Wenger 16999 Giant Swiss Army Knife – Amazon review

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1.0 out of 5 stars Not enough tools, March 23, 2012
By Rebecca Morn "Technowitch" (Placitas, NM, USA)

This review is from: Wenger 16999 Giant Swiss Army Knife (Tools & Home Improvement)

If I'm spending a grand on a multi-tool, it had better do every damned thing. Where's the chainsaw? Or the shotgun attachment?

Surely a tool like this should have a built-in grapple-launcher, an assassination garrote, and a Ninja shuriken-dispenser. (To dispense Ninja-type shurikens, of course, and not actual Ninjas because that would be silly. Not to mention impractical. Suppose they turned on you, then what would you do? Exactly — you'd have no shurikens to throw back at them, unless you were lightning fast and could catch theirs. I guess technically that would make you a Ninja, which leads me back to the absolute utility in having a handy shuriken dispenser. Which this Swiss Army knife does not include.)

Suppose I want to enjoy a little casual weekend trepanation? There's not a single tool on this thing appropriate to drill a precision hole in one's own skull. I mean, I suppose one could try using the awl, followed by the file and saw blade, but it's sure to do a lousy job of what needs to be delicate work, otherwise you end up a drooling idiot because you accidentally punctured the dura mater, and who wants that? I mean, c'mon, where's the angled mirror so you can perform halfway competent self-surgery? Plus there's no port to plug in the anesthesia mask.

Also missing:
– Blow-gun
– Nose-hair trimmer
– Sextant
– Cat whistle
– Voice-activation module
– Snorkel and/or auxiliary oxygen supply
– Jet-pack fuel line repair tool
– Miniature shovel (for when one is accidentally buried alive)
– Brick-bender
– Subcutaneous GPS transponder removal tool
– Left-handed compass winder
– And lots more.

I was tempted to give two stars, having noted the duplicated and redundant flat-blade 3.5, 4.0 and 6.0mm screwdrivers (never hurts to have spares, given they do tend to snap off when opening cans of sterno or crow-barring into sunken derelict submarines), but where's the 5.0mm screwdriver?! Talk about a major design omission.

Anyway, at least add the shuriken dispenser and maybe we can talk.


Posted in Humor, Just stuff | 4 Comments

In Memoriam: Sri Kaleshwar Swami – 15 March 2012

Today, we received the sad news that our spiritual teacher, Sri Kaleshwar, had passed away (taken maha samadi). He'd been ill for the last few years, and very recently had been admitted to a Bangalore hospital in serious condition.

Sri Kaleshwar was my teacher and guru since 2005. I'm not going to get into any of the political controversies in which he was involved over the years, or anything negative. This is not the place for such things.

He spent much of his adult life helping others, building hospitals, giving away free medical care and food to thousands, digging water wells for Penukonda village, restoring sight to the cataract-blinded, sponsoring formal weddings for the poor, financing full scholarships, and donating hundreds of bicycle wheelchairs to the crippled. To aid in this effort, and to make it possible to share his spiritual teachings with the West, he built a modest ashram in the village of Penukonda.

He was a good man.

When he wasn't involved in charity, or being a loving father and husband, he was teaching thousands of students, men and women from around the world — students from Europe, America, Japan, and many other lands. Never once did he say that he was a spiritual master deserving of worship, riches, or adulation, or that only through him could answers be found, but instead always told his students they had as much potential or more to go on and do far greater things, that everybody has the capacity to become Enlightened. He frequently opened his talks with the greeting, "My dear Divine Souls…" Always he insisted his personal goal wasn't to collect students but to create spiritual masters.

He also often said he wasn't anybody special, but just a guy who knew a little more than the rest of us about certain things, and it was his job and sworn duty to share them with us.

Sri Kaleshwar's message was not limited to devotees of the Hindu faith. Often, he would use the terminology and concepts familiar with Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims, depending on his audience. The Penukonda ashram features a large temple devoted to Shirdi Baba — another Indian spiritual leader who insisted he followed all religions and none, and one of Sri Kaleshwar's favorite sayings was, "Many candles–all one flame."

I had the great honor to meet Sri Kaleshwar in late 2005, here in the U.S. To say I came away from the experience changed would be an understatement, and it was upon his personal invitation to us that my wife and I traveled to India a few months later to study at his ashram in Penukonda, Andra Pradesh, in India.

Our time in India was, to say the least, an adventure — amazing, but also gruelling at times. It's not easy learning the discipline of focused spiritual study, especially for someone as inherently undisciplined as myself, but the three years we spent there have never been regretted by either of us.

