So anyway, I’ll be leaving tomorrow for a four-day snowboarding trip. It should be excellent. Hopefully there are no resultant injuries. In the meantime, I’ve got a boatload of laundry to do, and things to get packed. I think I’m going to go out and try taking a few pictures with the remaining hours of daylight today, as well.

I haven’t got much to say about the shuttle… I’m sure everyone has already seen it all over the news. It definitely sucks.

The Solstice

I (still) really like the Pontiac Solstice.  Here’s a post about it from almost 10 years ago when it was just a concept.

I don’t think it’s a secret that I’m no fan of American cars. I dislike the vast majority of them for various reasons, and for some, “dislike” is an understatement. With that being said… I have finally found one I like. Actually, “like” might be too weak of a word. I could very well love the Pontiac Solstice concept. The design is nothing short of beautiful, and the specs don’t sound too bad, either. Lightweight, rear-wheel drive, and a supercharged 2.2L inline four-cylinder with 240 horses. If the suspension setup is good, it could be one hot little car. Hot selling, too, if they actually produce it and manage to keep the price around the rumored $20,000 mark.

I’m still in a bit of shock from learning that such a gorgeous car came from Pontiac, though. With all the new angular, “futuristic” designs being shown off these days, the smooth, simplistic shape is a serious relief to my eyes. The oversized front and rear circular lights are a bit weird-looking, but I guess they are kind of a Pontiac trademark. Same with the front grille. Still, it’s probably the best design from any car manufacturer that I’ve seen recently – and I only say this because the Porsche Carrera GT is no longer a concept. Even the interior is a work of art… That’s definitely the kind of cockpit I’d like to see in more cars. There aren’t a lot of interiors that really make me want to hop in and just drive the hell out of the car for hours on end, but the Solstice’s is one of them.

The bad news is that, so far, it’s just a concept with no definite plans to go into production. I’m really hoping there are enough other people with good taste out there to make GM realize that they’ve got a serious winner on their hands. If something that sweet were to be scrapped and forgotten, I think I’d just have to cry.


Just got back from Akihabara… I picked up some Sony MDR-F1 headphones, and a Panasonic SL-CT800 portable MP3/WMA/CD player. The headphones are excellent so far… Great sound and ultra-comfortable (and I paid $160 for them, when the MSRP is $299). They are, by far, the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever put on my head, and from the reviews I’ve read, others agree. The CD player is pretty nifty, too – it’s super small, able to play MP3 discs, and the skip protection seems pretty great. I do wish the remote control thing was better, though – it has play and stop buttons, but no pause. Also, you can’t seek with the forward/reverse buttons. I think the Sony player I was looking at would have been a bit nicer in that respect, but it didn’t play MP3s and it cost more.

But now it’s midnight, and I’ve gotta work tomorrow, so it’s sleep for me.

You couldn’t even give this stuff away now

Look at these notes I found from 10 years ago or so.  Remember when this stuff was new and fast?  I wonder where computers will be in another 10 years?

It seems that I’ve somehow managed to fry my processors (dual Athlon MP 1900s). I haven’t got a clue how, but my system refuses to boot at all, and I’ve verified that it’s not my motherboard or power supply – the two other obvious suspects – by running a friend’s XP 2100 chip with no problems. I don’t have the funds to replace them with two new MPs, so it looks like I’ll have to run a single XP setup until payday. Now, an interesting idea…

Soon, I’m going to end up with enough parts for three computers. Originally, I was planning to split up their duties as follows: the first as my main workstation, used for both work and play. The second would be my network server, routing the internet connection, handling print requests, and offering some common drive storage space. Finally, the third was going to be built solely as a HTPC – home theater PC – playing music and movies, then outputting to my receiver and TV. I’m thinking a better split might be:

  • Workstation. For work: web site development/testing, photo editing, video work, and general stuff such as chatting and browsing. This would be my dual CPU box, since heavy multitasking is a way of life here. Lots of memory is also a requisite. Slower – but possibly higher quality and more stable – components are likely to make their way into this box.
  • Gaming box. For play: games, games, games. This would be nForce2-based, single CPU setup. Most games don’t take advantage of multiple processors (Quake III is the only one I know of, but its support is sketchy at best – I could never get it actually working), so that’s not a worry here. 333 MHz bus, dual-channel 400 MHz DDR, and an Audigy 2 for gaming.
  • Server and HTPC. I figure one box can do all this easily enough. It doesn’t need to be overly fast, but it does need to be stable. I’m looking at the ATI All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro for video and M-Audio Revolution for sound, since those will need to be good high quality components.

