Category Archives: Hardware

Blog Banter 68 – Rig Check

This month’s EVE Online Blog Banter, number 68 in the series, is titled This is my Rig.

This is my Rig, There are Many Like it…
What do you play Eve on? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours! Are you pew-pewing on a laptop? Plotting universal domination on a 12 monitor set up? Mining away on a 50″ TV? Is your set up located where your other half can speak to you or do you lock yourself away for hours in your Eve themed shed? How do you play your important internet spaceships?

So I looked at my desk setup and realized that not much has changed over the last few years.  I did a post on a very similar topic back in 2007 and found that not much has changed on my desk.  So much so that I am not going to bother taking a new picture, because the old one still pretty much reflects my desktop situation.

The table is unusually clear in this picture

The table is unusually clear in this picture

Also, I would have to clean up the stacks of papers that tend to accumulated on either end of my desk for a decent picture.

But otherwise I have the same Dell 20″ 1600×1200 (4:3 ratio) monitor (still with the same desktop pattern), the same Logitech G15 keyboard (though the back lighting is going out on half the keys), the same Kensington Expert Mouse (though the ball was marred when one of the cats decided that biting it was a good idea), and the same Logitech speakers (which now have a loose wire in the volume control so I have to wiggle it sometimes to get sound).  Even the power strip and the holder for envelopes are the same more than eight years later.

EVE Online Jump Gate

Desktop picture for many years…

I am a couple of headsets down the road, though I still have the pair in the picture, a Plantronics .510 set, I just use it at work for VoIP calls rather than at home.  At home I have a Logitech g930 wireless headset, which I wrote about in another post, and which I am only moderately fond of.

And I have gone from a 3rd generation iPod to a 3rd generation iPod Nano, which I purchased not long after that picture was taken, so there is no longer an iPod dock on the desk, just a cable with the old style connector which works with both the iPod and my iPad 2.

What is under the desk has changed a few time since that picture was taken.  The big purple Alienware case is long gone.  The Velocity Micro system I got at the end of 2007, with an early Intel Quad Core processor, replaced my wife’s last computer and is still mostly suited to her needs.

The big black and well ventilated Cooler Master case from the system I built back in 2010 is still there.  However, after the big disaster of a year ago, when a power supply I had been thinking about replace went out and took almost everything connected with it, there was a pretty substantial rebuild.

So here is what is driving my gaming today:

  • Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD5H motherboard
  • Intel Core i5-4590 3.3GHz Processor
  • nVidia GeForce GTX 960 video card with 4GB of VRAM
  • 12GB of RAM
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
  • 240GB SSD for the OS
  • 2TB internal HDD for storage
  • 2TB of external HDD for backups (all those screen shots gotta live somewhere)
  • 1 BluRay/DVD/CD Read/Write unit that survived the power supply incident

All of which is enough to give the system a Windows 7 experience score of 7.6 on a scale of 1 to 7.9… because why would we do something crazy and use a 1 to 10 scale or something. (The scale is different on Windows 8 and Windows 10 if I recall right.)


I also like how your score isn’t a weighted average or anything, but just the lowest item on the list.  I smell a marketing decision.

All of which gives me sufficient resources to run most games I play with the graphic settings turned up pretty high.  Specifically, I can play EVE Online in pretty graphics mode in a big battle with two clients running and things seem to run okay.  Windows 7 does insist on turning off the Windows Aero desktop graphics when I run two clients, but that is fine by me.

So that is what I am running.  Ergonomically I am still playing in 2007, while under the covers I do have enough horsepower to play what I want to.  I’ll probably need a new keyboard at some point, and I dream of a bigger monitor some day, but for now I am still set, and there are a lot of other things on the list that come ahead of new toys for me.

Others participating in Blog Banter 68:

Kickstarter – The EVE Online Control Panel

Possibly the greatest Kickstarter project that I will never back: The EVE Online control panel.

EVE reduced to a 15 control interface

EVE Online reduced to a 15 control interface

I think this is both hilarious and completely practical.  I have no doubt that if this were on my desk, I would use it.

The only problem is that to get on to my desk it needs to be about $99.  That is the mental price/utility threshold for me.  Instead it is about $250 for a kit to build it yourself and closer to $300 for a pre-built one.  I say “about” because it is coming from Canada, so I have to convert from Loonies to Greenbacks to figure it out.  And, because it is coming from Canada, that also means a shipping charge, a fee from customs, and probably a visit from the agents of Homeland Security to inquire as to the purpose of such a device.  I mean, it says “weapons” and “drones” right there on the front panel!

