Your Daily Phil

Archive for June, 2007

Christmas at work

Posted by lozenp on June 15, 2007

You spend 40 hours a week at work. You see your coworkers more than your family. You’re locked in a 8×8 cube with no windows. So anytime something fun happens at work, you take notice.

Well this week at work, it was like Christmas. At least the presents part. I’m lucky enough to be the person on our team in charge of technology for the designers. Software, hardware, computers, printers, scanners, etc. I research the new stuff, test it out when I can, and make recommendations on new purchases.  On our agenda this year: new computers.

I started looking a couple weeks ago, and when one of my co-workers computers blew up, it became a critical need. This week, they arrived.  One of the bonuses we didn’t expect was that we were able to package new 24-inch widescreen monitors into the deal. Here’s what we got:

Dell Precision 690
Quad Core Processor at 1.86
4GB RAM
250GB Hard Drive
80GB OS Hard Drive
256MB PCIe NVidia Quadro FX 3500 Graphics

Hook that bad-boy up to the 24-inch monitor, running alongside my current 19-inch, and I’ve got a pretty sweet setup. This thing is a house though. It’s huge. I think they said it measured 3.5 feet tall, 4.5 feet deep and just under a foot wide.

Either way, it’s exciting to have new technology. I’m still loading programs and moving stuff over so I really don’t know how  much power this thing has. I can’t wait to open a 50MB photoshop file and watch this thing chew it up, or bring in 30 minutes of video and watch it render. Ahh the little things.

Posted in computers | 2 Comments »

A new HD era

Posted by lozenp on June 12, 2007

So over the weekend I finally took the plunge: I bought an HD DVD player. Actually, it was my father’s day gift from Amy and Jackson, pretty cool huh? After much rumination, I chose to get the XBox 360 HD DVD drive. My other option was the Toshiba HD-A2. For those who care – here’s what led to my decision:

Toshiba HD-A2

The Pros – Standalone player, very good reviews, supports the new audio formats (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD), great upscaling of standard-def DVDs (so my current DVD library would look better than before), HDMI output, five free HD DVDs from Toshiba with purchase, and Toshiba has been very good about providing firmware updates to their HD-DVD players on a pretty frequent basis. But what really had me was that for a limited time, this formerly $500 player could be had for just $299.

The Cons – Still $100 more than the Xbox version, my current audio setup can’t decode the new audio formats, from the list of five free HD DVDs, I really only was excited about 1-2 of them, would have to replace my current 5-disc DVD player in my equipment rack.

Xbox 360 HD DVD Drive

The Pros – Only $199, can be easily added into my current equipment rack without replacing anything, good upscaling of standard def DVDs, free HD DVD and Xbox 360 Media remote in the box, my friend Jesse has one and has been happy, most reviews I read essentially said there was no difference in video quality between the Toshiba and the Xbox drive.

The Cons – Not a standalone player, no current support for new audio formats, no HDMI output, a nagging feeling that I was not getting a full-fledged HD DVD player but a partial one.

When I looked at all those things, I could not make a decision. Jack and I went up to Best Buy on Saturday and walked around for like 45 minutes and I still couldn’t decide. As I told Jesse, “I know I’m going to get one eventually, I just can’t figure out which one. I’m just waiting from something to lean me one direction.”

Then the Sunday Best Buy ad came out – buy the Xbox 360 HD DVD drive, get two free HD DVDs. Consider me leaned.

I could get into the HD DVD world, save $100, get three free movies (two plus the one that came with the drive) that I would actually watch, and not have to reorganize my equipment rack. So after golf Sunday with Jesse and Rich (shot an 84, woo hoo), I went to Best Buy, got the drive, picked up U-571 and Letters from Iwo Jima as my free discs (the new King Kong came in the box) and headed home.

So far I’ve only set it up, watched a couple scenes from Letters, some standard def episodes of “The Office” (which upscaled fairly well) and Band of Brothers (need to do some comparison to get an actual read on the upscaling of this one).

I spend Monday night with the Avia Guide to Home Theater DVD calibrating all the colors and settings to get the best possible picture (thanks Amy) and can’t wait to get two hours to sit down and enjoy a HD DVD. Once I do, I’ll let you know what I think.

As for why I chose HD DVD over Blu-Ray, well, that’s another post entirely.

Posted in HDTV | 1 Comment »

7 Things About Me

Posted by lozenp on June 7, 2007

Interesting baby fact: I was an easy to entertain baby. My mom would put me in a bouncy seat, turn me to face the wall and I would talk to the wallpaper we had in our kitchen. Also, anytime I would laugh I’d get the hiccups.

Scariest moment: Getting in a head-on collision several years ago.

First kiss: I had a hard time with this one, I can’t really remember. It was either Emily Spanos in 5th grade on the playground or Michelle DeClark in 4th playing spin the bottle.

Most embarrassing moment: I don’t really embarrass easily. One that sticks out was in 6th grade, in the boy’s restroom I was trying to go to the bathroom using the urinal. I was wearing new underwear for the first time, and in this particular pair, the flap was accidentally sewn closed, causing me all kinds of problems. It also allowed those in the restroom with me ample reasons to make fun of me, I’ll leave it at that.

Hobbies: Volleyball, basketball, golf, home theater, Xbox 360, watching sports, computers, technology gadgets, World War II.

What i hate is: Not having time to relax and hang out with my family, butt-kissing, house work, people who aren’t authentic, Target’s return policy, the fact that you have to listen to someone tell you how to leave a voicemail on someone’s phone (I know how to leave a voicemail, I talk, I hang up, if I needed help with that I likely would not have been able to dial the phone in the first place), only seeing my child 2 hours a day during the week.

one thing i want to do: Take a tour of World War II battlefields throughout Europe (Normandy, Germany, Austria and Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest, Bastogne, London bombing sights, etc.).

Posted in General Stuff | 4 Comments »