Riding the Flow

musings from the shire

New laptop is here!


Qosmio X505 004Well, I’ve took a plunge and went ahead with my original plans for new laptop. Its finally there, took only 2 days to arrive from US. Yep, it’s an import – first of all, I want US keyboard, second, UK models are not being released for another month, and thirdly – even with shipping costs and duty its significantly cheaper.

First impressions of the screen: DPI is alright (18.1”, 1680x945), no need to zoom up anymore. Brightness is about 2x times more than of my old one (Satellite X200). Viewing angles are wider (mainly due to bigger pixel size). White level is very uniform – but, black is not uniform and it’s not very black. Guess you can not have everything (at least until AMOLED laptop screens will arrive ;) ) I guess brightness is more important though – to diminish visible reflections from glossy screen.

i7 quad core is a total beast – 8 CPUs in Task Manager ;). I plan to keep my old hard drive (WD Scorpio Black), it’s same 320Gb, but faster than preinstalled Hitachi one.

Its wide, but quite thin (about 2 inches only), and power efficiency is excellent for such a beast – finally, small 100W power brick, and 3-4 hours surfing on battery! Old one has 1Kg 200W monstrosity of PSU – it’s really a brick ;)

The audio is excellent (when I’ve disabled preinstalled EQ). That’s why I consider only Toshiba laptops lately – can’t really beat Harman/kardon speaker systems they use.

Now busy copying & reinstalling. Preinstalled Windows 7 Home Premium has ton of unneeded crap already installed (and god knows which internal “enhancements” to the registry made by Toshiba). So, as usual, first thing to do – re-format, do a clean Home Premium install. Then I plan to use Anytime Upgrade to purchase Ultimate - I want Bitlocker and Remote Desktop. Fun ;)

Illuminated Sofa


I like the idea, but not the price tag ;)

Preparing for the Rainy Season

Water Repellent on WindscreenJust have finished treatment of all glass surfaces on my car with water-repellent finish. It really works and I find it quite useful.

The idea is to cover car windscreen/windows with invisible oily Teflon-like layer – to which water will not adhere, so it will just roll off. It greatly reduces the need to use wipers – usually water droplets just roll off due to vibration of the car. And when you go at motorway speed – no need for wipers at all – water just literally flies away blown by the wind!

It just that application procedure is kind of tedious:

  1. wash the glass with glass washer to make sure it clean
  2. wipe it dry, not allowing water drying spots
  3. smear it with water repellent
  4. let it dry – it will make windows foggy and greasy
  5. polish with paper towels to shininess

Good thing there are next-gen repellents already that supposed to last up to a year (!) from single application. Pity I still have to finish the bottle of previous generation repellent that needs re-applying every 2 months or so ;)

Airline Optimizations

lufthansa-completes-takeover-of-austrian-airlines-2009-09-04_l[1] Looks like I will be using Lufthansa for the next visit to my homeland, instead of usual Austrian Airlines. It’s interesting how the situation with airlines changes – just a year ago, Lufthansa’s ticket would have cost me ~500gbp against Austrian’s ~400gbp. Now the roles are completely reversed - ~400 for Lufthansa, ~500 for Austrian.

Not to mention that I can now fly from Birmingham with Lufthansa. Which I reckon is a lot better than flying from overcrowded London Heathrow. Not to mention the need to trundle to Heathrow for 2 hours, against ~40 min drive to the Birmingham International :)

Update: Just have noticed, that, in fact, Lufthansa just recently took over the Austrian Airlines. Now this explains above, I guess ;)

GTX_soft-shell Personally I would prefer one feature-full (and expensive) article of clothing to several “ordinary” cheaper ones for the same money. Save on weight, more usability, durability and comfort.

Cotton shirts and woollen sweaters are soo retro – make way for the elastane, micro-fleece, cordura, gore-tex and other clothely gizmos! I mean, we are living in 21st century, are we? ;)

Still has to find a high-tech jacket that would look as good as leather one though ;) But, that’s what layering for :)

Have an accumulated mini-mountain of unneeded stuff to go in eBay. Yet again ;)

I wish there was an automagic way to put articles on eBay, without the need to photo, host and write articles for every item. Oh well, back to work :)

Edit: Make this - photo, host, check item weight and write articles for every item ;)

Choosing a Pocket Multi-tool

Personally I think pocket multi-tools (as a superset of more well-known Swiss Army knives) are very useful.

You never know when during the course of day you’ll need to cut a package or envelope open, snip a loose thread, open a bottle or unscrew/screw down something. It’s bad when you don’t have proper tools nearby (but even when you do, it’s often a hassle to fetch/put them back).

That’s why it’s extremely good to always have multi-tool in your pocket, especially when it’s small and light enough to be unnoticeable. Obviously compactness comes at the price of less features, it’s always a compromise.

War. War never changes

800px-Fallout-3-point-lookout-pc-005[1]Doing some catching-up on recently released Fallout 3 expansion packs. These packs are quite good value for money.

I’ve finished Broken Steel quite a while ago, and somehow missed release of Point Lookout – but finally got opportunity to play it, along with recently released Mothership Zeta.