December 26 2018

Tech Shopping for College in 2019? Laptop with Accessories Reccomendation’s by Stile Teckel

Hello fellow geeks, nerds, and anyone else that stumbled upon this corner of the world. It has been a while since I have done one of these pieces on the blog, or really anything at all for that matter.

I have some new projects in the works though which is going to see the site and blog becoming more active again. Therefore when I realized a project I just finished working on would be useful to someone else in the world, maybe, I thought it would be a great way to kick off the site a little bit. This is more for the tech side of us geeks as opposed to the gaming side of things 🙂

Ok, go ahead and pull up a chair, grab your Mountain Dew, Cheetos, and Character sheet. Sit back, as I am going to give a little backstory before I dive into the recommendations. Why backstory? First, everyone has a different preference and second everyone has different needs. Understanding what mine are/were in this situation will help you determine if you need to think a bit differently for any of these items or even if the reccomendations are of any use to you at all!

My daughter is starting college in 2019. She is a very scholastic focused individual and very goal driven. As such she is one of the top students of her school, tutors, will graduate high school already having college credits, has been class president, on academic teams, and much more.

I don’t mention this as a parent bragging (although there would be something wrong me if I wasn’t proud and happy that my sperm rolled a critical when I made her), but to understand that in my situation, school focus is VERY strong and I take that into account in my investment decisions. You should definitely consider your child’s enthusiasm and personal needs (not to mention your financial situation) before making any type of purchases!

My daughter comes from divorced parents and she has been living with mom. In the past, I had set her up with a decent Laptop, but I definitely made some mistakes with it.

One of the mistakes I made is that it was too big. Sure it was a power-house with a huge screen. That also made it a lot to carry around and more delicate then something being hauled around by a student should be. The biggest issue was not even me though, but a manufacturer design flaw that I continually had to spend money fixing. The MFG refused to fix it out of warranty, even though it was a known issue with a certain run of their laptops.

Add all this together, and as I have been spending time examining her college needs for next year as well as helping to fill those and acting as a coordinator with the family on her dad’s side, I was noticing a lack of a computer or laptop in her life.

I started making some discrete inquires, sending a few ninja notes around to the family, made some steealth and research roles, took 20 on some discussions with her, and learned that the laptop was possibly lost in a family move a little over a year ago and shes been getting by using other peoples computers, tech at the school, and simplier things such as her phone.

My daughter is the type of person that is not very materialistic, doesn’t ask for a lot, and will get by with what she has. So this all is really no surprise to me. Regardless for someone as academically involved as she is and as she is going to be, it definitely felt like I had missed a fumble I tossed out at some point! Spot check failed!

Not only will this be one of the most critical tools she will have in college, but she has also been getting by without it when it has been one of the most critical things in her current life by begging, borrowing, and stealing! Way to roll on your survival skills!

This may not be the case for your child. While some sort of computer will most like be needed by just about anyone, what that is and to what level, is going to vary a lot based on what sort of classes they will be taking. Also keep in mind their choosen degree and classes could change! Unfortunately you still have to meet the current needs even if that was to happen.

So one of my NPC’s is telling me to shut the F up with the backstory already and get going with the main game, before I no longer have any players. Fair enough!

I started out by taking 20 on a research skill to learn as much as I coudl about what the most popular device (or one of them) is currently for college students and why. I also went into this research with the following thoughts in mind.

  • I wanted something that would be portable and somewhat rugged
  • A lot of power but not necassirly a high end gaming rig
  • Despite portability, useable as a desktop at a home workstation

It was not long before I was looking at the Lenova Yoga Line of products, quickly followed by the 730 series. The 920 while nice has to small of a screen in my opinon while the 730 is perfect in that its slim and lieght weight, without the screen being so large as to begin to turn the unit into a giant.

What is nice about this laptop is that it comes in a lot of builds. This allows you to get one that meets your college needs and financial situation. You can configure for RAM, Graphics, Monitor, Hard Drive size, and a few other options. So regardless of your needs for a portable can be a good choice for just about anyone!

So regardless of your needs for a portable can be a good choice for just about anyone!

Personally, I ended up purchasing my daughters direct from the Lenovo website instead of Amazon. There were three reasons for this, whereas typically I would have bought from Amazon.

The first being they are running a holiday sale so the pricing direct was decent. Secondly, I wanted a configuration of the options I could not find on Amazon and so I wanted to custom build it, opposed to choosing one of the MANY options you will find if you follow that above link, and look at comparable items, on Amazon. Finally I had a discount code that was fairly sizeable!

More Ninja notes sent around to the family, we made a combined effort and compared our dots in resources to see what we could pull together, did some begging with the GM, and what to proceed with.

