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.

November 20 2016

All Gamers – Arm UP! Logitech Periphals Up to 50% Off Today!

I usually would not promote a sale going on at another store like this, as a single article content.

Let’s face it, though; Logitech makes good peripherals, and my audience is gamers. I’d hope you would want to know about this!!!

So Click Here to head over to Amazon for the sale if you need any new gaming equipment!

A couple of recommendations from Stile!

I use this WEBCAM and it is the shit! 1080P and is tripod ready.

I use two mice. One is a Logitech gaming mouse; I use when doing a lot of PvE or PvP.

The rest of the time I use this Logitech peripheral because it uses less hand movement, is more precise, doesn’t require wrist or arm movement.

Every person I have ever gotten to try one of these, and use it for about two weeks is converted and swears by them. If you have never used one for a while, you may be doing yourself an injustice. No, they don’t work for everything but 95% of the time they are a better choice.

Category: Tech | No Comments »
July 4 2016

Celebrate Fourth of July With some Loud Noise – Buy Xounts

As my Shroud of the Avatar readers hopefully remembers, I did a piece on the Xounts Kickstarter recently. They have a Shroud of the Avatar skin being offered that SotA fans should be drooling over (I know I am!). If you didn’t catch that piece or even if you just need to read it again as a refresher please feel free to take a moment and read it here and then come back. I promise I will wait for you.

I just saw that for the 4th of July Xounts is doing a special deal in which if you pledge today you get an Independence Day skin. It looks pretty cool to me, so if that looks like it may be of interest to you go get more details and maybe sign up.

The details are here:

Xounts Website:

On Kickstarter:

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April 12 2016

Shroud of the Avatar Keyboard Template for Corsair K95 RGB LED Extended

One of my friends, The Mad Hermit once did a piece on his keyboard. You can find it on his website over here.

I bought the Extended version of the same Keyboard, the K95. I did a light template a while back for Shroud of the Avatar but keep forgetting to share it, so figured I better do so while thinking of it.

Now, this is the first attempt, and I am sure others could do better. If you are not one of them, though this one is somewhat decent. Mode 1 is just a “fun” out of game mode that I like. Mode to is Shroud of the Avatar non-combat. Mode 3 is Shroud of the Avatar combat.

Keyboard SOTA

I hope you find it useful!

Keyboard SOTA

If you don’t have one of these keyboards, the price has come down on them somewhat. I was lucky enough to get mine as a sort of fee in exchange for some tech work I provided (more of a thank you).

It is NOT just about the lights! The keys on these keyboards set above the keyboard in special fittings. This makes getting crumbs, dust, etc.. inside the keyboard not easy. The keyboard itself is made out of aircraft brushed aluminum, and it’s some sexy metal! This thing is built like a tank and is made to last.

The only thing that was bad about it for me was the wrist rest. One of the clips quickly broke, and when I examined it for repair, I felt it was a poor design in general. I get by fine without it!

You can drop over to Amazon here to take a look at them in more detail.

April 9 2016

Ultima Auction Spotlight – Ultima VII Prototype Cartridge ~+~ Printer Recommendations from Stile’s Office

Ok so. Right. Um. Yeah. Got it?

What I am trying to say is, I have never seen this item up before. It’s naturally rare by its nature if it’s authentic.

Ultima VII (7): The Black Gate – SNES Nintendo Super Famicom PROTOTYPE DEBUG NFR

Quote from the auction:

For sale here is a prototype cartridge of Ultima VII: The Black Gate. The game has been tested and works fine in both Super Famicom and American SNES consoles (as long as the plastic tabs inside the cartridge slot have been removed). I don’t know if it has any differences to the final release, but all of the text is in Japanese. Please see the included photographs for details on the game’s physical condition.

Ok, so this just seemed cool to me. The photos give the perception that the game is loaded into a Game Console and shows you monitor pics. No reason to think this is not a legitimate item but please do your homework and make sure before buying.

