Just finished an Advanced Read Copy of “American Predator” by Maureen Callahan. This was a bad ARC for me to read, as it sucked me in immediately and I had to take a bit of extra time where I could find it for a couple days to finish it off quickly. Couldn’t put it down without feeling pain at the need to keep reading!
I only find that once or twice a year… If I am lucky.
So if your looking for a great page turner, be sure to pre-order this one!
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 handlesthe 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.
The beautiful Dragon you are bearing witness to was made by artist Juan C Martinez, whom I had the opportunity to meet at Capricon!
What is really amazing about this little beauty is that it is made entirely from pennies! That is what Juan does, is using tools and coins makes amazing sculptures out of them.
I obtained two pieces from him, the dragon you saw above and for my wife’s birthday today, I gave her a blue rose.
If you like his work, which is reasonably priced be sure to stop over at his Facebook page “CHAOSART666K”. You can contact him to order pieces. If you do though, be sure to tell him Caveloot.com sent you, as he shows us a little love back for the referral. Regardless of that though we want him to know we are sending him love where we can!
This is a fantastic documentary about Richard Garriott’s preparation and flight into space. It is not hard to find at all. However, I have NEVER seen it posted this inexpensively on Ebay. I even paid a bit more than this for the copy I own, and I waited a year before I nabbed it at what I paid!
You do not need to be a fan of or interested in Richard Garriott to enjoy this movie. I think just about anyone with an interest in some of the things taking place in the commercial space flight industry would do well to check this score out!
There is also bonus features on it, including the first (and only still?) horror movie that takes place in space, actually filmed in space. It’s just a short flick of only a few minutes but is enjoyable.
So whether looking to add it to a collection, or just want an enjoyable and educational movie to watch, this is a win!
When I was recently setup and selling for my business Caveloot.com, at Midwinter Gaming Convention, I got to meet Heather and Joe of “Stinky Goblin Emporium.” Fantastic people and I spent a lot of time speaking with Joe specifically. Enjoyed my conversations with him and he seemed like a wonderful individual.
They had a wide array of products they were selling, but what had caught my eye the most were 3D sculpted and painted dungeon tiles/scenery. Top quality and each piece were a piece of art as well as a function for your game. Unfortunately, I didn’t snap any photos!
Sculpting isn’t there only medium, though, also working with leather, wood, painting, and a multitude of other areas these two are extraordinarily crafty!
Ok, those bookmarks look epic!
So whether you just wouldn’t mind another cool artisan to follow, or if you want to order some cool custom sculpting, leather work, or another cool item, be sure to check them out on Etsy and favorite their page!
If you order from them, please be sure to let them know caveloot.com sent you! They should remember me; they got a decent amount of paper from my cash box out of me while I was there… I, unfortunately, cannot show you the purchase as it is a birthday present for my wife! Don’t want her to see it early!
Wait, I got it!! Hun, if you read this post, don’t click on these spoiler photos! I want people to see what Joe can do on the sculpting front! Everyone else, please hit this spoiler box. It is fantastic!
If you are not familiar with the name of the Albino Dragon Playing Cards, I would be surprised if you have not seen a deck sometime. I believe I have three different ones in my home and I only bought one of them from them direct.
This one offers you a chance to potentially get all the Card Decks they make along with some extras. Woah!!!!
If you sign up for this one and heard it from me, please put in the notes section that caveloot.com sent you! Seriously, I plan on carrying their product someday if I can!
Category: Kickstarter, Swag | Comments Off on Kickstarter Spotlight – Albino Dragon Playing Cards!
As most of my readers are up to speed on now, I am currently undergoing a major life transition from that of being the lifetime corporate employee to becoming an Entrepreneur. While this has been a multiple year ongoing transition, things come to an accumulation this year!
It’s going to take a little while for me to say I am self-employed, but I have moved into the unemployed stage, and am putting a lot of time into my company in the hopes that in the future it may support me.
I mention this, as while I have many businesses, one of the larger ones I am focusing on at this time is that of selling products from my company, caveloot.com at conventions. Gaming, Anime, Comic-con, Renaissance, and more.
While at Midwinter Gaming Convention some vendors and products stood out more than others to me. As an Uber Geek who runs a blog, I felt it was and shall continue to be my duty, as much as I can work it into my schedule and still work on the company, to report some of these to you!
So now with the introduction of what this new series is out of the way, let me spotlight the first one with you; Lisa Sell!
Lisa Sell was one of the artists at the convention and considers herself both a 2D and 3D artist. She was selling masks that she makes herself. With these being hand made and painted each mask is somewhat unique! They come in a variety of styles and is literally a functional piece of art.
I obtained this one to use as part of my “wardrobe” for my vendor business and look forward to trying it out at my next convention!
Are you a fan of the 8bit RPG classics, such as Ultima? Then this is definitely going to appeal to you! Available for PC or Commodore, it captures that modern-classic feel with 8-bit graphics yet retains some of the modern brains behind the game we have come to expect today. A lot of people I know signing up for this one, even developers!