baratron: (corrosive)
My Macbook Pro is officially no longer at the minimum spec for Elder Scrolls Online, so I need a new computer. Since Apple don't make laptops with sufficient graphics capabilities for gaming, I'm being forced back to a PC. I am not very happy about this and will be keeping my Mac for work purposes, most likely.

I'm looking at a couple of "extreme gaming" laptops online. (I don't know what "extreme gaming" is - I've been assuming it's like extreme ironing. In which case I don't need to worry too much because my physical limitations prevent me from climbing narrow rocks in order to play my video game at the top of them. Also, I'm pretty sure that the internet connection isn't too good up most mountains.)

Since laptops are not easily upgradable, one must start with the best possible spec now in order to make sure that the machine is still usable in 5 years time.

I've got it down to 2 possibilities. One has a better screen (GLOSSY 3840 x 2160 rather than matte 1920 x 1080), the other has twice as much video RAM (8 GB vs 4 GB). The one with the better screen and less video RAM is also lighter (2.5 kg vs 3.1 kg). My MacBook Pro is something like 2.7 kg including its fancy case, so I know I can just about lift that much.

Here's the spec:
  • 15.6" glossy 4K PLS LED widescreen (3840 x 2160) - sounds like insane resolution to me but it's the only glossy screen that was offered. I'm not going back to matte after using a MacBook Pro.

  • Intel (R) Core(TM) i7 Quad Core Mobile Processor i7-4720HQ (2.60 GHz, 3.5 GHz Turbo)

  • 16 GB Kingston SODIMM DDR3 1600MHz (2 x 8 GB)

  • NVidia (R) GeForce (R) GTX 980M - 4 GB DDR5 Video RAM - DirectX (R) 11

  • 250 GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD, Sata 6 Gb/s (upto 540 MB/sR |520 MW/sW) - deliberate choice, I can't see myself needing much storage space considering that I've only used about 240 GB of my current hard drive on a machine which has both games and work on it.

  • Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit /w SP1 - inc DVD & License (YES! Not Windows 8.1! Also a free upgrade to Windows 10 when that's released.)

  • Obviously it has a sound card and some USB ports, but I'm not hugely excited by those. They're just there.

  • Various warranties, etc.

Does that sound good? I hope it should last for the life of ESO, anyway. The price for that spec is £1216.67 ex VAT or £1460.00 inc VAT.

Have any of you ever bought machines from PCSpecialist? Richard knew of them as a place where you can get custom laptops, but neither of us knows what the build quality is like. Also whether it's possible to get an "extreme gaming" laptop with this kind of spec from anywhere else for cheaper.

I kinda wish I could get the glossy super high resolution screen and the extra video RAM on the same machine, but that doesn't seem to be an option.
baratron: (rainbow chemistry geek)
Who wants to buy me this for Christmas/Yule/Newtonmas?
baratron: (science genius girl)
Too tired for personal update. It's Techniques Week, which means several days of sitting through lectures, and two early morning starts. (10 am at College means leaving the house before 9, which means getting up at *mumble*...)

Instead, have some pictures which will make geeks laugh, weep, or both: Signs on chemistry labs at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

What IS wrong with the picture? )
baratron: (baratron again)
[ profile] xiphias brings us great news of epic geekiness!

Go to

Click in the browser window, and type in the Super Contra cheat code (for those of you who don't know, it's


Well, on Super Contra, it's "start", but a computer doesn't have a "start" button and does have an enter key, so there.)

Something awesomely geeky happens.

Edit: Well, that's no fun! They took it down! Click the cut-tag for what you missed.

Read more... )
baratron: (Default)
Three snippets of recent conversation:

Richard (getting dressed & pulling clean underwear out of a drawer): "I think these pants have had it. Look at the elastic! It's not elastic any more, it's undergoing plastic deformation!".

Me: "Hooke's Law in action!"

Tim (coming into our room as we were getting up): "Oh, you've got the big bear in bed with you!".

Richard (rolling over sleepily): "This is my bed! I always sleep here!".