It comes with a hefty price-tag of $500.00. However, the seller is willing to consider offers so you may be able to do better than that. High, low? Good question indeed and no way to say. Unique items are only what you are willing to pay for it. If multiple people are willing to pay more than that for this, then it is a good buy regarding value.

It seems pretty unique, and I have seen items sell for more that were less rare. On the other hand, I have no idea what the appeal among the collector community as a whole for this item would be.

Ultima VII (7): The Black Gate – SNES Nintendo Super Famicom PROTOTYPE DEBUG NFR

I recently finalized my printer setup for my office. As a family we have need to be able to do both high quality photo printing as well as quick reliable workhorse printing.

Trying to get by on a single ink-jet just was not cutting it anymore. Additionally I just got fed up of all the issues every ink jet I have ever owned seems to have. As a result I added a Lazer to our home line-up.

So if you are on the market, maybe this well help you out.

For high quality printing we use the Epson Artisan 837. DO NOT use this printer for card stock! It feeds regular paper or photo stock just fine, although it does sometime mess up and feed extra sheets. It is horrible with card stock and will cause bad jams. It is also costly with ink due to the number of different colors it uses.

What it does very well is some extremely high quality photo printing which is overall reliable. It does it quickly, had a touch screen, and just about every other bell and gadget you could want. The features I choose this for include:

-Ethernet wired
-USB Stick reader & Flash Card readers
-Scanner both as flatbed and feed
-hi quality and speed
-Can print CD/DVD media
-Touch Screen controls
-fax (yes, I use it as one)

Its a lot of features but be warned, it has the price-tag to go with it.

So the down side is it’s an ink-jet. It is going to have issues. Jams when you do not need them, nozzles clogging, you ran out of your last black before you placed an order or your backup is defective.

I recently had just such an issue when I had a half dozen eBay shipping labels to print.

This resulted in the decision to get a Lazer printer but I wanted to spend as littled as possible. It was a must as I couldn’t run into these situations and I needed a hard-core reliable machine. I looked at my must have features.

-hardwiered ethernet (Reliable)
-can print card stock since the Epson can’t
-Scan and copy both as flatbed or fed

I wanted to put color for card stock purposes on that list but needed to keep this on the inexpensive side.

Unfortunately I quickly found out that adding the above features together quickly added up in cost to the point that color was not much more. I added a bit more onto my budget to make sure I got a reliable piece of equipment but found one priced below the competitions by Canon. I LOVE it!!!

I did end up needing to add another switch to the home network for both the printer and a VOIP I was adding. I ALWAYS buy this particular brand and model of Swithc. I am running a few of them in the house and have been for years, without ever having a single issue. Very rare occasions you need to reset them.

March 12 2016

Underworld Ascendant Made Game Informer Issues #272 ~+~ 10 Key Recommendation

So I actually do subscribe to Game Informer. Given the role I play as a blogger and my other projects in the gaming communities I am involved in, it is important that I keep up with things and this is just one of the many ways I do so.

That does not mean I am not always caught up with my reading material! I finished issue #272 today and was pleased to see page 70 was dedicated a piece to Underworld Ascendant.

For those of you who want to grab one to read the piece or for the collectors who want a copy, here are just a couple of EBay links I grabbed really quick.

Game Informer Magazine 272 [Dec 2015] Quantum Break NEW!

Game Informer Virtual Reality Magazine Quantum Break Issue 272 December 2015

Game Informer December 2015 #272 Quantum Break

Sometimes I give some shopping recommendations based on my own experiences. I only recommend products I am happy with but its opinon. I pride myself on finding the best product for my needs at the best price. Quality, the usage, etc.. could sometimes change the best option so this won’t always be for you! If it does work though and you use my link, I sometimes make a few cents. If I get REALLY lucky I make a few dollars! That happened once.. Bottom line is I enjoy it 🙂

I recenelty decided I wanted a Bluetooth 10 Key Numeraic Pad for my office area setup. I also could not spend mouch on it as I really shouldn’t be spending anything. This is one of those pruchases that was justified by the ways it would provide me with some extra efficency though and time is my most needed resource. I can say that for 20.00 this thing does the job perfectly, is light, and I am as happy as could be with it. So if your looking for one, I reccomend it.

