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Posts posted by Lynx7725

  1. Resurrection! Sorry, wrong game. Have some medi-gel instead. :lol:

    ME3 Trailer from GameCon over in Germany.

    EDIT: First mover disadvantage. Bioware put up a better quality trailer, switching.

  2. nhyone does have a point. Having dual hard drives is great, but if you plan on testing server-side and other applications as you mentioned, the computing power is great but you don't necessarily need the dual hard drives, unless you plan on RAID 1. If you plan on eventually using it as a file server once your testing is done, the Core i7 is a fairly expensive file server.

    Heh. Think of it this way -- combination "play with Mac OS", "play with upper tier server services", "wireless hotspot", "iPad wireless storage device", "potential future Tomcat/ Mysql app server"... it's not for one purpose, it is for a multitude of tasks, with some long term servicability. Form factor is also a big draw -- I prefer a small package, not a big clunker.

    (It's also to cure itchy fingers, but that's another story. :lol: )

    One of the main thing is just really exposure. Plenty of experience on Windows platform, some on UNIX-based, iOS too, now want to take a look at Apple-style OSes. I do think I'd want the i7s for longer term use and bigger horses when I eventually mess around on a lower level. The dual HDD is sort of incidental; there is no choice to downgrade further, the dual HDD is the cheapest option already. :)

    Sure, I know I can build from scratch a good, even better box running solid LINUX servers, have seen that done before. One of the challenges I'm thinking of is to see if I can do it with a product essentially out-of-box from a bigger commercial company, tweaked with a ISP dongle (3G here), an app server, a cheap DB; whack the silly Apache to serve as a webfront, so as to act as a mobile server, point a DNS to the right IP... Essentially, a disposable server.

    A bit lateral thinking is all.. a $1K server from a reputable (and frickin' rich) company like Apple, sufficiently powerful to handle Java apps.. so what if it fails? DB (maybe even the app server/ app) sits on remote storage, grab a fresh Mac Mini Server from cold storage and warm up. Hook up and reset. Toss the failed h/w back to Apple to recycle. Sod the big rack clustered servers and their reliability; just achieve the reliability with having "good enough" stuff and plenty of backstop. Sort of like Blade servers, except in white. :lol: If it can be done (and maintained!) with people with minimum training, then it becomes even more attractive, especially for SMEs.

  3. You probably are too use to the response time of iOS....Although, many apps haven't been updated just yet for Lion (minus the Apple ones), so it might just feel slow for the moment.

    As I mentioned, the Mac Mini is fine if you want to play with Mac OS. I would recommend upgrading the RAM to at least 4GB. Either through Apple or on your own (I'd recommend on your own if you can).

    Depends on which version you're looking at. The Mac Minis that just got updated use DDR3 1333 SO-DIMMs. The previous generation of Mac Minis used DDR3 1066 SO-DIMMs. The new models that just came out use Intel Core i5/i7. The previous models used Intel Core 2 Duos.

    Versions I looked at had Snow Leopard, not Lion, on them, so I think it's just that I'm too pampered by iOS responses. Thanks for the info on the RAM!

    Az is correct, the previous Core 2 Duo models used 1066 (they're easy to spot because they have a slot-loading DVD drive on the front). The new i5 models definitely use 1333... I'd be happy to post my "About This Mac" screen later when I'm using it (I'm tying on my Windows box... half day at work, so I'm hoping to get some gaming on Steam in today).

    I don't want dissuade you too much, but I still don't see a 256GB drive being worth $400 when you can buy a 750GB 7200RPM traditional laptop drive for under $100. It's also important to remember that the computer will cold boot and load and launch an app faster, but once the OS and the apps are running RAM will be a bigger factor on speed than an SSD (especially since Lion handles apps in memory the same way iOS does).

    Would appreciate the screenshot. I'm in Singapore (ex-Brit colony and all... :lol: ). Talking to a more Mac-savvy colleague pointed me to a particular shop at our local "flea market", so I think I can sort that out.

    After considering the points here and discussing with said colleague, I'll probably go for a Mac Mini server with 4GB ram and 2 500GB, 7200 HDD. That's pretty much out of box. Don't think I really need the oomph right now and I can probably upgrade it later. I'll need to pick up a few cables, but those are easy. Won't do it this month, but probably end of next month. Thanks for all the help, folks!