Tim: "Perhaps I should have said 'the big bear (white)', to distinguish him from any big bears (brown)".

Peter (talking about somewhere they'd eaten recently): "It's quite a smart pub. They have games. We drank a bottle of wine and played Scrabble."

Tim: "Only the pieces were muddled up like they came from several different sets."

Peter: "So you could draw a Q and put it on the board, and then draw another Q."

Tim: "There was one tile which was the same size as a normal Scrabble tile, but had letters on both sides. And another one which was 1/4 of the size of a normal Scrabble tile, with the number 4 on it."

Richard: "For all of those words with a 4 in, obviously."

Tim: Maybe it was from a set of Chemistry Scrabble!

Richard: "You could have double and triple atom score, and double and triple bond score..."

Tim: "But would you be allowed free radicals? That's the question."

Me: "I don't think so. Anything can be a radical - CH3 dot would be too cheaty. It would have to be actual molecules and compounds only."

Richard: "You'd be screwed if you drew helium, though."

Me: "I guess it would have to be no Noble Gases."

Richard: "It would be even better if it used organic notation with all those zigzag lines. You'd be able to add a benzene ring to the end of any atom on the board!"
baratron: (pokemon fan club)
This is what I've spent my evening doing: making the PINKEST, UGLIEST Pokemon team EVER.  I've taken all the pink Pokemon I don't care for - plus a lot more that are perfectly fine-looking in their normal form but go hideous when shiny.

If you can't be bothered to go to the forum and read my post, or it's taking forever to load because either 'Charms or Bulbapedia is lagged again, then look behind the cut-tag for the important part. Read more... )
baratron: (baratron again)
Happy birthday [ profile] stellarwind! Don't try to tell me it was in December, I've only just got your present ready. Me singing the Portal song. About 3 MB. Not entirely in tune.

More voice recorder silliness: A previous recording gets interrupted by my phone ringing, causing me to completely lose the tune. Save the file and skip ahead to about 1 min 15 sec (1.4 MB). And I bemoan Noun Disease, with the extra irony of an unintentional word displacement near the end (354 kB).

This will be especially fun for anyone who's never heard my voice. Maybe.
baratron: (richard again)
Yesterday [0] I wrote a web forum post about human cloning. I wanted Richard to read it to see if it was comprehensible to non-scientists. So I asked him "What's your cell biology like?". He answered "Non-existent", before correcting himself to "Much like any other wuzzie's." Yes indeed, Richard is made of wuzzie cells, which are principally proteins, carbohydrates, fats and water...

Richard is back from his trip to Germany with his other girlfriend [1]. He reports they stayed in a Center Parks, which was mostly civilised. However, he had some trouble with the All You Can Eat buffet.:
"What's this?"
"How about this?"
"And, er, this?"
"Meat, wrapped in meat."

Apparently, he is pleased to be home with me, where I will feed him vegetables.

Mind you, Ludy reports that [ profile] plumsbitch coined a phrase "meatamours" - for when your partner is vegetarian but your partner's partner is an omnivore. Richard is now thinking that the next time I go to see Ludy, he's going to grab Alexa and go out on a Meat Date. Well, once he's recovered from the All You Can Meat buffet, that is.

[0] 3 days ago, now, as I wrote this entry 2 days ago but didn't get round to posting it, as dealing with Microsoft ActiveSync took too much effort for my then state-of-brain.

[1] Although Richard is monogamous with people, he's so not monogamous. His three partners are me, his machines, and paintball. I suspect we're all about equal in his affections. Some women would find it offensive to have to share their man with a lathe and milling machine, but I'm enough of a geek to get the attraction. Fortunately.
baratron: (me & alexa)
irc transcript from, just now:
[23:26] * Otterylexa talks to the object of poing on the phone
[23:28] * astalice giggles at the Otterylexa talking to the object of poing
[23:28] * Otterylexa grins*
[23:29] * fluffymormegil emits happy fluffy poly squee
[23:30] * Otterylexa absorbs a squeeon and emits an poingon
[23:32] astalice: lol!
[23:32] astalice: i am so putting that in livejournal
[23:32] fluffymormegil :)
[23:32] Otterylexa :-P

[23:41] astalice: gah! i keep missing "amused" in the mood drop-down
[23:41] astalice: it won't work at all if i pick "aggravated" or "angry" by mistake!
baratron: (grinning)
I have bought a new phone which is a Windows mobile mini-PC. It's quite scary. It comes with all sorts of Evil Empire programs, like Word Mobile, Excel Mobile, Powerpoint Mobile and Windows Explorer. As they were all free, I shall probably not uninstall most of them. Eeep.