I would have preferred one that just detected and used an existing Bluetooth as opposed to its own dongle. It is possible that you can set it up that way but I did not try as I have spare USB’s on the rear of my case. I have had problems using these in the past due to interference from that distance with other components but thus far this has worked perfectly.

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March 4 2016

New Version Footsteps Scene Designer Pro for Unity by The Mad Hermit / Printer Recommendations

The mad Hermit has released a new version of Footsteps Scene Designer Pro for Unity with new features. So if your doing stuff in Unity you are most likely going to want to check this out.

+ Adjustable volume controls for each ground type, allowing you to control the loudness of footsteps on a “material-by-material” basis.
+ Footstep sound FX support for Unity’s 3rd Person Character Controller.
+ Event driven footstep sounds that synchronize with your characters animation.
+ Improved footstep detection using skeletal left and right foot transform to more precisely detect the material beneath the players foot.

Pit Trap, roll 3D100 and take that much damage!

Why so much damage? A nasty pit trap, printers!

I don’t know what it is about printers but it seems like no matter what I get, it has issues. I’ve bought a LOT of printers in my lifetime by a LOT of companies, and I have ever yet to be fully satisfied. Every damned one has some sort of issue.

Now the last time I purchased a printer I went with this one. I am still very satisfied with the choice but it had one flaw going in I knew about. It sucks for card stock. It’s a costly printer but if you want to do seriously quality photographic printing in an all in one unit that isn’t a monstrosity, this fits the bill.

So why my rant? Well, this thing is causing me some trouble with the blank ink of late. It won’t print. Need to get it in and find out if it’s a sensor, cleaning issue, etc.. so not a huge deal. Let’s face it, I love the printer and that sort of thing happens.

However.. Me being unable to print, at all, is a serious issue. Not to mention I am about to go live with a fax line any day that will run through that machine or another.

After a talk with several family members, a decision was made. A backup printer was needed, something that was more focused on being reliable as opposed to being high quality. A daily use spit out the black text stuff, Ebay shipping labels, and things of that nature. A workhorse that’s not a beauty.

Amazingly my wife agreed. This tells you how many issues we have had with printers over the years!

I put together what I would want ideally before going shopping on this purchase. I decided that I should at the same time make up for my inability to print on card stock and it WOULD be nice to do color for that purpose, even if it wasn’t used for other things.

Now, in the end, I was fortunate as what I had, was no budget. Luckily I had a reign check from a family member for something I needed in relationship to certain criteria as a gift and this fit. I called it in, it was approved, and I went with a laser!

Now, I cannot at this time say how well it runs. I’ve been sick all week and it was all I could do to slide the almost 70lb box into the house! Hopefully, tomorrow I will get it hooked up and if you are interested in a follow-up review, post a comment and I will do one. Otherwise, I won’t bother.

The reviews on this on Amazon are superb, though. Specifically with regards to the things I was looking for (focus on reliability, no jams, etc). It’s priced highly competitively to other comparable units while at the same time spending anything less gets you almost nothing. It seems like the sweet spot for a printer like this although I could be wrong. I hope maybe my research time helps you out!

I decided to try this set of Toner out figuring I’d rather take the risk rather than spending the amount the name brand is wanting.

Keep in mind the plan is black printing will be done on the laser, color on the inkjet. The exception being color card stock which is VERY rare on the laser. In the long run, this optimizes my cost savings on ink and toner as I will save using black toner and color inkjet.

Granted – That is a big bankroll for printers! However, I think the combination is one of the sweetest I’ve been able to piece together for the multiple purposes and wanting to have a back-up. Not for everyone, you have to understand my wife has a degree in photography so serious photo printing in our house is a must. I run my own business, so serious reliability for simple printing is a must. I hope this works out as well as it seems thus far!