Posted by Deliverator on 28th September 2007
In what is probably my last hardware purchase in a while, I went ahead and purchased a factory refurbished Shuttle SN25P small form factor case/motherboard from Shuttle’s eBay store. I’ve come to respect Shuttle’s well designed and well ventilated small form factor systems over the last few years and have used them extensively as home theater and point of sale boxes for clients. I had a number of fairly high end parts left over from recent upgrades to my main box, Deliverator, and decided to put them to good use rather than leave them to languish in a drawer. Despite warnings that refurbished systems might contain scratches or slight dents (which made me instantly conclude that I would be receiving a unit with a side caved in), I received a unit which pristine cosmetically and has functioned flawlessly thus far. The well packed box I received came with all original driver cd’s, manuals, cables, etc. I’ve always felt a bit wary about refurbished products, but Shuttle did a bang up job.
Installation of the CPU, memory, hard disk, DVD, etc. was all made relatively painless thanks to Shuttle’s well written manual. Shuttle uses some proprietary “tool-less” brackets for mounting hard drives and cd-roms and their heatsink retention bracket is a bit finiky, so plan to spend a little time with the manual on this one. In the end, though, I had my new box up and running in short order. I plan to use it to replace my current secondary box Spareparts, which is getting a little long in the tooth for the duties I place upon it and also takes up far too much space on my crowded, though ginormous desk.
The new shuttle box to which I am giving the Neil Gaiman inspired name Secundus should be more than up to the task. It is powered by a AMD Athlon X2 dual core 2ghz processor, 2 GB of ram and a PCI-Express Nvidia 6800 GS graphics card. Hopefully it will give me many good years of secondary use and not die an early death like its namesake :)
Posted in General, Portable Computing/Gadgets, Tech Stuff | No Comments »
Posted by Deliverator on 25th September 2007
I finished Bioshock today in one long marathon session where I played through the last 4-5 levels straight with only short bathroom & drink breaks. I managed to get through the game without harvesting any of the Little Sisters and thus got The Good Ending. I beat Fontaine/Atlas on the first try, albeit with barely any health left. I think I would have preferred a bit more extended/challenging final fight to make taking down Fontaine a bit more satisfying. The final fight is more or less a straight run and gun in a big arena setting, which will present little challenge to the experienced FPS player. I would have preferred having to evade Fontaine’s attacks and somehow use the environment to weaken him to the point where his ADAM could be harvested. All in all, though, Bioshock is a MOST satisfying ride with dynamic gameplay and a great backstory. I haven’t felt this immersed in a game since my battle with The Combine on the streets of City 17. HIGHLY recommended for FPS fans.
Posted in Gaming | No Comments »
Posted by Deliverator on 23rd September 2007
My recent trip to the Toronto International Film Festival, amongst other things, definitely hammered home one point; there are just some movies that demand to be seen on a big screen. While I sometimes relish the experience of going to a movie in a packed theater on opening night, more and more I have become annoyed with traffic, parking hassles, overpriced junk food, crying babies, cell phones, annoying ads and previews I couldn’t give a rats ass about, and thugs watching me pick my nose with “nightvision” flashlights. Unfortunately, my living situation doesn’t let me get away with my brother’s massive 56″ DLP TV and surround sound setup, but watching Blackhawk Down at his place during my recent trip definitely made me think about what I could manage. I did some casual research into current projector offerings which made me think that maybe current projector tech wasn’t such a bad alternative these days.
After returning to Seattle, I worked some late nights getting caught up on the backlog of work induced by my trip to Toronto. A few nights ago, while picking up a hard drive at Best Buy (not my first choice of shopping locations by any means) to replace a failed drive in a point of sale machine, I couldn’t help but check out their projectors. They had the Optoma HD 70, a unit about which I had read rave reviews in my brief research, and at a steal of a price. I picked it up and have gleefully been watching movies from my bed for the last few nights.
So far I really like the HD 70. It offers native 720p resolution (1280×720) at the same price as many 1024×768 entry level projectors, has inputs for every video type imagineable (composite, component, s-video, vga and HDMI), has a well designed, backlit remote and on screen display and is remarkably quiet for the amount of heat it has to dissipate. My one worry about projectors has always been the artificially high cost of replacement bulbs ($275-300 for the HD 70). The manufacturer claims 2-3k hours of use per bulb. If it gets the advertised life, I will consider the bulb replacement cost more than fair trade for the “joys” of seeing a movie outside the home these days. For the present, I am going to try to do the bulk of my movie watching on my own silver screen.
Posted in Media, Movies, The Boob Tube | No Comments »
Posted by Deliverator on 19th September 2007
I went to Toronto and saw some movies and assorted other things with my brother and friend Ryan. I had fun. I really needed a vacation. I am feeling a bit tired and oafish at the moment, so no more words. Here are some pictures to tide you over until I am feeling more verbose.
Posted in General, Media, Movies, Photography | No Comments »