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Computers

Hello Android wear!

For the past six months or so, I've been the happy owner of an LG G watch. Initially, I was not going to join the fray of wearable tech. The current crop of watches just didn't interest me all that much. It felt like the potential for awesomeness was there, but they were not yet awesome. That's pretty much how my experience has been so far. Awesomeness is tantalizingly close, but we're just not quite there yet. Lucky for me, this was a gift. Yay gifts!

The watch band that came with the watch was pretty bad. Within days of ownership, I swapped in the band you see above.

Things have improved considerably during my six months with android wear. The past update to Android Wear 5.1.1 was like a revelation. Suddenly, apps were able to interact with my watch. Having Google Maps turn by turn directions appear on the watch face is simply awesome while driving. Still, I can't help but feel that the seamless integration of this tiny screen and my phone isn't quite useful. Maybe I need a more feature packed watch? Maybe, I don't need a smartwatch? I have a feeling its the latter, but I want to believe it's the former.

HTPC Progress IX

XBMC Genesis add-on running on my HTPC.

There has been some movement on the HTPC that I didn't bother to post.  The HTPC is now sporting a Corsair M4 128GB SSD.  A trickle down effect since my main computer picked up a larger Samsung Evo 840.  The HTPC has also had a CPU upgrade.  The Celeron CPU was swapped out for a Core 2 Quad 9550.  The main reason for this was because certain 1080p streams would give a lot of frame judder.  Specifically from Xfinity On Demand.  1080p mkv files would play fine, but I guess flash 1080p is a much bigger processor hog than I imagined.  I also added in another 120mm PWM fan to increase airflow since I've pretty much quadrupled the CPU watt output.  Small hardware updates, but definitely the last to happen with this motherboard.

On the software end, I've been reintroduced to XBMC/Kodi.  In the past, XBMC left a bad taste in my mouth due to the complexity in setting up the software and video meta data.  That was a long time ago, when XBMC was still just getting off the ground when the original XBox was still around.  Today, Kodi w/ the Gotham skin is pretty nice!  Easy to setup, easy to navigate, easy to extend.

I had the my.movies server I'm running create the necessary .nfo files so XBMC could read everything.  And as if by magic, XBMC with a few clicks picked up my entire library of DVD ISOs and Video.TS files.  Testing revealed that XBMC can natively read .ISO container files.  That was real big news to me.  No need to do any hocus pocus with AnyDVD or rerip them to Video.TS.

I also installed Genesis.  Yeah, I think morally I'm conflicted by it.  While it's incredibly convenient, I can't help but feel like I'm stealing.  But good golly is it good at what it does.  I do wish that Genesis could list ping times to the available streams so I could pick whatever is fastest to me in terms of latency.

As the icing on the cake, I also enabled Air Play on XBMC.  Its pretty nice to be able to do that, if only from Eliza's phone and ipad.  Still, it was quite nice to see it work and work well.

So that's the update.  The HTPC lives on, and lately has been used quite a bit more.  I guess I'm inadvertently bringing us to the point where we could technically cut off our cable TV, but the convenience of having it is hard to ignore.  The price of course is getting out of hand.  Luckily we're on a promo for the next ten months or so.

It's getting serious

My messing about with Dogecoin you could say is no longer just messing about.  I've been buying up mining parts lately.  Fun times!

Corsair Carbide Air 540

As I mentioned before, work has been ridiculous.  Still is in fact.  Part of my self medicating process has involved getting a new computer case.  The much talked about, in some circles, Corsair Carbide Air 540.  It's pretty awesome.

It's also kinda big in a cube sort of way.  Everything has now been transferred over.  Interesting enough, the new case with the stock AF140L fans is louder than my old case with the side taken off.  It makes sense, but not something I was ready for.  Down the line, new fans and sleeved cables will probably get swapped in.  I'm leaning towards 3 120mm and 3 140mm Bitfenix Spectre Pro PWM fans in white.  Other cosmetic changes are being planned as well.  Need to flesh those plans out some more before I divulge any more details though.

The computer geek in my is pretty happy though.  Now back to my VBA...

self medicating

Work has been rather ridiculous lately.  So, I've been trying to cheer myself up.  What better way to do that than to buy computer parts!  I've swapped out my i7 920 to an i7 980x.  It's kind of awesome.  I had thought long and hard about upgrading to Intel's latest and greatest, but I'm going to wait.  Haswell just doesn't seem all that impressive.  The coming Ivy Bridge-E seems compelling but not yet available.  Sandy Bridge-E I deemed not worth moving to.  In the end, it seemed to make the most sense to swap out my CPU and wait until Haswell-E arrives...  May it come bearing DDR4.

A new case and some small odds and ends are also in the mail.  I'm going with a Corsair Carbide Air 540.  Very excited about that.  I had thought about decking it out with new fans galore, but it's probably best to see how it will do with the stock fans first.  In the future I'll probably setup the case with some color coordinated cable sleeves, fans, and lighting.  Not sure what color to go with though.  Black and white fans?  Blue fans?  White cable sleeves?  I'm such a nerd...