Still, I do think the whole idea is pretty awesome.  And there are 20 days left to go on the Kickstarter.  Maybe there will be a demo version at EVE Vegas that will convince me that it is totally worth the price.

A Couple Days Left for the Mineserver Kickstarter Campaign

The Mineserver Kickstarter campaign is coming down to its last couple of days. As I mentioned in a previous post, this is a home hardware solution allowing you to run and maintain your own Minecraft server.


This project has my interest because of my somewhat less than stellar success with Minecraft hosting services. They have met the basic requirements of being able to have a shared experience, which I enjoy very much, but haven’t lived up to their performance promises.  And the price of an established hosting service definitely puts the rent vs. own equation back into play.

The specs for the servers are reported as:

Both are ARM-based. The Mineserver™ has a four-core processor running at 1.5 GHz, one gig of DDR3 and eight gigs of SSD. The Mineserver Pro™ has an eight-core processor running at 2.0 GHz, two gigs of DDR3 and eight gigs of SSD.

The campaign itself is well past its base goal of $15,000, meaning it should close successfully, and currently shows pledges for over 260 standard servers and over 30 pro servers.  The Kickstarter wraps up at approximately midnight Pacific time on Tuesday (it actually ends two minutes into Wednesday) after which we shall see if this project can fulfill its promise of a fast, inexpensive, and easy to manage home Minecraft server… delivered before Christmas.

Addendum:  And it is done.


We’ll see if/when/how post-Kickstart sales kick off soon I suppose.

Mineserver – A Minecraft Hardware Solution

Having fled from the impending demise of NetherByte… which was still up and running the last I checked… and its “$22.50 for six months” pricing to find refuge at MCPro Hosting, which has a better reputation, but charges about that much a month if you add on the ability to do server backups, and for less RAM, the whole “buy or rent” question has surfaced in my head again.

At what point is it worth just buying some hardware and hosting the server myself?  Visions of Intel NUC boxes float through my head, but the cost even at that end puts the return on the investment a bit too far out in the future.  If I could just put together something that would handle our group, wasn’t a complete pain in the ass to manage, and had a ROI point of about 12 months, I would be very interested.

On to this fertile mental pasture… and remember, fertilizer is traditionally most shit… lands a post about the Mineserver Kickstarter campaign.

Mineserver, according to the campaign, is a hardware and software package that gives you a headless server that you can plug into your network, administer through a web interface, can be made accessible/discoverable outside your network (so your friends can play), and even has an Android/iOS admin app that allows parents to control access from their ever present phones and tablets.

For this, the three primaries in this operation Channing, Cole, and Fallon (ages 13, 11, and 9 if I have the names in the right order) want only $99 for a Mineserver capable of hosting 20 player, or $199 for a Mineserver Pro, which is billed as being able to host 50 players and still keep its cool.  Less if you order early.

Pull the other one, right?

The tale is more plausible when you bring their father into the picture, Mark Stephens, more commonly known as Robert X. Cringely.  A long time staple of Silicon Valley, his column in InfoWorld was a must-read though his primary claim to fame is his book Accidental Empires, a history of Silicon Valley and the early tech industry, very much a must read in my cranky old opinion (along with Rick Chapman’s In Search of Stupidity, which fills in some of the missing lore), which was turned into the PBS documentary Triumph of the Nerds.  His blog, I, Cringely, is a regular read of mine and is linked somewhere down in my blogroll.

Anyway, Cringely and his tech connections and knowledge and backing of the whole venture makes everything more plausible.  The kids have clearly had access to the right sources and mentoring from the right people in order to put this sort of project together.  This gives the project credibility.

Still, I look at it and I have a few doubts.  In this sort of venture it seems to me a good plan to emphasize your strengths and obscure your weaknesses.

The strengths they are running with are cost, ease of administration via their custom software, security and safety for your kids, and server speed.

However, on speed, they are focused almost entirely network speed because the Mineserver will be plugged into your local router. (Though there is a WiFi option for people who want the box to sit somewhere else.)  That is a speed boost for people in your house, maybe not so much for anybody remote.

Things they have not brought into the picture include any details about the admin software, the discoverability aspect, the Linux distro, the Minecraft server version, the long term viability when it comes to updates and support for ongoing Minecraft development, and most important to me, any hardware specs whatsoever.

