Its been a while.

So guys, I know that I said I would keep this blog up, but I had another blog which I was constantly writing on, so this one never got updated.

This year I was the webmaster for the Premed Society at my college, and I had a blog which needed articles, so that was my focus.

Anyways, with a year in review, I did sell the g51vx because it had BIOS problems. The fans would constantly be on, leading to an ultimately negative user feeling. I sold that and built a desktop, which I kept for a year along with an Acer AOD250. After a year with that, I also sold it for need of a laptop once again for college. Bought an Asus G51jx through Craigslist, and then used it for sometime, but the heat issues caused me to sell it and buy a G73JH.

Here are some pictures commemorating the past laptops I have owned.

TARGET FAIL

Just thought I would share this with people.

http://cheezburger.com/View.aspx?aid=2759027968

College Internet: Why it sucks.

So I haven’t posted for a while, and that’s because I have been at college doing “work” for the past month. College is awesome, to say the least, but there’s one woe that troubles me. Its called the “internet.” The wireless internet constantly drops my connection… On top of that, my home DSL connection was faster! Many times, I try to play online games which just do not work out. Imagine getting a ping spike every minute and multiply it by ten; well that would be a ping spike every 6 seconds eh? Thats what this internet network is like. On good days I can play for an hour before this starts happening.

Laptop + Photo Review: “Republic of Gamers” Asus G51vx

Rating: 9.8/10

Wow, what a laptop! It is simply stunning what modern manufacturing techniques can produce, and at the $1000 price point, this notebook is quite the bargain. The Asus G51vx comes with the following components, and is the first notebook ever to support a GTX 2– series graphics card. It includes:

-Intel Centrino 2 P3570 at 2.0 Ghz

-Nvidia GTX 260M with 1GB of video RAM

-Windows Vista Home Premium 64 Bit OS with a free upgrade to Win7

-A very nice 1366×768 widescreen display

-1.3 megapixel camera

-4 GB RAM

-Wireless B/G/N

– 6 cell battery

-320GB 7200RPM Hard Drive

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Condensed Review:

Pros:

+Awesome graphics, aesthetically beautiful outside as well as inside.

+Backlit keyboard

+Ability to overclock to 2.15 Ghz instantly

+Great gaming performance

+Fast startup times due to 7200RPM HD.

+HD capable 15.6 inch monitor.

Cons:

– Chiclet keyboard takes a while to get used to.

– Heavy laptop, not very mobile.

– Battery life is around two hours, more or less depending on usage.

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Review:

OS Choices

Anyways, lets get started on this article. The G51vx is a quick machine that starts up in under ten seconds and gets you connected to the internet in under five more. This laptop features a fast-startup mode due to a secondary linux OS called “splashtop”. The secondary linux OS features a browser, skype, mail, and a music player. While I do not wish to be trivial, the linux mode is not very necessary, unless one simply requires a quick boot and nothing else. It should be noted that under the quick-boot mode, the pc operates at a slower speed than when everything is fully booted.

Design and Keyboard

Next I would like to talk about the laptop in general. The outside is white and in the upper center of the lid a logo of robotic origin resides. Look at the pictures to get the real feel of this. The inside of the laptop is all black, with chicklet style buttons on the keyboard. The keyboard itself feels sort of different too, since I am used to a full regular key keyboard. The other item is that this keyboard has a full number pad on the right, which I also feel is unnecessary. Asus could have added larger keys, but I am already getting used to the whole layout. The keyboard also features a backlit option, so for those of you who need to look at the keyboard to type (no offense), the light is there for you.

Gaming Performance

As it is marketed, the Asus G51vx is a gaming machine targeted towards, you guessed it, the gaming audience! As it is, I ran a few benchmarks and the results are as follows. I myself do not have 3dmark06, but according to forums, other owners have posted scores ranging from 8k-9k with stock settings.

On games, performance was always phenomenal, but on CPU-intensive games, performance was a tad lower than usual. For example, whilst playing Mirror’s Edge, I was able to turn up the settings to full, with V-sync on as well. The game played fluently for my two hour long gaming sprees. However, with Team Fortress 2, a more CPU intensive game, my fps decreased so I had to disable AA to get a decent frame rate above the fourties. Older games like Counterstrike Source worked flawlessly, usually racking up 120+ fps on full everything. Half-life 2 and all of its sequels ran at full detail fluently for my long gaming events. I must exclaim that Mirror’s Edge is the best looking game ever! With its vivid colors and beautiful city, the game looks amazing on this laptop. I was blown away by this machine’s output.

Crysis, the gamer’s current benchmark, plays at full detail at 20-40 fps on stock drivers. However, according to forums, the laptop can overheat while playing this game on full detail, so a laptop cooler is a must for a notebook with a GTX 260M inside.