(It was also a tremendous joy to get to know the Indian people and culture. Their kindness, generosity, and infectious good cheer is a joy to behold. It seems they are constantly finding ways to celebrate life.)

We were both changed, deeply and profoundly. For myself, there were a number of transformative experiences and events during our stay, but one in particular — a day when Swami wasn't even there at the ashram — literally changed my perspective such that I knew I was no longer the same person. I suppose some might consider it an Enlightenment experience. All I know is I have never since seen the world as I did before, and in the days following this particular awakening, I told my teacher, "You have given me everything you ever promised, and more. It's going to take me years to process it all. Thank you."

He just grinned and said "You're welcome."

The last time my wife and I saw our Swami in-person was in the autumn of 2009, after we'd returned to America and resettled in New Mexico. This was at an event in Laytonville, California, and to this day I still fondly remember him spotting us sitting on a small hill, looking up with a little surprise and a smile, and giving us a friendly wave. "I see you," was all the look and wave said, and it was all we needed.

In an odd way, Stephanie and I came away from that Laytonville event knowing that whatever time our Swami had left in this world, it would most likely be for other students, not us. Our Swami's teachings had already filled our cups completely to the brim and overflowed.

The picture at the top of this post is how I best remember my Swami, my Guru-ji, despite having seen hundreds of photos of Sri Kaleshwar over the years. A direct, eye-to-eye compassionate gaze, with just a hint of amusement. Eyes that could see into a person's very soul.

While we were at the ashram, my wife Stephanie took a great many photographs, and I assisted with video production and writing projects — and as such, I like to think we gave back a little in gratitude. It was an honor and a privilege to have known Sri Kaleshwar, the man, and to have learned directly from him.

This is how he also lives on, in all of his students, and in the ashram he built. Even if the place, the ashram itself, should one day be gone, the lessons — Sri Kaleshwar's teachings — will live on, in us.

Namaste, Guru-ji. Namaste, my teacher and my friend.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti-hi

Loka samastha sukino bhavanthu
Loka samastha sukino bhavanthu
Loka samastha sukino bhavanthu

Aki landa koti Brahma dhanaiya ka
raja di raja yogi raja parabrahma
Sachidananda samat Sat Guru Sri
Bhagawan SRI SAI KALESHWAR Swa Maharaji K


Om Shanti Shanti Shanti-hi

Posted in News, Philosophy and Religion, Practices, Spirituality, Sri Kaleshwar Swami | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Still around…

No, I haven't been blogging much in the last few months. But just a post to let any wanderers know this site ain't quite an ex-parrot yet.

Also, when someone disagrees with me elsewhere on the Internet, perhaps on a blog somewhere, this is in no a way an invitation to come over to my 'virtual house' to renew the specious arguments, unwarranted abuse and appallingly childish attacks.

This particular soap-box is owned and funded 100% by yours truly, and as such, I simply will not tolerate any BS. Don't even bother trying.

Posted in Just stuff | Comments Off on Still around…

Banco Santander: The Epitome of Bankster Evil

I'd thought Citibank, Wells Fargo, US Bank and others had rightly deserved reputations as near (or fully) criminal enterprises, the mutant bastard offspring of what used to be the banking industry, but apparently there's at least one international banking corporation that doesn't just exploit and mistreat its customers: They actively seek out people to victimize. That firm is known in Spain (where it was founded) as Banco Santander S.A., but they go by other names, including "Santander Consumer USA" here in America.

And the stuff they do will probably make your jaw drop like mine did. Fortunately, there are some massive class-action lawsuits in the works. But still…

The accusations are as outrageous as they are plentiful:  Hundreds of “robocalls” —  in one case, 800 to a single person — to collect auto loan debts;  illegal repossession of cars from active duty military deployed overseas;  late fees assessed three years after the fact and then compounded into $2,000 or $3,000 bills; harassing calls to friends, neighbors, co-workers — even children — on cell phones. And now, a flurry of lawsuits filed around the country, and lawyers fighting over potential clients.

The defendant in the lawsuits is Europe’s largest bank, Banco Santander S.A., which is preparing to make a big push into U.S. retail banking (ed.: known here as Santander Consumer USA). But many Americans already have been introduced to the Spanish financial powerhouse, a first encounter that many liken to a nightmare.

My initial thought was, "Huh, well how bad could they be?" Turns out they're far, far worse than I ever imagined possible.