The last to me is doubly vexing.  First, as I have learned fairly quickly that, at least for hosting services, saying a config will support X players is often hopelessly optimistic.  I refer back to MCPro Hosting where, during their setup I told them I wanted to be able to host 20 players for vanilla Minecraft and they immediately recommended a 30 player option where we are constantly at edge of processor and RAM usage with four players in-game.  So when they say a Mineserver can accommodate 20 players, whose measure are they using?

Second, hardware isn’t something this project should be competing on, yet when asked point blank about specs, Cringley has declined to answer because he says he doesn’t want to project to be reverse engineered. (Comment on his blog post.)  But the secret sauce on this burger is the software, the stuff that they clearly see as the strong part of their pitch.  Hardware is a commodity and ought to warrant two lines at the bottom of the page with basic specs simple to prove that the platform has the moxie to do what they say it does.  Doubly so because whenever I show the Kickstarter to anybody in tech, the first question they ask when they see the hardware is, “Oh, is that run on a Raspberry Pi?”

Screen grab from the project video

Screen grab from the project video

I hope it isn’t a Raspberry Pi, or if it is, that they have been able to really optimize their software as I am not sure that would run anything beyond 10 players very well.  Also, Raspberry Pi as a server has been tried and talked about before.

Still, the doubts I express might just be mine.  As somebody who works in enterprise software and frets about such details professionally, I tend to have a skewed outlook.  For somebody who wants a home server this may very well be an ideal solution.

The project itself looks like a slam dunk to fund.  They opted for just a three week campaign and here, a couple days in they are just inches from their funding goal of $15,000.  (The joy of having a father people listen to, something my daughter will never experience.)  That will get them cases to kick off production, as everything else is reported to be done, so that they can start shipping out units before Christmas.  That would have to be some sort of short turn-around record for a Kickstarter project more complicated than potato salad.

It looks cool, sounds cool, and I want to believe, all the more so because of the enthusiasm of the kids in their project video.

What do you think?  Worth a go or not?  Certainly something I will keep my eye on.

Mineserver Kickstarter page

I also wonder what the guy who did the Mineserver software distro thinks about the project.  So few good names to choose from.

Addendum: The project passed its goal somewhere between when I wrote this and when it posted, so congratulations to the team.  Now where will thing go with stretch goals and such?  I hope they stay focused where ever they head.

On to 64-Bit Gaming

A long tale that is vaguely related to video games and recent news that has been sitting half finished in my drafts folder for over 18 months.

What were you doing in 1997?

One of the tasks I had at work during that year was “WinLogo certification” for our software.  That was the term used at the time for going through the process of getting Microsoft to declare you compatible with their operating system.

Anybody could, of course, claim that they were  Windows 95 compatible.  But to get the official Microsoft Windows compatible logo on your software, Microsoft had to affirm that your software was indeed up to spec.

win95_designI think it says something that in searching for that logo the best one I could come up with was in .gif format… is there anything in that format these days that isn’t also animated?  I feel cheated that the logo isn’t moving.  Also, I feel old.

I was installing Windows 95, which was the style at the time

I was installing Windows 95, which was the style at the time

Moving on.

For logo you had to go through a Microsoft approved testing lab.  The closest one to us was down in Los Angeles because the Microsoft position has nearly always been, “Screw Silicon Valley.”

Getting that logo on our product was my job for a couple months, and it was kind of a big deal for the company.  We made most of our money through OEM agreements with computer manufacturers like HP, Dell, Compaq, Micron and a few other, and for them to keep their Windows logo (and be able to sell the Windows OS) they had to make sure that all of the crap shovelware fine software they included on your new computer was also Win logo certified.  So that was dropped in my lap, which was kind of odd.  I was the new guy, so I understood getting the crap assignment.  But given how much of our income was riding on it, I am not sure that “stick it to the new guy” was the optimum strategy for success.

In the end I did succeed, so I guess their trust was well founded.  And I actually enjoyed the whole thing in a perverse way sort of way.  It involved a lot of minutia and making sure everything was “just so.”  And while I have forgotten most of the arcana involved with the process over the years… I moved to enterprise level software on Windows shortly thereafter, and enterprise doesn’t really care about that sort of thing, then eventually to Linux based enterprise level software, which double-double doesn’t care about that stuff… two things stand out in my mind fourteen years later.