I talked to my daughter, had her help with the configuration options, and then based on her needs begin putting together the accessory order. This was a grueling 6 hours of research and shopping!

She picked the bag, so that was personal prefence on her part. It does come in a lot of color options.

My first concern with the Yoga is the hard drive capacity. I ended up going with a 512 GIG SSD on her unit, but I know from recent experience that Windows 10 and some software will eat that up fairly quickly.

She’s going to want some games, photos, music, and more on her unit. Given the cost to upgrade to a 1TB HD, I thought a portable external drive, as a place to put that stuff, would make perfect sense. The plan is to also set up the portable on one of my cloud services as an off-site backup solution.

I also like that her data and personal files are actually separate from the Lenovo. She can leave that at home when she won’t need it.

The Yoga does have a built in mouse pad on the keyboard half, but given this is also going to serve as a at home desktop replacement a seperate mouse was important.

One theme I want on everything though is that is also portable so she can sort of Ala Carte choose based on where she’s going and what she will be doing, what options she needs to take with her. This setup is allowing her to carry only what she needs, when she needs, as opposed to everything being built in and stuck with that continual weight and bulk all the time!

This particular mouse is nicely sized for at home or on the road, is Bluetooth eliminating cables and mess, and rechargeable so batteries won’t be needed. It can be used on any surface including glass so she can use it wherever she goes with no worries about a mouse pad. With 3 device connections, she can set it up on some of her other items, like a phone.

A keyboard is almost most likely going to be entirely for at home use. Regardless you never know when you may set up for a long period in an off-site location and wish you had a full-size keyboard. So again, portability was taken into account and while being full size, this thing is light and thin.

Bluetooth, again helping reduce cord mess. Recharegale to avoide batteries. Not only like the mouse, does it retain 3 device connections but it handles Windows, Ios, and Android all three. Again making this a great compaion component for things like her phone, playstation, or a Roku.

While she will have a portable hard drive for her personal files and data I feel it is important to have a very small media, you can carry on a keychain if you want, and hand off to anyone with it being liekly they can use it. In short folks, you always need disc(s)!

This 128gig Micro SD with Adapter was perfect for that purpose and also took care of another concern I had.. I wanted her to have an Micro SD to SD card adapter! This gives her a portable storage device she can keep empty other then some favorites she might want to share with people continually or share between a lot of diferent type of devices (not everything can read a hard drive!). Most importantly in my opinon is it gives her something other then her data drive to hand to people and pass things back and forth, that does NOT contain sensative information on it.

The one thing the Yoga does not have on it from what I could determine, I really thing it should, is a SD card reader… I mean, you see how small they are?

Regardless I had wanted to get her a USB hub as a docking station for at home. I like this one as not only does it give her the docking stationn, it handle sthe SD reader concern, gives her a second headphone jack to share with a friend (airplane or train tavel comes to mind), a VGA port, and some other things.

I REALLY love that it has an RJ45 port. Some places still may only offer hardwire and not wifi and regardless of that, I ALWAYS prefer hardwire over wifi if I have the option!

I mentioned the VGA port. Why? VGA and HDMI monitor connection options are two instead of one! Meaning wherever she takes it she can plug into a TV or computer monitor either one with a low chance of not having the right connection type.

Also great if you have this and can be the hero of the party in a library or classroom when someone needs to charge, can’t connect to something, etc! Bribing the GM will almost always get you something discreetly!

Movies and such are defintiely a thing for her (thats my girl!). Also its not uncommon these days to have a class where you can (or even sometimes required!) turn in assignments on CD or DVD you burn yourself.

A portable drive takes care of this concern. Probably something rarely used in the classroom so mostly used for the home workstation or travel. A Bluray Reader and DVD/CD writer would have been sufficient for her I believe, but I actually have a quite a bit of blank Blu-ray media I will unlikely ever use, including Dual Layer. The DL Bluray drive’s cost difference with that writing ability vs. without is significantly less than the cost of the blank media I have. So I went the extra little bit on the basis if at some point the media is useful to her, this paid for itself immediately.

Note give that this item has moving parts and is the most fragile of everything that she is getting (most likely to break or stop working), I opted for the 4 year extended warranty. It was also very inexpensive.

I understand you are getting low on power (or are out of power) sometimes. It happens to the best of us, even when your carefull to try to always charge when given the chance.

I do not understand how it is possible to ALWAYS be in that situation. I mean, you had to charge at some point, to be abel to get to the point where you are “running out” or “ran out” of power right? So how come it’s never quiet about having a charging issue?

