Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thoughts on iPad

Apple iPad.In a surprising for pretty much everyone, including myself, turn of events I’ve arrived to a decision that I want an iPad.

My 30th birthday is coming up in less than a week and I kept getting questions about what I would like to get for it. And over the past weekend it kind of dawned on me. I wouldn’t buy one myself as I don’t really have a need for it, but getting it as a present changes everything. I asked my parents and my sister what my budget range is and it turns out that it’s exactly what I would need to get an iPad.

This is where the easy part ends and the “agony” begins. I have a lot of questions that I’m trying to answer and I have a lot of things to weight. The biggest question is this — do I get one now and get instant gratification or do I try really hard to be patient and wait for a 2nd generation? Below are my thoughts on the topic. Continue Reading
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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

CatEye V3 Cycling Computer

CatEye V3 mounted on the stem. Showing speed, heart rate, cadence and distance.I finally got a chance to install a cycling computer on to the bike on past Sunday morning. I had it delivered a while ago, if you recall. I am a bit of a nut when it comes to statistics of all kinds and riding without the information provided by the computer is just not as much fun as with — current speed, cadence and heart rate, averages and maximums. It also displays elapsed time, distance and included an odometer for a bike among other things.

Rare earth magnet mounted behind the pedal by magnetic force.I did decide that I would like to get a cadence sensor this time around and figured that might as well throw in the heart sensor. One of the objectives was to get a rear mounted sensor so if I decide to stick the bike into the trainer one winter I would still get the data.

Sensor mounted on the chain stay.For the cadence magnet I used a rare earth magnet kindly provided by Ignat to avoid using zip ties on the pedal. The magnet is just about the right diameter, falls right into the mounting hole not filled by the pedal itself. I’ve put about 40 miles after putting the magnet on and it seems to sit sturdy in place without any additional mounting hardware such as glue. The sensor itself is kind of bulky, but again, the supplied mounting hardware did the job just fine fitting it onto a flat chain stay of Synapse frame. The whole install didn’t take longer than 20 minutes.
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

CatEye V3

CatEye V3.I have this1 waiting for me. It can only mean one thing — I’m waiting for something else to come through really soon. So far the ETA is not clear though. I’m hoping for this or next weekend.

  1. CatEye V3 cycling computer. Paid $138 on Amazon. []
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Friday, January 22, 2010

Home Workspace

My home workspace setup.You can finally congratulate me. The upgrade to my home workspace is complete — new computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse and general clean up. And yes, I finally did get my computer. Not the way I planned it originally, but much better in the end.

Dell Studio XPS 8000.Here are the final specs of the machine — Dell Studio XPS 8000.
  • 2.80GHz Intel Core i7-860
  • 8GB G.SKILL Ripjaws 1600MHz1 DDR3 SDRAM — 4×2GB
  • 1TB Western Digital RE3 32MB Cache SATA Drive @ 7200 rpm
  • 500GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 SATA Drive @ 7200 rpm
  • nVidia GeForce GTS240 1024MB GDDR3
  • 16x DVD+/-RW w/ Double Layer Write
  • 19-in-1 Media Card Reader

And that goes in conjunction with:
  • Dell UltraSharp U2410 24 inch IPS Panel Widescreen Monitor
  • Logitech Cordless Desktop MX 5500 Revolution Keyboard & Mouse
  • Window 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Dell AS500 Sound Bar2

Inside the case -- not a lot of room for anything else.When I received my computer I had a lot of plans for it. I wanted to do a number of upgrades and modification, but I also wanted to gage how much of an effect those changes are having. For that I decided to use a rather simple benchmarking applicaiton — Geekbench.

Logitech MX Revolution mouse.My first 3 runs yielded an average result of 7071. After that I updated BIOS to a new version, enabled a bunch of BIOS features3, upgraded RAM and did a fresh install of Windows4. The top benchmarking score after these updates was 88085 with an average score slightly below 8800 mark. When I run the same benchmark after installing an antivirus, keyboard control application, a pair of IM clients, adding several gadgets to the desktop and so on I get consistent scores of 8650 and higher.

Ports on the top. Continent way to hook in a USB key without having everything else on the key chain hang in the air.Needless to say I’m very happy with the setup and performance. Photoshop CS4 starts up in under 3 seconds. Everything else starts up even faster. Also I can’t say how happy I am to finally move to a widescreen. Everything is just so much easier and more efficient. Photo editing is great as well with so much screen real estate.

