Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Christmas Request - The Falcon

My daughter has asked for the Falcon for Christmas.
Click to Purchase

I found one over at Lego.com. It comes 1353 including 7 mini-figures from the Solo Movie. 

I'm not sure if this is the right one. Knowing my daughter, she likely means the larger set - 7965. Lego.com lists it as hard to find, but I found it at Amazon.

This set has 6 mini-figures and 1254 pieces. I don't know...

Saturday, November 7, 2020

A Chrome for 2020

Back in July, I posted about getting a new Chromebook. 

My current Chromebook is an Acer C710-2487 from Feb 2013. I've gotten far more years out this thing than I expected. And back in July, I really thought I needed an newer machine. 

Now, remember my main website is Theseoldgames.com. I use really old and odd equipment. "New" isn't a thing with me. I asked myself, how many times do I go mobile with a laptop or tablet and have to have the latest, greatest. 

It turns out that for 2020, that's zero times. I hauled the ol' C710 into the backyard for Zoom meetings, no problem. I keep a copy of every assignment for school on my Google Drive. In 2019, there was one assignment where I needed to edit or draw a picture. And I did that with a 10 year old desktop. 

I don't NEED a new laptop, I merely want one. Having said that, it really narrows the range down. 

I need to do some comparison shopping. I have a heavy bias towards Acer and ASUS. Those are my last to laptops and they are still running. Since it is something I want, I should jetision my old price limit of 400 bucks. 

I like compact designs so I want to get between a 11 and 13 inch screen. This machine has 4Gb of memory and I can't see going less than that. I also don't want a wacked out system with 6Gb, so I guess I want 8 or more. I already have a couple of TB drives and a good system for backups, so I don't have any concerns about storage space. I want another laptop that lasts 5 years or more. 

A couple of machines keep rising to the top of the list. 

These are all nicely appointed machines, which may lack a little storage that I desire, but each also has two modes of use: laptop or flip/tent mode. I think this would pair nicely with my method of use, drawing, reference images and a wacom tablet. 

Recently, I suffered a user induced setback where I wiped my system and all of my backups. It's a pain, I lost some software that I had been using and for whatever reason, I can't get JAVA installed correctly. The only backup of this exists on my Acer C710. So, until I get over this hurdle, I need to keep this machine in operation at least until I can purchase a new machine. Since this is a user error and not a machine error, it's kind of debatable if a new machine can and will help me. 

I decided to upgrade the memory in this Acer and goofed twice. I know... I know. 

First I ordered the completely wrong memory chip: 

Then I ordered the right chip in the wrong size.
What I need is:

I am not suggesting you order the wrong memory like me, I just want to report what great vendors these guys are. It's hard to judge by Amazon stars and reviews, but I had a great experience with both Arch Memory and Kingston. Kingston refunded me on return and Arch ripped out an order in just a few days. It was really nice to work with such responsive companies. 

Friday, August 28, 2020

LEGO Art Sets

It looks like Lego is trying to capture the craze of diamond painting. 

The 31199 Marvel Studios Iron Man set contains 3167 pieces and can be built one of three ways. 


31197 Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe contains 3341 pieces and can be built 4 different ways to match Andy Warhol's paintings. 

31200 is the Star Wars The Sith, using the 3406 pieces, you can build Darth Maul, Darth Vader or Kylo Ren.  
31198 The Beatles contains 2933 pieces to build one of your favorites. This one features it's own sound track, a play list of music to help you get in the mood for this epic build. 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Disney's Mulan Release on Disney+

 Oh, Disney. Don't do it man. Do not mess up a perfectly fine ecosystem with a $30.00 Mulan purchase. 

I'm usually first into anything. Netflix, Google Prime Video, Hulu, etc. I've signed on for some real dogs. But in the grand sorting order of things, simplicity is best. 

Netflix sucks because it has a limited selection. But I still subscribe because it's a one stop shop for Daredevil, Jessica Jones, The Umbrella Academy, Altered Carbon and so many other good shows. I hit the button and there it is. It works seamlessly. 

Amazon has the same issue with a larger catalog but also includes commercials. I don't mean ads jammed into the shows like Hulu, I mean ads in the form of rental and purchase properties. There is no more crappier consumer experience than paying for something monthly, which also has a pay for feature that you can't turn off or ignore. Also, both Amazon and Hulu search interfaces are lousy. 

Now, if you want to fix this, put Mulan on Hulu. It already has a pay for channel feature. This way to you aren't selling to children. You also don't have to add a safe guard against a child's purchase. And you put it in a sub-par streaming service experience, which does not entirely reflect on Disney. 

As an added corporate shill bonus, not every one pays $12.99 for Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN. You'd force millions of people to purchase Hulu and ESPN THEN bang them for an extra $30 bucks on top of the extra $5.99. 

If you're gonna be evil, be evil all the way. 

Speaking of evil, here comes the shameless self-promotion. 

I have no way to promote my favorites, Disney+ or Netflix, but you can support my site by click the link above for an Amazon Prime Trial, which includes Amazon Videos. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The Chromebook Search 2020 Edition

My Chromebook is getting long in the tooth. It's an Acer C710-2487 from Feb 2013. I've gotten far more years out this thing than I expected. But it's time for it to be put aside, replaced with something new.