Furthermore WTF is it with cords? I thougth I had to replace a lot of cords in the past when it was because I was buying cheap cords, was to rough on them, or one of the dogs got pissed off at me about something. I had NO idea how many cords and wall adapters I would need to keep stocked because I would be asked to “borrow one for a little bit” (that I never see again). Not to mention, I had to start stocking types I DON”T EVEN USE in some cases, for someone else’s backup! wow!

With that said, I think the following selections speak for themsevles.

That about wraps it up! You have a lot of flexability in choosing the core system, the accessories, and what accessories you take around with you and when. As well as fairly decent at home work station setup in addition to portability.

One thing I did consider but did not get at this time is a small portable HD projector. The ability to shoot the second monitor of varying size on a wall (or ceiling if laying down), would be handy. Could even get a small portable white screen to go with it. Possible future item if it seems like after time, that would be hugely beneficial.

I told my daughter I am jealous! This is a fantstic setup for a lot of situations. I have archived her order, as if I ever am spending a lot of time travelling on the road again, I would want something similiar for my business.

September 5 2018

Auction Spotlight – Shroud of the Avatar AND Ultima


Since I have a feeling we are going to be seeing a lot of stuff popping up for a while, I am going to keep it short!

Currently has a $30 big and is about $10 shipping. Claims to be the $200 reward level, but as it is sealed no way to verify without opening.
Lord British's Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues Collector's Edition | eBay

I spotlighted this one last time, but going to toss it up here again as it really is a nice auction!
Shroud of the Avatar SEALED Collector's Box Royal Founder Physical Rewards | eBay


What caught my eye on this one is it has the rune stones with it. Harder to find! I would verify count with the seller though. I’m missing one in my set (I knew that when purchased though), don’t want any surprises!

Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss (PC, 1991) 3.5" Disks, Rune Bag, Cluebook 17814788109 | eBay


This one triggered a successful spot check, as its flat out slick! Would love to have one of these in my Cave!

Ultima Online Lithograph UO 15th Anniversary – New Condition | eBay


Be sure to check out my Patreon! Themed around dice as a cool way to give you something back that is game related, but also helps pay for the time and hosting used for stuff like this!

Donate – Caverns, Dungeons, and Beyond

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September 4 2018

Shroud of the Avatar Auction Spotlight


When talking purchasing a Shroud of the Avatar Collectors Edition Box, sealed – PLEASE USE CAUTION!!! These boxes are not packaged equally, and there is NO WAY to verify the contents of a box without OPENING IT.

A sealed Lord of the Manner pledge Collectors Box will look identical to say, a Benefactor Knights pledge. The only way to know you were not lied to is to open the box. So please use caution and be careful of scammers.

I have seen a few listed on eBay now, but these are the only two I have seen priced reasonably enough that anyone is taking them seriously.

This first one is a bit different then you would expect. In addition to Shroud of the Avatar, it comes with a few of the Ultima Trinkets. Also be wary of the description as they are just copying the pledge rewards they are saying were originally listed. The book, for instance, is NOT included.

It claims Citizen Royal Founder, but how do you know for sure? Luckily with it being an auction and current bid around $20.00 right now, you can bid as its a low tier version just to get some of the basic goodies. THIS AUCTION WILL BE A TREND SETTER IN PRICING!
Shroud of the Avatar SEALED Collector's Box Royal Founder Physical Rewards | eBay

Heres another one currently at a $40 bid. Does not come with any trinkets and also doe snot make any claims as to what pledge level it was from.
Lord British's Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues Collector's Edition Box (S | eBay

You can see box openings over here!

(123) Stile Teckel Box Openings – YouTube

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August 30 2018

Shroud of the Avatar Auction Spotlight


I wondered how long it would take for one of the Shroud of the Avatar Collector’s boxes to arrive on eBay.

Shroud of the Avatar Collector's Box NIS Royal Founder Ultima Lord British NEW | eBay

At a starting bid of $500.00, I do not expect to see this item get any bids, but you never know!

One thing to note is that it is indicated it is for the “Royal Founder Collector level”. Good idea to specify this, as I know that I personally have yet to be able to answer the question… Are these boxes all packaged with the same contents, regardless of pledge level?

I was also a bit flattered, as they show an unboxing video. I’m in it!

Category: Caverns, Dungeons, and Beyond | Comments Off on Shroud of the Avatar Auction Spotlight
July 22 2018

Shroud of the Avatar, It’s Developer’s, & It’s Community – In the News

It look’s like we will see Shroud of the Avatar on Amazon at some point!

So let’s look at what else is going on?

