SSD – Colour me impressed !

Had an early present from my wife and son for my birthday and got a new motherboard and SSD for my home machine, upgraded to a decent Gigabyte motherboard (I had an entry level £30 one bought in a bundle, which only had 2 DIMM slots so was problematic with the RAM, considering I had a 4GB pair of DDR3 DIMMs sitting on the desktop unable to plugged in after upgrading to 8GB a while back) and a nice Samsung 120GB 840 SSD.  This is the first time I have used an SSD with windows (my chromebook with flash ram not withstanding).

Installation was fairly painless, though the Motherboard and CPU were a bit quirky because of the Coolermaster cooler that I bought (Stock one sounded like a Hurricane when I first bought the Phenom), I then booted it from a USB plugged into the board USB3 ports, the end result was that windows was reinstalled within about 8 minutes and I was downloading the Magician software and the drivers ready to go.

I had a little reading to do on how to maximise the setup of the SSD devices and got everything back up and running in no time, then reconnected the existing hard drives and booted the machine up.

When I first rebooted the machine I wondered how long it would take to be shocked at getting a workable desktop inside of 20 seconds, no grinding away loading up applications, really really impressive.

After a couple of days getting everything installed it still impressing me on power up each time here and I would recommend it each time.

Mission Accomplished ! – Fen-Yu, Fury of Xuen

 

Finally after about two months worth of effort its happened, the cape is in the hands of my hunter !  What a feeling of accomplishment (great feeling, considering I don’t buy into the achievement system here because of the effort involved in it !) I cannot get a screenshot up here at the moment, as armoury is broken for my realm, so that will follow as soon as its fixed.

Killed Ordos a day later on the hunter when I was online and Garrosh to finish off the chain completely and see if I can get Warforged gear for my hunter, amusing how Wrathion loses his temper on completion of the quests I thought, nice stuff by blizzard leading into the expansion now, the trailer looks awesome for WoD and is linked below.

[embedyt]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLzhlsEFcVQ[/embedyt]

All thats left now is to run downfall each week until I get the 4 set bonus on my hunter and gear an alt up too, I am struggling big time to decide what I want to take forward with my hunter, I am tempted to roll a warlock when I pay for WoD in the coming days and see if that can be as fun as I remember, as I have all classes I have any interest in playing now at max level, though I would not mind a tanking class either. (I already have a level 80 one that I abandoned at Lich King – back in the days when I had an abundance of time to play pre-family and did not feel sick at the thought of trawling through that old content to level a character, something I just cannot face doing again at the moment, many alts and levels down the line, so roll on the insta-ding 90 when I buy WoD next month)

 

No Buff = No Runestones = :(

Now that blizzard have swapped the buffs again for the Valor points one instead of the Black Prince one, I have just completed a clear of 2 of the 4 raids that drop titan runestones and I am still stuck on 7 stones now after clearing them, so the drop rate I was seeing of 1 or 2 per clear, has floored to 0 so far, this makes it for a little bit of a miserable time in game, as only two are supposedly guaranteed drops and potentially this means another 2/3 weeks worth of clears before progressing on the chain.

#sadtimes

Grind Grind Grind….

I understand that legendary gear is never handed out in WoW and it does require effort on the part of the player, I cannot help but think in what I am doing so far, that even with a legendary item quest being accessible to all as the game has gone casual over the last couple of years, its an irritating grind all the same and lacks the skill needed to complete quests in the past (I say this off the back of having completed the “Hunter” and “Priest” Legendary quest series, I completed them both during the close up of BC not vanilla, but they were even then still challenging).  Elements of skill in quests made for a better sense of achievement than trawling through raids to get boss drop pieces, I can’t help but think that Blizzard has gotten lazy/complacent with this chain and its working through it.

I have just managed to get through the horror of a mandatory PvP element of this chain, which required no less than 12 attempts at the Temple of Kotmogu arena, and about 6 at the silver shard mine, both clearly reminding why I hate PvP where people just didn’t grasp the goals of the arena’s and the fact that PvP gear now means that people who pvp have near tank levels of health, compared to the average joe PvE player (the pvp is now diverse enough, that I think wow would  benefit from a PvP walkthrough event for the arenas, similar to what happens in the DK starting area, working through each arena to explain what goes on and what the objectives are)

Its feeling a bit endless at the moment, having ground out chapters 1 and 2 of the chain, with its endless rep grinds and raid grinds for drops, it had started to get a bit interesting in the travelling around and killing of elite mobs which made it fun (non-pvp quests aside!) to have to get back into the raids and hope for another 20 boss drops to proceed again, averaging over an hour a raid now.

