My New Computer

I have being using my old computer for almost 4 years, it is about time to retire. It took me a while to put together the specification for my new computer. The new branding scheme of Intel processors is very confusing. I had to read a lot to understand what’s the difference between i3, i5 and i7. At the end, I figure that I don’t really need hyper-threading, so I am OK with a quad core i5.

I picked i5 760 based on the review on Tom’s Hardware. It suppose to give me the most bang for the buck. I picked a medium range graphics card, AMD 5750, base on Tom’s review as well. I do not play much games so I don’t need a high end graphics card and save my budget. I am big fans of Asus motherboard, I forgot how long I have been choosing Asus, probably since high school days when I built my own computer. I got a Asus P7P55D-E which support RAID, SATA3 and USB3. Motherboard is something too much trouble to upgrade, so I better pick one that can address the need in the next few years.

Since I got a SATA3 motherboard, I get a Western Digital SATA3 hard drive as well. It seems SATA3 is still pretty new, WD is the only manufacturer has SATA3 offering. I settle for a 1TB hard drive since I can reuse my two 500GB SATA2 hard drive, run a RAID0 and turn it into another 1TB hard drive. My computer has 2TB internal disk space, plus an external 1TB hard drive for backup, that makes it 3TB in total. Moreover, hard drive is pretty easy to upgrade in the future if I need more disk space. I also have another 2TB backup drive connect to my router and three hard drives with a total of 800GB in my old computer. I have almost 6TB of storage in my house.

I go cheap on RAM this time and only got 4GB. The moment I installed Windows 7 and virtual PC, I regretted my decision and wish I had bought more RAM. My major concern is there is virtually no 4GB dimm on the market. If I want to get 8GB of RAM, I will have to buy 4x2GB dimm and used up all my RAM slot in the motherboard. I will just wait a bit and get another 8GB of RAM when 4GB dimm is more common.

I was talked into getting a pretty good computer case. I used to get the cheaper case on sales, but this time I got a Fractal Design R3 computer case. It looks really cool with the shinny pearl black look. Other than the looking good, it is very functional. It has air filter to prevent dust building up inside the case. All screws of the case has padding so the case is very quiet, it won’t have the annoying humming sound when the parts gets loose. The internal design is very smart, the opening of the hard drive bay turned 90 degree and facing up instead of facing the mother board. The wiring is a lot more tidy and make changing hard drive very easy. I keep my old mouse and keyboard, but I get rid of my old 4.1 speakers and get a pair stereo speakers. My old 4.1 speakers just has too many wires.

I have to install drivers and software for both my new and old computer. I reformatted my old computer and put it in living room using the LED TV as a super size monitor. It is nice to have a second computer in the living room so I can use the living room space as well. The two computers are hooked connected in home network and all the hard drives are mapped. I set up VNC for them so I can control one machine from another. The living room computer is connected to my Wii USB hard drive, so I can use it to transfer downloaded Wii games. Setting up my two computers took up all my free time in the past 2 weeks, that’s why I am really falling behind in my blog update. The old computer is up and running with essential software, I can focus in finishing setting up my new computer, so my life can go back to normal.

Wii

I finally got a Wii, 3 years later to the party. I didn’t buy it, I inherited it from my cousin who moved back to Hong Kong. Although the console is free, but it does not come with any controllers. So I have to spent some money to buy a few controllers. $15 a Wii remote with nunchuk from eBay, much cheaper than buying from Future Shop.

Believe it or not, I never own any gaming console. I never have a Red-white Nintendo, no a Sega, not Playstation, no XBox. I am used to playing games on my computer. Wii is the first console I have and I did not even buy it. The feeling of playing games on TV is quite different. I feel I have less piracy because anyone walk by can see my screen. Playing games on the couch is actually not as comfortable as sitting on office chair in front of the computer. The couch is designed for sitting lay back, passively receive the content from the TV. Playing Wii requires active interaction and naturally draw your body closer to the TV, which is not the most comfortable position.

I have been debating whether or not soft mod my Wii for a few days. On one hand, I don’t want to go over the trouble of soft mod the Wii and risk bricking it. On the other hand, I would never spend $50 on a game. At last I swallow my pride as an engineer, paid $40 and let someone soft mod it for me. Soft mod is a must for Wii to play download games. So far I have downloaded a dozen of games, I have spent a bit more some time playing Super Mario and the Gundam Wii game which I think eventually I may finish them. For the other games, I opened each one of them and lost interested pretty soon. I found playing Video game is just a waste of time in general, especially some games won’t foster any collective memory.