One plaintiff, Leslie Haynes, purchased a used BWM in 2007 from a dealer in Birmingham, Ala., according to court documents. A year later, Santander collectors began peppering her with demanding calls. The lawsuit claims agents misled her about the balance of her loan, tried to trick her into making additional payments, then refused to stop calling her at work. Agents also repeatedly frequently called relatives, even harassing her sick stepfather and his live-caregiver in the months before he died, it alleges.  (…)

Another plaintiff in that case, Victor Shortt, alleged that Santander agents repeatedly called his minor daughter's cell phone, ignoring pleas to stop. A third, Jacob Glassmoyer, said Santander officials called his parents' cell phones repeatedly, at a time when one of them was undergoing chemotherapy, according to the lawsuit.

One fellow, Donovan Rogers, had his 2005 Dodge Durango repossessed this year. He'd been paying via money order, and didn't miss a payment. At some point, Santander Consumer USA bought his car loan from his original lender — but neglected to send him a notice about the change. This past May, Rogers received a notice he was massively in arrears on the loan. Santander thugs and robo-callers called him over 500 times, and even threatened criminal charges. A few weeks later, they simply took his truck and auctioned it off.

By the way, that's another of their standard techniques: They send you a bill with massive penalties assessed, demanding a lump sum payment. They start up with the harassing phone calls, with the goal of extracting as much money from you as they possibly can — then they take your car anyway and sell it at auction. Why do this?

Used car loans might seem like a hard way for an international bank to make money, but they've actually proven to be more resilient and recession proof that other forms of lending — particularly mortgage lending. Cars, at the moment, appear to be better collateral than homes and are much easier to turn into cash after a borrower defaults. That's part of the reason that Santander was the most profitable bank in the world outside of China last year, and has been on the acquisition trail since the financial meltdown. (emphasis added)

According to the story, another of Santander's tactics is they buy up car loans (especially what would be considered sub-prime auto loans) from other companies, such as Citibank, HSBC, and others. Now suppose you bought a car in 2008 on a 60 month loan, and let's say there was some minor mix-up where in December of that year, your payment was late a couple days. Quite a few lenders will overlook minor lapses and let them go, especially if they fall near a holiday. Not these parasites.

Santander routinely uses another tactic after acquiring a loan from another lender: It searches records for past slip-ups — such as a payment that was late by a few days — then assesses fees retroactively, sometimes years after the fact. By calculating the loan forward from that point, and "cascading" the fees, the firm sometimes claims clients owe thousands of dollars in late fees, and demands immediate payment or threatens repossession.

Just like the mortgage banksters, Santander routinely repossesses cars from active-duty U.S. servicemen and women — despite being prohibited by law from doing so, unless allowed by court order. They're also supposed to reduce interest rates to 6%, again as required by law, which they apparently almost never do.

Why do they do this? How do they get away with it? Because they can, governments refuse to stop them, and because it made them a tidy (estimated) $455 million profit in the U.S. in 2010 alone. Multiply that internationally, and this is a banking conglomerate whose business model is built on fraud, extortion, blackmail, and blatantly illegal collections techniques.

We're talking major criminal enterprise here. If you read on in the story (thanks MSNBC, and the really great reporting from Bob Sullivan in the Red Tape Chronicles), you'll see flat out and repeated violations of very clear and explicit laws regarding loan servicing and debt collection tactics:

  • Illegal collection attempts against active-duty servicemen and -women, including illegal repossessions (SCRA violations).
  • Robo-calling people's cell phones, including those of people's relatives and children (Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act violations galore).
  • Accepting automatic deposits from people's bank accounts, then claiming never to have received the funds and refusing to credit the payments against the loan (this is simply flat-out fraud).
  • Failing to tell people when they (Santander Consumer USA) purchased the car loan and then, despite the car owner faithfully continuing to send in payments, showing up months later to demand a huge lump-sum, with accrued and compounded penalties.

But hey, even the attorneys can see an easier fat-duck target out there:

Accusations of unfair fees and repossessions don't figure into the lawsuits Santander is facing, however.  Lawyers are flocking to the cases because of potentially lucrative violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Santander agents routinely fail to identify themselves, use obscenities, call people other than the actual debt holder and reveal to those people details about the debt, the lawsuits allege — all direct violations of the latter law. The bank has also used automated dialing systems and prerecorded messages directed to cell phones without permission, the lawsuits allege, a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Willful violations of that law offer a $1,500-per-phone-call bounty to the plaintiff.