  4. If you're looking for a UNIX server experience, I would say, building your own Linux or BSD server might be better choice. Unless you plan on running OS X specific apps I'd be inclined to avoid going that route. Also similar with the Mac Mini Server. Unless there is a need to go that route, I would probably avoid going that route. A regular Mac Mini would probably be a better choice if you want to dip your hand into Mac OS. Unlike mikeszekely, I have no qualms about a Mac laptop. Are they overpriced? Of course...but what isn't with any Apple product. :) When I was making my testing/HTPC box, I could have gone with a Mac Mini, but that would have been a waste of money to me. If you really don't want to waste money, I'd stick with the Mac Mini. If you want to splurge, I'd probably look at the 11" Macbook Air or 13" Macbook Pro.

    If you go with the Mac mini server, I'd strongly recommend buying it in the basic configuration. Apple's prices on upgrades are ridiculous. To upgrade to 8GB of RAM, they want $200 more. You can buy an 8GB kit from Newegg for $55 shipped (which is exactly what I did). Putting RAM into the mini is a breeze, too, so the only reason to let Apple do it is if you're so lazy that $145 seems like a fair trade for not having to flip the mini over, open the panel (doesn't even require tools), and swapping the modules out yourself. As for the hard drives, Apple wants $400 for a 256GB SSD. That seems almost reasonable... until you consider that you're only getting the SSD. The basic configuration is a pair of 500GB 7200rpm laptop drives. If you buy it that way, you can, with a few torx screwdrivers, replace one of the drives with an SSD. A 256GB SSD runs around $415.

    Hi guys, thanks for the inputs. Please keep them coming, as they are good points that helps in my decision making.

    azrael: I'm not trying to go into UNIX per se -- my work place, we use LINUX/ UNIX for servers. I'm not that keen on it but do know some of my way around it. I'm more interested in the upper tier server apps, like LDAP, mail servers etc. One reason to step away from Windows- and UNIX-based systems is to have a better idea/ concept of "common standards", to compare and contrast implementations across OS... or so that theory goes. :)

    Over the weekend I had the opportunity to go by my local mall, which has a Mac section. While it doesn't have the Mac Mini on display, it does have the Mac laptops and iMac on "show and tell". So I played around a bit..

    ... Colour me unimpressed.

    Maybe I've been spoilt by the iOS products, but the Macs present seems to be slow and sluggish. They are rock bottom options, of course, so it's expected they aren't powerhouses. 2GB Leopard models feel slow to respond with HDD versions and maybe even on an SSD version (I took a peek, there was one (Mac Air IIRC) with a 128GB drive... odd config). 4GB Mac Pro versions also seems sub-par, in fact I don't even perceive much of a difference in casual operations amongst the lot. Needless to say I'm now very wary of getting them for my pet project. I'm not sure whether the problem is with the hardware or the OS, and that's of concern... Maybe, as stated, I'm too used to the iOS' quick response.

    At the moment, I honestly feel I should stick with a Mac Mini (server/ otherwise) instead. I've looked over the tech spec, seems like Lion needs 2GB RAM on its own, then the server recommends 512mb per core for one of the app.. for a Mac Mini, that's another 1GB, for the Server, that's 2GB more; so basic RAM requirements for the Server is a whopping 4GB if you want to do podcasting (which I don't... but y'know, experimenting?). Eh meh. Think I might be able to live with 4GB RAM.

    WRT after-market upgrade, one thing is that I'm not in the US; so some options not applicable (for example, NewEgg is not an option). I definitely like the idea that I can upgrade the stuff later, it's just that the local electronics "flea market" is a pain to attend. (yes, yes, I'm lazy... :) )

    Just a question -- that's odd, web pages put the memory Mac Mini is using as DDR3 1333 SDRAM, but the manual says DDR3 1066 SO-DIMM; which is correct? Either way, Apple does charge a bomb for memory.. Other than that, SSD is now a more serious consideration with the response issue I see in the mall displays. Considering that the local Apple price on SSD seems to be charging a 10% labour fee above the parts price, it's really quite tempting just to tell Apple to go sort it out for me.

  5. It's a little tougher to compare the Mac mini, because there's not a lot of desktop computers around with that sort of size/form factor that aren't underpowered nettops. The computer that gets compared to it the most is the Dell Inspiron Zino HD, but without an Intel option it's still not as direct as the my previous example with laptops. Ultimately, I'd say that the mini is still overpriced, but not as drastically so, especially if you have your own keyboard/mouse/monitor/external optical drive. IMHO, the mini is the best option if you're Mac-curious. Unless you really want that i7, though, I'd skip the Mac mini server and buy one of the other Mac minis. You can save money by upgrading it yourself.

    Thanks for the reply, it helps.

    I'm not too keen on laptops myself (having a few fail on me... It's just not something that I like going through regularly). Mac Air's SSD approach is more to my liking but for what I want it to do, the laptops generally don't cut it -- but is a possibility.