Other than playing downloaded games, the bonus of soft mod my Wii is the Home Brew Channel. (Read more at Wiibrew) I can run all soft of applications and thinker with my Wii. I installed Google Earth for Wii, a VNC client to copy my desktop from my TV over the Wii using the Wii remote as a mouse. The gold mine is really tons of ancient gaming console emulator. I can downloaded ROMs of old games from Snesorama and ROM Nation. I have played old games with emulator on my computer, but it’s different. You gotta play console games on a TV. I found I enjoy playing those ancient games more than the new Wii games. I feel like the Wii emulators finally filling the hole in my heart that I did not own any console game in childhood.

荒川爆笑團

很難形容《荒川爆笑團》這套動畫﹐改篇自中村光的漫畫﹐第一季是十三集的短篇動畫﹐跟漫畫話數採用一集多話﹐每話只有三數分鐘。故事完全無跡可尋﹐描寫荒川橋下一班怪人的日常生活﹐他們嚴重脫線非常好笑。一般這動畫可以歸類為電波系﹐不過我其實也不太明白電波系這個字的意思。一說電波是指來自外太空的電波﹐被電波干擾的人行為超乎常理﹐旁人難以理解他們的想法和行為。

故事完全無厘頭違反常識﹐甚至挑戰一般人對常識的理解。在外人看來﹐荒川橋下生活的人全部精神有問題﹐有幻想自己來自金星的少女﹐有穿著綠色塑膠衣扮河童的村長﹐有以為自己是修女的傭兵大叔﹐有頭載星星頭套的過氣歌星﹐有只會源著白線走的中年社會人﹐有頭載鐵筒以自已有超能力的鐵頭兄弟。可能顧及市場需要的關係﹐樣貌騎呢只限於男性角色﹐女性角色外貌清一色賣萌﹐不過性格同樣跳線。她們當中有天然呆和毒舌系﹐甚至會變身北斗之拳式肌肉人的雙重性格。劇中的男主角算是最正常的角色﹐可是當他在橋下生活了一段日子﹐他自己也漸漸被同化了﹐適應習慣了橋下那套生活模式﹐甚至懷疑起自己的常識性來。

原本看動畫無需特意考究﹐不過看日劇時偶然發現﹐荒川河原來是流入東京灣的主要水源。河床兩岸的景色如動畫中描述一樣﹐是沒有被開發的綠化地帶。在河床地帶建立自給自足的小社區﹐有種菜的菜園也有養牛羊的牧場﹐社區中的眾人雖有古靈精怪﹐但他們也守望相助﹐以物易物去換取生活所需。在鬧市中被遺棄的地帶﹐建立烏托邦式的小社區﹐也是一件很浪漫的事情。在動畫中可以無視常理﹐加上主角又很方便地是全日本最大財伐之子﹐他們一眾怪人才可以優哉悠哉地生活。雖然在現實不可能發生﹐但日本畢竟有給人這樣的想像空間﹐香港四週也是石屎森林﹐在城市中浪漫地流浪完全不可能。試把荒川河換成城門河﹐想想也覺得大煞風景。

Free money

I just got $90 from BCLC (British Columbia Lottery Corperation) totally risk free. BCLC is the government charted lottery company in BC. They just started a new online casino business. In order to attract customers, they give out $100 token any new registered customer who deposit $100 into the account. As an engineer who had learn probability, I know those are free money at once. I can easily cash out the $100 by playing sicbo (big-small), betting on big and small at the same time. I lost a few games to triples, but since I only bet a small mount each time, I still have $90 out of the $100 after all the tokens are converted to cash.

I wonder how much money BCLC loss by luring customer this way. BC has 4.5 million population, times $100 per person, that comes to $4.5 billion. According to BCLC’s balance sheet, it only has $3.1 billion of net asset. If everyone in BC did exactly what I did, take the money and never come back again, we can bankrupt BCLC! Maybe anti-gambling organization should mobilize everyone get their $100 free money. What’s a better way to fight against gambling by bankrupting the casino?

On top of that, I suspect how many customers will BCLC get for their online casino. Gambling in a real casino, at least you can feel the physical atmosphere of a casino. Gambling in an online casino, it’s like just playing a crappy video game with poor graphics. Your money only shows up as a number on screen and all you can do is just making a few mouse clicks. What’s the fun of that? Since the odd is against gamblers, you already lost the moment you bet. Why would anyone want to lose money by clicking the mouse? I can click the mouse for a lot less money. Any reasonable mind would not find any amusement from gambling in online casino.