The thing that glares the most at me is that I can’t help but notice the lack of creativity with the chain while progressing along it now.

 

PvP Horror….

Doing the Legendary Cape quest at the moment and finding myself horrified at having to be forced into PvP to get two wins on two BGs is no fun whatsoever.

I have long loathed and not bothered with PVP, especially since the gear evolved for PvP meaning if you don’t have “Gear” you basically are a walking target with 200k less HP than your average PvPer, added to which getting a win when your in a Random group and have no guild to fall back on, doesnt exactly make it fun at all, especially these days it seems that most Alliance teams are organised to the point a win is impossible for the average random on horde.

Going to be a very random and non-fun sticking point to get past this part of the stage to get a legendary cloak.

 

 

TV News

Its a strange thing that I find myself getting angry watching the news and how “dumbed down” it has become in such a short few years even institutions like the BBC are guilty of doing this, at 33 years old I tire watching everything have to be explained or getting broken down when theres an item which is not even overly complex.

What are we becoming ? Has social interest and ability to work out a moderately complex items of news programming deserted our country and its people ?

News should be that, news, not a lesson each time or explanation when on a topic and don’t even get me started on the endless filler of 24 hour news channels, made even worse now that the football world cup is underway !

Heading towards Draenor

I have been playing wow for a long time now, still enjoying a few hours after the boy is asleep, when tiredness allows and really glad that I am no longer anywhere near hardcore in the game as I have been, which is another cautionary blog post in the making, I find myself chugging away now for my first ever Legendary item, the Pandaria Cloak ! made easier by the fact that the game now has LFR raiding, so no need to enrol in any serious guild to get pulled through content or participate in often jealousy/envy based guild politics as I have seen or been involved in within the game previously.

Though I now find myself stuck on the 3000 valor points grind stage of the chain on my Hunter, doing the weekly quests on timeless isle, capped only by Blizzards cap on Valor point grinding.  I have decided that this Hunter is to be my main for ever more going forward into Draenor and beyond, as I no longer have anywhere near the free time or interest in the game to retain a stables worth of max levelled “pet classes” to play with.

I realise that these days I am less socially inclined in game and its quite liberating, in that I largely enjoy all facets of solo play and LFR in game these days and along with the DK/Lock, nothing much solo’s like a hunter and its gotten that I cannot face healing or tanking at all in game anymore, either aspects are just too much hassle or too involved to warrant the extra effort to be sharp for a group or raid.

Chromecast !

I have taken the plunge and bought myself one of these, at £30 in the UK it seemed to be a bit of a bargain I thought when I was looking at getting things like disney videos on youtube, which the boy loves up onto the lounge TV screen.  I decided to get one, opening it up, you realise that it came packed in a box and that was it basically, just a dongle and a usb power cable with a simple four fold pamphlet about plugging it in.

I delighted on getting it up and running quickly in our house, it was not any overly complicated, in fact I would say it was a relatively simple process getting it plugged in and setup.  Even better after plugging it in I came accross an offer giving a free £5 credit to my google play account, so in essence a free movie rental !

I have been nothing but impressed with the device since setting up, it does not require even a 10th of the configuration of the eponymous Apple TV by comparison, I also did not realise though at the time how wide this device is in its scope, I have now really retired the blu-ray player from Netflix duties as we can just cast that straight from my wife and I’s iPhones and iPads.  A plus is the ability to cast tabs in chrome, allowing for massive screen, well large screen chrome browsing (42″ TV), in all, well worth a look at it your in the market for a media device for your television.

HP 14″ Chromebook (UK) – 1 Week in – First Impressions

ChromebookLogo

After much looking around, I decided to buy a chromebook for myself, my recent decision to simplify my digital life going online with GDocs has been going brilliantly and I have never owned a laptop of my own to date, so decided to start with the Chromebook.  I had a little play with one of them on a trial batch from work and found that I enjoyed its no-nonsense attitude, just power up and your on the net and this was in the days when they were largely bricks without an internet connection.

I have bought a white HP 14″ Chromebook, the strong influence on going HP overall was the RAM, second was the screen size, I just didn’t fancy one with less than 4gb of RAM. 

I know that ChromeOS is light and not much in terms of operating overhead unlike windows, but mentally to me, probably something from my mainly windows based experiences, 4GB is the minimum I would go for, I also don’t fancy any ARM based device either, though I do like the Samsung styling, again thats probably me shaking off the “Windows” related thoughts with their dead man walking Windows RT platform.

