Adventures in Smarshland

September 27, 2008

It’s about to get very busy

Filed under: Life — Tags: — smarsh @ 11:53 am

Timeline of business:
8 Days until Portland Marathon
38 Days until Actuarial Exam MFE
40 Days until my Dad, Brother and I travel to China
After China is Thanksgiving and then Christmas

May 26, 2008

Game Theory

Filed under: Economics,Life — Tags: , — smarsh @ 7:17 pm

November 30, 2007

HD DVD Player

Filed under: Computer,Life — Tags: , , — smarsh @ 7:44 pm

My new HD DVD player which I wrote about earlier here arrive yesterday and just let me say, total worth the money.  The HD DVD player came with 300 and The Bourne Identity and the A/V quality is stunning.

November 18, 2007

Fresh Mud on New Mountain Bike

Filed under: Athletics,Life — Tags: , — smarsh @ 10:13 pm

I took my bike out for its first spin at West Branch, which is a State Park near Ravenna Ohio. Now the bike is official broken in with fresh mud. Unfortunately, the park is closing for snowmobiling and hunting season, so I guess I’m going to have to bite the bullet and go buy my season pass at Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike park. Anyway check out the new bike:

November 10, 2007

New Mountain Bike

Filed under: Athletics,Life — Tags: — smarsh @ 1:13 pm

I ordered a new hardtail mountain bike from bikesdirect, which as it sounds is a direct mail order internet bike store. I ordered a 20″ Motobecane.

It has a lockout on the fork which means that if you are riding it on the street or other surfaces free of bumpy terrain you can use the lockout to prevent the shock from moving and therefore from zapping the energy that you are putting into pedaling. You might ask why I would buy a bike just before winter hits. Because Cleveland has this cool indoor mountain bike park called Ray’s which you can ride all winter long.

November 5, 2007

Specs for new HTPC

Filed under: Computer,Life — Tags: , — smarsh @ 12:50 am

I have been trying to compile the different pieces of my new HTPC (Home Theater PC). The biggest challenge I have encountered is trying to find a case that matches my wants and needs. The following are the criteria I have for the case:

  • Clean black front
  • Front access for USB (at least two ports) and Firewire
  • Front access for media card reader
  • Larger case fans (preferably 80mm) so that sound from the case is minimal (remember used in a Home Theater so less ambient noise is important)
  • Accomodate full ATX motherboard
  • Accomodate full length graphics card (Nvidia 8800 GT)
  • Preferably reasonably priced ~$160 USD

I have created a wishlist at Newegg, to view it go here. I have looked high and low for a case and they all seem to have compromises. The cases from Lian Li seem to be the best of the lot. My brother has suggested buying the new Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT because it will be able to handle upconverting and scaling of video well, which is a primary goal of my system.

Pricing out the system:
Case ~160.00
Power supply 80.00
Motherboard 135.00
Memory 95.00
DVD-Burner 40.00
Hard Drive 80.00
Processor 230.00
Graphics Card 200.00-250.00
TV Tuner ~80.00?

Total Cost ~1125.00

My reaction to the total cost is…crap that’s a lot. Any suggestions as to where I can shave some money without sacrificing a lot of performance. I’m ok with starting off smaller and expanding my system down the road. My other reaction is that some of the money that is going into the system is longer term expenditure which will remain largely undepreciated regardless of technological improvements which might make me want to upgrade. The case, power supply, DVD burner, and hard drive will probably stay with the system for the next round of upgrades whenever that happens to be. So about 350 dollars of the system is more of an initial outlay. Nonetheless, sticker shock.

Comments, suggestions, Bueller?

November 3, 2007

Fall Colors

Filed under: Life,Photography — Tags: , , — smarsh @ 6:07 pm

All of the trees are spectacular colors as the season turns:

For more pictures go to my gallery.

July 14, 2007

Toronto Film Festival, Murphy’s Bike Ride, and Fixing Laptop

Filed under: Life — Tags: , , , , — smarsh @ 6:27 pm

First, we (Ryan, Dan, and Myself) purchased our Toronto Film Festival ticket package. It should be a fun time. I will also be in the final weeks of my Half-Ironman triathlon training preparation, which will pose some logistical challenges, but ones I think I can work around. Plus I will be on vacation and not working 8 hours a day which most definitely is more taxing than watching a few movies a day.

Speaking of training, I went out for a bike ride today and got a slow leak, which left my front tire flat. Then my pump broke. Crap. So, I did the only thing I could do, ride it flat back to the next major rode, which thankfully has a fair amount of people that bike along it. I was lucky enough to run into someone who had a pump which worked. But I ended up ruining my nice Kevlar tire in the process; it was good enough to get me home, but the sidewall now has some of the internal stitching exposed which is dangerous.

When I got back I went to Radio Shack to pick up some electronics parts to fix my laptop’s (HP Pavilion ze4400) power connection which had gone on the fritz. The power was only charging the battery intermittently. After significant work to remove all of the very hidden screws on the case, including having to pull up the speakers and remove the keyboard, I was able to separate the top housing from the motherboard housing. This exposed the malfunctioning connector which looks to be extremely flimsy and was originally poorly soldered. So using a very low wattage soldering iron I resoldered the connection and that seemed to do the trick. Just in case though I added my own connector to the same DC charging connection points. That way if the original connection breaks again I can use my own proprietary connection without having to open the laptop again. Amazingly everything worked. Usually when I open complex electronics equipment with the intention of fixing something I just end up breaking it more, but I actually was able to fix this problem and put it all back together. Hat tip to Ryan for telling me about needing to remove the speakers to expose more screws. I should have some pictures up on my gallery soon of the electronics surgery.

May 17, 2007

Oh Yea

Filed under: Life — Tags: , — smarsh @ 4:43 pm

I passed my exam, which means I am through both Exam P and Exam FM of the actuarial exams. This is of course very good news.

May 12, 2007

Bike ride and Cramming for Test

Filed under: Athletics,Life — Tags: , — smarsh @ 8:06 pm

Here was the bike ride I did after work on Friday:


Seems like a short ride, 28 miles, but there is 2500 feet of elevation gain and decent so it make for some good gear grinding. After getting some energy out it is on to studying for my Actuarial Exam which is next Thursday. And on that note, it’s time to head back to the studying.

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