    As for Mac Mini Server, it's not so much the i7 Quad that I'm looking at but the 6mb L3 Cache. Server work to my understanding is much better with a bigger cache and the quad core should help. As it is, the baseline model for the Mini server is quite reasonable (IMO, of course). Even an 8Gb RAM upgrade is within reasonable boundaries, and which I consider necessary for a server setup.

    The killer is really that SSD that I feel as ideal for my "server on the run" idea -- just adding one is already considerable, and 256Gb is not exactly a lot at the cost point. I'll need to think through this to see if it's really critical, considering that the darn thing can't run without a power cord anyway (and hence unlikely to be powered and mobile).

    One thing that eludes me, and maybe you can help me with, is whether Lion itself can be utilized as a wireless hotspot for iOS devices. My idea is to attach a ISP dongle to the Mini, so that it has telephony access to the Internet without going through a network cable to a modem/ router. This part shouldn't be a problem as my ISP dongles are stated to work with at least Snow Leopard OS.

    I do know that the Lion Server do support iOS devices over wireless -- it is advertised after all to support iOS devices with WEBDAV so that iPads can use the storage space. What I don't know is whether the Lion or Server OS can allow the internet connectivity to be utilized by other devices in the network. My suspicion at the moment is no, because Apple most likely would prefer me to buy another product to do so, but I can be wrong.

    And yes, that form factor is a major plus point for me. Something that compact running that much processing power and capability? Hubba hubba. :lol:

  6. Maybe you guys can help me out a bit.

    Been looking over Macs a bit. Specifically, the Mac Mini server with Lion Server.

    I only have experience with iPad and iPhone, so this is the first Mac I'm considering. The major reasons I'm looking at it is to:

    1. get some experience with server software, and the Lion Server's LDAP and Mail services are particularly of interest. The iCal, Wiki 3 and Apache servers are of additional interest too.

    2. get some experience with development on the iOS platform. Nothing serious, it's just that from time to time I get a bit irritated with apps that are not quite there.

    3. and not to mention that my fingers are getting itchy.... :lol:

    I like the Lion's UNIX base, which helps make it Tomcat and MySQL friendly.. which means I can run app servers off the Lion Server. Having an Apache already on the server means I got a web front end too, essentially almost an entire package. Again, I don't have any particular practical need for it, just a way to fool around with things to get an idea of how things work.

    Given the above, is the Mac Mini server a good buy? I understand that any Mac OSX Lion platform (that physically can support the server) can actually be upgraded to a Server version, so I can go with a Mac lappy, which has some advantages (like a keyboard and screen for one...).

    Also, I'm thinking of building a sort of PoC portable server out of this, using SSD drives (which are expensive) and an ISP USB dongle. Basically just run and plug with this -- where there's power, you can plug in and serve as a personal server/ wifi spot for your iOS devices. What are the pros and cons? Can a Lion Server set up this way serve as an wifi hotspot for my other iOS devices to connect to the Internet? What's a good setup given Apple's online options? Or is some other setup more efficient?

  7. No, they're bouncing. I bought one of these guns for my kid. The rounds are a harder foam than in the darts and there's a plastic center for rigidity. There's not much drift but they do bounce off of things really well and tend to roll when they hit the ground.

    Good grief on the composite ammo. Are they spinning the discs in the gun prior to shooting them off? The moaning doesn't sound usual for a electric-assisted plunger system.

  8. Hopefully that game will be a step up form Brutal Legend. Shaeffer tried to mix an action game with a real-time stategy genre, and unlike Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, he it failed to come up to the bar set with his other games.

    To be honest I didn't get Brutal Legend; saw the reviews for Trenched, tried the demo, liked it enough to get it. It's no full blown game by itself, and at the heart of it, it's still a 3D tower defense game, About 2 to 5 days of casual gaming would get you through the campaigns, but some levels are tough enough to make it hard to go past on the first try with the wrong mech setup.

    Best part is that once you beat the game, you can go back and try things with different mech setup. Of course, going back to beginning levels with end-level gear is a bit of a self-satisfaction trip, but testing out how various chassis and weapons combination is quite fun for a while. Not to mention if you are a loot hunter and want the rarer weaponry for your loadout...

    I'm just thinking that a little bit of tuning would make this game at the very least a decent mech shooter. Enough customization, the weaponry are sufficiently different from each other to suit players' needs. Dropping cluster munitions down on 'bots from arty tubes is nice, but I prefer double-tapping with sniper cannons myself.

  9. I get the distinct impression the only way you'll ever be able to aim them is by pointing the gun a good amount to the side of your target, and hoping the disc drifts sideways enough to hit.

