Friday, May 26, 2006

Amazing New Game Under Development : Spore

I read about Spore on Brad Neuberg's blog, "Coding In Paradise." This is what he posted about Spore back on April 12:
Spore is shaping up to be one of the most amazing games ever; it's like a serious work of art and science mixed together, artificial life. Check out a video.

Why can't I just quit work and volunteer as a beta tester?

Broadband Internet Access at Last!

I haven't felt this great since ... since ... since ... I don't know when. The reason is that I successfully installed DSL service on Monday. I verified the download speed to be 2.4Mbps at DSL Reports using their Speed Test. I no longer have to spend about half my online time downloading updates to all my security programs.

The service is provided by AT&T / SBC in cooperation with Yahoo. I signed up at a promotional rate of $17.99 for 1.5Mbps service for twelve months ($29.99 thereafter). The modem was free after a $45.00 mail-in rebate. Installation was a snap. The computer already had the NIC, so all I had to do was install filters on all the analog telephone devices (including the dial-up modem) and connect the modem. The most difficult part was reading the 18-page membership agreement.

I hope this means I'll have more time to post. But I suspect that I'll just goof off and get back into online gaming.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

My New Computer

I bought a new computer, a Dell Dimension 3100. It came with 2.8GHz P4 processor, 1GB RAM, 80GB HD and a 17" flat panel display with 1280 x 1024 resolution. I like it.

But I was a bit surprised (in a bad way) about a few things.

First is that the hard drive is a new type: ATA serial. So the extra drive bay couldn't accept the HD from my old computer. Fortunately I was able to temporarily hook up the old drive in parallel with the CD drive long enough to copy over some documents.

The second surprise is the lack of serial / parallel ports. I had saved $30 by not buying a modem. I have three already. But when I got the new box, I knew I wasn't going to be using them. Two are external modems that connect to the serial port and one is an old internal modem on an ISA card. (The new computer has no ISA slots.)

The absence of serial ports means the mouse and keyboard are USB.

Fortunately, my printer can connect with either parallel port or USB.

I added $30 for a 3.5" floppy drive. I learned (at work) that if you don't order it installed, the case doesn't have a mounting bracket for it. :) I can't live without a floppy -- it use it to synchronize my home and work systems.

It came with Windows XP Home, which I replaced with Windows 2000 Professional after completely reformatting the drive. I'm just not ready for XP. I'll wait until a few more service packs come out. :-)

I do like the system very much, especially the display and the case, which is easy to open and work on. Overall I'm very happy with it. Now I need a new work computer!