Fun Time

I had actually had enough time outside of work to have some playtime over the last few months. Of course, everything has an exception, and that exception was the past two weeks for me as I've been stuck at work pretty much every evening. More on that in the work update though. For this update, I have a few topics.

New Computer: I decided to treat myself to a new computer with my tax refund this year. I normally go for the sweet spot in processor technology vs. cost but this time I decided to just get the latest and greatest at the time (February). For my gaming machine I now have an Intel Pentium 4 Hyperthreaded 3.06ghz CPU, an Asus P4G8X Deluxe motherboard, 2 Gigabytes of Matched Pair Corsair RAM, an ATI 9700 Pro video card (soon to be a 9800 Pro 256mb as soon as it ships), Sound Blaster Audigy 2 Platinum, 160gig IBM/Hitachi ATA Hard Drive, a Lian-Li PC68 windowed case (and of course I added a Blue Cold Cathode light to be ubercool ;P ), and a Antec TrueBlue 480W power supply. It runs the primary game I play (Asheron's Call 2) perfectly with all of the details and resolutions max'd. When it is at home it is plugged into my Sony F520 21" CRT monitor. I also got a carrying harness and the like to take to friend's houses or the office for LAN parties. When I do travel with the computer I have a new Samsung 191T 19" LCD screen.

New Game: Of course my new computer is COMPLETELY overkill for the new game I just started playing. A bunch of folks at work have been playing Pocket Tanks for a week or so now. I haven't had time to play at the office with them, but yesterday I went to visit one of them at home and got to finally play. WOW!!! Talk about addicting!!! I kinda knew it would be though. If you have ever heard of or played an old game called Scorched Earth then you know how addicting the simple game can be. We used to play after school back in the late 80's EVERY SINGLE AFTERNOON. Heh. Anyway, I bought PT last night and all of the expansion packs and played against the computer (not nearly as fun as against another human, wish it was network based) right up until I fell asleep... then I dreamt about the game all night long...

Ham Radio: We hired a new guy at work on one of our engineering teams who I've found out I have a lot in common with. Well... except for the fact that he has a PhD in CS... but we have a lot of the same hobbies and interests at least! He also is an "ex-ham" and as we were working on figuring out how to monitor and play back the 125khz RFID signal that is used in our badge cards so we had brought our ham radios in. That got me scanning the local repeaters again. It would seem that activity is waaaaay down for the hams even from just a couple of years ago. I do plan on experimenting with the new Internet-to-Repeater links that are being setup. Is really cool to be able to talk to a few hundred different places around the world with an HT (Handie Talkie) operating on the 2m bands (~144mhz) which at 5W should only be good for a few miles. By linking 2m repeaters up through the Internet though, you can talk to others all over the world. A new dimension that has got be interested again.

Electronics: Well, my new friend at work also got me back interested in general electronics as well. I pulled out my toolkit and oscilliscope that I've not used in years and years and started having a desire to build something again. I have NO idea what I'm going to build, but I'm thinking about a Nixie Tube Clock. Will just have to wait and see what happens here. Everything might just get shoved back in the closet while I play Pocket Tanks some more. :)

I guess that is a pretty complete update on my playtime. Now for walking.