    Well, there's always full auto rock and roll.. :lol:

    Of the two guns with detachable mags, One gun is full auto, another is (likely) slamfire. That's actually IMO good enough; the other two have limited use. I just don't see how they can extend the mag cap beyond 20, as the tube would be quite long by then.

  10. I cant remember if the 18rd drum has it, but the 35rd drum has a stoppage knob in the center of the drum. You basically push and turn the knob to back off the dart pusher and then ride the dart pusher back up into the mag portion.

    Both 18 and 35 has the stoppage knob. It won't work in this case though, as the mag plate has already gone past the last slot in the drum -- it's in the pipe proper when it may jam. Prodding the rounds from the chamber (or smacking the mag) is a more consistent approach I think.

  11. FWIW, recently scored a good deal on eBay; $50 shipped for a 35rd drum, a 18rd drum, a bipod, and a Nerf scope (which does jack). Arrived today.

    35rd drum is an oddity for me. Good news: the Stampede is able to free-stand with the drum, the bipod in the lower rail, and the tail on the ground. That spells good things for me. :)

    35rd drum on the Alpha Trooper makes it a wee bit unbalanced IMO but still quite workable. I'm a bit concern because it seems it might jam a bit too frequently. So far everything works smoothly. Feels a bit awkward but the increased mag size makes it interesting.

    18rd drums, I experienced a mag feed failure during testing. At around the 6rd mark as the black mag bottom starts to rise into the column, it can jam. Flip open the jam cover and prodding the rounds down solves the problem. I was able to replicate the problem with the mag free, and had a scare when I stupidly released the spring with no rounds in the mag (bottom bounced up all the way... sheesh).

    Also, loading 18 rounds into the mag seems to add quite a bit of pressure (even 36 layers of foam has some resistance...). I'm thinking of short-loading the clip to 16 or even 15 rounds to ease the tension.

    Two 18rd drums with probably an initial 18rd straight clip should be sufficient for most games. I should be good in terms of purchases for quite a while.

    The bipod, I just wanted to get another to dress up my Longstrike. I find the bipod useful in some circumstances but to be honest, until I mod the 'Strike it's a hanger queen. The scope (from a 'Shot I think?) is a bonus, do absolutely jack, but makes the 'Strike feel a bit better about its performance (or lack thereof). I might do something about that though.

  12. Here are the official pics of the four Vortex blasters.

    Thanks man. Always good to have good clear pics to work with.

    What's odd is that all of them have safeties. As you guys would know, no Nerf clip system has safeties... except for electrics. If cover box can be believed, the Nitron is electric and the rest are not but.. Nerf really never needed a safety, it's a nice touch though. The mag looks quite big though, I think possibly 18 to 20 round? If that's the case this might be a good gun to get to lay down fire. Oddly, it may appear that the Nitron may need two separate types of batteries.

    Now that I have a good side-on look, I think the guts are likely to be totally different. In most cases there doesn't appear to be much room for a standard Recon plunger system, the distance between the mag well and the back of the gun is very short.

    The Proton we know is a single-shot system, not very useful in this day and age; the Vigilon is a 5 shot, integral mag, side loading; I suspect this would become the line's Maverick equivalent as it is short, handy, and shoots sort of enough for plinking exercises. The Praxis is your usual shotgun equivalent, but with a 10-rd clip. In sneak peak video the discharge does sounds like a plunger system.

    Anyhow, we'll probably see more photos and vids before its release in Sep.

    EDIT: Oh incidentally.. Does anyone see a way to increase ammo capacity beyond the Nitron's 20rd clip? I don't easily see a way to fit round disc into box mags and still have them be manageable in size. We might see drum mags that rotate the disc through 90 degrees but my understanding is that might be a bit finicky?

  13. Unofficial box art has been revealed for the upcoming Nerf Vortex line. The blasters will be using new foam discs that have a longer range than darts.

    Nerf Vortex Box Art Revealed

    To be honest I not quite keen on these. It's another ammo type so that's a minus, and in terms of capacity looks like the disc mags are shorter than the usual clip system. Unless the additional range is tremendous, you can't really compete when the opposite side can lay down fire from a 35-rd or even 18-rd drum.

    And it looks like you're getting added range only from the ammo type.. the stock from one of them looks to be standard, which means a reverse plunger internals.

  14. Alpha Trooper and Raider is about the same length, so it's not really more compact. I just prefer the Trooper myself because of the vertical mag, compared to the Raider's horizontal. I suspect with a 18 round mag the Raider would handle very similarly, with a better ergononic grip for the pump, which is one of the Trooper's weakness.

    Still, with a Raider's stock on the Trooper, it becomes a very good gun.

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