viral organisms in it. No water system purifies 100%. Instead they manage to remove most of the impurities and microorganisms which makes it safe to drink. The reason people have problems with Montezuma’s revenge when they travel is the water, while still safe, does not have the same levels of the same microorganisms in it and they aren’t *quite* compatible with the particular flavor that the traveller carries in their own intestinal tract. That difference causes anything from mild nausea to full on diharrea until the body adapts to the local water.

Most people handle this pretty well and in fact don’t actually get seriously sick from it at all. Lester on the other hand is far from being most people. The only water he can drink that isn’t from the local water system is distilled water because distillation removes everything that isn’t water.

That’s the problem with Lester’s proposed hiking trip. Three months in the wilderness, living off the land, is going to be a problem because there’s no way he can cart enough distilled water along with him for the whole time and distilling his own isn’t going to happen because in that situation it would be far too time consuming to be worthwhile.

This would be why I wasn’t surprised when he asked me if I knew of or could find out about a way for him to be able to purify water on the go. Having heard about his summer plans last week I knew it was only a matter of time because he’s been talking about it and asking everybody he knows about inexpensive portable ways of purifiying water.

So because I knew this was coming I took a little time to do a bit of homework and learn something about portable water purification systems. When he came around I had an answer for him. It was the Steripen Adventurer Opti. It’s a compact, portable water purifier that uses Ultraviolet light to eliminate more than 99.9% of the bacteria, protozoa and viruses in water which are the cause of water borne illneses.

Now I know that sounds a bit far fetched at first so I did some more reading and it turns out to be true. Back in 1996 the EPA recognized UV light as a legitimate means of purification. As UV light is absorbed by microbes it prevents the cell enzymes from being able to read the DNA. This makes it impossible for them to reproduce which means they can’t make you sick.

Not only that but it also doubles as a LED flashlight. The only thing I would suggest is to replace the non-rechargeable batteries that come with it with some that can be recharged and get a solar powered or even hand cranked charger to keep ’em powered up.

With something like this, even Lester could spend the summer hiking through the woods, living off the land without having to worry about getting sick from drinking the wrong water.

[tags]hiking, water, montezuma’s revenge, diharrea, water filter, purifying water, water purification system, pure water, microbes, bacteria, viruses, foriegn water, tech, nutjob hills[/tags]

New MacBook Pro – Gold Or Garbage?

There seems to be something of a difference of opinion on the matter. One the one hand, PC Magazine has featured a review in which the reviewer cannot sing the praises of the new machine loud enough. Reading his review I actually expected him to say that it was the best thing since sliced bread, though I suppose it’s fortunate that he didn’t actually say that.

Then on Computerworld there is a very critical piece talking about how this new machine with it’s $1800 base price (and you know almost nobody buys the base machine so most people will be paying a LOT more).

What they had to say about it was that it has some serious issues.

While disassembling a 15-in. MacBook Pro, iFixit.com — a site that regularly tears down electronics and publishes do-it-yourself repair guides — found several signs of substandard assembly.

We’re talking about everything from a stripped out screw to the fact that the infrared sensor’s ZIF socket was unlocked to an excessive amount of thermal heat sink paste applied to the CPU and the GPU which regardless of whether it may or may not do any harm it certainly shows some really sloppy workmanship.

All I can say is that, given this second report, I’m going to stick with my policy of not buying Apple computers newer than the Apple][e and steer well clear of this one. My recommendation is that you do the same.

[tags]apple, macbook pro, reviews, teardown, shoddy workmanship, sloppy assembly, potential problems, avoid[/tags]