First, I had to fly down to LAX, rent a car, and drive out to the certifying lab because could not figure out how to run our installer.  And, seriously, it wasn’t hard.  It was in freaking InstallShield.  And we had sent them a computer all setup with the right hardware.  All they had to do was put the CD-ROM in the drive.  I don’t know how they managed to mess that up.

Anyway, I had to travel about a thousand miles round trip in a day to pretty much press “Next,” “Next,” “Next,” and “OK.”  Not the biggest travel fiasco I ever had… there was that one trip down to New Mexico with another company to figure out why we were having so many hardware defects only to find out that the guy soldering on the power connector was Red/Green colorblind… but it certainly wasn’t the most efficient method.  And it worked, so blunt force method for the win I guess.

Second was the 32-bit requirement for the certification.  In order to get that Win logo approval, your application had to be 32-bit.  No 16-bit executables or DLLs or whatever were allowed.

Which seemed kind of silly at the time, since Windows 95 would run 16-bit software just fine.  There was a ton of 16-bit software laying around, left over from the Windows 3.1 days.  Hell, Microsoft was installing some 16-bit code with the Windows 95 operating system.  And it shouldn’t have been an issue because our software was all 32-bit already.

Unfortunately, the version of InstallShield we were using was not.

Here is how the software check worked.  The lab would run a program that would scan and catalog everything on the hard drive.  Then you would run your installer.  After that, they would run their scan again, it would identify all changes to the system and list out all of the components installed.  They gave you the software so you could run it yourself in preparation for the certification.  I ran it many times.

And every time I ran it, it came back with several items highlighted in red because they contained 16-bit code.

I was quickly able to identify the offending DLLs as being part of InstallShield.  And, since there was a process for getting an exemption for 16-bit code under certain circumstances, it was deemed a better use of the company’s time to have me get the exemption than to upgrade our version of InstallShield.  Given the number of hoops we had to jump through in order to get through each computer manufacturer’s OEM process and that the installer had to support both Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 95, both of which included a number of special OEM requirements, and had to do so in seven languages (I could install Windows NT 4.0 in Japanese without a hitch… eventually) I could see the point.

Of course, that didn’t make the exception process any easier.  One of the rules of any sort of exception procedure seems to be to say “No” to any first request on the theory that it will weed out those looking for an easy exit and then only those with a real need will move forward.  So on we went with that process, with Microsoft making it extremely frustrating to complete, with them responding with rejections that seemed to indicate that they had not bothered to actually read our submission.  As I recall, one of the acceptable reasons for an exception was third party DLLs that were not used during run time.  We would point out that it was just the uninstall that had a couple of 16-bit DLLs and that our software was all 32-bit.

This was made all the more frustrating by the fact that Windows 95, by necessity, had to run 16-bit software.  There was a huge library of software available and Microsoft was not at all keen to piss off its installed base… and maybe save IBM from itself on the OS/2 front along the way… by turning its back on that foundation.  So it wasn’t as though we were shipping something that didn’t work.  Our software did not even violate the rules, it was just the installer… an installer that almost no customer would ever use because our software came pre-installed.

Eventually we hit some sort of persistence threshold and were granted our logo certification.  By that point I had moved on to another company, but I was friends with the person who took over for me so got to hear the ongoing tale of getting Microsoft to grant us our exemption.

And then, for at least the next decade, actually being a 32-bit application was not all that meaningful.  I went on playing the original, 16-bit version of Civilization II for a long time on Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000 Professional, and then on Windows XP.  16 bit applications were supported, and remain so, on Microsoft’s 32-bit operating systems… at least to the extent that they support anything.  A lot of apps have been broken by changes and updates over the years, 16 and 32-bit alike.

16-bit apps didn’t lose support until Microsoft got to 64-bit operating systems.  But almost nobody went there initially.  It wasn’t even practical until Windows Vista… which had its own serious problems and which was effectively rejected by the marketplace… and didn’t really start becoming a popular choice until Windows 7 came along about five years back.

By which time the market had probably weaned itself off of 16-bit applications.  Even I had to finally give up the 16-bit version of Civilization II and go with the 32-bit version, the Civilization II Gold Edition, that could at least be patched to work with Windows 7 64-bit.

