February 20, 2006
Oh, glorious new computer
Over President's Day weekend I built a new computer.
Here's what I learned:
- Athlon X2 4400+ + Gigabyte board with NForce4 = Crazy delicious!
- For all the advances in plug-and-play on XP-running x86 computers the last few years, installing a sound card is still a massive hassle.
- In the last five years, Athlon CPUs have made incredible strides in heat management. My old CPU (Athlon T-Bird 1700+) regularly ran between 140-160F. The dual core 4400+ in my box right now has yet to reach 90F with constant, hardcore use.
- Oh, and when you work on your computer, you need to turn the power off and pull the plug on the power supply. Otherwise, you might do what I did and, well, blow the power supply. $70 later, back up and running.
It does astonish me how relatively easy building your own computer can be. It's not something I would recommend to the eMachines-lovin' folks out there, but with $1700 in parts (and a $70 add-on after I blew the OEM power supply) I built a machine whose equivalent is selling at Alienware or Dell for $2500-2700 with a mere one-year warranty. That is one downside to building your own machine -- you break it, you fix it.
Anyway, more points for me on the Geek Test.
February 18, 2006
See? I'm blogging more often
We've been watching the Olympics on and off the last week. Susan used to be interested in figure skating, but the new scoring system, which works by fixing the results and hiding from you who did the fixing, has left her cold and unwilling to follow a sport she used to follow rabidly. I've been peeking in, but the hockey has been underwhelming and the performances underwhelming as well. While having CBC has allowed us to get live results and better coverage than NBC and their usual sportless version of the games, it's still been a pretty boring set of games.
But then, along came snowboardcross. Wow. It's interesting. It's competitive. And it's crash-filled. Susan and I tonight sat glued to the couch watching the women's races, which is something we haven't done for any Olympic event this year.
Why can't the Olympics offer more bizzare sports like this? Bringing back skeleton has helped, and curling is interesting in its focus on brains as well as athletic effort, but still, look at figure skating -- it's now the soulless heart of the games.
NBC's ratings are in the toilet this week, crushed twice by American Idol. If they would just go back to what ABC did when I was a kid and show us all the odd and bizzare competitions we used to only see every four years and on Wide World Of Sports on random Saturdays right after log rolling and cliff diving, maybe they could lure people away from the weekly trainwreck that is the opening rounds of AI.
I mean, I'd rather see a snowboarder faceplant than another William Hung wannabe commiting crimes against the Tina Turner songbook.
February 16, 2006
And it's over... finally
The Work Project From Hell is finally, finally over. And, happily, it came to a great conclusion, at least for my end of things. Some people were disappointed that the jury judged The Project too favorably, but honestly, I'm happy it was. You don't spend eight months of your work life devoted to a single project and not want it given a favorable review.
The best thing? All the values in The Project that I emphasized -- readability, unified concept, collegiality, honesty -- were the ones the jury said came through. The only downside is that one of the areas we were demerited on was an area I directly control in my everyday work life.
I was just one cog among many in this Project. I really feel like I had a secondary role, even though I was responsible for half the printed material and a supermajority of the quantitative data and analysis. Other members of the team deserve far more credit, including the one person who did most of the project management. But, you know? We were a pretty damn good team. The person who originally was going to run The Project would not have run it as a team, but as a dictatorship, and I feel that that would have doomed The Project.
So. Back to my real job. And hopefully, back to blogging on a more regular basis. First, I think I'm gonna get pissed.