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Saturday Night in London, and here I am at the easyEverything Cafe, blogging. Not to worry, this won’t take long, before I head back out to do something more interesting. Or not. The local Russian mafia are holding a loud meeting just behind me, and I have no idea why they might choose this venue, apart from the fact that it’s open to the public and is was quiet. A couple of mohawk-ed punkski have just joined them, to even louder greetings and salutations. I can hear talk of Rammstein and other metal bands, so it’s probably more social than familial.

This is what I might call an expensive day: I haven’t quite totted up the damage yet, but I have the guts of a new computer to carry home with me on Monday. It starts with a Asus A8N SLI motherboard, AMD 64 3200+ (socket 939) CPU, and a MSI NX6600GT graphics card, and 1GB DDR400 (PC3200) RAM, followed by a 200GB Maxtor DiamondMax 10 SATA HDD, a new PSU, and a front-mounting card reader with audio ports. I needed a new bag to carry some of it home in, and also a camera bag, so I have a new LowePro Computrekker AW to boot.

The motherboard is bleeding-edge, but the other parts are not: I could have paid a lot more for extra performance, but I was seriously shocked by the prices of the NVidia 6800-based parts. It takes a serious gamer to pay more for the graphics card than for the rest of the PC, and a serious gamer I am not. It’s a SLI board, meaning that I can pick up another identical graphics card later, when the prices drop, to gain 50% extra performance. If I feel I need it.

After visiting a few computer fairs, I was surprised to find the parts I wanted at sensible prices in a shop on the Tottenham Court Road: I went in to a couple to check prices, and came out of one with the main parts (motherboard, CPU, graphics). I could have shaved a few pounds off by shopping around some more, but it wasn’t worth it, and the shop had the advantage of secure credit card facilities (Chip + PIN).

There is some bad news, on the other hand: I appear to have done some damage to my new camera. It was probably before I left, when I was charging batteries: when I finished charging one set I yanked them out the charger and put them in the camera, and started charging the other set. They were still hot, and it seems that one or more of them expanded in the confined space. The heat warped the battery cover a little, so now I can’t open it to check or replace them.

The electronics are still OK, the camera powers up with a “low voltage” warning. Further inspection will have to wait until I get home, but a few attempts with some cheap jeweller’s screwdrivers have done nothing, and I’m not prepared to do any more damage without the proper tools. I can always send it back to Pentax for repair on my own tab, since I probably violated the warranty by using hot batteries.

The trip to the Focus 2005 camera show is off, at least by train, since there won’t be any for half the day, due to engineering works. I’ll try the coach station, to see if I can do it by road, but I don’t expect much. Oh well. I have plenty I can do tomorrow. There’s a Joseph Beuys exhibition at the Tate Modern, which will be a start.

At least today went well, and this evening I treated myself to a Chicken Teriyaki Bento at the Tōkyō Diner, but I should be getting back now. My head hurts and there’s no Tube to Harrow-on-the-Hill this weekend, because of the work on the new Wembley Stadium complex, but at least there’s a main line train today, which is less frequent but much faster. They won’t even have that tomorrow, but they might be running the train into Paddington, rather than Marylebone. There will be buses too, which might work on Sunday’s less-crowded roads. Ah, London. ‘Night.

Written by brian t

February 26, 2005 at 8:28 pm

Posted in london, technology

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