You see, unfair is one thing. But these debt collection techniques have very clear, extremely unambiguous penalties — and with modern day phone records, it is trivial to document incoming calls.


The Spanish bank is Germany's largest auto lender, and has enormous auto loan portfolios across Central and Eastern Europe, said Mauro Guillen, a Wharton Business School professor who wrote a book about Santander called "Building a Global Bank." (…)

(D)espite the complaints and lawsuits, he predicted the bank will successfully expand into U.S. retail markets. "And I would predict other acquisitions for them," he said.

My recommendation? If you do have an auto loan, seriously seriously seriously consider moving it to a local community bank or credit union. Even if you have no problem with your current loan servicing company, there is no guarantee they won't sell it to a criminal enterprise such as Santander.

As the saying goes, come the revolution, I have no doubt these slimy plutocratic bastards will be among the first against the wall.

Posted in Commentary, Editorial, News, Politics | 2 Comments

As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

My most favorite Thanksgiving video ever.

For those who can't view the video due to it being blocked or inaccessible, there is a full-episode (but advertisement interrupted) version via Bing & Hulu: Turkeys Away
Posted in Humor, Just stuff | 1 Comment

Tinkerer at heart

So far the Beast is operating all right. I've had a few minor hiccups along the way; for instance, one software install (not even sure which one) last week messed up my Internet connection settings — but only for Internet Explorer and those programs using that program's proxy configuration. But overall I'm very pleased with the results.

A few notes, in random order:

My initial fan set-up was too noisy, and probably wasn't being controlled properly. This evening I installed a pair of ultra quiet DeepCool fans to replace the cheap ones that came with the CPU water cooling unit. And instead of letting the CPU pump unit control them, I handed that over to the motherboard, since the ASUS firmware and fan control software is much better at handling speed vs temperature customization.

I'd also been annoyed by the bright – dim – off – dim – bright pattern of the blue LED thing on the Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 case around the power button, so I took the opportunity to pop the header unit and apply a little electrical tape. I can still see a faint glow when the LED is in the On part of its cycle, but now it's no longer eye-catching.

I wasn't going to do it at first, but I bit the bullet and added a small 64GB solid state drive (SSD). There's this thing called the Intel Rapid Storage utility, and what it does is it takes that SSD space and essentially turns it into a caching RAID drive to boost the performance of my main system hard disk. Supposedly improves boot and frequently used application times, automagically. What it does isn't just move applications out to the SSD, but rather only the most-accessed data blocks (which for most programs isn't all that much).

Yes, the system would be even faster if I'd installed a much larger SSD and had just put the whole Windows install onto that — but for me, the cost would have been prohibitive. Large SSDs (like 256 GB) are still ridiculously expensive, running into the hundreds of dollars, and I'd still end up having to put a lot of my apps and games out on a regular hard drive anyway. Turns out the Intel RSU can use an SSD of any size, so I got an inexpensive 64GB SATA-3 one for less than a hundred bucks.

Related to that though… at first I thought it wasn't going to work at all. I reset the BIOS to SATA RAID as the manual said, but as soon as the machine began booting into Windows, boom — Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). After some back and forth, I learned that I ought to have installed Windows from the very start in the RAID configuration and at first it looked like that was the only solution… yeah, right, like I want to do that. Then I discovered really all I had to do was change one LOCAL_MACHINE registry entry, telling Windows to load the damned RAID driver at boot time, and I was almost back in the game. After that, I did have to reinstall the Intel RSU program, probably to get the drivers registered properly… one more reboot, and then I had system acceleration capabilities available. Instructions reproduced and adapted from Overclockers.com, original post courtesy of user Eldonko, although if you want to see that this is actually an 'official' Microsoft fix, see this Microsoft Support article.

