What I’ve been up to

August 23, 2010 by Tim

I’ve had better weeks. Not that anything terrible has happened, but rather a string of frustrating minor annoyances that are playing havoc with my “list of things I’d rather be doing.”

A couple of Wednesday’s back, my internet suddenly went kaput. Not so far as complete outage, but more along the lines of “Remember 56k dial-up? Enjoy!” The ISP called it “degraded service”. No shit. It lasted for a little over seven days, during which I couldn’t stay online long enough or connected well enough to do anything of consequence. Surfing was a pain, it was a struggle just to upload the comics, and online gaming was out of the question.

As annoying as it was, there was a silver lining. Sans internet, I got a ton of stuff done around the house, and on other projects here in the office. Unable to play any games online (the internet went to shit literally ten minutes after I bought Monday Night Combat on XBL… go figure), I scoured my backlog for single player games that didn’t get much play. Having just recently played the demo for Mafia 2, which I’d enjoyed, I came across the Godfather 2 which I’d only played for half an hour or so. I was in a mobster mood, so I fired it up.

I played the original Godfather game in a similar way, having neglected it for a while, only to come back to it and find out I really enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun with the sequel, and it had all the building blocks for a near-perfect game, except one. It was way too easy. If there had been a difficulty setting to make the game more challenging, it would have been perfect.

Still, it was a good time, and is now the first game in which I’ve ever gotten 1000/1000 achievement points. Partially because it was a fairly easy game, but mostly because I had no internet… what else was I going to do?

I also finally got my painting table set up in the new house, and got back to painting my Warmachines/Hordes armies. I had a half-painted Dire Troll Mauler that I’d been working on last year, and then we bought a house and the painting/playing of miniatures came to a screeching halt. The internet downtime gave me a great excuse to get back into it, so I’m thankful for that.

Anyway, the internet finally comes back online, and it’s sort of like coming up for air after being submerged underwater. It’s a little messed up how reliant we’ve become on “being connected”. So all is well and good until a couple of days later, my computer dies. In the way that it locked up and then refused to POST thereafter, I could tell that something had seriously died.

Fortunately I had a gaming rig off to the side that was collecting dust because it had problems of its own. It was actually this build, which continued to have issues after the fact. I suspected a faulty motherboard as the cause of random hard locks, and I ordered a new one… but never got around to swapping it out because the system had two separate water-cooling circuits, and I just never had the motivation to dismantle the whole thing, change the mobo, and reassemble it.

Well as you can imagine, after my other computer died, I no longer had a choice. So I spent my weekend tearing down two computers, to rebuild one (hopefully stable) rig. So far so good, I was able to get back to work yesterday. However I think I’m done with water cooled PCs from here on out.

I like them, and there are undeniable benefits, and I know my opinion has been soured due to bad experiences, but I just feel like they’re too much hassle. If everything in your rig works great, then you have no problems. But if you end up needing to do troubleshooting or part-swapping, you have to disconnect and drain the lines, undo all the tubing, and then reassemble it all before you can even try out the new config. I think that for the immediate future, I’ll take the extra noise of fan-cooled components over the novelty of water cooled.

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