The List 2008

Ok, so its that time of year again. Christmas is coming up, and they say it’s better to give than receive. If you feel so inclined, you can get your favorite WordPress plug-in author (and second favorite Weblogs.us administrator) anything from the following list:

  • 2x2GiB (4GiB total) kit of DDR2 667 memory for laptops, something like this 4 GiB G.SKILL would be fine (the CAS 4 latency kit would be better, come January I’ll be running Linux with KDE 4.2 so it can handle 4GiB just fine).
  • A nice backpack that is meant for caring a laptop or nice laptop carrying case for up to 15″ laptops (I don’t plan on getting anything much bigger than the 14″ laptop I have right now). I’d like to be able to tote around my laptop with the secondary power brick, my Logitech Bluetooth notebook mouse, and my creative labs X-Fi laptop audio card.
  • CoD4 and/or CoD: World at War for PC, never bothered to get CoD4 last year. (Yes, my computer should be able to run both of these, it runs Crysis so they should not be a problem.)

Everything else that could be on the list would get into the $100+ range, so I left them off the list. They are computer parts for a Core i7 system which I will be building this spring (I plan on getting a mid range graphics card (or just scrape by with my brother’s old Radeon x800) and then upgrade next winter when Intel enters the high-end, discrete graphics fray).

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Retiring the Zen Micro

My old Zen micro 5gb served me well for the last three years, however during the last semester the on-off-lock switch became unresponsive, requiring a cleaver hack to turn on and off the device. This was my first hard disk based mp3 player, and I’m returning to a flash based device (so that I can run while listening to music). For Christmas I received the 8GiB Creative ZEN, which is sort of the spiritual successor of my Zen micro.

Let me be the first to correct the others out there that make it seem like you have to transcode everything to WMV to play on it. While it is true that the ZEN needs mpeg1/2 files transcoded, they don’t have to be transcoded to WMV. The ZEN does natively support Xvid/MPEG4-SP/DivX in addition to WMV. Since I do have many mpeg music videos I will have to transcode some, but MediaCoder does a good job at that. Most users would transcode anyways as playing a 720p video on a 320×240 screen is overkill and would eat up battery life in order to scale the video while playing, the size benefit is there too, 30MiB or less for most music videos under 5 minutes in length. Hope you all are having a merry Christmas.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Crysis

Yeah, it’s an awesome game, even at low video quality settings it makes most of the other games I have look fake. Thanks to the Geforce 6600GT from JD, Crysis does run on my computer, though the graphics card is not officially on the supported list due to only having half the “required” video memory.

The only consequence so far is that it does have to swap out the frame buffer allot, causing rocks to “suddenly” appear at times. More on card JD gave me for Christmas, it’s an Nvidia so I’ll be able to run Compiz with acceleration and no scrolling bug in Linux. The card also allows me to go to medium settings in Battlefield 2142 which show shadows and other cool things that my brothers x800XL doesn’t. Thanks JD.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

The List

Ok, so Christmas is coming up, and they say it’s better to give than receive. If you feel so inclined, you can get your favorite WordPress plug-in author (and second favorite Weblogs.us administrator) anything from the following list:

  • Creative Labs X-FI Extreme Gamer sound card (or equivalent, but not the Extreme Audio as it doesn’t have the X-FI chipset). (Newegg is probably the best place to find these at a good price)
  • Geforce 7600 AGP (or better equivalent Nvidia chipset AGP graphics card, remember ATI and Linux still get along together as well as cats and water). (Ebay seems to have a ton of Geforce 7800GS AGP cards for descent prices if one is resourceful)
  • Anything on my main Amazon wish list
  • Anything on my Amazon books wish list additionally any good book on wxWidgets or AJAX (Yeah I know two completely different topics).
  • Something for a MITX system (this is the board I’m contemplating getting). I already have the wifi card, tv tuner, hard drive, and optical drive (need the processor (Some 800Mhz bus Core 2 Duo, preferably 2.0Ghz or faster), memory (at least 2GB) and motherboard).
  • Anything that will come in handy for case modding (aluminum sheet, blue LEDs (3 and 5 mm varieties), orange/amber LEDs (3 and 5 mm varieties), capacitance based touch switch (Such as the Quantum q-tuch QT100 evaluation kit), charcoal/smoke colored transparent acrylic/lexan.)

Yeah, I realize most of these things are expensive. It’s that kind of year, my mp3 player is dieing (more specifically the on/off switch is failing) and I’m running on mostly 3 year old computer equipment which will require at least upgrading the graphics card to play new games (CoD4 should still run with my 9600 but at unacceptable frame rates, and Crysis is a no-go).

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Christmas Advertisements

Is it really that time of year already? Traditionally the Christmas shopping season began on the Friday after Thanksgiving but in the recent years, especially this year, the Christmas ads have crept up on us sooner and sooner. This year they began before Halloween, something completely unacceptable. Best Buy was one of the first to air their Christmas ads this year, and I suspect on Wednesday a new wave of them will flood a television set near you. Why? Well, the election ads will be pulled by then and something has to take their place. Personally, the Christmas decorations, and music, don’t even make it out into the ‘wild’ until after Thanksgiving. So don’t expect snow, green and red on this blog until after Thanksgiving.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]