  1. First, install the RAID drivers (should be on the DVD that came with your motherboard, or downloadable from their website). Or go to the Intel website and get the drivers and Intel RSU software from there.
  2. Don't connect the caching SSD yet. If you have and followed the instructions to reset the BIOS to RAID, there's a good chance you are experiencing the BSOD at Windows boot, and you either changed everything back or are reading this post using another computer. Go back into the BIOS and switch the drive ports back to SATA or AHCI (whichever you used at Windows installation time).
  3. If you did connect the SSD, no, you don't have to open the case back up and disconnect the drive, don't worry about it. (NOTE: The SSD should be connected to the Intel SATA-III port if available, not a Marvel port. Intel Rapid Storage won't work on Marvel, which I understand sucks rocks anyway.)
  4. If you didn't already do so, install those RAID drivers now. Reboot to complete the driver installation.
  5. Bring Windows 7 up and do what I always do: Save a System Restore save-point (Control Panel > System > System Protection > Create button at bottom). Always do this when mucking with Windows internals. Then run Regedit (as administrator) and locate this key:
  6. In the details pane, right-click "Start", and Modify. In the Value data box, change it from whatever it is to the value "0" (zero, and without the quotes). This registry change enables the RAID driver in Windows, and tells Windows to quit being stupid and load it at boot time. Shut down and connect (or reconnect) your caching SSD, or else if the SSD is already connected just restart.
  7. On reboot go into the BIOS again, this time changing the SATA ports to RAID mode. Save and restart.
  8. You will most likely see a RAID configuration screen at initial boot. IGNORE THIS. It's not relevant to what you're doing here.
  9. Even if you already installed the Intel Rapid Storage Technology utility, you will most likely need to do so again (you can just overwrite the existing install). I think it doesn't register the SSD as available and offer the Accelerate controls until it actually sees a valid RAID-usable drive out there. Reboot again to complete the utility installation.
  10. Open the utility (available in the SysTray) and enable the Acceleration. Done.

One note: A given SSD will only accelerate a single hard drive. To accelerate a second hard drive, you'd need a second SSD… and chances are you'd be out of SATA III / 6 GB ports at that time, but my understanding is it's still an improvement.

Hope this is helpful. (Disclaimer: I make no guarantees, assume no liability, and modding a system in this way is best left to experts and professionals.) So far I have indeed noticed pretty decent improvements in overall performance, and I expect this will only get better as the Intel software puts more applications and core system files out on the SSD.

(11/11 update: Oh yes, the SSD makes a big difference. It's not terribly noticeable at first, and perhaps not even through the first reboot or two. But this evening I took the system down to install a 2nd 200mm case fan on the top of the case, and when I reconnected and powered up, I'd say my normal boot time was cut to about 1/3. Certain apps I've been using a lot the last few days are also zippier on load, and when running, including Thunderbird, Firefox, Madcap Flare, and Photoshop.)

Posted in Technology | Comments Off on Tinkerer at heart

Logitech G13 Gamepad + iTunes 10.5 fix

NOTE: As of iTunes 10.6, it looks like they went and changed the regkey value back to 'iTunes' from 'iTWindow'. Makes this here post obsolete, unless you happen to be running iTunes 10.5.

This information will only be of use to a few people who happen to have the Logitech G13 gamepad keyboard, and wonder why the media player add-in simply won't display the track information from iTunes. (Some, as in my case, had it working before, only to have it stop working not long ago… corresponding, as always, with Apple imposing unannounced, undocumented changes to the iTunes API.)

Given how much time it took me to track it down, I figured I'd put this information out there and hope the magic Google engine picks up the keywords so others don't have to spend the two hours I did finding it.

Here's the fix (which should be attempted only by those who know what they're doing, because you're mucking with Windows system internals here…  it'd actually be a good idea to set a system restore point before attempting this fix, and if you don't know how to do that…well, that's a pretty good reason not to try this at all):

  • Close your Logitech G13 gamepad software (both the main control software and the profiler)
  • Open regedit and go to: Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Logitech\LCD Software\LCDMedia\iTunes 4.5+
  • In the right side pane, select the value ClassName REG_SZ
  • Change the value from iTunes to iTWindow

Close regedit and restart your Logitech software. Start up iTunes.  Now when you toggle through your LCD screens the Song Playing screen will come up.

My understanding is this may also work with the G15 gaming keyboard, the one with the extra LCD screen above the keys.

BTW, this iTunes–>iTWindow fix applies to just about anything that did work in previous versions of iTunes but suddenly stopped working. For example, for those using SetPoint software, it also quit working but the latest version fixed it. However, a while back I also had to fix my keyboard's *.ini file because the media controls quit working. Here's the fix for that as well:

  • Close SetPoint from the system tray
  • Open a text editor (such as Notepad) as an administrator (personally I use EditPad Pro)
  • Open the SetPoint players.ini file (usually C:\Program Files\Logitech\SetPointP\players.ini)
  • Edit the line under the [Players] section to match the line shown here: (the bolded term is the wndClass variable which needs to be changed, ignore everything else)
  • Save the file
  • Restart SetPoint and hopefully this will fix it.

