Monthly Archives: November 2013

Moore’s Law Still Applies, and So Does Karma

Moore’s Law is actually more conjecture than canon, but it’s been pretty accurate over time. Intel cofounder Gordon Moore made the observation that “over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years.” That’s why my latest computer, built for me in 2009 by a Craigslist friend (and hardly bleeding edge when new) has really been showing its near 5 years’ age lately. I was unable to get SAM Broadcaster running on it, some programs were starting to crash unexpectedly, and program conflicts were causing bluescreen/reboot more frequently.

My mom, knowing how essential a reliable computer is for both of us, authorized me to get a new one as an early Christmas present. I headed over to CyberPowerPC. They have a good reputation as the next best way to custom build a computer that has no proprietary limited parts after doing it yourself (with my left hand mostly shot, I really can’t). I saw a number of good choices, but I settled on their Scorpius 8000 model. Again it’s hardly bleeding edge, but with a 6-core AMD CPU and 8Gb of RAM should give me some years of good service before becoming obsolete. It’s been almost 5 years since I had to think about such things, but was surprised that a self contained and no-maintenance liquid cooling assembly for the CPU was a standard item!

Kinda cool, thought I, as I went through the configurator that allows you to customize the build. There were plenty of choices, but I really had no need for most; they’re either high-dollar component upgrades or cosmetic luxuries. In the end I settled on two upgrades: first, a slightly better-than-base Apevia X-Cruiser case for looks, accessibility and good airflow. Second, and more importantly, I upped the power supply from a rather anemic 350W generic unit to a Thermaltake 750W one. You rarely get into high power usage with the stuff I use a PC for, but on the rare occasion when you do, the last thing you need is a problem with the power supply.

A few short days later and the new machine was enroute. CyberPower’s smart, they use automated mass production to its best capabilities from assembly to quality control checking while still producing a custom machine to  satisfy each individual buyer, at a price that shames the big PC makers and distributors. I gotta say, it’s a spiffy looker!

Along with the computer, my mom told me to add a decent external drive. I own one, but can’t rest until there are two for redundancy. Like a multiengine airplane, the odds of one dying are low, but the odds of two going Tango Uniform are astronomical. I don’t like the idea of losing my digital photos and documents, and my mom has a pile of digital stuff I’ve scanned for her, so she didn’t have a problem with kicking in to assure safe storage.

I decided on Silicon Power’s 1TB drive and ordered it from Amazon. I was eagerly expecting its arrival but I had to do something that evening when it showed as ‘delivered’ even though it was nowhere to be seen. I knew right away what happened, UPS was using a fill-in driver who’d misdelivered it. When I called UPS to try having them contact the driver, they wouldn’t take reponsibility…since it showed as ‘delivered’ I had to be the one in the wrong, you see.

Amazon really stepped up to the plate. When I told them what had happened, they cancelled the order for refund, had me order a new one and for lagniappe threw in next-day shipping. Love Amazon. Interestingly, the next day the original one turned up in my mailbox…obvioudly I have an honest neighbor! When the UPS fellow arrived bearing my new drive, he was kind enough to take the first one to return it to the seller. Mildy tempting to keep it though it was, it would have been theft, so I sent it back. Now the karma part: I saved an extra $5 when I ordered it the second time, got that next-day shipping, and had the satisfaction of knowing I did the moral thing…which was augmented when Amazon noticed the first unit was on its way back; they sent me a nice thank-you letter in appreciation of my honesty.

This drive is probably the nicest, best looking and easiest to use external HD I’ve ever seen. Powered by the USB port alone, there’s no external power supply to mess with, it lights a soft red to show it’s on that flashes while it’s in operation, its USB cable attaces to slots in the soft bumpers and it’s armored to withstand a substantial fall…not that I mean to test this, but others have and their drive kept right on working.

I don’t think you can do any better than this SP Rugged Armor HD if you’re looking for a terabyte’s worth of portable storage. Longevity is unknown, but I’ll update my review if it dies.  For the moment though, color me happy! confess I was a bit apprehensive about going from the XP operating system i’ve used for years to the newest Windows 8.1 but it wasn’t a big deal. In the few days it’s been here, I can navigate around fine and have the programs and apps (yeah, like a tablet) working to my satisfaction. As one observer pointed out at CNET, refusing to learn a new OS is delaying the inevitable anyway. I’m no huge fan of Windoze, but I grudgingly confess I kinda like it!

Best of all, I got a copy of the latest edition of SAM Broadcaster, installed it and the virtual audio cables satisfactorily, and got it configured and tested today with April Reigne‘s able assistance, so now the Freedom Finders show should have a lot more professional and polished feel to it. Ideally this will help spread the word about Get Glenn Mobile! too, so I’m enthusiastic about the way things are evolving!

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