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At The End Of 2011

Already the fireworks are occasionally spray painting the starless sky outside gold. I'm looking back at the year that has passed, thinking about what I have (and what I have not) achieved... and making plans for the year ahead.

Resolutions for the new year? I'll have a list ready when the clock strikes 12. It's 20 now. It'll be 2012 at 12. :P The Inca Indians prophesied that the world would end in December 2012. If somebody gets careless with their nuclear weaponry, say the new dictator over there in North Korea, it doesn't seem far-fetched at all. With all the explosives scattered all over the world the whole planet could be blown to smithereens many times over, even without his involvement. If it so happens the planet isn't physically destroyed, there are plenty of other chaotic alternatives. Global economy is as unstable as a harpooned whale right now. Will it flip over and die? Will the end of the new year mark the start of a new era, in which our current financial system is replaced by something much greater, such as a greedless breed of humans striving to take care of our natural habitat instead of ravaging it in search for resources and riches, leaving little for the future generations attempting to survive in dull barren resource less landscapes?

A new start for the whole race would be nice. As for me, every new year is a new start. A new chance at achieving everything I've ever wanted to achieve. Embarking on new adventures. Maybe learning to fly a plane (that's not in my list of resolutions though), who knows, what the new year holds. It's the biggest present every Christmas. Only the hours left now. :)

HARD Drive Prices

Prices on hard drives have been insane these past few months.

I regret not buying more of them when I had the chance. I actually thought about buying a couple extra drives when they were down at 547KR a piece (about 80 dollars, and dollars don't have a very high rate against KR, so it's even cheaper) but decided not to because I didn't need them at the time... and at the time prices were steadily sinking.

Now, half a year later, the cheapest drive I can find costs 799KR. 799KR is much lower than average, and it took a whole lot of looking to find. It just so happens this specific drive is a Samsung Eco-drive with some nasty glitches that has previously kept most people from buying it. The glitches seem to lie in the case or the firmware and not the drive itself, though, so I thought about buying a drive and putting it in another case (which some people have advised on forums), but then I'd have to buy another case (since I don't have a spare), and then the prices would be up at 900KR minimum.

So... the cheapest drive after that is the WD 2TB for 899 KR, available on the same site, which is still really really cheap compared to market prices elsewhere. If you check price comparison sites you'll be lured into thinking you can get a few for even less, but all shops offering cheaper drives are either out of stock or have a new much higher price. Most places, even the megamarkets, sell hard drives for at least 1000KR, 1500KR isn't uncommon, 2000KR is normal for all shops who seem to be running out of drives. Btw, the drives I speak about are all external. Internal drives are always a bit more expensive.

This is a bit strange because you do get an internal drive + a case when you purchase an external drive. Why should more cost less? I guess it's because some people/companies need large amounts of hard drives and it would be a pain in the butt to buy a bunch of externals and start cracking cases, but still, the price difference is big enough for companies to start cracking cases instead of buying internal drives. But anyway, what I've been spending some thought on this weekend is if I should buy one or two drives for 899KR, or if the prices will plummet after Christmas. Logically the demand should be even larger at Christmas, thus resellers will have less hard drives left after Christmas, and the prices on drives will start rising again until WD and Samsung and Hitachi are back at their regular production rate... which might take some time. Since this is a subject that concerns me I've been doing some research though and I've stumbled upon a couple of myths and truths.

1 ) The large factories have not been damaged by the flood. Production has halted simply because transportation of resources and products between locations is suddenly very difficult or costly.

2 ) There are larger reserves of hard drives than was first anticipated. This is why the prices on drives hasn't kept rising dramatically, but leveled out at around 3x the regular price.

3 ) How some shops can still sell drives at less than 2x the regular price is still a mystery... and they still have stock left. Mysterious, but very thankful! I guess they've all had very large inventories.

Also, 2TB drives are currently the cheapest, regardless of manufacturer or model. There seems to be a lot of WD in stock, but even more of Samsung. Currently these two are the only companies offering competitive prices on the market. 3TB have still not made a breakthrough, maybe because computers have trouble with drives larger than 2TB, so they're slightly more expensive, but in terms of price per GB, drives on 1TB and lower are much more expensive than others. Old reserves of 320GB drives are being sold out at insanely high prices. The price might not seem that high compared to that on larger capacity drives, but if you think about how much capacity you get for your money, it's almost on par with expensive SSD drives. 1,5 TB drives were high in stock for a while but it seems customers bought up the whole stock. So, conclusively, 2TB sells cheapest right now.