Old vs New. Old Gen 3 XPS next to a new Studio XPS 8000.And on top of that I was able to get rid of a million useless cradles and accessories plaguing my work space. The card reader is built right into the computer, speakers are replaced with a sound bar and mouse and keyboard no longer need an RF receiver on the desk, just a simple bluetooth dongle in the back of the computer.

I also will say that I’m very happy with Windows 7. Never had the urge to try Vista, so I stuck with XP for many years. I’m glad I made the jump now.

  1. Because of Dell BIOS limitations RAM runs at 1333MHz. Mobo upgrade? []
  2. This one can be considered an antique, but it’s a nice space saver. []
  3. Dell, by mistake, has left several key performance CPU features on disabled. []
  4. I used a Dell CD that was included with the computer and was pleasantly surprised to see that it’s a clean version of Windows, without Dell “features”. []
  5. My score and how it compares to others. []
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Студзеньская Нядзеля

Dell Studio 17 Laptop.Сегодня воскресенье. За окном пасмурно и даже немного дождливо. Последние пару дней на улице держится плюсовая температура, и от этого возникает обманчивое ощущение того, что весна уже на носу. Я думаю, февраль как обычно будет самым холодным месяцем, так что до весны еще далековато. Я вот недавно переводила Дане названия зимних месяцев на белорусский — Снежань, Студзень и Люты. По-моему, названия даны “в яблочко”. )

Сейчас мы стираем. Я как всегда оттягивала это дело донельзя, и вот сегодня это самое “нельзя уже не стирать больше” наступило. Вещи закинуты в стиральные машинки, и через 25 минут мы пойдём и перекинем их в сушку. Каждый раз когда мы стираем я убеждаюсь, что сама работа оказывается легче чем её рисует моё богатое воображение (хотя всё равно пару часов занимает процедура). )

"The Prince of Tides" by Pat Conroy.На прошлой неделе мне подняли-таки зарплату на работе. Повышение небольшое — 6%, но всё равно лучше чем ничего. Хотя бы это компенсирует возросшие расходы на страховку и проезд. Еще в пятницу Рон уведомил менеджмент о том, что через 2 недели он увольняется и переходит на гораздо более высокооплачиваемую работу. Что ж, получать он будет (с учётом бонуса) почти на 100% больше чем в нашей компании, да и повышение по должности у него получилось очень хорошее. Это подтверждение того, что рынок труда становится лучше.

Продолжаю свою писанину уже в понедельник (в воскресенье времени и сил не хватило дописать). Continue Reading
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Friday, January 15, 2010

Computer Saga

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB DDR3 1600 RAM.As you might remember I ordered a new computer from Dell on December 10th, 2009. And as some of you might know, I have yet to get anything. Dell is at its lowest as far as I can remember. My ordered has been delayed 5 times. I have multiple conversations with rude customer support people who barely speak any English and who you have to stay on hold for for 30 minutes to get to. They provide no information claiming that my computer is about to ship, only for me to get an email saying that my order has been delayed yet again.

Western Digital RE3 1TB, 7200 RPM, 32MB cache, SATA 3.0Gb/s internal hard drive.I would’ve canceled long ago, but my order was not an emergency and none of the competitors could beat the price point. But waiting forever and being treated poorly by customer support — I just couldn’t take that anymore. Continue Reading
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Time: 18:28   Comments: 3 Comments   Post a Comment  
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

CatEye Cycling Computer

Cateye Micro Wireless cycling computer installed on a stem of my Cannondale bike.Yesterday we bought a simple cycling computer — Cateye Micro Wireless. It has several simple functions. It is able to track the distance, elapsed time, average speed among other things. All these were available on iPhone as well, which we were using before.

However while I could rarely glance on iPhone during a ride this computer is right in front of my eyes all the time. Beside the functions listed above it is also able to display the current speed, and save the maximum speed reached during the trip.

My maximum speed yesterday was 28 MPH, but that was going off the hill. Today on a flat surface I was able to reach 23 MPH. I’m sure these are not achievements of any kind for a real cyclist, but so far they are for me. )

The installation was a snap too and didn’t take more than 15 minutes.
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Sunday, July 27, 2008

New Dell for Parents

New Dell Inspiron 530 for my parents.A week ago we were thinking of what to get my mom for her birthday and she said that a new computer would be a good idea. Indeed, their old Dell felt like an ancient animal at this point and was extremely sluggish. The total size of HD space on the poor thing was 27 GB!

We decided that we’re going to put in some money for the new machine and that my dad was going to give the rest. I went to Dell and put together a decently specced computer — Continue Reading
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