Saturday, May 19, 2018

Intel Skull Canyon NUC

So a few years ago, Intel announced the release of a Skull Canyon. It was a NUC that had a i7 and Iris embedded video graphics. The stats looked better than a regular NUC so I was interested to see how it would perform. When it was first released it cost around $800ish and was super overpriced considering that you still had to buy your RAM and Storage. It has 2 M.2 slots and 2 SODIMM slots FYI.

Fast forward a few years when I managed to get one of these for around $300 so I went to town and got the parts. To sum it up, I dig these smaller systems. It was very small, had a huge power supply, but it had the power of the workable work workstation. For example this NUC was so much faster than my primary box at my last 2 jobs. Crazy cakes considering that those are full-sized desktops that probably cost around the same. Goes to show that it's all about the hardware specs. The only crap thing is that my gaming tests with the Iris graphics weren't all that different from regular Intel integrated chips. It was dramatically faster but you still can't play shit. RPGs were even jerky so it's really not worth it.

Even many years later I am still up in the air between what I should pick as a primary box. My Mini-ITX build with a 1060 was all sorts of good, but I still wasn't satisfied. Then I sold that and got a T470s and even through that laptop is good, I almost never use it in Laptop mode since I really need a bigger screen. I also tried to buy a huge 34" 144hz ultrawidescreen for gaming with the ITX box and I discovered that the screen totally lost brightness when I went to 144hz so that was bullshit. I still don't know if it was because I bought the cheapest ultrawide from LG or if the tech isn't up to par. Either way. Apples to apples of an i7 NUC vs a Laptop CPU i5 it's worlds of difference. I just need to buy a desktop that has a real GPU and CPU and then get a 27" good Dell Ultrasharp monitor and I think I'd be set...for now.

So yeah when they announced the release of the Hades Canyon to superseded this Skull Canyon I sold it off to try to break even which I did...ish. But the Hades has an AMD pseudo-GPU which is better than the Iris but still not as good as a 1060...bah!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Google Wifi


So ever since I moved in my new place, I started having odd issues with the wifi connectivity signal. I did my regular IT tests and yup the damn place was too big and lots of my gadgets weren't getting a good enough connection. I did ponder just getting a bigger, heftier router but the placement of my main cable modem connection wouldn't allow me to really do anything in terms of relocating the primary gear. I started researching options and I first bought and tried an extender using Powerline tech. What this does is use your house's electric plug system to act like a large network cable. Functionally it did work, more-so for the wired aspect of the system, but the whole wifi part, it only assisted a bit in extending the wifi power. Fast forward to my research into mesh networks.

So a Mesh Network is a newer tech that works as you would think. You have these puck devices that you place all around your house and it should bathe your home in wifi goodness by talking to each other and piggybacking the connection throughout. Ideally it would have an Ethernet backbone and you would essentially have what most peeps have at work: A real ethernet backbone with APs (Access points) and a wireless controller. But this is the consumer, non-networking guy's way of getting the same result.

After testing out this system for a few months now, I am happy to report that it does work as intended. 1 SSID, a dummy gigabit switch, lots of wifi, and it plain old works without having to reboot stuff all the time. There's an app to look at some basic stats and make any configs, but it's pretty dummy proof. One's wifi network is something that should be simple and functional. If I want to get more coverage I would just buy more pucks, but for now my 3-puck system works just fine. There are a few more competitors in this market but for now the $250ish price range is the cheapest.

Monday, May 07, 2018

The Foreigner (Crime Action Drama 2017)

Not too bad of a movie from Mr. Jackie. He hasn't been in too many films as of late. Probably getting old which sucks all around. This movie was surprisingly pretty good. It was filmed out in UK so that's always more entertaining than it being in some boring US city.

The story was good and the acting by some of the secondaries really showed how some peeps can truly act. It was an all around good crime drama; perhaps it's a genre I'm slowly gravitating towards.
Rating - B

Justice League (Comic Book Action 2017)

This one didn't get much attention although that's what usually happens to most DC movies. The film was OK but it really was average. Interesting characters like Aquaman were made to be superficial, while the uninteresting like Ben Affleck were given more screen time. I don't really get that.

Action and special effects were on par, but the story seemed short and everything was dark. Very average flick.
Rating - C

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War (Comic Book Action 2018)

So let's talk about what marketing can do. This film has been highly publicized and all over the place so you would think that it may be the next great slice of cheese right? Eh, as with most disappointments in life this didn't totally live up to all the glam, although it wasn't necessarily bad either.

I did finally get a chance to see it and as a regular movie it was fine; it probably moved along a little better than some other Marvel films, but it still wasn't anything super spectacular. The film was long...like close to 3 hours long. It did kinda need to be that long since all of the plot and fighting scenes ate up a lot of screen time. They also had to introduce all of the main characters group by group so again it was understandable. The special effect circus was, of course, impressive, but as a general movie...eh. They left it open to part 2 so that should be good, but yeah the length did start dragging it down towards the end.
Rating - B

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Shape of Water (Drama 2017)

I suppose I can see why some peeps liked this movie. It was different and artsy in its own way and it was certainly in the 'well directed' category, but that's as far I would go with it.

The movie had a different style to it. Kinda like Amelie from the 2000s? The story was simple while the characters all had their issues. I guess compared to your average comic book film it was more developed and folks took their time in making this one. With that being said I didn't necessarily like it personally. Sure, the whole girl falling in love with the Creature from the Black Lagoon-looking person is one theme that was eh, but it does make sense from the character's perspective. I dunno...it was OK, but I won't be watching it again.
Rating - B

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Ant-Man (Action 2015)

So this was one of those Marvel movies that I didn't get to see in the theaters. I guess the commercials just weren't convincing enough. Multiple years later here we are and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. For the most part it's a regular Marvel comic book film.

There wasn't anything to let it stick out too much from the ordinary though. I don't really have a memory of Ant-Man comics so he didn't interest me as a kid either. It was plain Jane and nothing more.
Rating - C