One of the annoying parts about shopping for Chromebooks is they have an inherent use by date. "Recently", this life time was upped to 6.5 years. Well, my 7 year old machine lost support 3 years ago. They don't die, the updates simply stop. What bothers me is the endless varieties and vendors, which when combined with Wal-Mart and Amazon marketplaces result in "New Chromebooks" actually being several years old. I won't share a link, but on Amazon, I can purchase a "New Acer C710-2487". 

Uh, yeah. No thanks, unless I was going to hack it into something it isn't. I am not above that, but I need a workhorse, not a second gluehorse. 

I need to do some comparison shopping. I have a heavy bias towards Acer and ASUS. Those are my last to laptops and they are still running. I see very little need to go over $400. It's a Chromebook, which exists by ubiquity and cheapness not price. 

I like compact designs so I want to get between a 11 and 13 inch screen. This machine has 4Gb of memory and I can't see going less than that. I also don't want a wacked out system with 6Gb, so I guess I want 8 or more. One thing that I will not be able to have is the 320 Gb hard drive. A 320 Gb SSD drive would be awesome, but also out of my price point. 

Dates under features are the Auto Update Policy dates provided by Google.  

Acer Chromebook 315
MSRP: $249
Acer Chromebook 311
MSRP: $259
Acer Chromebook R13
MSRP: $399
Features: 15.6" screen, 4 Gb RAM,
32 Gb storage. Jun 2026
Features: 11.6" screen, 4 Gb RAM, 
32 Gb storage. Jun 2026
Features: 13.3" screen, 4 Gb RAM,
32 Gb storage. Jun 2024

ASUS Chromebook C423
MSRP: $249
ASUS Chromebook Flip C101 PA
MSRP: $299
ASUS Chromebook C425
MSRP: $399
Features: 14" screen, 4 Gb RAM, 32 Gb Storage
Refurbished. Jun 2024
Features: 10.1" rotating screen, 4 Gb RAM,
16 Gb Storage. Aug 2023 
Features: 14" screen, 4 Gb RAM, 64 Gb Storage.
Refurbished. Jun 2026

First things first. Zero of these Chromebooks have more storage than my phone. That is not a deal breaker, but I am gonna need an external drive. I have 2 2TB external drives from Amazon already, so I am good to go.

The other thing that stands out to me is that each and every one comes with 4 Gb of RAM. That is not to my liking as I run Linux all the time on my Chromebook. I'll need to bump that up at a cost of $50-100. This isn't a RAM review, so skip it. 

Off the bat, I don't want a refurbished machine, so the ASUS C423 is out. The ASUS Flip is interesting at the right price point, but also looses support first. ASUS makes quality products, so I have no fear of the machine quitting on me. The flip screen is balanced by my desire for an external drive. Those two things don't go together. Of the 3 ASUS designs, the most expensive is the most appealing. And $399 isn't that much. However, while I was writing this post, all of the C425's sold out and only refurbished versions are available. 

Surprisingly, the Acer models all spec out the same except for screen size. I already have a 11.6 screen and while I like it, perhaps I would like something bit larger. I think I would have to go with the 315, it's much larger than the 311 but has a later Auto Update policy date. 

This contest should be between the Acer 315 and the ASUS C425, but that refurbished state on the C425 changes the dynamic. I am sure Amazon will end up with new ones at some point. If I was going to pull the trigger right now, I'd go with the Acer 315.

Perhaps some day in the future, I will discuss the merits of the that ASUS Chromebook Flip C101 PA. One good sale and it looks like a perfect Linux convertible. It totally defeats the purpose of a Chromebook. Having Chrome running Linux is like a toggle between Easy and God mode. God mode is nice, I am just not sure I need that on a tablet like machine all the time. 

Friday, July 3, 2020

Kindle again

My Kindle next to my
Asus EEE PC.
I thought I needed a new Kindle. But maybe not. It's been well used but still functional I so I decided on a little upgrade. 

I bought myself a bluetooth keyboard and then went the extra mile and picked a Kindle Unlimited plan. The Unlimited plan is free for 2 months and $9.99 a month thereafter. 

What a great deal! Click the link below to check these out. 

Trouble with Ubuntu 20.04 and a TouchSmart 310PC

As soon as I updated to 20.04, my wifi started getting dodgy. It was rather annoying as it was intermittent. I had recently updated from 18.04 (32 bit) to 20.04 (64 bit). I have no idea why I using 32 bit software, but the upgrade solved more problems and 20.04 is obviously nicer. Running back to 18.04 (32 bit) was not optimal, so I needed to get this fixed. 

It turns out that 20.04 doesn't have the kernel module for a Ralink RT3090 wifi card loaded, but it is available. Sigh.  

You need to do it manually like so: 
echo "options rt2800pci  nohwcrypt=1" | sudo tee /etc/modprobe.d/rt2800pci.conf
sudo modprobe -rfv rt2800pci
sudo modprobe -v rt2800pci