Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sprinkles, Son of Sprinkles

So the new laptop has been ordered, for some time now actually and I'm anxiously awaiting its arrival. Here are the details of this mean machine:

Studio 17 Laptop
Intel® Core™ i7-720QM Quad Core Processor @ 1.6GHz (2.8GHz Turbo Mode, 6MB Cache)
4GB Shared Dual Channel DDR3 at 1066MHz
17.3” HD+ (900p) Bright LED Display with TrueLife™ and Camera
1GB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650
500GB SATA HDD (7200rpm)
Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English
8X Slot Load CD/DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-R Drive)
Dell Wireless 1520 802.11n Half Mini-card
Microsoft® Works 9
McAfee Security Center with VirusScan, Firewall, Spyware Removal, 15-Months
85 Whr Lithium Ion Battery (9 cell)

I tried to future proof as much as one can in these crazy, technologically advanced times without breaking the bank. I went for something a little more gaming focused as I frequently have to turn down PC reviews and previews because I don't have anything capable of running software released in the past three years. All in all, I think it's a good machine and the 9 cell battery will be a nice change from the thirty minutes of battery power we're currently enjoying. Dell seems to think that the machine won't arrive until February which is a bit of a bummer but at the same time, short of going to Best Buy and paying more money for less of a machine, I don't see what choice I have.

I'm not at all looking forward to the migration of personal data and programs that will take place once the new machine arrives. Short of my Firefox bookmarks, I was able to avoid this entirely when I bought my personal laptop as that's just used for web surfing while playing games as well as my go-to travel machine. I use Google Docs for everything so I won't have much written material to transfer over, but all of the old emails and contact information as well as my entire iTunes library and other things will all have to move. Maybe this will finally get me to clean out our Outlook Inbox. Doubtful, but if anything will get me to do it, a move to a new PC will.

Usually I'm all excited when a new machine is coming as it means I can play new games on it, however I've become so insulated from PC gaming, I have no idea what I'd play in the first place. I hear Torchlight is good, so I may try that one out. Not that I need more games to play when watching TV but I love a good Diablo clone as much as the next guy and it would be nice to have a pet that actually serves a purpose other than taking up the bed and farting. Finally, I won't be limited to only games sold by Big Fish Games. Not that they don't make good games, but when the most your PC can handle is Fairway Solitaire, well, your options are fairly limited.

Nothing to do now but wait, figure out what files and software needs to be moved over and get the other PC's ready for their various moves. One will be moving down to the basement, one will be moving to the recycling center. It's like the circle of life only with more deadly Mercury and less Elton John singing.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

On The Buying of Laptops

We're closing in on five years in Georgia which also means that we've had our laptop, Mr. Sprinkles for almost five years. Unfortunately Mr. Sprinkles is starting to show his age and it's time for us to get a new laptop.

It started about six months ago when things would grind to a halt any time the virus updates downloaded or any time Linda attempted to start IE up. Firefox was faster to launch, but not by much. Now part of this is due to all of the various spyware, adware and other blank-ware programs installed to keep my PC clean as I plunder various torrent sites for new movies. Most of this is from having a PC that's almost 5 years old.

The other problem, which is also the biggest one, is that the battery can only hold a charge for about half an hour. Now as I've grown in years I've found that, depending on the time of day, I can only go about half an hour before having to to go the bathroom so I can certainly relate to Mr. Sprinkles, but whereas I can't get new bladder, I can get a new laptop. Sure I could get a new battery and some more memory and a larger internal hard drive, and upgrade to Windows 7 but really, isn't it just easier to get a new laptop?

So I'm looking for a new laptop and man, what a difference five years makes. First of all these things are incredibly cheap now. Like the one I'm looking for is less than half of what I paid for five years ago and I'm not slouching on parts here. Dell has also started selling pretty much everything with your PC. They've always given you tons of options for things like processors and RAM but now they've seriously expanded all of the stuff that goes with the PC. Want 1000 songs for a nickel? Here you go! How about twenty movies for $150! Take two, they're small! The strangest thing by far though is that once you get through picking what's in the laptop they bring you to the first accessory to buy which is, oddly enough, another laptop. Yes, that's right, the first accessory Dell recommends for your laptop is another laptop.

Now it's a mini, whatever the hell that is, but still, if you're buying a laptop, why do you need another laptop? When I first saw this I thought of Dharma and Greg where Dharma had a dog and her dog had a dog. The mini is supposed to be your laptop's laptop. What does that say about technology and our throw away culture that we consider a laptop to be an accessory for a laptop? Five years from now when you're picking up your new minivan the salesman will tell you "Hey we washed it, gassed it up and threw a golfcart in the back for you." Hell I'd buy another minivan if that was the deal.

So yeah, a laptop is incoming and with it all of the fun of seeing which one of the old programs work with it and which ones don't. I'm sure I'll do what I do with every new piece of technology that enters our home, namely be excited upon it's arrival, then pissed that things don't work than finally accepting of how the thing works once I figure out that it does what it's supposed to do, not necessarily what I want it to do. It's a beautiful cycle, much like a catepillar turning into a butterfly. An angry, bitter butterfly, but a butterfly nonetheless.

Monday, January 04, 2010


Usually I don't make resolutions for the new year, or any time really as when you're as perfect as I am, there's simply no need to. Lately though my perfection has dimmed a bit, and this slight imperfection warrants addressing. With this in mind I resolve to do the following this year:

1. Shut the hell up - I tend to talk longer than I need to when making a point. I do it mostly with my kids, however in my defense their attention tends to come in and out so you have to talk a bunch to ensure they hear the whole sentiment. Still though, I do go on too long and I've started doing it at work too. So, I resolve to make my point and then stop. Like now for example.

2. Swear less - As a result of my casual work place and my level of comfort there I tend to swear more at work than any semi-professional should. I don't think that anyone cares but even so, it's probably not the best thing to have a potty mouth at the work place. I've already started this one and man it's tough. I'll probably spend the entire ride home swearing to get it all out of my system before I interact with my kids.

3. Watch more movies - This is kind of a stupid one, but we've gotten away from watching movies at home and we need to get back to it. I used to watch movies all of the time when working out but have stopped in favor of gaming. I tend to have better workouts when I watch a movie as I don't have to slow down to handle a tricky section of the game, so there's a practical benefit there too. Mostly it's so that I don't feel like an idiot every time I walk past my extensive collection of DVD's that I don't watch. As a corollary to this I have to watch new movies and not the same movies over and over again. Ditto for Linda and I. We watched a bunch of movies over the break and it was nice. Turns out that big screen is good for more than just gaming.

The usual assortment of dieting and exercising resolutions don't apply to me as I already work out five days a week and I like food too much to go all bat shit crazy and give up the good stuff. In fact, I resolved today to learn how to make skillet fried chicken and that doesn't jive well with dieting. Besides, if I'm dieting I'm cranky and if I'm cranky I'm swearing so it's essential that I eat badly so that I can have success in the other parts of my life. No one wants to hear a hungry potty mouth drone on about how all he wants is to eat one fucking piece of goddamned fried motherfucking chicken.

Oh, I guess I should probably write here more too. Fine.

4. Write here more too - Look at me, I'm resolving!