Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Small netbook experience

So this is my first post from the Asus netbook and so far it's not too bad. The keyboard while smaller is not as small as I expected. I used subcompact notebooks from Sony that were much harder to type. It did take some adjustments to get used to the smaller size, honestly even for my fingers I feel like it's very close in size to a normal laptop. The only problem I found is the shift key on the right side which I use the most is about the size of a normal key. I keep hitting this and mistyping due to it's smaller size. Also the keyboard feels like it's a bit loose, there's a little give when I press down on the keys.

After starting up Windows XP home edition on the netbook I was excited to load Ubuntu Netbook Remix. After a few readings of the instructions I was able to use my photo memory card and load a IMG image from the web site to test. Once I confirmed the wireless card and other details worked fine, I installed this over my XP install. Now it's running very smoothly under Linux. I'm going to take this to work and give it a good test on the applications. Find out just how well the netbook with Ubuntu really work out. :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Netbooks and small computers

I just recently purchased a netbook, a Asus 1000HE with a 10" screen. It's very similar to your typical laptop computer but uses a smaller processor and can last longer on a single charge. A big point of this small computer is how long a single charge will last, on my old notebook the battery was going out, so I was used to lasting about 15 minutes before the computer died. On my more recent laptop, a larger Asus gaming laptop, the power lasts about 1 hour before needing to be plugged in. Again, it's not designed to run off batteries, but in some cases it's nice to have the option.

With the netbook, the small size and long battery life allows me to run away from power up to 9 hours. This is a great feature if I want to check the Internet from the garage, or while I'm at Starbucks, etc. It's hard enough to find a power outlet from coffee shops and this would be handy when you find that nice sofa but no power anywhere.

Of course, there are down sides as well. The smaller sized keyboard, about 93% of a full size, is harder to type longer periods. In addition the screen is smaller, a 10" is now very small, not sure if this would be great for long term reading, such as PDF files. Also the netbook lacks any media drives, you need to store everything from a USB CD-ROM or USB drive.

When I receive the netbook I'll post just how well it's going to fit my needs.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Old games revisited

I recently found the game site Good Old Games which sells older games for very reasonable prices. Most of the games range from the early 90's to present day, and the prices are starting at $5 to about $10. A big plus is that each game is DRM free, meaning that once you buy it, that's it, no codes, authentication or any problems down the road. GoG also takes developers and custom tunes the same so they can run in Windows XP and Vista with no problems.

So after hearing about this I purchased two games. First I bought Fallout, this was the original games, with the new Fallout 3 is based upon. Since I played a few hours on Fallout 3, I wanted to see just how closely does the new Fallout feel to the original. Also I was interested in Fallout since it's often a topic of the greatest games ever made.

Surprising, the install of the game was quick and easy. GoG makes their own installer which I assume added additional files to the game to help run on newer systems. As I started up the Fallout I saw that it played with no problems but I couldn't change the screen resolution, which was stuck at 640x480. Now at the time this game came out that was normal but I'm playing on a 1920x1280 screen which makes the game screen extremely small.

After getting past this slight problem I started the actual game play. Fallout is a turn based RPG, much like Final Fantasy. You move an allowed distance and have a certian about of points to attack. I played around for a short while making my way out of the caves fighting tunnel rats. Playing the orginal Fallout felt very similar to the new Fallout 3. Even the way you attack is very similar that I quickly understood the method to play. It's amazing how different the two games appear but play so closely.

Next I wanted to play a good old style shooter. I found a few favorites, Unreal Tournament, and Unreal 2004. I loved Unreal Tournament since it was so fun and had really smart computer players, plus great levels. I finally settled upon Unread 2004 and will pick up Unreal Tournament next. To buy these games from GoG you download them, which is ok for older games since they are small around 300MB but for Unreal 2004 it's about 2GB. The download was corrupted the first time but after installing the GoG downloader, went very smooth the second time.

The install process was the same as Fallout, GoG has their own installer to insall the game. Start up was quick and I was playing right after. Playing about 2 hours, I haven't seen any issue and was able to play the game in my full resolution, big plus. Even while the game is 5 years old, still feels like a very fun game, and I'll be playing this next LAN party.

Overall my experience with GoG has been excellent. I still have older games in my collection but as computers get faster and OS changes, they don't run like they used to. GoG takes out the risk and makes the old games run with no changes. It's well worth the $10 to grab a old game and give it some more life.