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Blogging for Step2

Posted on : 07-24-2006 | By : Andy | In : work

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Ah, the day has finally come where I can get paid to blog. Well, kind of.

We’ve started a Step2 blog over at Step2.com, and now part of my job will be blogging. We’re excited to put more of a personal touch on the company’s image by allowing our personalities (and they are definitely personalities) to be visible in some way.

Rob and I will mostly be talking about stuff Step2 is doing, odd facts about the Step2 Direct program, information about new products that are coming, news about special offers, and possibly some child psychology information that illustrates ways our toys can help your child learn and grow.

Go on, check it out.

Windows Vista is a Memory Hog

Posted on : 07-10-2006 | By : Andy | In : tech

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Yes, it’s official. I installed the x64 version of the Windows Vista Beta about a month or so ago, and I’ve been playing around with it. I built a new system specifically for this purpose, as my old laptop just wasn’t going to cut it. (Mobile Athlon 2400+, 512MB of RAM, w/ 128 shared to video)

I wanted to build a cheap machine that would be nice nonetheless. After all was said and done, I had an Athlon 64 3200+ (San Diego), 1GB of PC3200 RAM, and an EVGA 7600GS card with 256MB of DDR2 Ram. I also threw in a DVD burner and 19″ LCD monitor, and used an old 80GB hard drive I had laying around. I took a dremel to an old Gateway 2000 case my wife had, and viola, brand new “old” computer. I figure that all the parts cost me around $560 (yes, with the 8ms monitor).

I installed Vista x64 without any problems and noticed right away that it was hogging 650MB of RAM. Holy freaking cow. The monitor, motherboard, and ram I bought dropped in price at TigerDirect.com (where I bought most of the stuff), so I called them up and they agreed to credit me the differences as store credit. I happily agreed, and ordered another GB of ram a few days later. (LONG story on the TD credit–their CS is pretty crappy and helpless, and if their management can’t fix the mess they made, you’ll read about it here)

So I pop in my second gig of ram a few days later, and I boot up Vista again. Now it’s using 995MB! Holy crap! You need an entire GB of RAM just to run your OS?!?! Who does Microsoft think they are? And this, after all the talk about using your GFX card for visual effects to spare the rest of the system. I sure hope they’re not using 995MB plus my 256MB card…

So I guess the bottom line is this: if they tell you that you can run the x86 version on 512MB, they’re probably referring to “running” quite loosely. Like molasses on a January day loosely. When they require 1GB for x64, they certainly aren’t kidding. Looks like your best bet is to just buy a friggin Mac. Or install the 4GB of RAM you never thought that you’d ever use in your wildest dreams. Or just keep running XP Pro. (My commit charge w/ the same system in XP Pro? 176MB)

It’s like the Matrix, only real. Some geeks are an odd bunch…

Posted on : 07-03-2006 | By : Andy | In : random, religion

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Remember all those people who used to dress up like Neo and go to the latest installment of the Matrix trilogy? They talked about “there is no spoon” and all that jazz, and normal people just shook their heads? Well, despite all their weird musings on the philosophy behind the Matrix, it’s really happening. And they’re unwittingly putting themselves into the Matrix.

Now what would make you say such a ridiculous thing, you may ask. Simple. It’s called MMOG. For those of you not in the know, Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming. The whole idea is that hundreds, or thousands of users across the globe all insert themselves into a totally imaginary world, where they interact as if they were real people in an “real” mythical world. I remember back in my college days when people played Everquest, then there was Everquest 2, and now you’ve got World of Warcraft, which is obscenely huge, some Star Wars version, and a gazillion other of these games.

It’s scary, really, because these people abandon their real, physical lives for an imaginary one in front of a computer screen for hours upon hours upon hours every day. Rather than get out and enjoy the real world, they isolate themselves in their houses (or apartments, or parents’ basements) and begin to think of themselves as Ganthor or Mithrand or Yodette or something like that. No, I’m not against gaming, and I love to spend a couple hours each week with a RTS or First Person Shooter game, but some of these people trade in their lives entirely, often spending large sums of real money on imaginary items in a false world.

They really do live in a Matrix, a computer-generated world that keeps them blissfully unaware of the pathetic state their real lives are in. Do you MMOG? More than you LITRW? (Live in the real world) Go outside, enjoy the sunshine, talk to a real person, do some good deeds, spend some time seeking after God, who has an actual purpose for you in this real world.

And a totally random thought…

I wonder, how long until we see MMOG missionaries?