The New Rig, 2014 Edition

My Dell all-in-one desktop finally stopped playing nice with me — it had a persistent memory issue that finally sent it into permanent blue screen mode — so it was time to go ahead and get a new desktop computer. I knew that this time around I wanted to get a computer with a little more oomph than the Dell; it was a perfectly well-specced computer but it choked on the latest games. At the same time I knew I didn’t want another monster tower; aside from not having a whole lot of space on my desk, as a 45-year-old man I’ve gotten past the age where I want the computer equivalent of a street racer in my office.

So I went with one of these, which despite the hype of the site I just linked you, is a compact, reasonably-demure-for-a-gaming computer. To the base model I added a couple of tweaks (a solid state drive and liquid cooling primary among them); I would just as soon had the garish green side panels go away, but inasmuch as the computer now sits directly behind the monitor, it’s not really that much of a big deal. It’s now chugging away (relatively quietly, thanks to the liquid cooling) on the desk, and so far, so good.

Because the new computer can push a whole lot of pixels, I also splurged and got a 4k monitor, specifically this one. It features something called G-Sync technology, which basically is a way to make video games look smoother and nicer, even when the framerate drops. We’ll see if it works (the only games I’ve played on the computer so far is Unreal Tournament 2004, which doesn’t really need any help for high framerates, because it’s ten years old).

I will say, however, that the monitor is kinda gorgeous due to pixel denseness — I basically have to sit a couple inches from the monitor in order to see individual pixel (and I won’t do that because, seriously, eye fatigue). It’s not a perfect screen — it’s a “twisted nematic” display which means that depending where you sit you’ll see some color shifting at the edges — but it’s still pretty sweet.

Anyway: Meet my Christmas present to me.


Whatever Holiday Shopping Guide 2014, Day Three: Arts, Crafts, Music and More

The Whatever Holiday Shopping Guide 2014 continues, and today we move away from books and focus on other gifts and crafts — which you can take to mean just about any other sort of thing a creative person might make: Music, art, knitting, jewelry, artisan foodstuffs and so on. These can be great, unique gifts for special folks in your life, and things you can’t just get down at the mall. I hope you see some cool stuff here.

Please note that the comment thread today is only for creators to post about their gifts for sale; please do not leave other comments, as they will be snipped out to keep the thread from getting cluttered. Thanks!

Creators: Here’s how to post in this thread. Please follow these directions!

1. Creators (of things other than books) only. This is an intentionally expansive category, so if you’ve made something and have it available for the public to try or buy, you can probably post about in this thread. The exception to this is books (including comics and graphic novels), which have two previously existing threads, one for traditionally-published works and one for non-traditionally published works (Note: if you are an author and also create other stuff, you may promote that other stuff today). Don’t post if you are not the creator of the thing you want to promote, please.

2. Personally-created and completed works only. This thread is specifically for artists and creators who are making their own unique works. Mass-produceable things like CDs, buttons or T-shirts are acceptable if you’ve personally created what’s on it. But please don’t use this thread for things that were created by others, which you happen to sell. Likewise, do not post about works in progress, even if you’re posting them publicly elsewhere. Remember that this is supposed to be a gift guide, and that these are things meant to be given to other people. Also, don’t just promote yourself unless you have something to sell or provide, that others may give as a gift.

3. One post per creator. In that post, you can list whatever creations of yours you like, but allow me to suggest you focus on your most recent creation. Note also that the majority of Whatever’s readership is in the US/Canada, so I suggest focusing on things available in North America.

4. Keep your description of your work brief (there will be a lot of posts, I’m guessing) and entertaining. Imagine the person is in front of you as you tell them about your work and is interested but easily distracted.

5. You may include a link to a sales site if you like by using standard HTML link scripting. Be warned that if you include too many links (typically three or more) your post may get sent to the moderating queue. If this happens, don’t panic: I’ll be going in through the day to release moderated posts. Note that posts will occasionally go into the moderation queue semi-randomly; Don’t panic about that either.

6. As noted above, comment posts that are not from creators promoting their work as specified above will be deleted, in order to keep the comment thread useful for people looking to find interesting work.

Now: Tell us about your stuff!

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