Over here, Richard Garriott was on a podcast.
PODCAST: Richard Garriott's real life as amazing as his virtual worlds

Richard Garriott to be a speaker at devcom 2018, according to this article.
Gamasutra – Press Releases- NRW Indie Area at devcom 2018: North Rhine-Westphalia supports independent developers

Richard Garriott get’s a brief mention in this article.
Game review: Tempest 4000 is a classic you can’t keep down | Metro News

Both Starr Long and Richard Garriott are included in an upcoming book. You can see some exceprts here!
Gamasutra – Book Excerpt: A behind-the-scenes look at building Ultima Online


According to this article, Players gave over $4000.00 in items away to other players. Wow!

Over $4000 USD Given Away, The Ripple Effect, Walhalla Museum Opening Party • Shroud Of The Avatar – KABALYERO – Knight Of New Britannia


Looks like Shroud of the Avatar partner Travian games is adding some other partners.
Gamasutra – Press Releases- Travian Games reveals two new games: 4Sight and Startrail Destiny

Category: Caverns, Dungeons, and Beyond, Events - in Game, Lord British, Lord DarkStarr, Swag, Websites | Comments Off on Shroud of the Avatar, It’s Developer’s, & It’s Community – In the News
July 13 2018

Shroud of the Avatars New Britannia Theater Troupe Needs Thespians!

Every think about doing a bit of acting? Virtual style?

The New Britannia Theater Troupe is in need of some additional staff! As a founding member and actor myself, I can tell you that it does not take long, it is rewarding and fun. You should give it a try!

The following is from director Asclepius:

This is a CASTING CALL to all aspiring Thespians!

As you may know, I am the director of the New Britannia Theater Troupe. Between us we have delighted the community with many plays and stories, both live in-game plays and audio only radio plays.

I am currently looking for actors willing to take part in a live, in game play we are developing. I need one male and one, possibly two, female actors.
The deal is: I forward you lines to read. You record them and return them to me. I splice everything together, adding music and sound effects, to create an audio file.
At appointed times, we get together in game to rehearse. Our characters act out the story on stage, copy/pasting the text in time with the soundtrack as it is running.
When we are ready, we present it to the community. We have a truly wonderful location for the performance, it only awaits a production. As we perform, the audio will be simulcast on Avatars Radio, so the audience can see and hear the production.

So what am I looking for, and what do you need?

Firstly, enthusiasm. The most important requirement. I am not interested in people who accept a role and then don’t come through. This has been in the works for quite some time; for the sake of everyone else who has put effort into it, it deserves to get done and be shown to the community.

A decent voice is useful. Don’t stress, this is not Carnegie Hall, and you are among friends. Just the ability to read lines 😊

You also need a microphone and some recording software. Audacity is most commonly used – it’s free and easy to use. We mostly work with mp3 files, but I can accept almost anything.

You also need to be available for rehearsals and live performance in game, at times that suit everyone (by negotiation).

If you would like to join a great team, PLEASE PM me in the forum or at Asclepius@thecaverns.net. Love to hear from you, and I will be glad to talk you through any questions you have regarding recording, live work or anything else.

Thanks and look forward to hearing from you!

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June 22 2018

Reminder to all Guild Members and Potential Guild Members!

thecaverns.net/guild/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Indi-Martin-Caverns-Guild-Logo-Full-Size-Medium.png” rel=”lightbox[3607]” title=”Reminder to all Guild Members and Potential Guild Members!” class=”local-link”>

The forums are located here!
http://www.thecaverns.net/talk/

Hello everyone,

Two things of note to remind everyone of.

The forums are located here!
http://www.thecaverns.net/talk/

One, We are still here!!!  The webpage itself just does not see a lot of activity that can be seen by the public because… AND NOTE, THIS IS IMPORTANT:

Our Guild Discussion forums are located at a different link, using PhpBB software. Why a guild webpage and separate forums?  Last time I checked there was no decent way to Embed PhpBB Forums (or any of the other decent forum packages), into a WordPress site.  The forum software is updated too often for it to be used for anything more than forums, and so a website outside of the forums is needed.  While WordPress does offer forum type plugins/software, I find it very inadequate to a full blown forum software package. So we have both!

The forums are located here!
http://www.thecaverns.net/talk/

ALSO NOTE: When you go to the forums there is a general discussion section that the public can see.. and that’s ALL! There IS an ACTIVE guild member only forum section, but to see them you have to have access to them!

To get access to the forums, you will need to register an account, which I will then have to go in and manually verify. While this is a pain, it is the best anti-spam measures available.

If I don’t do this within a day, use the contact form on this website to drop me a note and I’ll get it taken care of for you.

Only Guild members are granted access to the guild forums OR prospective guild members that would like to have an opportunity to hang out in our forums. If your thinking about joining the guild and want guild forum access, just contact me!