Since I’ll have the workstation and gaming boxes seperate, I’ll want to have a switch to share the monitor, keyboard, and mouse between them. I haven’t looked into these much yet, but I think a good high quality one (with well-shielded cables, because I’ve used some crappy ones before that severely degraded the video signal) will run me a couple hundred bucks minimum. This setup sorta ties in with my current predicament, because I’ll pick up a new Athlon XP chip today, for temporary use in my workstation, but later to be used in the new gaming box. Whenever I can afford it, I’ll pick up a couple MP chips to replace the two I (somehow) murdered. I also need video cards. For the workstation, something cheap with good 2D will do. Either ATI or Matrox, probably. In the gaming box, I’ll be going nVidia almost definitely. The GeForce FX will be out soon enough, so I’ll probably hold out until then to finish that machine. Memory – I’ve got a gig of registered 266 MHz DDR, which will do fine for the workstation, but I’ll need some 400 MHz stuff sometime within the next couple months for the gaming box. The server will run off the 768 megs of regular ol’ SDR I’ve got in storage. Hard drives – Right now, I’ve got two 45 gig drives, and one 60. I’ll soon have a 120 as well, so I think I’ll throw the 120 and 60 in the server, then split the 45s between the workstation and gaming rig.

So… I need (adding stuff not mentioned above, as I think of it): one Athlon XP (2600 or higher), two Athlon MPs (1900s or higher), one All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro, one GeForce FX, one other cheap ATI or Matrox card, 512 megs of 400 MHz DDR, one nForce2 motherboard, one 300 watt power supply, one Audigy 2, one M-Audio Revolution, one good keyboard/mouse/monitor switch. Lastly, and most importantly, I need a higher paying job.

A new monitor (or two) would be nice, too…

Computers and a ski trip

Check out this old blog post from 9 years ago.  Remember when 333MHz memory was fast?

Finally – the computer is working once again. I went downtown to Akihabara and picked up an XP 2100 chip. I was contemplating spending more and getting a 333 MHz bus 2600 (for future use in my gaming box), but then I realized I probably wouldn’t even be able to run it in this system, since the motherboard is only designed for 266 MHz. I thought the 2600+ might just run at a lower bus speed and thus, a lower clock speed, in this system, but I wasn’t completely sure, so I just went with safety. Anyway, it saved me a good chunk of money, since the 2600 is at least twice the price of a 2100. I’m not complaining, though – the system is back up and running smoothly, so I’m happy enough. It’s actually a little faster in games than before, since the MPs were only 1900s. I ran 3DMark2001 SE and managed a score of 10,636, which isn’t shabby at all. I think installing DirectX 9.0 helped a little too, since last time I ran the benchmark, it was with 8.1. I checked on the MadOnion site, and the highest GeForce4 scores were just over 12,000, so I think the system is in pretty good shape.

And in other completely unrelated – but every bit as boring and meaningless – news, I went snowboarding for the first time here in Japan on Wednesday. I, being used to Colorado ski resorts, found it a bit different, but it was still a lot of fun. The slopes there seem to be a good bit steeper than the average ones at Colorado resorts. This was pretty good for me, though, since it forced me to try harder and I’m pretty sure I ended up improving a lot more than I would have if I was on easier slopes. I swore my arms were about to break and my legs about to turn to Jell-O, but it was an awesome day. On the 19th and 20th of this month, there’s a work-organized trip that I’ll be going on, then I’m going with some friends on the 29th, and again from the 3rd of February until the 6th. Four days and three nights of snowboarding – score! The resort we went to wasn’t as nice as, say, Breckenridge, but then, few things really are. Breck is damn near perfect, if you ask me. And you did ask me.

Lastly, I seem to have picked up at least a small part of a cold, so today has been spent trying to rid myself of this phlegm infestation in my throat and drinking as much water as I can stand. I’m going to hit the bed early tonight and get plenty of sleep, so maybe it will be a little better in the morning.

The internet is a scary place

This kind of idiocy is amazing. The funny thing is that the author of the article goes on about what an “internet veteran” this Bruce guy is, and how he’s “not your typical Net scam victim”. Oh, but apparently he is. But he’s discussed internet crime with his friend at the FBI! What a guy! Seriously, though, if the guy did his research on cars at all, he’d know that there’s no way in hell he’d get a 2002 M5 for $55,000, and if he was so net-savvy, he’d also be smart enough to do some research on a third-party escrow service before using it (but they had a direct link to the Internet Fraud Complaint Center! If you can’t base your trust on an HTML hyperlink created by a complete stranger, what can you base it on?!).

Stupid people tick me off. Bruce Lachot should be fired from the internet.

Sing it back, whoa oh oh oh oh!

Despite what some people might say, Blink 182/Box Car Racer come up with some of the best song lyrics… There always seems to be a certain passion while singing them, too, which is something a lot of bands lack. I’ve found that Matchbox Twenty is the same way in some of their songs – Long Day is really great song that I’ve been hooked on lately. Lastly, Jimmy Eat World’s Sweetness is seriously good, as well as terribly catchy… sing it back… whoa ohhhhhh!

To sleep, now… Perhaps I’ll have more of the strange, vivid, wonderful dreams I had last night.