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Five?

That's when I'll get up tomorrow. I'll trudge to the train tracks, venture through drudge and slain bats, adventures await for strange-clad strangers with deranged facts. Too damn early...

My New Old Computer

So I'm finally going to post this! I've been speaking about this beast for a while, but since it's been in and out of repair and here and there I haven't wanted to get my hopes too high and tell the world I own it, but I do now! It's working! It can play GTA SA on best possible graphics! And GTA 4! And maybe other things too. This is what it looks like.

The Box

Good? Bad? OK? I wasn't that impressed with the case the first time I saw it, it was the price and product specifications that drew me in the most (after all, it's the inside that counts), but now that I'm growing used to it (well, I've barely used it, I'm growing used to looking at it) I'm liking it more and more. The specs? Well OK, for once I'll peel away a piece of humble facade and brag a little... the brain consists of an 8-core AKA octacore AMD FX812 processor with 3,1Ghz, it's placed on an ASUS M5A97 R2.0 board, with slots containing 8GB RAM and support for 32GB total, plenty of PCI spots with one ATI 5850 GPU (1GB VRAM) mounted (this was replaced by an AMD Radeon HD 7790 with 2GB during repair), along with network card (?), etc.

In the case, there's a rack with room for eight drives, though I'm not sure if the MoBo has support for that many. There's one 500GB installed, and there was no CD/DVD, so I bought my own Samsung SH-224BB that I've managed to install with a couple of thankfully free cables in the case and screws I attained from an old broken down computer. It writes DVD at 24x and CD at 48X, with a 1,5MB buffer. The cooler is eh... cool, it's a beast, a gigantic Noctua NHU14, with two included fans. There's also a 450w Antec power-supply, a Cooler Master fan in back, two nameless fans in front, along with plenty of ventilation and isolation in the case.. which is a Fractal Design R3 with both USB2 and USB3 slots. Three up front, six back (sounds like six pack, haha, hehe, yeah...). There's HDMI/DVI (haven't really figured out which is which), but unfortunately no VGA, which might've been useful. OS? Windows 7 Ultimate, 64-bit.

Overall it's quite the upgrade, and though I'm still using my old computer (which I will now start referring to as my office computer) this one should eventually replace it. For now though, it's a bit unnecessarily power-hungry to use for everything, though it will be a looot of fun to try out new games on! And a breeze to run video conversions, Photoshop, etc, with. I'm happy! Comments? Feedbacks? Opinion?

How's life? It's great.

Week 21 – A Smoky Sunday

On Saturday, a balcony caught fire a couple of blocks away from where I live. The fire quickly spread to adjacent apartments, and pretty soon the inhabitants were forced to evacuate the building. The fire spread to the roof, and when the firetrucks arrived they decided to let the roof burn out completely. As a result, a steady stream of smoke rose up in a dark pillar, and when I woke up on Sunday morning, completely unaware of this passing event, the room was riddled with a fragrance of something like burnt plastic. So I closed the windows and went about business as normal.

During the day the wind shifted, and for a moment the stream of smoke was blowing right at our house. Even with windows closed the stench was a bit overpowering, walking outside didn't initially seem like a good idea, but well within the forest the smoke cleared. I took a walk with my sister to the nearby golf course, and stood for a while on a ridge overlooking the fields of houses surrounding ours. The sea of smoke was clearly visible from there, layering over the whole town like a thick mist, rushing the palisades of our buildings with cloudy intent. A soft drizzle only made the smoke thicker, but toward the end of the day when the wind was stilled, so was the smoke. I opened all windows at full and cleared out the smoke, and the next day it was all gone.

Other than this unexpected adventure? My computer's back! I fetched it on Wednesday. The people over there at computer repair swapped the GPU for a AMD Radeon HD 7790 with 2GB VRAM, put the twisted cooler back in place, moved fan control from the rear fan to the fans in front (which provides better cooling, no doubt, but unfortunately also quite a bit of disturbing sound), added a couple of lids to unused sockets and installed a bunch of updates + MSE anti-virus while they were at it. Great! I hauled it home and immediately moved over GTA SA through an EHD, and played it, for the first time ever with all settings maxed out. Nice! I tried installing GTA 4 on my ordinary computer, and then transferring the files via EHD, but that didn't work at all. At times like this, I'd rather they sold all computer games DRM-free, and allowed you to make them portable with ease. Making it harder for customers to play their games isn't going to decrease piracy. But anyway, I played GTA SA, and the next day my DVD Drive arrived. I managed to install it without short-circuiting anything in the computer (lucky!), and finally, I tried GTA 4! Finally, as in, after having wanted to play it since it was released back in late 2008. That's almost five years ago!

