Random Ramblings

June 27, 2009

Intel Core i7 desire

Filed under: Computer — camotop @ 1:24 pm

One of my colleagues recently purchased a new Core i7-based desktop computer from TigerDirect. He’s been raving about the machine ever since. “It’s so fast”, “It shows up as 8 processors”, “I’m ripping a DVD, watching a movie, and running 3 VirtualBox instances and I still cannot slow down the thing”.  My frugal self dismissed those comments at first, though I was happy that he was happy. My old machine stills runs fine for what I do most of the time.

But then I started dreaming — what could I do with a newer, faster computer ?  For one, I wouldn’t have to put all of my Kongregate flash games to Lowest Quality.  I’d be able to play some of my older games at their highest resolution. JAlbum would be a lot faster generating my photo albums. Manipulating photos in Gimp would be a lot smoother.  And I would also be able to run some things in VirtualBox, so as to not mess up my host system to try something out.

Having not been on the market for several years, I had no idea of what is out there. I soon learned that I should stay away from AMD, that Intel’s Core i7 is the fastest by a mile, and that Intel’s Core 2 Duo and Quad are coming down in price nicely.  I’d want at least 4 GB RAM, which puts me in 64-bit Operating System territory, but it seems that Kubuntu support is pretty much there. So I’ll take that risk. If I do come across a critical program that I need that is only 32 bits binary, then I’ll run it in a VirtualBox VM, on a 32-bit Kubuntu install.

For Core 2 Duo, I decided that I need and x8200 or greater, for a Quad Q9xxx, or any Core i7. I based this on features in the processor listed in http://www.intel.com/products/processor_number/chart/core2duo.htm

With Core i7 performance so far ahead of the rest, I may go with the i7, but I’ll of course be paying for it. Especially since there is no competition at the moment (AMD has not matched it yet). The cheapest i7 goes for around $750 at the moment from Dell. http://www.dell.com/home/desktops#subcats=&navla=&a=55103~0~2869930

Between $750 and $900 there are several options from Dell, NewEgg,  HP, and TigerDirect.

I’ve set a maximum price for myself of $600. This means I’ll have to wait out the summer at least, or get lucky and find a good Mail In Rebate or special for a certain configuration.  I’m checking several deal sites almost daily now to see how close those prices get to my level. Some sites:

http://www.dealsofamerica.com/desktop_deals.php

http://dealnews.com/categories/Computer/PC-Computers/PC-Desktop/48.html?filter=c:48;&e=0

It’ll be worth it. I purchased my current, 5-year old machine for about $300, cheap even at the time. I figure that $600 may not last me 10 years, but at least it will last 5 years, and it will give me truly top line performance. I’ll enjoy that. Note also that this is still only a fraction of the cost of a Mac!  I have no Mac envy, since Kubuntu looks so nice, and KDE 4.3 appears to be just that much easier to use.

Also, my current computer can be re-purposed. I haven’t decided if it should be a dedicated computer for my children, or if I should use it as Media Center (perhaps running MythBuntu ?).

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June 8, 2009

mp3 ID3 tags with Kubuntu Linux

Filed under: Computer — Tags: , — camotop @ 10:18 pm

Finally. After years of dinging around with EasyTag, a manually patched AlbumArt-qt, and lots of trouble, I finally have a working setup. With KID3’s support for album covers in its April release, I finally have one tool to do the job.
My workflow for organizing music files:

  1. start with a directory of mp3 files
  2. directory is named “artist – album”
  3. each song is named “track title”, where track is always 2 digits (meaning leading zero’s for those under 10).
  4. After the Naming step, I tag each file with KID3. I usually do several directories (albums) at once.  With KID3 now, I can search for album covers from the File menu. In the dialog that follows I typically pick Google, but sometimes Amazon gives a better result. Clicking Browse in that window opens a Konqueror browser, with the search results. I pick the imagine I like, view it at full size (I usually go for around 500×500 for album cover, not sure why), and drag the image in the drop zone in KID3. Make sure all files in the directory are selected, and the image is applied to each. If you make a mistake, simple click the picture tag in the ID3V2 section, and click the Delete button on the right.
  5. Once done, I save the files, which tends to take some time on my old computer.
  6. Now it is validation time. I’ve tried to get Amarok to see the covers, but no luck. I think they still do not support the APIC ID3 tag, or perhaps not with an empty description. Although I generally like what Amarok is about, this is a showstopper. Luckily Songbird has come of age, and proves to be a great album cover browser, especially with its MediaFlow add-on.  To view my newly tagged files I copy them to Songbird’s library directory, and view them in Songbird. If all looks good, I move the files to the “Done” directory that contains all my neatly organized music.
  7. I haven’t done any genre or year population. Not sure if I would use that, and it seems more hassle than it’s worth. Automated download of the info is available, but sometimes overwrite other tags incorrectly.

So check out KID3 and Songbird!  Both work great on Kubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty).

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