Wow, that went by ridiculously fast.
Some of the fun things that happened in November:
- Gabe started attending daycare.
- We drove down and spent a rather uncomfortable night in Ames so that we might surprise Liz on her birthday (the 5th) at a surprise Tailgate party. Success!
- Gabe got a head cold during this weekend and proceeded to start sleeping incredibly horribly. Screaming when he woke up at 3am, he also woke up angry every two to three hours.
- Sean came and got to experience this first hand. At least he was a great sport about it and it was great to hang out with him in person for the first time in too long.
- Gabe attained his five month birthday, which we celebrated with some great pictures, including a series of him rolling over. He now does this regularly.
- We had a weekend with nothing to do and I hung a bunch of Christmas lights, even some way up high that I had sworn to Kristin that I would not do. Hopefully she is happy 🙂
- I discovered the fun (?) of participating in distributed computing contests. Sound interesting? Check out the forum at http://forums.anandtech.com/forumdisplay.php?f=15
- We discovered that if your infant wakes up and is upset at night, it’s likely that they are not getting enough sleep during the day. More naps for Gabe, and a 6:30 PM bedtime rather than 8PM made a noticeable improvement in his sleeping behavior.
- Thanksgiving! We traveled to Iowa and enjoyed seeing family and friends and helped my family decorate for Christmas and buy a Black Friday TV. While it may be hard to believe that they had bought that huge Console HDTV eight years ago, what is harder to believe is that we wrangled that big guy into the basement without causing lasting damage to a)ourselves b) the TV or c) the house. Good work!
- Kristin and I did some cross shopping in electronics for each other for Christmas during the week leading up to Black Friday. It’s safe to say we’ll both be happy with the result.
- Liz is handy with the electronics and such and is gaining confidence there. Nothing magic was happening behind the big TV and I think she is realizing that it might be daunting but ultimately very doable to hook up and configure all these things. Impressive 🙂
- I bought one thing on Black Friday. The week leading up to it was much more engaging.
- The Vikings sucked all month and it didn’t matter if I listened, watched the game with Derek and Meghan or at Dale and Diane’s. Wow.
- Diane continued to bless us with her assistance, it’s hard to believe what would we would do without her.
- Gabe decided that he wanted to roll over and sleep that last night in November and has been doing it the couple nights since. It is freaking crazy how much nicer this makes our nights – he only wakes up once!
November in a nutshell with likely many important things missing…
Now that we are using the Wii more again, it has highlighted the chronic battery shortage in our house, specifically of AA batteries for Wiimotes, keyboards, mice, guitars etc. A year or so ago, I purchased 24 low discharge rechargeable generics and they have worked pretty well. In case you don’t pay attention to battery technology, a new rechargeable is on the scene. These new batteries retain their power like alkalines and don’t have a memory effect.
The cream of the crop are Sanyo Enelopes but they are pricey ($24 for 8, $3 each.) I have found a good deal on equivalent and well reviewed batteries but the shipping is killer for just a couple packs, but doesn’t increase much when you add more as 5+ packages adds like $.50. To that end, I would like to propose a group purchase. Let me know by Monday if you would like to purchase some AA batteries and I’ll aggregate a big order so we all get a good deal.
Let me know 🙂
I’ve always appreciated Monoprice for their cheap cables and they are widely known around the internet as the place to go for decent quality cables at low prices. What I didn’t realize is that they have such a great selection of toner and ink for printers at approprately low prices as well. Many of the toners I looked at received good reviews, so I won’t hesitate to order from them the next time I need ink. Check it out!
I am really interested in the new Dell Zino HD. First, I’d like to point out that it starts at under $250 delivered. It is like the Mac Mini in form factor, but features better hard drive, memory and graphics card expansion and capacity while also featuring slower processors. With its combination of outputs, its seems to be the perfect little box for a media center PC that is mainly used to stream media. Given its lack of expansion slots, one would be limited to USB TV tuners which is less than optimal. This is not a huge deal if you’re mainly playing back recorded TV as you would be well served to use your bigger main PC in this case to install your tuners and capture drives. For Hulu, YouTube and Netflix this guy would be awesome. A front IR port would have been nice for the use of Media Center remotes and the option for blue tooth for nice wireless accessories.
From the front.
From the back.
Pretty robust expansion with the eSata ports – this thing would be an *awesome* base for a home server with 65W consumption maximum and the ability to attach eSata drives or multi disk enclosures for just mind boggling expansion along with the prerequisite and surprising at this price point gigabit ethernet. Note you could would need an HDMI to DVI adapter for most digital panels and that you would need a mini stereo to RCA converter to get the 5.1 digital sound (just like the older Audigy cards) which is a bit of a pain, but at least the options are there.
Options go up to 8GB of ram and a 4330 discrete/separate video card. These are both luxuries as the integrated graphics are fine and you really don’t need more than 2GB of ram in most user scenarios. Especially as the CPU choices are pretty slow – the dual core upgrade would be a great one at the current price of $65. For me that would be the only change I would make as I have easy access to more Windows 7 licenses. If you are looking to make this into a real media box hooked to a TV, I would go for the 7 upgrade.
Bottom line, if you are looking for a little media box or home server, this is a great option. Even as an inexpensive desktop, the package is pretty compelling. Maybe I’ll buy one to check it out 🙂
When I come across a deal I think is good, I am going to start posting it up here…
$30 shipped Cooler Master Case
I almost exclusively use Cooler Master cases now, and while I haven’t used this exact one, I believe I have used this base chassis before. It works well – and you can’t beat a solid case that comes with two fans for less than $30 with free shipping. If you have a crappy case or will be doing a new build in the next couple of months, hit this guy up…