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Re: survival skills for teenage geeks

On Sat, 2003-01-25 at 14:48, Vikki Roemer wrote:
> But anyway, it was funny when my family went shopping for a new
> computer to replace our old Packard Bell P133 computer a year and a
> half ago.  We were walking around looking at all the computers,
> starting at the lower-end ones-- 600, 700, 800 MHz, ok, yeah, we
> expected that.  Then we hit the 1GHz computers and my Dad almost had
> heart failure-- "1GHz?!  Is that even possible?!" (my dad).  "Well, yeah,
> apparently..." (my mom).  "Whoa, I want one of those!" (me).  Then my
> mom pointed out the 1.3 and 1.5 GHz computers.  Since we figured that
> $1400 wasn't bad for a 1.3 GHz computer that included everything
> (heck, that was about how much we'd paid for the old one back in '96),
> we got it. :)

I want one of those too. :P My fastest machine is a PowerPC G4 at 500
MHz. Dad's laptop has some ridiculously fast Athlon XP or something, but
it's running Windows 2000, so it's kind of wasted.

> > > But those types of specs I like to keep up on.  RAM and HDDs
> > > aren't all that interesting-- they don't change as much or as
> > > dramatically as CPUs.
> > 
> > Yeah, they just get bigger and faster. What a gyp. :P
> *grin*
> Well, come to think of it, RAM is a kinda interesting-- DDR, SDRAM,
> RDRAM, etc.  Or at least, there's more to keep track of.  HDDs,
> outside of size, don't vary much AFAICT. *shrug*

RDRAM is dead thanks to Rambus' legal (illegal?) maneuvers and the
superiority of DDR. Non-DDR SDRAM is pretty much obsolete, though cheap.
DDR is king.

Which is more interesting than Winchesters, which just get bigger. Not
that I _mind_ having a 120 GB hard drive, mind you, but it's not very

> > > Video cards-- hmm, I probably couldn't tell a
> > > Geforce from a TNT2, quite frankly (although I have TNT2s in both my
> > > parent's computer and mine-- they came with them :); but that's
> > > because I don't really care overly much.  I don't play any games that
> > > require an expensive video card. *shrug*
> > 
> > Not planning on playing Doom 3, I take it?
> Nah.  I just play angband (I love angband :), chess, go, tetris, and
> xbill.  Though I do play around with desktop themes and screensavers a
> lot, so I do mind having an absolutely crappy video card, but a TNT2
> is as good as anything as far as I'm concerned.

Xbill. Ouch. For those who can't be bothered to get carpal-tunnel
syndrome the hard way (on a keyboard)...

> > > Sound cards are about the
> > > same.
> > 
> > Well, there are some that do 3D sound simulation, but the kind of game
> > that uses that also needs a Radeon 9700, minimum.
> Yeah, well, see above. :\
> If sound was a higher priority than it is, I would get a pair of
> *real* speakers and ditch the ones that I have now-- I got these
> speakers off of the old PB computer.  They came with the
> computer and when we sold the old computer to my aunt, she didn't
> want/need the speakers, but I did so she gave them to me.  Needless to
> say, they sound tinny as 'ell. :(

I have these cordless headphones now. Since the wires (between the
transmitter and computer) don't move very often, they're subjected to a
_lot_ less wear and tear. They are slightly tinnier than the last
headphones I had, but it's a small price to pay for the advantages of

> > > Basically, processors, motherboards, and the price of LCD
> > > monitors are what I really keep an eye on.
> > 
> > What about resolution on LCD monitors? Last I checked, 1280x1024 was top
> > of the line...
> Hmm, I'm not sure.  But how can you *see* anything at that high a
> resolution?

My eyes work extremely well at the distance between the monitor and my
head.  They never seem to get tired from it, either. I'm somewhat
nearsighted, but that doesn't really explain this ability of mine; more
likely it's a side effect, rather than the cause. I don't think I ever
remember having any trouble reading off monitors, even at high

As a result, I often use very high resolutions, and generally prefer at
least 1280x1024 on my 17" monitor. I would run 1280x1024 on my 15"
monitor too, were it not for the fact that my parents need to use it
sometimes, and their eyes can't handle that; they want 800x600 on it.
Neither of these monitors can support resolutions higher than 1280x1024
at a decent refresh rate, sadly, or I would push it higher. On my 17"
monitor, my font of choice for terminal windows and the like is
-misc-fixed-medium-r-semicondensed-*-*-120-*-*-*-*-*-* (in other words,
semicondensed 'fixed' at 12 points; at 1280x1024, that's a pixel size of
13, in case you haven't configured the physical size of your monitor).

It's sad that everyone else's eyes are so terrible at this range. Nobody
wants to make a 17" monitor that can do 2048x1536, but I would love

> I just want an LCD monitor because it would fit on my
> desk better than this CRT monitor does.  And it wouldn't take as much
> electricity to run it, which would make it run cooler.

And it would reduce your power bill, and it's easier on the eyes (even I
can see more clearly on such a display), and it doesn't expose the
viewer to a strong electromagnetic field, and it isn't disturbed by
electromagnetic fields from other devices (eg, unshielded speakers)...


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