This is the first time I've changed my mobile since August 2003, so I feel vaguely justified in doing so. The idea is that I can have internet access when I'm anywhere with wi-fi. So I won't have to take the laptop to the US, but also won't piss off people at alt.polycon by monopolising their laptops for hours at a time ;) I'd been wanting one of the Nokia Communicators, but the one I wanted was never released on Orange.

As we are fluffy treehugging hippies, my current Nokia 6100 will be recycled as my mum's new phone. This means my old Nokia 8310 will be free, if anyone wants that. (Small phone, small monochrome screen, shiny blue lights. In the grey & navy colour scheme called Eternity. Currently locked to Orange but that's fixable.) Richard's Nokia 7650 is also available free to a good home, also currently locked to Orange. (Scarily, the 7650 has a Wikipedia entry.)

I'm trying to transfer the numbers from my old phone, but there are many numbers of uncertain veracity. As I have to type in all the data by hand, I can't be bothered to enter out of date numbers. Hence, a poll.Read more... )
My phone numbers are unchanged - same main number, and same Line Two number (if you have that - I can't ever remember it).
baratron: (baratron)
A few weeks ago when I had a cold, I sent Richard out to buy a new mammal thermometer, as the Feverscan forehead thermometer in the cupboard had an expiry date of 2005. For some reason he wasn't able to buy a new Feverscan thermometer - the only ones they had in Boots said they were only suitable for kids "up to age 12". So he bought a ridiculously sophisticated Braun in-the-ear thermometer that cost about £40, which is basically a home version of the type of thermometers they use to check your temperature in hospital. Just like the house thermometer we have, it is battery-powered and records temperatures to the nearest 0.1 degrees C. Unlike the room thermometer, it has a memory which stores the last N temperatures recorded, and came with 25 disposable plastic caps for hygiene between different users. Of course, we are geeks & technophiles, so it will probably be unsurprising that I've become completely obsessed with checking my temperature :)

So I can tell you that my normal waking temperature is 36.9 degrees C; my normal daytime temperature is 37.0 degrees C; and my normal just-before-sleep temperature is 36.6 degrees C. This confirms to me that the hospital was crazy to start panicking and feeding me paracetamol every time my recorded temperature was 37.0 on one of those thermometers - I'd thought it was entirely within the range of normal. Should I ever be unlucky enough to be in hospital again, I doubt they'll believe me if I tell them "37.0 is normal for me", but whatever.

It's an in-the-ear thermometer, right? So the results are influenced by anything hot I might have been placing close to my ear, like mobile phones. Now, the possible cancer-causing effects of mobile phones are highly controversial - basically because if it's true, it screws up a lot of basic wave physics. Read more... )

Why was I thinking about all this anyway? Well, I measured the temperature in my left ear, that had been against a hot phone for 20 minutes, and it was 37.6 degrees C. The corresponding temperature in my right ear was only 37.3 degrees C. Two minutes later, these had dropped to 37.3 degrees C (left ear) and 37.1 degrees C (right). Temperature, even quoted in kelvin, isn't on an absolute scale --> doubling the temperature doesn't mean there's twice as much heat energy present, so it's hard to know these numbers mean; let alone what difference an increase in my ear's temperature of 0.6 degrees C over 20 minutes could make to the long-term health of my cells. I still need to do a control run where I simply lie in bed with one ear pressed against the pillow for 20 minutes, as lying on one side is something the manual of the thermometer says will make a difference to recorded temperature. But it was enough of a difference for me to notice & sit here doing bad maths on for several hours.

