Archive for the 'General Computer Use' Category
Microsoft Zune 1.8″ Green 4GB MP3 / MP4 Player
Green 4GB Zune, with originals art
Wahoo! I feel so cool, I just got a Zune! Funny thing is, a lot of people asked me before-hand “why didn’t you get an Ipod… I’ve never heard of a Zune before” now many of those same people are saying things like “Jeez, I wish I would of known about the Zune when I got my Ipod.” Learn to do some product research people! Besides I hate copycat products so there was no way I was getting an Ipod! I mean seriously, just look at them they’re designed almost exactly alike, especially as far as looks go. (And yes, the Zune was first, there are several beta product photos out that pre-date the Ipod by a long shot, before the Zune even had a rightful name).
Anyways, at a decent quality setting ripping my CD’s to my computer I’ve only been able to fit around 1,000 songs, both Charlie the Unicorn videos, and a few photos on my Zune, but that’s not so bad. It’s only a 4gig one so I can’t say too much. I was just kinda looking for something that I could listen to in the car when driving home from taking Rose to her house (no radio in car), and have a decent song collection when I am away from the computer (God forbid I should ever leave the computer!) the Zune has filled those tasks quite nicely!
Now that is the question… And a good question indeed. I have answered it not to ReadyBoost any longer. The REAL thing that I wanted to see major improvement for was boot times… and in all honesty I didn’t really notice much difference. I hear a lot of people saying ReadyBoost made their computer start up 40% faster and some claim even more than that. I never saw it myself, maybe they’ve got 1gig or less of RAM I don’t know, but it didn’t seem that amazing to me. Plus, sometime here in the somewhat near future I do plan on making the move to a 4 HDD RAID 5EE array which should take care of any sluggish load times.
Another thing that I HATED about ReadyBoost was that when it cached items… I don’t know what it was caching, but it must of been big, about three times a day (at least every day as I noticed) it would start to cache (I could tell because the HDD light would come on, and the light for the flash drive would freak out) my computer would come to a halt, using 75% of my CPU and sucking down every bit of resiliance my Hard Drive had it would try to make things easier for Windows to find IN CASE it might need to be loaded… And then inevitably it would do it in the middle of the night when I was trying to sleep, although a relatively silent process the wildly random blinking lights were always annoying when trying to fall asleep. Because I have so much open all the time (Firefox, Games, Thunderbird, etc.) any time I closed anything it seemed to want to cache that item right away.
I will give ReadyBoost credit though. It did seem to make game map loads much quicker for certain games. Ones such as Half-Life:2 and a few others that would pre-cache maps it made the loading screens few and far between, which I was very happy about.
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1
Most of you have probably seen that Windows released Service Pack 1 for Vista not long ago, along with a release of SP3 for XP users. I decided that it was time to finally make the leap to Vista, it’s been in the plans for a long time, especially since I used it during the Beta and really loved it! I still waited for SP1 to come out just because back when I was using it in the Beta some companies such as Logitech still hadn’t gotten around to making any drivers for it… so I figured some maturity time was in order.
One thing that really does bother me a LOT about this purchase is that Microsoft is no longer including the copy of the 64bit Operating System with your purchase! They dropped the price by $10 and send only the 32bit Windows Vista Operating System with your purchase, then if you want the 64bit version of Windows Vista you’ve got to go online and order it for $10. To me this is backwards thinking on Windows part, I see the merit in it that the 32bit Vista works on any processor and the 64bit edition needs to be run on a 64bit processor… but honestly who doesn’t have a 64bit CPU now? And if you don’t why are you trying to install Vista in the first place?!?!
I still really like the operating system none-the-less and have run into very few problems so far… actually a lot of problems I was having (such as with the newer versions of Opera) have gone away… I’m with a lot of enthusiasts who say that if you’re having problems with Vista it’s because your computer is a piece of crap and you need to throw it off a building. Seriously Microsoft Windows Vista ran smoothly on my comp when I was doing the Beta and back then all I had was a 2.2ghz Dual Core AMD, 2 gigs of RAM, and an ATI x1600 video card… games were pretty darn slow, but really still playable, though some like Company of Heroes needed to be lowered in resolution and settings. Now with a 2.6ghz (OCed to 2.9) Dual Core AMD, 4 gigs of RAM, and an ATI HD 3850 I’ve had absolutely no major glitches with Vista to date… of course I’ve only been running it for a few days so I’ll get back to you on what I think of ReadyBoost, and whatever else pops up as it comes up.
CORSAIR Flash Voyager 4GB Flash Drive (USB2.0 Portable) Model CMFUSB2.0-4GB
Corsair Flash Voyager 4GB Flash Drive
It’s really nice having a flash drive with 4 gigs of storage space, but that’s not why I bought this drive. Well it is, but only partially. I bought a larger flash drive primarily for ReadyBoost Windows new technology to help speed up your computer! Instead of using swap space on your hard drive, or taking up valuable RAM windows will now use a flash drive (if you’ve designated it) to work as a cache, it’s also supposed to help speed up your system.