Another interesting thing is that hard drives seem to be much cheaper here in Sweden than in the rest of the world. I can't say for sure about neighboring countries, but I've been browsing through American and English web-shops and the prices there are almost twice as high as they are here. Not that I'm complaining about it. :)

Did I buy a couple of drives, you may be wondering? Nope, I decided to wait out the prices. Worst case scenario I'll have to start using an old 500GB drive I have lying around, but I reckon I'll be able to last well into the next year if the ones I have don't give me any trouble. Cyberdevil over and out.

Humble Bundles & The PayPal Problem

Ever heard of the humble bundle? I hadn't until very recently, two or three weeks ago, so I signed up for the newsletter to be notified when the next bundle would be out. Low and behold, the new bundle was out just a few days later! The concept of the Humble Bundle is to provide a neat assortment of addictive Indie games and let buyers pay what they want for it. If you pay above average you get a couple of extra games, and the average was (last time I checked) $5,12. Not much for err... 8 games if you count the two bonus ones. Not to mention the extra soundtracks and other nifty features that were included with the package.

I would have bought the humble bundle if only they accepted credit card payments through a different provider than PayPal. Ever since I received a new credit card, PayPal has been refusing to accept it. It doesn't make a difference if I'm logged in or out, and if I try to add the card directly through my account, it just won't work. The card works fine when used through other payment gateways, but it's going to be troublesome paying my web-hosting bill when it's time to renew hosting next year. Why? Well obviously they use PayPal. I've Googled the problem and it turns out I'm not alone. Plenty of people have the same problem.

So, if I contact support maybe support can solve the issue. Maybe I'll even have to call and be guided through the trail of errors, as it seems many others have done. Still I stall, I feel like a rebel. I don't want to use pPayPal anymore. Anyone know of a better service? Actually I'm already signed up with Moneybookers, Alertpay, E-gold... and probably a few others, but as long as websites don't accept payments through them, what difference does it make.

Now that Google is entering the game, though, maybe it's time for a long due evolution. :)

Merry With Headache

Bumpdidump, too much Christmas yesterday left me with a mauling headache the day after... but it's alright, I feel good. My body feels like shit, but in heart and soul (at least soul, or if there is no soul, in mind, in the brain without pain) I feel awesome. Lots of goodies given and taken along with the greatest meal so far this year, so how could I not? :)

I'll have a Merry Aftermath post up as usual much later than it should have been posted (as usual). Hope you had a good Christmas! Merry belated!

Mortgage

This word just doesn't spell right.

Google Better Than Spellcheck

It's not a new realization I've made, but I felt like it's one I need to post. The revelization that should have been revealed already by the title is that Google is way better at checking my spelling than any other spellchecker I've tried. When I write posts like this one, I use a FireFox spellcheck plugin to rinse through common typos. It commonly highlights words that it doesn't recognize in red, some of them completely valid words, such as the word banderoles. There are also words that are apparently not valid, such as as FireFox, spellcheck & plugin. Then, most importantly, it highlights words with a typo in them, or words that I just can't spell, such as aquintense. If I right click aquintense for a list of verbular alternatives I get quintessence and insensate... not really what I was looking for.

If, however, I type the word in a Google search, the small notification: "Did you mean acquaintance?" pops up above the results, along with a couple of other similar alternatives (aquinese and acquittance, also completely new alternatives). If I click the correctly spelled version of the word I meant I even get a definition of the word, short and simple. Like this:

  1. A person's knowledge or experience of something.
  2. One's slight knowledge of or friendship with someone.

So far Google has recognized everything the spellcheck plugin has failed at. I've tried the 'After the Deadline' plugin developed by WordPress staff as well, and a few standalone spellcheckers, but none of them do a really good job. A last resort that does work, and manages to find not only typographical but also grammatical errors, is Microsoft Word. Open Office? Star Office? Yadda yadda? Nope, they don't do the job at all. Wish Google could stuff all their amazing spellchecking functionality into an easy to use plugin for the browser, but wait, maybe that already exists with Chrome?

If it does, that might mean I finally found a reason to switch. If not, I'll keep hoping, maybe someday this dream will become a reality!

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