That is basically the inertia of the market.  Getting millions of people to upgrade both their computer and get onto a 64-bit operating system took a while, and the groundwork for that started way back with Windows 95 and the push to get developers onto 32-bit apps.  What I was doing in 1997 was part of the many steps to get to the point where companies could make these sorts of system requirement announcements:

It is almost a requirement to have a 64-bit client to play in the big leagues these day.  The bleeding edge gamers all have 64-bit systems and lots of memory and get kind of antsy if you don’t support their hardware to its fullest extent.

But it was a bit of a surprise to find somebody actually dropping support for their 32-bit client.  Daybreak just announced that 32-bit support is on its way out for PlanetSide 2.

We wanted to let you know that with the next Game Update (tentatively scheduled for next week), PlanetSide 2 will no longer support the use of the 32-bit Operating System client. We do note, based on our internal metrics, that a very small group of folks are still using this client. We hope this doesn’t prove too inconvenient to anyone impacted, and we appreciate your understanding.

That is actually a big step and I would be interested to know how big “a very small group of folks” really is.  And I wonder if we’ll hear anything else like that at E3 this week. (Topical!)

I suppose by the time most mainstream software finally becomes 64-bit only we’ll be about ready for 128-bit operating systems.

A Decade of Dual Screens – 10 Years of the Nintendo DS

I remember seeing the original GameBoy back in the early 90s.

Display Case #3

GameBoy units at the Nintendo Store

My youngest cousin, some 22 years my junior (which is about the same age difference as between my father and I) had one back then.  While I was mildly interested in it due to the fact that she had the Elevator Action cartridge, which faithfully reproduced the arcade game of the same name that I played in my own youth, overall my reaction was tepid.  I had a computer with a 17″ color monitor that played a myriad of deeper, more interesting, and much more colorful video games than the chubby little monochromatic brick battery hog from Nintendo.

But I had made the jump from arcades and consoles ages before the GameBoy showed up.  I dribbled a bit with a Sega Genesis when somebody gave it to me, but other than that I was strictly a computer gamer.  So the GameBoy was something off in the periphery.  I have vague recollections about changes in form factor, the arrival of color, and the advent of what might be the defining game for the platform, the Pokemon series of games.  Though the latter first came to my attention via the trading card game, which brought me to the TV show, and the finally to the realization that it all started as a video game.  That was at approximately the Pokemon Yellow stage of the series.  One of my nieces had a GameBoy Advance SP, which seemed like a flimsy bit of hardware.

And it still wasn’t of much interest.  The internet and online gaming was where it was at for me.

Then, on November 21, 2004 Nintendo officially launched the Nintendo DS in North America.

Again, something on the periphery of my gaming.  It was a big deal and, thus, hard to ignore.  The news bled through and I remember wondering how a two screen system would work and what advantage it would provide.  I think the fact that the unit had more buttons on it that its predecessors made a bigger impression on me.

Of course, by that time I had a daughter of my own, though she was far too young for that sort of thing.  But time passed.  I remember us being at Toys R Us one day when she started playing with one of the DS units on display.  It had Pokemon Diamond running on it and my daughter was transfixed by the idea of wandering the countryside in the game.

Not too long after that, we were preparing for a flight to Hawaii to visit family (my daughter has been to Hawaii more times in her few years than most people will go in their whole lives), when we discovered that the video player, used to maintain our sanity by keep our daughter busy, was no longer holding a charge.  It would not be an option for this trip.  Faced with six hours of “are we there yet?” my wife sent me out specifically to buy a Nintendo DS and a few games in order to keep our daughter busy during the flight.

And it had to be pink.  This was the era of the Nintendo DS Lite, the overhaul of the original hardware and maybe the best packaging Nintendo ever did.

I remember the bit about the color, because when I got to the store, they only had blue units.  So I bought a blue one because, what the hell, right?  My wife wasn’t having that, and when I arrived home with the wrong item she called around, found a pink unit, and sent me out to exchange the red unit for the pink.  That was a little over six and a half years ago.

The whole thing was a big hit, and I was as interested in the Nintendo DS Lite unit and the Pokemon game running on it as my daughter.  Within a few weeks I had my own cobalt blue Nintendo DS Lite and a copy of Pokemon Diamond as well.  I remain impressed with the unit to this day.  It is solid, the screen is crisp and clear and colorful (though a bit small for my aging eyes these days), the battery life is excellent, and the built in WiFi and connectivity with the Wii was a master stroke.

And, of course, Pokemon.