I looked into a lot of different drives, some cheeper, some more expensive, some claiming to be faster… but what really got me was I found a few different lists of people who show you how to find what speed your drive is running at for ReadyBoost and record it. The Corsair Flash Voyager series seemed to hold the crown for every list I looked at. How accurate those lists are I don’t know, they’re not really scientific, and no one really verifies results, you just plop your results into a database and vuala so in actuality people could say whatever they way.
We’ll see here in a few weeks how things actually work out. And if Windows Vista really does have a nice trick up their sleeve.
I finally got a webcam! I have to say that I really like it too. I probably paid a little bit too much for it (Even though I got it from NewEgg and saved nearly $50 because it was on sale), with how little I use it… but I like it anyways. It’s good for conferences that I need to do with work, I’m on a big kick with social networking sites so I get to use it occasionally meeting a new person, and I figured if Credal and I decide to start up a podcast, or some sort of more frequent video shooting I’d be able to use it for that too. If we do start up some sort of PodCast then I didn’t spend too much on it, other than that… yeah, it’s a little overkill. But hey, with it on sale it was only like $5 more than the equivelent 1.3MP Logitech WebCam so why not spend the couple of extra dollars and get the good stuff?
At this point I’d usually show it off and show you guys how the images look with it and everything… uh… just take my advice that it’s good! Really good… Maybe later I’ll post a video from it, and some pictures, but right now I just don’t want to put anything more than my boxers on (Yeah, the problem with working from home is that I get the luxury of sitting around in my boxers all day long and I really like it, hate to get dressed for anything).
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3160815AS 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
What can I really say? It’s a Hard Drive under $50 and double the capacity of the two 80gig HDD’s I have in right now. Funny thing is I have my main Operating System on a Western Digital Raptor 74gig 10,000 RPM Hard Drive, and the output of this drive is the same as the Raptor. The only advantage the WD Raptor has over this drive is faster seek times… which matters more for database driven systems and the like, not a huge difference for desktop applications… kinda makes me wonder why I paid $150 back in the day for the WD Raptor in the first place.
Oh well, I’m not complaining about either. I have the Operating System, a few small programs, and games installed on the WD, larger programs, and a storage dump on the Seagate, music, and media files on the other drive. My computer starts up quick enough (with most start-up programs coming from two sources), and does what I want it to. I’m testing out the Seagate to see about later this year getting three more and putting four of them in RAID 5EE for ultra fast transfer speeds (also with a RAID controller that gives me a dedicated 500mhz processor for the Hard Drive, and 256mb DDR2 of dedicated Hard Drive cache)
Stats for both the Western Digital Raptor, and Seagate Barracuda:
HD Tune Benchmark WD Raptor
I thought the spike or drop in performance in the middle of the drive may have been a fluke, but I’ve tested it many times, it does the same thing every time. Even with other hard drive benching software.
Seagate Barracuda 160GB HDD
The Seagate does not have as “straight” of a line across as the Raptor, but it has a much higher maximum output speed, no degrading performance spike in the middle, and a much higher capacity. The higher capacity could be to blame for the sharp decline in performance towards the end of the drive.
Wow, can we say love at first hear? I know, being tiny earbud style headphones the Klipsch Custom-1 Headphones wouldn’t be most peoples choice for computer or gaming usage… I have to beg of those people to reconsider!
The Klipsch Custom-1’s have performed amazingly well for daily computer use and gaming. And by performance I don’t mean just sound, yes the sound is amazing! The comfort is just as amazing! Thanks to several ear gels to choose from you can get the perfect fit that doesn’t begin to hurt, or become an annoyance after hours of use. The eargels aren’t round either, since your ear canal is not round! What an amazing concept!! You mean a company actually made something that fits to our body rather thane expecting our body to become acustomed to it?!?!
I was glad that I started using the Klipsch Headphones on my computer at first since it has a tuner that I can change levels and adjust. The Klipsch Headphone line seems to be very picky to start things off and for the first couple hundred hours of use aren’t completely balanced. After that you can stop adjusting sound levels and just enjoy all the little details that you’ve been missing all along!
I used to have a pair of Turtle Beach 5.1 Surround Sound headphones, and wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to get used to anything other than complete emulsion of sound… I have to say that I never was used to it wearing those. Yeah, the 5.1 was awesome, but the sound quality of these Klipsch Custom-1’s is MUCH higher. I can hear every tiny detail, and still able to tell when someone is sneaking up behind me in Counter-Strike:Source. I will mention that for computer use I had to buy a six foot extension for the 3.5mm jack as the Custom-1’s only have a cord long enough to reach your pocket because they’re really for Ipod’s and Zune’s. Maybe one day when I get a Zune I can use this for it… which was half of the appeal of getting these over a pair of Sennheiser’s, can’t say that I was dissapointed.