I wanted to get you some references for all of the stuff mentioned below the cut, but Wikipedia's Electromagnetic radiation hazard and Wireless electronic devices and health both referenced the page The Dangers Of Electro Magnetic Radiation (EMF), which I am finding impossible to take seriously. Somehow, I tend not to trust "science" when it's spouted by a so-called medical professional in combination with such wonders as "You may choose not to wear a quartz-analog watch because it radiates pulsating EMFs along your acupuncture meridians." Riiiiight. Apparently, "Eyeglass frames should ideally be made from plastic with no wires in them, otherwise they can serve as an antenna to focus the radio and cellular phone waves directly into your brain." Uh-huh. I recommend aluminium foil helmets to anyone concerned about such things.

I do trust the World Health Organisation, but their factsheet Electromagnetic fields and public health: mobile telephones and their base stations dates from June 2000 and there's been a lot of new research since then. Wikipedia's Mobile phone radiation and health has more recent references, but I'm really far too tired to plough through them to see which seem reliable tonight.

Also, ... )I am a nerd.
baratron: (Sims 2)
Reasons I love The Sims part 814:
You get to ask questions like "if I have 6 clones, and I get every clone to Family Kiss every other clone, how many kisses will there be in total?"

The answer... )

I do love Family Kiss - and it's especially cute when it's clones kissing each other :)
baratron: (pokemon scientist)
Oh, this is hilarious: The Adventurers of Nemesis. Basically it's a poem by Nemesis from Pokecharms featuring various 'Charms regulars in cameos and lots of in-jokes. I turn up as a mad scientist. Muahahahaa!

The bit where I come in... )
baratron: (baratron again)
HoopyCat:   dammit, i broke my dishwasher
astra:      how didya manage that?
HoopyCat:   overtorqued the #9742945 washarm nut
astra:      one must wonder what you were doing fiddling with the #9742945 washarm nut in the first plae
HoopyCat:   there was a fair amount of sediment making it onto the dishes, so i figured i best figure out what's going on
HoopyCat:   i disassembled it until i got the jar lid out from under the filter, and in the process of reassembling it, snap goes the washarm nut.
astra:      ah
astra:      is that a standard part?
HoopyCat:    9742945? very much so. it's in stock 4 miles away, and will cost about $5. i'm damned sure they're closed, though.
green_onion: ...
green_onion: it's just a nut?
green_onion: why not run to the hardware store?
green_onion: ultra-fine thread or something?
* green_onion just finished tapping threads into a bottom bracket, and as such is in a handy mood
HoopyCat:    g_o:
HoopyCat:    it's a 9742945, dude. you just can't find those anywhere.
green_onion: haha
green_onion: that looks more like a screw, dude
HoopyCat:    Personalized Results 1 - 10 of about 110 for 9742945. (0.43 seconds)
HoopyCat:    alright, so you *can* get them in many places, just not at 8:40pm.
astra:       i must admit i am curious about how you found out it was called a 9742945
HoopyCat:    g_o: it's a nut and a screw, is there anything it can't do?
green_onion: a scrut
green_onion: or a nrew
HoopyCat:    astra: i had originally noted the model of my dishwasher, and was prepared to use advanced computing technology to find the part number. however, i also brought the part with me, and noticed it says "9742945 8268873 IGD" on it
* astra snickers
* astra is sorely tempted to post this entire conversation to livejournal, along the lines of "why i love hoopycat"
HoopyCat:    given that 8268873 is 24 Pair Lot Mens White Ankle Socks, i went for 9742945.
astra:       lol!
baratron: (SimFreezepop)
[ profile] lizenthusiasm: Oh my God!!
[ profile] seandrinkwater: This is crazy... Can we use this?
[ profile] kasson: My digital girlfriend is kinda hot. ... Hey, this is much better than the Depeche Mode video. ... I wish my bedroom was this cool in real life.