There have been a few other games we have enjoyed on the DS hardware at our house.  The Mario Kart games have been good, and my daughter has played a lot of Animal Crossing.  But the mainline Pokemon RPG games have been the mainstay of the hardware for us, the reason for having the units.  There are now five DS models in our home, all of which still function.  We have the original two DS Lite units, a DSi XL unit my daughter got as a present, and then a pair of 3DS XL units, which followed the same pattern as the originals, as once my daughter got one… and started playing Pokemon X… I had to have one too.

Overall, I have to say I remain impressed with the design and functionality of the hardware.  I have had the DS Lite out in order to transfer Pokemon between versions of the game as well as to withdraw quite a herd of Pokemon from Pokemon Ranch, and it was still a solid, comfortable device to use.

And I am clearly not alone in my admiration of Nintendo’s dual screen handheld.  Over 150 million units of the original DS line sold during its life, making second only to the PlayStation 2 in console hardware sales, and another 45 million 3DS generation units have sold as well.  That is nearly 200 million units, or nearly 400 million screens.

Nintendo seems to run hot and cold with its living room consoles.  The NES and SNES were both hot, but the GameCube was not.  The Wii was on fire, but the Wii U hasn’t found its killer app.  The game pad controller seems like a weight around the console’s neck.  They should have left that sort of thing to the handheld side of the team, as they did with the Wii.

But on the handheld front, Nintendo has been dominant for years.  How much of it was hardware and how much of it was the games… especially Pokemon… I couldn’t say, but the combination has been a winner for Nintendo for a long time now.  And there is a new 3DS unit on its way to consumers next year.

The New 3DS

Colorful buttons and a second analog control

Over at The Verge they have a timeline of Nintendo portable devices, most of them hot, a few of them… well… not.


I think we’re there.

I was actually standing in the aisle at Fry’s pondering what RAM to purchase when I decided against buying it.  I realized at that moment that I needed to account for everything that was drawing power directly from the power supply that went south on Sunday afternoon.

And, it turns out, that was the right move.  I pulled out the nVidia GTX650 ti and ran with the on-board video for a while.  I had to turn down some of the video settings in World of Warcraft, but otherwise it seemed to run fine.  I then dug out my old video card, the nVidia GTS 450 that I originally put in the system back when I built it, because I never throw any of this stuff away, and it ran find as well.

I brought Vikund back to Stormwind and had him flight flight paths up and down the Eastern Kingdoms, loading up textures and pallets along the way, and everything seemed to go okay.

Vikund on a blood elf mount

Vikund flying down from the northern island to Booty Bay

The video card seemed to be the weak link.  I pushed my luck and loaded up the empty RAM slots to give myself as much memory as I could manage, ending up with 12GB running.  I had 18GB on the old motherboard, because it had some triple interleave scheme for RAM, so I had to buy and install them in groups of three.  However, that idea seemed to fall by the wayside about as quickly as the processor socket on the old motherboard… which seemed to be about 30 minutes after I purchased it.  So I have one extra 2GB and one extra 4GB DDR3 DIMM.  I’ll put them in a static bag in the closet next to the processor I pried out of the old motherboard, in the spot left by the now active video card.  I may need one of the other some day.  Or they may just sit there like those 256K SIMMs I have from 1987.  Anyway, things ran well for the afternoon.  The system was stable.

And that is about all you can ask most days of the week.

Granted, I just about had a heart attack a few hours later.  I left the system idle in my office while we were cleaning up the house for Thanksgiving, and when I came back the system was powered down.  Obscenities were uttered as I just knew I had missed something.  Then I powered the system up and it turned out to have just gone to sleep.  I hadn’t changed the power saver settings.

So it is just down to downloading and installing software.  And updates.  I am not sure I will ever see the end of updates from Microsoft.  I was well past the 300 mark this afternoon, but this evening they found 177 more hidden away.


Life in the Windows lane I guess.

I think the biggest short term pain will be recreating my iTunes library.  All my playlists are gone.  I had a lot of playlists.  And a lot of songs ripped from CDs.  We still have the CDs, so it will be back to ripping.

But the basic games I play regularly, those are all set.  EVE Online and World of Warcraft are running.  I am even back up on GSF coms, thanks to their newbie friendly guides.  I should be in for fleet ops on Friday.

So the uncertainty seems to be past.  Now it is just a very long list of tasks.  But that I can handle.  I am good at that.  It is the uncertainty… a couple hundred dollars in and not being sure that anything I bought up to that point was a good idea or was going to solve the problem in the end… that gets me down.