Out of the box I have to say, I picked the HP white 14″ chromebook as the best of a bad situation mentally, I didnt fancy the option of torquoise or peach at all so its colour was a minor issue when I went to buy, if there had been a black or grey I would have gone for it and I do feel that we are quite limited in the UK as to what models we have on offer and what RAM is available unlike the US it seems, in the UK as I wanted a 4gb device, it meant HP full stop at the moment, especially as manufacturers solder in the RAM, their choices when it comes to colour are lacking with HP, the white is ok, but I do crave a decent more “normal” coloured laptop personally.

The device itself is “Unapologetically Plastic” to pinch a quote off Jon Ive from Apple, its sturdy enough and the screen is decent sized, resolution could be a little higher, it is very thin and light as a device and doesn’t carry the excess weight of other laptops I have used in the past. Hasta la vista optical drives baby !

I do have a couple of minor issues with the chromebook in that the trackpad has a single raised edge because of the recessed way its been fitted along the bottom edge of the keyboard, it could have been left flush, it makes it feel a little rough along that edge, there is also a very slight uncomfortable edge to the laptop because of the way the keyboard has been fitted into the case, it seems that its to do with the lack of a rounded edge around the keyboard of the device, so if your using it on your lap as I am now, it sometimes feels uncomfortable around the edge of the laptop on the wrists (at least I find thats the case for me), if its on a desk or flat surface, it doesn’t seem to have that issue so much, because it is fairly low profile when flat.

On powering initially it was a little frightening, first power button push and nothing, it wouldn’t boot, I thought I had a brick on my hands, it then took pushing the power cable in for it to boot up, despite it having plenty of charge when it did power up, then on its actual first boot the keyboard refused to work at all on the device, only the trackpad, so I managed to get it to shutdown via the trackpad and then rebooted it again, finally it came back up with everything working fine to the welcome screen.

From its welcome screen I input my wifi and google details and it went off and synced everything in the same as I have my chrome setup, I was already familiar with ChromeOS from my trial before and it also mimics ChromeOS if you use Chrome in “Metro” mode in windows I noticed.

The OS is lovely and clean, boots within 10 seconds and I am on the desktop and it shows me how “Simple” is better especially given that most windows machines I own take 1 minute onwards to get to a usable desktop,  I find that simple word processing, netflix, emailing and web browsing more than work well for me on the chromebook so far and I am finding my way around the extensions store well so far, I can even remote into my windows machine with Chrome Remote Desktop, next thing to stab at is works VPN if its possible.

From my first week of ownership, I think its brilliant so far and I also think that Google have done well with the Chromebook to the point where the browser doesn’t even feel like a browser when your inside the OS in my opinion.

http://www.chromestory.com/google-chromebook/ – I would recommend this site when you first switch, full of may helpful details, like the change in keyboard shortcuts, it doesnt take all that long to master at all I find and im using them easily already.

I would also recommend joining the Chromebooks Community on Google+ as its full of plenty of helpful people and information on there.

In closing I think its testament to Chromebook that I am typing this while still on the initial charge of the laptop, nearly a week later of 1 to 2 hours internet browsing per night and its still showing a little under 15% battery.

Making the Cloud Jump

google-drive-logo

This weekend was spent what limited computer time I have finally getting around to sorting out my files on my PC after some three years of various copying and pasting going on between the hard disks and many copies existing of the same file, to the point where I thought, enough is enough!

I had an issue recently where I nuked my boot partition with EasyBCD, a wrong click of the mouse by me caused havoc as my boot partition got toasted, so when I recovered it three days later when I had a chance, I have been thinking long and hard about protecting my data since then, even more so in the light of cryptlocker type virus getting into the wild.

Using Linux helps at times but I realised that I should also look to get some form of backup in place in case those things go bang big time, I invested in a portable hard disk and have sorted out a regular backup of my home machine now to prevent all of my photographs being lost.

After the recent issue with my PC, I also could not face sticking an office suite back onto my machine, outside of work I rarely use anything outside of Word/Excel for the odd letter or document, I have also used Libreoffice on Linux and Windows, but again just don’t see the need for its installation right now, deciding that I am going to trial Google Drive in the coming months.

I was already backing up my iphone photos and movies to it with the Google+ app and seeing as iCloud is telling me constantly that I am at my measly 5gb limit, it is pretty much a no brainer for me, “OneDrive” is an option as I also have a 25gb account on there, but its google where I do the majority of my day to day, relying on my Gmail account and liking its 2 step auth security.

So onto the cloud I arise, copying all data over and wondering what google will make of all my past correspondences, though loving the idea of on-access use and editing of my documents, trying to simplify my online presence and need of any base OS.