Anyway, this seems to be the key here, whether it's a configuration .ini value or something in the registry entries associated with the newly broken iTunes-related application.

For those wondering why the Logitech G13 doesn't come with any way to actually control iTunes…well, it's a known feature omission.  However, I found a GPL (open source) project called HKTunes that lets you assign basic iTunes functions — play/pause, next track, previous track, volume up and down — to any single keystroke, which can be modified with Win, Ctrl, Alt, and Shift. What I did was assign those functions to heavily modified keystrokes, ones I'm unlikely to use anywhere else — for instance play/pause as Shift-Ctrl-Alt-DownArrow, left and right arrow for previous or next track, and page up/down for volume.

Then over on the gamepad, I picked a few keys on my default config profile and assigned those to the same keystrokes. Voila, the G13 can now control iTunes the same way the media keys do on my main keyboard. The program is very rudimentary though, so to use it regularly you'll need to create a Start group shortcut.

Posted in Technology | Tagged , | Comments Off on Logitech G13 Gamepad + iTunes 10.5 fix

Let me…

…make something clear, again.

Since I began posting on Left Perspectives, a few….trolls… have wandered over here thinking they could hurl epithets and stupid names at me in the comments to my posts, on my blog. Stuff that makes it abundantly clear we're dealing with deranged, ignorant, uneducated morons.

You could not be more mistaken. This is my soapbox. It is not supported by ads, I pay every hosting bill and payment. As a consequence, I have a very strict commenting policy here. First, commenters must be registered. Secondly, I don't take any bullshit from anybody.

Try to post crap comments on my blog posts and the source email, name(s), and IP are pretty much automatically added to my blacklists. I don't even see 'em, after the first confirmation.

Go ahead and waste your time if you want to. It's your karma.

Posted in Commentary | Comments Off on Let me…

The Beast

I've nicknamed my new creation The Beast, which will replace the 3 year old computer I've lately been calling The Bucket. Ten marks (or cubits or quatloos) to whoever can guess the actual name I'll give the new computer once I get it up and running. (You can click on the picture to see a larger version.)

What's the big deal about buying a new computer? Because I didn't buy it. I built it. Oh, to be sure, we're talking a component-level build here — it's not as if I got out a soldering iron and a pile of old-style transistors. However, over the last few days a large number of packages arrived via UPS and FedEx from several different sources, and last night I began the assembly process. I'm planning to do the shakedown and install the operating system over the weekend.

For those curious:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K (Sandy Bridge, unlocked)
  • Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68 Deluxe (w/USB 3.0, BlueTooth, HD audio w/optical out, 2x Ethernet)
  • RAM: Corsair DDR3 1600 – 16GB
  • CPU cooler: Corsair H80 water-cooling block
  • Graphics: Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 6850
  • Hard drive: Western Digital Black 2TB – 6GB/s xfer speed (also going to transplant a 2TB Western Digital Green drive from the Bucket, as secondary storage)
  • Power supply: Coolermaster Silent Pro Gold 800w
  • Case: Thermaltake Chaser MK-I (includes USB 3.0 support and a hot-swap e-SATA external drive bay on top)
  • Temporary optical drive: LG Blu-Ray DVD player (will also exchange it for the Bucket's blu-ray burner since it works just fine)
  • OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

Anyway, the reason for the new computer is because the Bucket has been getting glitchy, plus it's three years behind the times (Intel i7 920, 6GB RAM, NVIDIA GTX 260, Hitachi 1TB main drive). It is also very fan-noisy. Why build instead of just buying off-the-shelf? Because there wasn't a single computer out there that had exactly all the features I wanted, but when I went to the websites of the custom builders, my 'dream machine' became prohibitively expensive. Plus again, even they didn't usually match everything I wanted.

In the days/weeks to come, I may share a little more about my first impressions, experiences, what it was like having to halon-extinguish an electrical fire… (fingers crossed that doesn't happen).

(On Update, 29 Oct: Whoda thunk it? The Beast fired up with nary a problem, and just a few minor hiccups caused almost entirely by me not knowing exactly what drivers & software needed to be installed first. For reference: Always start with motherboard drivers and work your way out from there.)

(crossposted at Left Perspectives)

Posted in Reviews, Technology | Comments Off on The Beast

New part-time digs

BTW, I've been asked to join a small group of bloggers at a new site, Left Perspectives. Not sure what'll transpire, but the founder has tapped a rather eclectic and openly liberal bunch. Could be interesting.

Posted in Commentary | 3 Comments