In the future, I forecast that this laptop will be able to play most of the games on full detail until the middle of 2011, when some crazy new GPU architecture will force this beast down. Currently I am waiting for Assassin’s Creed 2, Left for Dead 2, Splinter Cell Conviction, and the Star Wars Online RPG.

Is it Worth it?

YES! This laptop has what every gamer needs to play games for the next two and a half years! You will not find many other laptops with this graphics card and this price point. Other systems to look at would be the Gateway P-7805u or the Asus G71GX, if you are into larger screens. Personally, being a college student, I bought this so I could do my work and relax when I had nothing to do. This laptop will last me the next five or so years.

Verdict:

Rating: 9.8/10

Photo Gallery

I took these photos with my Canon Powershot camera, reviewed below.

Comments, questions, and requests are welcome. Please post under this topic and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Update: I just tested the laptop temperatures with a TARGUS laptop cooler and without. It seems the cooler doesn’t really help the laptop temps, except for the hard drive.

Apple Itouch 2nd Generation Review

Rating: 9/10

Wow, what a truly awesome piece of technology! The Apple Itouch 2nd gen is the collaborative product of a group of clever engineers who have been given no restrictions on design. When the touch came out a couple of years ago, it blew the market away with its new touch screen feature; this is in comparison with the Asus EEE pc, which started the netbook craze as well. Both companies took simple ideas and made them much more elaborate.

When you pay $200 + for a piece of technology, you want to be able to use it to its max potential. This was not the case for my phone, a motorola/verizon Razr I bought a couple of years ago. The phone was totally locked down, and every extra feature cost money I could not spare. Thus, the difference when I bought the iTouch was immense, as I could customize every single piece of the gadget. From the toolbars at the bottom to the screen’s brightness, everything could be controlled with a “touch” of my finger.

Looking at customization, the gadget has everything. You can download any apps you want, upload as much music as you can fit, and even hook up the device to an external speaker system. Now, with Skype, you can even make wifi calls off the iTouch; all you need is a headphone with a mic, and you can make free VOip calls.

The downsides of this device are scarce, but are present nontheless. While I can’t complain for a device that can surf the web with no manufacturer placed lockdowns (verizon locks every feature until you pay), I could use a camera on the iTouch. This would eliminate the need to carry around a camera along with the iTouch, when you go on vacation, say to the beach. The other complaint would be with the product’s software, iTunes. The mp3 program is very slow (on my brand new laptop with 4gb ram, it still takes 20-30 seconds to load), and you can only sync your iTouch with the computer you originally sync it with. This was a problem for me as I bought a new laptop for college, and it had no music on it. I had to completely erase my iTouch and start over transferring files. A nuisance, but I understand Apple’s DRM policy apprehensiveness, even though its a little on the harsh side.

In conclusion, the iTouch is an awesome device, and I recommend it to anyone who has the spare money. I will be using the device in college, to check my emails during lunch when I do not have my laptop with me. In other words, I will be leaving my laptop in my dorm room and using this instead, as it is basically a netbook without a keyboard. You can do anything on the Apple Itouch 2nd Generation model.

Rating: 9/10

Pros:  +Large touch screen, wifi capability, video capability, apps can be downloaded for free.

Cons: -iTunes software is slow, no camera, battery life is around 8 hours.

An Update, to Say the Least.

Hello fans and readers of this wonderful blog! My name is Mark Kram and I would just like to say thank you for reading my articles and material through the years that this blog has been maintained. Next year I shall be graduating from my place of education, and I will definitely continue writing articles for all of you!
Thanks again,
Mark Kram

Camera Review: Canon Powershot SD1100

Rating: 8/10

Hey Everyone,

This Black Friday I had the honor of purchasing a Canon SD1100 Powershot 8 Megapixel Digital Camera. My first impression after taking a couple of shots: the camera is scary! I took a random shot of my room on the highest resolution, which is 3264×2448 pixels. I was astonished to find that I could zoom into the smallest words present anywhere and actually read them on the screen. I’ve never seen any other camera with that level of precision.

The aspect of the camera which I like the most would be the design. I bought the blue version, blue being my favorite color, for its rectangular design. The smooth flowing lines on the front of the camera are very aesthetically pleasing to the eye. On top of this the camera appeals to everyone, from the child picture taker to the more adult landscape photographer. I personally bought this camera to maintain my hobby of landscape photography.

Below are a couple of pictures that I took with this camera. As you can see the resolution and sharpness are really quite good.

I gave the Canon SD1100 an 8/10 for its excellent resolution and quick photo-to-photo shoot time. The only cons were that its outer shell gets smudgy with fingerprints really quickly and that the lenses are hard to clean.

My first landscape photo

My first landscape photo

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