Yes, the Super Sekrit Project got revealed - in the form of a video for "Emotions & Photons" shot entirely in Sims 2. Heh. It will be online at some point - we have to figure out how to compress it, and then it's probably going on the band's official web site or something.

If anyone would like me to say anything other than "squee!", you'll have to wait a few days, I fear.

Proper gig review when I have regained enough sanity. The MASK!! by the way was a great success. Only 4 people gave me grief about it, and two of those backed down when they found out it was for medical reasons. I only actually thought I was going to puke at one point after the gig had finished, and drugzzz + Olbas Oil sorted that out. Hooray! Not least of all because this means it is no longer entirely out of the question for me to go clubbing - especially if the club is suitably musically-oriented that having people turn up looking all Cyber is entirely normal.


Also, photos.
baratron: (silly)
[ profile] baratron: i must say, i want simkasson's bedroom in real life
[ profile] hoopycat: s/simkasson\'s/kasson in my/
[ profile] baratron: :P~~~~
[ profile] baratron: i suppose if he came along with the room, that would work quite well, yes
[ profile] hoopycat: *grin*
[ profile] baratron: seriously, this is such a cool room. wanna see a picture?
[ profile] hoopycat: sure
[ profile] hoopycat: wow, that's rather neat
[ profile] hoopycat: i like the, uhh, shark.
[ profile] baratron: it's an inflatable shark!
[ profile] baratron: shark attack shark attack shark attack!
[ profile] baratron: etc
[ profile] hoopycat: of course. it's just, uhh, there
baratron: (SimFreezepop)
Whenever I go to do anything with simFreezepop when I haven't played them for a while, I have this problem whereby I feel compelled to download lots more clothes for them. 5 hours later, my Downloads folder has expanded, and I'm too tired to do anything except play dress-up dolls for a bit then go to bed. Hrm.

Today, I believe I have beaten that record. 3 hours in Photoshop, and the differences between the "before" and "after" outfits are so small, I doubt you'll even be able to notice them. ~300kb image )

What a dork I am. Still, the new version is almost identical to an outfit that real-life [ profile] kasson has now. I think the 3 hours were worthwhile...

Edit: For those playing along at home, there are 6 differences. Can you find them all?! ;)

Edit 2: More lunacy! for which I blame [ profile] meeping. SimFreezepop do Cosplay.
baratron: (grinning)
And now for some randomness from irc the other day. The information about a new game, cut & pasted into irc with our comments on it. Sorry for writing entirely in lower case - it's the way I do irc in real time without killing my thumbs. CAPTAIN ENGRISH! )

Love is...

Mar. 7th, 2006 11:34 pm
baratron: (pop'n music best hits)
... sharing your earworms :)

Here's a bunch of totally crazy flash animations. Music by Lemon Demon, a.k.a. Neil Cicierega, the guy who invented animutation at the age of 14. Videos by Andrew Kepple, a.k.a. Too Much Spare Time, and Shawn Vulliez. Audio is pretty much essential, so don't play them at work unless you have headphones - although deafies can enjoy most of the videos as there are subtitles :)

Geeks in Love. SO TRUE!

The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny. I defy you not to get this song stuck in your head forever and ever. You can download it on MP3.
this is the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny
good guys, bad guys, and explosions as far as the eye can see
and only one will survive, I wonder who it will be
this is the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny

When Robots Attack. This song isn't so immediately catchy, but the video is hilarious, and by the time you've watched the video three times, you'll have the song as well. ARGH!

I've Got Some Falling To Do. Funny video. Funnier song. Features a giant squid!

I'd also link to Ebaum's World Dot Com, but it helps if you know what that site is and why it sucks. (Basically, it's a site that steals other people's animations and hosts them, without proper credit being given. Sometimes it doesn't even host them, it just links directly to the other site and steals the bandwidth. And it's impossible to get your work off there. Yuck.) More songs available here.

No one should be this damn talented at the age of 19! As well as inventing an entire genre of animation, he's released 4 CDs full of earworms like these. I've never managed to write a song worth listening to in my life. I'm so jealous! I'm going to have to buy the CDs!


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