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February 18, 2007

As I lay awake

I wonder:

Has the year gone by so swiftly?

But no. A billion people around the world are celebrating new year today. And a few of them are just around the corner from my house to let me know. Thanks. I hope you enjoy it. Goodnight.

March 01, 2006

I want it all

I want a new laptop. And I might actually get one soon. I've been holding off so long afraid of being the kind of person that wants a new car every year because there's something better on the market. But recently I've found that my Dell is just not up to the task.

We've been together for 2 and a half years now, and it's been a bumpy ride. It was alright in the beginning, though my Dell seemed to have a lot of trouble staying silent when I wanted to watch a film or the latest 24 series 2 episode. I tried teaching it to focus on the most important tasks [I don't care about stupid viruses, just play the film. Puh-lay fil-lum. Thank you.] but it just couldn't grasp the concept of synchronized sound tracks and moving images.

This year it's reached a new level however. I've walked around with it a lot, but that can't have anything to do with it overheating after just starting Windows. It's got these rubber feet to keep it off the desk so the fans can get more air [I assume - but who puts fans at the bottom anyway?] but these have all come off because the extreme heat melted the glue to inexistence. I can't read the specs of my laptop on the bottom anymore as the motherboard seems to have scorched its way through the casing. I just tried to check but apparently laptops don't like being held upside down and it just stopped working completely.

All I want is to listen to music without cringing – it's not the songs I listen to – I think my sound card and wireless card use the same crazily-named-slot and when I use the internet lots the wireless card overheats [as well] and corrupts whatever sound I was trying to get from the card. And I'd like to model at least to some extent on my laptop. As I recently mentioned, I've finally taken up working with C++ again and a class class mate managed to make it all a lot more understandable, using words as bubble and fishtank instead of struct and vector.

As a result, I managed to make a working program that only had to initialize a vector of pointers to 10,000 bubbles. It took hardly a second to initialize all these bubbles with their specs! But then I thought to go a step further and have the bubbles rise [change their y position each time step] and merge [if they overlap - we're not too worried about bubbles avoiding each other yet]. 10 time steps would take the program 20 seconds, which was bearable, apart from the fact that nothing interesting happens after 10 steps, and we need a lot more to derive some good statistics. So I thought I'd run it for 100 steps and have a cup of tea in the mean time. Again, it just about managed without too many complaints [I'd say fan noise level comparable to flight engines in preparation].

Unfortunately, 100 time steps still didn't seem to do the trick, so I thought I'd run it for a 1000, and have a shower in the mean time. Just as the program was about to finish, I smelt something funny. It was Rich cooking, so it couldn't have been that. Instead, my Dell just did *poof* and fainted. Indeed, it was the horrible smell of solder. Don't get me wrong – I love the smell of solder! But not when it comes out of my laptop.

As you might be able to tell, the poor thing still works, but I definitely need to move on. If you have any ideas what affordable laptop can make music sound ok, and that can manage with not too intricate models, please let me know. I've gone past the stage of watching films or TV shows on my laptop, so modelling and music it is. I don't just want a new laptop. I need one. Please help me.

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