We now interrupt this anime program for some interesting developments in the tech world.
It seems that the trend nowadays is to make things “smaller”. Since I have a penchant for ‘small things’ (no pun intended [no rly]), I have been following various tech news and stuff rather closely these past weeks. Actually I’m in the market for new gadgets to fill gaps in my rather already-bloated collection. Before I start delving and salivating on cool and spicy tech gizmos, let me describe what I have right now:
Desktop: Core 2 Duo PC with 8800GT
Bang-for-buck gaming rig. I’m an FPS junkie, and my rig runs anything I want nowadays, like HL2 and other Source variants and COD4 (time-killer this). I would admit that this may be a power hog, so it hurts on our electric bill.
Lolitop: Little Falls PC
I think this is what they call ‘nettop’ nowadays, a thin client desktop for basic computer tasks. I was using a “Little Valley” 1.33GHz Celeron PC as a home server. Coupled with its low sub-50W power consumption, it’s perfect for being a NAS, doing overnight downloading and other number-crunching. I sold it already though in favor of a new “Little Falls” Intel Atom 1.6GHz PC. Gives me the same performance.
This saved me from insanity back in Japan. With a decent C2D processor and dedicated 7400 graphics this basically does everything except the latest games. 12.1″ is what we used to call “ultraportable”, but I feel it’s rather heavy. It always stays at home and I never bring it outside often.
Lolipod: iPod touch
Small, thin but reasonable screen size and resolution for anime on the go. My daily commutes are horrendous without it. I sneak in an episode or two during those long boring rides. I still need to encode my animu to make it run on the ipod, and this is sometimes a major hassle. I would have wanted some PMP that would drag-and-drop any divxvidavimkv thingy and plays it ‘no questions asked’.
Basic S60 phone. Nothing special about this one. It may be able to play music and videos but it can never replace my lolipod. Could be useful though for the occassional 3G internet sharing to the lolilap.
As you can see, I’m crazy. I have tons of gizmos (especially, 3 computers? What the hell for?) and now I want more, or at least an upgrade. So here are some of the newer gadget trends that came out/are coming out and how I may be losing my money again on these beauties. I feel like I’m spending too much.
My current processor is an E4500, that’s a spiffy dual-core 65nm processor with 2.2Ghz clock speed. Pretty average, but sometimes it hates to run along with my 8800GT graphics, it can’t catch up. As a result, I am a bit CPU-bottlenecked. Some games are incredibly dependent on CPU, and even some are not utilizing the second core yet. I wanted something with more powaa while not turning me into a poor guy. The E8400 steals my eye currently. It runs at a cooler dual-core 45nm process, and 3GHz speed is plenty. I would have wanted to go all-out for the quads (Q9300-2.5GHz and Q9450-2.66GHz) but I’m still willing to wait. I think 3GHz is a magical number, so until a quad-core 3GHz processor is cheap, I would settle for the E8400. On the AMD side, they’re quite losing the game lately with their power-hungry Phenom CPU’s that aren’t as fast as Core 2. But their graphics side are rather competitive though. If I didn’t have NVIDIA bias the 3870/4870 video card line is also a powerful graphics solution for my gaming, and it runs a tad bit cooler than my 8800GT too.
Yes I still need a home server, and I demand it to be greener than ever. Thankfully, there’s a new processor called the Intel Atom, and it promises reasonable speed at very very low power consumption. Actually my old D201GLY was the predecessor to these technologies. Anyway, I have a choice to build the rig ground-up (buy separate cpu-mobo, case, power, memories) or look into those new thin-client nettops running around. Look at that ASUS Eee Box, it’s like the Wii PC. Nice. MSI Wind PC is not bad either, large but not so, and has a DVD drive to boot. Building from scratch would save me money, but it won’t be as sexy as those two. Mini-ITX cases are expensive, and although I found one at a reasonable price, as I said, not loli enough. In the end I decided to go build my own for financial reasons.
I don’t know if I’ll sell the Dell. It is still versatile and would be a saving grace in case I go back to Japan (where I can’t carry my other computers of course). But then again back here at home, I virtually have no laptop because I refuse to carry that heavy and high-footprint load of a lappie. Thankfully, ultraportables/netbooks are all the rage right now. Ranging from 7-10″ of screen sizes with a footprint almost half of my existing laptop, these are incredibly small, and hopefully light enough to bring with me everyday. This is even more perfect for anime/internet/work on the go, and with bigger screens than my lolipod I can show my friends all the stuff I actually (don’t) want them to see. Best of both (laptop and pmp) worlds.
So many new competitors here, initially the EEE PC was the only thing in the world, but other tech companies saw it was good, and made their own. There’s actually a convention of sorts happening in Taiwan recently, and it showcased more than a handful of small laptops. IT’S FREAKING HARD TO CHOOSE! My ideal laptop would be an 8.9″ 1024×600 screen, loong battery life, Bluetooth and 3G connectivity aside from WiFi, and maybe a touchscreen. While I may be able to pick one, the prices are still astounding. Where was the promised 200$ laptop anyway?
Actually, there is another type of gadget that is similar to the ultraportables and netbook, just loli-er yet again. This is the UMPC/MID crowd, far smaller computers which may have touch screens or cellphone-sized QWERTY keypads. This is even better at portability, but I’m afraid that it may come at a similarly hefty price. They said 200-400$, but like the mini-laptops, it may be false promises. Nevertheless, the fact that I can do the full internet without much limitations in such a small device is game-changing for me. And for music and video, not much need to convert and sync.
I think the line is blurring further with pmp’s and the aforementioned UMPC/MID sector. Pmp’s nowadays like my ipod touch have some rather acute internet functions (like half-baked browsing and e-mail). If you want more functions like that you might as well get a UMPC nowadays because it does more. There is still a market for smaller-sized dedicated music players though, like the iPod Shuffle, which I also have. Very handy in case my other gadgets die out of battery, and loli enough to lose. My iPod touch still works great though, it’s still an amazing device that does music, movies, photos, mail, apps and simple browsing. Someday though I may demand the full internet in my pocket, and it can’t deliver that right now. My eyes would sway towards those UMPCs indeed.
I don’t expect an upgrade anytime soon. My idea of a phone still works. As long as I call and text, that’s all the function I need for a cellphone. Nowadays things like the iPhone and other smartphones are trying to bridge the gap between phone and UMPC, but I don’t think they have gotten it right yet. Most phones (and Nokia is specially notorious of this) have low-resolution QVGA screens, which are horrible for mobile web, and though browsers like Opera Mini are making it better, it still pales in comparison to what true computers can handle. It is especially with this internet age, where Web 2.0, AJAX and streaming videos are all the rage. So as long as there are no major developments in this arena, no upgrade for me. Newer smart phones like XPERIA is upping the game though, bringing more UMPC-like functions to a phone.
On the other hand, the technology within this industry may entice me a bit. My phone doesn’t have HSDPA, but I see that kind of mobile internet as sufficient enough speed for my needs. It would be nice to couple an HSDPA-enabled phone with my laptop/UMPC/whatever internet device and surf efficiently on the go.
Well that’s it, a brief look at some of the latest tech from huge to small that somehow matters to me. Surely I may have similar tastes as yours especially if you are on the bang-for-buck segment. These gadgets enable us to do our thing more efficiently and effectively, whether it be work, communications, fun and games, anime and related things, or any other stuff you and I may want… like, er… ****? Yep, can’t count that out I guess.
PS: By **** I meant r0ri, not pr0n
PPS: no rly
PPPS: not a lie.
… oh wait.