Since then I've also tried out Resident Evil 5, Serious Sam 2, Trackmania 2, Total Overdose and Burnout Paradise. Apart from Burnout Paradise, none of these games worked on my previous computer (Total Overdose probably would have, but I didn't know the graphics were that outdated!). Resident Evil 5 had some hacky controls, but seems promising otherwise. I haven't played far enough to be annoyed by my constant sidekick yet. Serious Sam 2 seems too bright and fuzzy compared to the first games, but I didn't expect it to be amazing. Trackmania 2 was... a bit disappointing. If I played the game for the multiplayer experience, then I might get a different impression, but since I like to play solo (unless I have people close by to play against), it doesn't have many levels to offer. The graphics are great, but the overall game is... not that special. As for Total Overdose, it seems old, the controls are OK, the plot seems like fun but the game... nah. Burnout Paradise? The first time I played it (with much lag, on my previous computer) I thought it seemed awesome. This time around I'm not so sure. I'll have to wade past first impressions before I can say for certain though.

Otherwise? Studies, sites, sorting, stuff. The time before summer is always the busiest time of the year. Last week.

GTA 4 - First Impressions

I've been waiting to play this game for ages. It didn't work on either one of my old computers. Not the loyal Compay Presario, bought 2003, which managed the entire third generation of GTA games as they came out, from Liberty City to San Andreas, nor did it work my newer office computer, with only a basic integrated video card, but on my new computer... it works! I tried running the game even before the computer had a DVD drive, by installing it on my current computer and then transferring the files via an external drive, but since that didn't work I had to wait one more day, fetch and install the drive I ordered, install the game again and... it lagged. Not hellishly, but rather annoyingly, the graphics hacking every time I turned around or ventured a distance. I had a great first impression of the graphics though, both cut-scenes and in-game graphics (similar to previous GTA games, in-game and cut-scene graphics are the same, so you really get what you see) but... it seemed like my new computer still couldn't properly handle such intense eye-candy. Really? 8-core 3,1Ghz processor, 2GB GPU memory, 8GB RAM... not enough? It turns out the problem had a simple fix: turning off the Windows Event Log & Collector services. I read a quick tutorial, did that, aaaand... it still hacked! Oh wait, forgot to reboot the computer. So, computer rebooted and...

No lag. I tested upping the graphical quality a little bit at a time, to see if it would affect the gameplay. Eventually I had it set to highest, the resolution at the highest possible, the draw distance/shadow/vehicle/render quality/density at 100. It looks awesome... but I'm starting to think some of these settings affect gameplay more than they affect performance, like the vehicle density... suddenly there are just way too many cars everywhere! They're all waiting in line by the red lights. It appears these settings might require some fine-tuning. The game still occasionally crashes, after a couple hours of gameplay, giving me a RES10 error, which appears to mean it runs out of memory. It's apparently a common error, and mostly due to a memory leak in the game that I'll be fixing eventually, when I'm not too busy playing. At times like this I am happy for the new auto-save feature! I am also glad my video card supports 2GB instead of just the one, because apparently the game uses up 1,4GB when every thing's set to max. Or could that be regular RAM? The loading screen still takes a while, around 20-40 seconds, and loading screens between cut scenes a few seconds at least, but that's tolerable. I put my new box to the test, and it passed. :)

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The Rate A Day Challenge

March Chart

Last month, I rated every day, every day, as part of a challenge/contest arranged @ The Pox Box. Here's the original chart for reference; my result above. It was a fun project. Like writing a diary forces the recollection of events at the end of the day, potentially improving memory, this challenge forced an objective analysis of my life for each day that passed. Since it's not all that bad, this challenge might have motivated me to work a bit harder, though I can see the effects easily being turned around if I was in a more negative phase of life at the time! So it was a fun event, even though I didn't win the mystery package prized as surprise. It was apparently quite nice. :/

Humanmetrics Jung Typology Test

According to them, this is the kind of person I am.

This Is Me

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