Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Down with everything that could be considered at all socialism!

This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US Department of Energy I then took a showerr in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility.  After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC-regulated channels to see what the National Weather Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration determined the weather was going to be like using satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.  I watched this while eating my breakfast of US Department of Agriculture inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the Food and Drug Administration.

At the appropriate time as regulated by the US Congress and kept accurate by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the US Naval Observatory, I get into my National Highway Traffic Safety Administration-approved automobile and set out to work on the roads built by the local, state, and federa l Departments oI Transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additonal fuel of a quality level determined by the Environmental Protection Agency, using legal tender issed by the Federal Reserve Bank.  On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the US Postal Service and drop the kids off at the public school.

After work, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to my house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and fire marshal's inspection, and which has not been plundered of all it's valuables thanks to the local police department.

I then log on to the internet which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration and post on freerepublic.com and Fox News forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can't do anything right.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Side-by-side screenshots

I used picnik.com to create these side-by-side comparisons of the previous post..

Screenshots before and after

I mentioned before how much greater World of Warcraft looked with my new machine.  I'm posting these to show you the difference.

First, how it looked with my old computer.  The first 2 shots are from on top of one of the towers that Deathwing had landed on in Stormwind.

This third one is what it looks like when I've flown aaaaalllllll the way as high as I can go....nothing but fog.

These next 3 shots are on my new computer, with the graphics cranked way up, same spots.

Wow..big difference.  And very smooth gameplay.  And I cranked up the sound options too.  Great rich sound, background music, etc.

I'm loving it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Visiting Boston

So, I'm in the Boston metro area for a few days.  Anyone live around here that have an suggestions to do after work hours?

I plan on:
- Eating at the Union Oyster House
- Visiting Faneuil Hall
- Visiting Harvard Square

Sunday, March 27, 2011

On putting together your own computer

I've had about 8 computers so far.  4 of them I've assembled myself, but the last 3 I have purchased.
My current one is an Alienware Aurora.  More on it later
My previous was an Gateway, and the one before that was an HP.

If I can build my own computer, why have I purchased complete ones recently, you ask?  It used to be that you could save a TON of money assembling your own computer.  It seems to me though, that lately, it does not save as much.  Let's take my current computer for example, the Alienware.  In a previous post, I said I spent $1,700 on it, and someone posted that I could have put it together for about a thousand dollars less.  Let's break that down.  By doing some web searches, here's some representative prices:

CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2600K CPU @ 3.40GHz:  $290
Video card: 1GB GDDR5 AMD Radeon™ HD 6870  $200
Memory: Kingston 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 at 1866MHz: $128
Hard Drive: 1TB, 7200 RPM, 3GB cache: $115
Middle-grade keyboard: $50
Middle-grade mouse: $30
Fairly high-end case: $100 (the alienware case is something special, BTW.  Easy access inside, awesome design.  One of the things they're famous for, so not exactly apples-to-apples here.  But a case design is a secondary consideration to the performance)
875W Power supply: $100
Motherboard:  The specs are Alienware branded, so can't really search that, but found similar for $150
Sound card: Sound Blaster® X-Fi™ Xtreme Audio: $35
Windows 7 Home Premium: $80
DVD +-RW drive: $35

So far, that's $1,333.

I may be forgetting some items, but my point is, to build a system like above for $700 I think would be pretty hard.

The other thing that buying a pre-built machine is the support.  I've had some fairly good experiences with Dell support (who owns Alienware now) in the past.

A few computers ago, one that I built, I had some trouble with.  The sound card didn't work right.  What can I do?  I called the manufacturer, and the store I purchased my items for?  The manufacturer of the sound card said it must be the motherboard's fault, and the motherboard manufacturer said it's the sound card's fault.  The store I purchased from let me exchange the card, but that one was having the same problems.  They even let me exchange the motherboard.  Same thing (man, replacing a motherboard is a pain in the a$$).

I ended up getting a different sound card, and it worked.  Part of my point here, is that a prebuilt system has parts that they know WORK TOGETHER.  And if there is a problem within the warranty period, you just call the computer manufacturer to get it taken care of.  Lots less hassle and investigation.

So, yes, you pay a bit more to buy a prebuilt computer, but I've found in the last few years that the price difference is not as huge as it used to be, and to me, the advantage of having an already-assembled, guaranteed to work right, come right to my door, is worth the extra cost.

And the glowing Alienware alien head on the front is awesome... :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My new computer

I just recently bought Dragon Age 2, and really liked the game, but my computer was about 2 years old, and the graphics card wasn't the top of the line at the time, so of course I had to crank the graphics WAY down to play. Still choppy.  So I finally bit the bullet and ordered a new computer.

I got myself an Alienware Aurora.  I didn't realize until recently that Alienware was purchased by Dell, and the prices are actually reasonable.  So I ordered myself a $1700 computer.  At checkout, I noticed all of my shipping options had zero cost, even next day, so of course I opted for next day (after assembly).

3 days later, I get my new Alienware computer.  Wow!  Blazing fast, and I cranked up my graphics all the way in every category.  Amazing!

So then I launched my World of Warcraft, and cranked those graphics settings way up.

GOOD GOD I didn't know what I was missing!  Such a beautiful game with all of those graphics options.

Now to get myself a 1080p widescreen monitor to replace my 19" LCD.

Any suggestions that won't break the bank?

Lots of blogs out there!

Wow, I've started to explore the huge number of blogs out there.  I've started to follow some, to maybe inspire me, as I don't have a clear direction right now.

If it's anything like the podcasts I follow, I won't have time to view all the ones I'm interested in.

Speaking of which..

What are your favorite podcasts?  I most listen to Keith and the Girl:  www.katg.com