Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hunting Shauns ? Hunting Tech

I've had my eye on a few techie items for a little while now.

The first one is a keyboard as I think I'm battering this one into submission. It's getting stiffer with age and it's missing the very occasional keystroke. So I'm looking for a keyboard.

First thing I'll say here is - a keyboard is a very personal thing. You need to know if you're going to get on well with it. Will your fingers dance across it or will you find yourself doing a wrist punishing, RSI inducing finger pounding mashing of it, followed by having to check what you typed for all the typos coming in due to the inadequacies of the keyboard.

So you'd like to check out the feel of the keyboard. If you're buying a monitor, you want it to have a source that clearly shows its capabilities. Same with a mouse. PC World don't appear to believe in this ... perhaps they don't want the sales ?

In Bristol, their cheap keyboards are on display and ... they're fairly buyable. But ... they seem to think of wireless as a good thing ... Avoid wireless keyboards and mice unless you have an incredibly good reason to get them. Like if you're using your PC as a media centre and want to control it while sitting in front of the telly watching a movie. A wire for the keyboard and mouse is fairly essential in my view. It makes them totally immune to interference (this is a big problem) and means you don't need to buy batteries for them.

Their expensive keyboards stay in the boxes. This seems to be a Bristol thing as the ones in Lincoln were on open display. I'm not going to spend over £50 on a keyboard if I can help it. I'm definitely not going to spend money on a keyboard if I can't investigate what it feels like to type on and that includes the £10 jobs.

My next place to investigate is the computer fair at BAWA on Sunday. It'll be curious to go there for two reasons :

Not been to a computer fair for years, there's usually lots of goodies on display to catch the techie's eye.
It's the place where Nose Job 1 happened and I've rarely had cause to go back there since that happened.

It'll be wierd to see that pitch again. After that incident, I refused to play at that ground again. Not because of the Nose Job incident, mainly because the square was a bit of a marsh that grabbed at my feet and caused me numerous problems with my leg muscles. It's about the closest I've come to a proper hamstring tear instead of just the simple cramping problems. I was playing for two teams at this point and it was taking a toll on my hours at work.

What keyboard am I looking at ? It's the I-rocks K50 (I know - that's an awful name). It's in the middle between the membrane keyboards you'll be familiar with and the gamer special (translation - add a 0 to the price) mechanical keyboards that PC World won't let you check out. The answer is to check places like Amazon who have authentic customer reviews which tell you how these things work when confronted with average users who ain't happy if they break after a week.

We'll see what's at the fair.
I'm also checking out monitors. Which is a bit daft considering that the 23" widescreen 1080-all-sorts-of-happy-techie-stuff-jargon monitor that I have is doing pretty well still. It's still clear and bright, monitors tend to burn out after a while.

And it does give extremely nice looking sights in Elite.
Pretty blue-white star, with the long range Asp Explorer named "Is This The Right Place For The Shauns ?".

I've been doing the exploration thing again in Elite.
The diamondy symbol in the bottom is Zaonce, which is my garage in game. That's an old screenie but it shows the general scale of things. Zaonce is 117ly in game from our solar system and 25,000 light years from Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy. My navigation plan is to go 2000ly clockwise, then 25,000ly into the centre at which point I'll turn right, go 4,000ly past Sagittarius A* and then come back again.

Epic trip. I've done 8 legs so far over 2 sessions of play. Each leg takes me another 1,000ly chunk along the way and I'm now just under 20,000ly from the objective. The star field is already starting to increase. As you'll see in the galaxy pic, we're quite far out on the rim of our galaxy. The stars get far denser as you get towards the centre. That this is modelled in game, makes it all the more pretty for me.

Shiny things are awesome.

And I'm going to have to be careful on Sunday so as to not come out of the pooter fair with too many shiny things.

I'm taking a break from the piloting tonight. I have the tireds. But as usual, messages from a Pretty Lady wake me up again :-).

Oh - one last bit of Shiny Hunting - I'm still investigating different ways of getting my music across to the hifi from the laptop. The Apple Airport Express is excellent at this but I do typically have to unplug/plugin power cycle it once an evening as the audio stream breaks up. So I've been looking at things like the Apple TV or Bluetooth receivers. Trouble is, from what I read about Bluetooth receivers (£50ish jobs), they break up on the audio streaming as well. So I'd be going away from one manageable problem to the same problem.

I'll save my cash.

Unless I see a keyboard that looks awesome.

PS Last word is for wireless mice ... Radio mice are fine but I once had an Infra Red mouse which was actually more restrictive than a wire ... It had a very limited field of view between sensor and mouse and you could block it with your fingers resting on the buttons. Complete rubbish. Be careful what you buy !

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