Monday, January 16, 2006

Santa Summary

Now that the holidays are over and visitors have been safely returned home, it is time to take stock of the new technology arrivals in the Haunt.

In a genuinely thoughtful manner, our main TV expired just before Christmas, providing an incontrovertible excuse to upgrade. We had purchased this Sony Wega 16:9 format TV on arrival in Singapore ten years ago. It provided yeoman service, and the shipping box served as our dining room table for our first month in our new apartment. So there were no hard feelings involved with the demise. On the contrary, I had been hoping it would expire so that I would have an excuse to get a new plasma.

Along with the need to replace the main display, it was apparent that something needed to be done about the ever mounting long distance telephone bills. While I have long been a user of Skype, the Spouse has never really taken to being tethered to a computer in order to talk to family. Indeed, when she does talk via computer, I lose use of the device, which is no solution at all. Luckily, Linksys had just released their Skype wireless phone and that proved to be the answer.

With some time on my hands, I finally got around to rearranging the PC's in the Haunt. My main workhorse is built on an Asus P4P800E-Deluxe motherboard with a Pentium 4 3ghz CPU and an ATI Radeon 9600XT All-in-Wonder video card. I originally put 1gb of memory, but have been noticing that it is being routinely consumed by all the bloatware one is forced to run. I added an additional 1gb of RAM and things are back to being snappy.

The other PC, also built on the same motherboard but with a 2ghz CPU is now mostly a server, running Skype and the Linksys wireless interface, as well as hosting Slinkserver, which runs the Squeezebox for streaming music to the main Hi-Fi. I tend to also use this machine for lengthy downloads and maintaining backups.

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