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.
Posted by Sir Stile Teckel - Email Author
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A recent forum post in the Shroud of the Avatar Market sections of the forums caught my attention.
I am taking offers on 1200 cask of 2 year whiskey stage in 300 cask maturing per week.
I just finished stage one of my 7 year rotation and I am going to stop my current 2 year production. I had 300 more cask to keep the steady rotation but moved them into the 7 year chain.
rather than just putting these into the production of 7 year yet I am taking offers for trade and sale before I move on to stage 2 of my 7 year rotation.
each batch vendors for 96,000g with around 51,000g profit your mileage may vary based on you material cost.
I don’t have a hard price and I am not in a hurry to sell if I choose to.
nonaware, Yesterday at 5:10 PM
So to summarize this.
-They have created a Brewing system, and maintain it, that generates them approximately 51,000 Gold per week in profit or 200,000 per month.
-200K is enough to pay rent on a City lot in the game.
-It is enough to pay for basic adventuring costs, food potions, and other things (taking into account you will also earn on your adventures).
In short, proof that in Shroud of the Avatar you can be a professional ale brewer as your main in-game profession. Well done Portalarium!
I decided to just do a quick piece on this, as I know a couple of my readers are wanting to know. Rather than contact those people individually, maybe this is helpful to others.
One of the questions some people have had, is that of the Lord of the Manor Reward regarding the Alkalabeth Cassette Tape. Would it be shipped separate or would it be in the Lord of the Manors, Physical Shroud of the Avatar’s Collector box?
With the boxes having shipped and no public word I or many have seen (not to say one hasn’t been made), on this topic, it has been a question collectors have wanted to know. Especially before BUYING sealed Lord of the Manor boxes second hand.
The problem? Not everyone wishes to open a sealed Lord of the Manor Collectors box!
A Lord of the manor has confirmed no Cassette in two opened appropriate Collector’s boxes, on the Shroud of the Avatar forums. Is concerned about how and when this item will be delivered.
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!
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.
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!
Posted by Sir Stile Teckel - Email Author
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First I have to apologize. I have been waiting until I had enough pieces to get a new one of these out and a few days ago I realized I was way past having enough and should be posting the second one by now, with what I have! Ooops!
So let’s do this thing.
I mean, what can I seriously say? What words can top this title? Not really fair you know? It’s like looking at a level 6 Rouge and saying, ok go for it, roll your hiding skill to hide from Dragolich the dragon, in a fully lit room, which is also his hoard, after he was just talking to you, and you haven’t moved, and he knows where you are. Unless your Bilbo and have a Ring of Unlimited Invisibility, with Unlimited Charges, forget it!