The forums are located here!
http://www.thecaverns.net/talk/


The other thing I would mention

The reason the “website” does not see much use, is I don’t have the time to do a lot with it. If someone wants a feature or asks me to do something, I will most likely do it if someone is asking me to.. because someone is asking, so they are using or looking at it, and that makes me happy to do it.

Otherwise, for general care – we need someone to maintain some things on the website. Hopefully, we eventually recruit someone interested in doing at least one of the things the site needs loving attention given to it, for! Maybe you?

What are those things?

-Maintaining the guild roster page(s)
-maybe we put a calendar up and keeping that updated with guild events and info
-general updating of the content on the site as needed
-someone to publish posts (like this one), about the guild and guild member related projects. Recap’s of guild events
-Anything else your imagination can supply.. Ill help with software installation if needed!

It’s all very easy to do. Much like using a word processing program! Drop me a note if interested 🙂

thecaverns.net/guild/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Ankh-Quill.png” rel=”lightbox[3607]” title=”Reminder to all Guild Members and Potential Guild Members!” class=”local-link”>

February 16 2018

Photos and Photo Galleries Working Again

For anyone that noticed there was an issue with displaying images, our apologies!

I noticed that a recent update of the lightbox software I used was not allowing it to be very friendly with certain things. This was a simple fix but I was delayed by other bugs that had to be worked out to implement it.

As you can see from this nice gallery here, when you click on an image you will now have a nice slideshow lightbox gallery, with options to play it, scroll through it, and all the other functionality that is frankly just necessary!

Category: Caverns, Dungeons, and Beyond | Comments Off on Photos and Photo Galleries Working Again
February 15 2018

*SQUEALS LIKE A GIRL* Coins from Relics by Rild and Frank Baxley!


(Note: Sorry for images not looking correct at the moment, or being able to be pulled up to look at in large size. Currently working on fixing lightbox, gallery issues with the site, but before I can do so, there are other bugs I am having my host work out from the new migration first. Thanks for patience and photos should be back up and pretty before long).

OMG, OMG, OMG! It was so awesome opening a box today from Relics by Rild!

Frank Baxley recently designed two new coins for Shroud of the Avatar, which is now for purchase in the Relics from Rild store.

So, this was a hard purchase for me. I became unemployed in 2017 and I have decided to stay that way as an entrepreneur who has yet and probably will not for a few years, makes enough to be qualified as “self-employed”. As you can imagine part of this decision includes a self-sacrifice in that there is very very little I purchase that does not serve a need of some kind. Usually most of my purchases these days are investments for my business in some way.

So when not one but TWO new coins went into the store at the same time, some tough decisions had to be made! I mean, I’ve been wanting one of the SotA Title Art Woodcut Hoodie’s for ages now as it is!

Ultimately there was never any question! No way I am not getting my hands on any coins made by Frank Baxley that I had an opportunity for, and do not already own. I’ll share my collection below.

Very happy I decided to work these into the budget. They are both beautiful, but clearly, the Blade of the Avatar coin is a new level of coin making from Frank. This particular coin is larger than any others he has made (that I own at least), and to me personally, is just the most creative, artistic, best-looking one he has done.

Great job Frank!!!

My Shroud of the Avatar and Related Coins:
Not all of these coins are made by Frank, but most of them are.

Category: Caverns, Dungeons, and Beyond, People, Relics by Rild | Comments Off on *SQUEALS LIKE A GIRL* Coins from Relics by Rild and Frank Baxley!
February 2 2018

Ultima Auction Spotlight – Ultima Ascension – posters autographed by Lord British / Richard Garriott


The sellers of these is an Ultima Dragon and they do a way better job of describing them, then I could!

Description
Three Ultima Ascension prints signed by Richard Garriott. These are the two-page ads that were run during Ultima Ascension’s release window.

Each poster is a full 16.5 x 10.5 inches. There is no magazine split down the middle.

All proceeds will be donated to Toronto SickKids Hospital (https://www.sickkids.ca/). This charity is not listed on eBay.com’s Make A Donation option, so I will be donating directly and providing proof to the winner.

Background
When Ultima Ascension was released, it performed… poorly. I helped test the first patch by running dozens of benchmarks on whatever Matrox card I had at the time.

Post-release, someone at Origin asked for my home address to send a small token of appreciation. A few weeks later these prints showed up, all signed in gold sharpie by Lord British / Richard Garriott.

I would love to add these to my collection, but my finances do not allow it at this time, so.. GO GET EM!!!

Ultima Ascension – posters autographed by Lord British / Richard Garriott | eBay

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