Wednesday, November 30, 2016

How much tech ...

I saw someone ask a question today which got me pondering : "If money were no object, what would your ideal PC look like ?"

Let's see. Mine would actually be a couple, similar to what I do already. One can give all of its performance to games, the other can do everything else like the music, limited web streaming, lots of web browsing and the email. I don't even have email configured on my desktop !
But first ... it's that time of year again. Christmas avatar is here ! Quite a good dragon that one I think.

Yep. I run two computers at the same time, with the phone and iPad there as well. It wasn't planned that way, I'd have run with just a desktop until I figured out how portable laptops could be. I had a laptop left behind when an ex-partner left and didn't want to waste it. A small iTunes library from then has subsequently grown rather massive and migrated across 3 more laptops since then. And I can take the laptop and music library with me when I go places. I wouldn't want to be without the music. It's great actually, I occasionally buy cds and import them via the desktop ... and then never use them again. Instead of breaking them out, I can carry many hundreds of albums on the laptop.

So at the moment, my ideal computing setup involves :

A laptop - which can run iTunes. If I were to buy today, I'd get another ultrabook style laptop. This time it would be from PCSpecialist, as the typical ones from PC World seem sub-spec and heavy. Apple are at that point where if they change any further, they will be impossibly anti-consumer. I think Apple are there already to be honest.
A desktop - to run the games. I also use the desktop to watch video, watch streams and general internet browsing. And for the occasional picture edit via Gimp 2, plus I'm tapping this post out on it.

A note about tapping the keys - I wrote about getting a new keyboard ... perhaps 1 year ago. I have to be honest and say it's a bit of a disappointment, the keys still work well but they've gone a bit stiff. Also, the lettering that was dark to begin with is rubbing away. It's getting rather difficult to locate the reference spots. I have my eyes on mechanical keyboards again, they seem to be dropping in price which is slightly odd because Brexit has led to general price increases.

A money-no-object choice wouldn't change much there. Let's see :

Laptop - stays ultrabook for lightness of weight and portability. Most laptops have far more power than is required for videos, webs and music streaming and I always find it a bit cruel to try gaming on them.
Desktop - would gain a bit but the basics would stay the same - good screen, good keyboard, good mouse. It would just have more spectacular bits inside. A better processor and graphics card. Multiple hard drives. Perhaps a second screen.

Data security is pretty important. But I wouldn't look at putting encryption on, that usually just gets in the way of performance and for home machines, I consider the lock on the front door to be adequate data security.


Data integrity is far more important. I'd pay a lot more attention to this if I were on the computer professionally, like if I was streaming or making the youtube gaming videos. I'd want multiple hard discs to put everything on but I wouldn't use the RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Drives) method, where it duplicates data across multiple drives. That way tends to use the drives identically and if you have identical drives, it stands to reason that they would fail at the same time. You'd still lose all your data. Nope. I'd have the multiple drives for performance but I'd put a totally separate back up system in too. That way, if something goes bang in the work PC, it doesn't break the backup too.
I've had data loss a few times, it tends to be a bit traumatic.

But that's computers in my current situation. The laptop and desktop combination works well there. But ... I do have that plan to go live on a boat and the set up would want to be different there. The desktop would need to be hidden somewhere and I'd ideally want it doing the movies too and probably streamed telly services.

Which means ...

A Projector. Great for saving space, along with a drop down screen and speakers hidden in strategic places for giving surround sound in the movies.

I did also have a pondering for the ship's computer having a touchscreen. This could still be a possibility but more for controlling boat systems. The original touchscreen idea was for putting recipes up where I could see them in the galley.

Yep. If I move to the boat, I'd want to learn how to cook proper. I know ... ambitious. And I think the touchscreen would work well if your hands were busy with cooking stuff. But ... thinking about it more, perhaps an iPad would be even better. Easier to wipe down for sure and if you're cooking, mucky fingers will be on that touchscreen.

A ship's computer would want to be more modest, as power comes at a premium when you're away from the mains. I'd look to have the barge roof covered with as many solar panels as would be sensible but even then, the power input is limited and other system share that power. Like the fridge ... Cooking and heating is gas, so that's not a problem there.

But ... we all know what that ship's computer should look like.
That's Gerty-3000 from the movie Moon. Excellent movie, must watch it again. It was about a lone astronaut running a Helium-3 mining operation on the moon, with just the computer to talk to. And the computer displayed those emotes to give emotional context to what it was saying.

Not Gerty ? Then perhaps :

Oh and ...
Clever kitty.

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