Monday, May 30, 2016

Lenovo ThinkPad P50 Review!

Well I never did quite get to do a proper review for my Dell XPS 15 (I had to do this instead), but I've now got one up on YouTube for my new ThinkPad P50 that replaced it.

I'm trying something a little different this time - I'm starting an actual YouTube channel. (I technically already had one for random stuff I'd shot and I wish I could move a few of those videos over, but YouTube don't play dat.) We'll see how it goes - but I've got a little more time than I used to now, so I've got some more stuff I'm planning to shoot. This video turned out a little more serious and hardcore than I originally planned, but maybe that's just me getting older. I've had this blog for something like 13 years now, so I probably have just entered a different era of my life. I'm no longer one of these kids making fast-talking, quick-cutting, ADD-inspired, seizure-inducing tech or lifestyle videos, which seems to be about 95% of YouTube these days.

Anyway, I love my P50 so far!

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

A Dell XPS 15 9550 horror story

I never even got around to talking here about my recent Dell XPS 15, like I traditionally have every time I've gotten a new computer - at least the most recent ones, including my Sony VAIO C Series, my Dell Vostro 3500, and my Lenovo ThinkPad SL500. Well, now I'm glad I didn't, because those first impressions would have been wrong.

Here's a video detailing what I've just gone through with Dell and my XPS 15:

Those of you wondering what I actually sound like, there you go. (Though I have posted videos with my voice in the past, but not lately.) Always weird for me to hear my own voice - I feel like I've got a little Ray Romano thing going on that I didn't used to have.

My XPS 15 is gone now, and good riddance. I also swore off Lenovo after my last ThinkPad, but I couldn't find anything better, so I've got a ThinkPad P50 on the way right now. It's like a full 180 from the design ethos of the XPS 15, but as good as it could have been if only mine worked properly, I also realized as I used my XPS that it was just too limiting. It is a 15" laptop but it feels and works like an ultrabook, and I just don't really want an ultrabook. I want an old-school, fully expandable laptop with a number pad. Hell, if I could have ordered a P50 with a Blu-Ray drive, I would have.

Don't get me wrong, though - I absolutely would have kept and enjoyed my XPS 15 for years if it just didn't break in multiple different ways only months after purchase.

A new hobby (one of several)

I've recently found myself with more time than I had planned for or really know what to do with. A luxury for a lot of people, but it's left me feeling useless and in fact a little depressed. My mind starts drifting and I begin obsessing over dumb, meaningless things. For example, nostalgia for 1970's audio equipment, which I've never felt before in the slightest. I've realized over the years that this is just my way of coping with boredom; maybe my mind's way of staying sharp and focused, on something. This is just one of several things I've got going on right now, none of which amount to anything to anyone but me.

I've set up a little workshop in the basement and decided to try my hand at repairing some of the vintage audio equipment I've been picking up here and there. That old silver-faced hifi stuff sounds great and looks amazing, but you know what? It's all broken. All of it. Unless somebody else fixed it first, you can pretty much guarantee that at least some part of every component out there is not going to work properly. And most of this stuff got replaced, not fixed, when it broke the last time. So it's all still broken, regardless of what some Ebay seller says.

So far I'm having mixed success, but I'm keeping at it at least until I get discouraged enough to give up. This cassette deck above, a Sony TC-K96R, came to me with a blaring left channel that I've sort of fixed but only with a kludge. (As mentioned, it was described as "working fine".) It's listenable now after two new transistors and a level adjustment, at least, but one channel's maxed out and the other's almost at minimum, so something's still not right. It also needs a new belt, like basically all cassette decks do.

In the background, my Sony TA-1010 amplifier awaits new transistors and capacitors.

Should keep me busy for a while.

About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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