Friday, April 27, 2018

Infinity Temptation Laptop

I watched Infinity War today ...

I'm not going to do the spoilery thing but that movie is a ride. An emotional ride. They pack a huge amount into it. And if I say any more it could definitely go into spoiler space !

The latest Jurassic World movie trailer was good though and I saw more trailer for the Solo movie before which makes that movie look very promising.
The temptation is for a laptop. Or is it for more books. You can never go wrong with more books. I finished off Expanse Book 5 last night. More about that in a future post (I like to do the variation thing, so no consecutive book thingy posts).

Not sure what's next just yet. It could well be a Douglas Hill series called the Last Legionary of Moros. That series of 4 books takes me back to childhood and it'll be curious to see how it holds up almost 40 years after the first book was published in 1979.

After getting back today, a few hours disappeared into the Battletech game. I'm enjoying learning its nuances as I get deeper into the game. (I'm not too far in yet). It's a proper slug fest instead of being the much quicker, less detailed type of strategy game that people may have been expecting. This is no bad thing ...
Poor Panda Avenger took a beating there but is almost back in the fight. Panda is a little battlemech so is likely to be nearing retirement as my Lance gathers heavier mechs. It's handy having the little ones around because you can run them around, flank and hit enemies from the back where the armour is weaker. But the little mechs also pop very quickly when faced with enemy fire.

Striker Omega has replaced the Panda in the lance while the Panda is being repaired. Yep, more Pacific Rim inspired names.

What's the laptop thingy ?

I saw something going on a clearance offer yesterday. It had a pretty decent spec :

Intel i5 processor, 8GB memory, SSD + HD, IPS screen, nice keyboard, 1050 graphics chip, Windows.

I think it was £750 which is quite affordable for me and that's a tasty spec as well. Not too much to be silly, while still being capable of first person shooter type gaming which tends to demand good all round performance. But ...

Intel i5 processor - want this. It's the right level between just enough and too much.
8GB memory - considering that my desktop spends most of its time using between 5GB and 7.8GB, I'd see 8GB as a minimum.
SSD + HD - the SSD drive makes it fast, the HD gives it space. I have over 100GB in my music library now so a 256GB drive would get very cramped, very quickly. It's rare that the laptop makers give the opportunity for both types of drive.
IPS screen - essential. They're clearer and brighter than the older technology of display.
Nice keyboard - don't underestimate this in a laptop. Sure, you can get separate keyboards and mice but ... I don't use those with laptops. The keyboard and trackpad that come with it have to be very good.

So that's the good bits ... what's bad about it ?

I don't game on laptops except in circumstances where I'd be otherwise incredibly bored. (In which case I'm watching the videos or reading on Kindle instead). So a 1050 graphics chip built in is a complete waste ... at about £200 on the price of the laptop plus a knock on effect on battery life and heat output. Don't need the graphics.

Windows is continuing to cycle down expectations of quality and increase the nervousness of things going wrong unexpectedly. A few months ago I wrote that my main dvd/bluray player app on my desktop had stopped giving out sound. I couldn't fix that (it did do sound to my monitor ... but not through my main speakers).

Turns out that the problem there was a rogue Windows update, as the sound is now back. (This is corroborated by seeing how other people have had problems which have mysteriously fix themselves on later Windows updates). Software as a service is only any good if it doesn't interfere with what we're wanting to use out machines for. At the moment, it's Software as a Disservice. Windows just keeps breaking stuff.

So my next laptop is likely to be running some flavour of Linux. The make or break though is the music ... I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to switch to playing music via a Bluetooth link but I need an equivalent to iTunes 10.7 and its Party Shuffle/iTunes DJ feature, an automatic playlist where I can queue up a bunch of songs and have iTunes pick out more random ones when the ones I pick run out.

Oh and it was also a laptop made by Asus, who in my opinion bought their reputation through relentless marketing rather than actual quality. I've been burned by Asus a couple of times before I switched to an Asrock motherboard and my mum had an Asus Transformer tablet which was just ... rubbish and also broke within a year. It's not just us either, I know of other people who have problems caused by dodgy Asus hardware.

So the laptop will stay on the shelf. Very tempting, actually too shiny for what I want/need.

I think that's enough for now !

Great film;
Enjoyable game (even if I did have to save scum a few times tonight to save my pilot from injuries !)
Temptation ...

If you're buying stuff, make sure it's what you need ... which isn't necessary what you want :-). After all, the price difference between that Asus laptop and the one I have in mind from PC Specialist (not-an-ad) is enough to ...


Remember what's important :-D.

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